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When the COVID-19 pandemic began (need to be specific here, to avoid confusion...), I recall a lot of people emphasizing the need to stay busy and use any additional time you have productively. As I mentioned previously, I started this blog and have maintained it more-or-less weekly since mid-2020.

That said, it’s been several weeks since I last posted. To make a long story short, I’ve had to deal with high-school graduations, COVID-19 sweeping through our household (though we were all fully vaccinated), and some major home renovations. It’s been a rather busy few weeks, even setting aside work-related issues.

So, most of this did not involve material I’d generally post about, but of course there’s more.

I’ve commented before on my use of Ubuntu (which I love) for my home computer, and have been running version 20.04 (Focal Fossa), which was the current long-term support release. Well, a new long-term support release came out in April of 2022 (Jammy Jellyfish), and I’ve just upgraded to it.

Everything ran quite smoothly, but I was concerned about the name. I think it’s come up occasionally on The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe that “jellyfish” is a bit problematic as a name.

Wait, what? THAT’S what bothers you?

Well, yes. I just remember comments on the difference between “jellyfish” and “jellies”, and it’s been bothering me since I updated Ubuntu.

Fortunately, all is not lost. After a quick search, I discovered that “jellyfish” is still an acceptable term, and the issue is that the term “jellyfish” actually refers only to a subset of the broader group to which the term “jelly” or “sea jelly” applies. So, all is well.

I’ve been wanting to learn more about other operating systems, and wanted some relatively easy way to do so. I have some battle-scars around trying to set up a dual-boot, and have decided that I don’t want to do it for my main machine. I know that everything is different now, and that the technology is vastly more stable, but the idea still makes my skin crawl a bit to try this on my primary machine.

What to do?

One option is to use an old machine. I may actually start doing that at some point, but I wanted something a bit less risky, so decided to look into adding ISO images to a USB drive. I find it rather amusing that we still refer to disk images in the context of writing to an optical disc, when most young people will have no idea what you’re talking about. Fun fact: You can fairly easily assess the age of a person by telling them the tech support joke about the person saying the cup-holder is not working... << pause for laughter or blank stare >> ... when they press the button on the CD-ROM drive.

I have a fair collection of USB thumb-drives, but many of them are USB 2.0, which are both slow and low-capacity. So, I just went out and got a few higher-capacity USB 3.x devices.

That led me down the path of wondering if I could set up multiple images on a single USB drive. After a while, I found and began exploring Ventoy and have been working on setting up a drive with a few Linux distros which interest me.

Needless to say, I wanted more. Can I set up persistent disk images, so changes I make are retained on subsequent connections? I assumed the answer was yes, but the real question was: “is this something I can do more or less easily/conveniently, or is it more effort than it’s worth”. It appears that the answer to that is also yes, and I’m working on this now. If all goes well, I may start exploring a number of distros, just for fun.

Hm. Fun. Techies tend to define that word differently from most people. Still, it will be interesting to see whether some of these distros differ in ways that are important or relevant to me. (It’s certain that the developers/maintainers consider the differences vital – not sure if I should feel embarrassed if I don’t agree)

Only time will tell!



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