Half and Half With Happy Neighbours

First, tomorrow is the Equinox, or the final day of summer and the first day of Autumn, around 2:18pm, September 22, 2009. Normally it falls on the 21 of September, but this year it is a day late. Well, really it is not late, that is the way our calendar works. Our calendar has a lot of bugs in it, so keeping events on track and uniformed is unfortunately impossible to do with it.

Tomorrow, me and some friends will have a little get-together, as we always do, to celebrating the passage of the seasons. I consider these moments true events without the hype and commercialism that most other celebrations go. We have debated this to death, and for better of worse, keeping it away from the mainstream is the better way to go. We try and attend right at the time that it occurs, but sometimes that can be difficult for some as it is either during the dead of night or during work times. For us keener’s, taking time off from work to celebrate it is just one way we keep it going.

This started for me back about 13 years ago when me and a couple of old high school buddies, who were all amateur astronomy buffs, realized that in order to really appreciate the seasons and the start of the new year, December 21 should be the day that we do it.  We managed to keep it going ever since then. One buddy, Richard, even goes so far as to bring his spouse along, so now it has become a family event for swapping stories and having a few drinks, or in my case a good excuse to have a coffee with the old boys. Only a couple of us get together for the other three events, Fall and Spring equinox and the Summer solstice.

Last Saturday I reached the milestone of reaching 10 installations of the operating system Ubuntu-Linux within my neighbourhood. That is “out with the old, in with the new.” Old, meaning Microsoft in this case.

In every case of installing the new operating system it was due to users not willing to pay for the upgrades, and for the most part, their PC machines were old and slow compared to current standards, so the Window$ system would not work properly. There is sort of a consumer dilemma when it comes to buying a computer, that is, when you fork out up to and over a thousand dollars, you expect it to work for more than a year before you need to throw more money at it.  So spending a $150.00 for an entirely new upgraded operating system is a good deterrent for anyone to continue to go along with the scam. And I do mean scam.

“It is hard to justify paying for something that gives me advertising, limited usage and viruses galore—there must be a better way?” my friend Kim said.

When I introduced them to the open source systems, they are stunned. It is like they never heard the word “Free” before. It is through word of mouth that they find out that such a world exists.  And oddly, when they get frustrated with it, or they need some help and get mad, I tell them they could always go back to what they had before, they flat out respond with a “NO—Fix it!”

Special Note: Thanks Diane for catching those errors for me and bringing them to my attention. I hang my head in shame, and guilty as charged.

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