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User Journal

Journal Journal: slashdot 1

Is it just me, or is the "new" slashdot almost indecipherable. Normally I write to the source for bugs, or complaints, but this make-over, over the last six months or so disappoints on almost all levels. I work with tech, so I'm pretty good at figuring out some of the weirdest and most complex interfaces, but I've not figured rhyme and or reason with the new slashdot.

I get random announcements of moderator points, but when viewing comments I see no widget with which to moderate. I get screens that say "done", but are completely blank except for the left and right margins. Weird.

Anyone else have similar experience?

User Journal

Journal Journal: does Adobe dis loyal customers?

I decided I should upgrade to Photoshop Elements 7. "7" has some features I'd like to use.

Okay, but does this make sense? The upgrade is more expensive than the full version!

Try it yourself. Go to their purchase page. Click the "upgrade" version, select Photoshop Elements 7, English, Download. Then click the "full" tab and select same thing.

I see $74.99 for the full version, $79.99 for the upgrade. WTH? Does this make sense to anyone but Adobe?


Journal Journal: I wrote a book. 3

Cool, I just wrote a book! (I wrote the seven new chapters.)

Two of the most popular editors are vi (and its work-alikes), and emacs. This is O'Reilly's first new edition of their classic "Learning the vi Editor" in ten years and it was an honor to be part of the new release. Love vi, love emacs, it doesn't matter, I'm glad O'Reilly committed to updating their entry for vi.

(and my name is not Arnold, and my name is not Linda.)

Linux Business

Journal Journal: the run on Wal-Mart PCs

What does the recent run on Wal-mart's $200 mean, to Microsoft, and to the PC universe in general?

Simply selling out of a product quickly doesn't testify to the product's quality or goodness. Wal-mart's recent sale of PCs loaded with a customized Linux for $200 each was probably a price for many households too good to not try. The litmus test comes after the purchase, and based on Wal-mart customer reviews on the Wal-mart web site this machine gets a solid thumbs up.

This is good news for Linux. Each interation for the Linux desktop delivers a more seamless platform, now apparently, good enough for the masses. It comes with tools necessary for what people need: word processing; spreadsheets; internet; and e-mail. To get a similarly loaded Microsoft (Vista) machine (beefed up to handle the processor hungry Microsoft versions of its applications) would require a minimum of $1000.

You would think this is bad news for Microsoft. It isn't. Microsoft is too big, and too far ahead to care. They should care. Instead, they continue to put out their notion of what users want, increasingly complex and resource heavy applications, expensive and unwieldy. They claim their software is simple and intuitive. Anecdotal experience and reviews say no.

Now, Wal-mart has seeded the market with a computer that "just works", much like Macs, but at a fraction of the price. With its price advantage over Apple, and Microsoft's new Vista foundering, this is an opportunity, maybe the beginning of a tipping point for Linux. It's a modest but encouraging start. Linux users, take heart! Microsoft, take note!


Journal Journal: heat shield tiles, who needs them! 1

Well, after slicing a finger but still not emancipating my new mechanical pencil from its clamshell container, I'm having a V-8 moment.

NASA is looking in the wrong places for their solutions to protect the space shuttle. Heat shield tiles, who needs them! I say NASA simply talk to the vendors selling $5 crap and encasing said crap in inpenetrable and indestructible clamshell packages.

Encase the shuttle in one of these packages and NASA's good to go. (But watch your fingers when you try to get the astronauts out!)

User Journal

Journal Journal: what is the Microsoft chargeback code? 5

Another morning, another 30 minutes until my Windows XP box was ready enough for me to begin productive work. Today it was an automatic reboot I'd been trying to defer all day yesterday since I had some things I wanted to finish. Apparently over night Microsoft thought better of my wish to defer and rebooted.

Aside from time needed getting all my applications back online and in a state I wanted, I also had to re-configure and recover lost session work (minor, but an annoyance).

No matter the memory, no matter the CPU, no matter the patch level of Microsoft boxes, time and again I find my start up time eroded around the edges tending to Microsoft's rough edges. (Over the last couple weeks I've begun to get "low virtual memory" dialog from XP, even with a 2G machine, and the machine is barely asked to do much work (I mostly use it to support my cygwin Xwindows, and maybe one instance of Firefox), and ultimately I must reboot to get back responsiveness.)

This is standard operating procedure it seems in corporate PC America. This is what Microsoft has brought to the IT groupthink. This is not the way it always was. Sigh.

Thirty minutes here, ten minutes there, 5 minutes there... it all adds up (including the time to finally stop and write this journal entry), and anecdotally I know others in IT experience Microsoft platforms the same way. I wonder sometimes collectively what the world pays in lost slivers of time fixing and cleaning up Microsoft's mess. I'm betting it's more than the GNP of many small countries. I'd love to have a Microsoft chargeback code... If Microsoft wants to farm out their not-so-superior technology for the world to babysit, and rake in obscene profits with their tacit monopoly, I think it only fair we should be able to charge back our time to Microsoft for our time spent working for them.


Journal Journal: Gates panned at CES 6

As per usual, I've submitted yet another article I expect to be rejected..., here it is for the unwashed:

Steve Johnson, a "web perspective" writer for the Chicago Tribune had a surprising review and some observations of Bill Gates' CES keynote address. He pretty much calls Bill out on the carpet for using the keynote as a platform for a pre-rollout Vista infomercial. From his (Steve's) notes:

Bill Gates, for his "keynote" presentation on the eve of the 40th Consumer Electronics Show, didn't pitch a real-estate sales scheme.

He wasn't on late-night TV.

And he didn't offer a three-easy-payment plan at the end.

But the Microsoft founder's address was nonetheless an infomercial, a blatant pitch for his new Windows Vista operation system that violated every notion of what a keynote address ought to be.

I have just watched the 90 minute video, and I'd have to agree, the presentation didn't seem to be about where technology was and where it was going as much as it was about Bill and co's excitement about the "fantastic" (a favorite Bill word) new computing Vista brings, and how Microsoft was poised to take over your digital living room, and house, and car...

Is it really necessary to shill for your own company front and center of CES when you're pretty much guaranteed the market share? Does Bill really add value to CES?

Internet Explorer

Journal Journal: IE7, a virus? 15

Recently I sent a rant to an on-line photo printer because their free downloadable software insisted on firing up IE7 on my computer, even though Foxfire is my default browser (translation in my book: I don't want IE running on my computer. Ever, if possible.

To verify their gaffe, I downloaded their software on my other computer with similar results. Bummer.

Okay, here's the scratchy-head part: I've noticed other applications, other interactions with both computers whereby IE7 is started in lieu of Foxfire. And, the other incidents seem strangely unrelated. I checked my file associations just in case that had anything to do with this, all html, htm, etc. are associated with Foxfire. WTH? (e.g., bringing up Google Desktop Indexing status fired up IE7...)

Has anyone else noticed unauthorized/unexpected intrusions (as far as I'm concerned) by IE7 since the Microsoft update?

User Journal

Journal Journal: for those who care 2

(pictures here.)

I recently asked for input on ideas for new personalized plate. My mini-dilemma was my new state (Illinois) didn't have "GOOGLE", or "UNIX" as options, two of my past faves (more on that in a second).

You can read the journal entry and associated comments, but to briefly summarize:

Slashdot members Short Circuit, nizo, Degrees, Acid-Duck, and Denial93 all chipped in with suggestions. The list (including mine):

  • ubuntu
  • unix
  • linux
  • un star x
  • dr linux
  • linux dr
  • linux rx
  • multics (short circuit)
  • tuxracr (short circuit)
  • firefox (nizo)
  • nix geek (nizo)
  • nix nerd (nizo)
  • got root (nizo)
  • gnu linux (degrees)
  • vmlinuz (acid-duck)
  • vmlinux (acid-duck)
  • uname (anonymous)
  • slashdot (denial93)
  • use unix (denial93)
  • vi 4ever (denial93)
  • go emacs (denial93)
  • trolling (denial93)
  • penguins (denial93)
  • opensrc (denial93)

I hope that's the complete list, apologies if my record-keeping lapses.

I thank all who commented and offered suggestions, they all were great. Two of my faves (and others seemed to provide concensus) were "got root", and "ubuntu". I came very close to "ubuntu" as it grew on me over time. Still think it would've been a good one and while "got root" was kind of an insider's joke, I loved it.

So, in the process of checking for available combinations the state of Illinois rolled out their new "cyberdriveillinois" site making things not only much easier but offering unknown additional options.

Illinois offers many specialty plates, and it turns out a combination already "taken" for regular plates can still be used for specialty plates. I started "poking" at the different options, and found UNIX available for almost all of them. Since I originally had WA UNIX plates, they were a nostalgic fave. I found one specialty plate to especially meld with the notion of UNIX, the "Route 66" memorial plates.

So, pictures here, I think they're very cool. I love the UNIX with the "Where the road begins" beneath. And the plates look nice. All this on a Honda Ridgeline (like UNIX, reliable, multi-purpose, rock solid, easy to use...).

Again thanks to all who offered suggestions.


Journal Journal: age DOES matter, according to Gartner 2

NOTE: I am creating a journal entry for an article I just submitted. Since I've never had an article accepted and I think this article has a certain gravitas, I make it available to any who might read it. Enjoy.

A smbsearch article says when it comes to IT, age does matter, this according to Gartner.

How many times have you heard how old and out of it you are?

It appears analysts here at Gartner Inc.'s Symposium/ITxpo think you haven't heard it enough, because the age theme threaded its way through many of the analysts' sessions here Monday.

Analyst Thomas Bittman:

It's not the technology; it's not the process that's holding us back. It's the culture," Bittman said. "I know this is probably discriminatory, but there is a different attitude, at different ages, based on what technology can provide."

I guess I give Bittman points for "admitting" discrimination -- I wonder that so powerful an institution as Gartner (in some people's opinion) would, could, or even should be delivering this message. As a 50+ slashdotter, I'm still writing lots of new code, creating new applications and staying in touch with the bleeding edge of technology. How about the rest of the over the hill gang?


Journal Journal: geeky license plates 15

Okay, I'm in a new state of the union, time to get my new license plates. In my previous state my plates were: GOOGLE.

In my new state, I so far have found the following I like (and am including ones not available for the record). I'm looking for feedback, and possible additional suggestions. Feel free:

  • UBUNTU (available, but too obscure? -- still, great PR for an up and coming lay-linux distro)
  • UNIX not available
  • LINUX not available
  • UN STAR X available, kind of a play on UN*X, but I fear also a bit too obscure
  • DR LINUX available (I like this one)
  • LINUX DR available (I like this one, too)
  • LINUX RX available (I and others in this house like this one -- the "others" like this one the best so far). It's a nice play on "rocks" (sounding it out), and on "RX" as in prescription.

Here are some others' suggestions:

  • MULTICS -- available (from Short Circuit) -- good one, but a bit more obscure than I think I want
  • TUXRACR -- available (from Short Circuit) -- Yeah, I have tried for a TUX theme, TUX wasn't available, but I'd like to go for something without the vowel-drop thing going on.
  • FIREFOX -- not available (from nizo)
  • NIX GEEK -- (from nizo) -- I'm afraid of misinterpreting "NIX" as in "no geeks".
  • NIX NERD -- (from nizo) -- see previous
  • GOT ROOT -- available! -- I LIKE this one, definitely in the short list!

NOTE/UPDATE: If it helps, and for the record, the car is a Honda Ridgeline Pickup/SUV/whatever.

I will keep a running edit on this as I find suggestions and incorporate them.

UPDATE: Aug 21, 2007: Thanks to all for the suggestions, I am enjoying the ideas. Here's where I am now: I discovered I can get different "specialty" vanity plates, one of which has "UNIX" available as an option, a vanity plate I once owned in Washington, and is high on my list for this time.

I still like UBUNTU and GOT ROOT and vmlinuz among others. Hmmm, wondering about GOT UNIX, that would be cool.

I've submitted an e-mail to the state because I actually tried to "pull the trigger" on the UNIX, and kept getting error messages to the effect there may be some issue with my title/registration. I assumend this may be related to my "new" car, but had my brother try the same thing with his car and he got the same error message -- I'm guessing there's something wrong with the application. Sigh.

Also, for any submitting other suggestions... one restriction: the MAX number of chars (numbers and/or letters) for any plate is seven. Spaces are allowed even for seven chars (I don't entirely understand why).

Again, thanks for the cool suggestions, I will continue to provide status and updates.

Journal Journal: slashdot censorship? 4

(Note: after Cmr Taco confronted my "Godwin" title, I have edited and re-worked this entry... the focus is on apparent censorship, and I should have been more sensitive to that.)

Seems some slashdot enforcers with mod points, lots of them, were diligent to keep my post completely off the radar screen.

That post sits at a net mod of -2, final tally 0. All of the down-mods are "Overrated", and it took six (at least) to keep it down modded.

I don't claim to be a great poster, and don't care what other people think (too much). But, the post in question seemingly is innocuous enough, certainly if it were to be correctly down-modded, I would have expected to see more of "troll" or "flamebait", but there were none. So, how does this happen?

The post got a quick -2 mods immediately after submitting -- that's right, it was rated "Overrated" before is had even been rated... WTF?

This has happened before, I suspect it's some idiot insider with unlimited discretionary modding priveleges (something which I have NOT received not for almost 30 months, WTF? (a different discussion -- they actually have a "reason" for that)).

I just would appreciate more candor around some of the crap sometime. I won't stop posting, and I still don't care what others think, but it'd be nice to see some backbone and hear from and why some of my posts have to be nuked off the radar screen.


Journal Journal: Microsoft's Amazing Media Presence 1

Amazing, simply amazing.

On my personalized Google Home Page, I included the "Technology" headlines widget. Ostensibly this was to see important technology headlines, but now I wonder what drives the headline selection process. Since Microsoft's "iPod Killer" announcement (do you even have to look for that?) the first headline in this "Technology" segment has always been a Microsoft headline, specifically, a headline about Microsoft's new Zune.

On two machines, two browsers, the first headline in one is "And finally: Microsoft to launch iPod rival", the first headline in the other is: "Microsoft Announces Its Own iPod Competitor". WTF? How do they do this?

At first it was merely annoying, seemingly an endless and dizzying parade of articles pandering to this amazing, dazzling, savvy, smart, "innovative" move by Microsoft. Now, I find it suspicious! These are headlines ostensibly from NEWS -- headlines from CNN, ABC, and others. What the Hey?

Or, is something less sinister at hand here, is Google somehow picking up on what I read, and sampling and choosing headlines based on my apparent tastes? (Though I'd be hard pressed to find any empirical evidence I'm showing hints about interest in Microsoft's musical offering.


UPDATE @ 12:23, 7/25: Third headline: "Microsoft Confirms Launch of "Zune""

UPDATE @ 12:26: Third headline: "Microsoft's Zune will be interoperable with iTunes?"


Journal Journal: ads continue offensive evolution 4

I know it's not about spam, but it's becoming just as intrusive, indsidious and offensive. And the new Flash "ad" is on the top of the Slashdot page! Shazbot! WTF?

I'm running Flashblock, I thought an acceptable solution to the annoying Flash ads, but now Flash ads are figuring out ways to step on your browser real estate even though Flashblock is blocking them from running. Shazbot!

The current offender is some Intel ad -- yeah, I clicked the Flashblock start arrow just to see who the f*** was doing the advertising. Yeah, it was Intel.

Guess what, I was just looking at new laptops, weighing ins and outs of various configurations. Guess what just got a very negative weight? Yeah, Intel. So, the few machines I'd narrowed it down to -- yeah, I'm getting an AMD machine.

I know AMD is probably putting out their own offensive Flash ad somewhere, and I'll deal and react with that if and when I encounter it -- but it so happens Intel was front and center with this new crap.

(An aside on this, aside from the annoyance factor for me -- I know how to accommodate, and deal, and re-configure with this annoying advertising. But now I know I'm going to run into yet another round of support issues for friends and family who don't know what's happening to their once familiar web site, -- "Something keeps showing up at 'XXXX', and it's not what I asked for!". Gawd I hate the advertising industry.

You want to re-direct my purchasing dollars elsewhere?, keep it up with the f***ing annoying ads!


Journal Journal: Bob Dylan would be proud

Just finished boxing up my CD collection... sheesh, it weighs about 250lbs.

I'm moving back to the midwest... my neighbor kindly supplied me with heavy duty boxes from the grocery chain where she works... these boxes were used to ship meat to the grocery store.

The boxes are rock solid heavy duty, perfect! Interestingly the boxes have the aroma of a meat market, and some have the characteristic (though minimal) blood stain here and there.

This may bring a more literal sense to my Bob Dylan CD, "Blood on the Tracks".

No, you're too kind... please, sit... I'll be here all night.

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