* Posts by Keith Smith

7 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Jun 2008

US woman says Ubuntu can't access internet

Keith Smith
IT Angle

Windows = Fail

It's still pretty much as bad as it was 10 years ago, all well and fine until one tiny thing goes wrong and then only an expert can hack through it to fix it. Can't get online ? Just hit start run, and type regedit in the window,

Search for HKEY/CurrentUser/.../X@#%^Dadeaf!$%&12356i434 and Modify . . .

Ubuntu, just plug and unplug the network cable.

Umm, Be real. That right-click repair sh*t _might_ work, I've never been that lucky, My experience is the driver is hammered, or some update screwed something or some arcane firewall setting is preventing, or you have a virus.

When your system is hammered you need a guru, I don't care what OS you are running. Better yet I have had more problems with overzealous A/V software on windows than I've ever had with this ubuntu machine. This is not an indictment of windows but a simple acknowledgment that *all* computers have problems that need an "expert" from time to time. Mac is probably the most reliable , turn-key and guru-free.

Dell thinks young and colorful with business notebook refresh

Keith Smith

80x25 Anyone?

Sorry @peter && Chris, but if you worked for me . . .

I had a standing rule in my shop. If the code extends beyond column 80, then you need to break the line., or re-code the expression for clarity. With the exception of a large case statement, any logical block of code that exceeds a single screen of 25 lines should be broken up into smaller functions/sub-routines. This is simply good programming practice for writing maintainable code.

I'm a boolean algebra guru. If I *ever* see an if with an expression that is 256 columns wide, or if I have to think more than 2 seconds on what it says then some programming type is about to get a new *ssh*le.

While one may *read* left to write, one will follow steps top to bottom. Programs are STEPS of instructions, top to start bottom to finish, and each thought should be concise and to the point one step down at a time. The problem is all you kids graduate from college where you've been writing code in a vacuum, and you've never had to actually go back and read some of the sh*t some other PFY wrote 2 years ago and fix something. I can assure you you will not have any trouble following *any* of my code.

And I'm probably going to slug the next little pr*ck that writes something like:

if ( 6 < day_of_week && 20 < hour || 8 > hour and 1 > day_of_week)

again. . .

Very cute, but you made me STOP and THINK about what you were trying to say. If *I* had to stop and think, some other poor slob is going to get lost and mis-interpet the expression

Widescreen is wonderful for accountants with spreadsheets, but if you are writing code off the right hand edge of the screen then you are inately writing code that is extremely difficult to follow. Quit writing essays, and start writing code.

My .02 (tupence?)

Firefox 3.1 vs IE8: 'Alpha, beta testers step forward, please'

Keith Smith

Crash, Crash

Must agree with the stability issues on FF prior to current. I use opera a bit, and IE when forced. However with the latest FF3 on Ubuntu I've noticed very little in the way of instability. The thing I like so much about FF is the plethora of stuff you can pick and choose from to make it more interesting. Most of the older "add-on"s I installed by default are now part of the standard. Nothing annoys me more than to turn on a new dell and deal with ie's yahoo/google/whatever "helpers". I still haven't figure out what half of the sh*t even does. . .

I also know that several of the stability problems I've had were more related to Flashplayer than the browser, though again the latest incantations for linux seem to have corrected the issues. Flashblock is the greatest thing since sliced bread. YMMV.

Ubuntu to get open-source Java heart implant

Keith Smith
IT Angle

Java Huh

Every JAVA project I've been involved with has been:

Painfully slow in development.

Painfully wasteful of resources.

Painfully slow in action.

Painfully unstable.

Painfully unable to scale up.

And we want to run this awful stuff why? Java apps can instantly turn a screaming fast ferrari into a yugo with a bad clutch. My motto is anything but Java (ABJ all the way).

This ranks right up there with Who gives a sh.....!

Microsoft tells SMBs Vista isn't a risky business

Keith Smith

Critical Improvements in Vista

Yes, yes,

I can't wait to have people in all 200 of those cubes on the floor, talking into microphones attempting to get voice recognition to send e-mail to someone on the other side of the building.

That VPN thang is really kewl too. I'll need that so that clerk on the internal network on the machine on his desk, locked down to access only those three applications they are allowed to run, can shunt all the corporate security.


Linspire CEO defends Xandros buy-out

Keith Smith

Loading Ubuntu vs Loading Windows

When XP finally arrived . . .

I loaded OEM on several different machines, it was painless, the drivers were pretty much there, fairly easy. At the time the various linux distro's were painful, required much hand tweaking to get things working, and missing basic office functionality.

Fast forward to the present. In the last two months I have had occasion to load three windows and 1/2 dozen ubuntu boxen.


Ubuntu 7.10,8.04

I can honestly say the Ubuntu loads were way,way,way,way less hassle than the windows ones. Not even close. Of the windows boxen, the windows 2000 machine was fewer overall mouse clicks and reboots. MCE was outrageous. Reloading an HP MCE box from the original disks, was a two day affair, to get it 100% current. Two days because it constantly needs rebooting and re-running "Windows Update" over and over, and over, Finally the virus install, and setup. Whew!

Ubuntu (8.04) took a while, but was WAY more hands off. Once past the disk setup (Because I *am* a geek and wanted e2/boot xfs/root) it was 100% hands off until it was ready to reboot on it's own. After that reboot, pulling the CD, it came up and informed me of needed updates. I clicked 100% hands off until one small license prompt or something, then it finished, and a small icon told me to reboot whenever . . . Rebooted and I was DONE. Several hours, but only two reboots and a small handful of mouse clicks, no pulling up Windows update, waiting 10 minutes for it to do it's thing, only to tell me that some package needs to be installed independently followed by a reboot.

Even if you get an OEM machine, pre-installed you generally have to spend 1/2 day getting the darn thing up to date. Best Buy offers this as a $ervice at purchase, along with installing the pretty much mandatory 3rd party virus application.

The latest gnome is pretty spiffy, and offers some tweaks to nautalis via gconf, that finally make it tolerable. The only hand tweaks I've made to any of the ubuntu boxes, was for my EeePC for some hotkey patches, I replaced the installed wifi with an intel, and had to adjust a few things from a downloaded .deb and Some screen size adjustments (Don't get me started on right-sizing a windows desktop for my dad with a very large hi-res screen). 7.10 required a unichrome driver upgrade, way back on another box. I also prefer the gnome "Wireless Connection Manager" which is a python hand-install. Trivial to actually install: download, extract, python setup.py, right click on the task bar, and add the thing, but it was CLI. It needs to become part of the default, Network manager is lacking in the Wifi department.

Look, I really LIKED XP, and it's installation & setup, but MS really dropped the ball with Windows Update. When I install fresh Ubuntu, it simply downloads the latest packages at that time, at puts them in place. I fail to see why current MS cannot do the same damn thing. You install one thing, and that triggers a whole new series of security fixes for it, and more things that need installing.

Ubuntu is user friendly and runs fairly well on the Eee's 720x480 screen, fits on about 75% of the 4G SSD, with a pretty good bit of snivel (some bluetooth addons for the plantronics && Ekiga, revelation, xine, mplayer, mhwave edit, mp3 stuff, sound converters, bitpim, 5250 tools, ODBC, PgAdmin III, ...) All click and pick installed. After rolling my own slack, and dealing with RH, and Suse, I found it rather suprising to say the least.

Ubuntu is pretty much right on it for the desktop, it's down to applications and driver support for new hardware. The latter has become increasingly less of a problem. The former, pretty much is likely to continue to be an issue for quite a while longer.

Gas crunch: Jatropha, kudzu, algae and magic to rescue

Keith Smith

It takes time

I like driving my car, sorry huggies.

This article was stupid. Everyone always ignores the economics, in particular the dynamics of the economics as a process becomes mature.

If we can take kudzu, ferment it, and still off alcohol using solar or nuclear even if it's 1:1 it's still a win. What we've done is converted non-storable energy to storable energy, just like charging a battery. There is always some loss in any kind of energy conversion. A gallon of an organic volitile is pretty tough to match in terms of *stored* available energy for size/weight. How many environmentally unfriendly LiOn's does it take to match a gallon of alcohol? And how long can will they stay charged? How much energy loss in charging?

"Taking up an area the size of Texas". . . First of all, this is not out of the realm of possibility, but totally ignores technology improvement. I'm pretty sure that once processes get in place to grow things like algae, the technology will improve several orders of magnitude.

When the Saudi's could drop a barrel of crude on the docks for $6, and send the price of a barrel through the floor with supply the motivation for creating a different storable energy source was ZERO. I don't think we'll see oil drop below $50 again, until/unless we actually have alternatives that can produce and store the same number of calories in a similar footprint at the same cost.