Revolver Map.

Monday, December 3, 2007

VISTA is not an option.

Being a Linux user for 6 years, I was curious about VISTA. I signed up as an official tester for RC1 and RC2. My hardware consisted of an Epyx motherboard, 512 meg of DDR memory, AMD Athlon XP 2000 processor, Linksys NIC card, Sound Blaster audio board, NVIDIA FX 5200, 256 meg video card, Iomega 100 ZIP drive, 1.44 floppy, and a 80gig Western Digital IDE hard drive. I ran the tester to see if I met all the requirements of the OS. It said I could run any version, which turned out to be false. RC1 and RC2 failed to detect my NIC card, sound board, ZIP drive and my USB ports. I ran my Linksys disk and installed the driver for XP, and it worked. Got on the internet and started looking for drivers on the manufacturer's web sites. No one had drivers ready yet and most were not sure when they would be ready. Not a very good start for what is supposed to be the latest and greatest. I tried out all the apps and programs that came with the download and was very displeased with the speed. Very sluggish and unresponsive. Boot up time was around 2 minutes. There was no way I was going to downgrade from Linux to VISTA.
It has been a year now and Microsoft says VISTA is being adopted faster than XP was. But, in the real world people are buying new computers, preloaded with VISTA( you have no choice on branded units), removing VISTA and loading XP. Companies are not upgrading as fast as Redmond thinks, with new hardware requirements, increased license fees, training costs, and memory upgrades. There is no way I am going to downgrade from Linux to VISTA.
My Linux distribution, PCLinuxOS, is faster, more secure, needs less memory, is easier to install, and does everything VISTA does except get viruses, adware, malware, and trojans. The 3D desktop makes VISTA's aero look lame and only requires 32meg of video memory. Plus I am not tied down to the whims of the vendor, nor can they access my machine at will. Last, but not least, did I mention that it is all free?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Time Warner Cable

If are connected to the internet with TWC, you had better get used to poor service, no help, and intermittent connections. Mine has been interrupted 3 times today and several times yesterday. I'm rebooting my modem, router and Vonage telephone appliance at least once a week and sometimes several times a day. Downloads are lost and communication with the company is useless. They give all kinds of excuses as to the reason service is dis-connected and all of it is your fault, not theirs. I had Comcast before and never had a problem. Go to this site to read what other people have to say. Absolutely the worst company I have ever dealt with, in my 50 years of adulthood.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

M$ protection racket

The following was written by Mr. Vaughn-Nichols.

Steve Ballmer, the Sopranos and the protection racket.

I was walking down the street when a limo pulled up beside me and Big Steve Ballmer emerged.

"I need to talk to you Vaughan-Nichols," he said, as two large men in expensive, but badly fitting suits, followed him out.


"Hey, anything the Redmond Mafia wants to say to me, they can call me about. You know the number."

"Listen to me," Ballmer said. "The only reason I'm doing this is because you're well-known. If it were anybody else, they would've gotten this intervention through the back of their head. Capiche?"

I sighed. "OK, speak your piece."

"Why are you making so much trouble about me talking about how open source and Linux owes us money?"

"Because they don't, Tony. Er, I mean, Steve. What you're doing is trying to set up an extortion racket."

"Oh, yeah? Who knows more about extortion, me or you?"

In this case, I think it's me.

Microsoft isn't just spreading FUD—albeit they're doing that as well. The explicit message is that Linux companies owe money to Microsoft because of patent violations. The only problem is that even when Ballmer first started making these claims in 2004, the only authority he has every cited for his claims said Ballmer had gotten it all wrong.

Every time Ballmer makes these increasingly vague claims—this makes the fourth go-around in the last four years by my count—open source and legal experts jump all over him. He ignores them and life continues.

PointerTo read more about Ballmer's patent threats against Linux and open source, click here.

Ballmer is sending two other hidden messages though. Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, Ubuntu's corporate Linux backer, pointed them out to me in a recent conversation.

The first is that there's something unsavory about Linux and open source. Ballmer starts his accusations against Linux with the assumption that everyone agrees with him that there's something illegal going on with Linux. He implies, without any proof at all, that the patents, or whatever he's talking about that day, are only the tip of the open-source IP (intellectual property) iceberg.

Never mind that Microsoft refuses to ever give a specific example, or that after years of claims SCO has completely failed to show any evidence that Linux has stolen any copyrighted material from Linux. Ballmer keeps talking as if there's something dirty in Linux's closet. Special Report: Enterprise Wars: Linux vs. Windows

This connects directly with Ballmer's other unquestioned assumption: that there is no innovation or creation in open source. If you argue with Ballmer on his grounds, you must also assume that open source is just a way of copying the ideas of proprietary developers.

What nonsense!

Just look at the name "open" source. It's all there. I can look at it. You can look it. It there's something illegal in the code, I think it'd be pretty easy to point it out, don't you?

As for new ideas, open source is the new idea of the 21st century. After decades of thinking that only way software can be valuable is if it's hidden and proprietary, open source has shown that you can create new things faster and better. It's an idea that's so radical people are still trying to get their heads around the notion that you can make money by giving something away.

Nevertheless, we must continue to challenge Ballmer on both his explicit and implicit attacks on Linux and open source. If we don't, we end up in a situation where his arguments that Linux and open-source software buyers should pay protection, excuse me, buy a Microsoft patent covenant begin to sound like the sensible, prudent thing to do. It's not.

"So, with all due respect Steve, until you're willing to start talking sense, and stop making empty threats, I won't pay. I know too much about extortion."

PointerCheck out's Linux & Open Source Center for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Friday, October 12, 2007

It appears as though the first patent suit against Linux — targeting Red Hat and Novell — is now official. According to Groklaw’s Pamela Jones:

IP Innovation LLC has just filed a patent infringement claim against Red Hat and Novell. It was filed October 9, case no. 2:2007cv00447, IP Innovation, LLC et al v. Red Hat Inc. et al, in Texas. Where else? The patent troll magnet state…… [this is] The first ever patent infringement litigation involving Linux. Here’s the patent, for those who can look at it without risk. If in doubt, don’t. Here’s the complaint [PDF]….The plaintiff is asking for an injunction, along with damages.

Jones goes on to cite some relevant points of the complaint but then, like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, unearths a potential connection to Microsoft. According to a story posted by Patent Troll Tracker well before this lawsuit turned up, IP Innovation LLC is a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation which the site classifies as a patent troll. This past July Acacia hired Jonathan Taub away from his job as Director, Strategic Alliances for the Mobile and Embedded Devices (MED) division at Microsoft and then, just last week, it hired Brad Brunell away from his job at Microsoft where, among other jobs, he served as General Manager, Intellectual Property Licensing.

The blogosphere is likely to have a field day with this connection and I suspect that dumpsters will be dived in hopes of finding a less tenuous connection to Microsoft. The timing of the suit seems rather serendipitous given both the timing of Brunell’s move as well as the threats that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer issued last week — ones that specifically mentioned patents (vs. the other form of intellectual property; copyrights). Even so,

Is there a connection? Well, there’s no smoking gun at this point. And if there was such a connection, you can’t help but wonder why Novell would be named in the suit since Microsoft and Novell are now working together to better integrate Windows with Novell’s Suse Linux and the arrangement includes patent protection for Novell. So, you’ll have to judge for yourself what’s going on here.

This is from David Berlind, writing for ZDNET.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Ballmer mouths off, again.

Tom Sanders is reporting that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave a talk at a company event in the UK last week saying that Red Hat customers need to pay Microsoft for its beloved IP, whatever it may consist of:

Users of the Red Hat Linux distribution will have to pay Microsoft for its intellectual property, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has cautioned. "People who use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us," Ballmer said at a company event discussing online services in the UK last week. A video report of Ballmer's speech was posted online over the weekend.
The link doesn't work for me. Maybe it's been taken down? Anyone of you attend that event? I know. It's a long shot. Or if anyone finds the video, please post the url. So, if the report is true, we have an "obligation" to pay. OK. How about this? How about Microsoft has an obligation to reveal its patents or whatever its "intelletual property" is first? How's that? "Intellectual property" doesn't mean anything under the law, unless you specify. So, patents? Copyrights? What? That was SCO's downfall, the refusal or inability to specify. He reportedly said also that he hopes that when reforming patent law people don't throw out the baby with the bathwater and get rid of software patents altogether. Actually, that sounds like a great idea. Let's do.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Windows start button

I recently found an article on how to change the start button text. It involves only a few steps and doesn't affect anything else. Here is what mine looks like:

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Microsoft wins award.

Microsoft has been awarded a prize by the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure for the debacle surrounding its Office Open XML specification.
FFII vice-president Alberto Barrionuevo said: "We ran a cheap campaign, mostly through that single website. So we're happy with a token reimbursement of our costs. Several of the Kayak Prize nominees told us they did not want any financial reward for their work. So, if Microsoft does not send someone to the award ceremony, we'll give the money to the Peruvian earthquake fund."
Microsoft admitted attempting to influence the outcome of votes to fast-track OOXML as an ISO standard last month. The voting process will finish in February. Article appeared on ZDnet.UK website.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Microsoft updating without permission?

Microsoft Corp. has started updating files on computers running Windows XP and Vista, even when users have explicitly disabled the operating systems’ automatic update feature, researchers said today.
Can you believe this? Looks like your home computer running windoze is not yours, it belongs to Microsoft. If they can do this, then what other information are they grabbing from your hard drive? With this "swiss cheese" OS, they are able to roam your drive at will. How far do you trust these folks?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys opened the Wade Phillips era with a 45-35 win Sunday against the New York Giants at Texas Stadium.

"That's one of the biggest things we've emphasized," tight end Jason Witten said. "When one guy goes down, other people have to step up. I still think it's going to be a challenge for us, but I think it was good to see that we were capable."

The 45 points were the most for the Cowboys in a season opener since they beat Buffalo, 49-37, in 1971, when only one current Cowboy (Brad Johnson) was even alive.

The Cowboys are 1-0 for only the second time this century because when it was time to make plays, they made them, especially on offense.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Fry's bad experience.

I went over to Fry's this morning to check on a AMD64, 5600, dual core processor w/motherboard. I got there early and the lady behind the counter was a manager. I told her what I wanted and she started the process on the computer. A lady customer walked up and the manager asked her what she needed. She dropped me and waited on the lady. I walked off and came back later, hoping there would be someone else there, but no luck. I told her how rude that was and she mumbled something under her breath. I will continue to shop Fry's, but I won't let her wait on me again, and I will tell her why, if she inquires. This was at the Plano store, #33.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Lake Tawakoni Spider Web

If you hate creepy-crawlies, you might want to avoid Lake Tawakoni State Park, where a 200-yard stretch along a nature trail has been blanketed by a sprawling spider web that has engulfed seven large trees, dozens of bushes and even the weedy ground.

But if you hate mosquitoes, you might just love this bizarre web.

"At first, it was so white it looked like fairyland," said park Superintendent Donna Garde. "Now it's filled with so many mosquitoes that it's turned a little brown.

"There are times you can literally hear the screech of millions of mosquitoes caught in those webs."

There have been heated Internet discussions among experts whether the web was constructed by social cobweb spiders, which work together, or is perhaps a mass dispersal in which the arachnids spin webs to spread out from one another.

Either way, it's generating a lot of bug buzz.

"I've been hearing from entomologists from Ohio, Kansas, British Columbia -- all over the place," said Mike Quinn, an invertebrate biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department who first posted photos of the web on the Web.

But there is little consensus about what sparked the phenomenon or even the type of spider responsible. Parks officials say similar but smaller webs have appeared along another trail.

"From what I'm hearing it could be a once-in-a-lifetime event," said Herbert A. "Joe" Pase, a Texas Forest Service entomologist. "It's very, very unusual."

Park officials say they have gotten mixed reactions from visitors.

"Some can't wait to see it, while others don't want to go anywhere near it," said Trisha Brian, a park volunteer. "It's definitely not for everyone, but I'm so fascinated by it that I come down to look at it every day. Every time I come by, there's something new."

But one Texas spider expert couldn't muster much excitement about the giant web.

John Jackman, a professor and extension entomologist for Texas A&M University and author of A Field Guide to the Spiders and Scorpions of Texas, said he receives similar reports every couple of years.

"There are a lot of folks that don't realize spiders do that," Jackman said. "Until we get some samples sent to us, we really won't know what species of spider we're talking about."

Garde just wishes the entomologists would check out the spider web in person instead of arguing about it over the Internet.

Rangers expect the giant web to stick around until fall, when the spiders will start dying off. Unfortunately, it probably won't last until Oct. 31.

"It would make a good Halloween set, wouldn't it?" said park ranger Freddie Gowin, who found the giant web while mowing about a month ago. "But I don't think you could pay me enough money to run through all of those webs."

This is from the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Linux on Intel MID

Looks like Mandriva Linux is the first distro to appear on Intel's new Mobile devices. Here is the link Not sure how these devices will appeal to the public, they are smaller than laptops, but larger than PDA's & the pocket pc's. I would think the college student would be more interested than the average man on the street, or even a high schooler. Don't know if Microsoft has a platform for these units yet, but assume they do. Given Microsoft's design and security problems Linux would be a better choice for students. Linux isn't hacker proof, but it is much harder to break in, and not being integrated, like MS, information is more secure. I ran a Linux server, in my house, for three years and never had a problem with hackers, had a lot of tries, but no one made it onto my unit. It ran 24/7 with no problems, only time it went down was when we had a power outage. I doubt a windows server could do that.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Microsoft and OOXML

Looks like it has been rejected, for the time being. M$ is calling this a victory, and I'm sure they will be able to spread enough money, or threats around to get the no's, with comments, to vote yes in February.

Looks like Microsoft will stop at nothing to get OOXML standardized. They are now accused of stuffing the ballot box by getting their "partners" to join in and vote yes, even though they haven't had time to sort through the 6000 page document submitted by their payee. It would appear that ethics is not a priority at M$ headquarters. Of course they have a history of getting IP's by buying the company, borrowing code, and outright theft. Only if they get caught will they make excuses for their actions. I suppose this makes sense to a company with the best lawyers, judges, and governmental officials money can buy. Wired has a good article on this debacle here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Llandudno, Wales

My wife has a penpal in Llandudno and they started corresponding in 1955. We switched over to an internet phone service, and now talk to her every other Saturday, as the call is free. The city has a website here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fixin to ramble

I live in North Texas, partially retired, work part-time for Home Depot and run PCLinuxOS as my main operating system. I play games on that piece of crap from Redmond. Been a computer nut since the Commodore VIC 20 came out in 1981.Still have one of them and a Commodore 128D, plus a few older model pc's. They range from a 386 to a dual core intel. I think there is about 21 of them and a couple that don't work.