Tuesday, February 27, 2007 7:15 AM Dell to Add Linux-Certified Desktops, Laptops - News and Analysis by PC Magazine

Dell to Add Linux-Certified Desktops, Laptops - News and Analysis by PC Magazine

I really hope they add Ubuntu to this list. My friend got a very nice dell laptop a year or so ago. I quite like the laptop, and the only thing that would have made it better is pre-installed Ubuntu.

Saturday, February 24, 2007 8:11 PM Orisinal : Morning Sunshine

Orisinal : Morning Sunshine

A set of games which are wonderfully designed and produced. I haven't played them all, and I don't enjoy the gameplay in them all. But ... and this is an important but. Each of them is a piece of art, both visually and aurally. In addition, they are all simple. Dead simple. Most of them come with instructions, but I bet that most people could figure out how to play each of the games by just clicking around a bit.

Thursday, February 22, 2007 4:31 PM The arcane publishing practices of the academic world

When I first signed up for my masters degree, I expected to find a much more progressive culture of open access. Unfortunately it was much the opposite. Most of the academic research do they charge a fee, they charge very large fees. It's unfortunate, but North American Universities take this for granted.

Until reading Mako's posts, I did not realize how much this practice affected me. I feel that it played a large role in my decision to not to further pursue a Doctorate.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 6:42 PM Something to read later


Sounds like some interesting advice.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 1:37 PM Cell-phones!

How stupid is it that the cell phone providers "bet" with us about our usage for the month? If we win, they only get our monthly fee. If they win then we pay out of the nose. Why isn't the cell-phone company on our side?!

Imagine a grocery store that worked like a cell phone company. You guess at your monthly food intake and then sign up for two years at 40$ a month. Then every day/week you go to the store and pick up the necessary food for the week. But they don't tell you how much it costs, you have to figure that out based on when you're at the store and how much you get. At the end of the month they tally up your account and if you're under .... too bad, you still get charged the 40$. Went way over cause you had family over for vacation? That'll be 400$ please.

Now, imagine a provider where you pay them some small monthly fee for network access, and then your monthly-payment is based on your actual usage. Didn't use your phone? fine, don't give them any money. You used it about twice as much as last month? Great that means you qualify for their 80$ a month plan and that's what you're charged.

Monday, February 19, 2007 7:52 AM Conduit

I've recently been looking at a way to sync files between my laptop, desktop and work computer. After considering iFolder, I settled on Unison. It's worked well, although it has crashed on me in the middle of some larger transfers.

Both of the above perform simple file synchronization. So if you want your email, or your Gaim contacts, or your Tomboy notes synchronized, you need to find where they store their files and setup the profile.

In steps conduit. It's got me excited. It knows about all of the different types of things I may want to synchronize between computers. And ... even more importantly, it knows how to sync between different applications. From the screenshots, it appears that it will sync between different application types. For instance: sync your notes between Tomboy and and gmail!

They're still young software but I'm sure that they would love more testers and developers. The best part is that it is written in python, which significantly increases the chances that I'll contribute.


Sunday, February 18, 2007 7:32 PM Zelda: The twilight princess

I really looked forward to playing this game. It was the beginning of a new era for me. The game was released a two days before my thesis defense. I would have the time and have no responsibilities to hold me back.

Ugh. That's about all I can say. The game has been severely tedious for me. Tonight I set aside a few hours to play it. I wanted to really sit down and enjoy it. But everywhere I go I'm presented with tedious tasks. Even worse than this is when tedious tasks turn out to be the wrong ones!

Take the entrance to Death mountain for instance. According to the story, I was to go there and save the day. So I happily headed out, ready to kick some ass. Right at the beginning I'm met by a Goron who throws me off of the cliff. Just before he strikes me a message pops up telling me to press "A". But my reflexes aren't fast enough. So I climb back up the cliff (which is 30 more seconds of boring) to try again. This time I press "A" in time. But I'm slowly pushed to the edge and thrown off the cliff. "Huh?" I think. I climb back up (30 more seconds). This time I stop before I get too close and think about it. What am I supposed to do. Maybe I should try to get closer to him before he hits me so that I have time to stop him. Nope. As soon as he starts rolling towards me, I'm prevented from moving forward (or backwards)?!!. And I'm thrown off again. There are no messages telling me what I'm doing wrong. Everything in the game up to this point has told me I'm supposed to be here. But I have no clue what I'm supposed to do. I think about it more, I consider all my options. I explore the surrounding area looking for a clue, or an alternate passage. Nothing.

So ... I try again. After a few more unsuccessful tries, I'm almost dead. I head back to town to collect some hearts. As I exit the area I'm met by the town elder who informs me that it's impossible for me to go that way at this point. I should go back to my hometown and talk to person X. Thanks.

Thanks for fucking wasting my time.

5:49 PM YouTube - Mario Piano Medley - MMLeung

YouTube - Mario Piano Medley - MMLeung

And his website.

This kid is good. Man does this bring back the nostalgia of playing Mario.

5:14 PM blender.org - Blender 2.43

blender.org - Blender 2.43

Blender rocks! I'm blogging this mostly to let Mike know about their new Sculpt Mode and their new Muli-res Mesh mode.

I'm off to download and try it out.

8:54 AM Show Me that Updated Gnome Main Menu « Open Source Advocacy with Reverend Ted

Show Me that Updated Gnome Main Menu « Open Source Advocacy with Reverend Ted

I like the ideas behind this menu and want to try it.

Saturday, February 17, 2007 8:04 PM Of Apples and Oranges, GNOME and KDE

I used to think quite a lot of Linus. I still do. But I can't believe that he could be so unbending in his view [1]. It's as if the reasoning portion of his brain was shut off. Not to mention the other fan-boys who made uninformed and useless comments on this article.

I've used KDE in the past, I even try it again about every 6 months. Every time, I find it completely unusable. The defaults are cluttered. There are too many buttons, too many options. I can configure each and every aspect of my desktop operating system. I previously made attempts to do this. When I used KDE regularly, I would find that every weekend was spent tweaking those options. At the end of the weekend I would think smugly to myself: I've got it this time. This desktop is the best ever. And yet, the next weekend I'd be frustrated by my choices, and I'd be back browsing the options. (Yes. I realize that this is mostly my fault, but keep reading)

Then I installed Ubuntu and they gave me a simple desktop. It did what I wanted. It made it easy. There was a consistency to the desktop. I could learn how one application worked and then apply those rules to the next application with consistent results. I have to admit that there are times when I find some task that is harder than I'd like. Or down right impossible. In these cases I've found that the Gnome developers have always been open to solutions. They just want solutions that are well thought out, consistent, and simple.

One of the problems is that many people don't actually know what they want. Apparently, I'm not the only person like this. Given time to think about their preferences people will gladly make up some reason why they like X over Y. Most of the time they're wrong. They know what they like when presented with it, but they don't know why. Another problem is that not every one is an INTJ. Not everyone uses the same thought processes.

Some people are control freaks. They know their computer inside and out, and want to control every aspect of it. They have a specific work flow and they want to follow it. They will want to tweak every last aspect of it. That's fine. They should do that. And it's likely that they'll currently prefer KDE over Gnome. That's fine too.

However, some people have dyscalculia, some have dyslexia. And more importantly, most people just want their computer to work, to be simple and to do the few things they want to do. I don't have the stats. But I'm willing to bet that there is a far larger group of computer users who fall into the latter category. All but two of my family want something simple that works. Most of my friends want the same thing. Gnome gives this to them. KDE confuses them.

In the end, it's also important to note that everyone is different, and that trying to to say that everyone should use KDE or that everyone should use Gnome is misguided. Each project has a lot to offer. And each has their failings.

Me? I'm a power user. I've always been top of my class. I've got my Bachelor's in computer science with Honours. I've got my Masters in computer science. I've got an open invitation to return and get my PhD. I've used Linux for over 6 years. And I've configured and tweaked every part of my operating system.

But apparently I'm an idiot-user. I'm also an interface-nazi. Apparently Linus knows better, and is certain that I don't know what I'm talking about. I should be using KDE.

But I don't. Why? Because I like to get things done. I like my desktop to be configured with sane defaults. I like my computer to work. I like simplicity and I want my computer to infer what I want rather than explicitly asking me for my choice of gads options at every turn.

So here's to Gnome. Here's to Ubuntu. Here's to the combination that brought GNU/Linux to both of my parents who are using it exclusively since 2005. Here's to the operating system and desktop environment that convinced two of my co-workers to drop windows on their workstations. Here's to continuing that tradition. Is Gnome perfect? No. But it's damned good and keeps getting better everyday.

And finally, here's to KDE. Without it, Linus and his fan-boys would still be using virtual terminals. Without KDE, Gnome wouldn't have an open source competitor that innovates and subsequently motivates Gnome to improve and innovate each and every day.

[1] Of Apples and Oranges, GNOME and KDE « Ubuntu Blog

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