Older blog entries for neurogato (starting at number 23)

quotes.lugradio.org is Back

Finally, I’ve managed to get the LugRadio IRC Quotes Database back online on the day that the large gents released LugRadio Season 5’s first episode. I’ve migrated from rash to Chirpy! — the same qdb used by the Mozilla Foundation, amongst others. This migration has been a long time coming, and hopefully LugRadio community folk can enjoy having some fun reading some of the utter, utter random pish we’ve come out with over the last couple of years!

Syndicated 2007-09-24 17:12:13 from neuro.me.uk » open source

A PC Pro Wishlist

Yes, I’m in Rant mode again; just sent this to PC Pro magazine:

To: letters@pcpro.co.uk
From: neuro@well.com
Subject: Wishlist

Hi PC Pro Letters,

I was pretty disgusted to note the completely haphazard manner in which David Fearon researched and documented Ubuntu Linux’s “downsides” in your “Who’s Killing Windows?” feature (p122, issue 156). He references the relatively complex Synaptic package manager application to add and remove software, when for over a year a simple and usable “Add/Remove Applications” applet has been sitting at the bottom of the Applications menu in every standard install of Ubuntu. The rest of the article was littered with errors, and this has led me to a wishlist, a la Jon Honeyball’s (p128-129, issue 156).

  1. PC Pro should endeavour to contract writers who are knowledgeable on their chosen topic. If they can’t write authoritatively about the subject they are submitting articles on, they shouldn’t write them at all. The Real World section is terrible for being full of inaccuracies while purporting to be written by experts.
  2. More editorials from high profile figures from outside the IT industry, and real critical pieces from regular contributors such as Dick Pountain’s diatribe on cover discs.
  3. No more rambling back page rants from Jon Honeyball, please.
  4. More space for readers’ letters; surely you receive more than 10 usable missives a month? This is the age of Web 2.0, interactivity!
  5. Less screengrabs of websites in Real World and elsewhere, cf Steve Cassidy’s MS and IBM grabs (p175-176, issue 156). I understand writers sometimes struggle to find appropriate art, and that pictures speak thousands of words, but it’s akin to BBC News Online posting a shoddy screengrab of google.com to talk about Google. If you have to screengrab, at least get an app or relevant shot.

This is the first I’ve been compelled to write to PC Pro to complain in years of reading, and the magazine is otherwise consistently excellent. Hopefully this will be taken as constructive criticism and not just a random slating! Keep up the good work.

Syndicated 2007-08-13 12:34:14 from neuro.me.uk » open source

CompressedJuneJuly

It’s time for another Cram Post, Neuro Style.

june » to san francisco for a couple of weeks to acclimatise to linden lab culture and processes, very chilled yet productive fortnight, i can now convert pounds sterling to/from US dollars and PDT to/from BST in my head; july » had great fun trying to procure a macbook pro for work, to wolverhampton for lugradio live 2007, gave a quick talk and demo about second life, got more enjoyment out of picking up an xbox 360 on the cheap, to brighton for the develop conference and a linden recruitment event, beer is not cheap in brighton, got to meet peter molyneux and aleks krotoski which rocked - aleks, the pigeons are still not safe!, saw the simpsons movie - basically a 90 minute episode of the simpsons and that’s not a bad thing, housemates who moved in here in march are moving out to a bigger pad near glasgow *schniff*, the geekha.us shall continue tho!

Syndicated 2007-07-30 13:51:26 from neuro.me.uk » open source

Microsoft and Novell == MAN Love?

After Microsoft and Novell’s announcement that they are to start collaboration on tighter integration between Windows and (admittedly SuSE) Linux, there has been a lot of bollocks kicking around from people squealing “this will be bad“, “this will be really bad“, “oh no, it’s the end of the world as we know it“, and so on. $deity forbid two old-school rivals want to bury the hatchet and do something that’s in the best interests of both their customers.

It is good for Microsoft, as it gives them an “in” into both the FOSS community and corporate arenas, and it’s good for Novell, as it helps them solidify their role in the enterprise Linux market. An associated patent agreement, where Novell pay licensing fees Microsoft for specific patents, and Microsoft agree not to litigate on those patents, is just a cherry on the cake, although cynics may suggest that the patent part is the meat of the deal. I’m unconvinced. The patent deal is to keep shareholders happy; the collaboration deal is to keep customers happy. And isn’t that what FOSS operating in a corporate environment is all about?

Syndicated 2006-11-03 14:04:37 from neuro.me.uk » open source

Chalk, Cheese

Two sides to the same story: Linspire are releasing a freely-available, freely-distributable, community-led, Debian-based Linux distribution (sound familiar?) to be called Freespire. Linspire’s edge is that they will distribute non-free drivers, such as for nVidia or ATi graphics cards, as part of the core distribution, and not from optional repositories a la Ubuntu.

Jono Bacon, who is on the Leadership Board of Freespire, is genuinely excited about Open Source and distro diversity, and I’d trust his opinion to be as unbiased as possible. Meanwhile, Pamela Jones over at Groklaw is characterising Freespire as Satan’s Distro. Yes, binary non-free, non-open drivers are Bad. But think about the first thing a new user of Ubuntu does — and when I say user, I don’t mean an average Linux geek, I mean a Joe Bloggs user, a wants to read e-mail and buy stuff off Amazon user — is to look for ways to play their MP3 collection, or watch a DVD, or go to a website with Flash, or listen to BBC Real streams, or … You see my point? The Ubuntu forums are littered with requests to just Make Stuff Work™. This is undoubtedly the market Linspire is targetting, and it is a market.

Is Jono wrong to be associated with this distro? Is Pamela right to vilify it? I’ve no doubt that while Freespire is a noble effort by a company well steeped in commercialism, it’ll survive with a niche of its own; not a huge niche, but a cult following nonetheless. Ubuntu is a steamroller of a distro with a strong ethical community. Freespire just won’t have the momentum to keep up. I really don’t know what Pamela is worried about.

Note that this isn’t SquiggleOS, the original attempt to create a free version of Linspire which began under the same name. SquiggleOS has now been abandoned in favour of Freespire development. Also note that SquiggleOS lead Andrew Betts is a Leadership Board member too.

Syndicated 2006-04-25 11:36:03 from neuro.me.uk » open source

New Location for Clan #lugradio Maps

The Clan #lugradio Maps site has been updated with new download locations for the maps, and a shell script to assist Linux users (and Windows users running Cygwin I suppose) in keeping their clan maps up-to-date. The script defaults to downloading to ~/.etwolf/etmain, so if you’ve changed that from the default, make sure that is changed in the script too.

The script is based on a shell script written by #lugradioite nlindblad, and development continued by myself as a fork from niklas’ initial work. Others have implemented similar scripts in Python and Ruby, so YMMV :) This script is now the master script with the authoritative map locations, so if you’re developing alternatives please use the URLs in this script, and please also respect the fact I’m hosting these maps personally :)

Syndicated 2006-03-19 16:22:54 from neuro.me.uk » open source

As someone said on IRC this morning: “the FSF appear to have come up with the perfect plan for how to look like a bunch of annoying, smart-arse tossers“. Has the Free Software Foundation gone nuts?

Update 13:30: I don’t seem to be alone on this: popey, mgdm, ZDNet, Slashdot.

I’ve been saying for a while that the more zealous methods used by proponents of Free software have been somewhat over-the-top, and do more to detract from the FOSS public image than to build upon it in a constructive way. Now they’ve taken a sip from the poisoned Kool-Aid. The FSF, via it’s Defective by Design campaign, is advocating that people block-book sessions at an Apple Store’s Genius Bar, a sort of drop-in and bookable repair and support centre. “Having lots of slots booked will get Apple’s attention and ensure that the Geniuses have done their homework”, says the ‘Apple Challenge’ page, posted by FSF employee Matt Lee. The rationale apparently is that Apple is now the enemy, since Vista is doing more damage to itself than anyone else can from outside Microsoft, and the first target are the Apple Store’s Genius Bars.

My employer purchased both AppleCare and ProCare for my MBP, which has come in extremely handy when the ‘O’ key snapped off (keyboard replaced overnight), my battery failed to hold a charge (replaced immediately upon attending pre-booked Genius Bar session) and my motherboard GPU failed (motherboard replaced in 90 minutes). Now imagine any of the following scenarios: you’re unsure how to use your newly purchased Macbook; you’re trying to connect a camera to your Mac to transfer photos to iPhoto and print them to send to relatives in a frame; your machine has failed in some way and urgently needs repaired, as you use it for your business. You try to book a session at the Genius Bar to resolve any of these issues, and … it’s fully booked. For days. Wow, they must be busy.

Well, no, it’s actually a bunch of uber-asshole Free software zealots thinking they’re “special”, attempting to monopolise a consumer resource in an attempt to “educate” or “catch out” Apple Store employees, some of whom may have used Macs for years, others may have had a crash course in Apple products so that they know as much as they can about the stuff they sell, but little else. Why harass these people? It’s like having a constant stream of people going up to the counter at McDonald’s and espousing the benefits of a low-carb, high-fibre diet to the person who can do the least about it. Genius Bar employees may know all about FOSS, but critically it’s not their job to promote it. It’s not a “product” to be “sold”, but a philosophy to be shared.

A plea to the FSF: stop harassing Apple staff, and stop alienating the very people you’re trying to “save”. There are better, more ethical, more agreeable methods to promote FOSS. What you’re doing is none of those things. In the meantime, you’ve virtually guaranteed I will never promote, condone, contribute or donate to any FSF body, project or campaign. I’ve had a “Warning, DRM” defectivebydesign.org sticker on my Macbook Pro for a while now, mainly for comedic value. It’s gone now. I no longer want to be seen to be promoting these idiots in any way. As much as I love the thought of Free and Open Source Software being used everywhere and anywhere, this is just not the way to be going about it.

Cheerie 2001 ... Hallo 2002 ...

opie: try looking at a Sony Clie - Palm OS 4.1, colour hi-res display, just lovely. And the high-end Clies play mp3s from memory stick - 2 hours of 160kbps goodness on a 128meg stick ...

gman: once you've finished Microserfs (amazon.[ com | co.uk ]), you should definitely try Girlfriend in a Coma (amazon.[ com | co.uk ]), and All Families are Psychotic (amazon.[ com | co.uk ]),

life
mmmmmmm ... ADSL install successful ... bandwidth shall be mine ... muhahahahahaha <cough cough> ... btw I'm ill with the evils of hay fever induced throat and nose groz ... bleh
smoothwall
On a related note, I finally switched from SmoothWall 0.9.9- lada (the public beta) to 0.9.9-final - it only took me nigh on a month. It was just too bloody stable! But I thought, I need to shove a USB card in, so time for a rebuild. 0.9.9 install took about 20 mins plus another 10 mins huckling cards in and playing with CD-ROM cables. Once BT had finished the install (I passed the whooooosh test at about 23-24dB), I used win2k to check the line was OK, and registered with FreeServe. Once done, I moved the frog over to the Smoothie box, and rebooted (I'd prefilled the PPPoA profile ...). Lo and behold, it worked first off :) Sorted! Totally impressed. And I'm on the dev team for [insert deity]'s sake! Well impressed.

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