08 March 2003

Hmmmm. This was to be my Linux installation day (a good project for a rainy Saturday) but 60 minutes or so into the installation process, which was zipping along quite nicely, I've apparently hit a bug in Python. Sigh. The Red Hat manual suggests copying the whole chunk of text the dialogue window spat up onto a floppy and sending it via email to Bugzilla. And, searching for errata on the Red Hat site. The problem with *that* is, I'm running an oldish HP laptop where I can only have one drive in at a time, so no can do to a floppy. The error text I was supposed to copy is way too long to take down by hand and I'm not sure what the relevant bit of error text even IS, as far as entering a query at Red Hat goes. Searched the bug fixes and there's only two, neither of which seem related to my problem. Tried to query Bugzilla for this specific error and boy, that's sure for the people who know more than I do -- there's a zillion menus and nothing on them makes sense to me.

Now, I'm not particularly technically adept, but I'd certainly be a lot more au fait with grappling with PC problems than that ubiquitous animal, the 'average computer user' (those are all my non-technical relatives and friends who call me up when the sound goes out on their PC or they need their internet acces set up :^) ...). I mean, I got through all the initial bits of the installation process, I understand what's going on and the majority of the terminology, and I even got excited at finally getting to be 'root'.  I guess I'm not going to be 'root' for a while yet! I've had to do reinstalls of a couple of Windows versions before and this experience underlines to me that Linux is really not what I'd want to suggest to, say, my dad, even if one can buy distributions that take much of the difficulty out of the process and that give you a nice GUI as well. I'm stumped at this point (though I do recognise that part of my difficulty is due to the limitations of not being able to copy the error text from my laptop. On the other hand, querying a bug faq and updating the OS kernel is a pretty damn complex task for most computer users).

Tomorrow morning I'll try booting from the CD again and see if it will run all the way through on a second try. If not, I will be at a conference on open source computing in government on Tuesday, and can corner the Irish Red Hat guy ... [grin]. On a more cheerful note, the install process was much easier and more familiar than I expected (til the organ chord of doom sounded and the bug appeared) and, encouraged by that, I think I'll install Linux onto one of my desktop Dell's drive partitions. As that's my machine on the net, finding drivers or fixing any problems should be much easier than the laptop (which I was surprised to find only has a *3 gig* harddrive! Amazing that that was just acres of room a few years ago and now, Linux plus KDE and GNOME will take up the majority of that...).

11:58:38 PM  #   your two cents []
Apple has spent $200m on its trendy Apple Stores: "Apple CEO Steve Jobs spends half a day each week with a 20-member design team, hashing out tweak after tweak in each of his 53 retail stores. In one session, the group agonized over three types of lighting to get Jobs's iMacs to shine just as they do in glossy ads." Check out what retail guru Paco Underhill has to say about the store's design in this Business 2.0 critique of the New York SoHo flagship store.
11:20:50 AM  #   your two cents []

I spent last evening talking my head off with a wonderful group of women. The Canadian Embassy in Dublin sponsored an evening get-together for Irish and Canadian businesswomen in honor of International Women's Day, at which I got to give a small talk on... women! I wasn't sure initially what to speak about, and it was only a 5-10 minute welcoming talk (though it came almost at the end -- we were all too busy enjoying the drinks and snacks and gabbing). But as I scoured the net for background material and statistics I was repeatedly struck by how pervasive and important women-run businesses are.

For example, women in Canada run 70 per cent of small businesses, and globally, women run a fourth to third of ALL businesses. In the US women-run companies -- a third of all businesses -- give employment to over 27 million people and bring in over $3 trillion annually. I also found it fascinating that in many global studies, women said they started companies for reasons that differed from men's responses, and also, they run their companies differently.

However, there are of course great disparities in some areas between men-run and women-run companies. Women get only about 5% of venture funding, for example.

My conclusion was that women need to recognise that, as entrepreneurs and businesswomen, we have an established, important, and effective place on the global business stage, because I think women tend to think of themselves as a small minority with little financial clout. The statistics and studies argue otherwise. On the other hand, women need to use their broad representation in business -- especially the strength of their numbers in the SME area -- to push for the change they want in financing structures, work practices, and government policies (which should also bring benefits to men, of course, especially those who feel little flexibility in the workplace for the value they place on time with family, time off, etc). Networking events such as that at the Canadian Embassy help get women together in productive ways. As Helen Reddy once sang, we are "in numbers too big to ignore" -- and we shouldn't forget that.

11:01:17 AM  #   your two cents []
Understanding the Net. Doc Searls and David Weinberger: World of Ends. What the Internet Is and How to Stop Mistaking It for Something Else [Dan Gillmor's eJournal]
10:11:38 AM  #   your two cents []
The UN: Right or wrong?. The first of a weekly series of email threads: this week, historians Andrew Roberts and Ben Pimlott discuss leadership, the Iraq crisis and the UN. [Guardian Unlimited]
10:10:33 AM  #   your two cents []
A. J. Liebling. "People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news." [Quotes of the Day]
10:06:44 AM  #   your two cents []

From Good Morning Silicon Valley:

Researchers at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) Computer Services found themselves in the news yesterday after they managed to transmit 6.7 gigabytes of data from Sunnyvale, Calif., to Amsterdam in less than a minute. The transmission, made across the Internet2 network, had an average speed of more than 923 megabits per second -- more than 3,500 times faster than a typical home broadband connection. Les Cottrell, assistant director of SLAC (which is already trying to break its own record), described the effort as one that might soon bring high-speed data transfer to practical everyday applications. "Imagine ... being able to download two full-length, two-hour movies within a minute," Cottrell told CNN. "That changes the whole idea of how media is distributed."

1:16:46 AM  #   your two cents []