Ubuntu 8.10 announced

Thursday, February 21, 2008 at 23:19 | Posted in computer, linux, ubuntu | 2 Comments
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While preparations for release of Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron), to be released in April, are still intensively in progress, Mark Shuttleworth yesterday announced that planning for the version after that is starting. Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) is expected to be out in October 2008. For me personally, the best part of Mark’s message is this:

A particular focus for us will be pervasive internet access, the ability to tap into bandwidth whenever and wherever you happen to be. No longer will you need to be a tethered, domesticated animal – you’ll be able to roam (and goats do roam!) the wild lands and access the web through a variety of wireless technologies. We want you to be able to move from the office, to the train, and home, staying connected all the way.

That is exactly what I have been waiting to hear for quite a while. If even half of it will happen, I may be a long step closer to getting rid of the Windows partition of my laptop for good.

via Susan

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Your printer is expired

Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 2:44 | Posted in computer | 2 Comments
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Sven is pissed off  because his HP CP1700PS printer was blocked. There was nothing wrong with the printer but the black ink cartridge was expired. Apparently, HP does not allow you to print after the expiration date of a cartridge although there still is ink left in the cartridge. Sven’s mood did not get any better when he replaced the cartridge just to detect that the printer would still not do any printing because now the yellow ink cartridge had expired. As icing on the cake, HP’s support site refused to swallow Sven’s letter of complaint.

Maybe it was a small comfort for Sven to detect that Epson users have it even worse. Epson seems to have a “waste counter” that paralyzes the printer after a specific number of prints allthough there is nothing wrong with the printer. Epson just made sure that you would buy a new printer soon enough even if your old printer works fine. Luckily though, there is a downloadable script in the web for adjusting the counter to zero.

I am lucky enough not to have this problem. I have an ancient HP LaserJet 4 printer which dates back to last century. At that time the manufacturers had not as yet gotten the idea of promoting their product circulation with this kind of unethical means. My printer is a regular pile of junk but I only need to print about 10 pages a year. When it eventually collapses due to old age, I am not going to buy another printer. I’ll just print my odd pages in the local library and pay 20 cents a page for the pleasure, which adds up to the grand total of 2 € a year.

Computer Networks: The Heralds Of Resource Sharing

Monday, October 22, 2007 at 0:17 | Posted in computer, internet, Nostalgy | Leave a comment

This Steven King’s 1972 documentary shows some great people who were designing and operating open networks which were eventually developed to what we now know as the Internet. It takes about 25 minutes to watch but is a good deal if you have the time.

via Jan Kallberg and Milk and Cookies

Vodpod videos no longer available.

from watchedbylarko.vodpo

Unable to upgrade to Ubuntu 7.10

Saturday, October 20, 2007 at 8:13 | Posted in computer, linux, ubuntu | 20 Comments
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I have tried to upgrade from Ubuntu 7.04 to 7.10 for a couple of days now but have so far not succeeded in doing so. First I thought it was the crowded servers but now during early morning hours here in Europe, the upgrade proceeded considerably faster than hitherto but hooked up at exactly the same point as before. The upgrade does not go further than fetching the files because three files can apparently not be found. The error message (the same every time) says:

Failed to fetch http://wine.lowvoice.nl/apt/dists/feisty/Release.gpg Could not resolve ‘wine.lowvoice.nl’
Failed to fetch http://wine.lowvoice.nl/apt/dists/feisty/main/i18n/Translation-en_US.bz2 Could not resolve ‘wine.lowvoice.nl’
Failed to fetch http://wine.lowvoice.nl/apt/dists/feisty/main/binary-i386/Packages.gz Could not resolve ‘wine.lowvoice.nl’

I do not get it. There is nothing wrong with the network connection at my end. Also, the repository wine.lowvoice.nl is opted for as this screen shot shows:

I am less than enthusiastic about the prospective of having to make a clean install. While my important files are all in the web, there is quite a lot of software and personal installations which I am not too eager to start from scratch. Nevertheless, I have no idea as to what I could possibly do other than a clean install.

Give one, get one

Friday, October 12, 2007 at 4:48 | Posted in computer | Leave a comment
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The OLPC or One Laptop Per Child project launches a campaign in US starting November 12th where you can get the famous stripped model laptop for 400 dollars. You get one of them and another will be sent by the organization to a child in need. I would buy one if I happened to be in US.

David Pogue from the NYT reviews the OLPC laptop.

via Geirsan

Those were the days

Friday, September 14, 2007 at 19:15 | Posted in absurd, computer, Nostalgy | Leave a comment
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I guess every opsys has been something of a news at the time it was released. This Dos 5 Promo Video makes us laugh now but it was no doubt the news of the day back then. You kids just do not imagine what primitive tools we had to rely on.

via Jaanus

Vodpod videos no longer available.

from watchedbylarko.vodpo

You owe the copyright lobby

Wednesday, August 8, 2007 at 3:09 | Posted in Bureaucracy, computer, copyright, Germany | 3 Comments
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If you are reading this blog post, you probably possess a computer with a hard drive. There are, of course, also other ways to connect to the Internet but most of us still use a regular computer. Did you know that your computer is a device which is typically intended for recording copyrighted films and you should accordingly pay the copyright owners for the privilege of having a computer?

That seems to be the reasoning behind a ruling of the German patent officials. The story, as reported by Golem.de (via Farliblog) has it that computer manufacturers should retroactively as from 2002 pay a compensation of 15 € for each computer with a hard drive they sold.

I for one have had about half a dozen computers since 2002 but I have never used any of them as a substitute of a DVD recorder. There are typically other purposes I use my computers for. Or as Farlion puts it, you could just as well argue that the most logical purpose of a piece of paper would be writing down the contents of copyrighted books.

Pointless Powerpoint

Monday, August 6, 2007 at 3:00 | Posted in computer, funny, video | Leave a comment

This video proves that if you have a point to make, there is no point in using Powerpoint to make it.

via Basic Thinking Blog

Digital gap

Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 23:46 | Posted in computer, internet | Leave a comment

Broadband access to the Internet for an affordable price seems so elementary these days that we often tend to forget that it is not something to be taken for granted for a large number of web users. I have hard time imagining that I would live in a place where broadband connections were not readily available and provided by competing ISP’s to keep the price reasonable. And yet, the BBC reports that just 60 % of Internet users in OECD member countries have a broadband access to the web.

According to the OECD report, there is a big gap in the price level and connection speed between different countries. I recently upgraded my shared connection which rarely reached up to 1 Mb/s to a 2 Mb connection and would not even dream of going back to old times. It is very difficult to imagine how 40 % of web users in OECD countries can cope with dial up connections. I pay the reasonable price of 29,90 € a month for my connection. Dial up cost would easily be much higher than that with my usage level.

Graphics by the BBC
Graphics by the BBC

The figures above show the cheapest entry levels to broadband within the OECD. The most expensive country in this comparison is Mexico with $52.36 for a 1 Mb/s connection. The digital gap is even broader than that if you consider that the average income in Mexico is much lower than in the cheapest broadband countries.

Projects like One Laptop Per Child are enormously important to level the digital gap. However, how useful will that laptop be for those children who have no chance to hook it up to the web?

Thanks, Kalle, for dropping me the hint. 🙂

Protecting my Windows partition

Sunday, July 22, 2007 at 21:01 | Posted in computer, ubuntu | 3 Comments
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For reasons I wrote about back then, I bought a laptop with pre-installed Windows XP a couple of months ago. Along with the XP there was a 60 day trial of Norton Security Suite. While I mostly use the laptop under Ubuntu 7.04, I decided to leave the Windows partition intact. My Logitech QuickCam Connect is easier to use for both video and still pictures under Windows. Also, I have not yet managed to configure my WLAN card to Linux and some cool features of Skype do not support Linux.

The Norton Security 60 days free trial would have run out in 8 days. I have been reminded for the last three weeks to “renew” it which would obviously no longer have been free. Interestingly, the two options provided each time I logged in to Windows were to renew it now (which was recommended) or renew later. In other words, I was generously left with the option of paying them right away or paying them later. Since I have no desire to pay Norton a cent for their services, I today uninstalled their Security Suite and replaced it with free software.

I first downloaded the Zone Alarm free firewall and then uninstalled the Norton stuff. After re-booting I installed the firewall and went on to download the equally free Avira AntiVir Personal Edition Classic. After installation I let it scan my hard drive. No viruses were found so Norton managed that part during the 52 days, at least.

Now that I had a firewall an and antivirus programme running, I still needed a tool to detect and remove spy- and malware. I downloaded and installed Spybot. Although Norton Security had not reported a single entry of spyware during 52 days, Spybot detected and removed 41 entries at the first run. I wonder what exactly the service is that Norton wanted me to pay for.

Having three separate programmes for free rather than one package for money means that I must do some of the work manually but I do not mind doing it. I used to work under Windows for years before switching to Ubuntu so I am more than familiar with these tools. Besides, running them myself gives me a good overview of the system.

Protecting the system is the price (either in work or money) one has to pay for the dubious luxury of using Windows. In comparison, Ubuntu does not necessarily require any protection at all. I do use Firestarter, though, to be on the safe side. It is good to have it recorded in the firewall log if a serious hacking attempt should take place.

Although I only log in to my Windows partition two or three times a week, I think it was worth while to spend a couple of hours this afternoon to protect the system. Using Windows even momentarily without a proper protection would be as stupid as having sex with a stranger without a condom. In fact, chances of infection are bigger with Windows.

Why am I seeing this?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 at 12:44 | Posted in computer, linux, ubuntu | Leave a comment
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A while ago I wrote about Automatix which is a “graphical package manager for the installation, uninstallation and configuration of the most commonly requested applications in Debian based Linux operating systems.” As I wrote, Automatix is a fabulous piece of software which makes life so much easier. I have not changed my mind about that but I have one small complaint.

Why do I get this disclaimer every damned time I run Automatix? It is so annoying to get it every fucking time. In fact, why am I getting it at all? I have never even been to USA and have no plans to go there in the foreseeable future. Maybe I will some time and I am naturally going to respect their laws if I do. But at this point, I could not care less what is legal or illegal in US when it comes to installing any codecs. I do not need to see this on every start up.

What is a browser?

Saturday, June 30, 2007 at 17:09 | Posted in computer, Germany, internet | Leave a comment

The German public television ARD had a video in their breakfast show the other day with children interviewing politicians about their use of computer and the Internet. It turned out that the politicians have less than satisfying knowledge in the IT area. One of the child reporters is captured in a moment of frustration wispering to her fellow reporter that they had better skip the rest of their questions since the politician does not seem to be at home using his computer.

Another politician was asked by the kids to name a couple of browsers. She did not manage the task. She returned a question: “What is a browser?”

Medienrauschen blog writes (via Schott’s Blog) that when you are dealing with legislation about such topics as governmental trojans, software patents and hacker statutes, it would obviously be unreasonable to demand politicians to have such expert knowledge as knowing what a browser is. I absolutely agree. Politicians are better off not understanding the issues they are asked to decide. Otherwise they might rebel against the party whip.

Microsoft maths: 8 > 10

Friday, June 29, 2007 at 1:11 | Posted in computer | 4 Comments
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Geirsan was trying to install Microsoft’s brand new Silverwind plug-in application to his Mac box. He received an error message saying that the application cannot be installed in his computer. He would need to have MacOS X 10.4.8 or higher. Geirsan has Mac OS X 10.4.10.

I guess this is maths according to Microsoft: 8 > 10.

Excessive computer?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007 at 22:14 | Posted in computer, Personal | 2 Comments

Earlier today my laptop issued a warning that the battery was about to exhaust and I should save my work or go to power usage. I was wondering what that was all about because as far as I knew I was already running on AC power. It turned out after a closer look that a wire was sitting a bit loose and I did not notice this before the warning. It was good per se that this did not happen just before I was going somewhere where I would have needed to run the laptop with battery power. The battery is now loaded.

A moment ago a broken light bulb caused half my flat to go dark. It said pop and I then smelled smoke which was not coming from a cigarette forgotten in an ashtray. Apart from lights off, the radio went silent. So did my desktop computer.

It took me a few minutes to fix the problem. No need to change fuse because we had some repairs done a couple of years ago so now there is a table in the hall where you just need to turn a couple of switches. It is simple enough that even I can manage it.

Having taken care of the problem, I was able to continue wrighting the e-mail which was interrupted by the mishap. Luckily I was writing it with my laptop that immediately backed up with the battery. Now I am asking myself what the hell I need the desktop computer for.

Whose network?

Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 15:13 | Posted in computer, internet, wifi | 2 Comments

I booted my laptop in Windows partition a moment ago. I am at home and to my knowledge there is no WLAN access here. The laptop was accordingly wired to my LAN router.

Imagine my surprise as a message appeared on screen that a WLAN network had been detected. It was unprotected and configured for open access. I was asked if I wanted to connect with the usual warning that any information sent over that network could be seen by others.

Since I was also alerted at the same time that my virus protection needed an update, I declined to connect. When the update was all clear, I needed to reboot the computer. During the boot I disconnected the laptop from my router and waited for the message to appear again to test the connection. Unfortunately it did not appear and a scan for wireless access confirmed that none was around.

Now I wonder whose network it was. And more importantly, how it was accessible from my flat, albeit momentarily. I know that radio waves sometimes act in an unexpected way and reach locations they are not supposed to. I used to be a DXer as a kid so my knowledge of radio waves is much higher than average.

Was it one of my neighbours? But why would they leave their network unprotected? That may of course be because of ignorance. I do not know if the network was configured for open access on purpose or by accident.

I have been considering to buy a wifi box and connect it to my LAN router so I could use my laptop in more convenient places than at my desk, such as the balcony or in bed. But now I just do not know if it is safe enough. While there really is no such thing as secrets and privacy in the Internet, one would still want to take some steps to keep one’s web usage private.

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