Stranger Talks: Jito

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October just started. Say goodbye to pools and beachsides and welcome cozy scarves, chestnuts, leaves turning red and the return of Stranger Talks.
This time it’s Jito’s turn. He’s a UDOOer from the US that works with…no spoilers! Read the interview to find out.

First, the basics. Who are you?

My name’s Byron. I’m a computer tech by trade, working for a small system builder in Nebraska. I also recently became IT director (unpaid) for a small non-profit group.

How did you first learn about UDOO?

I came across the Kickstarter for the BOLT while browsing the site. This was my first encounter with UDOO. I normally don’t back hardware projects, as I’ve been burned in the past; but given that you have a track record of fulfilling obligations from previous KS campaigns, I decided to take a risk and support you.

Is UDOO BOLT your first UDOO product? / What was your first UDOO board?

As already mentioned, the BOLT is my first UDOO product. As someone who’s followed the development of Ryzen pretty much since it was announced, I was intrigued by the idea of an embedded mini-STX system based around it.

How are you using your UDOO board(s) at the moment?

At present, I’m just toying with gaming performance on it. I also leave it hooked up at work, for a computer to use on my lunch breaks. I do use it to test some improvements for the server (for the non-profit), before considering whether to make them live.

What are your future projects using UDOO BOLT?

My plan is to eventually install Linux and test Proton on it. While I’m fine with Windows (I started with DOS 6.22 and then WFW 3.11, all the way to present), it would be nice to have an alternative option available.

Can you confess a noobie mistake you did in the past that you learned from?

Oh, where would I even begin? The thing is, one learns a lot from mistakes, and I’ve made a number of them over the years. When I started working with computers back in the DOS days, I learned by just trying something, even if I didn’t know what it did; especially if I didn’t know. If it didn’t work, I might break something, but then I’d just go back and start over.

I did make a very recent “noobie” mistake that had me nearly literally banging my head on the wall. I was cleaning out my system, and – as I always do – I put something between the fan blades so they don’t spin free while I’m blowing it out. I picked a metal pair of tweezers and pushed it between my two fans, until I noticed some resistance. I should have stopped then, but continued on thinking I was just hitting some metal divider on the case. Instead, I was pushing through the seal around the lid of my HDD, and completely destroyed a 3TB drive with all data on it. Fortunately, it wasn’t any data that was terribly important.

What’s your tech guilty pleasure?

Upgrading my PC. I’ve spent countless thousands of dollars over the last 25+ years on my computers. Even when I don’t need to, I often find myself pondering new upgrades for my computer. It’s my hobby, and hobbies cost money (unfortunately). It’s pretty much the reason I backed the BOLT, because it looked like a neat new toy to play with, apart from my main computer.

Did you overcome a tech challenge you’re proud of? Would you like to tell the tale?

Just as with my mistakes, I’m not even sure where to begin. I will say that what I enjoy most about tech work is diagnosing a problem and solving it. Growing up, I always enjoyed tearing things apart, figuring out how they work and then putting them back together again (though as a kid, I was much better at tearing apart than putting back together). When a computer comes in for repair, I find it gratifying to take the system and figure out what’s wrong, and what it will take to fix it. Fixing a customer’s system and returning it back to them in working conditions may seem like a small thing overall, but I know they certainly appreciate it.

Do you have any IT unrelated hobbies?

I sing, write my own song lyrics and play drums. I want to record my songs someday, but I haven’t had a good opportunity to do so, yet. I’ve also lately gotten into tabletop board gaming, though I find that assembling the miniatures can be a bit of a pain. Just as with my PC upgrades, I tend to go all-in when I’m interested in something. I started getting into board gaming in March, and I’ve already spent more on it than what all three of my computers (including the BOLT) are worth, combined. I also collect firearms. My collection isn’t too big, but I’d like to expand it more in the future. The ones I currently own are all for personal use, but I’d love to acquire some antiques. I just have to stop spending money on tech and tabletop gaming, heh.

Is there a dream piece of software or hardware you’d like us to create?

I’d love to see something like the BOLT, but with an MXM graphics card slot. I realize it wouldn’t be as small, and designing a cooling solution for it may not be feasible, but it would still be a cool option to have. Though at that point one might as well go mini-ITX with a PCIe graphics card.

Your last words?

Though I mainly just use the BOLT for playing around with, it does give me someplace to test things I don’t want cluttering up my main PC. And with the compact size, I can stick it pretty much anywhere. Apart from a few minor niggles, I’ve been pretty impressed with it. I look forward to seeing what you come up with in the future.

So, you got to know another member of our community. Jito has been generously answering on KS to people having questions about the UDOO BOLT. A community member that helps us is our greatest asset. They help us by answering quickly when it’s 4 AM in our country and we’re sleeping, and it feel great to know that they have our back.

A huge thank you for the help you’re all giving us.

And that’s all for today folks!

See you in the next post.

The UDOO Team

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