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Windows 7 December 6, 2008

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
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Well this is sure to be a controversial post but I figured I would post it anyhow. Anyhow I got a chance to play with the new Windows and used a hack to get the superbar and while I wont be switching to Windows I do think Windows 7 is leaps and bounds ahead of Windows Vista and probably will be a widely accepted release of Windows. why? Microsoft has really refined Windows and the requirements for Windows. One thing I like to do is play with an OS on the minimum hardware requirements and I used Windows 7 on the required hardware you would find for Windows Vista. Since Randall Kennedy said that 7 is Vista R2 I used the minimum requirements for Windows Vista, yes 800mhz with 512mb of RAM and yes, Windows 7 on that hardware is a lot faster than Vista is. While I know hardware that old is no longer used in most enterprises and the companies that still use that hardware pawn them off to the “new guys” with Windows 2000, Windows 7 will breathe a little bit of new life into those machines should it be used. Windows 2000, was the repetitive Windows leader, the best Microsoft EVER released so in a sense I was waiting for Microsoft to replace it with something. Windows XP was Horrible and I do mean horrible, Windows Vista was a bit better than Windows XP and now Windows 7 even in Alpha has finally taken the crown away from Windows 2000. Here is hoping Microsoft doesnt screw it up.

Too Mac like

I have heard too many reports that Windows 7 is too Mac like and I would tend to agree but Im in a toss up with that. There are many elements that remind me of the Mac and a lot of elements that remind me of RiscOS so I think the inspiration came from many places. I dont like Jump Lists, I think they are really unnecessary and stupid, sorry for those that do like the Jump list, I think they will get in the way more than they will improve the user experience, Aero Peek, nice but again, I hope they give UI with which to turn it off. The one reason I dislike the Mac so much is not because I think the Apple ads are stupid but mostly because I hate eye candy, eye candy serves no functional purpose and exists just to make your product look like something Captain Kirk would use and I think Microsoft and Apple really, really need to tone it down a lot. The only time the user would benefit from transparency is in the womens locker room. For those of you that will reply, “I can see my desktop underneath the open Windows”, save your time and energy, Im really not interested. Im sure the superbar was inspired a lot by the dock in OS X. Sorry Microsoft, if you realy expect me to believe you got the idea for that from Windows 1.0, try a little harder.

What Windows 7 will bring to the table

It gives something for the GNOME and KDE guys to copy. In some ways it will improve the user experience, in other ways it will hinder the user experience. Users will have to take the good for the bad. Aside from great performance on older systems I honestly didnt see anything from Windows 7 that makes me go, “Oh yeah, I really want that.” But thats just me, I see a lot of people who may have considered switching to the Mac or to Linux waiting to see what Microsoft has under its sleeve and to see if Microsoft can salvage the Windows brand. Windows 7 really will impact the way people will view Linux on the desktop. For the year of the Linux desktop to be now, Linux vendors will have to find some compelling reason to get users over now rather than later. Once Windows 7 is released and the “WOW” factor kicks in Linux vendors are going to have a hard time getting people to switch and I am sorry FUD mongering and getting people, like self experts Randall Kennedy, eWeeks  Jason Brooks and people  who never used the product to come forth and say “Windows 7 sucks” wont do anything. Too many people like the product already, even in Alpha form and unless Microsoft really really fucks up its actually going to be really really nice at RTM.

McCain just doesnt get it October 13, 2008

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Ok, this post isnt about tech.  But I figured what the hell, I would chime in my thougts on the state of the election.  I have always voted republican.  This go around was going to be no different until I started looking at the issues and looking at both parties.  I consider the presidential elections a very serious event.  We are choosing our leader for the next 4 maybe 8 years and this one has been one clusterfuck after the other.

First off lets look at McCain.  McCains been acting like a jackass.  He avoids the issues when at all possible and has resorted to theatrics and basic playground insults to keep Obama out of office.  When he brings up Obamas voting record in the senate he follows up by not telling us how he voted on the same issue but rather on a different isssue altogether.  he tries to showboat yet he doesnt have the same same charisma that lets say, Steve Jobs or Larry Ellison has.  he is just vanilla to me and Im sorry I need more than just someone who is going to sit on the stage and hobble around like a 90 year old who OD’ed on Viagra.

Then there is Palin.  I tried really, really hard to like Palin.  I read about the woman and I liked what I saw and I was like “he made the right choice” then after I start hearing the press releases and then I went and saw her speak as well as the debate and my thought was..What a moron.  She like McCain just dont get it.

They throw around the word Maverick.  They are mavericks and they are going to Maverick their way into the white house.  I dont want a maverick in the white house and I sure as hell dont want two mavericks in the white house.  We need leaders.  Whats the difference?  A maverick is someone who doesnt run with the pack and who fundamentally makes decisions based on their own desires, where as a leader is someone who will listen to others, who will take the reigns when a difficult decision needs to be made, someone who will sacrifice even himself personally if thats what it takes to execute.  Does McCain or even Palin have that characteristic?  i dont think so.

Now look at Obama.  I have a lot of respect, not just because he is black.  Obama has sacrificed a lot for this run.  Despite what people say racism is still alive and well and if you hear most of the rhetoric about Obama its because of his color.  People think he is an arab, he isnt.  They think he pals around with terrorists, he doesnt and yet despite everything he keeps campaigning and his life is under a microscope right now by his naysayers just looking to knock him off his branch.  Coming from a military background I can say this I have seen some great soldiers who turned out to suck as commanding officers and I have seen some piss poor soldiers who turn out to be true leaders.  One statement McCain made that I do agree with is that the job of president doesnt allow for on the job training.  As far as Im concerned being a senator and being a president are two totally different jobs and whoever gets the job will have to endure on the job training whether its McCain or Obama.

I think Obama is fit for the job of president, does he have the polish? I dont think so but I will endure someone who will do 115% to get the job done, to execute decisions and to think outside the box than someone who thinks they are gods gift to politics, he talks just to hear himself speak and who has a record of avoiding serious issues and just calls himself a maverick because its good campaign talk.

Google Chrome and I’m a PC September 19, 2008

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
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Well guys Im back and I picked probably two of the most controversial subjects I can possibly pick.  First, Google Chrome.  I used Chrome on both a Windows machine and via Linux and while I tried really, really hard to like Google Chrome I just dont.  Its not that its not technically sound, it is.  Chrome uses webkit and is fast but I just didnt like the interface and I just dont see the point behind Chrome.  There are enough browsers, especially Windows based ones.  The idiot who thinks Google Chrome will develop into a web OS is out of his f^%king mind.   The two killers of Chrome, A) its Windows only.  They promise a Linux and Mac version but I seriously doubt they will come to pass.  On Linux most of Google apps turn out to just run in Wine or are very poor ports of their Windows counterparts, ie Google Gadgets and Google Desktop.  Picasa is great, I ship it with PC/OS but the problem with using Wine is that with Chrome its will be much more difficult to pull off mostly because of the multi-process architecture, if you need an example of Chrome sucking on Wine check out CrossOver Chromium

Try watching flash content with that sucker, try playing an online game.  The experience sucks.

B) How does this make the web better?  You can implemement the functionality using IE and Firefox, wait… Its being done already.  So back to my original question, why?

C) Chrome to me just feels like a me too product.  How is this going to reignite  the browser wars when its so limited in what it can do.  People like hearing about companies taking on the Evil empire and trying to crumble the walls of tyranny and I think this is whats the hype.  The “Hooray, Google released the GBrowser” sentiment is taking over not the technical aspects of Chrome because if you go by the technical merits of Chrome you dont have a leg to stand on.  I have been watching the Chromium group on Google groups and have been talking to colleagues and friends about it and we all come to the same conclusion, as in the old 80′s commercial “Wheres the beef”

Who knows when Google Chrome gets released for multiple systems to where the experience doesnt suck and when it comes out of beta.  I may change my mind, but until that time my attention just isnt peaked.

The next topic of conversation is, Im a PC.  These are the ads that Microsoft is running to counter Apples ads.  I personally like them more than Apples.  At least Microsofts ads dont try to make me feel like a moron for buying a PC.  But the one thing that I dont think anyone else has ever noticed.  In Apples ads the “Mac” Justin Long played in the movie Live Free or Die Hard as a computer hacker.  Well the Mac in that movie used PC’s not Apple branded systems so apparantly he is a PC too.

Great ads.

Sabbatical over September 14, 2008

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Ok, my sabbatical is over.  I do plan to start blogging tech again and my first post will be tomorrow and will cover Google Chrome.  This site will have little to no info on PC/OS, if you want info on that by all means go to the PC/OS development blog.

PayPal supports fraud August 10, 2008

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
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I sold an SGI Pentium machine on eBay recently one of the extras I had laying around. It didnt have an HD but upon testing and using a LiveCD distribution everything worked and I shipped the item. When the buyer received the item he was happy with his purchase he left positive feedback and that was the end, not so. The buyer EMCVA, Francisco DiAngelo, eBay user rezy144, 16 days later filed a claim with PayPal stating the machine was improperly packaged.  Of course which was a lie because I used secure foam and the machine was packed very tightly, then he claimed the machine wouldnt power on which also, a lie. So I challenged it.

I provided PayPal with all information, the e-mails that the buyer sent on July 10, 2008 that everything was working fine, feedback and the fact that after the receive date I didn’t receive any e-mails or notice from Rezy regarding anything about the machine. I even had to explain to PayPal about a bootable Linux distribution and what it could do. You would think that with all that mountain of evidence PayPal would be siding with the seller. Wrong. He has to ship the machine back to me in the original condition and they gave him a full refund. Now according to the operator, if I can resell that machine on eBay then I can do that. But if he sends it back to me in the original condition that means that it would work fine, so why in the bloody bluest blazes of hell would he ship it back.

Either way its fraud. So basically PayPal is supporting the buyer defrauding a seller. I sent them evidence that the buyer was happy, it was shipped in a good working condition as one of my employees was one who also tested and verified the machine yet they still provided a refund because he used the words that he knew would get him a refund, “item didnt work as described”

So in the world of eBay and PayPal the seller is immediately the bad guy.  You get no support

UPDATE:  After receiving the machine back, it doesn’t power on at all, and there were components missing ie no processor which would explain why the machine wouldn’t come on.  The machine shipped with a processor.  FYI, if you are going to screw someone make sure you ship all the parts back to the seller.  Im actually considering criminal charges against the buyer for fraud, my lawyer already told me its something I can pursue. Despite the $50.00 price tag, Obtaining property by false pretenses is a felony and property can be monetary or physical property.  I’m also considering a civil action against him and PayPal as co-defendants.

UPDATE 2: September 4, 2008

After filing a complaint with the State Attorney Generals Office, PayPal has refunded the $50.00 and paid my attorneys fees.  So that leaves Mr. Frank DiAngelo from EMCVA.  Now as my lawyer has advised me I can have him prosecuted under state law for Obtaining Property by False Pretenses which I will reiterate is a Felony under NC state law.  But what the hell, I think 1,534 views of this topic alone is embarassment enough.  If he tries to come after me civily, whether PayPal goes after him for the money, I have 2 years to prosecute him.  Either way, Im happy, I thank PayPal as they did the right thing.

Does the Verizon settlement give the GPL teeth March 23, 2008

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
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Sadly the answer is no.  The Verizon settlement did not change anything at all.  Verizon settled out of court.  The GPL needs to have a definitive WIN, not a settlement.

Companies get sued for everything these days.  Hell Starbucks Coffee Company got sued for tips.  Companies when dealing with lawsuits must decide which ones are worth fighting and which ones are just cheaper to dispose of.

I am not surprised Verizon settled.  In the long run it made sense to them.  This isnt a core part of their business.  Now if it had attacked a core part of their business they probably wouldnt have settled and fought this and kept it tied up in the courts until the developers of BusyBox were  welcoming the birth of their second great grandchild.

In a word this was a non-event.  I look forward to the day when the GPL get a definitive, rock solid win in a court of law.  Until then, this is business as usual.

The Future Of Darl McBride March 7, 2008

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Now that Darl is no longer the CEO of SCO, I have thought, Whats he going to do?  He has a family, a man needs to earn a living.  So I have come up with a list for Darl.  Sort of like Lettermans top 10 but for Darl.

10.  Become a farmer.. Utah is a main state on the frontier.  Farming is in his blood as he has said before and everyman at one point or another should embrace his roots.

9.  Go work for the airlines.. Airlines are always getting sued but Darl could bring about a new age.  His company could sue the other for using planes.  After all, Wings and the fuselage need a specific design, Delta could be committing patent infringement.

8.  Become Steve Ballmers replacement.  Go ahead and continue down the path.  Can you imagine the most hated man in tech working for the most hated company in tech?  A match made in heaven.

7.  Start his own Linux distribution.

6.  Start his own chain of McDonalds.  They use SCO UnixWare and he could serve up penguin burgers.

5.  Work for Starbucks.  Starbucks is a unique environment and Darl could survive off of Starbucks he has that plastic smile that would let him fit right in as a Starbucks barista or even a Starbucks executive.

4.  Go work for Sun.  Anyman who can talk millions of dollars out of McNealys hand has my respect.

3.  Best Buy is always excepting applications.

2. Make his own line of fine linens and cookware, sell them at Sears and sue Martha Stewart

1. Become a legal consultant

So there we have it folks, a few ideas for Darl McBride.  Whatever he does, I wish Darl McBride the best of luck for his future.

Microsoft Announcement February 21, 2008

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
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So what did Microsoft announce today?  It was a major happening and while it alleviates some of the pressure on developers of Samba and other interoperability solutions it does open up some questions.  Lets go over the announcement.

” Microsoft Corp. today announced a set of broad-reaching changes to its technology and business practices to increase the openness of its products and drive greater interoperability, opportunity and choice for developers, partners, customers and competitors.”

We are Microsoft, all your base belongs to us.  Resistance is futile (c’mon now a little humor)

” As an immediate next step, starting today Microsoft will openly publish on MSDN over 30,000 pages of documentation for Windows client and server protocols that were previously available only under a trade secret license through the Microsoft Work Group Server Protocol Program (WSPP) and the Microsoft Communication Protocol Program (MCPP). Protocol documentation for additional products, such as Office 2007 and all of the other high-volume products covered by these principles, will be published in the upcoming months.”

Translation:  We are working hard to help everyone, not just those with deep pockets , interoperate with our products.  While incomplete we will keep working to bring additional material to help ALL developers.

” Microsoft will indicate on its Web site which protocols are covered by Microsoft patents and will license all of these patents on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, at low royalty rates. To assist those interested in considering a patent license, Microsoft will make available a list of specific Microsoft patents and patent applications that cover each protocol.”

Translation: fothermuckers we will still get paid for our patents but we will make it reasonably affordable.  Not quite a nickel, maybe a bit more.  But now, we will give lists of all our specific patents and hope you all dont run to the patent office and try to get these invalidated.  We are being generous here so dont screw us.

” Microsoft is providing a covenant not to sue open source developers for development or non-commercial distribution of implementations of these protocols. These developers will be able to use the documentation for free to develop products. Companies that engage in commercial distribution of these protocol implementations will be able to obtain a patent license from Microsoft, as will enterprises that obtain these implementations from a distributor that does not have such a patent license.”

Translation:  We wont sue the Samba group, we wont sue the Apache foundation but Sun, Novell, Red Hat, Canonical, Mandriva, IBM and SGI you are under notice we will sue you if you dont pay us  our patent royalties.  We will give anyone the right to license these patents but if you dont, when we sue, dont come crying.

The rest of the announcement basically focuses on how Microsoft will help developers and keep providing documentation but since  the implementation of these protocols in commercial products require a royalty fee I dont think this will fly well with the open source community

 Link to press announcement

Google to fund Wine February 21, 2008

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
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Specifically to get Windows apps like Photoshop and other software to run well.  Google already uses Wine for Picasa and Google Earth so they are looking to further the relationship.

Link to Blog

I personally think this idea helps not only Linux users but Microsoft and others as well.  With projects like Wine porting is going out the door.  Having to port software is a tedious task and I think Wine will help to alleviate that task.

Wrapping a distro February 21, 2008

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
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Well, Im closer to becoming a distribution. PC/OS is wrapping up for artwork and functionality. If you have been lucky enough to get a copy stay tuned. Im going to answer some questions here. What users I do have are all happy with the results thus far.

Why start your own distribution?

None of the distributions out there fit me. I would have to spend a couple of hours making the system fit.

Why XFCE and Xubuntu?

I decided not to double my work. I could utilize the Ubuntu system where the developers would provide the updates and kernel fixes and I wouldn’t have to spend what little free time debugging kernel code. I chose XFCE because its very modular. For the server system XFCE went on a diet and I removed everything that wasn’t necessary on a server system and added server specific tools. This could also appeal to other Windows Server and Netware users who want to use a GUI as well as command line tools. XFCE on a client desktop is a good desktop without the overhead of GNOME or KDE. Its got good basic tools and is very simple to modify.

Why the CDE look?

CDE while some may consider it ugly, CDE to me has always had that geek appeal to it. If you dont like CDE there are several themes to choose from and as I said XFCE is customizable in many ways. I’m still wrestling with what look I want.

What sets you apart from the rest and who is your audience?

My target audience are Windows admins and Netware admins who want a good distribution to play with and utilize very quickly or other admins who like me wanted something with all the basic tools and necessities all wrapped up without having to waste time. Users who want a very low learning curve and the ability to “jump right in”.  This will also appeal to Netware users whom like myself, don’t trust Novell  and don’t want to buy into the SUSE strategy.  Will my distribution appeal to the GNU purists? no, its not meant to. I will include Flash, Java and I will include proprietary codec support. I will support Mono.

What development platforms will be included?

Gambas, RealBASIC Standard and Monodevelop.

What will your distribution method be?

Downloads, CD and DVD sales as well as shipping on custom built PC’s. For my side business I already make custom PC configurations and Windows will still be available upon request. Unless otherwise requested PC/OS will be the default install.

When can we expect a beta?

Mid to end March, final version will be released about two weeks after Xubuntu 8.04 ships. I didnt do a public beta because I needed to control the feedback. Instead of screaming from all directions. I have had 3 home users who are using the system and about 12 Linux shops who have deployed it and numerous technical users.

Those are laughable numbers…

I didn’t start this expecting to have the installed base of Windows, Mac or even Linux.

Will commercial support be available?

Yes.

How will you support the community?

1 dollar from all CD sales, 2 dollars from ever DVD sale and 20 dollars from every system will be donated to the Xubuntu community, all contributed code with the exception of kernel code will be released under the BSD license.

When can we get more info?

When the website goes live.

How can I help?

Contribute space for the the ISO images and any user contributed artwork. Any coders who want to help, drop a line.

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