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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

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 this week’s LXWR we have Oracle charging for Sun’s ODF plug-in, Stallman reconsiders his existence, Steve Jobs tells people who want porn to buy an Android, a farewell to Songbird and much more. Enjoy!

Richard Stallman: “I Wished I Had Killed Myself” : Richard Stallman seems an unstoppable force of nature, constantly fighting for the things he believes in. And yet in a new interview he says: “I have certainly wished I had killed myself when I was born.”

Oracle start charging for Sun’s Office ODF plug-in: In 2007, Sun released the Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office, as a closed source but free application which allowed Microsoft Office users to export and import documents in Open Document Format. Although the Oracle site still, at the time of writing, offers the software for free with the tagline “Get it now: FREE”, users clicking through will find that Oracle are now charging $90, per user, for a right-to-use license for the plug-in and offering support costing $19.80 per user for the first year. Oracle also requires a minimum order of 100 licenses, which means the minimum purchase is $9,000.

Steve Jobs: Folks who want porn can buy an Android: When questioned about Apple’s role as moral police in the App Store, Jobs responds that “we do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” Better, is what he said next: “Folks who want porn can buy and [sic] Android phone.“

Is The Linux Brand Poisoned?: I queried 109 people. People who either owned, managed or worked as Executive Assistants to those in small to medium-sized businesses. And for full disclosure, there were 144 businesses or people I approached that would not take part in this survey. Of that 109 that did, I asked each of them a few simple questions: The first one being…”What is Linux?”

Farewell Songbird, We Hardly Knew Ye: Songbird, the popular open source cross platform music player, has decided to dump support for Linux. Such a move could be fatal and here’s why.

8 of the best tiny Linux distros: There are plenty of reasons for wanting a low-resource distro running on your computer. Maybe you have some ancient hardware that you need to breathe new life into. Perhaps you want something that will fit on a modestly sized memory stick. Or it might be that you want to run 200 virtual machines simultaneously on your desktop. The important things that we’ll look at here are the amount of space needed, how much processing power is required to get the distro running at an acceptable level, and the effort required to get it to work.

A Linux Client at Work: If you didn’t already know, I am in the computer repair business. Normally, people come in with either PCs or Macs, and request repairs that are really rather simple. Occasionally, I’m called on to do large installations, or set up servers, but that’s rare. What’s even more rare is having a Linux client. I did just happen to get one though. The first I’ve ever had.

Jon ‘maddog’ Hall’s Picks for Today’s Six Best OSS Projects: You would think that writing a blog entry on “Hot New OSS Projects” would not be that difficult. All you should have to do is go to SourceForge or Freshmeat and see what projects are being downloaded, or at least accessed, and write about them. Or, hangout on Slashdot or LinuxDevices.com and see what cool things are being shown and talked about. These days you can even read the mainstream media about Linux products and projects. And of course there is the Linux.com site with its news feeds, discussion groups and projects. All of these would have been “too easy” for maddog, so of course he had to do the unthinkable and ask his eclectic group of Linux User Group (LUG) members what they thought were “Hot, New OSS Projects.” The first message that came back from the “call for thoughts” was: “What do you mean by OSS project?” followed by “What do you mean by new?” and (of course) “

10 Linux commands for beginners: Most Linux distributions include attractive graphical interfaces, but you can do a lot more from the command line interface once you know your way around. For tasks like controlling and monitoring the distro’s underlying system, the command line remains indispensable.

When Copyright Goes Bad – documentary: Ben Cato Clough and Luke Upchurch’s “When Copyright Goes Bad” (from Consumers International) is a great, 15-minute mini-documentary on what copyright can do, what it is doing, and what it needs to stop doing. Appearances by Fred Von Lohmann – Electronic Frontier Foundation; Michael Geist – University of Ottawa Law School; Jim Killock – Open Rights Group; and Hank Shocklee – Co-founder of Public Enemy.

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LXer Article

I was going to just cover the 2nd and 3rd days of SCALE 8x but after getting back home and sitting myself down in front of my favorite compy and started thinking about it, I figured I might as well go all out and give you a full recap of my road trip from Phoenix to Los Angeles for SCALE 8x and back.

So there I am on a beautiful Thursday late afternoon on my way up ‘the hill’ between Palm Springs and Indio on the I-10 west and what to my displeasure do I find? A tire, with the rim still on it, and air still in it lying in the middle of the lane in front of me..and my car at 75 miles an hour heading straight for it. BAM! I hit it and instantly it split my drivers side front tire from the center of the tread to the rim like a lemon.

Needless to say it wasn’t only my mouth that was puckered in the moments I hit the tire and made my way to the side of the freeway before dying a grizzly metal encrusted death. There is something to be said for having checked the air in the spare “doughnut” in the days before my trip and so after getting the car jacked up and the spare on I made my way into Los Angeles. In case you missed it, here is a link to my article of Day 1 – Friday at SCALE 8x.

Day 2 – Saturday

Coming from Phoenix any weather is a lot of weather and all weekend it was rainy and windy which of course made me want to stand outside the Westin in it..its a Phoenix thing.

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So after the opening keynote speech by Red Hat’s Karsten Wade everyone started to hit the expo floor in waves. I sat in the corner and for once in my four times coming to SCALE, just took in the start of the Expo as the room filled with the sounds of people.

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SCALE 8x

Along the walk in there was an OLPC booth amongst others and just inside the door I came across the Komputer 4 R Kids and Qimo booths. K4RK takes recycled computer parts and gets them to kids in the L.A. area who would otherwise not have one. I wish there was something like them in Phoenix. Qimo is a really cool version of Linux for kids of all ages. A good friend of mine’s daughter has been using it on her computer for a year now and she loves it.

One of my goals at this years conference was to get my lappy working again. I had a thoroughly botched Mandriva install that in my attempts to fix was not even letting me boot into it. It was sharing 80 gigs with XP and to make a long story short, I have a driver issue that is not easily fixed it seems and my now fairly old HP laptop will not read CD ISO disks, DVD ones are iffy too and I hoped to find a cool new version of Linux to install on it cleanly so I wouldn’t feel ‘dirty’ any more by having to boot into XP if I wanted to use my lappy.

After perusing the expo floor a while I came across Larry Cafiero, and his two young booth-mates Clint and Scott at the Fedora booth who happened to have new Fedora 12 disks and I figured why not give it a try and I grabbed a disk. Later in the afternoon in the e-mail garden I sat down and installed it..

Let me tell you a story about a Scottish guy named Neil Wallace (Not related) that I met last year at 7x. He is a Dentist who also happens to be a Linux geek. As the story goes, he was listening to a podcast and happened to hear Orv Beach and Ilan Rabinovitch in an interview talking about how the Expo was going to start that weekend and upon hearing this what does Neil do? He intermediately books a flight to L.A. and sits on a plane for 18 hours. Just to come and check it out, just to find some community, just to not be the only Linux geek in town. That’s the kind of dedication you get from a Scottish geek, and his very entertaining talk late Saturday afternoon entitled Get Developing – it’s easy. was to a standing room only crowd as well.

Day 3 – Sunday

Later Saturday night after I left the Expo I was trying to work some of the wrinkles out of my shiny new Fedora 12 install on my now ‘clean’ lappy. After trying to get codecs installed and such I quickly ran into a update problem I had no idea how to fix so when I got to the Expo Sunday I made my way over to the Fedora booth and begged for help. Clint, a Fedora Ambassador and organizer of the Utah Open Source Conference and Scott (guys named Scott have to be cool don’t they?) were happy to help and after getting them logged in as root I left them to their devices and disappeared onto the Expo floor.

I got a chance to talk to Mike Dexter of the Linux Fund and he told me about their expansion into the U.K., Patrice Albaret of Revolution Linux talked about their specialized large scale projects. I sat and talked about all things geek with some cool cats at the PostgreSQL booth for a while. Have I told you how much I love coming here? I went by the Arin booth and had my mind blown by how many IP addresses will be available once the change to IPv6 comes.

Upon my return to the Fedora booth Clint and Scott presented me with my now fully functioning and updated lappy and I will again say a hearty “Thank You” to both of them because in the days since I have used my laptop more than in the last 6-8 months. Last but not least I want to give a big shout out to Alex Colcernian and Erick Tyack of Diskless Workstations who sponsored the SCALE 8x E-mail Garden where I spent an inordinate amount of time and got to know them both. They put up with my banter and were still nice and talked to me even. 😉 It was a lot of fun hanging out with you guys and watching the Expo go by. I hope to see you two again next year.

Afterword

Was SCALE 8x a success? Yes it was. Confirmed registrations at SCALE 8x were just over 1,500, that said the numbers for both 6x and 7x are flat at right around 1,300 registrations apiece. This statistic alone tells me everything I need to know about the health of Open Source. If for all intents and purposes the economy the last two years has tanked and SCALE has seen its numbers stay steady and now in 2010 actually grow then I know for a fact that things are on the up and up.

So I mentioned that all weekend it was rainy and windy and as I made my way home Monday afternoon I took a couple of pics out the window of my car of the snow the storm dumped on the San Jacinto Mountains outside of Palm Springs, right about where I blew my tire out too..

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LXer Article

I figured I would start the Roundup this week with a good play on words with Michael Tiemann’s, From the End of the Beginning to the Beginning of the End. Caitlyn Martin gives us a review the very different results in testing the performance of different Linux distributions. Mozilla starts to contemplate a future without Google and Derek Knowlton shows us The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the The EeePC and Aspire One. Oh and by the way Happy 15th Birthday, Linux!

Longtime Linux critic John C. Dvorak not only, finally admits to the world that he likes Linux but then states that Microsoft’s business model is done. Sounds like someone has turned over a new leaf, No? And in what has caused a couple of big discussions in our forums it seems Windows 7 may not be the solution for the troubled Microsoft. It seems that the OLPC set to Dump X86 for Arm Chips in XO-2 and Nicholas Negroponte is all but begging Microsoft to port Windows to it but Eric Lai states his three reasons Microsoft shouldn’t port Windows to the ARM processor at all.

It what is as impressive a report on security specific to Red Hat as I have seen, they have published a Risk Report for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4. Glyn Moody reports in his piece “Open Science, Closed Source” that Microsoft will be releasing, under an open source license, Word plugins that will allow scientists to mark up their papers with scientific entities directly, but they are all still tied to the .doc format so its all lip service anyway. On a humorous note, instead of another list of why you should switch to Linux we have 10 reasons you should not switch to Linux. Very funny stuff.

To finish things up I start with not quite a FUD piece, but another in a long line of articles by journalists that take neither the time or the effort to actually research what they write about in “Desktop Linux is ready for the mainstream“. But on to the FUD..Stan Beer proclaims the death of Linux with his review of the Asus Eee PC 1000HE in his “The Linux killer 10 inch netbook” and it what ranks up there with some of the best FUD I have seen in a while David Ramel tells us about Linux’s dirty little secret.

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LXer Article

Ok so first some numbers, Tech Republic has a nice list of 10 mistakes new Linux administrators should look out for. Steve Emms gives a review of 6 Lean Linux Desktop Environments of which I had only heard of two before. I also came across Cynthia Harvey’s big list of 40 Open Source Tools to help you protect your privacy online that has working links to each of their SourceForge webpages, very cool.

As of November, the percentage of browsers connecting to the Internet through a Windows machine has dropped below 90 percent for the first time ever while Mac’s share grew from 8.21 to 8.82 percent. Linux? It went up as well to 0.82 from 0.71 percent. You better lookout people because once we hit 1% its all downhill after that. 😉

In some browser news, it looks like Google developers are considering enabling extensions for Chromium even though its not exactly what they had in mind when creating Chromium’s “minimal light-weight user interface”. Now for all you Dillo users who enjoy its speed but wished it didn’t destroy the look and feel of some webpages there is the new H3v web browser.

This past month a virus hit nearly 75% of the computer systems on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan which led to a base wide ban on USB drives. I have seen this kind of story before which made me ask, why in the world is the U.S. Military using Windows when everyone knows that it has more security holes than a block of Swiss Cheese? After reading this article Carla Schroder asked a similar question, “why does Microsoft always get a free pass when this happens?

An article entitled “Ideas can be owned” sparked a lengthly philosophical debate on the nature of Intelligence and Knowledge. A team of researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich Switzerland were trying to find real world evidence to support Zipf’s law. They decided to study the Debian ‘system’ (the structure of the distribution itself and the network of people that support it) and discovered that that it proved the Theory true.

A UK company has stated that its switch from Linux to Windows will save it £1 million (roughly $2.3 million). Come to find out that it is over the course of five years which equals about £200,000 a year. I still don’t see how that is possible unless Microsoft exercised some “creative” pricing again. And in what was apparently a shock to only Roy at Boycott Novell, he says he has proof that Microsoft pays companies to recommend Windows. I think that the big “This Vendor Recommends Windows XP/Vista” banner seen on just about every OEM advertisement in the last ten years kinda gave that one away good guy. 😉

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