Category Archives: Computers

Windows 8 and Gnome 3

Am I the only person on earth that thinks that Microsoft has made the same mistakes that the Gnome project made when they came out with Gnome 3?  I had been using Fedora since the first version, but when I upgraded to Fedora 16 and tried to use the new Gnome 3 interface that came with it I wound up giving up and switching over to CentOS 6.  I haven’t regretted that decision from a functionality perspective.  I do regret it from the perspective of I like to have an opportunity to play with the new new stuff in Fedora, though.  But I digress, on to Windows.

My initial impression of Gnome 3 was that it was intended for tablets and smart phones, not desktops or servers.  Likewise, Windows 8 has been explicitly designed to have the same interface across Windows Phones, Surface Tablets, and PC’s (Microsoft even forced an update to my X-Box 360 changing the UI on me for no good reason).  I understand what Microsoft is trying to do (and what Gnome was trying to do).  It’s a good idea in theory.  Make it easier for people to transition from a tablet to a phone to a computer to a server.  But in practice, it has only ever been an unmitigated disaster.

People relate to a touch interface differently than they do to a more traditional keyboard mouse PC interface.  It’s just that simple.  If Microsoft wants to be successful, I would recommend building in the backend that they have for Windows 8 to move across the platforms, but instead of forcing the UI on PC’s, I would keep the Windows 7 interface and gently encourage PC makers to build more tablet PCs.

The market is going to decide who is right.  Gnome has lost huge amounts of market share in the Linux universe with their ill thought out jaunt into insanity.  Microsoft doesn’t stand to lose the same way.  My guess is that Windows 8 will be another Vista like debacle on PC’s.  How it does on tablets and phones is anybody’s guess.  I suspect that Microsoft can make some large inroads into the marketplace in that area by being more business friendly and easier to integrate into existing Exchange servers.

If I was Microsoft, I’d already be working on Windows 8 SP1 where PC users get the option of reverting to the standard Win7 interface.  If they gave that option, I think they’d really have something.

Why we must never lose control of the internet

The United States of America owns the internet.  We built it.  We maintain it.  And we own ICANN.  The internet is the single greatest gift the United States has given to the world, because it is the most effective weapon we have ever devised against the forces of tyranny.

If the United Nations were to ever gain control over it, as they so desire, then it is entirely likely that these despotic regimes would be able to hijack the internet and begin formally censoring content.

The latest evidence of these clampdowns comes in a report on the Middle East and north Africa by the OpenNet Initiative (ONI), a collaboration of researchers based in the UK and North America. Among the restrictions it reports are clampdowns on Facebook in Syria and the use of hidden cameras in Saudi Arabia’s internet cafes.

Most of these actions are aimed at stifling political debate. “Political filtering is the common denominator,” says Helmi Noman of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society in Boston, who compiled the report. “It’s the main target.”

Noman asked volunteers to check whether roughly 2000 sites covering a range of subjects, including gambling, political news and humour, are accessible in various countries. He also examined government eavesdropping schemes and the actions of local law enforcers.

The survey showed that governments in the Middle East and north Africa routinely block sites that host discussions critical of their policies or that cover human rights issues. Opposition parties’ sites are also censored.

Today I learned…

That Microsoft deprecated hyperterminal with no suitable replacement in Windows Vista.

You know – the lacking of a lot of these petty little details that Windows XP had readily available to me doesn’t make me happy.   Especially since Windows Explorer has taken to crashing on me quite frequently.  It’s like Windows 98 all over again.

And now, I learn it will be mid-March before the highly touted Service Pack 1 that is supposed to fix a lot of these performance and stability issues will be released.

It’s a good thing that I don’t keep my hammer near my laptop.  There are not words to express my displeasure with Vista.  If I didn’t have programs available only for Windows that I have to have for work, I would have installed Linux on it by now.   If SP1 doesn’t fix it, I’m going to make a copy of WindowsXP Professional for this laptop the last purchase I ever make from Microsoft.

Paying Customers Shriek – Pirates Go Unscathed…

Yet another example of why these two bit authentication schemed being employed by Microsoft and other large software companies should be avoided at all costs…

As they say – a picture is worth a thousand words…

Linux is the clear winner when it comes to the rights of the consumer. Microsoft’s (and a good number of other large proprietary software vendors) slogans should be “Bend over and take it”.

In other news, I have recently had experience with Windows Vista Business. I hate it. It’s an OS for stupid people. I guess Microsoft finally got tired of being blamed for the stupidity of humanity and designed an OS where it was impossible to do anything without having to confirm your actions. If I didn’t have software applications at work that only worked on Windows, I would have Linux on this Vista system in a hot second. That makes me start to think about Googling possible scenarios to get rid of Vista entirely…

You know…

I wonder how Sun feels about all this stuff Mozilla is saying about Thunderbird…

And here’s another thought…  What good is a web browser without a web editor?  How better to support web standards than to provide a standards compliant web editor… and it seems to me that if there is no room for Thunderbird, there is probably not any room left for Composer either.

I am saddened by this development greatly.  Viva Seamonkey!

Say it isn’t so…

Mozilla is looking to kick Thunderbird out of the fold the same way that they did the Mozilla Suite…

I am saddened by this development as I use Thunderbird at home and at work, and in fact, at work, I have forced Thunderbird upon everybody there (well, except for 2 people – who I forced Seamonkey on… heh heh heh).

But alas, I am but an end user.  But for whatever my opinion is worth, I think that if Mozilla isn’t interested in continuing development of Thunderbird, it should go the same way as the Mozilla Suite, as I have been fairly impressed by the ability of the Seamonkey folks to turn out a good piece of software that, in my subjective experience, runs faster than Firefox.

I have but one request.  If Mozilla has no interest in devoting resources to Thunderbird, devote a few to Seamonkey.  The only thing that keeps Firefox my preferred browser over Seamonkey is Firefox’s find without the dialog box feature.

(as I originally saw it here)

Attention NC Indymedia Types…

Spammers are sorely abusing your service.  They’re inserting articles with redirects into it.  I am getting spam comments whose “homepages” are listed as being at NC Indymedia.

All my attempts to e-mail NC Indymedia have bounced back (the contact page needs updating very badly).   Thus, I am making a public post.

UNC Chapel Hill administrators, computer geeks, students, whatever, find out whoever is in charge of running that service and get them to fix it, or you’re going to find that NC Indymedia is going to be banned by all manner of anti-spam services.  Not only that, since UNC-CH runs it, it’s taxpayer subsidized.  As a taxpayer of the State of North Carolina, I rather dislike the thought of providing a platform for spam…

Fedora Core 7 Radeon X1300 series…

Here is my contribution to the open source community….

I have an ATI Radeon X1300 series graphics card in my computer – replacing the built in card. I installed Fedora Core 7 (I had to use the text installer because the X Server wouldn’t start on the ATI Card)

It appears that Fedora was confused by the built in Intel card being disabled on the motherboard. Once I had Fedora installed, X wouldn’t start at all, and so I had to come up with a way to get the GUI back up and going (trying to research solutions in a text browser isn’t much fun… I cheated and used my laptop)

Here is my solution, I hope it helps some poor soul with the same problem I had…

From the terminal window navigate to the X folder

cd /etc/X11

once there, use a text based text editor to edit the configuration file

vi xorg.conf

Under: Section “Device”

change your driver to “vesa” (the default on mine was i810, referencing my Intel card on the motherboard)

exit Vi (:x enter)

If you have a card on your motherboard disabled, you may also need to point X at that card. To do this, you add the line

BusID “PCI:2:0:0”

In the “Device” section, where the 2:0:0 happens to be the PCI slot that MY graphics card is in (AGP slots count as PCI slots, if you were wondering). You can find this out using the lspci command, which will list all the PCI devices on your computer like the ls command lists files in a directory.

Back at the terminal prompt give the command


And X should come to life.

Congratulations, you have your bare bones functional GUI back, and from here, you can surf the web for better answers (such as how to make the changes in the xconfig file to support multiple monitors at their proper resolutions, which isn’t that hard if you don’t mind actually having to think), or, if you’re not an open source purist, you can download the proprietary ATI drivers.

Nintendo is doomed

After Nintendo’s major blunder with the Game Cube of not producing any games that anybody with disposable income wants to play, they are now naming their new system “Wii“??? Do they want to go out of business?

I first saw this at It was odd enough to get me to Google it. Which led me to this, and this, neither of which seems to disagree with my assessment that the name “Wii” is… well… stupid.

But, the bottom line is that unless Nintendo can pull a Super Mario Bros (as in the first one), or a Halo out of their magic sack of goodies, they will soon find themselves listed with Atari and Sega rather than Microsoft and Sony.