This entry in our interview series was conducted about a week ago, just before overdrank was invited to become a part of the forum staff. Along with being a welcome addition to our team, Mel is another one of the wonderful “regular people” types that have come into our community, someone with no real background in techy stuff, but who has discovered that Ubuntu really is “Linux for Human Beings,” and has shown that anyone with a will and a desire can learn the system can do so. He has also demonstrated humanity to others in his willingness to share what he has learned to others who need help, and for that we are very grateful.
Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real” life – name, age, gender, location, family, religion, profession, education, hobbies, etc.
You may call me Mel, also known as overdrank. I am a 46 yr old man that resides in the N. W. Panhandle of Florida, USA. I was born and raised in this area and it appears that I will stay in the area as I have two children and two grandsons that run me ragged. 🙂
I have many beliefs and many points of views and do not wish to thrust my beliefs on anyone and expect the same in return .
I have been in construction for 28 yrs as a Supervisor/Inspector/Project Manager. I have worked for Contractors, community governments, and Engineering firms. So this has given me a well rounded background as I see the issues from all points of view. The contractor is in business to make money, the community governments position to get the most for the tax dollars and the Engineering firms have to satisfy both. This has lead me on the path to start the studies of CAD (computer-aided design) to further my career as my body has taken to much abuse. I currently work as a Customer Service Rep at Circle K Stores due to a injury that has left me partially disabled.
Hobbies are hockey, computers and reading the Dirk Pitt novels. Fishing is also a great past time here on the Gulf coast as we have the Gulf of Mexico, great rivers and lakes. My son and I have spent the past summers building what we refer to as the gowheeler. Kind of like the Monster Garage as we took a broken 4-wheeler and his go-kart and merged the two. I f you would like to see pictures then you can go here
When and how did you become interested in computers? in Linux? in Ubuntu?
I purchased my first computer in 1996 and I had to learn how to fix the computer after my step son download and installed something that broke the system (windows 95) He then progressed in computers to be a tech at a local computer store which made my learning at a rapid pace. He started using Red Hat in 2001 but I was too busy with work and family to get to involved.
I first came across Ubuntu in a magazine in the Doctor’s Office in the Fall 2006. It had some great reviews by the magazine. I was there as a result of a accident that has now left me partially disabled.
When did you become involved in the forums? What’s your role there?
I joined the forums in February Of 2007, And started observing and helping were I could. I am a member of the Beginners Team and the Unanswered Post Team.
My role there is to help the beginners transition from windows and help others mainly with installation and graphical issues. As you can see on the forums I have a high post count and average. This is due to the fact of being laid off and having surgery on my neck for the second time. Because of the lack of sleep and the discomfort of the injury I was on the forums learning and helping. I have several computer systems that I use for trying different distros and try new things I learn on the forums.
Are you an Ubuntu member? If so, how do you contribute? If not, do you plan on becoming one?
I am not a Ubuntu member but plan on becoming one in the future. The only contribution that I believe I can make is to the Forums helping others transition to Ubuntu and possibly solve some users issues. I do not have the capabilities for the coding and bug fixing so I just help to the best of my abilities due to the reasons I stated earlier.
What distros do you regularly use? What software? What’s your favorite application? Your least favorite?
I mainly use Ubuntu but there is a soft place in my heart for Mandriva. As I almost have a spare system that I install a distro on for testing and learning. I am a simple man so I do not use many apps that aren’t on the standard installation. My favorite would be Compiz-fusion. That is one of the things that converted my son and I just love the fire and rain.
What’s your fondest memory from the forums, or from Ubuntu overall? What’s your worst?
Well my fondest memory must be when bodhi.zazen welcomed me to the Beginners Team, Not to under state was the acceptance to the Unanswered Post Team.
The worst would have to be when a member receives the burned beans on the forum as this is usually a result of degrading the Mod’s and Admin of the forums.
What luck have you had introducing new computer users to Ubuntu?
I have had pretty good luck. As I stated, I converted my son and even my mother, who is 74 years old and loves Ubuntu. Her windows system received a error one day and would not boot so I instructed her over the phone how to boot into Ubuntu and she has used it everyday since. I asked if she wanted me to reinstall windows and she said no Ubuntu does all I need. 🙂 I work currently at a Circle K store and am introducing some coworkers and customers. I just purchased some cd so I can burn the Ubuntu 8.04 and distribute at work. I am also talking with management to let me have a laptop there also for show.
What would you like to see happen with Linux in the future? with Ubuntu?
Well if Linux keeps progressing as it is then I think I have nothing to worry about. I also feel the same way about Ubuntu, as many users have hardware issues I learned early off to purchase what was working by viewing and searching the forums. So maybe better hardware support.
If there was one thing you could tell all new Ubuntu users, what would it be?
Well firstly BACK UP your data. Use the forums to learn before you install along with using the live cd. It is ok to dual boot until you feel comfortable with Ubuntu and it suits your needs. Ubuntu has a learning curve and if you will stick with it I think you will be very happy. Feel free to asks questions on the forums but please be descriptive when writing the issue and search before hand because the issue probably has been asked before.
Best of Luck