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Archive for March, 2006

My Wealth is Only Virtual

Money on keyboard

EVERY once in a while I pause and ponder. This time, I ponder financial issues, which rarely do I bother with. All I have is a wealth of files (about a quarter of a million of them), a wealth of free applications, and an excellent free operating system too. Wealth cannot be measured in physical terms alone or in numbers which correspond to bank accounts. We live in a less materialistic world nowadays.

I do not have state-of-the-art hardware. I regret this not. In fact, my hardware is clearly outdates, yet it’s sufficient for everything one does under Linux. I have never ever (in my entire life) had up-to-the-minute specs approached. Not in telephony; not in entertainment; not in computing. I was happy enough with yesterday’s technology, speed-wise, albeit not software-wise. Free software can make significant differences, whereas the engine it runs on, provided the system is not overtly greedy, will cope.

As I digress, I haven’t a great wealth of gadgets, either. I have what I seek for pragmatic needs, e.g. a backup unit and an old Palm handheld. As for anything else in life, I rarely ever buy anything luxurious, let alone buy something other than groceries. No pricey clothes and nothing whose value is temporary — something that erodes or dissolves through the years. Nothing that takes too much space seems necessary!

I seem to get my best of kicks from the health clubs and computers (Internet), admittedly so. Social stuff too, but I impose a limit on this. Overall, I convey a simple and trite message, which I wish to pass on: who said money and possession bring happiness? My living expenses are overall quite low. This enables me to pursue what I enjoy rather than worry about making ends or plan that ‘next expensive vacation’. I no longer enjoy vacations, as a matter of fact. I have no urge to escape from anything, ever. Life is about your passions; your hobbies. Worry less about finance and discover your mind’s vocation.

Tallest Woman in the World

THE Epoch Times reports that the world’s tallest woman comes from Asia. The photos are truly astounding and one of them (the one I saw first) had me question the genuineness.

Thirty-four-year-old Yao Defen is known as Asia’s tallest woman. At 7 feet 7 inches, 396 pounds, and a shoe size (EUR) of 78, Yao attracts a lot of attention. This “woman giant” makes her living as a circus performer. Her boss forces her to perform despite her physical ailments, and he even mistreated and bullied her when she requested to go to the hospital for a physical examination.

Related item: Big fish

Linux to Gain on Vista Release

Season of the playful penguins
Season of the playful penguins from Oyonale

IT has been previouly mentioned that Windows Vista will give people many compelling reasons to switch to Linux. This was mentioned in the context of hardware requirements. Owing to plenty of trouble at Microsoft, as well as delays, the Investor’s Business Daily predicts that the very release of Windows Vista will give a boost to Linux.

The looming release of the next major upgrade to Microsoft’s flagship Windows operating system, Windows Vista, is encouraging an unlikely group of users — fans of rival software Linux.

The Eclipse Foundation, a tech consortium pushing open-source software to develop new software programs, is betting that the transition to Vista will boost the appeal of its so-called rich-client platform. The platform is designed to make it easier to write software that runs equally well on Windows, Linux and other operating systems.

Browser Racism

Firefox in the dock
I choose Firefox primarily because of its
extensions. Some site continue to snub it.

BROWSER discrimination, as it is frequently referred to, is always a bad idea. Sadly, many sites still use deprecated JavaScript code to distinguish between Netscape and Internet Explorer. In reality, most of today’s Web sites can be rendered almost ‘pixel perfect’ by Camino, Safari, Mozilla, Opera, Netscape, Firefox, Internet Explorer and several more obscure Web browsers, even Konqueror.

Vis-a-vis Konqueror, functionality in Konqueror is being extended all the time and its renderer (KHTML) improves rather quickly too. It no longer plays catch-up, but the acceptance of new browser is hindered by vain user-agent sniffing, which in itself is a terrible practice. In the case where proxies are being used, the assumptions might be wrong. In other circumstances, this promotes agent forging/spoofing, which only adds noise to Web statistics, adds bloat the applications and makes an unhealthy industrial environment for all to compete in.

Red Hat (Linux) Profits Soar

Red hat
RedHat Linux

Among the latest:

Linux seller Red Hat on Tuesday reported net income for its most recent quarter rose 131 percent to $27.3 million, or 13 cents per share, edging a penny ahead of analyst expectations.

So indeed, Linux is the future. While Novell’s Windows income falls, its Linux (SuSE) income rises as well.

The ‘Missing Link’ May Have Been Found

3 Monkeys

Many still refuse to discover the power of feeds

ARGUMENTS that falsify the evolution often rely on the existence of a ‘missing link’, or inexistence thereof. Only a couple days ago, the CNN reported that a
missing link may have been found, which shatters those void arguments as regards the ‘bridge’ between monkey and man.

Scientists in northeastern Ethiopia said Saturday that they have discovered the skull of a small human ancestor that could be a missing link between the extinct Homo erectus and modern man.

GPL is the Future

Inkscape example

QUITE recently, Xara Xtreme which is a popular (vector) drawing program, moved from being pricey proprietary software to the GPL. Xara may have been the victim or sufferer of bigger packages and vendors (e.g. CorelDraw, Photoshop). My guess is that, much like Netscape, they had the choice of either letting the code of that product accumulate mold or earn a large(er) audience — a large user base — to which they can then offer paid support and self-tailored extensions. Netscape achieved something similar by putting the code out there. Today we are seeing the impact of Firefox, which enjoys generous streams of revenue as well. Xara Xtreme will directly challenge Inkscape, a screenshot of which can be seen above.

In the near future, more and more companies will be facing a crossroad wherein they can either fall to oblivion or receive exposure by throwing themselves at the Open Source community. It would enough to have just a few ‘residual’ companies that fell victims to giants like Adobe, or Microsoft, or whoever. Sooner or later they can be ‘resurrected’ owing to the GPL, once they release the code and get absorbed by a crowd of Open Source advocates that contributes back. When the user base of Open Source platforms such GNU/Linux expands, this will become more financially viable and there will be an increasing incentive to go down that route.

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Original styles created by Ian Main (all acknowledgements) • PHP scripts and styles later modified by Roy Schestowitz • Help yourself to a GPL'd copy
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