What's New Down Here?

Many years ago, Carlie said to me, "You will never retire--just, someday, you will die." 100% correct. As I am neither retired nor dead, expect to start hearing from me on this site.

First, let me give you an idea what I am involved in and how it ties into Linux. I guess I need to cover a bit of geography so that this makes sense. I'm in Nicaragua or, more explicitly, Estelí, Nicaragua. If you think Nicaragua is in Africa you need to get out a map. (Don't be ashamed--it amazes me how many people think it is.)

Nicaragua is in the middle of Central America. Two Central American countries to the north, two to the south and one sorta beside it. Actually, if you live near the west coast of the US and want to come visit, get on Interstate 5 heading south. Keep going until you come to Hotel Panorama in Estelí. Turn right and I am three blocks down the street on the right.

Now that you know where I am, why I am here is the next question to answer. The best answer is because I want to be. The climate is nice year-round, the people are nice, I can buy fresh fruit and vegetables at the public market a few blocks away and the stress level is very different from where I lived for probably all too many years.

As for what I am involved in, I could offer up a long list including web sites (the most popular is NicaLiving.com but there are lots more). Most of the sites use the Drupal CMS like this site and all run on Linux hosts. One Drupal exception is NicaPlaza.com which uses the Joomla CMS. The big project on my list, however, is not a web site. It's a site alright but it is not on the Internet.

Let's call that site the Geek Ranch. (When I say "let's" I mean us, not everyone. While its primary focus is to appeal to geeks, we will have to call it something else for general marketing.) As far as a site, it is about 265 acres of land in the mountains of the Tisey Preserve near Estelí, Nicaragua.

While there is a lot more to it than just being for geeks, here is the geek angle. The property will have "geek cabinas" scattered around a pine forest within the property. If you want to escape from the rat race for a while--a month, six months, whatever--you will be able to inexpensively rent a private cabina. It will come with Internet connectivity, maid service and all your meals. In other words, no routine responsibilities.

While you can walk over to the restaurant/meeting area to hang out with people, you will be able to hide in your cabina and work on your favorite software project, write a book or whatever private activity you want without interruptions. And if you need a break, you can walk (or ride a horse) around the 265 acres of property, see how the coffee plants are doing, eat an orange or guava right off the tree or just sit on top of a hill and contemplate the world.

You will hear more about the project as it evolves. Today it is just a piece of land, some ideas and two people dedicated to making it a reality. Implementation is where Linux comes in. While Linux isn't going to be used to build the restaurant or cabinas, Linux-based systems will be used to handle a lot of things in the project. Will Linux always be the right answer? We don't know yet but that is going to be part of the fun. That is, I am going to write about things we need to do, the approaches we look at and what we finally end up using.

Sometimes I will wander off the core project when I find something interesting to play with. But, the property doesn't even have electricity much less telephone and Internet connectivity today. There are going to be a lot of chances for Linux to help us solve a problem.

Besides me being a Linux addict, there is another reason why Linux will be easier to plug into the lives of people here. Most people here have little to no experience with non-Linux based systems. That means there is no "it is different than what I am used to" stigma when you plop down Linux as a solution.

In any case, consider this the start of an adventure. While the two players on this end right now are Gixia Arauz and myself, there are going to be a lot more. On your end, I hope that when we run into a challenge, I can count on your to push us in the right direction. Together, we will can get this Geek Ranch built for you.

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