04 April 2003
Cool"A downtown business improvement district is planning to establish free high-speed wireless Internet access in six parks and public spaces in Lower Manhattan next month, significantly expanding the availability downtown of wireless connections to the Internet."  Some for Dublin, please!
11:37:22 AM  #   your two cents []
Looks like the EU is going to try and ratify a regime for protecting software patents. Read why this particular approach is stifling to innovation, and not a good idea, here. There's a counter proposal here, and you can add your support here.
11:28:57 AM  #   your two cents []

Tux, the Linux mascotWhy do fanatical devotees of computer operating systems always miss the point (answers on a postcard...:^)...). I knew the long piece I wrote for the Guardian last week, on whether Linux really was ready for the home desktop, would cause some ire. You can see two different responses from readers here. The story's premise was that some vendors are saying Linux IS ready for the average desktop. I was testing that -- I'm not a programmer but I am a pretty experienced computer user and I had a tough (but enjoyably challenging) time installing this OS. So in response to the letter writer quoted below: hey: the vast majority of people have a hard enough time operating ANY computer and the whole point of OS X or Windows is that the user DOESN'T know, or ever, ever need to know, that they're going in as 'root' (or equivalent). Most don't want to have to go to user groups or net bulletin boards for help. If all we had to use was Linux right now, even with very helpful install features and the lovely Gnome GUI, the PC would not be a general consumer item.

And the assertion that the Guardian never writes on Linux is just plain silly. There's been heaps of coverage in the G. on Linux at the business/govt level (two in recent weeks -- why do people not check before making such claims?). Indeed, in past years I've written two of those Guardian pieces; I've interviewed Linux guru Alan Cox a couple of times, talked to Red Hat when it was about 10 people, and even sat in the presence of His Penguinity, Mr Torvalds, at an event or two [grin] so I'm hardly a total neophyte. I've been fascinated by, and writing about, the darn OS since 1997. I've always wanted to try it out myself. Until now, most Linux-using friends warned me off.

As I hoped my Guardian piece made clear, I love my new Red Hat desktop environment. But it's not easy enough yet for most computer users. And most do not need many of Linux's most powerful features -- not even its stability, not when the sacrifice is the ability to use a computer at all. My dad could not use this. My non-geek friends could not use this. Yet. Yet. Anyway, excerpts from the letter. You can email the correspondent to agree or disagree with opinions expressed!

Lillington says "I'd have to go in as root, ... I cannot imagine an average PC user ever attempting this." No, because the average PC user doesn't realise they are doing the same sort of potentially dangerous operation every time they cause something to be changed in that impenetrable midden called The Registry. Please find someone who understands Linux to write about it in an informed way so your readers can understand it is fundamentally better designed, safer and more robust.

People say you have to be very intelligent to run Linux. No, the distinction is that it is no good trying to use your intelligence on other more widely used products - it will get you nowhere. With Linux, you soon learn how to solve your own problems. Perhaps you just send out a cry to the thousands of techies ready to help. Perhaps you read the manuals and work out the solution yourself. If you get really hooked, you find the bug in the source code and contribute to the good. Laurie Moye

10:52:52 AM  #   your two cents []

Doc Searls: "Ever wonder about the genius behind the brilliant Switch to Mac and Switch to Linux animations from Ubergeek.tv? I've got an interview/profile piece over at Linux Journal."

10:02:58 AM  #   your two cents []
Heehee!! Six degrees of Office 2003. "Microsoft has outlined its plans for six different Office 2003 bundles, as eWeek explains. I've only just got around to opening the Beta 2 Kit, which is not a trivial installation since it comes on 15 CDs...." [onlineblog.com]
10:01:18 AM  #   your two cents []

Slate turns US Defense Sec Donald Rumsfeld into an unexpected bard with 'found poetry' constructed from his own words. Check out the whole article -- frighteningly funny -- but here're a few examples:

You're going to be told lots of things.
You get told things every day that don't happen.

It doesn't seem to bother people, they don't—
It's printed in the press.
The world thinks all these things happen.
They never happened.

Everyone's so eager to get the story
Before in fact the story's there
That the world is constantly being fed
Things that haven't happened.

All I can tell you is,
It hasn't happened.
It's going to happen.

—Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing

The Digital Revolution
Oh my goodness gracious,
What you can buy off the Internet
In terms of overhead photography!

A trained ape can know an awful lot
Of what is going on in this world,
Just by punching on his mouse
For a relatively modest cost!

—June 9, 2001, following European trip

The Situation
Things will not be necessarily continuous.
The fact that they are something other than perfectly continuous
Ought not to be characterized as a pause.
There will be some things that people will see.
There will be some things that people won't see.
And life goes on.

—Oct. 12, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing

9:58:35 AM  #   your two cents []
Victor Borge. "The difference between a violin and a viola is that a viola burns longer." [Quotes of the Day]
9:48:32 AM  #   your two cents []
Will broadband providers control content?. "If we don't do something now broadband access will be based on the TV model -- it will all be about directing marketing and advertising to your household."  [InfoWorld: Top News]
9:45:43 AM  #   your two cents []

From Jamie Smyth in NY [Irish Times, sub only]: Dell may cap call centre jobs in Ireland.

When asked if Dell would cap employment at its Irish call centres, Mr Rollins said the firm would have to wait and see. "We haven't said that yet but we will have to see as we work with the IDA and others to maintain cost competitiveness. That will be a discussion point," he added.

However, Mr Rollins was more upbeat on the cost-competitiveness of Dell's manufacturing operations in the Republic, based in Limerick, which employ more than 3,300 staff. "I would say that the manufacturing centre is doing quite well in terms of cost competitiveness but there is an advantage in that you are closer to the continent. Asia, which is the real competitor for Ireland, is further away so there is a freight cost advantage that Ireland has. But when you come to call centres that is not as clear."

See also: Dell execs map growth plans. Company eyes servers, storage, services for increased revenue [InfoWorld: Top News]

9:43:18 AM  #   your two cents []
InfoWorld: Amazon licenses Google technology. Google's Web search feature and sponsored links will be available on Amazon.com's Web site, thanks to an agreement the two companies announced on Thursday. The deal will let Amazon.com customers search the Web using Google's technology without having to leave the Amazon.com Web site. [Tomalak's Realm]
9:37:16 AM  #   your two cents []