Ponyman @ freeshell.org Slackware.com

Ponyman's Page @ freeshell.org

About Me
The Nitty
The Gritty
The Code

A little about me:

My name is Daniel and I live in the eastern US. I like computers, coding, gaming, chatting and basically everything most geeks like. I run Slackware Linux on all my home boxes for work and for pleasure. I am a long time linux user and avid linux/unix advocate though you may not have heard of me as I'm not a zealot :). As with most linux users, I've run the gambit of distibutions from slackware to redhat to mandrake to LFS and finaly back full circle to slackware. I've found each and everyone of them a fun experience and don't knock any of them or the myriad of others that are available for DL on the net.

Currently I've found a home here on freeshell.org and have been having a good time learning the systems, using the bulletin board, chatting through com and generaly reveling in the unixness. Freeshell or SDF has been around for 20yrs but it's only recently that I've discovered this community of fellow unix/linux users. It's a great place to try out unix for first time users familiar with telnet or through a more secure method using ssh. SDL offers IMAP email a limited subset of unix tools for very small donation and a full blown unix shell once you've upgraded to an arpa membership which seems well worth it.

Outside of the unix world I have always had an interest in horses, horse racing and horseback riding. I have owned a nice horse and a few ponies, one of which my daughter is showing successfully now. My last horse, a 16.5h chestnut thoroughbred recently died of complications due to a colic. If you've never experienced a horse with colic, suffice it to say it's not a very pleasant scene and left me depressed for some time afterwards. I am currently looking for another horse and most probably will end up with another chestnut thoroughbred mare as I find thats what I like the best.

The Nitty:

I like gaming. There I've said it and feel much better (smile). Admitting that you like something that's not so serious like gaming is not always the right thing to do when first meeting people in a computerised social environment such as IRC (Internet Relay Chat) or in online forums that aren't specifically game oriented. Such admissions will often lead to ridicule or admonishment. Knowing this and curtailing my exuberance hasn't always been so easy and now that I am wise to the abrasive nature of some net denizens it's not such a big deal. Even so, tread carefully if you are thin skinned as you'll find many online who love to poke holes in your hide.

Gaming is like an old friend, someone I'm comfortable with and can spend many hours with without becoming bored. I've been playing computer games since my first day owning a PC and most probably will continue to play them as long as I'm able to see the screen. I've spent huge amounts of time enmeshed into a game that to me was so engrossing it consumed most of the day and night. Sometimes it's the interface, the gameplay, the graphics, the chance to learn a system or style of play but by and large the the major time consuming aspect has been roleplaying in a multiplayer setting. The computerised dungeons and dragons recreation Neverwinter Nights consumed a major section of my life and lead me through many fun an engaging experiences while at times leaving me feeling as if I had been run over by a truck and other times wishing for extra hours in a day to play more. It was an experience I'll never forget and don't regret.

Online roleplaying can be a love/hate relationship for sure. On the love side, it can be very rewarding to roleplay in a setting that you've perhaps read many stories about, all the while thinking "wouldn't it be cool to live through this?". Roleplaying brings this sense of living in another place or time and even world to life. While roleplaying you play the part of a character from whatever the setting is, like an actor portraying your role. Unlike an actor you are not bound to a set script to read from and are free to embellish and take liberty with your part. Free expression has never been so good.

On the hate side, all of your dreams can be shattered by uncaring people who thrive on making life miserable for others while they play online. Once again, a thin skin should be replaced by a flame retardent vest at your earliest convenience. While you can spend hours/days/months or even years developing your online character, sometimes it can all be dashed to the bin by a trusted friend who doesn't much care how much time you've invested or wants to make himself/herself feel more important by making life difficult for you. It can be very frustrating to participate with people who aren't as serious as you are. Remember to take most things with a grain of salt and remember it's a game you do for fun. But enough whine....how about some cheese (grin).

Quake r0x0r5! Yes, I love FPS games almost as much as I love roleplaying games. The speed, the degree of immersion in a physical sense, the absolute blast fest of running around trick jumping with huge weapons, an FPS does it all. I've tried almost all of them at one time or another from Doom to Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and have found all of them to be worth the time and effort to learn their idiocyncrasies. Quake 1 has by far used up more time than any other fps and is followed closely by Quake 2, Quake 3 and Quake 4. Don't fret, just so you don't think I favor id Software, I've played all of the Unreal series including the poor showing Unreal Tournament 2003 which was redeemed by Unreal Tournament 2004. Online or in single play these fps games have delievered and I relish some of the better times I've had gaming in them. Playing FPS games online drove me to what I consider my #1 passion in life:


Linux came into my life for all the wrong reasons but stayed there because of the things it does so well. Back when I was fairly new to PCs, coding, gaming and even before the internet I spent a great deal of time participating in what was then terms BBSs or Bulletin Board Systems. These were computers, many of the Amigas that had multiple modems connected by dialup to other users and other machines hosting other BBSs. There was a form of email (fidonet) and many text based games, even some games that were ASCII graphics in a console. Here's an example of what ASCII grpahics in a console would look like:

 _   _      _
| | | | ___| |_ __
| |_| |/ _ \ | '_ \
|  _  |  __/ | |_) |
|_| |_|\___|_| .__/

One day while chatting with the owner of a local BBS I heard him mention that he had a way to play Doom over the phone lines and could get a 4 man game server going on his local machine which 3 other players could dial into. What happened next was my first online multiplayer fps game and it was pretty poor by todays standards. The connection was hitchy, there were long lags and spiking in the play. I got dropped a few times and had to redial and re-enter the game. Even though the play was subpar, I could see where this was going and I was hooked. Dedicated to finding a way to get a better connection for gaming in that fashion, had me reading everything I could find, newsgroups, mail, BBS boards and after a short while I read that with some program called Linux and an interface called SLURP one could run multiple simultaineous connections to the same server. The internet had come on the scene and was just made available in my area so I was now connected to the internet over dialup on a 14.4kbs modem and thought "wow" this would make online gaming take off in a big way. I found I had to see what this Linux was all about.

After some research (remember there was no google in those days), I came upon something called Slackware Linux version 3.6. I don't quite recall how many floppies it was, perhaps 6 but it took quite a long time to download them and get the files copied onto disks.

The Gritty

To be continued.....
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