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The New Look Tech Blog

Yeah. Blame the Geek.

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A news story is out about how an Estonian student was responsible for the DDOS attacks taking some government websites offline.

Well, the big deal is that his actions almost soured relations between Estonia and Russia even further.

Hold the phone. WHY are relations between Russia and Estonia so frosty? Because Russia invaded Estonia and placed their blinkin’ statues all over the place and made Estonians very upset.

Now, 63years later the Estonians want to move a bronze statue depicting a Russian soldier, and the Russian minority does not like the idea.

THAT’s what started the whole shebang right there.

Sure the geek hacked the sites and whatnot, but again it is governments around the globe that mess around with international politics and cause outrage.

Sure geeks actually DO the hacking… but the question should be why, I bet that if one stops the geek witch hunt and starts fixing the underlying issues the world will be a much better place…

Okay, I’ll Bite… Windows 7

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Vista is out. It is sitting on our shelves installed on shiny new monster PC’s using 700mb of RAM, just sitting there, waiting for the next customer. continue reading…

EU launches another MS Probe.

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The EU has decided to launch another spate of investigations into MS business practices, justice? I hope so, maybe other software vendors can catch a bit of a break because of this. continue reading…

The story on the OLPC project developing a dual boot module for Linux and XP convinced me to wright this.

Getting two operating systems to live together on the same hard-drive, or even on two different hard-drives on the same computer is laughably easy if you use Linux. continue reading…

I like stories that make me feel all nougat squishy inside. This one does. Apparently the OLPC project is “working together” with Microsoft to “develop” a dual boot system that allows either Linux or XP to be booted.

I have news for them, it already exists, and has for a while in fact.

It’s called GRUB. And if you’re an old salt you might prefer LILO.

If MS has flavored XP to run on the XO (as it is called) then the only real modification I would see to be necessary would be a larger hard-drive. And since the XO uses a flash drive I am sure that won’t be too hard. Currently the XO-1 sports a 1gb flash drive.

My inherent distrust of MS aside, I find it encouraging that Children from all over the world will be able to do exactly what I am doing right now with a choice of software.

The fact that Windows is so prevalent means that the use of XP on the XO-1 will give these kids a good start in the world of “computers everwhere”

Salut to thinking of the kids first!

Ooh, a Double Whammy…

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Two interesting stories today…

Again both stories are from the BBC. The first one relates how Intel apparently made things difficult for the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) Project.

While the tone of the news report makes it difficult to ascertain exactly who is the party in the wrong, one thing seems certain, OLPC project leader Professor Nicholas Negroponte has had enough.

“Why would I throw away the six million dollars they were supposed to give us yesterday? Why would I do all of these things unless I was stark raving mad?”

According to him Intel would go in and push their competing product to governments after the OLPC Project has already signed a contract.

A Cited example is Peru where apparently Intel tried to convince Vice Minister of Education Oscar Becerra Tresierra to buy the Intel Classmate PC.

Mr Paul Otellini, the head of Intel, called the allegations “Hogwash”

An interesting note is that the OLPC product uses AMD hardware, runs Open Source software whereas the Intel product uses Intel Architecture (obviously duh) and runs Windows.

Windows *shudder*.

I am sniffing a spanner in the works, one that is shaped like Bill Gates glasses. But that again is just speculation on my part.

Read more on that here.

On the next story I do not have too much to say, but IT’S ABOUT TIME SANITY RETURNED!

The UK Minister of  Intellectual Property Lord Triesman suggested that the laws governing copyright should catch up with the times.

A new law would make it legal for users to copy music from their PC’s onto a CD.

Score one for Customers Rights!

Thats all for today, read more on this here.

Oh the Internet!

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Oh this just keeps getting better.

Back on my Mobile Computing Tack, this morning there is a story from the BBC Intel predicting a “Personal Net.”

From the story:

“It’s an internet that is proactive, predictive and context-aware.”

Explaining that devices would be location-aware, and would access the internet over Wimax wireless connections, he said: “Instead of going to the internet, the internet comes to us.

“We need a ubiquitous, wireless broadband infrastructure. Eventually we will blanket the globe in wireless broadband connectivity.”

Now this is interesting. Has anyone watched Minority Report? Hellooo invasive and pervasive advertising! Maybe that’s too cynical, but still, I am not a fan of unsolicited advertising. An internet that knows where you are at all time your device is turned on creates opportunities to invade your privacy that goes beyond our wildest fears.

That said, advertising and big corporations is where the money is coming from isn’t it? Heck if geekdom had as much cash we could make Tech Utopia and royally shaft the internet as we know it today.

Also Interesting is Mr Otellini’s comment on the future of mobile computing. Just a few days ago I remarked on the future of Mobile Tech.

I wrote:

I am guessing that in the future of mobile devices we will see cellphone size devices that will rival current laptops for power and storage size.

The news story remarks on Intel’s MENLO range of processors, that will be able to deliver the internet “…with no compromise…”, devices that are just a little bit larger than current mobile devices, but using these chips, which are 25% smaller than previous generations.

We live in a wonderful era! Tricorders here I come!

A recent story here on Slashdot got me thinking.

Well to understand how I got to my train of thought you have to read my comment and the replies that followed.

One poster replied that his Dad now uses OpenOffice, and his Grandma uses Ubuntu. (Linux you insensitive clod!)

I am tech savvy, but no way near guru status. Heck I am only now becoming Linux proficient. Yet the switch was not that difficult. I remember when I still worked in an office and I was the only guy that still used Windows 98, except for the receptionist who ran a thin client and basically used Windows 2003 on her 98 box.

Having taken the leap into the Land of the Free (hah!) I can now muse over the “How Hard” factor, and the why I hesitated.

The honest truth is that I saw no real need to switch over to XP. Even the Receptionist got upgraded when her PC bogged down (why the bogdown is still a mystery…) which left me to be the only die-hard in the office, and me moonlighting as tech support…

XP irritated me. 98 was familiar, and I could fool around to fix stuff in a way that XP would not allow me to. When I was still selling PC’s way back when ME came out, we recommended 98se because we believed it was better, and in the end it was.

It was not THAT hard to start working with XP when I bought a computer for the house and it had XP preloaded (this was a little over two years ago, go figure), and in fact after a while I was, erm, comfortable.

On day to day usability I saw no gain over 98, but I decided to bid my old friend goodbye and embrace my new work environment for what it was – the only perceived alternative.

Now we sold the odd Linux PC’s alongside Win 98, Mandrake Linux I think it was, so Linux was not new to me, we never installed it mind you, just passed the package along with the clean PC to the customer and wished them luck. The problem was my perception. I perceived it to be “hard to work on”, “incompatible”, “…have to learn a new OS…” and the list went on.

Why oh Why? Having crossed over, and having a wife who crossed over, I can now honestly say that my perceptions where at the very best skewed. My 57year old dad browsed the web last night on my Linux Mint laptop using Firefox, and while he did not do anything more than browse, he immediately felt at home.

I submit that it is easier to convert to using Linux than it is to move on from XP to Vista. Heck I would have hung on to XP the same way I hung onto 98!

As an example of me resisting upgrading, I still haven’t tried Gutsy or Linux Mint Daryna. I still use Feisty and Cassandra. Fact is change of OS or upgrading makes people uncomfortable. Unfortunately consumers tend to act like sheep in this regard, “well XP was perfect for me” – and to many it is – “but if Vista is the only option I probably have no choice but to learn how to use it…”

Because it is the only perceived alternative.

I installed my Wireless PCMCIA card with a Windows Driver, loaded a bunch of Windows Programs via Wine as a proof to a skeptical brother who said it couldn’t be done, sat back, and realized I’ll never need Windows again.

The key to Linux success is killing the bad perception. Crossing over has been made dead easy.

I almost labeled this post “I Told You So!”

Then I thought Better of it.

Then I thought, “Well at least in brackets then…” So there you have it.

A few days ago in this post I mused about the continual shrinking of mobile computing devices, and how one of the limiting areas of cellphone size would be screen size.

Then, the day after I blogged PC Mag ran a follow-up story on the world’s smallest projector being ready for launch. Here is the original Story.

The SHOW, as it is named, is a PicoP lensless projector. It uses three Lasers (Red, Green, Blue) and a combiner to project an image on any light enough surface. The image of the latest version is 848×480 pixels, or roughly normal DVD resolution.

The kicker for me is that this device is tiny. Small enough in fact that it can fit in a cellphone. Microvision (the developers of this gem) envisioned PicoP enabled cellphones as early as 2008. Here’s the I-Told-You-So moment. A projector enabled cellphone is one step closer to the holographic display I envisioned in my previous blog.

Since there are already cellphones available that can play movies, are internet capable and offer basic office usability, it is laughably easy to include the I-Tech Virtual Keyboard in the cellphone design and a practical pocket-sized mobile office is a reality!

The current model is about the size of an I-Pod, and offers USB connectivity, charging via USB and a 1-and-a-half hour battery life.

So there you have it, mobile projecting of tomorrow – today!

Links:

www.pcmag.com
Story On Demo Projector
Story on Release Model
My Original Blog – “Going Mobile”

Installing Linux and XP

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Ah, that old bugbear of anybody who has tinkered with their computer (read: “Most Gamers”), re-installing their operating system.

For the sake of brevity I will not get into too much detail unless needed, or dive too deeply into the technical stuff. My hardware in this case is an older machine: A Dell Latitude C610, PIII 1ghz, 256mb Ram, ATI Radeon Mobility M6LY 16mb.

Please note: This is NOT a step-by-step folks, it’s a first impressions type thingy… step-by-step MIGHT follow later on…

continue reading…