Monday, September 29, 2003

AMD show off Linux PDA prototype
"AMD Inc. has begun showing an updated reference design for a PDA running the Linux operating system to hardware makers, according to a company executive."

In a similar story today , on The Register , rumours are flying that Sharp might release the Linux based Zaurus PDA in Europe.

The Sharp SL-C760 Zaurus PDA

InfoSync have a review here

Sunday, September 28, 2003


"We're a record label. But we're not evil.
We call it "try before you buy." It's the shareware model applied to music.

Listen to hundreds of MP3'd albums from our artists. Or try our genre-based radio stations.

If you like what you hear, buy our music online for as little as $5 an album or license our music for commercial use. "

SlashDot have picked up on this site, as has UnixDude

Friday, September 26, 2003

NaDa does nothing for nobody

no comment needed... :-)

Thursday, September 25, 2003

How the I.T. Industry REALLY works
Original article found here

There's a big gap between how outsiders think the IT industry works, and how it really does. It's time to spell it out.

What recent graduates think their new jobs in IT will be like

Graduates with skills in IT arrive at their new jobs bright-eyed and enthusiastic. They expect to soon be set challenging problems where they can use their intelligence and creativity for the good of the company. They hope to soon be seen as capable professionals, who've made a real contribution.

Every recent graduate's dream is to start building clever new systems that create value. They want to unleash their imagination in the cause of creating value through clever use of technology. They plan to astound their team with their inventiveness and be held up as an example of the type of employee every company would love to have on the payroll.

How IT jobs usually are

A new starter will arrive at her place of work eager to begin. Her manager has said that he's been desperate to get a new resource and there's work banked up. The new starter will then be sent a whole bunch of boring meaningless documents to read over. She will spend the first month doing not one bit of productive work. Everyone will tell her to enjoy this quiet period, as it's unusual. She's just hit IT industry rule no 1.

IT industry rule no 1 - every IT department pretends that it has ten times the work that it actually does

Finally the manager will arrive with a project. The new starter will look at it and immediately recognise that it should be no more than three day's work. Everything looks straightforward, but it isn't. The new starter soon finds she has a project manager, two business analysts, an administrator and a trainee assigned to the project.

IT industry rule no 2 - no job is so simple that it doesn't require 5 people to do it

After the project manager and business analysts have argued amongst themselves for 2 months and produced three useless documents, the new starter finally gets to begin work on the project. She knocks out a working prototype in a couple of days. She then spends two months sitting around doing nothing while the project manager and business analysts argue about the prototype and organise meetings to discuss it.

IT industry rule no 3 - nothing takes only a couple of days

Finally, the project manager asks her to change the entire thing. He insists she build it in a way that she knows is stupid. He's not interested in her opinion.

IT industry rule no 4 - you are always victim to the whim of everyone else who has a stake in the project.

They now want her to integrate the new system with another system they have. This seems like it shouldn't be too much of a problem, until she actually has a look at the other system. It seems to have been deliberately built to be difficult to understand and unintuitive.

IT industry rule no 5 - a lot of systems are deliberately built to be difficult to understand and unintuitive

To help her understand the other system, the project manager sends her to see the cleverest person in the world.

IT industry rule no 6 - every IT department has someone who's the cleverest person in the world

The cleverest person in the world is not very helpful. He seems mainly interested in patronising the new starter and withholding information from her. She is shown some of his other systems which are also difficult to understand and unintuitive. She soon finds that she doesn't have the information to do what she's been asked. Blame and suspicion begin to be directed at her.

IT industry rule no 7 - your workmates are there to make you look stupid and less important than them

Finally she is called into a room and told off by her manager and project manager.

IT industry rule no 8 - your only reason for existence is to be a scapegoat for management

After being bullied and harassed for weeks on end, the new starter finally completes the project. She is a month past deadline, but at least it's over with. The system will actually never be rolled out. It will sit in test for six months before being forgotten about.

IT industry rule no 9 - the IT department doesn't exist to produce actual output

Aged 31 and thrown on the scrap heap

A frightening story from about an I.T. worker in Australia, thrown on the scrap heap. It makes for sobering reading.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Beating the averages
Fascinating article , in which the author describes how his e-commerce start-up thrashed the competition by using a certain programming language.

And no - it wasn't Java , or PHP , or Perl or VB or C++ or Pyhthon or ASP.

First off , I'd like to make 100 per cent clear that i'm a total unbeliever in astrology.
But sometimes we all need a bit of light relief, and I found this a bit of a laugh:
Career Horoscopes for I.T. geeks

Geek Eye for the Luddite Guys

Fortune magazine does an experiment - let loose three tech experts in an average family's home.

php cruise

punBB - a lightweight, no frills php bulletin board system.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

JPL Galileo Webcast

Live webcast , 7pm GMT (2pm U.S. Eastern)

Nine German cities posed to adopt Linux

Munich's decision to move to Linux has certainly had an effect.

Bye bye Galileo - 6 hours to impact

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Galileo Impact to Jupiter Countdown

1 day 19 hours and 46 minutes to entry into Jovian athmosphere as I write this.

Friday, September 19, 2003

From the "you couldnt make it up department"

Laugh? Laugh is too mild a term for the sheer mirth I felt when i read this article.

Thursday, September 18, 2003


DCOP rules

Found this on comp.os.linux.advocacy:

"I'd like to take this opportunity to draw attention to the DCOP feature,
which I feel may be overlooked. It'll also add a bit of advocacy to
this forum, for a change. OK, so it's more KDE advocacy, but what the
hell :-)

Having a GUI is nice, but sometimes it can be beneficial to be able to
control the GUI from the command line. This allows for scripting stuff
like logouts, or helping someone on a remote site.

I'll give you an example. A few days ago my mom called me about some
problem with the computer. Her explanation was something along the
lines of "the gray thing on the bottom of the screen is acting weird".

Okay ... So I eventually reconstruct the events, and it seems like she
may have panicked when she accidentally dragged the panel to a different
position, and somehow also managed to resize it (that one really had me
puzzled). She used to do the same thing in Windows, from time to time.
For a few minutes I try to explain how to set things straight, but in
the end it's just too difficult to explain over the phone.

Well, it's DCOP to the rescue! First I log into her computer, and su to
her account. Then I export the DISPLAY variable, so DCOP knows where
it's supposed to act. I could also have used '--user ' on
every command. Then I run 'dcop' to see what's running in KDE.
'kicker' is the application that handles the panel, so 'dcop kicker'
shows what interfaces I have to it. 'Panel' is obviously what I want,
so to show the available commands, I type 'dcop kicker Panel'.

Once I got that far, I thought I'd see why she was complaining about it
"acting weird", so I called the 'panelSize' and 'panelPosition'
functions. The panel was on the right side of the screen, and
apparently 453 pixels wide (or little less than half the screen). Weird
doesn't describe it well enough ...

Anyways, I checked out what the values were on my system, and set hers
accordingly with 'dcop kicker Panel setPanelSize 46' and 'dcop kicker
Panel setPanelPosition 3'. Then I ran 'dcop kdesktop KDesktopIface
rearrangeIcons', to correct the icon mess that had resulted from the

I only dread the time I would have had to spend on this trivial issue,
if she had still been using Windows ...


Globe of Blogs
Interesting site, that divides the world of blogs into countries and continental regions. So, if you ever wondered if there was a blog from Albania, then you can find out here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

some kde links

KDE documentation, bag o' links:
KDE documentation team,
Crashcourse in Docbook
KDE Editorial Team
Lauri's KDE doc progress table - currently being updated

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Inland Revenue suffers its greatest court defeat in 80 years

Great news for I.T. contractors.

"The ruling means that tax inspectors must issue formal warnings to those whom they suspect of evading tax, just as the police have to do.

And, glory of glories, it is thought to mean that contractors will no longer have to help the tax inspectors with a plethora of information relating to their company, when the Inland Revenue have decided to investigate them."

Nmap now has version detection

Previously, Nmap would detect ,say , that "Apache" was on port 80. The latest version will report the version of Apache

80/tcp open http Apache httpd 2.0.39 ((Unix) mod_perl/1.99_07-dev Perl/v5.6.1)

Monday, September 15, 2003

The Outsourcing Backlash
From CIO magazine:
"As a growing number of IT jobs move overseas, some CIOs and economists prophesy a political storm against offshore outsourcing."

A related article, also from CIO Magazine:
The Hidden Costs of Outsourcing

Motor giant Ford to Move to Linux

"Motor giant Ford is switching to Linux for its sales systems, human resources, customer relations and infrastructure"

Mad Hatter Meets The MCSE

An excellent , in depth, article , on the costs and benefits of migrating from a corporate Windows environment to a Linux/Unix base. Estimates and costings are included as examples, as well as the matching of MSCE skills with the required skills of Linux/Unix environment.

Well worth reading.

A review of "Writing Secure Code" by Microsoft Press

The reviewer says
"In essence, this is a book about how Microsoft has screwed up security in their programming practices over the years and how they are trying to fix it"

Friday, September 12, 2003

Inside Windows Update
An analysis of what really gets transmitted back to Microsoft when an user uses it's Windows Update service.

The KDE XmlRpc Daemon


Today's bag of links...

Linus Torvalds to Darl McBride -- "please grow up!"

Windows faces fresh web worm woe
The havoc caused by the MSBlaster virus could soon happen all over again.

Sharp to ship 3D notebook
"Sharp plans to release a notebook next month with a 15in display capable of showing stereoscopic 3D images.

The 2.8GHz Pentium 4-based notebook's release follows demand from content creators for a machine capable of displaying true 3D content rather than a 2D rendition of a 3D scene, the way almost all 3D imagery is handled these days."

KDE 3.2 Alpha 1 Finally on FTP

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Alan Knowles, living in Hong Kong, needs a job.

PHP Cruise
March 2004 Cruise in the Carribean for 5 days, with a PHP conference onboard too. Neat!

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Those friendly Movable Type people, Mena & Ben, have met up with Howard Dean.

There's certainly a kind of momentum ,aura, and general "buzz" growing around Dean. I can certainly feel it, even if i'm across the Atlantic , 3000 miles away.

Here's some Dean links:
The Official Howard Dean Blog
Dean For America

BigChampagne is Watching You

Fascinating Wired article on how one company is turning file-sharing into the world's biggest focus group.

Big Champagne, the company in question, is selling P2P download data to record companies, so that they can push radio stations to air "hot" tracks that aren't getting much rotation - which in turn, can lead to more record sales.

"Fleischer is VP of sales and marketing for a company called BigChampagne, which has a better window into consumer demand. By matching partial IP addresses to zip codes, the firm's software creates a real-time map of music downloading. The company sells subscriptions to its database that let a user track one album for $7,500; bigger labels have annual deals for up to $40,000 per month."

CNN = "Contains No News"

Analysis of CNN primetime broadcast reveals that only 5 minutes of real news was broadcast in an hour. If you've ever stayed in a hotel on a business trip and flicked CNN on, you'll more than likely agree.

Bill Joy Leaves Sun

All is not well at Sun Microsystems.

RIAA keeps 12 year old quiet with $2000 bill

"It took all of twenty-four hours for young Biggie Brianna to be hit with a lawsuit and then pay up for her alleged crimes. The youngster's mother has agreed to shell out $2,000 to get the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) off her family's back. This marks the first settlement to come as a result of the 261 lawsuits the RIAA filed this week. "

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Some webcam links for gKrellmKam

New York:

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Moby weighs into the p2p/RIAA/"piracy" debate

This is a full repost from his blog article, "Changing Industry"

Changing Industry
9/5/2003 - New York City

so the universal music group are lowering their cd prices by $3 in an attempt to get people to start buying cd's again.
it's a good idea, but it might be a case of too little, too late.
if anyone were asking me (and they're not, actually) i would advise the music business to do the following:
1-come up with a standardized platform for file-sharing that all of the labels would provide music to, but that would be owned by an independent 3rd party source.
something like the apple on-line store. when the record companies try to start their own on-line retail services they invariable become proprietary and greedy. at some point the record labels are going to have to realize that you can't expect people to pay a lot of money for something that they can get for free. so:
a-the price needs to come down
b-the value needs to increase
c-the product has to be easy to acquire.
2-sell cd's at two retail prices, kind of like hard-cover and paperback books. sell your basic cd for $5 or $6 with very minimal packaging, and sell an enhanced cd package for $15 that would include bonus discs and posters and free access to on-line material and discounts on concert tickets, etc. that way the casual consumer can buy a cd without it costing too much and the bigger fan can buy a more exciting and value-filled product for slightly more money.
3-stop spending insane amounts of money making records and videos.
the world doesn't need albums that cost more than $100,000 to make, and the world doesn't need videos that cost more than $50,000 to produce.
how much did it cost to make 'nevermind'? how much did the 'smells like teen spirit' video cost? expensive records and expensive videos are a waste of everyone's time and money. it's just insane that most 3 1/2 minute pop videos cost more than a 50 acre estate in north carolina.
4-stop putting out shitty records. people don't associate music with value because most record labels put out valueless music. and they know it. their goal is to get a single on the radio and then put out a crummy album that will sell on the strength of the single with no thought to artistry or artist development. they don't sign artists based on artistic merit, they sign artists if the artists look and sound like the other artists on radio and mtv, and that's a recipe for long-term musical and corporate disaster. if you consistently make a crummy product then at some point people will lose interest in you and your crummy product, and they certainly won't be willing to pay for your crummy product.
5-stop persecuting people who are music fans. people who engage in file-sharing are people who like music. you can't make people feel guilty about loving and listening to music. the record companies need to see people who engage in file-sharing as music fans and not as criminals. and then they need to try to convince people to spend a little bit of money for music (with added value) rather than downloading it for free.
record companies and rich musicians complaining about file-sharing rings terribly false with most people. i mean, how can a 14 year old who has an allowance of $5 a week feel bad about downloading music produced by multi-millionaire musicians and greedy record companies? the record companies should approach that 14 year old and say, 'hey, it's great that you love music, instead of downloading music for free why don't you try this very inexpensive service that will enable you to listen to a lot of music and also have access to unreleased tracks and ticket discounts and free merchandise?'
the record companies and the riaa have up until this point been like nero, fiddling while rome burned (or george bush, vacationing while the economy implodes...). the record companies are faced with an inescapable fact: the music business has changed and will continue to change. if the record companies can't change with the times then they will very quickly become obsolete.
whether that's a good or bad thing, it really is as simple as that.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

What If - A Virus that will end the Internet?

A 7 page article on a possible future "internet killer" virus.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to LINUX Mandrake 9.1

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Celestia - a free 3D space simulation

"Celestia is a free real-time space simulation that lets you experience our universe in three dimensions. Unlike most planetarium software, Celestia doesn't confine you to the surface of the Earth. You can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond the galaxy"

Screenshots of this are VERY good. You can download from here, where the author has thoughtfully placed Mandrake & SuSe rpms.

new site.

"Welcome the PHPHUB, the place for PHP gurus to find the latest news, newgroups, tutorials/articles and forums feeds. All brought together in one central place. "

Telstra goes open-source
"TELSTRA, Australia's largest technology company, has nailed its colours firmly to the mast of open source software, creating a potential nightmare for Microsoft and sending shivers through a range of traditional platform providers."

Monday, September 01, 2003

Linux Mag article on using Rsync

Waiting for the Year of the Linux Desktop