Computer Stuff

Computer Stuff

My current system is a Desktop running Windows 7 and OpenSUSE Leap and my laptop which runs Windows 7 and Linux Mint 18.02 Sonya with a Cinnamon front-end. 

In the past my Desktop was my go to machine with an Intel DX79SR and hex Intel i7 chip, it also has a lot of Corsair stuff like a Corsair power block and liquid cooling. I still have to go home and see what it all is.  When my external hard drives got taken, I went through a lot of data loss and recovery attempts and then reformatting of my hard drives.  However much of my art work and 3D and Unreal Engine programming, as well as my most important Python prototyping and C/C++/C#/Java programming was done on that desktop, especially my game projects that were sold to EA and Disney.


My laptop is a new experience, specifically the many different flavors of Linux going through it, and I still prefer Linux Mint to everything else, but some distributions of Linux work better on different hardware than others, and Linux Mint is too finicky for my desktop although I would prefer it.  I find SUSE unwieldy, and will probably go to Ubuntu on the desktop next.

I can run Adobe Server2 and MySQL and MariaDB from my laptop, and I continue to work with the CLI as I did in the past on Sun Solaris UNIX at Trinity in the 1990's as well as Silicon Graphics machines.  But I must say that my lap top-- though now obsolete-- is probably the equal of those Silicon Graphics machines in the 1990's on which they made Jurassic Park.


I prefer to have a Microsoft Visual Studio with the capability to use both Python 2 and 3, and I prefer to prototype in Python or C, and then as my needs change, move to whatever language they need.

For instance, when I developed Galaxy of Heroes from scratch and unasked, which is now in-house at EA Games, because I sold it to Disney and EA, I used Python over two days to quickly get an game working in an engine.  I then had to rewrite the engine, and eventually move the entire piece into Dessault Systems software because of an OOP bottleneck that Visual Studio couldn't easily handle without proprietary libraries.  Finally, Disney owned the characters and character art necessary for the game to truly succeed, but my inspiration was timely and sold a year before the release Episode VII- The Force Awakens. 

The need for rapid prototyping is almost gone except for the individual developer, and most tools have already been made.

My newest game ideas rotate around using either the Unreal Engine IV (of which I helped upgrade the physics engine making it the "go to" engine again in 2015) or Android SDK.

A word on the power of CMAKE and the CPP (C Pre-processor): people keep trying to get rid of C Language.

I believe it is because they want to make it commercial and owned by a few, like what they did with the MATLAB language that went from open-source to a purchased product owned by a few when folks weren't paying attention.

C is incredibly powerful, and C++ is written in C.  However, C is more low level, and faster--

23 times faster than Java.


So I love C.

It can be used for everything from CNC machine programming, fax machines, to upgrading physics engines in your favorite game IDE like Unreal IV.

How did I do it?

It took physics equations from physics books, I imported those single equations into Octave (the open-source equivalent of MATLAB), compiled and took the output and had the C preprocessor call it as an included executable-- not a library-- thus allowing the Unreal Engine IV to use real time graphic capabilities supposedly impossible for realistic rendering.


The time it takes for those real-time rendering of lighting and lightning is impossible for the NURBS for even the most modern high-end video cards.

So how was it possible?

Because it took over 12 hours to compile the C program on a i7 machine with 32 Gbs of RAM.

But once it was done, it could be called from a video card with the math already done.

I got no glory for this other than the developers making the Unreal Engine IV free for users and developers.

SO what am I doing today?

I am building my websites, continuing my experiments in electronics and electricity of tube amplification, and looking for a real job where the folks will pay me for my efforts.

I am also developing two new games: f(x)=Dominion and a different game based on the I Ching.

I am tired of shooting things and greatly cheered by the developers of CupHead and their efforts.

That is all for now, other than more ZBrush work.

Have a good day!


Art Portfolio

Much needs to be said about my Art Portfolio, and the loss of data that has occurred over the last 2.5 years despite my best efforts to protect that data using more than one back-up external hard drive.

The first thing to be said is that I have gratitude for what I have recovered-- specifically the logos for my other website and DBA business WhiteOakAmplification (found without current SSL cert at ), now I can run these found jpg.s into PaintShop Pro X-- my ancient venerable favorite art IDE which I use with quick dispatch on basic tasks such as joining, merging, blending, and resizing, resampling, mirror imaging, and increasing/decreasing color depth.



I also enjoy the entire panoply of Adobe CS 6 tools, but these were also lost with my data and portfolio and business information. 

Most of my 3D work is done in ZBrush and a combination of Autodesk 3D Studio MAX/Maya/Engineering Programs, or open-source Blender.


 However, what was recovered was recovered from my Adobe Acrobat XI 14 page, 183 Mg, .pdf document.  And I used my Linux Mint 18.2 "Sonya" Cinnamon Screen Shot program to photo each page from Okular from the Linux side of the system.

I do not have access to the Adobe Acrobat XI any more on the Linux-side of things, and Okular and other pdf programs for Linux are simply not up-to-date because they are open source and expect text documents, as opposed to image documents.

But perhaps the greatest all time thing Adobe has ever done besides Vector format-- which goes hand-in-hand in with the aspect of .pdf (PostScript Document File format), is that any information cut and pasted is rendered by the front-end viewing device from the information stored in the back end, so the information can be rendered perfectly in any size because it is vectored, not rastered.

So where a .jpg or even a .png would lose detail as it is enlarged, a .pdf used for images is capable to be massively resized if one has a viable .pdf viewer, and thus much of my art was able to be saved from a simple 14 .pdf file found here: 

You will see these messages because it is REALLY big for a document download and so here are the screen shots you will see as warnings before you can download it and view it in Adobe Acrobat XI or greater--so have no fear.



The other problem with recovering my data from this method (although it was the only method available unless I get access back to my two external hard drives storing my data), was that because the portfolio was designed to be public, it was created with an extensive (though in my opinion "tasteful") watermark ~ 


And so this watermark will be more or less obvious throughout the portfolio, and can be distracting, and so as I "screen-shotted"/captured everything I could find, I did so in hopes of being able to remove the watermark to recover some of the WhiteOak Amplification data, and what this means is that as I recover those proprietary logos, I will be going down to the pixel level and re-editing the photos by the pixel.  Also, to "blow my own horn" a bit (though I had to dedicate to extensive Raja Yoga practice to achieve the capability....),  I created the watermark to be easily usable in negative image and fewer colors as I move between many and fewer colors and negatives in my work, and yet it is quite visible across a wide number of types of document.  Also, the watermark is a 3D version of a space station that is not obvious until someone sees the original documents containing it in the Horsehead Nebula (actual pic from NASA).


 So in places where I could or chose to, I removed the watermark, in others where the document my be even "worsely" or "more poorly" used, I made sure it remained so I would not be that involved in any legal action taken against me while preserving the integrity of ironical nature of the pieces and artistic display thereof.

And that's my quick explanation up front, with more detailed explanation down below....


From my perspective, recovering my work and deleting what is necessary and reformatting it keeps me from having to start from scratch on work that took hours, and is worth it because I have done such work before-- I also find new derivatives and this makes it a part of the long-term artistic process rather than mere data recovery.  The poet William Carlos Williams noted that poetry is not static, and rewrites occur throughout the poet's lifetime, and these different versions can grow or be pruned as the clarity of the poet's vision is enhanced with experience (this is a paraphrase).  But I try to keep this in mind, especially with commercial art for other people because sometimes in branding, there simply will be a new logo of the future no matter how much work was done in the past.

 These are some examples of new work based on the found images:

But I mention it here as it is pertinent to the viewers' enjoyment and comprehension of my art, and why it is commercial art, and there is an irony in that I would watermark certain pieces that were overtly "stolen" in terms of certain subject matter and used without permission or payment or credit (except in these pages-- not for money but only for ~~academic use~~ and in the interest of artistic license, of which there is no such thing, which to quote a well-known Canadian songwriter "isn't it ironical!?!").

This is the first page of my .pdf portfolio:


Throughout my portfolio, part of my intent is to examine the limitations of the artist's right to embrace the reality determined by his or her or it's own perceptions by outside forces that either state that they own the object or image or sound that the artist experiences or that the image or sound or experience itself is verboten ~ illegal to even perceive and certainly illegal to replicate.  I do this as a function of my civil right to Freedom of Expression guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States in the First Amendment.

Having said this, I would like to explain some of what appears on my first page of my portfolio:

The image at the top of character Wilson Fisk, "The Kingpin" is owned by Marvell Comics and was probably created by Stan Lee.  This image and the statement "Free Wilson Fisk" was in response to the new DareDevil television program where I find the DareDevil to be essentially preachy and unlikable and too absolutely sure that his ethics developed as a blind man and secret superhero are superior to those of industrialist Wilson Fisk.  There have been few times in television I found so satisfying as Fisk slamming the attorney  Matt Murdoch's head repeatedly into the stainless steel metal table inside of a prison.  I do not think it was an ethical act, but that guy had it coming, and I find myself repeatedly cheering for Denofrio's Kingpin.  Thus this graphic was developed as graffiti art that was never realized. 

Second, the next major image manipulated and "mashed-up," is perhaps the most famous image from the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide published by TSR and the artist is Dave Trampier; the piece is known as "The Ride of Emirikol the Chaotic."  Dave Trampier did my favorite pieces Emirikol or whether it was "the Rakshasa:"

Here is information on Dave Trampier, who supposedly passed in 2014, but his death had been widely misreported in the past and I hope he still walks the multiverse.

And here is more info on Emirikol the Chaotic for those of you who want it:


"Now why did I include Trampier's iconic well-known graphic in my portfolio, was it to take credit for it or steal from him!?!"

No, at the time I was involved in learning digital matte painting, a discipline which is a technological derivative of screen printing and glass painting and glass photography.  Matte painting is used in creating distressed or fantastical features on photos of normal things, implying depths in 2D images that are functions of optical illusions and assumptions on the part of the viewer that may be biologically hardwired in the eyes and mind.   There is also a branch of fine art known as optics that was developed in the late 1800's and 1900's that is the science of using color to affect the perception of viewer involuntarily by the art itself.  All of this goes into matte painting.  Much of my matte work was lost, and yet I had a quick idea of morfing the buildings of Emirikol to an actual processed photo of a mosque in the highlands of Asia that i had worked on, and I added a part of the space shuttles scaffolding behind the alleyway, making it seem like Emirikol is riding through a space-time more complex than we know.  This led to the need to ever-so-slightly colorize a part of the actual Trampier piece implying the colors from the background had resonance in the foreground as well. 

Finally, the mosaic found at the top of the Trampier piece and reproduced in different colors along the bottom left are from a captured architectural window screen from Mongolia that was then pixelated and colored by me.

Other features are artistic rendering the improper logical statement which is definitively improper according to Aristotelian logic, so is TRUE.  Also present is my name Arnold spelled in Ogham alphabet. 

f(x)=Dominion is a video game in progress which I am prototyping and developing.

My face in negative appears.  And some other stuff which I can discuss if asked, sometimes things are just for looking at...

 Page 2 of my portfolio:

 "In the Mind of the Dying God" is another possible project I am working on, and it was created as a working title on which to test e-book cover publishing graphics.  By this, I mean on a website dedicated to contract work of all types, there are a lot of e-book authors looking for cover artists to make their published copies look "legit" as opposed to "self-published,"  also I have worked on the graphics necessary for printed and woven fabrics.  So in the upper right and along the top, we have graphics that are dedicated to being backdrops for the text of published works-- whether that be text books or advertising guides.

There is an enlargement of a mosquito because it was during the time of the ebola outbreak and that disease that affected native childrens' head size, where they were born with shrunken heads-- and mosquitos were to blame.

It was also the time of the attempted Turkish coup on the same day as the new Nintendo Pokemon video game was released, so this is another image of a well-known character which I consider political art:

"Squirtle Affects Turkish Politics"

Beneath that important piece is a treated photo of a spider web tunnel in some bushes, and finally the seemingly human head is a 3D rendered object created in ZBrush, my favorite 3D modeling program, which is then taken to any number of platforms like AutoDesk AutoCAD or 3D Studio MAX or Maya to be put directly into video games, or into programs like Adobe Illustrator to be turned to vector art, or Adobe PhotoShop or PaintShop Pro in order to be colorized in 2D, which is what happened here.  The face is somewhat serene in keeping with the "dying God" motif.

Pages 3 and 4 of my portfolio:


 The model is web-cam entertainer and comedienne Kati3 Kat from

Every artist goes through some training in human form and the depiction of human form whether that person is a sculpter, line artist, photographer, or digital artist.

Several years ago I was offered the administration job of being a working moderator at her performance website, it would have been over 40 hours a week and would have paid well.

The logistics necessary on my end were not in place to make the offer a reality; but I remain a big fan of hers to this day primarily due to the fact that she is one of the funniest physical comedians I have ever witnessed.  I saw her ride a hover-board in an inflatable sumo suit and ride a unicycle down some stairs.

I have also known her since childhood.

The aspects of Buddhist art were to celebrate her 10,000 follower on either Twitter or SnapChat or Instagram; she really does have a personal army of some 2500-4000 viewers every night she is on webcam.

So as a performance artist, I want those who have publically performed before to consider a crowd of 2500 people:  that is the size of many larger venues for live music, or the typical crowd at a 5A High School football game in the stadium seats-- it is a lot of people.

And through her demeanor and stage presence, she keeps her crowd in the most intimate circumstances.

These treatments of her are done in the "camp"-style of late 1950's and 1960's girly mags and overseas offerings for our GI's in Japan and Korea.  The Kanji graphics spell "Talent Girl" and the effort is again to promote a style appropriate for publication, just like the text book art in pages prior.

I can discuss this further if there is some awkwardness on the part of potential employers in regards to the erotic content implied in these two pages, which I consider a viable legitamacy in the artistic handling of a well-known performer.

Page 5:

Example page 5 has my effort at the representation of the Grim Reaper (just in time for Halloween), two treatments of a 3D abstract piece from ZBrush, in the bottom right an abstract 2D piece eligible for printing on canvass for either an orthodontist's office or as wall covering for an European hotel.  And in the bottom left, what i consider the source of the original "Raptor Jesus" meme, but rather than have Christ in the form of a raptor, we have the gentle Christ comforting the reptile with appropriate Japanese censoring covering the eyes as per animae; finally the Greek characters spelling the word "telos" which is a Classically philosophical term now used to discuss the human treatment of animals in experimentation, the fur trade, cosmetics, and the like.  I feel strongly about "telos," and I have written on it myself.

 Page 6:

 Here we have in upper left a screen shot of my multimedia project: The Wizard of Menlo Park, which is a deconstruction and treatment of a famous photo of Thomas Edison which now seems timely as there is a new film out about him with Benjamin Cumberbatch. 

To the right of Edison is a portrait of my Dad.

Beneath Edison there are two record album covers with music that can be found on this site in the future under the Music tab or at  The covers are from the band The Barbarous Tongues and they are called Music for Andrea and Music for Elsewhere. 

To the right of Music for Elsewhere and beneath the portrait of my Dad is a mosaic that looks like a brown cross that is the plans for a floor mosaic of either an entry hall or the bottom of a swimming pool.  This was an expensive project.

Beneath the cross is a hand-drawn colored pencil piece called "Imperial Monkeys."


Imperial Monkeys is intended to be viewed from a rotating point of view and as one rotates it, different faces appear, and the faces were those of my friends at (roughly) the time of the founding of The Houston Blues Society, and the acts prevalent at Dan Electro's Electric Guitar Bar-- though specifically, those in connection with Carolyn Wonderland and The Imperial Monkeys which was Carolyn Wonderland, Eric Dane, Screamin' Kenny Blanchet, Erik Colflatt, and Chris King.  Also present are people like Cary Winscott and myself as friends as colleagues.  This was part of a colored pencil series now mostly lost that used Spheres as a conceit and as a focal point around which to rotate the pieces in that collection.  For instance there is a sphere at end of the candy cane pulling the Grateful Dead skeleton from the pic like Vaudvillean act, and then also there is a sphere making up the upper-brow of my self-portraited face looking into the sun once rotated.

As I said, the spheres were an experimental conceit from the 1990's....

Next to the imperial Monkeys in the bottom center of the portfolio page is My Point of View, another colored pencil drawing from that time, which was my point of view looking at my bare feet....

Pg. 7: 


On page 7 we have treatments on a digital photo of Los Angeles, a commercial sign for a Pho Shop, and a flier for the Barbarous Tongues show in Houston in 2011, and another window from Mongolia being used as a template for a game board, possibly for f(x)=Dominion.

Page 8:

These are either e-pub book covers, prints specifically for fabrics, or mandalas for a coffee table book.  Finally, the overlay is a Pente game with designed pieces intended as a paint print roughly 3 foot by 4 foot.  The white pieces won, and this was from an actual game played against artificial intelligence.

 pg 9:


 Page 9 contains nothing but mandalas from the mandala coffee table book.  I believe the proofs and images are now lost among the data from the two lost hard drives. There were over 65 unique mandalas.

Page 10:

Page 10 is an effort to show my 3D work as a game and toy designer, using Unreal Engine 4 and ZBrush.

 Pg  11:

Pg 12:

 Pg 13:

Pg 14:


Thank you for perusing my portfolio,

John Blake Arnold






What's Happened?

So this is a quick blurb on what is going on in my life from roughly November of 2015 to the present October 2017:

My name is John Blake Arnold and I am software engineer, musician, artist, writer, electronic/industrial designer, and currently a professional driver. 

In 2011, my father contracted Stage IV kidney cancer and agreed to move to Kerrville, Texas from Houston to help my family cope during that trying time.  I moved and began contract coding, and for awhile worked as a contract programmer for the office of Senator John McCain, and then my dad got really, really sick and I had to quit, and then my dad died. I think this was early 2014.

One of the reasons I moved up to Kerrville is my mom who had been married to my dad for 49 years was showing signs over the previous decade of oncoming Alzheimer's, and once my dad passed away, her symptoms got extremely bad: hiding in closets, a refusal to stay or sleep in the bedroom she formerly kept with my dad, isolation, hiding when people knocked on the front door, a failure to keep finances properly, a tendency to be over-gregarious to strangers as if she already knew them, and then blaming me for pretty much everything-- including the death of my father, and physical difficulties she was having as an 81 year old woman, and her own difficulties keeping the check book.

I became the "bad guy" in her eyes, and she turned her finances over to the neighbor down the street, contacted the Bank of America, PayPal, and eBay claiming that I had "stolen" from her over an order of some 6 Haines tee shirts she had told me to order, and then forgot she had said it (this was the summer of 2015 and took over 6 months to resolve, despite my offers to meet with her at the Bank of America-- after many, many calls to PayPal and eBay showing no theft the matter was put to rest; I am still a customer at Bank of America).

I had been an early adopter of crypto-currency, and had been involved with BitCoins (BTC) since they were valued at less than $0.05 cents on the US Dollar.  There are notes in protest of the dismissal CNBC anchors gave BTC's early on, and I was a miner who successfully mined BTC's with older desktop hardware until the difficulty got to much.

I was one of the architects of ASIC chips from FPGA chips, and this was a project I had entered into in Houston in 2010 while my dad was still alive in an effort to please my dad and make him proud of me.  I designed the first ASIC chip that I know of in EagleSOFT after reading what operations the hardware was forcing through the FPGA chip.

I gave it up and moved on. 

Because I had to move to Kerrville.

I founded several more companies and turned them over to my father and mother in part, roughly 18 months before my dad's death.

So there were BTC's, patents, roughly 66% of every company I founded in my parents' ownership, and then once my dad passed away, in my mother's ownership.

And once she went wacko during the summer of 2015, she was approached by my aunt-- her sister-- and she signed over her right to attorney to my aunt and every single asset our family collectively owned, and my aunt put her in a retirement home and went back to Austin, Texas with every asset my dad worked for his entire life and every thing I had managed to achieve in the past ten years-- which included BTC mining patents, DBA's for several companies, records, cryptocurrency of all types.

Another thing that happened is that as I tried to keep my sense of humor about the whole thing, in the summer of 2015 as my mom went crazy, I created my own crypto-currency: the ANAL coin.

I did this because several of my friends are erotic web-cam performers, and I was trying to impress them as a distraction from my mother and her problems.

 I would like to point out that the ANAL coin is pegged to the value of the BTC, which today is valued at over $4,500.00 US Dollars.

So this is typical of my sense of humor, which my mother did not appreciate and she gave away control of all my assets to my aunt.  This included a house I had purchased in Kerrville in 1986 as an 18 year old, and this was achieved because the name on the title was John Arnold, which was the same as my dad's name.  

So folks ALWAYS use that middle initial!

As I was contract programmer with the lights and electricity turned off, I had no access to the internet, and with the efforts to sabatage my eBay and PayPal accounts in the summer of 2015 in a fit of peak, my mom kept me from simply selling items online. 

Instead, she gave away every family heirloom, quilt, photo, electronic systems, telescopes, and anything else of either emotional connection to the family or of any monetary worth to absolute strangers and professional "bilkers of senior citizens."

I ended up with my mother's cookbooks who were her mother's-- my grandmother who I had never met, but who had written in the cookbooks and I kept this library of my mother's, who thought something she had kept herself in a place of pride within our house for over 50 years should simply be discarded or tossed to strangers.  I kept an architectural desklight of my father's, who was a mechanical engineer and employee of United Technology of high repute.

Otherwise, I kept my computers and hard drives, and my cats.

I was kicked out of my house, denied the veracity of my claim that the title was in my name, and forced to live in my car on January 21, 2017.  I went to live in the WalMart parking lot.

 I kept feeding my cats in an abandoned lot behind my old home.


Now, one may ask-- especially any prospective employers or HR people:  "Why didn't you go get a different form of work?  Didn';t you have a nest egg?"

In fact, I looked for work, and eventually became a bank courier and delivery person of municipal documents in San Antonio during the fall of 2016 in an effort to save my house.  However it was a 88 miles commute one way, and my day started at 6 AM, and so I was leaving by 5:15 AM in the morning and there was a lot wear and tear on my 20 year old Volvo.  And even so, the place I had was more expensive than my paychecks at such a late date.

Further, nobody believed that I was a programmer because I had been a contract programmer and designer-- self-employed so they weren't getting the Social Security feedback they wanted.

Early in 2017, I managed to get a dishwashing job at the IHOP, then moved up $2 an hour to a dishwashing job at a different retirement home than my mother was staying in, and then I was forced to move on as it was not copascetic-- despite my need.

I became a PizzaHut delivery person, and got off the street into a new apartment-- still without web access because I cannot afford it.  But it is my own apartment, and i have one of my cats with me, with the others still being fed twice daily at the abandoned lot.

I have finally gotten the money together to renew my web site, and my other DBA's website:

Remember, the SSL certificates alone cost $100 roughly for a single site, an ISP and dedicated IP address, another $175.

This is a difficult gig to get back into-- no matter what your capability to code, error-check, trouble-shoot.

I still work for PizzaHut and worry dail;y about a career-ending traffic accident.  I want out of that gig before my car epic fails.

So this is my story in October of 2017, I am looking for employment as a programmer, administrator, CMS webmaster, etc.

How will I make my next move?

I have a dedicated Linux Mint laptop, and I practice CLI when not building this Joomla 3! website, I work towards the cash needed for CompTIA A+ and Linux certifications that together cost roughly $800 between the 4 parts of the necessary tests.

I would gladly work in San Antonio and Austin if the commute or move was worth it and my cats did not suffer.

My mother got a hip surgery two weeks ago, and they told me about it two days after she got out of surgery.  I haven't spoken to my aunt (who wallows like a pig in our family's money) since 2015.

So my mother gave up every legal and monetary right to a woman who has not visited her since her incarceration.

If you have heard of Voss Water, Fred Water, Taurus Firearms, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes [prototyped in python, finished in Desault Systems IDE- then offered to Disney and EA Games nearly completely finished because we did not own the character rights for the art], or ANAL coins, they exist specifically because my efforts.

And these companies, which were given to my family as a form living amend, were taken from me simply to prove that they could take them away-- just like my house that I bought in 1986.

Had any of my cousins or other extended family been dealt the difficulties that I had been dealt, I would have made a place in my home for them-- I would have sought reconciliation or introduced them to a friendly attorney.

Instead, they took the money and the effort and the chance to do charitable work, and they burned it.

So tonight, I go to deliver pizza as a form of employment-- despite having two university degrees from a prestigious 4 year university.  

If you are still reading this, I am a decent pure programmer, but a great problem solver and improviser.  I am a good artist and composer.  I am an excellent writer.

Give me a real job opportunity in a location close by like San Antonio or Austin.  

On Why Your Dual-Boot Linux-Windows Install May Not Be Working

Why Your Dual-Boot Windows-Linux Installation may Not Be Working Correctly

*** This article is still being edited and under construction, the information is good, but some photos are going to be added and then grammatical editing as well, so please understand this is not finished piece, and finally in the future, Articles Menu Item will have a choice of articles. Thanks! ***

  There has been much written on how to install dual-boot systems using the various flavors of Linux and Windows; some are quite good at hitting some esoteric aspects of the MBR (Master Bott Record), and how to access it from the Linux side of the partitions using Syslinux.

Recently, I purchased an inexpensive, archaic Dell Latitude E6420 laptop from eBay to practice with the CLI (command Line Interpreter) for my upcoming CompTIA Linux certification exams.

As the laptop came from the reseller with Linux Mint initially, and I had not used a good Linux installation since Red Hat 2.0 in 1996, I was well and truely pleased with the drivers, working hardware, ease of use, and application and driver online upgrading-- right out of the box.

But once gets a taste of one flavor of Linux, and if one feels that they had less than stellar results from a former install, the desire to return and see if it could have been better had the relationship started instead many revisions and some 5 years later.

And so I reformatted, and installed Ubuntu Desktop on my Dell. I also downloaded and burned about 20 different distributions of Linux of different types as I suddenly caught what musicians call "G.A.S.": "Gear Acquisition Syndrome." Thankfully, Lnux Distributions are one of the all-tme cheapest forms of G.A.S. with the only outlay of capital being the cost of DVDs or USB sticks to hold the various ISO's.

I'll be blunt: I am not yet at "Arch-Linux-from-Scratch" Guru-Level (and at the time I had no idea Manjaro existed, but I am well on the way), except due to the needs of employment goals, this very website had to be built and administered, and although plenty of tools exist to do the job on the Linux side of the partitions, most of the software with which I had experience and with which I could build and edit quickly was on the Windows side.

And although I had my Windows desktop at home, I had a real need to have both Windows and Linux on a dual boot on my laptop.

And so I did what I had done back in the late 1990's with Partition Magic, I used the Windows 7 installation disk to partition the 500Gb SS hard drive into two major 250Gb partitions, and while Windows created a small 100Mg 3rd partition for the boot loader, I was able to install Windows 7 first and then Ubuntu on the second 250Gb partition.

And it worked: I was able to access both installations, provided that I did so through the BIOS boot manager itself, each time entering the BIOS for a "single use" of the boot loader to "blunt force" the loader to the installation that I wanted at the moment.

This was a workable solution however, and I was well-pleased with my efforts until my various researches kept showing screen shots of other folks far more elegant GRUB2 boot manager with the choice made after the BIOS had cleared.

Also, I need to state here that my Dell Latitude E6420 purchased for $166 of eBay is a great little machine: it has a back-lit keyboard. It also has support for UEFI and Legacy Boot choices, so when I used the BIOS boot-loader to make my single use choice of OS, I chose between Legacy (Windows and Windows-style DVD ROM and Windows-style USB boot options) or the more modern UEFI (Linux and Linux-style file formats such as Ext4, Linux-style DVD and USB boot options).

Let me simply say that when I uninstalled Ubuntu from it's 250Gb partition and then installed the newest Linux Mint "Sonya" Cinnamon in it's place, I could only access Mint if the UEFI install disk was in the DVD player. This was no big deal, but added to the inelegance of the situation I was currently experiencing. Then I made the mistake of using Syslinux from the CLI to manipulate the MBR. This effort got me a dedicated Mint option in the BIOS boot loader without the need for the DVD, but at the cost of my entire access to Windows 7 from the BIOS boot manager.

I tried GRUB2, SuperGRUB, and a Linux "Super Recovery Disk;" I re-entered the MBR using Syslinux from the Linux side and nuked it all with my ignorance.

It was time to reinstall.

But as I researched my problem-- and there were plenty of articles out there on installing Linux in different flavors using unity and anaconda installers-- and getting sucessful dual-boots from their efforts, these how-to's were not showing a very important piece of the puzzle: How does Linux manage to see the Windows side of the HD partition?

Since the late 90's using Red Hat 2.0, I had been using Linux primarily to access Windows either to fix problems, transfer files, or for access to other students' secrets on their hard drives.

I had been ecstatic when I found that Linux Mint simply "saw" every partition and could access them from the install disk without much effort at all.

However, I found that this was a lucky mistake on my part-- that I had inadvertantly made the proper installation the first time without knowing exactly what I had done, and when i tried to do it the second time in order to acheive the same effect, I could only see my own Linux distribution from Mint-- I could not see my new Windows 7 install.


Here is the key that allowed me to properly use the Linux GRUB2 boot loader, fix all my boot problems, and not have to look back again:

The BIOS (as stated earlier) works in EITHER Legacy or UEFI mode-- these are hardware manifestations that occur on boot; it is a either-or choice that once booted into, is not changable. Thus, although UEFI is more modern and better in some ways, there is a point in installation when UEFI is absolutely not desireable.

To recount the successful outcome of my dual-boot installation which I use today, and the very slight difference between that installation and the previous installations, let me take us step-by-step.

1) Accept that all your data is lost or already backed up and you want to format your entire hard drive and create a dual-boot Windows 7-Linux machine.

2) Use the Windows 7 install disk to delete all partitions, replace the partitions with the two Windows 7 partitions (Windows 7 makes 2 partitions for every install-- the small 100Mg bot loader, and the second large partiton where Windows and data files are actually housed-- thus, if you say "I want a 250Gb Windows side of my machine" understand that you will get roughly 245.4Gb for Windows OS and program and data files, and a partiton of 100Mb for the Windows Boot Loader. Also remember Windows ONLY ALLOWS 4 PARTITIONS TOTAL, so now you only have 2 primary partitions left to work with.), and one or two other partitons you will use for Linux.

3) Install Windows 7 on the first two partitions (Let me say for the sake of clarity: You only need to make one Windows partition, Windows itself makes the second small partition, but having made that second primary partition, it costs the user 1/4th of their partition-making capability).

4) Make sure Windows 7 works and remove the Windows 7 install disk.

5) At this point, the user should have a fully0functioning Legacy BIOS install which boots automatically without need to enter the BIOS boot loader at all. It should be transparent to the casual user and simply boot and work.

6) We are now at the point that we would install Linux, in this case Linux Mint "Sonya" Cinnamon. WE ARE AT THE CRUCIAL STEP OF A GOOD DUAL BOOT MACHINE!!!

It is at this point that the user has already downloaded and created a ISO boot disk or USB stick, and so the typical effort is to go into the BIOS boot manager and reorder the boot order and this would typically be fine EXCEPT that the user MUST make sure the boot order is LEGACY and NOT UEFI.

There may be a tendency on the part of the user who has burned the Linux ISO to expect the disk or USB stick created to be UEFI and to be booted from UEFI at install.

This is not necessary and is harmful to the future dual boot process.

By this I mean, just boot the Linux install disk from the Legacy BIOS boot loader-- NOT THE UEFI BOOT LOADER-- to install.

Then install normally.

By doing this, by installing from the Legacy side of the BIOS, it allows Linux to see the Windows side of the partition-- even if the new partition the user is installing on was not formatted to NTFS during the Windows install-- all that had to be done was have Windows create the partition intended for the future Linux distro, not format it.

But installing from the Legacy side of the BIOS allows the Linux install to see the entire drive.

My experience with installing from UEFI is that Linux only sees the unformatted section of disk and considers the NTFS/Windows side of the partition "unavailable." This is true even if GParted reformats the partitions intended for Linux but created with Windows installer to Ex4 file format, because the BIOS itself is UEFI-- not just the operating system or install disk.

Meanwhile, the fact that Linux CAN BE installed on NTFS means that IF INSTALLED FROM Legacy BIOS, even if one reformats the Linux partitions to Ex4, the capability to see Windows 7 and the Windows Boot Loader is preserved forever-- but only if the Linux installation was carried out via the Legacy-side of the BIOS.

7) After the Linux install (in this case Linux Mint) opens up, you have access to GParted. I use it to format Partition3 (roughly 200Gb for "/" or "root") and Partition 4 (the remainder, roughly 64Gb for Swap). GParted gives you the options of many format standards before formatting within the Linux installer, and also where you put "/" or any other install point. It also gves the user the option to use the fourth partition for a dedicated Swap space, which is what I use it for. **I want to say right here that I do not need other Linux "power-users" to tell me how my 60+Gb Swap space is excessively large and unnecessary-- Swap Space is like a penis or MTV: too much is never enough. --So there is no need to write me about my giant Swap Space, I leave the comments on my Swap Space to my lovers.**

8) So now you have installed Linux Mint on Partition 3 and GParted made Partition 4 a Swap Space, remove the DVD or USB stick, and reboot: what you should see is the GRUB2 loader showing several Mint options with the Windows 7 boot as last in line.


Have a good day and I hope you enjoyed my first technical article on my on-going experience with the many forms of Linux. More will be upcoming!!! Thanks


John Blake Arnold

317 Sidney Baker S., Ste. 400-241

Kerrville, TX 78028

(830) 890-1571

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Trinity University San Antonio, TX
Bachelor’s Degree of Science 1999
Major: Computer Science

Trinity University San Antonio, TX
Bachelor’s Degree of Arts 1991
Major: English Literature


Delivery Driver May 2017—Present
Pizza Hut Kerrville, TX
• Delivering hot delicious pizza as soon as possible
• Routine kitchen duties

Dietary Aide April 2017—April 2017
Edgewater Retirement Community Kerrville, TX
• Serving resident dining room, preparing resident drinks, delivering food trays to dorms
• Washing dishes, restocking dishes

Busboy/Dishwasher March 2017-April 2017
IHOP Kerrville, TX
• Washing dishes, restocking dishes, policing parking, bussing tables

Courier November 2016
QuickCourier San Antonio, TX
• Drove and delivered business documents around San Antonio

Contract Programmer/Owner July 2002—November 2016
Kerrville Software Development Kerrville, TX
Tech support and maintenance of client’s personal computers and business networks
Design and build of custom computational devices and bitcoin miners; design/manufacture of FPGA/ASIC chips
Design and management of Content Management Systems such as WordPress/Drupal/Joomla; management of shopping cart software API’s and integrated credit and PayPal payment systems
Design and upgrade of physics engines with updated equations, rendered using MATLAB and GNU Octave
Network and Server Administration with DOS/Win9*/Win 2000/7/8 using SUS/WSUS in deliberate install order;
Experience in multiple machine licensed install and configuration with Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4 (SP4)
and Windows Installer 3.0. Installation and Administration of multi-computer network from scratch with
Windows 2000.
Design and management of Content Management Systems such as WordPress/Drupal/Joomla; management of shopping cart software API’s and integrated credit and PayPal payment systems.
Experience with many IDE’s and Command Line/ Shell script calls.
Contract web design, management, and repair.
WAMP, LAMP, and Bitnami server packages, PERL, LISP, Python, LUA libraries and services
Design and build of custom computational devices and bitcoin miners; design/manufacture of FPGA/ASIC chips; Raspberry Pi B configuration and programming experience
SQL stored procedures in various environments such as MS SQL Server, MS Azure, Apache Tomcat, MySQL,
SQLite, PostGreSQL (BitNami), and MariaDB. Non-SQL MongoDB experience.
Use of messaging and scripts to perform administrative error-tracing in SQL services.
From scratch Testing Implementations in C/C++; Unit Testing.
Use of ODBC data containers via web in .ASP web pages. Use of middle-tier business logic using SQL in Java JSP and EJB and MS .ASP. Command Line SQL Query experience.
javascript animation programmer; 2G/3G wireless phone programming using WML/HDML
C/C++/C#/Python Game programming and soundtrack work
Mobile programming with Android SDK and Eclipse; Unity and Unreal Engine IV
From scratch Testing Implementations in C/C++; Unit Testing.
Operating Systems: DOS, Windows, Apple, Android, Linux, UNIX.
Programming Languages: C/C++/C#, C precompiler cpp, Java, Python, CPython, PERL, Assembly, J, the
Scheme dialect of LISP, SQL, javascript, FORTRAN, ALGOL, PL\1, HTML, COBOL, BASH shell scripting,
Packages and IDE's: MS Visual Studio, MS Office, Eclipse, Android SDK, Strawberry PERL, Cygwin, and others.
Adobe CS6, PaintShop Pro, Blender, Autodesk 3D Studio MAX, Autodesk Maya, Autodesk Architectural Suite,
Ableton Live, Unity, Unreal Engine 4, PyGame, PyPy, Numby and other Math and Science libraries.

Owner/Designer WhiteOak Amplification July 2012—present
Kerrville, TX
• Repair and maintenance of electric and acoustic guitars, tube and solid state amplifiers and pedals.
• Design and build of new pedals, musical diagnostic devices, and vacuum tube amplifiers.
• Paint and computer-aided design of custom graphics, water-slide decals, and chassis.
• Documentation of part data sheets.
• Diagnostics and testing with digital and analog tools.
• Published soundtrack and guitar music.

Other Jobs
Sacker/Stocker Randall’s Food Stores, Houston, TX 1984-85/87
Busboy Nona’s Restaurant San Antonio, TX 1987
Cashier/Driver/Ass’t. Manager Fuzzy’s Pizza Houston, TX 1992-93/1995
Waiter Pour la France Houston, TX 1994
Cashier Cafe Express Houston, TX 1995
Package Delivery UPS Houston, TX 1996
Guitar Player Schwa Sound/Porkbelly Picnic Houston, TX 1992-1996
Student Grader Trinity University Computer Science, San Antonio, TX 1997
Computer Programmer DSTX/ReNew Data Austin, TX 2000
Computer Programmer Trilogy Software, Austin, TX 2001
Computer Programmer Tantau Software, Austin, TX 2002

Received Federal Radio Operators License in 1988.
Received the Harris County Food Management Certificate in 1996
Received the State of Texas Food Handlers Certificate in 2017


Copyright ©  2017. All Rights Reserved.