Future-proof your skills with Linux, Python, vim & git as I share with you the most timeless and love-worthy tools in tech through my two great projects that work great together.

Working on a TikTok Script

I'm an infotech carpenter teaching people how to become an Information Age Samurai by mastering the right skillset and toolset. I'm providing a script to install Jupyter on Linux, and a guide to help people navigate the dense infotech forest. I'm also sharing my experience to help others find their way in life, and I'm learning to plan my recovery from distractions as a sort of performance-art.

Navigating the Dense Infotech Forest: How to Become an Information Age Samurai with the Right Skillset and Toolset

By Michael Levin

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Alright, I’m doing some pretty amazing work but it’s not going to amount to anything if I don’t get the word out. Do something really wacky and different and uniquely you on TikTok to get the word out.

Walk them through it. Create an ah-ha moment. Release potential already inside of them by connecting dots. It’s about them, not me. Transition from any talk about myself to talk about them in the same breath.

Hello, I’m here to teach you magic tricks. I once did this trick and got a million views but it’s not my best trick. My best trick is teaching you how to become a modern day infotech carpenter to improve your life in countless ways.

I came to this conclusion in my late-thirties. By my late-forties I had the tools worked out–no small trick in tech where everything changes. I’m in my fifties today practicing what I preach to great effect.

I’m not selling anything but for my ad-bucks on the YouTubes and any thanks people want to send, because I don’t want to be on the hook for anything but my own genuine ways. This is all just a byproduct of me keeping sharp for my day-job.

Being an infotech carpenter means mastering a certain skills and tool-set to be in demand, love what you do, and stay flexible in life. I’m tempted to call it being an Information Age Samurai, but I’m leaning towards kind and generous.

If you don’t know The Walrus and The Carpenter from Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, you need to know it. The Disney version from Alice in Wonderland isn’t bad but it has a slightly different message.

On my last talking head video I showed you the best trick on Windows today—how to get an LXD container running.

I do this because disruption. APIs change. You learn something today and all the rules are different tomorrow. It’s especially this way on Windows and all proprietary software because their goal is to keep you off-balance and buying.

My goal is to stay on-balance and only optionally buy. This is what Unix/Linux knowledge and know-how lets you do. And now Windows gives you Linux… to a point.

Microsoft keeps control of the layered-on Linux APIs through their Windows Subsystem for Linux, thus continuing to lock you into the Windows platform. The wsl.exe program works similar but different to LXD on Linux. They don’t want you seeing LXD to make comparisons and ask scary questions.

Our goal is to get around that. We do that through actually activating and using LXD Linux containers on WSL—which Microsoft does not make easy. Enter my lxdwin script.

I cracked that nut the other day in a way that lets you do it too. Specifically, I showed you how to do it with an easy-run script that takes care of all that formidable configuration stuff that’s keeping this technique from being all the rage today.

Today I show you the next step where it’s installing enough to run Linux Chrome, which is important for my coming Chrome Automation for SEO series.

Even as my work is discovered through my very limited viewership here on YouTube, it will remain greatly unknown and a secret weapon for those who discover it. So be it. I don’t need no stinkin million views… again and again, that is because I do have a few.

The problem is that this work all seems so arcane. The old magic is always the most powerful because it came before the architectural lock-downs of NT, protection rings and similar sandbox, isolation-tech that prevents you from owning your own machine. Mickeys Sorcerers Apprentice shows us the dangers.

Today’s generations will tune-out ere even the trick is done. They see no benefit. So the trick of the trick is to tie it back to benefits to them fast in the first breath—to scratch an itch they kinda sorta know they have. Give them an ah-ha illuminating moment ASAP. Tie it to their Jupyter Notebook and subsequent six-figure salary and loving what you do experience.

Anyone running Jupyter today through Anaconda or JupyterLab-Desktop is missing out big time on their one big opportunity for Linux command-like experience and some good future-proofing. It’s the perfect opportunity to install Jupyter right and get on Linux right.

The Windows you’re on today will be obsolete in a year or two. All your APIs belong to them. Why invest yourself there? Linux CLI will never be obsolete. Their APIs resist change for decades on end.

Need more reason? The Jupyter you’re running today doesn’t install with the latest Python—and it’s a massive pain to upgrade. Plus even after all that, Windows-Jupyter doesn’t help you enter that super-valuable world of server-side automation—which you’d be a hair’s breadth away from if you weren’t being backslashed all the time. Backslash, backslash, backslash.

Jupyter on LXD on WSL on Windows runs just as fast or faster than the native Windows Jupyter itself. Don’t believe me? Wait until Python 3.11 hits with 30% performance gains and the difficulty of switching to other Python versions under Anaconda or Jupyter Desktop, still mostly stuck on 3.9 (if you’re lucky). With Linux-Jupyter you’ll just re-run my Install script—which leaves all your existing Notebooks and Jupyter configuration intact.

Linux Jupyter offers full integration between Windows-side and Linux-side so you can keep managing files how you like (usually Windows Explorer). There’s no pesky DOS-window you can’t close as with Anaconda nor is there a mysterious server-component only easily accessible through the Windows Settings / Apps / Add Remove Software interface. Sure, it’s in Task Manager if you can find it, but try viewing its console.

Even the graphics-oriented capabilities like non-headless web browser automation (watchable) is not only doable, but far far better because your finished product is ready to go headless 24x7 Linux-side. That’s the work I’m doing today in fact.

So really once you have this knowledge, to not use it and start a gradual baby-step path to an obsolescence-resistant future is to say you like being at the mercy of vendors. You like the forced upgrades, difficult to manage software, kooky paths and incompatibility with mainstream development.

That’s okay. I understand. Fear of new things and growth is a big motivator—however this is not a new thing so much as a fifty year old time-tested battle worn thing. But I understand. Microsoft does a good job convincing you otherwise, and I don’t have their budget or powers of persuasion to convince you otherwise, so you’re stuck and I’m pissing in the wind.

My next step is laying out the apt installs and pip installs Windows-side so they’re never lost when you re-run my Linux Jupyter install script located at https://mikelev.in/ux. Doing so by the way is totally safe to do because you won’t lose work, configuration, and after this video, your 2nd-phase installs either. I’ve even got Google Chrome configuration surviving.

Fate will try to trip you up at every turn. There’s a thousand reasons things go wrong but only 1 or 2 reasons they don’t. Having a guide whose macheted their way through this dense infotech forest infested with vendor-jaguars before showing you the way can help. That’s what I’ve done with these scripts.

Watching me write this first one would have bored you silly as I re-ran the script about a zillion times. It’s not that this stuff is easy. I just make it look that way from 30 years of experience. I count the Amiga because AmigaDOS scripts were nearly Unix scripts and I wrote me a lot of those in my day. So I’m 5 decades old with 3 of practice.

I made Ubuntu glad their file servers have good caches. Funny thing, downloads like this probably aren’t much worse than streaming a few movies. Look at the difference in value in your life!

If you want something badly enough and keep re-visualizing and thoughtfully working towards it, you’ll probably achieve it sooner or later. I never really visualized it. But I’m starting to here and now with this Noah’s Ark of Tech project.

On the occasions I tried going down the entrepreneurial or wealth route, I’m like I hate what I’m doing and the people who’ve “made it” on this route don’t look like they’re doing fun love-worthy things. They revert to being children and play in adult playgrounds and manage wealth and motivate themselves by fear of the future and coveting security over all else.

Then one day it hit me what Lewis Carroll meant by the Walrus and the Carpenter. I identified with the carpenter, craft, the love of craft and never looked back.

Wow, you never know what to expect with my videos, huh? Sometimes it’s the driving chats, sometimes it’s the live-casting coding sessions. Sometimes it’s a presentation. And sometimes it’s just my morning thoughts typed in the bathtub.

We are in the early days of the rise of Magic. Tony Stark is totally right. Sure, science. But it’s pretty darn magical, and you too should jump onto the correct spell-casting bandwagon, cause everyone knows it’s the ancient arcane stuff that’s best.

If you’re not feeling joy at being alive, or something analogous to it, every time you stop to think about it then you’re violating the 80/20-rule.

Everything you do is to move you to that feeling, or at least away from self-hate and hopelessness. If not, you’re stuck in a rut because 80% of what you do is only yielding 20% of what you need. Your monitoring agents are screwed up. They have their priorities wrong. They’re fixated on the dopamine or serotonin reward cycles. Such cycles are broken through cognitive awareness.


You gain this cognitive awareness my learning how to run vim fullscreen on screen 1 of a ribbon of virtual desktops and use this as “home” in all cases, at all times (of your life) and on all hardware (possessing a full-size keyboard).

Remember, Steve Jobs created the modern mobile revolution. The very company that told you to Think Different today wants you to be doom-scrolling sheep, consuming, consuming, consuming. And everyone copies Apple so the last thing any company wants you to do today is think differently. You might not but stuff.

Do an 80/20-rule pass on your current behavior—often. Take note of the little things that make a big difference. Vocalize (or subvocalize) what distracts you. Call them out (at lest in your head) as distractions. Know them. Categorize them under the list of things tipping you towards a violation of the 80/20-rule. No matter your seeming love for the distractions, if they’re not helping you towards your own goals, they’re being selfish and derailing you.

Know how to a good person. You do this by abiding by the “corrected” golden rule. You do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you. This takes a passive stance towards doing unto others as opposed to the “broken” golden rule that has you doing unto others… like crusades and colonizizing. Hypocrites would say that if they were heathen they’d want folks with the word to come and do unto them. It ain’t so! Live and let live. Yeah, that’s the most efficient stating of the fixed-golden rule. Live and let live.

Once you take note of the tiny things that make all the difference, act on them fast but do so abiding by the 80/20-rule. Don’t let the little sub-tasks you launch to dispense with things in-turn violate the 80/20-rule. That’s accidentally diving down a rabbit hole. You can chase the rabbit forever and quite forget where you came from where and why you’re here.

So you must stop and journal. You write. You go momentarily meta, but then you back out of going meta, least that derail and spiral you. Exiting the meta-state and re-entering the flow-state or the zone is one of the key skills in life. Have the vim and verve to vim and curb (your meta-writing enthusiasm as I must so now).

Blamo whammo make a vid, for currently this is now hid.

Make the best of what you’ve got. The difference between this and having “made it” to the extent of your wildest dreams is all just a mind trick.

Distractions should be expected. You should plan your recovery from distractions as a sort of performance-art and when pulled off well, you should allow yourself to be self-congratulatory—but not too long! You evaded a pitfall. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Funny thing is I can no longer be by silly self around my child at their request. I must now be a sour puss and dour wuss, so you my YouTube audience are going to have to take the brunt of my silliness overflow. There is nothing that satisfies someone on the spirit-crushing wrong path in life as attempting to crush the spirit of the indomitable life-living crew. Behavior that attempts to bring down others has the scent of sour grapes.

It’s never too late. Those who tell you it’s too late are jealous of those who are taking their time finding their way, digging life…

The best I can do is leave a trail of clues.