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Archive for July, 2006

GNOME and XGL Showcases

GNOME mockup

Future of GNOME (mockup)

Have a look at this astounding XGL/Compiz video (I conceded embedment of videos in page). The video demonstrates the cutting-edge Linux desktop experience (with pleasant background music). As the title of this video says, “the future is now!”; be sure to read some of the bound comments.

I also came across several nice GNOME screenshots in recent days.

Related item: GNOME is Also Beautiful

Raves Du Jour

My opinion has just appeared in a CRN article. To quote the relevant bit:

“I have a gripe with what you claim and suggest. Essentially you propose robbing users from choice and diversity. Monocolutre is what GNU/Linux is here to address/tackle. Isn’t that what SLED is for? Corporate uniformity?

Why eliminate all others as contenders? And why spread FUD about compiling packages when there are such huge Ubuntu repositories?”

I referred to the original article in a previous blog post — that which motivated me to address the author. It seems as though, exposure-wise, the sun has begun to shine my way. I received the following E-mail last week (anonymised; anon replaces names/titles).

Hey there Roy,

I bet you’re getting a lot of email these days, thanks to Jason Calacanis’s post. So I’ll be quick.

You probably know anon, thanks to his blog (#36 in the world or thereabouts), his anon venture, and his books like anonand anon. Well, he’s got a new book coming out in August–called anon–which covers anon‘s best blog posts and rants and remarkable ideas of the last decade.

I’ve got a limited number of early books on hand. Any interest in a free copy? No strings attached.

I was shocked to find myself in such honourable position. I hope it’s all sustainable.

Local-Yet-Web-based Feeds Aggregators


Feedlounge Web-based reader (a third-party paid-for service)

A week ago I was trying to find an alternative Web-based feed-reading software. I was looking for merely anything, apart from desktop-bound solutions or offshorn Web-based services such as Feedlounge and Google Reader. While I am very happy with my current feeds reader, RSSOwl, it is bound to remain a native desktop application (albeit it’s fully cross-platform). I rarely bother to tunnel in and check the feeds while on vacation, so I quickly go ‘out of sync’. A Web-based aggregator could address this deficiency.

I had a quick browse through, but could not find anything that was complete. Then, I took a glance at where more complete projects reside. Here is a short report on what I could and could not locate.

None was too impressive (more akin to a complete miss). I was then reminded of an RSS feed reader (aggregator) which already integrates news on my Website although it is extremely rudimentary. In general, none of the applications that I shallowly reviewed (judging by lists and screenshots, without installing) was mature or complete in terms of the required features. The pursuit for a free, Free (as in “Freedom to change, redistribute and so forth”), Web-based, multi-functional software was probably too much. This came to prove that, in terms of functionality (let alone responsiveness that is another important matter), Web-based applications have a lot of catching up to do w.r.t. good ol’ desktop programs.

For completeness, I also found:

  • nntp2rss – A tool that provides a bridge to access newsgroups using an RSS reader. Quite interesting, I thought.
  • Flock – still in alpha stage and has not been updated for almost 4 years. It is not to be confused with the Web browser Flock (a Mozilla Firefox derivative with social networks slant).

The World Turns to GNU/Linux

AS a programmer in training and background, I have always been told that I must keep up with the latest and the greatest — technology-wise that is — in oder to remain marketable. The way I perceive it, Windows technology that excludes the competition is a dying breed. I would not want to expand my knowledge in that area, which is why I continue to urge people to upgrade to Linux. At the same time, I rarely bother to keep up with advancements in the Windows world and yet I keep an eye on features and demonstrations that permit me to make a comparative analysis.

Vista error message

A mockup I prepared using the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP)

Today in the news:

And that, mind you, is just half a day in the news. It is representative of merely any day in the year 2006. The world changes more quickly than most people care to realise.

Identity Theft and Character Assassination

Cowboy hat
Black hat forgery had me victimised

A few weeks ago I was reminded why signing (or even encryption) one’s mail is very important. I mentioned this issue twice in the past. Having warned someone about an imposter, I recently found myself waring the same shoe. I have identified an imposter/forger… of my own.

In this case, the forger ridiculed Linux while using my full name. Needless to say, I did not write this. Describing Ubuntu as “Bison” dung while using my full name? I think not, but it remains archived on the Web, which can rarely be trusted nowadays (think Wikipedia). This was part of character assassination attempts, which appear to have escaped UseNet and spread to the World Wide Web.

Downtime, Heat Waves, and Windows XP

Server room

SO, there I am at work again. By all means it’s an ordinary day, but the unusual heat makes me want to stay inside where it’s air conditioned. Just a minute ago I saw a follow Ph.D. student slamming his mouse and keyboard. I could see an empty Windows XP desktop, so I can only imagine that it froze on him (possibly after an important overnight experiment). That’s just something, isn’t it? No access to the results and a whole night gone in vain. I’d offer him Linux (it’s already installed on his secondary partition), but I don’t want to risk alienation or become his ‘support guy’.

My computer was running from April to July (SuSE Linux 8.1) without a single reboot, but we had three outages recently. These were due to the heat wave that evidently affects London datacentres, as well as California (notably the half-day MySpace downtime). I even heard about Utah too last week… downtime reported in news:alt.www.webmaster. I then found a news release and reproted it to Walt as a possible proof that the Web host was not lying. I guess we must all have to cope with the effect of the weather on our servers. Everyone suffers the same, so balance prevails.

The Thunderbird Ideaology – Start Small, Grow Huge

A screenshot of Thunderbird with the CrossOver theme

MOZILLA Thunderbird is, in my humble opinion, a very user-friendly mail client (as well as feeds reader or news reader) ‘out ot the box’.Like Firefox, it was built to suit merely anyone, even those who describe themselves as computing mediocres. Shall you wish to entend it, possibly making it more complex and harder to master, all you need to do is go to the official extensions page, click on the install button and make your application far more versatile. I have a dozen extensions installed at the moment and jointly they make Thunderbird more powerful than any other mail client I have come across.

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