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Archive for June, 2006

Hormones and Emotions Flood Microsoft

Girl covers ears

MORE executives are leaving Microsoft while more of its products are having their release date further delayed. As each blow to the prospects of the company hits, people jokingly say that the CEO throws a chair. This is mentioned in reference to his anger management problems, which are potentially connected to issues with his character, as Wikipedia explains.

Ballmer’s tendency to loudly and enthusiastically express himself is well known. A famous 1991 incident left his vocal cords requiring repairative surgery after he screamed “Windows, Windows, Windows” continuously during a meeting in Japan. With the advent of internet video, such incidents have become increasingly infamous. (see videos)

Recommended: An hilarious video that demonstrates rage and tantrum in computing.

KDE 4 Will Make Linux Shine

KDE menus

IF the visual traits of a desktop environment is anything to go by, Linux has got it all. I am not suggesting that appearance is the very core of user experience. However, who refused to accept a tool which is packaged appropriately and is designed to improve usability?

KDE appears to be getting a gentler, cleaner look through third-party addons and some customisation or themes. Here is a quick preview of the one such outcome. Looks are subjective due to taste, of course, which is not always the case when it comes to function (i.e. features).

Here is a KDE 4 mockup, which might become a reality when KDE matures. KDE 4 is approaching its release date.

Older related item: KDE 4 Preview

The Desktop Cube Has Been Here for Years

Spherical desktop

Wallpaper from Houghi (click image above
to enlarge; non-lossy PNG version)

THE admirable Compiz/XGL cube has already earned its 15 minutes or fame. However, one alternative that often gets overlooked is 3-D Desktop, which has been available for GNU/Linux for several years.

Here are two 3-D Desktop videos from YouTube. They illustrate that simple function and demonstrate its beauty. Like XGL, speed is highly dependent upon OpenGL with a decent graphics card.

Coping With the Loss of Personal Data

AS recently as January this year, I proudly spoke about data resilience in Palm PDA‘s. Now, on the other hand, I am slightly more hesitant in making such bold statements, having screwed up big time. Allow me to elaborate in a stream-of-rage fashion (this won’t be too eloquent).

Palm TungstenWhile my general opinion (and confidence in Palm) has not changed much, this morning I was a victim of data loss. This cost me about 3 hours, a loss of data that I cannot truly recover, and a huge headache (metaphorically-speaking, through distress). To describe the ordeal in brevity, I woke up to discover that my Palm’s battery was empty. I thought the unit was dead until I had it charged and could reset it. I could soon come to grips with the fact that my main, volatile memory was void (not ROM). I then realised that the batteries got emptied without any prior notification. I left the handheld in my trousers’ packet overnight, rather than dock it on the cradle as I usually do.

The drainage took my by surprise. The last HotSync operation took place 24 hours earlier, but backup files were no good under KPilot, which can be odd and inconsistent at times, despite my praises. To make matters worse, it was the past 24 hours when I made the most changes, some of which were crucial and spanned a period of months. But it gets worse…

I attempted recovery in vain. I fortunately had one backup which was one week old in my peripheral SD card. I could recover with the loss of one week. To avoid this considerable time gap, this afternoon I bought a USB card reader. I thought it would enable me to modify the backup on the SD card using Red Feline Backup — that which I mentioned a long time ago. I wanted this backup to be be overriden by newer data which resides on the desktop. However, files were corrupt and led to a mess time after time. So no luck there, either.

SD Card

All in all, I ended up losing data, some of which I could restore from short-term memory and timely backups on the desktop. It is very laborious and time-consuming though. While the loss was rather small if put in proportion (nothing on par with data loss “disasters”), this occupied a lot of my time as I was somewhat negligent (I was caught off guard due to complacency — an indication of resilience in its own right). I suspect the unit might betray me again, so I will begin backing up more frequently. The paranoid’s approach will perhaps be embraced, but what else do I have to rely on? I never want this to happen again. Ever!

Asia Opens Up to GNU/Linux

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

IT is pleasant to see that the world is becoming more protective of choice and standards. More latterly we witnessed the Chinese adopting a strict policy which promotes the easy distribution of Linux on any PC. To quote the summary:

“Taiwan has mandated that all PCs purchased for government use must now be compatible with the Linux operating system.”

These days, I tend to collect and re-publish plenty of Linux advocacy items. Most of them can be viewed among my Digg submissions. I hope this separation keeps my Web Log diverse enough in terms of themes.

Windows High-Perfrmance Computing – Miserable Failure

Macs cluster

I may have just helped in intercepting a key decision and plan. It was the plan of our Division to convert a Linux HPC cluster into a Windows Compute Server, deploying it across approximately 32 nodes.

Not everybody was happy with this decision which made by just one junior staff, especially after I had voiced my own opinions. That guy, a regular Windows user, was rather frustrated. He wanted to convert a perfectly-operational Linux cluster into something else. He wanted to do so because the *nix system administrator who runs the Linux supercomputer has recently left. Without much clue about the alternative route, he went ahead and made a proposition to the management, contacting Microsoft in the process.

It worries me when such decisions are pushed forward by people who are not qualified to judge. The initiator does not know anything but Windows, let alone is able to draw a comparsion between different high-performance solutions (IBM have clearly stated that Linux is superior in that arena).

The person in question was/is bound to go to a training course on using Windows supercomputing, but an afternoon IT staff meeting will review the whole plan and possibly scrape it. I feel as though I have, to some extent, prevented a huge and expensive mistake from being made. That was my Linux advocacy for today and it was done locally, where it truly matters, rather than over cyberspace.

Making Your Work More Pleasant

Crocodile sign
A sign that is sure to get people’s attention

YESTERDAY I had a cursory look at ten tips for making your workspace more pleasant. As a gensture of reciprocity, here is the gist with warm attributions to the author, Steve Pavlina.

  1. Make your workspace look attractive to you.
  2. Clear out the clutter.
  3. Add plants.
  4. Make it smell good.
  5. Play relaxing music.
  6. Get a decent chair.
  7. Add a portable fan.
  8. Add a fountain.
  9. Personalize your space.
  10. Establish uninterruptible periods.

Points (3), (7-8) are the only ones I am in lack of. All of them involve the inclusion of objects, which I believe add to clutter (point 2).

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