Archive for the ‘computers’ Category

Steve Jobs and the Delicious Strawberry iMac

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

It’s always sad to see someone’s life cut short by disease, and no disease is more frightening than pancreatic cancer.

It is swift and inevitable.

For people of a certain age, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was a constant light through our adult lives. We didn’t necessarily admire the guy; some, in fact, were pretty adamant in disliking him and his company . . . and its products, business model and manufacturing practices.

What he represented to my generation, however, was more the constant renewal and reinvention that living in the USA in the age of information was supposed to bring us.

Now that he’s gone, the horizon seems a lot more forbidding.

Part of Jobs’ legend is that he was a zen Buddhist. And at times like these, the zen story (“koan”) of the monk and the strawberry always comes to mind.

Though I always thought the iMac was a clever bit of packaging and marketing, I could never figure out why it came in “flavors”, and who could have possibly decided that “strawberry” should be one of those, I can’t even imagine.

Now that the tigers are getting closer and the mice are nearly gnawed all the way through the vine, now I think maybe whatever flavor a person likes . . . is whatever flavor a person likes.

So long Steve Jobs, and thanks for all of the iPods.

OpenOffice v. LibreOffice:
Any difference?

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

I have used Oracle’s OpenOffice software suite for several years now and found it to be an excellent substitute for Microsoft’s Office suite.

Let me hurry to add that I actually like MS Office a lot.  I think it’s the best thing that Microsoft makes; it’s even terrific on Macs.

But Office is also very expensive and mostly good in an organizational/work situation; if you want to write things at home, just for your purposes, or do any other kind of “office suite” things, OO is a very good program to have installed and use.

Now comes LibreOffice; it is open-source like OO, but is supposed to have a different licensing scheme.

What I can’t figure out is what else distinguishes these two?

The downloads for both are gi-normous (over 160Mb) and they both offer comparable tools.

So what, if anything, is the actual difference between OpenOffice and LibreOffice?

Does anybody know?

Care to share an opinion?

Making Mutt Fetch Your Email: Good Dog

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

If you’re like me, you fondly remember the days when email first appeared. We had found a new way to stay in touch with friends and to annoy colleagues.

And it was good.

Then text-based editors/clients came along to handle the growing deluge of messages from friends and annoying colleagues and we tapped our arrow keys and used those.

And it was good.

Now, of course, GUI clients, as well as broadband and smartphones, make it so simple to use web-based, html-heavy email that the simpler days of text-based email, even within the same organization or on the same server, are becoming a dim memory from the last century.

Fortunately, if you want to live in the past, technology allows you to do so.

Pine was first (for most of us), but most sources now say that that University of Washington product is too insecure to use and recommend against it.

Mutt works a lot like pine used to and is more flexible besides being more secure.

Now that gmail offers IMAP––which the mutt can do–there’s almost no reason not to give it a whirl.

If you’re on Linux, mutt is a breeze to install from the pertinent repositories; if you’re on OS X, here’s a great how-to; and if you’re on Windows . . . well, that’s not my fault.

So, turn back the clock to 1988 and let the mutt retrieve your mail.

And it will be good again.

Slackintosh Linux for PPC: Ain’t this how it’s supposed to be?

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

BITD (“back in the day”) Linux was pitched to the great unblinking hordes of basement-dwelling geeks as (amongst other things) “a good way to revitalize old PC systems, to breathe new life into dust-covered hardware”.

Comes now, Slackintosh. (Don’t be fooled by the url; “.ch” is Switzerland, not China.)

If you have an old PPC Macintosh sitting in your garage and you’ve never used Linux because you thought it was too tough to install and configure, or only think of Linux as Ubuntu, or eschew Slackware as “too hardcore”, then your day of reckoning has arrived.

Slackintosh is easy to install (if you’ve got a working optical drive), it is as easy to configure as all modern ‘nixes, and it makes your “old” hardware as usable in today’s broadband world as it was in the days of dialup when you first bought it.

Maybe even more so since there is support now for wifi USB dongles which offer much faster-, and freer connections than any 56K modem ever did.

Try it, you’ll like it.

Chrome 11 and Gmail +’s and -’s

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

I opened up my laptop today and noticed something funny about the Chrome web browser logo.

It seemed to have morphed into even more of an old style camera iris and less of a UFO-looking thing.

Turns out, Chrome had just updated itself––icons included–to v. 11.0.6+.

Maybe this update will fix all of the flashplayer crashes I seem to get with Chrome (usually in Gmail, I might add).

Gmail has also just added a “feature” that lets a user give a + or -, to each “conversation” so that google can get a better idea of “what’s important to you”.

I’m not sure google needs any more information about me, so I’m probably gonna let that “feature” languish.

Webstore for Google’s Chrome

Monday, April 11th, 2011

With the advent of Google Chrome 10 (simultaneously released with Firefox 4) the Chrome App Store is available whenever you open a new tab in the browser.

There are many free apps, most of which are geared towards the Android smartphone users and not the desktop or laptop user browsing at home.

I have focused on the games so far––no surprise there–and many of those have disappointed.

However, if you are a fan of 80′s arcade games you will find a lot there to keep you happy.

C programming in easy steps

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

C Programming In Easy Steps (3d ed), by Mike McGrath, can be a good intro to the language, but only, I think, if you have some experience with the basics of programming in general.

It is also a good book to keep around as a reference for the basics of the C language.

CLI help

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Helpful link for cli junkies.

BSD Certification

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

If you like MOTD, then you might like to look into BSD certification.

1st MOTD

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Message of the Day

MOTD Project sponsored by the SDF Public Access UNIX System.

Hosting for this site is provided by

The SDF Public Access UNIX System