RftE: Ubuntu Server

You can install Ubuntu Server 6.06 LTS with your big toe. I know because I just did it. It’s worth pointing out that I have a pretty large big toe, too. Those with smaller, nimbler big toes will have an easier time with the keyboard.

Who knows what kinds of fine motor systems extra-terrestrial beings will possess? Are they sure to have opposable thumbs and slender digits? We don’t know, and that kind of adaptability and accessibility is exactly what makes Ubuntu Server… Ready for the Enterprise.

links for 2006-08-17

Awesome Reanimated

I was poking around for some spare hardware, and came upon an old machine I hadn’t used for a while. Turns out I hadn’t used it for quite a while indeed: /dev/hda1 has gone 1375 days without being checked, check forced.

Wow. I haven’t turned this on for several years. I’ve moved at least three or four times in that period. Now that piqued my interest — just what would I find on the disk? Which kernel version? Which GNOME version? What might I find in my home directory?

Logging in, I was struck by the timeless awesomeness of the GARNOME splash screen:

No surprises about the operating system: Debian unstable, circa November 2002. Linux 2.4.19 (with XFS patches, because back then I thought it was cool). GNOME 1.x from Debian, and… GARNOME 2.1.2! Awesome. The icons on my panel were: System Monitor, Galeon, Mozilla, X-Chat, GNOME CD and GNOME Terminal.

There’s a thumbnail picture of Bill Gates I used to keep on my desktop to remind me what we’re up against… I keep a thumbnail picture of Steve Jobs on my desktop now. The notes and working files are amusing to sift through. Seems the last time I turned this on, I had just moved (or was in the process of moving) to Newtown, where I lived with Mary and Andrew.

The screensaver? glsnake. Priceless.

Update: I have a screenshot taken around that time.

Multifunction, but hold the printer

Apparently, I’m looking for a device designed for a very peculiar niche. If so, I figure the lazyweb is the most likely place to find answers about it: I’m looking for a scanner with built-in fax functionality, but without the laser or inkjet printer element of the usual “multifunction” hardware suite. Yeah, yeah — faxes suck, but your own fax sucks less than someone else’s hunk of junk.

I have a perfectly functional printer, so the design would be something like a flatbed scanner with an inbuilt modem and fax keypad — stick some paper on the scanner, and dial away. The ideal design would have to include ethernet for printer connection and network faxing or scanning.

Sure, I could rig up a flatbed scanner and a few bits of software, but I want to see whether or not this sucker exists first. Looking for a solution, not a science project. ;-) Of course, if it doesn’t exist, I’ll start banging some of my favourite science project rocks together… SIP phone + Asterisk + network-capable flatbed scanner + hacking == rock!

Update: SIP phone + Asterisk doesn’t necessarily mean VoIP (which, as a commenter points out, is a shitty way to fax)… I’d set up a prefix to kick off the scan-and-fax process, sending the scanner input to the number dialled on the SIP phone. Just like a fax machine, only with distributed hardware components. ;-)

Boston Summit 2006

The 6th Boston Summit will be held on Columbus Day Long Weekend (October 7-9) in Boston, MA, USA at the MIT Media Lab.

The Boston Summit is a three-day hackfest for GNOME developers and contributors. It is not primarily aimed at users or new contributors, but if you want to jump right into the deep end, it’s a fantastic way to meet everyone and get involved. Unlike traditional conferences, the Boston Summit is all about getting developers together and getting things done. While there are some non-hacking sessions, they are geared heavily towards many-to-many, interactive discussion and planning, rather than one-to-many presentations.

Make sure you check out the Boston Summit 2006 page, and tell us you’re coming!

Brand LIVE! Tourettes

In his Macworld 1997 keynote, Steve Jobs said that the two most important assets that Apple owned (because it did not own its customers) were the Apple brand and Mac OS. While it was still one of the most recognised brands in the world, “Apple” had been dragged through the metaphorical mud, and the brand was suffering.

“We have one of the world’s greatest brands, and we haven’t paid much attention to it in the last several years, and I think you’re going to see that start to change.”

Jobs certainly turned the Apple brand around, but surprisingly it’s only at number 39 on Business Week’s Top Brands 2006 list. Mind you, their analysis is not based on pure brand recognition, it’s mixed up with a bunch of earnings potential mumbo-jumbo. Anyone got figures on global brand recognition?

On the other hand, Microsoft — despite being number 2 on the Business Week list — can’t seem to control their brand spasms. Tourettes, even. It seems that whenever someone in Microsoft cottons on to a good idea, the rest of the company follows suit, massively diluting the strength of the brand.

How many of their .NET brands survived? Once we got past the brand tourettes, what the hell was .NET? How many of their Windows Live brands will survive? Not only have they managed to release two products with the same name — Windows Live Search — but they just shipped Windows Live OneCare anti-virus software (which is apparently selling well… ship a shitty product and you get to sell the fixes too).

Seems like all the product teams want in on the Live brand bonanza… But maybe it’s just the best way to dodge the Vista firing line.

I wonder if Sun are slowly clawing their way out of Java brand tourettes?

QoTD: Steve Jobs

“Another bolt of lightning is: that Apple plus Microsoft equals 100% of the desktop computer market. And so, whatever Apple and Microsoft agree to do: It’s a standard.

“And I think that you’ll be seeing us work with Microsoft more, because they’re the only other player in the desktop industry. And I think you’ll be seeing Microsoft want to work with Apple more, because Apple is the only other player in the desktop industry.

“So I hope we have even more co-operation in the future, because the industry wants it.” — Steve Jobs, Macworld 1997

links for 2006-08-12