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Archive for April, 2006

Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows Simultaneously

Mac and Dell

USING virtualisation software, someone from Hungary illustrates how Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows can be worked on simultaneously (view screenshot and further details), without the need to boot into a different, independent partition.

This comes only a week or so after Boot Camp from Apple began supporing Linux. It now caters for Linux boots, as well as Windows boots. It relies on the availability of Intel chips, which replaced Power PC in an important strategic move. This makes the prediction and vision of triple-boot machines a reality, but moreover, it does so without the obvious perils. It obviates the need to reboot Mac OS X. This equips Apple with a huge selling point.

A9/Alexa Sidle Close to Microsoft Live

A9 logoA9 is a fairly bloated search engine that I mentioned at least a couple of times in the past. It just struck me in the newsgroups that A9 had shifted to search results from Microsoft. For quite some time they used to be happily harvesting purely from Google, but at present, with MSN/, the results are definitely poorer, as most would expect. As a matter of fact, as an important nugget of information, Microsoft’s share among search engines sank from 14% to just 11% in the last quarter alone.

Why would A9 ever consider a change? One possibility among many is that A9′s incentive was financially motivated. Microsoft have just thrown vast amounts of money, most probably in the war against Google who promote Open Source software in their search engine results. The come to consider their highly successful use of GNU/Linux, let alone their sponsorships of Open Source projects (one example among many).

Microsoft have recently begun using the same strategy to elbow IBM, who in turn migrate businesses away from Microsoft.

Windows Starter Edition to Cripple Africa

Windows XP

COMPUTERS slowly penetrate the less developed nations. Only sheer ridicule can at times prevent this from happening, as Bill Gates once tactlessly demonstared. Possibly in response to the $100 Open Source laptop, Microsoft announced that they will launch Windows XP Starter Edition in Africa around July this year. Yet, do not get excited or raise your hopes prematurely. Starter Edition of Windows XP is very limited, much like the Starter Edition of Windows Vista. To quote an old writeup:

The cut-down software limits the users in a number of ways including number of applications running at once, printing and network abilities. Gartner’s research has pointed out that the lack of features and limitations with applications will be very frustrating for users who may have had access to computers before at school or in cyber-cafes.

Thunderbird New Mail Notification

Thunderbird with an Aqua-based theme called CrossOver

MOZILLA Thunderbird is an Open Source mail/news (most latterly RSS) client, which I have praised several times in the past. It is also my default mail application — the haven I found after experience with various other packages.

At present, I continue to use a mail notifier for Thunderbird which is rather stripped-down and is called the Mozilla New Mail Icon (project homepage). However, it lacks some of the power of other checkers — particularly those that deliver detailed information without interfering with the user’s current work (e.g. steal window focus). The good news is that the Thunderbird team is making progress and is bridging the gap between the latest of Outlook and the Mozilla family of applications. A good example of this is their calendar extension. They may even go farther ahead by incorporating tabs, which for mail clients is unprecedented.

In Thunderbird 2.0 there will finally be a built-in function which triggers an overview-type popup whenever new mail arrives (see screenshot). This way, users will not necessarily have to divert attention to the bulky application. When mail arrives in large volumes, such features can be very valuable.

Piracy Bounty Raised

CD's pile

A great proportion of today’s software is illegally copied

FOR those who insist on using proprietary commercial software (or, in some cases, Open yet not Free open-source software), there are probably more reasons to fear. Apart from Genuine Advantage in Windows — that which delivers critical updates only to legal copies of the operating system — there is a further crackdown on illegal use of software in the UK. As one article suggests:

Anti-software piracy group the Business Software Alliance is offering a $36,000 reward to anyone who informs on employers who use illegal or unlicensed software.

The days are over when vendors turn a blind eye to piracy, wishing that the prospective cutomer becomes dependent on the package and locked in due to closed formats. With largely networked machines, network licences can be enforced, often in the form of invasion to privacy and communication that is made behind the user’s back. Be warned.

My Creed and Motivation

Roy as a baby

WAKING up early and staying focused permanently is a hard task, especially if maintained on a daily basis. I sometimes need some motivators and ideas for support. Exercise often gives me a mental boost, owing to natural extraction of endorphins, but there are also proverbial statements that I go by. They describe my relationship to work pretty well.

  • Do what makes you hop out of bed in the morning and keeps you busy until it’s too late to stay awake.
  • Do what you love, the money will come

The first among the two is an attempt to recapture a statement that I once read.

Open Source Films

TV X-Files

SOME numerous weeks ago, a film was released which was created using nothing but Open Source software. Whether its content (graphic objects) and source code were published under the GNU GPL, it is hard to tell, but it could raise intersting questions and lead to ideas. Apparently, it was the Creative Commons Licence. More details can be found in the official site of the film.

Why is it all so intersting and worthy of a mention? Think about downloading the source code, which was used to render the film. One can then tweak it, re-genrate the film, and release what becomes a quickly-built derivate. Open Source films and their high merit can be illustrated by looking at re-use made by Disney. Although this latter site is in Russian, the pictures are self-explanatory.

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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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