Peppermint 10 Respin Initial Experience and Overview

This is my third time with Peppermint OS this year, and I have to say, I did not like Peppermint OS the first two times. For starters, I prefer XFCE and a  ‘traditional’, Desk Top seems like a waste of motion to run and application. Secondly, I was not sure what to do with the web-centric focus of Peppermint OS. Finally, compared to the heavyweight Linux distributions out there, Peppermint OS is sparsely populated.

This is my third time in as many months with Peppermint OS, and I now love it for what it does, and what it is made for. Interestingly enough, Covid-19 is the major reason for my change of how I perceive Peppermint OS. I am an instructor for English as a second language, or ESL. With Covid, ESL has moved to Zoom and Google Classroom.

Thanks to Covid-19, all meetings and training are done online, and not face to face in a room, sitting across the table from each other. It was this change that lets Peppermint OS show off its well thought out platform starting with the desktop and finishing with the choices of installed programs.

Peppermint OS is meant to use to the web applications whenever possible. As such it has a light footprint and it is very quick and nimble. Its menu is not bloated with every conceivable application one may wish to use. It is easily configurable within the programs and parameters for which it is meant to be used.

Here is where I deviated from why Peppermint OS was created. I wanted to use a dock, not a panel. I wanted an XFCE right click menu option. I wanted all my KDE programs ready in the menu system. I wanted the task bar on top of the desktop, not the bottom.

With all these wants, I was spending a lot of time and experiencing a lot of frustration trying to change Peppermint OS into something it is not to be, a mid-weight desktop environment. It was not a fun process, and I did not like the result of my effort.

Now, as my ESL instruction is web-concentric, everything Peppermint OS does and has to offer makes Peppermint OS the obvious choice. What is the reason for creating a document, uploading to the web, having to tweak and reformat to make it look how I want, when all I have to do is use the tools Peppermint OS already offers. I’m a little slow on the uptake sometime.

Once I made a real comparison of my nitpicking of Peppermint OS with my desk-centric Debian, it was easy to see they are different distributions for different purposes. Debian Linux will accept almost any change or any program. Peppermint OS will too, but it is happier if you keep the programs in the confines of the desktop environment built into it.

Hugs and kisses were not descriptive of the first day. When I would suspend Peppermint. Because I have a Nvidia video card, suspension was permanent. Waking up, meant shutting down. This is due to a flaw in the open source video drivers. The simplest fix is to download and install Nvidia drivers. Now coming back from suspend is a matter of pushing the Windows key, and not pushing the power button as I need to do with Debian.

I didn’t understand why Firefox was the browser launched when half the online office is Google-centric. It seemed Chrome would be a better choice. On the third install, I decided there was a reason Firefox is the installed browser and have stayed with Firefox.

I installed Conky with a modified script. Mostly for an easy view of time and date. I spent a minute each, placing launchers and adding the application I wanted on the panel. I added a second workspace as one is never enough. I changed the folder appearance, and the wallpaper.

I also removed the language language flag. Using the tools Peppermint OS provides, change is simple, maybe too simple for someone like me. Thankfully, there is a very handy desktop reset tool, if like me you have gone past the point of no return with your desktop modifications

Peppermint OS screenshot

If you use online office suites, this is a great choice for any computer

Peppermint OS has made the online part of my world easier. Having a separate distribution just for ESL makes document management simple. I no longer use separate ‘Document’ folders in my home directory, one for ESL material and one for everything else. I guess that is streamlining in action?

As with any Linux distribution, Peppermint OS is not for everyone. However, if you find yourself taking advantage of the awesome online office suites and storage, you may wish to give Peppermint OS serious consideration. It really makes document creation, storage and Google Classroom much simpler and more pleasant.

Peppermint OS Reviews:

Distrowatch

Techmint

Peppermint OS home page:

Find out what graphics card you have:

Nvidia Driver download page:

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Red Meat Gone From the Kitchen Table

Thanks to a doctors video visit, not mine, a rather startling and ominous diet change came about around forty-five days ago. I thought everything was fine with my diet, and it was. The newly shared problem was red meat. No more beef or pork to be passing through the lips of those in this household.

As I have been eating red meat almost all of my life, this seemed like a very oppressive, if not impossible task. How does on go through life, suddenly not eating red meat? It was becoming obvious I would find out.

I remember as a kid, having the standard beef roast on Saturday, leftover beef something on Sunday, Monday and maybe Tuesday, beef or pork something on Wednesday and Thursday, and Fish on Friday. The fish was generally great with one exception. The every other week Friday fish meal would be canned Sockeye Salmon, mashed potatoes, and white gravy with a can of peas mixed in.

I found this meal disgusting. I like the Salmon, the potatoes were good, but white gravy with peas was the most gag worthy food I knew. My Father meant well, but in his house, you cleaned your plate, or you sat at the table until bedtime.

I spent many a Friday night seated at the kitchen table until almost bedtime staring at yucky white mush with green peas in it. My Dad was a stubborn man, and I was his son. This battle of wills usually occurred twice a month. The other Friday fish meals did not include white gravy with peas, so it was like any other meal. On a side note, my Dad was the same way with bananas. To my Fathers standard, bananas had to be black before they were edible. I never ate bananas at home growing up.

With the exception of Fridays, we ate a lot of red meat. Not to be forgotten was the occasional, but not every day breakfast addition of bacon or pork sausage. And lets not forget the roast beef sandwiches and soup at lunch time. That was a long time ago, and people thought eating well, meant eating a lot of red meats. How times have changed.

The doctor’s proclamation of no red meat, at first was no big deal. It wasn’t me who was told to modify their diet. By the second day however, it became clear, it was easier to cut out meat than juggle two meals, sometimes twice or three times a day. Good by red meats, I will sneak you in as I can.

On the dinner plate, they are not so cutesy

The pandemic has definitely made it easier to not eat red meat. As we eat at home with few exceptions, there are no cheeseburgers, beef tacos, hot beef sandwiches with fries, or other fast foods to think about eating. Good by red meat.

The first few days were okay. I didn’t feel different; though I never really felt full, even though I knew I ate enough, and I was in fact full. Sometimes I would find myself eating snacks, even though I did not feel hungry, because I did not feel my normal full.

Not feeling full went on for about two weeks, when a change fell over me. I realized, I wasn’t hungry, my stomach simply felt different. Lighter, for lack of a better description. This was my new future of no red meat. No satiated heavy feeling from eating red meat. I could live with that, I thought.

The third week, I gave away all the red meat, and red meat items in the freezer. It is kind of hard to eat red meat anything if it is not in the house. The person who took away about fifteen pounds of red meats, probably thought I was a little crazy, but they didn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Off in another person’s care went all my precious red meat, with the exception of a can of beef broth. Or so I thought.

Last week, I was home alone at dinner time. I found one little package of two sweet Italian sausages in the freezer. I was elated, I was excited. I thawed those bad boys out, put ’em in a pan and cooked them. I heated up some vegetables, and got ready for a feast.

Two were too many, so one went in the refrigerator for the next day. It tasted so good! The perfect amount of pork flavor mixed in with the wonderful herbs and spice mixture that makes Italian sausage so good.

I could feel myself actually full. An hour later the full feeling turned to a heavy feeling. The heavy feeling turned to discomfort. The discomfort went on all night and halfway through the next day. Because I didn’t want it to go to waste, the second day, I ate half the remaining Italian sausage with an egg, and the last half with lunch. My poor stomach was in rinse an repeat mode. Heavy feeling with a side of pain.

That was about ten days ago. I no longer have the urge to eat any red meat, and I find I am happy with this new lighter version of feeling full. There is life after red meat is taken off the menu. Just like any other habit, the ‘need’ to eat red meat went away.

I must admit, I couldn’t get overly enthusiastic eating chicken something every day, but having different types of chicken alternated with different types of fish is okay with me. I choose not to go back to having an upset stomach because I ‘have’ to eat red meat.

Upset stomach from red meat happened once before, several years ago, when I was overseas for two weeks. The only meats were fish and chicken, and they were scarce. When I came home, I ate red meat, and promptly became ill in the stomach. I lived on fruits and vegetables for almost a month before I could eat a ‘normal’ American meal. I suppose I am a slow learner in some areas of life.

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To Mask or Not to Mask, That is the Question

Wear a mask or not wear a mask, is a health, social, and of late, a political issue. The world does have experience with this issue, we have either forgotten or ignored it. From the World wide Flu Epidemic of 1918 which was overshadowed and somewhat ignored due to a another event taking place. We are Human, and we do not change our behavior lightly.

World War 1 and the World Wide Flu Epidemic

The 80’th annual motorcycle meetup and party tradition going on in the moment in Sturgis, South Dakota. Most of the tens of thousands attending, are freedom loving, restrictions of any kind hating people. Masks at the rally are seen as being restrictive.

2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

One can only imagine in a few weeks, how Covid Virus will bloom in the cities and towns were these freedom loving people go back home to live in. Maybe it’s human nature to behave the way many do, and refuse to take precautions or care about the well being of others. Perhaps we have repeated history more often than we are aware?

To Mask or Not in 1918

 

Maybe because for most of us, it is not yet personal, we can’t relate, and we ignore it. 1918 here we come again. The 102’nd anniversary of a world pandemic in action. Few people have ever had the opportunity to relive history. And here we are.

 

 

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Buying on Credit? Easily Find the Best Offer

I watched this furniture store television commercial the other day, and wondered how many people would be foolish enough to make a purchase under the loan terms. The commercial had an example, where the buyer (You and I), could buy a front room furniture group valued at $2,599.00 for only $35.00 a month! Sounds great, but to make the offer even better, they also offered no interest fo the first five years.

Wow, we should all rush out and buy furniture with that offer right? Not so fast, let’s look at it a little closer. If we were to purchase the furniture at 0% interest and made payments of $35 a month, how long will we be paying as out furniture gets worn out?

$2599.00 / 35 month = 74.26 months worth of payments. 74.25 months / 12 = 6.2 years of payments! How worn out will out front room furniture be in six plus years we will need simply to pay it off? Then there is the interest!

There is what looks like a great deal, “no interest for five years!” Wow, sounds great. If you look closer and listen better, there are no interest payments for five years. They are still calculating interest each month, but interest is saved until five years of payments are made. Of course they are charge interest on the interest itself.

Then there is interest. If it were only simple insterest, lets pretend at 10%. That would be $260.00 dollars worth of interest. That’s not too bad. Unfortunately interest does not work that way unless you ae borrowing from your parents.

In the long run, those cheap payments of $35.00 a month for $2,599.00, probably end up costing somewhere in the neighborhood of five or six thousand dollars and ten years to pay off!

Fortunately, there is a fairly simple to use financial formula named, Future Value of Money. It looks seriously complex, but you can do the calculation on your phone, and find out what a purchase on credit will really cost you.

From Investopedia:

FV = I x (1 + (R x T).

where:

I = Investment Amount

R = Interest Rate

T = Number of years

This is the handiest formula for anyone who is on a tight budget and is considering making payments on a purchase or credit card.

I won’t go into detail, as you are either not interested, or intimidated. Instead, I have collected web links for you to look at, that make the process simple. What is really good about future value of money is it can also show you which savings or investment plan is better for you. It takes the slick wording out of any purchase on credit or savings offer. Enjoy!

There are no Good “Buy on Credit” deals, you can pick the best though

Web Pages:

Understanding the Time Value of Money

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/03/082703.asp

Time Value of Money (TVM)

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/timevalueofmoney.asp

Introduction: What is time value of money?

https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1806581/pages/introduction-what-is-time-value-of-money

The above webpage is comprehensive, but a little tedious. I found you can ignore the warnings.

Videos:

The Time Value of Money (Explained)

 

Present and Future Value: Calculating the Time Value of Money

https://study.com/academy/lesson/present-and-future-value-calculating-the-time-value-of-money.html

For the daring among you. A little more serious, but worth knowing.

Present Value – PV

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/presentvalue.asp

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Home Based Selling Trap

In these Covid, shut-in times, the economy has shifted. Work people used to do is either gone, or severely reduced from a labor standpoint. Automobiles and restaurants are prime examples. We hardly drive our cars, and we learned how to feed ourselves. The automobile and restaurant business still going are operating in a limited fashion. Life has evolved into something different than it was a few months ago.

These changes drive many people in to what are essentially door to door salespeople. Most of them will fail. They will fail for many different reasons. Generally, it from trying to sell a product no one really wants. Imagine trying to sell a $2,000.00 vacuum cleaner, when a reasonable vacuum cleaner can be picked up at a retail store for less than $100.00.

Imagine being a blanket salesman in the hottest part of the summer. Your perspective clientele are trying to find ways they can afford to stay cool, and you want them to buy something to keep them warm. Good luck with that.

Hard way to an easy living

A well thought home business is a pleasure, a hasty decision is painful

The list of items that can be sold from home is practically unlimited. The list of items that one can make a living at are woefully few. Think of the blanket salesman in the summer. Or someone trying to sell canned vegetables in a farming community.

There is a formula for selling most people miss completely. What generally happens with home product sales is, the potential new salesperson falls in love with a product. Whether it is makeup or pots and pans. The host or seller has an easy sell. They regurgitate the sales pitch that has been proven most effective over the years, and from there the product sells itself.

The customer, come newest salesperson does not see other people can not get as excited about the product as they are. Most sales of this type are made on personality of the sales agent. This extends in houses, cars, and smaller ticket items. People buy a product because they ‘could’ use it, but more often because they like the seller.

Economics is also a major player in successful sales. A seller needs to sell a product that is inline with their income or less than their income. When people buy a product from someone, more often than not, the seller is perceived to be a person like themselves. Rarely do sales cross income levels.

Which brings itself to the product being sold. Selling chocolate bars door to door for $1.00 each lends itself to a much larger marketable audience than selling a hand made automobile. The key is finding a product that fits the disposable income in the sellers income range. If the seller is in the lower middle class, not poor, but not a lot of disposable income, the customers they will relate to best will also be in the same economic range.

With that being said, it is a poor business and personal decision to attempt to sell a product out of that economic price range. If the disposable income is $25.00 a week, the best product to be selling to that group is no more than that level.

Selling chocolate bars for a dollar each is easier and potentially more profitable than selling a line of jewelry that averages $50.00 an item. It’s all a matter of disposable income combined with want. More people want sweets than want jewelry. Sellers of items within the categories above, have a chance at making a profit. Violate one of the above rules, and go broke painfully, and usually quickly.

The potential new home salesperson, unfortunately doesn’t see these factors as they are sitting in a, ” ” party, being offered items to buy they really do not need. They see what looks like a successful Host or Hostess, painlessly making sales. They think they can too.

What happens next is a short road of expense and frustration. They want to sell the product too. They find they need a sales kit. The kit usually costs around the upper limit of what their disposable income, plus a little more. But they are enamored with the idea of easy money, and buy what is essentially the bare minimum amount of product.

When their kit arrives, they call their family and friends and start setting up, ‘parties’. Depending on their family and social circle, this will usually be one to three sales sessions. Of course without much effort, they make enough in sales to make it look promising.

Next, is the purchase of more product so they can offer more at the ‘parties’. This is usually the profit they have made plus more of their own money which is getting to be a little less disposable, and a little more painful to part with.

About the third round of this two things happen. First, they have a large amount of money tied up in product. Second, their source of people who are willing to host ‘parties’ is about dried up. Finding new customers turns out to be more of a challenge than they expected.

The downward spiral solidifies its appearance. Sales are beyond slumping, they have dried up. What looked like a real opportunity now looks like a dead end. The only compensation is the seller can use most of the product themselves, if that is compensation.

Meanwhile, if they had invested in selling chocolate bars, and were creative they may well have a successful business in the making. Chocolate is cheap. Once a chocolate bar is eaten, the chocolate bar has met a need. Chocolate is cheap to replace, over and over and over. Nothing like repeat customers.

Here are the six important Home Seller take-away bullets from above, though there are many more factors to consider:

1. Be aware of the the changed social structure and changed economy effect what people want.

2. The first sell-able product you are offered, may not be the best choice.

3. Find a product people want, and will buy again. One time sales stink.

4. Keep emotion out of your decision making process.

5. Sell within your economic and social group.

6. Be cautious of how much you personally have to invest in your sales kit. Will you personally use it all if the business doesn’t thrive and survive?

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