Around Antergos in 80 days

by Mike on June 20, 2014

I have been running Antergos for a little over 80 days, and all I can say is it continues to kick ass.

antergos-logoI have to admit Antergos is the finest Linux distribution I have ever used. I enjoyed the stability of Debian, I admired the simplicity and clean looks of Mint and I loved using SolusOS (may it rest in peace). But I am finding Antergos is far superior to all of those options.

I am running Antergos on three of my four computers and although it has thrown a couple of curve balls at me, they were nothing that were not easily overcome with the great help of the Antergos support forum community.  I continue to be impressed with how that community is growing and how it is attracting people who are friendly and willing to help.  As I was researching the possibility of moving into the Antergos/Arch realm, I spent some time reading the Arch support forums, which are sadly, an overwhelming disappointment.  When I see new Arch users who are genuinely seeking help, it really galls me to watch veterans of the Arch support forums sticking to their ‘read the fecking Arch Wiki’ guns.  The Arch Wiki is an amazing amalgamation of Arch information, but what a pity an Arch user cannot just get a simple answer.  The elitism and exclusivity is not very becoming, so far as I am concerned.

This particular machine has Arch partitions, as well as Antergos partitions.  Yes, I spent the time to sit down with an Arch .iso and to install Arch from scratch.  Yes, my first, two attempts went down in flames.  Yes, I learned a lot from my mistakes.  Yes, for nearly two weeks, I really felt an immense amount of satisfaction that I had managed to accomplish the install on my own.  After those two weeks, I restarted this machine and booted back into Antergos.  From my chair, both Arch and Antergos run exactly the same, because under the hood, they are the same.  But Antergos has all the polish and elegance built right in, rather than making me sort it all for myself.

This Antergos install also has an Evo/Lution install of Arch running in VirtualBox.  The Archers will try to convince people that Antergos and Evo/Lution just are not the same as running Arch.  And on that one, single point, I will whole-heartedly agree with them.  Antergos and Evo/Lution are not the same as running Arch, because by comparison, Arch is a pain in the ass to install.  When I can have Arch up and running in under 30 minutes, by using Evo/Lution, why wouldn’t I?  And when I can have Arch up and running with all of the amazing Antergos goodness, why should I spend a single second on an Arch command line?  Puhleeze!  But if it makes you Archers feel better to keep thinking that by running Antergos I am not just running a polished version of Arch, I’m OK with that.  I’ve installed both, I’ve used both and I know the real truth.

When I first started running Antergos, I really didn’t feel it was well-suited for Linux newcomers, but as Antergos continues to mature, I have revised my thinking.  I will be recommending Antergos to everyone, simply because it is a complete package.  From its Arch roots, to its talented developers, and on to its uber-friendly support community, Antergos is really amazing.

If you would like to learn more about Antergos, be sure to visit their Web site.  And yes, I am also going to provide you a link to the page where you can download a copy of Antergos for yourself.  Boot into the Antergos Live environment and I am confident you will really like what you see.

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A mobile provider that understands

by Mike on June 8, 2014

One sure way to get me fired up is to start talking mobile phone providers. I am not a big fan of telephones in the first place, but when it comes to mobile phones, I am in complete agreement with Joe Pesci (and no, this one is NSFW) -

I have done business with the big providers.  You know who I mean, the providers that lure you in with the concept of a ‘free’ device, but then turn around and charge you exorbitant rates, to cover the actual cost of the phone.  They demand those long-term contracts, and Lord help you if you should be so bold as to terminate early, because they will then charge you the difference on the device.  But did you ever notice, after your contract period is up, the monthly bill never drops a thin dime.  If you are wondering why that is, watch the above video again.

I’ve done business with the pay-as-you-go companies.  They don’t play games with the phone prices, they sell you a phone at fair market value, but then they charge more reasonable rates for the services they offer.  It’s a step in the right direction, but I still find I am paying for call minutes, texts and data that I am never going to use.

Sitting here in my office, there are three different computer systems within reach.  I don’t have to move my chair an inch, because all three keyboards are right at hand.  And there is a laptop, in a carrying case, within 6 inches of my left foot.  I have got plenty of access to computers, for the times I need to be using computers.

I keep a mobile phone around for the ‘just in case’ scenarios.  If I am away from home and someone needs to contact me, I have my phone in my pocket.  If I am in a strange town and need driving directions, my phone is in my pocket.  I even send the odd text, every now and then.  But I am certainly not that person you see that is always looking at, or pecking away on his phone.

So I want a mobile phone company that doesn’t try to hide costs and doesn’t want to charge me for things I will never use.

And I have managed to find that company.  It is one not many people have heard of, but that is certainly going to change, as time goes by.

ting002Enter Ting.

Ting has made it clear there are practices in the mobile phone industry that do not make sense.  And they have made it their mission to turn the mobile industry upside down.  Ting has figured out the formula for a successful business.  It all comes down to creating happy customers.  When customers are happy, they enjoy talking about the company that made them happy.  And Ting has put together a recipe to ensure happy customers.

Ting charges customers for the call minutes they use.  Ting charges customers for the texts they send.  And Ting charges customers for the data they use.  And, if you can imagine, Ting is always ready to offer you tips and techniques on how you can reduce your bill, by reducing the services you use.

Ting doesn’t offer you plans for your phone, they show you the rates they will charge you.  Take a look at this matrix -

ting_rates

Click for full-size image

In the above example, the prices all fall into what Ting calls their Medium bucket.  If you were to use between 101 and 500 call minutes, send 101 – 1000 text messages and would transfer 101 – 500 megabytes of data, then your bill would come to just $32, plus taxes.  But what happens if you were only to use 85 call minutes and 50 MB of data transfer?

ting_rates002

Click for full-size image

See how your bill suddenly dropped to just $17, plus taxes?  Call your current provider and ask them if they will reduce your bill, just because your needs fell into a lower plan’s pricing range.  Let me know how that works out for you.

Take a few minutes to read this article on how Ting will bill you for your service.  You are likely going to want to read it twice, because people like you and I are just not used to doing business with companies that place their customers ahead of everything else.

Just to show you how simple Ting’s rates and billing can be, turn your device off and let it sit for one month.  Your bill will come to a flat $6, the fee to keep the device active.

Have you ever called your mobile provider for support?  If you’re anything like me, you probably ended up talking to a girl from a third-world nation, who doesn’t even have English as a third or fourth language.  You know, the girl named ‘Sally’?  You explain you problem to her a couple of times, only to learn she cannot handle your issue, so she puts you on hold and bumps you to a higher support tier, where you get to explain the problem all over to another person.

That doesn’t happen with Ting.  If you call 1-855-846-4389 (which works out to 1-855-TING FTW, by the way), the person who answers the phone will be empowered to handle your problem for you.  See what I said, back there?  I said, “…the person who answers the phone…”  If you like dealing with phone trees, then run the other way, because Ting representatives answer their phones.  Yes, as in you get to talk to not only a real person, but a real person who is qualified to handle whatever problem you might be experiencing.

Ting wants your business.  As a matter of fact, if you click on THIS LINK to visit Ting, they are going to offer you $25 off your first device with Ting.

Or maybe you already have a Sprint-compatible device that you want to move over to Ting.  Well, click on that link and Ting will give you a $25 service credit.  And listen – if you are a casual mobile user like myself, that could amount to your first month’s bill being $00.00.

Are you locked into a contract and not wanting to eat the early termination fee to move over to Ting?  Well, I told you that Ting wants your business.  They want you to be a Ting customer so much they will pay 25% of your ETF, up to a total of $75.

If you need to purchase a device, then visit Ting’s Personal Shopper page.  There, you can decide if you want to purchase a new device, a used device, or a refurbished device.  Ting offers a broad array of devices, to meet any budget.

There is a lot more I could say about how wonderful Ting is when it comes to customer service, but I’ll just let you click this link to visit Ting, and save $25 as a new Ting customer.

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Arch, done the Arch Way

May 26, 2014

I did it. I finally worked up enough determination to install Arch Linux on one of my machines. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, and yes, my first two attempts crashed within minutes of actually getting into the graphical, desktop interface.  But as all who know me will attest, my stubborn streak is akin to that of […]

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A quick look at Arch

May 10, 2014

After using Antergos Linux for a few weeks, I decided I wanted to see what native Arch Linux was like. The die-hard Arch users will accuse me of being a slacker, but I decided to give Jeff Story’s Evo/Lution GUI Arch Installer a test-drive.  That deafening sound you are hearing are the people who have […]

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Antergos is really impressive

May 2, 2014

In spite of getting off to a rocky start with Antergos Linux, I am finding it more impressive, every time I sit down at my desk. I mentioned Antergos in an earlier article, but to recap, Antergos is what was formerly known as Cinnarch.  In a nutshell, the Antergos development team has taken Arch Linux, […]

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A Love-Hate Relationship

April 5, 2014

As all my friends know, I am a full-time supporter of using Linux. I’ve been using it for years and can never quite understand why people want to waste time and money with other operating systems. But there are times when Linux can be pretty frustrating. I get wound up when so-called Linux advocates start […]

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And the saga continues

December 7, 2013

Just yesterday, I was proudly posting about being adopted by a new kitten. But since I had lost two kitties, so close to one another in time, I had already decided I was going to take in two, new kittens. I wanted to honor both of the kitties I had lost. Just yesterday, I had […]

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What a long, strange trip

December 6, 2013

A little over a year ago, I wondered if 2013 would be a good year, or a bad luck year. The year blew in with naught but bad news, and then proceeded to get worse, as time went by. And to be frank, events have almost succeeded in snuffing out my spirit. From losing my […]

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The Atomic Horrors of Fukushima

August 25, 2013

As the horrific nightmare of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor disaster continues to worsen, I find it amazing at how many people have no idea of the dangers that are happening. Dangers that are very real and dangers that are happening as you read this. The real truth is the Japanese have been carefully and […]

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A refreshing change

July 12, 2013

For well over a year, I have been happily running SolusOS Linux on all four of my computers. SolusOS has always been an amazing operating system, that provided me with a GNOME 2 look and feel, all the while running very fast and with a small footprint. When Ikey Doherty released a SolusOS 2 Alpha […]

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