Life without Windows or OS X

GNU/Linux is quite possibly the most important free software achievement since the original Space War, or, more recently, Emacs. It has developed into an operating system for business, education, and personal productivity. GNU/Linux is no longer only for UNIX wizards who sit for hours in front of a glowing console. Are you thinking about switching to Linux and want to learn how to use it? Have you been using GNU/Linux for some time and want to learn even more? This is the place for you.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Dimension n Series E510

Are you looking for a desktop on which you can run Linux® or other open-source operating systems? Look no further!

Dell's new open-source n Series desktop solution provides customers with a DimensionTM E510 desktop without an installed or included Microsoft® operating system. With the n Series desktop, customers have the flexibility to install an alternative operating system (such as a version of Linux®), and help reduce the price of this system. In addition, the n Series desktop comes with a non-formatted hard drive ready for your custom installation. Dell's n Series desktop ships with a copy of FreeDosTM, an open-source operating system that is ready to install.

Note: Dell does not support non-Dell installed operating systems.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Green Machine: $100.00 laptop

The affordable wireless cell phone has already begun to reshape the world. This computer is the size of a textbook, features built-in wireless capability that can connect to the web via WiFi and create local area networks, and since electricity in many parts of the developing world is expensive, inconsistent, or non-existent can be powered by a hand crank.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I was just at Kalibonca's web page. It's a company that relies on a collection of freelance workers rather than fulltime employees. They use what is known as a Live CD. When the user starts up the computer with the Linux program in the CD drive, the Windows program on hard drive is by-passed and Linux is loaded into the computer's memory instead. I would think a live DVD would be nicer, but thats just me. Oh and one big note: users will need a computer with two CD drives; the Linux system disk must remain in the main CD drive while the program's second and third disks run one at a time in the other CD drive.

Their mission is : “We believe Computing is fun and that computers increase our productivity a hundred times. Sadly, Computing has been hijacked and reduced to revenue generation by greedy college dropouts and page-ranking PhDs. Unnecessary complexity, user frustration and malicious code characterize the modern computing experience. We hope to reverse this dumbing down with the Kalibonca Gateway.
Kalibonca is designed to be "convivial" as defined by Ivan Illich. Conviviality refers to graceful playfullness in tools – the opposite of industrial productivity. Not to tipsy jollyness in the user.”

“3 CDs that will change your life, only $29.99 (+S/H)”

Monday, January 23, 2006

Defending the world's freedoms

The principles are the same, but technology has moved on significantly in the 15 years since the release of GPL 2

GPL 3 to take hard line on DRM

'We don't want our software used in a way which batters the head of the user to please somebody else', says Eben Moglen.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Mount Rainier: EasyWrite

One of the common criticisms heard from those considering a change to Linux is that support for the newest and greatest devices is often lacking. In some cases, that is accurate. One case where it is not true is in Mount Rainier support for CD-RW drives. Essentially, Mount Rainier, a.k.a EasyWrite provides background formatting and defect management for storage on CD-RW and DVD+RW. In other words, this eventual floppy replacement offers considerable added value in business and home PCs. EasyWrite provides the easiest way available to store, move and share large quantities of information. All you have to do is take a new CD-RW disc out of the box, pop it into the drive, and within seconds you can start dragging and dropping data. The drive it self handles formatting in the background.

At this point, only Linux offers OS-level support for the Mount Rainier requirement. Windows and Mac OS users can use it too, but they will need to run a separate program to access the discs. Mount Rainier support has been in the Linux kernel in some form or another since the 2.4 series. Conversely, full support began with the 2.6.2-rc1 kernels. So right now Linux users can enjoy a feature that Windows users will have to wait for in Vista.

Soon you will start to see DVD+MRW (Mount Rainier Write) supported drives in the stores and you can use the same DVD+RW discs you already use with your current DVD+RW drive.

Note: “DVD+RW is the only recordable DVD system that may optionally offer drives with Mount Rainier-based drag-'n-drop support, also known as EasyWrite. DVD-RW will never offer Mt. Rainier (EasyWrite) support, as it is not part of its specification.”

Thursday, January 19, 2006

CD/DVD Burning.

NeroLINUX provides LINUX users with the tools necessary to perform optical recording tasks. The application is both stable and reliable and supports burning data and disc images to Cds/DVDs (ISO9660, UDF and UDF/ISO9660 Bridge), bootable Cds/DVDs, and Audio CDs. Nero LINUX is provided as a standard LINUX package in RPM or DEB and supports 32-bit platforms including; Red Hat 7.2, 7.3, 8.0, 9.0 and Enterprise Linux 3.0.

Own What You Pay For

I known many of my statements on this blog seemed to aimed at “geeks”. But its really aimed at every one...if you use a computer and or surf the web I'm speaking to you. My mission is to chat about “choice” and the governments responsibility to make sure we have one.

XCP Digital rights management, is on of those things that effect us all and not for the better. XCP uses rootkit technology to hide certain files from you on a your own computer,and that technique is a security threat to computer users. Did you know one of the uninstallation options provided by Sony BMG introduced further vulnerabilities to computer systems?
Why is Napster requiring users to pay an additional $.99 per each track to burn a track to CD when songs bought through Napster cannot be played on iPods? If you bought the songs and your not breaking any copyright laws, then why then DRM restrictions?
Linux users are barred from popular music services by Microsoft's unwillingness to license DRM to Linux companies. Therefore, most content obtained from online commercial sources such as Napster are out of reach. Microsoft is clearly trying to use their operating system monopoly to strong-arm control of the music industry and lock out competing Linux companies.
Because Microsoft did such a powerful job of marketing and locking up all the software channels, we ended up with a monopoly. Unfortunately, Microsoft then abused that monopoly, as the courts found, by locking others out of that channel and creating an environment where they were free to raise prices regardless of the quality of their products or services.

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That in it's [sic] essence, is Fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any controlling private power."
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt, Message proposing the "Standard Oil" Monopoly Investigation, 1938

Friday, January 13, 2006

High cost of PC gaming

Some friends and me were sitting around talking about up grading to a new PC. They have an Intel Celeron D 310 Prescott around 2.13GHz. It has on board video, 256mb of RAM and no AGP port or PCIx16 port for a gaming video card. Bottom line they wanted to play newer PC games and where unable to do so on their feeble system.
We checked many system builders online and found many wanted around $1000 for a so-called gaming system. They wanted well over a $2000 for a dual core CPU with the nVidia 7800 OC (or similar GPU) that can play similar games as the XBOX360. Nevertheless the 360 console can play powerful games for a lesser price. For me consoles are superior for gaming. These days PC’s limit you to about 3 genres of games: online RPG, FPS and strategy. If you like any other kind of games you can be out of luck some times.
For inexpensive gaming: Get a Game Cube, PS2, Xbox, or even an XBOX360. Consoles will not replace PCs; it’s just a better alternative for gaming at a lower price-point. I ask you, what $500 computer can match the performance of the Xbox 360?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD)

Hey are you old enough to remember the format wars between Betamax and VHS? Even though Sony's Betamax consumer videotape format was technically superior to VHS in nearly every way, VHS won the war. Why? There was one point in the battle, a key window of opportunity, where VHS could record a maximum of six hours on a single tape, compared to Beta's five.

Format War:2 Blu-ray Disc vs HD-DVD

The competing technologies are Blu-ray, the high-definition video disc format backed by Sony and several other major vendors, against HD-DVD, which is backed by the DVD Forum and companies including Toshiba, NEC, Intel, and Microsoft.
The difference in storage space is huge: regular DVDs can hold 4.7GB of music, movies, and other data, while Blu-ray can carry 25GB of data and HD-DVD, 15GB. But despite some other advantages for each of the two new formats, the companies backing them have been unable to compromise on a single standard. But a prolonged war between the two incompatible formats may mean consumers have a long wait for a clear winner to emerge, potentially holding off widespread adoption of high-def DVDs for years if ever. The Beta-VHS wars lasted 10 years.

It does not matter who wins this battle, Blu-ray Disc or HD-DVD, they both lose the War.

Soon to enter battle is the Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD). It employs a technique known as collinear holography, whereby two lasers, one red and one blue-green, are collimated in a single beam. The blue-green laser reads data encoded as laser interference fringes from a holographic layer near the top of the disc while the red laser is used to read servo information from a regular CD-style aluminium layer near the bottom. Servo information is used to monitor the position of the read head over the disc, similar to the head, track, and sector information on a conventional hard disk drive. These disks have the capacity to hold up to 3.9 terabytes (3,900 GB) of information, which is approximately 160 times the capacity of single-layer Blu-ray Discs. The HVD also has a transfer rate of 1 Gbit/s. Optware is expected to release a 200GB disc in early june of 2006.
HVD storage also offers interesting possibilities for data protection. The 3-D hologram is recorded using the two-dimensional page data which is surrounded by a reference pattern, formed together on the mirrors of the DMD device. The page data then cannot be read out except by the reproducing the exact reference pattern. In this form of encryption, there are over a million key combinations per page, and each page can have a different reference key. Since the HVD system writes 23,000 pages/sec., a fully encrypted disc would require 22 giga keys/sec. to unlock.
And theres the The Holographic Versatile Card (HVC).It is only as big as a credit-card but stores 30GB of data. 30GB is about 6 times more than a DVD can store and in closer to the capacity of next generation DVD formats like Blu-ray or HD DVD.

A HVC costs about 90 cents, however a HVC read/write drive is supposed to cost around $5,800

In less than ten years the price of HVC and HVD read/write drives will be much cheaper. So who will win the Format War? I can tell you who it wont be.

Devil's Deal

With the cost of the Windows operating system remaining relatively unvarying, even as PC hardware components costs have dropped over the last 10 years, PC purveyors in the up-and-coming markets are more and more being driven to Linux in order to maintain their profit margins. The poor more and more are going to the net, the world wide web. I think it’s a trend that should continue.
However you have many in the world who want to highjack the marketplace. It stands to reason that if hardware price is down then why not is cost of Windows operating system still so high and getting higher each time. Microsoft has identified emerging markets as a major sales opportunity partly few PCs have yet been sold there. Can’t afford XP you poor souls then the XP Starter Edition is for you guys. Company executives have said it (Windows XP Starter Edition) is not a stripped- down version of Windows, but instead a tailored version in local languages.
Oh really? The starter OS lacks support for advanced features such as ability to establish multiple user accounts on a single PC and limits the number of applications that can run at one time to three. Also the OS will only work with some CPUs such as Intel’s Celeron®, Celeron D and Celeron M; AMD’s Duron™,Geode™ and Sempron™. There’s an 80 GB maximum hard disk space and last but not least 256 MB for maximum RAM.
So someone explain this to me how is that not XP stripped down. Oh I know. The people in poor countries are use to getting seconds. In the U.S., about 60 percent of households have a PC. In India the figure is below 2 percent. Russia and China are below 5 percent. Its getting harder to sell the U.S. public magic beans, now its time for a new group that has not caught onto the game.
It’s sad to see PC vendors in the over seas market more and more being driven to make a deal with the devil. The XP Starter Edition is just that a devil in camouflage. There are other alternatives out there, so don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t have a choice.

Magnetic storage

If you’re like me, you use CDs and DVDs to store all your pictures, videos and songs. Did you know many of the cheap burnable CDs available at discount stores have a life span of around two years; some of the better-quality discs offer a longer life span, of maybe five years. There are a few things you can do to extend the life of a burned CD, like keeping the disc in a cool, dark space, but not a whole lot more you can do.

Magnetic storage media have declined some say, how ever; it remains in demand, despite predictions of its so-called demise. For example, moderately traditional tape mechanisms still play a major role in safeguarding large amounts of data. Some PC manufacturers plan to do away with floppy disk drives from their personal computers, yet worldwide demand for floppy disks has not vanished completely. Magnetic tapes are also subject to degradation but they're still the superior storage media. Magnetic tapes, I think, can have a life span of 10 years to 20 or more years, depending on their quality.

If you want to avoid having to burn new CDs every few years, look too Iomega REV products. Standards for Iomega REV Drives offer you an out-of-the-box backup and a recovery solution. They have multi-OS support for Windows, Linux and NetWare. People say that the media (for Iomega REV Drives) is more proficient and dependable than traditional tape systems. Its Back up and restore is faster than tape. Iomega REV disks hold 35GB of uncompressed data, more than most low-end tape drives and are said to have a shelf life that exceeds 30 years. We all need to be constantly looking at new storage technologies and have an archiving strategy that allows us to automatically migrate our memories. No storage medium lasts forever.

Iomega 35GB/90GB REV Disk cost $49 to $66 Iomega REV Drives cost $259 to $430

Friday, January 06, 2006

Sue Me

Where does it all stop? No one is sure actually. I feel that there is an on going dilemma in the U.S. that really needs to be addressed at one point. I'm talking about frivolous lawsuits.How do they even get the time of day?

Case in point...In 1995, Robert Lee Brock, a Virginia prison inmate, sued himself. He asserted that his civil rights and religious beliefs were violated when he allowed himself to get drunk. After all, it was inebriation that created his cycle of committing crimes and being incarcerated. He wanted about $5 million from “himself”. However, since he didn’t earn an income behind bars, he felt the state should pay. The case was thrown out. Stupid huh?

In 2002..Lawyers filed a class action lawsuit against McDonald’s on behalf of New York kids, blaming the fast food restaurant for the their’ obesity. A 13-year-old boy from Staten Island, who was at the time 5-foot-4 and 278 pounds claimed he didn’t know that eating three to four fast food meals a week would add to his bigger than life gut. Way crazy huh?

In 1999....Rickey Higgins was thrown off his high school basketball team when he was caught driving under the influence. It was in fact his second alcohol-related offense. He sued his high school under the Americans With Disabilities Act seeking $100,000 in compensation and reinstatement to the team. I guess his family felt that since he was diagnosed as an alcoholic and that is a recognized disability under federal law, it was time to get paid. I don't make this stuff up.

Last but not least....the biggest case of them all. In February 1992, Stella Liebeck ordered a cup of coffee to go from McDonalds. She was sitting in the passenger seat of her nephew’s car, which was pulled over so she could add sugar to her coffee. While removing the cup’s lid, Liebeck spilled her hot coffee, burning her legs. It was determined that this woman suffered third degree burns on over six percent of her body. In the beginning, Liebeck sought only $20,000 in damages. McDonalds refused to settle out of court. However, they should have. Liebeck was ultimately awarded $200,000 in compensatory damages, which was reduced to $160,000 because she was found to be twenty percent at fault. She was also awarded $2.7 million in punitive damages.

December 21, 2005 Jews For Jesus, a Christian evangelical group, sued Google Inc., claiming the search engine has failed to respond to requests that it drop from its Blogger service a bolg that uses the group's name.

I say that “It is shameful that people have to fear being sued all the time. It is sinful that Bloggers might have to beware of sharing a thought. If Jews for Jesus wins a case like this,you can be sure our service providers will have to do things differently and it wont be for the better. In the U.S.,it has been the American religious organizations who has gained most benefits of free speech provisions. Yet, over time many these conservative groups that preach states rights and want smaller government look to government courts to attack people they don't agree with. I suppose next Microsoft® will attack Google because of my blogs opposition to their Windows XP Starter Edition being pasted off to poor people in other nations as something wonderful.”

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The EFF:Help fight against dangerous DRM.

The EFF is a nonprofit group of passionate people — lawyers, technologists, volunteers, and visionaries working to protect your digital rights.

Rebelsaid:Open Hardware Manufacturing

I and others enjoy the low cost of Linux OS. One of the most pressing impediments to the growth of desktop Linux is the need for hardware support. Its seems companies don't want to open up their drivers or put large amounts of resources into supporting a small share of the market. However, Desktop Linux's share of the market will be limited until the operating system is more accessible and compatible.

The open source software (OSS) initiative has already created a highly productive, globally supported alternative software platform. It was a movement started as a result of the discontent with the proprietary software world. The choice of free applications for Linux is growing all the time. I'm hopeing that a "Open Hardware Manufacturing Initiative" could do the same for hardware support. It could be joined or formed by a few companys that could make it clear not only that desktop Linux is something for everyone but also that it is a financially responsible choice for a seller. As I stated before...Linux has reached a point now where the superior Linux distributions are established enough to replace Microsoft Windows for many users if they desire to do so.

In my way of thinking, an OHM initiative will be a win-win for every one. For manufacturers and vendors who are looking to compete based on price, this is one of the few factors which every buyer would understand that an OHM company will have an appreciable advantage over systems which include the licensing costs of Windows. Every PC sold with Windows XP pre-installed has about a $70 surcharge. Stuff like Linspire-Linux probably has about a $30 surcharge. And let us not forget the included additional software fees, like Microsoft Office.

So I do hope in the new year a few motherboard manufacturers, printer/scanner manufacturers, and modem manufacturers will come together with the common goal of making bigger profits with an emerging platform.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Google OS

I here Google is planning to provide their own-brand Windows-less PC and sell the low-cost system through a partnership with Wal-Mart. The system will have Google's own operating system - most likely Linux - rather than Windows. Im sure much cheaper than The XP Starter Edition.
For the past few years Wal-Mart seems to be one of the leaders in providing Linux base PCs to the masses. It has been win-win for every one. For those on budget who want a computer to surf the internet, read their email, track their finances,blog and word processing, Walmart knows a Linux-based computer might make sense. Unlike Microsoft, Walmart survives primarily by serving its customers. As a retailer they cannot use copyright laws to trap its customers into using its stuff. That's possible only in the world of proprietary software.

It has been win-win for every one:Linux and other Open Source software allow Walmart to have very low computer costs. Every PC sold with Windows XP pre-installed has about a $70 surcharge. Stuff like linspire probably has about $30 surcharge.

If its true about

The fate of Internet Explorer

Microsoft employees ponder the fate of Internet Explorer
by Jeremy Reimer

The saga of Internet Explorer, the piece of software that once brought the Department of Justice to the brink of breaking up Microsoft, continues to eat away at the company....

Monday, January 02, 2006

Wood Rabbit

Im a Wood Rabbit. Im part of the fourth Sign of the Chinese Zodiac, and its a Yin Sign associated with the Wood Element. Although they appear to be very bland and unprepossessing types, It is said that Rabbits are often reservoirs of extreme emotion, which plays a great role in their choice of actions. The Rabbit is a mystery wrapped inside of a conundrum tucked away within an enigma, and is without a doubt one of the most difficult Signs to pin down, as they can jump in almost any direction. Oh well you pick up something new every day.
For Linux there is the Penguins...why the Penguins? Long story.

We are about to go into the year of the Fire Dog, that may not be good for Wood Rabbits like me but that year wont start for a few weeks. For now I must live out the year of Wood Rooster.

Kick the poor when their down:Windows- wrecked XP Starter Edition.

Linux has reached now a point where the superior Linux distributions are established enough to replace Microsoft Windows for many enterprise users if the organization desires to do so. There are many reasons for them wanting to do this. Linux offers enhanced protection against viruses. It provides the organization with more control over their infrastructure.
I use Linux, it does the job.I like Windows®, however the cost is a little much for what you actually get. Their solution for the high price tag is to give the poor a “joke-broken O.S.” called the Windows Starter Edition. It can only run three Applications at the same time. In my opinion that’s a busted-broken O.S. The XP Starter Edition is limited to running on machines with maximum memory of 256MB, aka a joke O.S. Hold on it gets better...The XP Starter Edition, get this, is limited to running on machines with a maximum hard disk drive space of 80GB. All major Desktop Linux (Even The Free Distributions) run unlimited software applications, unlimited system memory, and unlimited system hard disk space. The poor around the world should stay away from Windows- wrecked XP Starter Edition. Edubuntu, Kubuntu and Ubuntu are free cool distributions.