Thursday, December 31, 2009

Linus Torvalds

    Linus Torvalds is the chief architect of Gnu/Linux, the world's number one open source product.  He is born on December 28, 1969 in Finland.  He started work on a Unix-like operating system when he was just a student in the University of Helsinki and there he issued a call to all computer geeks to contribute their time on a project that will eventually produce the Linux kernel. 

    GNU/Linux operating system and its variants can be found in desktops, laptops, netbooks and mobile devices.  These gadgets are changing the world as we know it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

No Excuse Now

    Google Chrome browser for Linux was released the other day.  I received an email with a link to the download and here it is.  I tried to use the previous developer's version since March.  To be fair nothing beats its speed but I can't really browse without the firefox plugins or add-ons. 

    This time its different.  Google releases the beta version.  The beta includes add-ons like xmarks, adblock, noscript and a lot more coming in the coming weeks.  The beta can also print and preview printing. 

   

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Google Chrome OS: Cloud Computing's First Salvo

    Google Chrome OS is a unique operating system.  Hardware wise it compels us to use solid state drives SSD's to catch up with the fast boot up and application speed required by the software.  It doesn't have applications stored locally, instead all applications are going to come from the web.  Hence, cloud computing.

    Google Chrome OS assumes resilient connection to the web.  It assumes always on, always connected machines to the web.  The bandwidth speed of internet connections are going to be a factor in the success of this proposition.  May I say that there's a lot of assumptions there.

    Google Chrome OS is doing the right thing but will it succeed.  When I say the "right thing" I mean this is what the future of computing "should" be.  Services are stored and maintained in dedicated servers for all who want to use them.  All that a user has to have is a device that connects to the web.  If (or when) cloud computing succeeds it will render desktop operating systems obsolete.  Cloud computing will bring back the days of the computer as an appliance.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Big Three

    It is bewildering for linux newcomers.  The number of linux distributions or distros will make the head of ordinary mortals spin.  People in various linux fora ask which distro they should try first.  The answer will depend on who you're asking.  Linux users have their own pet distros, their own personal experience with a particular flavor of linux.  If you are starting your journey in the land of Linux and open source operating systems, I would advice that you consider the big three in the world of linux namely:  Ubuntu, Fedora and OpenSuse.

    Ubuntu is based on Debian.  It is currently the most popular linux distro out there resulting in a big community of users and developers.  Although Ubuntu is a community distro it is backed by a private company, Canonical.  It comes out with a brand new release every 6 months. 

    Fedora is a community distribution backed by Red Hat, a Fortune 500 company but is also an open source entity.  It also releases a new version every 6 months.  Most Linux bloggers agree that Fedora is one of the bleeding edge distro available free for download. 

    OpenSuse is a free linux distro backed by Novell.  Novell is another open source company offering support subscriptions on their software. 

    All three offer customer or end user support through the forum.  All three have extensive documentations for every release.  All three have proven track records that they can deliver a consistent and regular release as promised.  All three companies that backs these distros abide by open source rules of free and open software. 

    I have all three installed in my machines at home and though I am using Ubuntu as my everyday distro, my user experience with all of them have been positive. 
   

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Miss Windows, Yeah Right

    Security experts are warning computer users about the rise in the number of compromised sites redirecting to a scareware website.  When I was using Internet Explorer back in my Windows XP days, my encounter with websites warning me that my computer is compromised occurs almost daily.  These websites offer anti-virus solutions if you click a link.  Once you do that, the least of your worry would be a virus laden pc.

    It's not just this category of security problems that harass Windows users in a daily basis.  To think that 90% of computers in the world use a Microsoft operating system, makes you wonder how much would end users tolerate until their patience break.  Is Windows and its siblings so great an operating system that people are willing to put up with their pc problems?     What about the high ratio of maintenance time?  Instead of doing my work and accomplishing what computers are suppose to do, I had to run defrag.  I had to run my anti-virus software.  Conservatively, I was spending 40-45 percent of my computing time in doing administrative jobs rather than finishing research or writing that book I bought the laptop for.

    The security software industry is a billion dollar business built on the design mistakes of Windows.  This figure only includes the legitimate entities offering real solutions and does not include the scams and the scarewares.  If this is any other product it would be buried six feet under the ground.

    Instead I will hear people ask if there are any alternatives.  The answer to that is a big yes.  The most notable is Apple's OS X.  I happen to be a Linux user and a believer in free and open software.  I give you Linux as a noteworthy challenger to Windows in the desktop.  I am using Ubuntu Linux since 2006.  Me? Miss Windows?  Yeah, right.

Upgrading to Grub 2

    I upgraded to Grub 2.  This is the new version of the Grand Unified Bootloader used by Linux to load the kernel.  Many users especially the newcomers, don't know that after you turn your pc power on a series of events happens before you see your desktop.  First your bios starts, then the bootloader, the bootloader executes the kernel, the kernel loads the init scripts, runs daemons and finally starts X windows. 

    The main difference between a Windows boot and a Linux boot is Grub.  Grub makes it possible to multi-boot.  I believe that next to the os, the bootloader is the next most important software. 

    I opened the gnome-terminal and typed:  sudo apt-get install grub2.  I gave my sudo password and the package manager took care of everything.  During configuration, it warned me that installing grub2 elsewhere but in the MBR is a bad idea.  I know but I'm just too lazy.  I just have to remember not to delete the partition where grub2 resides. 

    I'm looking forward to editing the config file for grub 2 then. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Will Microsoft Surrender the Netbook Market to Linux?

    Netbooks are not a craze.  In 2008, pc sales is boosted by sales of netbooks.  Netbooks are small sized laptops, with less computing power and therefore are limited to email and browsing.  But remember the adage:  Make a machine that does one thing well.

    Microsoft has a problem with Windows 7.  They can only install a crippled version of Windows 7 on these underpowered laptops.  Once consumers learn that the netbook version of Windows 7 is not like the full version of Windows 7 for desktops, they'll raise hell. 

    Microsoft will do the one thing it does well-marketing.  Sell you the deal.  Perhaps give you discounts.  It will have no choice but to lower prices for Windows 7. 

    Linux, on the other hand, is perfect for old computers and limited capacity machines.  Linux runs on thin client machines.  All supercomputers in the world are run by Linux, well maybe 99%.  Linux has proven its scalability. 

    Linux is free and open source.  It will not impact vendors if they deploy Linux pre-installed with their machines. 

    The last time I check the numbers are 38% Linux and 62% Windows on netbooks.  This figure is based on US sales only. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Free Software and Technology

        Free software is code that is not encumbered by copyright or intellectual property rights.  From the point of view of its creator, it is something he offers to the community without guarantee, for the community to use and to improve on.  From the point of view of the community, it is free for use and for modification. 

        It is indeed arguable that free software is superior to proprietary software.  However the model being used by proprietary software leads to impractical situations.  If I have a copy machine using a non-free code,  I won't be able to modify the code to better suit my particular need.  I would have to buy another one for this one utility and use the former for the rest, increasing my cost.  If I happen to be a programmer I still can't modify the code because somebody else owns the copyright.  If the non-free code is failing/showing a bug and I happen to be a programmer I cannot just modify the code, again because of copyright.

        Proprietary software is essentially a monopoly that is anti-progress and so impractical when applied to the software world.  It is a yoke carried by all non-free software users.  Now I don't believe that there is a direct correlation on quality and free software.  What I do suggest is that the free open source model is better at delivering technology to solve our problems.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What Made You Ditch Windows?

      This link is an open thread in Facebook @ Ubuntu. 

        My personal impression after reading the multi page thread is that most people who posted their reason for not using Windows is Microsoft.  They do not want to spend so much money for a product that does not satisfy their needs anymore.  They don't want to be in a situation where they are restricted to use their computers. 

        In this tough times, people are searching for ways to cut costs and still be able to connect to their loved ones, do their jobs at home and do stuff online. 

        Ubuntu and Linux developers have worked hard to improve several distributions of linux to the level that they can offer them as alternatives to Microsoft's wares.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What Ubuntu 9.10 Means

      The coming of Ubuntu is certainly a no-brainer. Easy to install. Easy to upgrade. Upgrades every 6 months like clockwork. Basic version of the operating system includes photo viewer, office suite, email client, calendar and organizer, image editor, firefox browser and an instant messaging client.

      It comes free. We shall see if this is positive or a negative aspect of selling a fine product to the world. So far most users have it installed in a dual boot configuration or in a virtual box environment. So easy to discard if it doesn't meet user expectations. Users just go back to Windows or OS X. Nothing lost except time.

      What Ubuntu really wants is to prove to business users that open source works. Of course Mozilla has proven that already. It's market share is increasing in the browser category. Ubuntu wants to sell the product to business users. Business users are the slowest to adopt a new operating system. They know that upgrades can impact their bottom line in costs. Ubuntu has to move into the enterprise. Business users don't just adopt things, nor do they just discard things. Red Hat, another open source company, is making a profit in the open source world by selling subscriptions to support services to their linux distribution. Red Hat just made it to the Fortune 500 list this year.

      Canonical, the financial backer of Ubuntu, and IBM joined in partnership to offer business a product package that includes Ubuntu and Lotus Notes. This includes support for businesses who will use Ubuntu and Lotus Notes in the business environment. Business users are paying customers. More importantly, these customers don't take any changes lightly.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Desktop +3 Days


      After installing the basic OS on a new partition, I started Synaptic to read the file listing the programs to be downloaded additionally.  I found a nice wallpaper coming from the Karmic graphics folders.

       I was watching 'Bourne Ultimatum' when I snapped this desktop image.  My leap just landed me on an upgraded OS in one piece.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Facebook, Privacy...and Friends

    The whole point is to make contact with people.  There is that need to reach out and connect to friends and family.  But this is not your old mail any more.  Using new technology is fun.  Also full of unintended consequences. 

    Here is a link to an article about privacy settings in Facebook.  You can read the blog then head on out to your Facebook page and review your privacy settings. 

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala is Here

        Karmic is now available for download at the Ubuntu website

        I was answering some questions in the ubuntuforum and happen to refresh the website and voila the new page shows that Ubuntu 9.10 is ready indeed.  There's a couple of threads  dedicated to people waiting for the version.  It is now October 30, 07:45, after waking up I find my download ready for burning.

        In the spirit of Ubuntu I urged the several threads I could find for people to use the Bittorrent method of downloading the ISO to lighten the burnden on Ubuntu servers and also foster the spirit of sharing within the community. 

        I don't have a blank cd but I found a 1 GB flash stick drive.  I'm going to use the feature available on Jaunty to make a bootable usb stick off of the ISO image I've downloaded. 

        It's a faster affair to do this on a usb stick and it even gave me the option to store any settings available on the remaining space-about 286MB.  Nice option although I want this to be a read only copy so I ticked the option away. 

        Now that Karmic is on a usb stick I can reboot my computer and it should boot into Karmic, live.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Google Apps vs. Zoho Productivity Apps

        The City of Los Angeles stops using Groupwise and adopts Google Apps.  This is a big win for Google.  This is a step into using cloud programs.  Does this mean cloud computing is going to be the norm?  Perhaps due to the hard economic times, organizations are looking at less costly alternatives.  Perhaps an upgrade to the new Microsoft operating system is an expensive shift to something very new and still untested in the enterprise environment.  Most people I know already are familiar with Google apps.  I use Zoho applications myself.  I find Zoho more stable and less buggy.  Zoho is a complete suite of applications right there in one site.

Zoho.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Countdown to Karmic

        I googled ubuntu and I caught a piece of q and a article.  One reader is asking for the exact utc time of Karmic's release.  Everyone is excited about what may be the most tested linux product that ever came out of open source.  I am trying to throw some cold water over newcomers doing the testing several weeks ago.  These are users who have no idea what they are getting themselves into. 

        Anyway that's past.  Let them have it.  They asked for it.  One day to go.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Last Stretch For Jaunty

    An operating system is good for two things.  Loading programs quickly when you want it and doing it without crashing.  I have to say "when you want it" there because it doesn't count if it's loading them without user interaction, aka "you've just been hacked".

    Ubuntu 9.04 (jaunty) came out last April.  I have been using this version of Ubuntu for everyday stuff and it has done the basic things you expect an operating system will do.  And then some.

    When my Windows XP crash I shrugged my shoulders and just hit the reset button.  It's another day in Microsoft's office.  Windows' most outstanding accomplishment in computing is to lower user's expectation.

    The only time I had to restart Ubuntu 9.04 jaunty is when it upgraded it's kernel.  This happened twice in its 6 month life.  When Linux users do encounter their own version of BSOD, it's like an event you like to tell everyone for its singular strangeness.

    Jaunty's replacement, Karmic, is coming.  By all accounts the new Ubuntu is going to be a step above the old one.  This has been the tradition of its developers.  They are scattered around the world, tasked to finish their work without much material return.  Ubuntu is free-as in free beer, but more importantly, its code is open to all, to read, to study, and to modify.
     

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Newbie Wants To Play Ubuntu 2

    Aahh..., how do I?

    It's not so easy to find things when you don't have a map.  How do you learn the layout?  Where do you go to find answers?  How do you find help here? 

    As a newcomer to Ubuntu, I even have trouble finding the right word to describe my problem.  It seemed like speaking English won't help.

    So here's a map, a layout if you will.  This is a nice list of links to howto's, friendly blogs and reading materials for newbies by former newbies.

A Newbie Wants To Play Ubuntu

    Now that you have Ubuntu in your hard drive and you've seen the clean desktop and all.  You can browse the internet and go to Facebook.  You said you wont be missing Windows.  But not quite...

    You want to install programs not included in the default install.  A friend told you about this wonderful text editor she's using and you also want to try it out.  Perhaps you read about a great photo improvement guide and it suggested several application you want to try.

    But wait, how do you install software in Ubuntu?  No matter where you look in the menu you can't get it.  You feel like Alice falling into the hole.  Don't worry, here's a link to make it easy.

Data From Microsoft 3

    Two more points I wish to make before we leave this thread alone.

    The study revealed results per country.  U.S. and China users have the most problems with trojans and unwanted software.  Brazil has a problem with worms. 

    Trojans are more likely delivered when you go to websites offering antivirus software and when you click on services to check your system.  Users really have no way of verifying if these online web services are legitimate or offering good products or just making it worse.

    Exploits are prevalent in China.  These might indicate machines which are not getting updates. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Data From Microsoft 2

    Half of the Windows XP machines that downloaded MSE is infected.  16% of the Win7 machines are infected and 32% of the Vista machines are infected. 

    I can understand why Win XP got a high infection percentage, being an 8 year old operating system even with updated patches.  Data supports the premise that new is more secure and an updated OS is better than holding off the patches.

    This study is based on RTM machines, so forget the pirated copy argument.

Data From Microsoft

    According to data gathered by Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) made available by Microsoft to its users for free to 19 countries, the top threats to Microsoft products are trojans, unwanted software, worms and downloaders.  There were 1.5 million downloads of MSE across most of the pc using world.  MSE detected 4 million infections on 535,000 unique machines.  This data was gathered in the first week of MSE release up to October 6.

    Half of the infections run on Windows XP, with Windows 7 getting 16% of the infections and Vista getting 32%.  See the results of the study here.

   

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Alternatives

    Business users are going to drag their feet with Windows 7.  Vista looks good at first glance too.  Everybody was jumping up and down before it stank.  Let's look at the options:  Windows 7, Mac OS X, Linux and Google Chrome OS (alpha at best).  A few bloggers are saying that because of the OS debate, there are those that are exploring a non-OS system, so called OS agnostics.

    Certainly in Cloud computing and Web based enterprise computing, the OS plays a lesser role.  I am skeptical about this.  Security will be a major factor.  A good operating system means better security.  No operating system is a security free for all. 

The Linux Tide

    Mainstream tech bloggers are advising not to use Microsoft Windows in any online banking transaction.  They are giving the public instructions on how to use a Linux live cd to temporarily raise the security of their machines.

    I think even a successful Windows 7 wont be able to turn the Linux tide.     

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Let Windows Users Speak

Two Windows users speak:

"It seems I spend 25% of my PC time researching current threats and vulnerabilities, and another 25% patching them up. To Redmond: Windows is getting so annoying to use, it is almost not worth having a PC anymore. Maybe my Dad is right...standing in the teller line at the bank may not be so bad after all."


and number two:
"I would strongly recommend looking at whatever systems you're using if you're doing electronic banking," the Gazette quotes Bernie Burns, the Arc's executive director. "And if it is a Microsoft system, perhaps looking at something different."



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

BK Advices Don't Use Microsoft Windows



Brian Krebs posted a friendly advice in his column for the Washington Post about how to best protect business users from cybercrimes. Cyber criminals have been getting away with stealing millions by getting your passwords. Payroll money is literally disappearing from their accounts after thieves stole the protected passwords in their computers.


Brian Krebs writes:

The simplest, most cost-effective answer I know of? Don't use Microsoft Windows when accessing your bank account online.


I am by no means a security expert so let the experts do the thinking and the talking. SANS Technology Institute, a security research organization tasked their members to come out with a cost-effective way of hardening security for these kind of attacks. They came to the conclusion that using Linux LiveCD when doing banking online fits these small to medium sized companies.


Linux LiveCD's would be familiar to any Linux geek but to company owners who probably haven't heard of Linux, an explanation is in order.


A live cd is a read-only, bootable copy of an operating system most commonly used by Linux distros. An example would be Ubuntu, Knoppix and Fedora.


Read Security Fix by Brian Krebs here.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2009/10/avoid_windows_malware_bank_on.html

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I Don't Want Linux To Fail

Microsoft is in a dilemma when it comes to security. They desperately need to fix the famously horrible security of the Windows operating system. Windows users want to be secure. They want to get rid of the viruses and the zero day attacks. They have enough of the vulnerabilities they face every day. Users want a more secure Windows. They just don't want to WORK at it. Windows users already paid for their operating system. Why can't they get honest security for their money?

Users Access Controls UAC is Microsoft's attempt at fixing security and users hate it. People who should know better tried to bypass it. Some view it as just passing responsibility of security to the end user. So what is Microsoft's response? They shrugged their shoulders and promised no more UAC prompts in Windows 7. This lack of toughness when it comes to security is why Windows fail.

Whenever I come across posts here about bypassing login passwords and booting as root, I cringe at the parallel or maybe how Linux might intersect the Windows dilemma in security. I cringe at posts suggesting that A/V software and security softwares are the solutions to web security. Security and convenience will always be a tug-o-war situation. It is therefore important to act based on our security first values. It is fine to welcome new Linux users especially those coming from Windows, but let us show our maturity by showing that the core of computing is security.
Natural disasters and man-made crisis always bring out the best and the worst in man.  Along with the flooding in Metro Manila and Rizal comes the email scammers and spammers. 

I have not used the encryption feature of evolution before but yesterday I created a gpg key and publish it to sign the Launchpad ubuntu code of conduct document.  The real reason for my action is really to try out the encryption feature of evolution.  Hey, it works.  At least when I sent one to me, i couldn't decrypt without the proper passphrase.  It's in 2048 bit encryption which is a mathematical concept i can't remember from my college days.  Anyway I have to read more about the service and the feature.  Suffice it to say I can use it in practical terms.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Use Some Common Sense

    I'm sure that for most web savvy people the rule is:  Not everything in the internet is true.  That we should verify what we hear and read in the web first is like the old adage-stop, look and listen before you cross the street.  The scam emails asking your help for some financial rewards should by now be familiar to us all.  One variation is using your current friend's email to ask you for money to help in a crisis.  Apparently, your friend's email is hacked and the criminals are using it to get money from you.

    There have been reports of old news being linked to by email scammers and being passed and forwarded around.  These are valid news stories that have been archived and is now being used to support claims in the email.  Now two things, before you forward something make sure another news source verifies it, or just google it, duh.

    Second thing is you can examine the document being presented as proof.  Check the date, check the logo and the web page, and check the context of the report.  For example, the report may be a parody or a fake news and must be read as such.

    Our first and last line of defense is our common sense. 

Monday, October 5, 2009

Telling People About Linux

    You have to know who your audience is.  Know your customers.

    The first people I talked to are those who are Cautious but are asking questions.  I mean I don't have to prompt them.  They are curious about Linux and has tons of questions for you. 

    The second group are those that are very skeptical but are interested enough to point things out to you.  This second group are mostly defensive about what I am saying.  And its my fault.  You don't start your sale pitch by telling them the product they are using sucks.  You learn to just tell them about Linux and enumerate its advantages. 

    The third kind of people are the ones that leaves me open-mouthed.  SNATACWPH-Should Never be Allowed to Touch A Computer Without Professional Help.  You know the Q & A common here:
   
    Customer:  Can I install this (Linux) in my Windows computer?
    Me:              This is not an application, it's an alternative operating system to Windows. :)
    Customer:  A what?  What's an operating system?
    Me:              It handles all the other applications in your computer.
    Customer:  If I install linux, can I still play online poker? ::clueless::

Ext4 With My Ubuntu 9.04

    When I install my Ubuntu 9.04 last April, I opted to upgrade my file system to ext4 from ext3.  Ext4 is now the default with Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic.  There were suppose to be compatibility issues, I am warned, but my experience with using ext4 and Jaunty is positive enough for me to recommend that users upgrade to ext4.
 
    fsck is so much faster with ext4.  The regular fsck during boot takes about 15 seconds before my desktop is finally given to me.  I prefer this "in-boot" checking of the partition especially the / directory compared to a manual one or even the proposed shutdown check.  There is more fuss in the manual method and most people will opt to skip fsck if you put it during shutdown.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

    I use Evolution for managing my email and contacts.  While most people I know now use webmail when they send their email, I am still stuck in pre-2001 with a desktop email client.  With Evolution (available Windows version here) you download a binary (an exe file in windows speak) and save it to your hard drive.  You run the binary to use the application.  With a webmail, you open your browser and run the application like any other gadget within the browser.  Using a desktop application means you can still work offline.  Preferring to work with a browser means portability (doing your work at any computer connected to the web).

    Evolution also has calendaring functions, notification and scheduling features.  If you've worked with an organizer, that's it.  The version that I use is integrated into the Gnome desktop environment which I prefer too, and this brings me real time email notifications and searchable email files.

    Evolution also has an add-in called rss-evolution to automatically download my feeds as if they are email messages.  These are in turn also searchable.

    I keep multiple email accounts.  I have 3 pop accounts and an IMAP from Google.  Evolution handles multiple accounts well and at minimum of resources.  I mostly keep the application running all day.  Email desktop does not hog your bandwidth like video messaging does.  And it only uses bandwidth at user specified times.  Some prefer to check their email as often as every 10 minutes or less but I think ::wink:: it's a bit manic. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

GNU Linux 101

What is GNU Linux?  and why should I use it?

You could use something and not understand how it works but wouldn't it be more fun if you actually care.  The first time you step inside a play court can be intimidating if you don't know the basic rules. 

Why we should not use Windows (or Vista, or Windows 7)?  What's so bad about it?  Do I have a choice?

Thank you www.getgnulinux.org for the links.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Week With the Chrome browser

I've been using Google's new browser in beta, Chrome, since July 2009.  It was made available to Linux users only this year.  Chrome came out a year ago only to Windows users.  I like Chrome beta now in version 4.0.211.2 for Linux. 

It is fast period.  What is it about Webkit anyway? :)

I like how they implemented their location bar.  The drop down items are differentiated into history, bookmarks and so on.  It now comes in different themes you can download right from the browser tab.   Speaking of downloads, whenever you download a sticky banner appears below reducing a substantial real estate of your screen.  To remove it I have to lift my hand to reach for my mouse to click it away. 

Still no print feature.

Flash and Javascript implementation is not 100 percent yet.  Although Linux users have a workaround.   

The greatest innovation done by Google in browser development by a big organization is to let the public use the beta and report bugs.  See the progress almost on a daily basis.  Open and global.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Software Freedom Day

     I read about the Software Freedom Day being celebrated yesterday.  I was not aware of this commemoration but I am a believer in open source software.  I do believe that free software should be the norm and not the fringe.  I would like to help those who are actively developing software projects under the open source methods. 
     
    I understand that we should treat software use in the same level as free speech.  If we remove the profit motive in the most basic needs of people, we will be seeing true charity and honesty championed.  I like a society that values basic human rights and puts basic needs like freedom, food, water, health and education, on top of its priorities, above the profit motive. 
     
    Profit motive is not evil.  It serves its purpose in the distribution of products and services but it should not dictate and dominate our values nor society's goals.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A few weeks ago I congratulated the Google team for enabling imports from non-google email account to my google account. But my satisfaction didn't last very long. After a few days, my google account wasn't getting my emails anymore but it is happily reporting the import completion!?

I went to the Ubuntu forums once again and found a thread close enough to my predicament. No solution there either. I downloaded freepops from the repositories. Updated the freepops libraries. When I tried to fetch my email I encounter the familiar "error sending password" message. Yep I checked my password and it's correct. That's when I noticed that my password manager stores usernames and passwords and it's giving out the incomplete username for the email account. After editing the error I tried to fetch my emails again and GLORY!

I have four email accounts. They are Gmail and my ISP email. I have no trouble with these two. Gmail is IMAP. My ISP email is POP. The other two are free POP from Yahoo and Hotmail. These last two are quite accessible from the browser but I want ALL my email to go to my email client. I really don't like opening the browser unless I have to.

Now I am at peace with the world...

Back To The Future

I discovered Linux when Microsoft's Genuine Windows Advantage locked me out of my XP machine back in 2007.  I was interested in Red Hat though.  After some google sessions, my interest shifted to Ubuntu.  I ended up with a live cd of Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy. 

I found this lovely post detailing his own Linux shift at 4 in the morning.  Light sleeper?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jaunty: After Four Months


I've been using Ubuntu Linux 9.04 Jaunty for more than 4 months now. I am amazed at how this version has performed thus far. Boot time is quick but it still doesn't want to suspend or wake up after it does. I use a desktop so it isn't that crucial. I guess it is a different story if you're using a laptop.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bad Internet Service (in its 2nd week now)


Something has been bothering me for a week now because I thought that something is wrong with my application, browser, operating system and then I checked my internet speed. I am pasting the screenshot so everybody can see how bad the service is and maybe they want to check their own isp's for that matter.

My ISP is Smartbro.

The download speed is 8kb/s or 63 kbps. Smartbro promises a 384 kbps speed.

My speed is 17 to 23 % of Smartbro's promised speed, measured within the last 7 seven days.

Actually if you go to their website, they are advertising promotions of up to 1 Mbps (that's 1,000 kbps) under their plan 999.

I called their customer service and they have no satisfactory explanation.


Monday, August 31, 2009

2009: Watching TV

        I haven't watch a movie on a widescreen theater since 2007 and I am not sure which film that is to be honest.  I've been watching movies through DVD's and lately online, downloaded to my hard drive.  I don't gain that much by goint to a movie theater.  The price of theater tickets and then the commute and the can of soda and sandwich afterwards just doesn't justify going this route to satisfy my hunger for entertainment. 

        Mostly family just decide on what DVD to rent or buy and then we watch it at home with our big tv and DVD player.  Yesterday it wasn't a DVD, but the complete first 6 episodes of House.  No we don't have cable.  We decided we don't need the monthly cable fees.  We downloaded these using bit torrent.  The way we watch tv and movies are changing. 

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I Use Linux

        I use Linux because it works for me.  I remember when I used to run my anti virus software and make sure it's updated.  I used to check if my anti malware application is also updated and running to optimum.  After all that I made sure that my third party firewall is set to desired security specifications.  This is the windows mind set.  All these additional applications add to the cost of running windows and they use precious computer resources each second you launch them.

        I use Linux because it adjusts for the way I work.  The first thing I do after a Linux installation is to change its default configuration.  Nothing wrong with the default, in fact I'm sorry I had to change it but that's not they way I work.  I change several keyboard shortcuts here and there to suit my habit.  I change some desktop colours.  Lessen the saturation, turn down the brightness so it doesn't hurt the eyes.  Choose preferred applications and set which application to open based on what type of file is being opened.  There is a way to tweak it to suit your preferences.  I have never found this level of freedom of choice in any other operating system I've used. 

        I use Linux because it is secure and stable.  Any bug or flaw to the operating system are reported and fixed by the community of open source developers.  The growing number of Linux developers promises more eyes on the code.  More people working on fixing it means less time using it with the flaw and worrying when an attack will come. 

        I use Linux because of its stand on software freedom.  Cloud computing is coming, if not here now, and it means putting applications and data in remote servers somewhere.  I  need to support those who work to keep my computing free from the control of censorship and from those who want to perpetuate a medieval definition of copyright. 

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Place for the Death Camps

        Auschwitz is synonymous to genocide.  The death camps that the Nazi built to murder millions of Jews and others, stand now as reminders of this horrible crime.  There are those who deny history and there are those who revise it to suit their own purposes.  This is why it is necessary to preserve relics and documents of history.

        29 sketches of the death camps, blueprints of facilities including the gas chambers were recently discovered in Berlin.  These were sent to Israel where the government plans to display them in the Holocaust Museum.  The drawings, some bearing dates as far back as 1941, prove that the death camps were products of deliberate planning by the Nazi. 

        As the survivors of the Holocaust grow fewer in numbers, their story must be told to a new generation.  For while it is true that we are born free, it is also our nature to be complacent.  Perhaps around a camp fire out in the mountains, young souls may yet hear about Auschwitz and swear it will not happen again. 

Friday, August 28, 2009

Will Work For ______ (blank)

        What truly motivates people to perform?  Money?  Incentives?  Does big pay for performers work?  If you own a business you want to know how to properly motivate your employees.  If you are an employee you have to re-examine what you value and in fact we do see this in the number of turnovers of companies.

        This pod cast of Dan Pink, a lawyer and motivational speaker, presents proof that money and incentives does not motivate people to perform better.  In some cases he points out that motivating people to accomplish a goal through money, even bigger money, will not produce results.

        Here is the link to the pod cast.  

FSF vs. Windows 7

        The Free Software Foundation is holding a demonstration against Windows 7 and Microsoft.  They definitely don't like Windows 7. 

        I believe that Windows 7 is more of the same genuine advantage bull that went overboard in its initial implementation with XP.  It is more in protecting drm and less in giving users what they are asking for in an operating system.  I think MS still don't get it.  And so we march on.

G-yahooooo!

      The Google Mail team should be congratulated with yet another innovation.  This one is quite close to my heart because I've been looking and waiting for this for years.  I don't know why it took so long to implement this.  I thought that email would soon be obsolete before this gets implemented.  Gmail can import my other email accounts.  POP? Yes. Hotmail? Yes.

      I wandered over at my Gmail inbox and was surprised at how ugly the "look" is.  I love the "ugly" look.  There are other themes I can use.  I'm not much of a skins guy.  Nope.  I'd stick with the default if there really is no great advantage in changing anything.  If it ain't broke don't fix it.

      I can't believe it.  Gmail can get my Yahoo messages and my Hotmail messages. 
      G-yahoooo!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Emailing vs Browsing

   I have always preferred emailing to browsing.  Browsing just takes too long and makes me wait all the time.  I may have a slow internet service.  Maybe that's the issue there.  But I want to concentrate on the subject here.  I like emailing as compared to browsing.

    I use an email client that let's you compose and save to draft.  You have a lot of options on what to do with your finished message.  You can save it, you can schedule the sending or even archive it to a folder customized for unsent messages.  You can forward messages and insert stuff like pictures and other documents into your message. 

    I really don't like browsing as an activity.  You click then wait, then respond to what's on the screen by clicking/typing, then wait.  I might as well be thinking long than waiting for my browser to finish offering me information.  It's dumbing.  And for this to go on all day long at work or in the home is going to make me insane.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Evolution-rss

The first thing I do after Ubuntu presents me with its glorious brown theme is to open my email client which in my case is Evolution. Seeing that my high priority folder is empty, I go to my feed reader to catch up on news, blog issues, developing threads and collect my thoughts.

Do I go to my Google reader which means opening the browser? Do I fire up the RSS client reader? Remember those?

Linux has three favorite feed readers. The most popular is Liferea (linux feed reader) which is too slow and freezes a lot (makes users wait while it does its job) but is wonderfully integrated into the GNOME environment. There's Blam which uses the fast rendering engine, Webkit. Great speed but lacks good UI features like keyboard hotkeys for navigation and links to the browser. There's also Straw which is a surprise because it's also quick and light (two window panes as opposed to three). I would have settled for Straw.

But I remember this thread in the Ubuntu forums about this little known plugin for evolution. It enables evolution to fetch feeds much like email messages into your email client. Enabling it means I only have to open Evolution to get my email and news and blogs. Great.

Just open Synaptic from System>Administration>Synaptic. Type in evolution-rss in the search field. Mark the appropriate package for installation. I have an xml file of my Google reader subscription saved in my home directory. I opened evolution and exported the xml file to start importing the feeds exactly as in my Google reader service.

Microsoft Contributes To Linux Code

Microsoft contributed 20,000 pieces of code to the linux kernel and they annouce this in the opening day of the OSCON open source conference. Most of the codes are linux drivers for virtualization. The Linux foundation counts 1,000 developers from around 100 corporations who contribute code to the linux kernel. The top companies who contribute to linux development are Red Hat, Intel, Novell, IBM and Oracle. Red Hat recently made it to the S & P 500 list at Wall Street.

This development doesn't mean Microsoft have seen the light about free software. This is acknowledgement of reality. Linux is making tremendous contributions to the world of computing and they want to be “nice” to us.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Longest Solar Eclipse for the 21st Century



The Universe put on a show today for about 3-6 minutes. People in India and China saw the eclipse in all its glory. Experts said this is the longest solar eclipse for the 21st century. The next eclipse is going to happen in 2010 but if you're going to look for anything like today's show, you'll have to wait until 2132.

Barnes & Noble

It's the United States number one bookseller and they shine today because they join Google Book Search in offering ebooks. They have 700,000 titles mostly free to download. It is a great time to catch up on the classics. Now there is less excuses not to read a book online.

Barnes & Noble was founded in 1873 by Charles Barnes as a printing business then his son William opened bookstores. Nowadays we know them for their wifi enabled cafes, starbuck themed coffee service, and sandwiches. Oh along with their books of course.

Barnes & Noble ebook store.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why Linux Security Is Better


Last July 16th a security specialist working on open source security servers by the name of Brad Spengler disclosed through a security mailing list, a flaw in the Linux kernel 2.6.30. Basically, what he discovered is a hole in the kernel of the linux operating system that will lay useless the defenses and security layers built into linux. So why the title?

Security for computers is not a product, it is a process. All systems can be hacked. No system is perfect. When flaws are discovered in Linux, they are published for all the community to check and see. The community comes up with solutions and patches in record time.

Last June 30th the open source browser, Firefox, was released to the public. Very soon, someone published a flaw in the code. Before the week is over, Mozilla released an updated version of Firefox to fix the flaw. The fix also came from the community.

Is this situation better than what Microsoft is doing? Well, would you like to wait until Patch Tuesday to get your computer security fixed? And why is it that Microsoft operating systems are the only operating system in the world that needs a third party security software so it can survive the internet? Tell me why do I need a third party firewall when XP already has a built in firewall? What does it say about your product when a completely new range of business is born to address it's flaws?

To Be Sure Use FOSS

Amazon deleted “1984” the novel, from its Kindle devices without user help. Microsoft can block use of Windows XP if they suspect that your copy is obtained illegally. Internet services being offered for free one day and gets cancelled the next. Your data entrusted for storage in an online storage is safe or is it?

You'd like to be assured that if you purchase a machine for personal use that once you put your data there, you have total control over what happens to it. Of course apart from the power outage and bugs, you assume that you will always have access to your information. You assume that when you purchase a software contained in that CD you have in your hand and paid for it with your money, you have FREE use. That whatever content is generated when you use it, is yours. You assume too much.

The only way to be completely sure is to use free and open source (FOSS) software. Software that can be used and modifed by anyone and can be passed on to anyone who wants it. In other words, software that are non-proprietary, limited-rights reserved or none at all.

Most of us are aware of open source because Google has been giving away most of their software codes to the open source community. The open source model of developing software is arguably the right way to go. Everything is transparent, it is efficient, talent from all over the world is pooled. If you want proof that this is the way to go, you only have to look at Mozilla and its open source products like Firefox and Thunderbird. Without the open source alternatives from Mozilla and the Linux community, Microsoft would have us use Vista and demand upgrades in our machines.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

Hellen Keller


First they ignore you,
Then they laugh at you,
Then they fight you,
Then you win.

Gandhi

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Killing the Myth

There are several myths about Linux that won't die.
Linux is too hard to learn. It takes someone with a computer diploma sometimes more to learn Linux. This one in particular comes from computer/tech journalists who should know better. I am neither an IT person nor a computer professional. I don't code. Sure I spend hours in front of my computer and surf the web. I know where to get my answers.
Linux sucks with my hardware. I used to hunt for drivers especially wifi, network and graphics. I have an Nvidia card right now. They still wont give their driver code to open source but they do provide the community a way to use their 3d accelerated cards. I am using Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty. When I install the operating system it detected my router and connected to the web automatically. Nvidia? Well Linux and Nvidia are holding hands but they're using gloves. Someday hopefully.
You have to learn commands in Linux. I've been using Linux since 2006. I learn all about bash command lines this year, 2009. Ah, which means I've been using the graphical interface or shell, GUI, until last year. I like learning things at my pace. Doesn't mean you can't use Linux if you don't know bash commands. No, no, no.
There are no games in Linux. I have to be honest with you. The only games I play are the ones that came with the package which means the likes of gnu-chess, solitaire and gnometris. My personal favorite is Tetravex right now. If you want to check out 3D Games for Linux try World of Goo by 2D Boy available also in Nintendo and Windows.
Enough killing for now. Let's do it again next time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Google made it official by announcing their new operating system, Chrome OS, in their Google blog. After coming up with Chrome, the light weight browser it is only logical to develop your own operating system to wrap up everything. Chrome is suppose to be the platform for all the Cloud services Google offers, namely, Gmail, Google Docs and the bread and butter of this behemoth, Google search. This operating system will enable netbooks to boot up instantly and shutdown merely by closing the lid down. No more hibernation nor standbys. Boot up time is less than ten seconds. Users are connected to the web immediately. Most applications are going to be living in remote servers, in the Cloud as a service. Some users will opt to store their data also in the Cloud and not in their local hard drives. Even Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, started a Cloud service they're calling Ubuntu One. The future of computing is in the clouds.

Google wants to lead that future by putting their own operating system in your netbooks where their cloud services wont have compatibility issues. I still believe that most of my personal computing will happen in my local machine. Most developers are making their applications with the pc hard drive as home. Perhaps most compelling would be if these cloud services passes the standards of the enterprise. The benefits of cloud computing is hard to ignore. My desktop, everywhere, free applications, free limited and secure storage. We don't even need to connect to the web all the time. Google has pioneered google gears offline mode. You can still work offline and just synchronize your files when the connection is back.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Why Google Chrome OS will turn GNU/linux into a desktop winner

A small revolution in the IT world is about to happen, and we are about to witness it. Microsoft Windows’ domination has been challenged many times: first by OS/2 (failed), then Apple (failed), then Java and network computing (failed), then GNU/Linux and Ubuntu (failed, so far). And now, Google’s Chrome OS. After such a long list of failures, what makes me think that this latest attempt will actually succeed?

This is incredibly naive and can come only from someone who does not know the difficulties of coming up with a desktop operating system to beat a microsoft product at its own game. The tremendous effort of the GNU/Linux community in producing top quality desktop linux distros is a testament both to its commitment and technical base. What I do find unique here is the name recall, the brand, backing up such an OS. And no amount of exclamation points can change reality.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I found this post very useful in installing Firefox-3.5.

http://www.ubuntusolutions.org/2009/07/installing-firefox-3-5-the-right-way-on-ubuntu-jaunty.html

Thank you.
I found Firefox-3.5 code: Shiretoko in the Ubuntu repositories today and downloaded this new version of the mozilla browser. My personal settings and bookmarks were automatically transferred to the new version as it opens. It's quick and I like the migration process. However I will have to note that ubuntu modifications for this version is not available. Beagle search does
not work without official support from ubuntu. The complete components to integrate the current version of Firefox to Ubuntu 9.04 should be following any day now.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Midori is a light weight, fast browser using webkit for rendering. I tried it and it's quick. I like the way it renders my favorite websites. Most of all I see original thinking here.

However a quick visit to its faq page and bugs reporting site tells me that it needs to mature first. Plus in my own experience of three days of using this upcoming browser, I had several instances of crashes.

I hope to hear from Midori about a more solid version and keep the fast feet.

What is free software and why is it so important for society?

Free software is software that gives you the user the freedom to share, study and modify it. We call this free software because the user is free.

To use free software is to make a political and ethical choice asserting the right to learn, and share what we learn with others. Free software has become the foundation of a learning society where we share our knowledge in a way that others can build upon and enjoy.

Currently, many people use proprietary software that denies users these freedoms and benefits. If we make a copy and give it to a friend, if we try to figure out how the program works, if we put a copy on more than one of our own computers in our own home, we could be caught and fined or put in jail. That’s what’s in the fine print of the license agreement you accept when using proprietary software.

The corporations behind proprietary software will often spy on your activities and restrict you from sharing with others. And because our computers control much of our personal information and daily activities, proprietary software represents an unacceptable danger to a free society.


This is on the Free Software Foundation's website. I'm going to "print" it here.


If you are a weary Microsoft Windows user and looking for an
alternative operating system, then you are in the right place.
Start with the more mature and beginner-friendly linuxes like
Fedora Core, OpenSuse or Ubuntu. Perhaps you don't want to
fuss with too much after-install procedures then try Mint which
is based on Ubuntu but has minimal after-install work. You can
get Mint here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cory Doctorow's Blog here.

If by chance any of these is of any value beyond today maybe
I would be part of this discussion. You can't take it with you.
Passing data to somebody once you're gone is interesting if any
of these musings are worth the complicated cryptographic
technology to be employed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Yahoo account was hacked. While Yahoo tries to fix the
problem they advised me to change my password. I did.
If you have any advice or any similar experience please
leave a word or two.
Thanks.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Earth-touch.com just uploaded this feed of penguins in their
arctic environment. Just want you to see our favorite mascot
"Tux" in his natural home.

The quality of the video is excellent and Miro plays all the
video formats I can throw at it. Here are screenshots of a
feed while I was watching it. It's from Earth-Touch.com.
They regularly upload marine and animal video in
beautiful high-definition format.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The miro user interface is intuitive. I'm using gnome in
Ubuntu linux here. You can click the image for a bigger
look. It's a new way to watch...not-tv.

Monday, May 11, 2009

11.05.2009 23:34:24

My family got its first tv during the Apollo 11 launch.
That was July 1969 and it was a Zenith black and white
console. The whole family was mesmerized by a man walking
on the surface of the moon.

In my pc today is an application that captures rss
video, downloads movies and tv shows, and manages my multi
media files. Miro is an open source, multi platform video
manager. It has versions for windows, mac and linux. It
can play almost all video formats available in the internet. It
uses bit torrent for fast downloads. It checks for new
available episodes of your subscriptions. Miro checks
Youtube subscriptions (yours) and automatically downloads
them in your hard drive.

Miro might just be the killer application that open
source is waiting for to lift all other open source software
to the mainstream and more. Miro does this without DRM.

Get miro here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

06.05.2009 16:30:15

When I was migrating from Windows to Linux (Ubuntu in
particular) my computer was on a dual boot. I wanted a
smooth transition and not sacrifice productivity for the
sake of migrating to a new operating system. After a month
of that set up, I deleted the windows system and gave the
whole drive to Linux. I never worked with windows since.

Now I know that some must have WINE on their systems
in order to use particular applications that run only on
windows. It can't be helped.

The ultimate success of users hinges on their conscious
decisions about using open source software. They can't just
sit on the fence. Eventually, they'll fall. Either they
fall on their two feet or on their backs, depending on
choices they make.

Windows and Linux are fundamentally different. The
look, the feel and the way they operate is different.
Speaking from the Linux side of the fence now, I have to
emphasize on the differences. Linux must succeed on its
own merits. Which means that for some people Linux wont
ever work.
05.05.2009 01:14:29

This is a comment from one reader reacting to the question
"Is Ubuntu bigger than Debian now?". I find it well balanced
and more importantly close to what I consider true about
the whole issue.


Epaminondas said:

I am a Desktop Linux user since 2002. Migratated from Apple Macintoshes (not Windows) to Linux when Apple abandoned MacOS 9 - I got tired of all the forced upgrades on Apple machines.

So I am a simple, "it just works" GUI kinda guy.

I have tried Lindows, Debian, Mandrake, Red Hat, Fedora, Mepis, KNOPPIX, Ubuntu, Puppy, DSL - and a few others along the way. And I have now settled down to what works for me.

Debian in 2002 was impossible for me to set up as a desktop machine with my limited Linux skillset. When I installed straight Debian I just ended up on the command line. I could not figure out what to do, despite searching through the Debian web site. I did get the impression on the Debian web site that Debian was built by technical people for technical people, that it was more a server distribution than a desktop distribution, and that I was in way over my head. The Debian culture that I saw just ended up making me feel too stupid for Debian. Definitely a newbie-unfriendly distribution. So I moved on.

Red Hat/Fedora would work OK until an update inevitably borked it. So I would try something else.

Mepis is just plain wonderful. I was home! Until an update would bork printing. Then, regretfully, on to try something else.

Ubuntu was garbage - at first. Display, printing, internet connection - problems all over the place. All hype - no substance. A bunch of silly overenthusiastic people on the boards. So I moved on.

Cycling back through Fedora and Mepis - which both again then borked during updates.

Back to try Ubuntu again. Not expecting success. Surprisingly, everything now actually worked. So I figured I would use Ubuntu until an update inevitably borked it. But updates - unlike Fedora and Mepis - have never once borked my Ubuntu machine.

So I now use Ubuntu. Because Ubuntu gets it right. And I recommend Ubuntu to others. And I now have no reason to change.

If Debian has become any friendlier to us desktop GUI types, I might give it a try if I ever have a problem with Ubuntu. However, Debian still leaves a bad taste in my mouth when I think how unwelcome I felt in the Debian community back in 2002.

A Debian-based - but friendly - desktop distribution may make more sense for the likes of me.

Oh - the secret to making any distribution work relatively well - Ubuntu, Mepis, Fedora, whatever:

(1) Backup!

(2) Never an early adopter be: always wait at least one month before adopting a new release. Check the boards before doing so for knowledge of problems and fixes. True of Ubuntu. Particularly true of Fedora!

(3) Multiboot. Keep your old functioning release on one partition as you are trying the new release on another. That way, if the new does not work out, you have a good fallback position.

(4) Keep trying different distributions until you find the one that works for you.


Best regards,

Epamonondas

This was posted on Internet.com as part of the discussion
on the question of Ubuntu vs. Debian.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

29.04.2009 20:14:06

Three days after I downloaded and installed Ubuntu
Linux 9.04 Jaunty, I am now using a well oiled operating
system configured to my liking.

I also read most of the complaints and questions
in the ubuntu forums. I did not find anything resembling
a pandemic of bugs or installation woes. It is the usual
rant of confusing installations and "it's not working"
comments that the novice sends during a stampede to get
the latest Ubuntu version.

Steps I did for a smooth installation of Ubuntu
follows:

1. Backup. Save your data. You should know your
personal folders. These are documents, family pictures,
personal video clips and music. Get your email folders
and contacts folders. Move them to another partition or
drive.

2. Download. Get your new copy of Ubuntu and use
torrents. I got the desktop version via torrents. I
finished the download in 55 minutes during the afternoon
peak traffic time of the day. I still have the torrent
files in my client. I'm going to leave it there until
nobody needs it anymore.

3. Install. No need to check cd burn. Always make
sure to pick the slower burning speed (about 8x to 10x)
and the torrent client checks the downloaded files against
the hash on file.

4. Get Additional Software. Download the restricted
extras. This time I had to get Tracker because it's not
included in the default bundle. I also remember Miro.
Miro is getting to be an indispensable app for getting
tv, clips, and youtube into my computer without too much
fuss.

5. Restore. Move my data folders back from backup
to the /home/user folder in the new Ubuntu version. Restore
evolution data and set former settings.

6. Configure the desktop environment. Download
compiz config manager to assist in customizing the look
and feel of the desktop. This involves tweaking, keyboard
shortcuts changes, theme changes, font changes and testing
all your applications. Just opening and closing windows.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

28.04.2009 09:15:51

The centerpiece of the desktop pc is the email client.
I don't know about you but the first application I look for
inside my desktop is the email handler. The email client
also collects the feeds from various news orgs, blogs and
articles in the internet. If your internet site has RSS or
something similar then it goes to my email client.

The email client slash feed reader must also keep tabs
of my contacts and contact information. This bundle of
information might include their names, address, contact
number, email address, blog url, (anything on how to get
in touch with them), day of birth, anniversary, anything
I have to remember about the contact. This can be a fair
amount of information, a vital piece of information (for
a sales representative perhaps) or something that can break
a relationship if forgotten.

The email client that I use has calendars and appoint-
ment keeping functions. Why separate this from the email
function? People sometimes want to have light apps doing
only one thing. It doesn't matter to me one way or the
other, as long as they work fine. The trouble with one
big heavy application to handle email, contacts and noti-
fications/alerts, is resource requirement and built-in
buggyness. The application is doing a lot in the back-
ground and not paying attention to user input(keyboard
and mouse clicks) then hangs. Then waits an interminable
time for an answer from a server. Then hangs once again.
Then user says it's buggy. The application is doing what
it's suppose to do.

What we need is to improve the email client because
it is important to the desktop.
28.04.2009 10:10:37

I discover the wonderful world of file sharing about
two weeks ago. Forgive me but I am slow. The Bit Torrent
application is included with the Ubuntu operating system
since the very beginning and I often wondered what that
small handle icon is about. That and the fear of catching
a virus or worm (from my windows days) kept me from
exploring the torrent world of file sharing.

With the coming Ubuntu 9.04 download I thought I try
other methods of getting my linux. I brushed up on my
torrent lingo and read the basics and protocols of the
community. I have since used the service to download a
half dozen or so of software and music files. Great so
far. Some torrents are faster than others, with some
members of the torrent community unable to reign in their
emotions especially about very slow connections.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Everybody is invited to try Ubuntu Linux 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope. This is Canonical's newest version of Linux. If you have a torrent client on your desktop or laptop it's better to download through the torrent (please don't remove torrent files right away, contribute to the community).

Use this page link to the download page for your convenience. Thank you.

Monday, April 20, 2009


20/04/2009 13:09:37

The rise of small laptops called netbooks is
fueled by the downturn in the economy. Since most
people use these machines for simple everyday stuff
like email, browsing and instant messaging, demand is
rising.

The operating system most tailor-fit for the
netbook is Linux because it is designed for low-power
chips and for applications that demand little in
hardware and power. Linux is also open source and
free. Most of the applications and software bundled
with it is also free and open source. These give
netbook vendors the opportunity to offer these machines
at a much lower price.

Response to Torture

20/04/2009 10:34:10

This is a response to the New America Foundation
clip with Jane Mayer the author of "The Hidden Power"
being interviewed about the Bush Whitehouse after 9/11.

There will be more instances where human rights
are going to be violated. Our leaders will tell us that
it is in our best interest to torture others in the name
of security. They will tell us that in order to protect
us they need wider powers and immunity for the actions
that they will need to take in the name of patriotism.

Torture is wrong. Information gathered through
its use is largely unreliable. Get the terrorists, get
the criminals, but don't give me a "no accountability"
provision when we are talking about human rights.

Our basic rights as human beings are the most
important things to safeguard and yet the most easily
ignored in the pursuit of security as if the two are
separate and disjointed. For those who push fear and
paranoia, I dare ask, who will protect me from the
excesses of power if the first thing they're going to
ask me to give up is my rights.

Mr. Dick Cheynee is wrong for saying that
America is made weaker and vulnerable when Mr. Barack
Obama made public disclosures of the so called torture
memos. The policy of ignoring the Geneva Conventions
made America more vulnerable. By surrendering american
democratic values Mr. Cheynee gave up the most potent
weapon in america's arsenal-the moral high road.

I believe that america will choose it if
completely informed. I trust America will take this
road, if for nothing else, because they love the truth.
I believe that america can take it and will be stronger
because of it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

With Kindle 2 being sold at $359 and kindle downloads still costing you more than the ink version, why is the newspaper industry singing a dirge?

Are some more able than others in surviving the economic downturn and the shift in the business model? The Washington Post is doing well and making a profit. The New York Times is also doing fine.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

ACN Video phone

Mina sent a video phone kit to us here in Manila. These new gadgets work on the principle of voice over internet protocol VOIP. Just connect them to the router and they download the owner's personal profile and contacts/settings. And apparently they work anywhere in the world, these things have their ip addresses in the United States so... if I make a phone call to Houston it's like a local call!

How long will it take for Skype to have their own dedicated hard phone available for consumers? I mean for those who just want to make a call without opening their computers, this is going to be very attractive.

Monday, March 30, 2009

TEDTALKS in Miro







TEDTALKS comes highly recommended. It invites people to talk about different topics and people who have appeared includes craig venter, kevin kelly, and stephen hawking to name a few.

I watch TEDTALKS via an application that manages video feeds/podcasts. Miro is an open source video feed aggragator and it is in its v2 upgrade. I have the v1 though but it is still good.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

March Blitz

Last fm is discontinuing free music streaming in all but three countries namely, UK, US and Germany. Starting March 30, 2009 free streaming music to all will stop unless you pay subscription. Pandora then last fm.
The web site said this is a business decision. The three countries where free music will continue, offers advert support for free music service.

Dimdim is an excellent video conferencing service for the masses. It features true computer screen sharing with multiple parties. Up to ten with free account and if you decide to upgrade to premium up to 20 participants. You can upload your presentation to their website and participants can see them just like in a whiteboard.

The site also has a private chat feature but it seems overkill just for one on one communication. Dimdim accomplishes all these without any software downloaded to your computer. Just open an account at their website here.

This is great when you have a problem with your computer and the way to solve it is to show someone the screen. This is for those scenarios needing collaboration on a document/presentation with multiple parties seeing the changes in real time. Oh and if one of the parties can't make it, there's a recording feature for playback later.



Jetbytes is an on the fly file transfer service that accomplishes its job without storing your files in their servers (at least not very long). No opening accounts and no fuss. Simly point the file out and you will be given a download link which you can send to recipient.

As long as you keep the browser open to the website the transfer proceeds. The browser window has to remain open until the transfer is complete.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yahoo is Back in Business

Evolution, the email client in Ubuntu linux, is working perfectly again. It's been five months since it downloaded my mail in the Yahoo servers. No I did not go five months without email! While the rest of my email accounts are busy and doing their jobs, Yahoo mail was stuck in the web and does not want to play with my pop email client.

Yahoo mail did something. I updated today with freepops. Evolution tried to download all mail and succeeded.

Path to Linux

My path to linux began with my frustrations with Microsoft. While the road that leads away from Windows gives me more reasons to seek less insecurity, less fuss about updating, defragging and focus finally on what my goal is in computing. Use technology to be more independent and free of the mundane. Use computing for communicating my ideas to as many as possible.

Ubuntu is just one of hundreds of distributions one can use in the linux world. Linux is not just substituting one operating system with another. Linux is given freely to the community to use and modify and philosophically its members are urged to use open source software. Software that contains no proprietary codes. When you use free software you vote for community driven development. Community sponsored software is the way to go if you want to hold developers accountable to you-users. Software for users not for business models.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Pirate Bay Trial`


(click on the image to enlarge)
Pirate Bay carried this cartoon on its website.

This cartoon image is worth a thousand words. The Pirate Bay trial is likely not going to be the last challenge to our rights to use the internet and all the resources available to us in speaking, writing and expressing our opinions in the internet.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Use the Bcc Field To Send To Many

Often when sending email to many, we just type out the email addresses of our friends in the to field. Each of our friends will see the email addresses of all our contacts listed in the to field. We should protect our friends' privacy and we should add this simple act of courteousness in our basic email etiquette.

When sending email to many, put your own email address (alternate) in the to field, then use the Bcc field to enumerate your friends' email address. This way you protect your friends from spam and other more serious internet crimes. In addition you make the web more secure and therefore more usable for everyday communications.

Thank you.

Use the Live CD

One of the insistent issues among new adopters to linux is hardware compatibilitiy. The show stopper for most enthusiasts is the lack of internet connectivity at the outset. As long as they can connect to the internet and ask questions in the linux forum, they are hangin' in there.

Use the live cd of your distribution. Most linux distro have a live cd version to test the hardware issues including your printers and scanners. Don't forget to test your usb drives too.

For the live cd, the common options are Knopix live cd, Ubuntu and Puppy linux. Most live cd versions can do anything the full installed versions can do except save your data in the hard drive. The live cd version is also slower.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Free Software and Intellectual Property

The open source community stands in clear ground when they speak of free software. That software should be freely used by everyone, free to be modified and distributed with very few limits. One limitation is you can't profit (as in money) from code you took free from the community. This limitation has been successfully defended in court, so there is legal basis here.

Successful commercial entities based on this model are thriving. In fact, in this bleak economic times their business model is the most tailor-fit to survive, even dominate. Selling code is becoming untenable in the light of this movement. For now, microsoft is the giant defending this realm from all sides. Microsoft products make up 90 percent of operating systems being used by personal computers globally. Due to this overwhelming presence and to its marketing powers open source battles a way of computing that will remain in its seat of influence for many years to come.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tag-araw, Tag-ulan (lyrics)


tag-araw,
sa may dagat namasyal
at pagdilim
sa may baybay humimlay
at nagyakap
sabay sa pagsabog ng alon
sabay sa paghuni ng ibon
saksi ay liwanag ng buwan

di ba't sabi mo pa na wala pang iba
na ako ang una sa pagmamahal mo sinta
at ang buhay nating dalawa ay nagbunga
ng makulay na pag-ibig na dakila

ngunit bakit ngayong umuugong ang hangin at ulan
sinlamig ng gabi ang mga halik mo
ni wala nang apoy ang titig mo sa akin
naglaho ba ang pagmamahal mo sinta?

at sa habang-buhay tayo'y magsasama
nakamtan ko ang pagmamahal mo sinta
ngunit bakit sa tag-ulan ay naglaho