Tech

Buying a Linux laptop in 2007

It’s time for a new laptop, as I’ve detailed, I’ve ripped apart, inserted coins and duct-taped  the old iBook back together again enough times, and it’s no longer viable. It’ll work fine on a flat surface, but if you try to use it as a laptop the minor flexing must loosen the video chip, because you quickly find your video locked, with a hard reboot the only fix. The wildcards are me as a buyer, since I’m hardly ordinary with my expectation that any laptop or desktop I’m going to buy is only going to run Linux, and the recent announcements by HP, IBM/Lenovo and Dell about their Linux support (some even pre-installed), I knew I’d finally have choices to consider.

Software support must evolve with Open Source

As a IT contractor I’m enjoying giving my opinion when asked, and sometimes even when I’m not asked; I have the confidence to be open and honest with everyone and want them to know that. Because of this I’ve been getting to do things I otherwise would not have since they would not have known I was interested or experienced in such things. One of the things I was hired for was to setup Apache on Linux to work with their web instances.

80G Black iPod classic FTW!

UPDATE: Hold the phone here, before going too gaga over the new iPods, it’s been revealed that they’ve been ’re-engineered’ to lock out folks trying to sync their iPods using 3rd party apps, or (gasp) Linux! That’s right, they want you to use ONLY Windows or OSX and iTunes…this is ridiculous. See my post on our sister site Left to chance to learn more. This is what we talk about when we say Digital Rights, we can’t give them up now and expect to have them in the future!

Dell's Linux support numbers

I’ve read a few posts online that review Dell’s Linux support, and most complain that they have to call the ‘regular’ number first, only to get the “What version of Windows are you running?” support. After redirected to the correct number for Linux support, they get excellent support. So, to try and help propogate the Linux support numbers, I present them here. Dell’s Linux support number for hardware is 866-622-1947, and for software it’s 866-982-8688.

Confessions of SpammerX

A former spammer comes forth to tell his story, an amazing look at how easy something like this is to get away with. “Ed,” a retired spammer, built a considerable fortune sending e-mails that promoted pills, porn and casinos. At the peak of his power, Ed says he pulled in US$10,000 to $15,000 a week, storing the money in $20 bills in stacks of boxes.“ In his last year he pulled in $480,000.

AT&T DSL plan for $10/month

I’m in no way endorsing AT&T, but I’m encouraged when I see a more ‘tiered’ approach from ISPs, and DSL for $10/month is a great choice for consumers. It seems that this tiered or ‘naked DSL’ is only being offered up by AT&T as part of the “…concessions made by AT&T to the Federal Communications Commission to get its $86 billion acquisition of BellSouth Corp. approved last December.” The speeds are what you’d expect for the price, 768 kilobits per second and upload speeds of up to 128 kbps, but this is far and away fast enough for 90% of subscribers I bet, the ‘speed’ that they try to sell is not something a normal user is going to bump up against.

Windows XP to be phased out by year's end despite customer demand

Microsoft is set to phase out Windows XP by the end of this year, even though the majority of businesses have no reason or desire to update to Vista, since most of those updates would require new hardware. It’s just another example of Microsoft not listening to their customers, just to their shareholders. “_Computer makers have been told they’ll no longer be able to get Windows XP OEM by the end of this year, despite consumer resistance to Vista and its compatibility problems.

NO CARRIER (Speakeasy bought by Best Buy!)

I’ve long sang the praises of Speakeasy (Why I Love Speakeasy), and loved that I actually had a choice when it came to selecting DSL, which I needed because I’m pretty picky about such things. I need static IPs and I need support to help me diagnose line issues, NOT OS issues. From them to my DSL modem, that’s all I need help with; please don’t ask me to reboot again!

More inroads for Linux

While it seems every year someone proclaims this will be the year of Linux on the desktop, there are always a steady stream of those who ‘get it’ and are reaping the benifits of freeing themselves from the upgrade and licencing cycle, making it feel as if a tipping point is indeed at hand. Here’s a roundup of some very interesting news in that regard from this week. First up, a California school district aims 5,000 desktops at Linux.

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

A nice overview of what the Web 2.0 term means/could mean/will mean. My take? A moving target with no center, dot.com_v2 - but with ideas that can/could/will actually make money.

TJX Companies data breach reveals credit card data

Ah, nothing new, just another big corporation leaking credit card and issuers personal data. “The TJX Companies, a large retailer that operates more than 2,000 retail stores under brands such as Bob’s Stores, HomeGoods, Marshalls, T.J. Maxx and A.J. Wright, said on Wednesday that it suffered a massive computer breach on a portion of its network that handles credit card, debit card, check and merchandise transactions in the United States and abroad.

UN warning on e-waste 'mountain'

There is a warning out from the UN about the huge amounts of e-waste that is being generated and distributed overseas. Currently e-waste including old TVs, CPUs and phones are being shipped off to China, India and more recently, Africa. It’s estimated that up to 50 million tons of waste from discarded electronic goods is generated annually, and of that up to 75% of the shipments are defunct - in other words e-waste.

Cell customers want simple phones: survey

As far as cell phones, this is what I’ve been saying all along; make simple phones that are easy to use, drop the idea of making some all-in-one camera, instantmessanger, emailchecker, websurfer, gamesystem and just give me a phone to call home with. ”Most cell phone customers don’t use the camera, email, or gaming options offered by their wireless providers. According a survey by JD Power and Associates, most are satisfied when they can simply place a call efficiently.

Sun to support Ubuntu Linux

Ah, so my very first accepted story submission to the venerable Slashdot.org occurred today, and it’s a dozy. ”_Sun today announced that they are putting their weight behind Ubuntu Linux. While Ubuntu has been many people’s desktop Linux choice for a few years now, with its Debian heritage, you can see what kind of server it could be. Slap that on the new Sun 1Us with the new Niagra T1’s CPU, the one that will have four, six or eight cores each, and go to town_.

Mac Mini doing fast OS switching

Wowser, here’s vid of a Mac mini Duo, doing some fast OS switching. It’s running OS X with Parallels and Virtue Desktops which allows it to run Windows XP and Red Hat 4 ES all at the same time. The switching between the 3 OSs uses the ‘cube effect’ just like the fast user switching of OS X, and looks to be just as swift. I think that’s about all I need to see, if I can have a Mac Mini Duo running a triple boot like that, I think I’ll be all set (for a few weeks).

Run Windows on Intel Macs with Apple's blessing

First let’s recall after Apple announced it was moving to Intel chips this quote, ”We haven’t done anything to explicitly prevent it, but we haven’t done anything to encourage it either,” Apple Senior Product Line Manager Wiley Hodges said of running Windows on Macs. If this was ever true, it is no longer. After all the talk about how to get Windows XP running on the new Intel Macs, and the subsequent contest that made some hacker 13,000$USD richer, Apple has gone ahead and released Boot Camp, software that sets up and allows for dual booting of OS X and Windows XP.

Pocket server

Ok, picture this; a 400MHz PowerPC, 64MB RAM, fingerprint scanner, SD/MMC slot, and either 256MB or 512MB storage, powered by host USB 2.0 interface, the size and weight (a 3.5” x 1.75”, 1.6 ounce) of a pack of playing cards, yes smaller than an iPod Nano! Yes, it’s the world’s smallest Linux server, BlackDog, and it can be had for ~$200. It runs a flash-based Debian Linux distribution with a 2.

Will the Crash-box 360 lead to a Revolution?

[](http://www.flickr.com/photos/80491849@N00/)While the Xbox 360 and Playstation3 (PS3) are going to ‘redefine’ game consoles from something that can play games to something that you can also watch movies on, chat, view pictures, etc, I’ll be sticking with the company that has always focused on making games that are fun to play; Nintendo and their upcoming console Revolution. From the wiki, the talk about the backwards compatibility sounds very promising. Think about it, Nintendo has some of the best games ever, and that goes back 20+ years; why not make them all available instead of locking them out?

95,899 hits in one day

I’m still posting on my Slashdot thread about Friday’s slashdotting of fak3r.com as well as learning what worked, and where the bottleneck occurred. First of all the all important numbers; visits, pages, hits and transferred data for 2005-10-15, as reported by Awstats: <code>Date Pages Hits Bandwidth 10-14-2005 18092 95899 644.47 MB</code> Holy smokes, 95,899 hits for the day while transferring almost a cd’s worth of data. Again, not a huge number for a colo’d webserver with a big audience, but for a home built rig behind a 384⁄1.

A minor Slashdoting!

This morning on Slashdot there was a story about Ruby on Rails and my comment turned out to the the second post. I took the opportunity to plug this site…err…I mean used this site as an example of Ruby on Rails via Typo and suggested people take a look and try out the ‘live search’ to give the database a workout, and did they ever. Logfiles were just scrolling along, httpd was throwing up pages, Ruby was driving all database queries via fastcgi.