Friday, May 28, 2010

How Apple could slay Google

"Web ads are a noxious weed choking the intelligence and sophistication out of our society’s media, and Google is making its massive fortunes delivering this scourge." So says blogger Daniel Eran Dilger, right here.

I have long used various ad blocker plugins for Firefox. But Dilger makes the argument that Google and adware together in fact do "evil." He thinks Apple can deliver the death blow.

Great article. Thanks, Leif of for passing along such fascinating reading.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Convergence Report

I've gotten this from several people who track trends: "Convergence: How Five Trends Will Reshape the Social Sector." Looking through it again, it makes sense.

The five trends are:

* Demographic Shifts Redefine Participation
* Technological Advances Abound
* Networks Enable Work to Be Organized in New Ways
* Interest in Civic Engagement and Volunteerism Is Rising
* Sector Boundaries Are Blurring

Might be worth looking at for many a small non-profit.

Flash drive distros

I've been playing around with something kind of cool: flash drive distros. The idea is this: you download a Linux distribution to your computer. Then you write the file to a flash drive. There are tools both in Linux (Ubuntu's Startup Disk Creator, for instance, which comes standard in any current Ubuntu release), and tools that run on both Linux and Windows, such as liveusb-creator.

After that, you pop in the flash drive, reboot your computer FROM the flash drive, and you have a different operating system. Don't like it? Reboot back into your original system, and copy a new distribution onto the flash drive.

The truth is, you can accomplish the same thing, probably even more easily, by using virtualization. But the flash drive approach also lets you carry around the operating system - and some space for your own files - almost anywhere. So you can use someone else's machine and have total security and privacy, without having to carry a laptop around.

This is part, of course, of the general trend of whole computers getting smaller and smaller, a trend whose full impact has yet to be felt.

To date, I've played with Ubuntu variants Linux Mint, and Peppermint OS. I hope to try Fedora soon. Usually, I try them on my HP PC, then plug the flash drive into my Acer Aspire netbook. It's a harmless enough way to spend a day. So far, the Ubuntu Netbook Remix is the prettiest and most interesting. (It didn't work very well on my PC, though.)

Fred Brown on business and ballots

Journalist Fred Brown, who covered the Colorado state legislature for many years for the Denver Post, wrote this piece today. In brief, his point is that Denver's Metro Chamber of Commerce has some real problems with Amendments 60 and 61, and Proposition 101. I've heard the ballot proposals referred to as "voter approved recession." Some economic development people are starting to tell potential clients to stay away from Colorado. "We're convinced that through your initiative process you're systematically dismantling higher ed."

I like Brown's conclusion: "This ... might surprise those who think of chambers of commerce as reflexively anti-tax. They're not. The Denver chamber and most of its counterparts around the state are on the same page. They want a pragmatic government, not an impotent one."

Colorado Librarians, I strongly recommend that you pass along this link to your own local chambers and economic development agencies. For one thing, you should be talking to them anyhow. For another, maybe they need a nudge to speak out.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Zombies invade Colorado State Capitol

This image (blurrily captured by my cell from from photo by Diego James Robles) appeared in the Denver Post yesterday, May 10, 2010.

Don't say I didn't warn you (in this column). As clearly documented in this photo, the State of Colorado has already fallen. Wake up America!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

Last night I fired up Update Manager and told it to go ahead and take me to Ubuntu's latest. (This is on my home computer, an aging HP Pavilion a520n, 512 megs of RAM.) It took all night and most of the next day to download everything. But I did zero customizing. Just hit Go.

And here's the bottom line. It's good, it works, it's pretty fast, and it seems a little prettier and smoother.

I've written this before, but I'm always impressed by Linux for this: I've been mucking about on this same computer with Linux since May 15, 2004. That would be almost 6 years ago. Since then, I've replaced the operating system and applications maybe 10 times. I'm running cutting edge stuff these days, carrying all my historic files (email, text bases, contacts, etc.). No viruses. No Trojans. No malware of any kind. And it's free.

I could go into other stuff, but really, what matters is that anybody who uses a computer can use Ubuntu, and absent some unique applications, will probably do just fine.

Incidentally, I also was playing around with the Netbook Remix, booting it from a jump drive on my Acer Aspire, and that looked pretty good, too, although I found that it booted much slower than the native Linpus. Moreover, the old Linpus was notorious for breaking when one tried to upgrade Firefox from 2.something.

But the Aspire forum gave me a work around. I upgraded Firefox, and found myself still pretty happy with Linpus, so stayed with it.

At work, I'm using Windows XP, which is (yawn) OK, although I've noticed that sometimes I just have to reboot to get things to work correctly.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - Welcome

In November of 2018, I left my position at ALA in Chicago to return to my Colorado-based writing, speaking, and consulting career. So I'...