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Archive for September, 2010

I have been playing drums for over twenty years now and I consider myself a pretty savvy buyer when it comes to drums and cymbals and all the things that go into building a drum kit out of something other than felt and cardboard. That said I just want to put out a word of caution for those of you who ‘beat the skins’ like me, but may not be the most mechanically inclined. Like me.

I have had many people compliment me on my drum kits over the years and it is a testament to the level of OCD that I therapeutically release upon them. I like my drum kit to look as good as it sounds and I have been lucky enough to find cymbals, drums and such for a lot less than the retail they usually go for. On occasion though I have to do some upkeep on them and I have always gladly taken to such things as they come up. But not being very mechanically inclined as I am has brought with it some challenges to say the least. All I know is that I don’t mind the thought of dying while playing my drums, I just don’t want to die while fixing them..;-)

I know some of you must be thinking; “So what are you getting at Scott?” Good question..

I have a double bass drum pedal on my kit so I can play double bass stuff without having to lug around an entire second bass drum just to do it. It makes my kit fit on a lot more stages and is more visually pleasing because you can actually see me behind my kit instead of being hidden behind a wall of drums. The pedal I have I got used for $75 bucks which was a great deal because they retail for at least three times that amount.

I have had the pedal for several years now and the springs that make the pedal come back off the head when you are playing I had noticed were not as strong as they once were. I had adjusted them as far as I could and there was no more room and I was having to bury my foot into the pedal just to get the thing to do what I wanted. So I got the great idea to replace them. Easy right? Riiiight..

I was alright with taking them off the pedal and such and not breaking or killing anything in the vicinity. I went to the music store I frequent and asked if they had replacements and they referred me to my choice of hardware store. I was amazed for some reason to think that the guys at the music store would not be able to help me. Am I the only person who has ever wanted to replace the springs on his bass drum pedal?

It gets better..

So I take the springs with me to an ACE hardware near my house and a nice older lady helps me find springs that are roughly the same size so they will fit in the area of the pedal for them and to make things even better they are at least two or three times stronger than the ones I was replacing. Awesome I thought, I will not have to adjust them all the way out, I’ll have some ‘wiggle room’ and it should leave me room to adjust them later if I wish. I buy them and rush home to install them and get cracking on learning some new songs for a band I am trying out for next week.

I installed them easy as pie, they are stronger just l like I thought and the pedal feels better than brand new. I am doing all kinds of cool double bass fills I haven’t been able to do for some time and having a grand ole’ time…

All of a sudden, PING!

I instinctively duck out of the way as one of the connectors that holds the spring to the pedal fulcrum snaps and ricochets off the ceiling above my head, off the floor tom, back off the ceiling, off my snare and then veers to bounce off the far wall of the room and disappear into thin air never to be found. If it had hit me I am certain that I either would have died or had quite the scar to wear proudly for the rest of my life. I wasn’t sure if I needed a drink, or a depends..

Note to self; If your going to replace springs that are a lot stronger than the ones you had, you should replace the connectors too. Oh and your shorts in case you poop in them from the scare it gives you.

Needless to say I went back to the hardware store and got some small plant hangers made out of real steel that I then bent slightly to fit and son of a gun if my pedal is not working fantastically and I am alive to tell the tale of how I almost killed myself doing what I love..

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LXer Article

Could things be more exciting in the the world of FOSS right now? Yes it could, but let’s not be too hasty..

Oracle buys Sun and proceeds to use its patent portfolio to sue Google for infringement. Openoffice.org is going to have to split off or separate itself from Oracle somehow or change its licensing to remain free. Paul Allen unloads a patent Gatling Gun on every big name is the Tech industry. Is it going to be Red Hat or VMware that will take over the ailing Novell? Mandriva has broken into pieces. I’ll keep going if you let me..

It seems that the SCO trial has finally come to an end but even in the settling of the dust the lawyers can’t stop filing motions. The Oracle-Sun deal looks to be the next long term big story in FOSS I believe. The possible implications for FOSS with Oracle now owning one of the most extensive technology patent portfolios outside of IBM mean that there are more exciting times ahead, if that is what you want to call it.

All the while Microsoft still puts out tasty pieces of FUD every so often and I have come to find it reassuring in its consistency. But again Oracle could easily displace Microsoft as the Darth Vader of FOSS if they decide to go on the offensive with their patents, which looks likely to me. Larry Ellison is certainly tall enough for the part..

Ubuntu continues to grow, deepen its impact and cement its status as “The other word for Linux” to those who probably have no idea what FOSS is but are ten times more likely to have heard the word Ubuntu before Linux. I say that because I have been the person talking about Linux and/or Free and Open Source Software with someone for their very first time, many many times. I have seen how in the last several years Ubuntu has permeated the tech industry, just in name alone most of the time, many people having heard of it but not knowing exactly what it is. It is truly amazing.

It has looked to me like the tide continues to rise in the world of FOSS and as such its visibility does too. Things have continued to change at an ever quickening pace since my time managing our newswire. In the past decade alone Linux and FOSS have gone from their stone age to the space age. Could it be that FOSS is growing up too fast for its own good? Much like in the 19th century American West? Are we getting too big for our own britches?

Something I am starting to see as well are the beginnings of the far-reaching effects of Open Source ideals in communication and philosophy, which have the possibility of positively touching everyone on the planet. I can only imagine what the impact of FOSS on human society will look like in the next 20 or 30 years. I have started to see these things and ask myself these questions recently and I wonder what others would say in response to them. So I’m asking, what do you think?

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LXer Article

The big stories to hit our newswire this week raised some questions it seems. We have Joe Brockmeier asking why e-mail is still stuck in the 1990’s, who is in the running to buy Novell, could it be VMWare or possibly even Red Hat? Steve Rosenberg is intrigued by the latest Linux Mint, a review of TinyCore 3.0, Linux applications with peculiar names, the bully in the Linux schoolyard and to wrap things up we have some Microsoft FUD on how Android is not really free. Enjoy!

TinyCore Linux 3.0: Graphical Linux distribution under 11 Megabyte: If you thought Damn Small Linux or Puppy Linux is small, hold your breath. Tiny Core Linux is a minimalistic GNU/Linux distribution based on Linux kernel 2.6, it comes with graphical environment and provides facility to download and install applications from the Internet and it fits into 10MB of ISO file.

Here is the New Open Source: A recent column in The H Open posed a question: ‘The “best open source software for business” list contains almost exclusively well-known contributors. Is there no more new open source?’ It’s an important issue, because it picks up on a persistent line of criticism that goes all the way back to the famous 1998 Halloween Document, an internal Microsoft strategy report that offered perhaps the first deep glimpse into the company’s thinking about open source..

Court Upholds End-User License Agreements: The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently ruled that End-User License Agreements (EULAs) are absolutely binding, thereby making resale, redistribution, modifications and any other terms forbidden within the agreement illegal.

Why is Linux Email Stuck in the 90s?: Email, love it or loathe it, there’s no getting away from it. On an average day I process hundreds of emails, but haven’t yet found an open source mail user agent (MUA) that I really like. Ten years ago this wasn’t surprising, but today? Why aren’t open source mailers keeping up with the rest of the Linux desktop, and being blown away by Gmail?

The Bully In The Linux Schoolyard: There are plenty of people who have offered explanations for why Linux thrives anonymously on servers and as Android on smartphones but lags behind on the desktop. Though reasons abound, at least one significant one is a self-inflicted wound: the Terminal Bully.

First impressions of Linux Mint Debian — I’m more than a little intrigued: Linux Mint, long known as a multimedia-ready spin on Ubuntu, has gone deeper and released a Mint distro based not on Ubuntu but on Debian Testing, and my first impressions running the system from the live DVD is that this is a game-changer in the Linux world.

Novell Sale: VMware Among the Bidders?: It sounds like Novell is nearing a deal to sell itself. Newspaper and wire report rumors suggest VMware is bidding to buy Novell’s SUSE Linux business, with another buyer to potentially acquire Novell’s other businesses. Here’s the speculation plus insights from The VAR Guy.

Red Hat in the market for Novell?: Red Hat, Inc. was named by the Wall Street Journal yesterday to be one of the potential purchasers of Novell, which the New York Post announced would sell itself in two parts; Linux will go to a strategic buyer and the remainder will be sold to private equity, Jefferies reports. The other companies mentioned were VMware, Oracle, and EMC.

Linux Applications With Peculiar Names: I’m sure most of us were put before in the situation of discovering a new great application, but had to stop and try to figure out how to actually read and spell its name letter by letter.

Linux and Too Many Choices: A perennial whinge is “Linux and FOSS have too many choices! It’s confusing and scary!” So what’s the answer, a single global dictator? It must be the season for recycled anti-Linux whinges, because in the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of wading through a flurry of stories about Linux has too many choices, Linux is not ready for prime time, Linux is too expensive just like proprietary software, and FOSS is amateur hour and all insecure. We’ve heard it all before.

Microsoft says patent-infringing Android isn’t really free: Google’s open source Android operating system is not as free as it seems, Microsoft argues, because it infringes a number of patents. When asked whether open source models created problems for vendors with licensed software, the software giant went on the offensive. “It does infringe on a bunch of patents, and there’s a cost associated with that,” Tivanka Ellawala, Microsoft financial officer told MarketWatch. “So there’s a… cost associated with Android that doesn’t make it free.”

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LXer Article

In the LXWR this week we have some new happenings with Diaspora, debunking the 1% Myth and a rather subdued response to the announcement of the Open Solaris fork known as OpenIndiana. Also, a Gartner report predicts Android will the top mobile OS by 2014 and could Oracle fracture open source community? Enjoy!

Open-Source GPU Drivers Causing Headaches In KDE 4.5: Martin Gräßlin, the KDE developer known for working on KWin and working on advanced features like OpenGL 3.x compositing in KDE 4.7, has written a new blog post in which he details some of the driver issues currently being experienced by some users of the recently released KDE 4.5 desktop.

Diaspora coming: It’s probably not true to say that everybody hates Facebook. But there are many millions (of the hundreds of millions that use the site) that claim to hate Facebook’s cavalier approach to privacy and founder Mark Zuckerberg’s equally vague approach to the future of our privacy. There are even groups dedicated to encouraging users to leave Facebook (some on Facebook itself, ironically).

Five tips for a smooth Linux migration: We’ve talked a little bit before about ways to bring your new Linux users along so that their migration experience is positive. Here are a few more tips to help make the switch to Linux a pain-free experience for you and for them.

Could Oracle fracture open source community?: An Oracle was a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic opinion. How can that particular definition be applied to Oracle the company? It can’t. In fact I would claim that Oracle, the company, is quite the opposite of “wise” or “prophetic”.

A Look at KDE Desktop Effects: KDE’s visual effects for windows and menus technically dates back to KDE 3. Experimental programs like kompmgr provided drop shadows and transparency for windows, and the KDE desktop itself had built-in support for basic menu transparency, shadows, and other effects. With the coming of KDE 4, the number of effects has multiplied, and KWin (KDE’s window manager) is now on par with Compiz (a window manager with numerous desktop effects). Moreover, KWin’s primary advantage over Compiz is that it is part of KDE and integrates perfectly with the rest of the desktop. While support for Compiz has been added, there are still some outstanding glitches when run on top of KDE.

Debunking the 1% Myth: It seems like almost every day someone in the tech press or someone commenting in a technical forum will claim that Linux adoption on the desktop (including laptops) is insignificant. The number that is thrown around is 1%. These claims are even repeated by some who advocate for Linux adoption. Both the idea that Linux market share on the desktop is insignificant and the 1% figure are simply false and have been for many years.

Whither with Ubuntu?: In the Autumn of 2004, I was searching the net and came across this new Linux distribution called Ubuntu Linux. It was based on Debian and was supposedly easy to use. It promoted these seemingly humanitarian concepts and touted itself as shipping with over 1000 pieces of software. Overtime, the colors of the site remained odd, and the default color scheme of the desktop did as well. The word “Linux” was made less and less a part of the website through the few years I followed it closely. By 2009, Linux was only one word in relatively small font size as part of the description of Ubuntu. One of the coolest things about Ubuntu was that you could the install discs for free via snail mail. This also stopped. Over the 6 years of life that Ubuntu has had so far, it has changed drastically.

Linux Mint Based On Debian Released – And It’s A Rolling Distribution!: Linux Mint based on Debian Testing has been released yesterday. Besides being based on Debian and not Ubuntu, there’s something else very special about the new Linux Mint Debian: it’s a rolling release distribution!

OpenIndiana: OpenIndiana is a continuation of the OpenSolaris operating system. It was conceived during the period of uncertainty following the Oracle takeover of Sun Microsystems, after several months passed with no binary updates made available to the public. The formation proved timely, as Oracle discontinued OpenSolaris soon after in favour of Solaris 11 Express, a binary distribution with a more closed development model to debut later this year.

Is Apple Now Blocking Contributions To GCC?: Yesterday on the mailing list for GCC is was brought up if Apple’s Objective-C 2.0 patches for the GNU Compiler Collection could be merged back into the upstream GCC code-base as maintained by the Free Software Foundation. Even though Apple’s modified GCC sources still reflect the FSF as the copyright holder and are licensed under the GNU GPLv2+, it doesn’t look like Apple wants their compiler work going back upstream any longer.

Android Might Be Top Mobile OS Globally By 2014: Gartner has released a report predicting that by 2014, Android will be second only to Symbian in mobile operating system marketshare worldwide, with the two platforms accounting for nearly 60 percent of the mobile OS market within the next four years. The news follows numerous recent bullish reports on the state of Android in the U.S.

99.4 percent of malware is aimed at Windows users: Have you ever thought about measuring the Internet in terms if malware per minute? Me neither, but someone has and it makes for uncomfortable reading if you are a Microsoft Windows user.

5 Things I Miss From Linux When Using OSX: Recently I purchased a MacBook Pro. Principally because I like the hardware, and can put Linux on it. However, it has also given me the opportunity to use OSX. In fact I’ve been using OSX quite a lot – given I’ve paid for it, I want to really see how it works. However, in the course of using it, I’ve come across a number of features of Linux and the KDE desktop that I greatly miss.

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LXer Article

There is nothing quite like a good conversation and we have a plethora of articles that started many a good one in our forums this past week including Abiword has smart quotes, what technology has Microsoft ever been the first to market with? Another “There are too many Linux’s” article and look out, your Linux system fell down and it can’t get up. Enjoy!

What does Paul Allen think he’s doing!?: For years, decades, the big companies didn’t tend to wage patent wars on each other. The reason is simple. Major patent holders don’t tend to target other major patent holders because of MAD (mutually assured destruction). Or, in other words, if you sue me, I sue you, and we can both burn potentially hundreds of millions per year in legal costs just to conduct a business fight. Well that was the case until Oracle went after Google and now Allen is suing the world.

Abiword has smart quotes!!: I haven’t run the AbiWord word processor in an age. I barely ever run OpenOffice, or MS Office, or any office software outside of Google Docs. I decided to fire it up, and while I was looking for the word-wrap settings (still don’t know if these exist …) instead learned that AbiWord now offers SMART QUOTES. Now if you read entries from this blog in 2007, you could glean that I was somewhat obsessed with smart quotes in word-processing documents.

Retired joint chiefs chairman dons a Red Hat: What do you get when you cross a Red Hat with a Green Beret? I don’t know, but the commercial Linux and Java application server markets are about to find out. Retired General Henry Hugh Shelton — a native Tarheel born in Tarboro, North Carolina, and a former commander of the 82nd Airborne Division based in Fort Bragg — was named chairman of the board of directors at Red Hat on Monday.

27 good reasons to love Linux: Operating system not pay $ 400 The operating system is the set of programs responsible for the management and control of basic computer operations. A computer to function, it needs an operating system (there are several: Windows, Linux, Mac, etc. ..). If you take away the operating system, the computer serves only as an ornament. The most common is Windows and we have two options: buy or illegally copied (pirated). Windows Vista Prices range from $ 299 to $ 599, depending on version (Microsoft Official List).

A good trivia question: What technology has Microsoft been the first to market?: I am currently employed with a large global company, working in a division that strictly focuses on embedded Linux development. Earlier this week, during our lunch hour, as one would expect with a predominantly Linux crowd, we had engaged in a conversation on the following question: What technology has Microsoft been the first to market? And of those technologies, which was developed by Microsoft?

2010 Linux Graphics Survey: For the past three years we have hosted an annual Linux Graphics Survey in which we ask tens of thousands of users each time their video card preferences, driver information, and other questions about their view of the Linux graphics stack. This year we are hosting the survey once again to allow the development community to get a better understanding of the video hardware in use, what open-source and closed-source drivers are being used, and other relevant information that will help them and the Linux community.

Apple’s Relationship to Open Source: Despite being one of the most tightly controlled technology companies on the market, Apple has a surprisingly complicated relationship with open source. Both of Apple’s flagship operating systems, OS X and iOS are based on Darwin, which is in turn based on FreeBSD. Apple has also contributed a large amount of code back to the open source community, most notably WebKit, which is used as the browsing engine in nearly every mobile platform. Considering the recent popularity of Apple’s systems, and since there was a big Apple event happening today, their involvement in open source is worth a look.

The trouble with Linux: there’s too much choice: Those of you not familiar with Linux won’t be familiar with the way it lets you install new software. After 12 years with Linux, neither am I. And I think this highlights a serious problem with the way that open-source software has developed and how it can grow. The problem is choice – one of the most touted and noble reasons for using Linux in the first place. For general use, there’s too much of it. It’s often overwhelming, needlessly complicated and an easy excuse for change. Choice goes hand-in-hand with redundancy and duplicated effort.

Microsoft Patents Operating System Shutdown: Microsoft just received confirmation of a patent that hands the company the intellectual property of shutting an operating system down. I can’t quite recall how often Microsoft ha stalked about a faster way to shut down its operating system. It is part of the pitch of virtually every new operating system and it has remained an annoyance that it can take quite some time until the software in fact closes running applications and the operating system itself.

Your Linux system keeps falling and it can’t get up: Once in a while a Linux PC technician will encounter a system that has problems with lockups (a.k.a. hanging or freezing). Sometimes it is failing hardware but other times it’s a software problem. Here are the common causes for this and how to identify which is the source of your problems. While I predominantly use Ubuntu (and some Mandriva) these tests are valid for most any distribution.

Are You Intimidated By Breakfast Cereal?: An article by Graham Morrison for Tech Radar UK this past week struck a bit of a raw nerve for me. It was one of a type we see periodically in the tech press and the title pretty much tells the story: ?”The trouble with Linux: there’s too much choice.” To Mr. Morrison and all the others who have written articles like this one I say: Hogwash! I pose the following questions to Mr. Morrison and to all the others who share his views. Are you ?intimidated by the breakfast cereal isle in his supermarket? After all, there are so many choices. Isn’t it confusing? Should we all just eat corn flakes?

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