Dell: Windows for Morons!

Dell + Windows = Moron

I recently ran across this bit of copy from Dell (Europe) in which they try to explain why you may, or may not want Windows or Linux on your computer. I wanted to touch on a few of these, namely the argument that you may not want to learn new programs. The average user would be no more “lost” in Open Office than they are in Microsoft Office. Same goes for Thunderbird, or Evolution as compared to Windows Mail (formerly Outlook Express), or Outlook. It has been my experience that what is familiar is the icon. If people know which icon to click on, they shouldn’t have any problems using “new programs”. To wit: I installed Open Office a few years ago on the machines at a dental practice in lieu of the much more expensive Microsoft Office Suite. Once I showed folks what icon to click, they were, in fact, good to go. I have never in over 4 years had a support call as a result of this installation – but I get them regularly from other clients regarding Office issues.

The “You are new to using computers” so you should pick Windows is another charm that I felt particular disdain for. Being new to computer use is precisely the BEST time to start using Linux. The new user has no preconceptions about what the experience should be like. The learning curve is, dare I say, the same for either system (no data to support this – just a hunch). I hear that once you try Linux, you never go back!

On the Ubuntu side, we are told that this would be a good choice if you are interested in Open Source programming. If I am not, I don’t know what Open Source programming is. On the other hand, the Windows side doesn’t say that Windows is a good fit if you are interested in proprietary programming – Dell really missed the opportunity to up-sell the latest .net developer environment!

Lastly, the screen shot of Windows shows the Control Panel – very serious stuff! While the Ubuntu screenshot shows the game folder. Some how this denotes that one can’t do much “real” computing on the Ubuntu system.

I’m not a hater, or a fanboy but it really seems to me that Dell dropped the ball in this “comparison”. It’s just another illustration that the products a company marks up for profit get bias treatment.

So, there’s my 2 cents. What’s yours?

On the Front Lines with Richard Stallman

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Richard Stallman

Richard Stallman

Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation and The GNU Project, has had a consistent message about freedom for computer users for over 23 years. His first experiences with computers predate his work with the MIT AI Lab, which began in 1972. When I began researching for this interview, I had a different concept of Free Software and Open Source – so much so, that I rarely distinguished between the two. After nearly two months since my initial contact with Mr. Stallman, I’d like to think that I have a better grasp on the differences between them. I’ve also learned that Richard Stallman’s vision for Free Software – that’s “Free” as in “Free Speech” – has remained his primary focus.

You’ve been a programmer for longer than most common folk realize computers have even been around. What is it about programming that you enjoy most? What compels you to code? Continue reading

Adventures in Time Tracking

As a web developer for small business, I don’t have a need for complex project management, but I do need to keep track of time, otherwise, I’ll short-change myself and end up making $5.00 an hour! Analysis of time spent on various tasks has also helped me to identify bottlenecks in my process, making me more efficient – keeping clients and the accountant happy. Continue reading

Free Font Friday for 08/29/2008 – Aircut Light

Aircut Light

Aircut Light

Another Larabie Font (This guy makes lot’s of fonts). With a “Neo Art Deco” style, this light action font is ideal for print and screen display. Download here. Have a look at the Aircut Light PDF Sample for a better view.

Linux Screenshot of the day for 08/08/08 – Strigi The Storage Glutton

Strigi The Storage Glutton

Strigi The Storage Glutton

I like to be able to search for stuff on my computer – who doesn’t? Well , I don’t enjoy searching, but I do want the ability to do so in case I loose track of something in the perfect hierarchical world that is my directory tree. From the CLI, one can invoke various search commands to do the dirty work. Even ls can find stuff for you if you grep it right. But, alas; search for me is better suited to the gui, so about two weeks ago, I got the strigi daemon indexing so I can actually do the aforementioned searches – after just a bit of drive crawling, I could find media, email messages, etc., as expected. I had some problems displaying found items when clicking on the links to them in the search results data, but at least I could see where the items are and so just go to them manually. Out of the box, strigi seemed to be working fine.

Now, I’ve got around 500GB of disk space between 4 drives with more than half of that currently free. My root partition is mounted on a 30GB disk and then media and other data are stored on other larger disks. 30GB for / is plenty of room, or so I thought. Last week I started getting error messages that my home directory was running out of free space. I dumped the trash, cleaned up some temp files, and figured that would be the end of it. The message popped up again a few more times telling me that I was quickly running out of free space, so I decided to see what was eating a drive that should be more than adequate for my root partition. Continue reading