Wednesday Aug 27, 2008

All Cows Point North

I ride my mountain bike thru areas that cows are pastured in the East Bay hills.  We always thought that all cows faced the same way because 1) it looked better, 2) they looked better to each other "it's slimming" or 3) the smell drifted down wind.  As it turns out there is a new reason and that is that all cow point North. See the results of Germans, with loads of free time, can learn looking at Google earth.

GO! Airlines

After my Aloha airline flights were canceled due to bankruptcy (see my previous post) I rescheduled on American Air and GO! for inter Island flights.  A little background, GO! is the low cost carrier (a subsidiary of MESA Air) that put Aloha out of business for inter Island flights in HI.  There were some illegal price cutting going on as well, but that was settled in a lawsuit. 

 We landed in HNL and went to find the GO! gates. GO! is listed on the monitors (alternating with Mesa which is a nice touch) and the gates are in the commuter terminal which are in the 70s at the end of the airport.  So we followed the signs to the gates, walked along the outdoor concourse, walked thru some doors to a nice, new air conditioned concourse, the down some stairs to an open, hot, stagmant dugeon. This was the secure holding area for GO! airlines. There were the 4 of us, 2 very bored security types and an ummanned GO! computer desk flashing a M$FT screen saver.  There were no gate numbers, no information, just a bunch of seats - so we sat.  After 30 minutes we asked the guards about GO! and they gestered that this was the place.  So we waited some more until finally a GO! employee showed up (20 minutes before our flight) and led us out the doors onto the runway, down the terminal to the GO! terminal. This was where the action was- it had a bar, AC, hip young (fearfully inexperienced ticket folks who appeared to be no older than 15) and lots of customers.  As it turns out, the dungeon is the "secure" area and to get to the real GO! area, we would have to leave and then go thru security again to get to the bar area.  Of course no one told us this and there were no signs - very odd!

Our plane arrived, along with 2 others, and we all went out on the runway and headed to our plane. No real organization here, its more like a bus terminal with banners on the stairs that indicate the planes's destination.  We boarded the right plane, strapped in and listened to flight instructions from our 15 year old flight dude (attendant is too generous a description).  In keeping with its low cost status, everything on the plane costs $$, even water ($1.50 for a 500 mL bottle).  The flight was fast, efficient and casual. Upon landing I was handed a map from our "attendant" and here's the conversation:

 Dude:  Map?
Me: Yes, thanks
Dude: Sweet!

 Next time I am going to fly Hawaiian airlines and bypass GO! as a feel GO! is just a bit too casual and inexperienced for my tastes.


Thursday Aug 14, 2008

US Court Validates Open Source Licenses

The US court of appeals has ruled on a case involving the open source Artistic License finding that it is indeed a valid license.  The key to this is that the court ruled that the copyright provision of this open source license is enforceable.  Precedent is key in US law and since there have been few, if any, cases testing open source licenses this ruling establishes a precedent that will be used to defend all future open source copyright issues.  In essence, this ruling strongly supports open source licenses and therefore the software that is protected by them.  This is a great day for open source and even though this covers just the artistic license, it is easy to extend this to validate the copyright protections offered by the GPL, CDDL and other open source licenses.

Thursday Aug 07, 2008

Ubuntu on Virtualbox

I have now virtualized Ubuntu on my MacBook Pro using Virtual box.  After installing Vista (really to see if it worked and as a practical matter to help me communicate w/ my BlackBerry) I installed Ubuntu.  I downloaded Ubuntu 8.04 and installed from the iso on my hard drive. That went well. I had to tweak a few things to get the mouse, WiFi and other drivers to work but other than that the installation was a snap. I assigned it 1G of RAM and 10 Gigs of hard disk space and with those it seems to run well. Since Ubuntu  includes Firefox and other apps right out of the box its easy to be productive out of the box.  The only issue is that I cannot print - for some reason it doesnot recognize my printers on the USB ports.  I'll have to look into this more in the future.  Since I don't print too often (and can share documents w/ OS X) its not a big problem.

Now I think I should reconfigure my mom's computer w/ Ubuntu. Vista is just awful (all those security questions everytime one accesses the internet are a real pain).  Maybe next time I am up there I'll do a dual install and see if it works.  Since none of her friends seem to understand Windows, moving her to Ubuntu would not cause any more confusion.  She only uses Firefox and the awful windows photo program - I can move her to FF on Linux and then migrate her to Picasa (which is much easier to use).

Wednesday Aug 06, 2008

IBM's Says Linux to be Around for the Next Ten Years

I attended Bob Suter's talk at Linux World in San Francisco today to hear how IBM positions Linux. Yesterday they announced they are shipping a M$FT free desktop system w/ Ubuntu, Lotus Symphony (based on OO.O) and other open source sw, so IBM must see quite a bit of value in Linux.  Bob is a fine speaker and started with a history of how IBM got into the Linux business - he even had some humorous slides on the old e-business campaign from 2001.  Here is the top 8 list from Bob's talk (my paraphrasing) and my commments.

1) Linux will drive green initiatives - lower costs / power  and virtualization

2) No other open source OS will replace Linux in the next 10 years - considering it takes 10 years for an OS to get widely accepted and we see nothing comparable today, I would venture this is accurate

3) Linux mindshare will be less focussed on x86 hardware - sure, phones, embedded into devices, servers

4)Linux on the desktop will be significantly different - I agree with him here. As collaboration sw becomes ubiquitous, what we call / see as a desktop today will certainly evolve.

5)SMB large scale adoption is too close to call.  He states that SMBs buy solutions (say Dentist office application) rather than piece together hardware. But I think most, if not all, new technology companies will startup w/ Linux

6)Open Source Licenses will stabilize.  - Yes, licenses are soo 2007. However, I think we'll a bit of activity around SaaS and open source licenses to coral in the Googles of the world

7) Open Standards will grab more attention.  He claims, and rightly so, that many of the exisiting standards bodies are just horrible and in need of an overhaul and I couldn't agree more.

8)It will be a do or die decade for open source industry applications.  I don't believe its do or die, but certainly we'll see a shift to more open source / commercial applications where all the good capabilities that enterprises will want will be in the for pay enterprise bits.  The open source sw business is the same as the old proprietary sw business - engineers still need to make a living (but now we get access to much more rapid innovation).




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