6 years has been a bumpy ride... But worth every moment. I guess I'll start at the very beginning.
It was the year 2003, and I had just passed my CompTIA A+ Hardware certification for Computer Technician I & II at Tongue Point Job Corps. (It's a trade school for people between 16 and 24.) I left the school, and got a computer repair job in my home town, at the only computer repair shop for 22 miles. It was TINY. Like, the building was only about 30 feel long, by 18 feet wide. I wasn't allowed to fix the computers the way I knew how, I had to use the shop's tools and methods, which were admittedly outdated and stupid. I was eventually fired from there because I kep making mistakes, but hey... I just got certified, and this was my first time getting my feet wet in the field I love. But after getting fired, I felt that working under someone else for PC repair just wasn't for me. I needed to work for myself, and be my own boss. I would help friends and family fix computer problems for little to no money, and most of the time they'd pay me with a meal anyways because we were all poor. It's whatever.
It wasn't until about 2008 that I realized all my PC repair tools were a scattered mess. NONE of my tools really had an all-in-one solution. Even Hiren's Boot Disk didn't impress me, with it's archaic approach to fixing modern computers with ancient and stale software. So I seeked-out DIY ways to make a toolkit. Many of my tools were bootable CDs, so I discovered a cool free piece of software called SARDU. (Shardana Antivirus Rescue Disk Utility. It let me make a multiboot CD or USB. I went with the CD version, and made a sample ISO. I stuck Ubuntu v8.04 on it and Gparted. And to my surprise, they both booted up fine! So I made a multiboot ISO with my own collection of bootable CDs on it. All my best CDs burned to a single DVD-R. Life was good. One disc to rule them all... Worked great for me for years.
Fast forward to 2012, and I realized that my toolkit needed a massive overhaul. So I took a deep dive into the inner workings of the ISO and taught myself how to modify, configure, and skin ISOLINUX (SYSLINUX on CD). I thought I would first create a name for it. I thought of some kind of computer doctor that was a cartoon cat. A cat medic, if you will. A Medic-Cat. And the name MediCat was born. but to be taken seriously, I'd need an acronym or something. So I came up with M.E.D.S. (MediCat Emergency Disk System) That worked. And it was around this time that the Nyan Cat was growing hugely in popularity. I figured memes were public domain, so I adopted a modified variation of the pixelated feline as my MediCat logo. I can't draw to save my life, and pixel art came easier to me anyway. I created a colorful menu with a striped background. The background was actually inspired by a default wallpaper I had that came pre-installed on my first ever cell phone. It was from Cricket Wireless. I faithfully re-created it using Photoshop. It was beautiful, and for the next two years or so, I kept using it on-site to fix people's computers. Clients would ask me about it, because they'd never seen anything like it before. I told them that I made it myself, and that it's fully customizable. They loved it, and if they wanted a copy, I always burned a few extras to give out on DVD-R LightScribe media, and a paper sleeve.
People kept telling me to upload it to the internet, and my heart almost stopped with fear of judgement... But... In 2014, I updated it, cleaned up the menus, and released version 3.04.2014 to the public, right here on GBAtemp. and to my surprise, people were very kind, supportive, and I listened to every bit of criticism in the thread. I finally had a fun project that I could work on in my free time, giving something back to the PC repair industry. Many GBAtemp members helped me conquer several struggles along the way, such as menu syntax, fixing incorrect boot paths, chainloading, ISO recommendations, the list is nearly endless. This quickly became a GBAtemp collaborative project. And because of the amazing community support and help I've been getting, I decided to make this the project's permanent home. GBAtemp has shaped MediCat to be what it is today; A well-rounded "do-it-all, and do-it-well" boot disk. I seriously couldn't have carried on without the love and support of you all.
Now, as some of you may know... I lost my brother to a fatal car crash on the 5th of March, 2020. That RUINED ME. My life just hasn't been the same since, and I needed to keep myself busy with projects to keep my mind off things. But MediCat wasn't filling the void for me. So I turned to building custom modded Gameboy systems. I made myself a Gameboy Color with IPS screen and new shell+buttons, and made one for my late brother, to sit on the mantle next to his urn. Him and I didn't grow up with game consoles, because my parents didn't want us fighting over the TV, controllers, etc... so they bought each of us a Gameboy and our own games. So I built a new one for Andrew, using the motherboard guts from my childhood Gameboy system. I felt a bit better after some months passed, but his absence has left a huge crater in my family.
After April and May flew by, it was now June 2020. I was browsing some reddit posts when I found a new piece of software called Ventoy. It had promised to be an all-in-one multiboot solution, supporting both BIOS and UEFI booting. But the most impressive part for me was the automatic ISO detection and list generation. I downloaded it. Installed it to USB. Tried it out. I was hooked. I rummaged through the grub.cfg file in the EFI partition to modify stuff, but this software was an entirely different animal. I knew NOTHING about GRUB2 syntax, themes, anything. So I had to re-learn how to make MediCat again from scratch. Afterall, it's 2020, and my ISO version STILL didn't have UEFI support, and the entire industry has shifted over to it. My ISO version was STILL the same shitty SARDU-generated ISO being maintained throughout the years. So I was like, "okay, I can do this. This'll be fun." and I got to work pounding out the v20.06 version of MediCat. But since it's a new platform, I thought it would be a good idea to reinvent MediCat's mascot and themes. I modeled my new mascot after my real-life cat, Pepé (Named after Pepé LePew from Looney Tunes. He's a tuxedo cat). I've even hidden 4 pictures of Pepé in the recent versions of Mini Windows 10, as a sort of Easter egg. Pepé is pushing 15 and a half, so if I end up losing him, then my other cat Leo (Leonardo DeCatPurrio) will take over as the new MediCat mascot (Leo is featured as the MediCat mascot on MediCat: Second Opinion).
Over the summer, MediCat USB has grown and matured, thanks to Longpanda's advancements with Ventoy, my hard work incorporating the changes, and all of you helping me stumble along the way. Thank you all for helping me on this long journey so far, and hopefully for may more years to come.
(I've attached pictures of the very first public version of MediCat, along with the latest version for comparison, to show how far along we have come. I also kept every single ISO version I ever made public. That's in a picture below too.)
You need to be logged in to comment