Tuesday Mar 20, 2007

Get Ready for Winter ...

... you never know when it will come!

The winter was very mild this year in Czech and many people complained about that -- no snow, no skiing, no snowmen. I am not a big fan of winter, so I personally did not mind (but I like Futurama ;-) ). The only thing I regretted was that I could not use this cool gadget:

And now, just before the first spring day the forecast says "light snow" and seeing today news from the east part Czech Republic I realized that I can expect also heavy snow.

Thanks to Pavel Suk for the gadget and to Petr for taking the picture.

Thursday Oct 12, 2006

A Xen BootCamp in Prague, Open RPE

A Xen BootCamp aka CZOSUG#11 was announced recently. This is the second all-day CZOSUG event (the first one was held in March this year) and it is organized by engineers from Solaris Revenue Product Engineering (RPE) team in Prague (aka Solaris sustaining). The preparations started in late August and we all are looking for this event.

Information in Czech can be found at CZOSUG home page and also at popular Czech IT portal root.cz. Martin Man also prepared a cool invitation leaflet.

Wednesday Sep 20, 2006

Who Will Help ... The Community

I recently bought a very nice 'all in one' product (scanner, printer, fax, and copy machine) from a well known manufacturer. This product has an Ethernet interface and fits well in my home network, which I am (very slowly) building. I installed the drivers provided with this product and enjoyed network printing but the scanner did not work over the network. So, I went to the support web pages, downloaded newer versions of the drivers, installed them and ... the situation was the same. Then I found a link for a chat with an on-line support engineer. I started the chat, had a productive conversation with the engineer and I ended up with yet another version of the drivers. I reinstalled them again with the same result -- scanner did not work. Then I tried Google search to find out if there are people who hit the same problem (I wanted to use a community wisdom). I found there are actually many people who faced the same problem and they discussed it at a web discussions hosted by manufacturer of the product ;-) ! So, I went through the discussions, read many recommendations and at the end found a solution, which works for me.

When I thought this experience through I realized that it was very interesting:

  • A manufacturer creates a nice product but provides a buggy driver.
  • The manufacturer employes people who are meant to help you on-line and you even do not have to pay for this support, hey, this is cool ... but the support does not work.
  • However, the manufacturer also provides an infrastructure for a community of users.
  • This community analyzed the problem and was able to come up with several workarounds even without access to the source code of the drivers.
So, the community proved to be very powerful and one of the reasons was that these people were solving their own urgent problem. They were also able to quickly share their knowledge and provide feedback to each other. There is a an obvious question -- would not be cheaper for the manufacturer just to provide the infrustructure for the community of users and do not bother with any additional 'on-line chat' support (putting aside the fact that the cheapest solution is always to provide a bug-free driver)? Even if this question is rather obvious the answer is not. The most effective solution would actually be if the manufacturer listened to the community and cooperated with it. There are people out there who like the product, want to get it work, are willing to test various solutions, and provide feedback. If the power of the community would be used properly then the problem could be solved by the manufacturer and the on-line support engineer would be able to provide correct advice the next time.

Sunday Mar 26, 2006

Personal Computer ... and What Does it Mean?

Time to time I wonder (probably as many other people) what the technology and the network brought to our lives and how the "personal" computers evolved (sometimes from personal enemies ;-) ) to real personal computers. We have two personal computers at home and it does not matter too much which one me or my wife uses. So, the interesting question is what is the real meaning of personal computer today?

A few years ago this question was very easy to answer -- personal computer was just "my computer" at work or at home.

The answer today is more difficult -- the situation changed (and it is still changing). So, lets ask this question differently -- what is really personal about a computer? For many people it is not typically just the computer itself but the data we create and use. The data can be classified from many points of view but from the "personal" point of view I believe that there are only two major types of data. Data we actively create and work with and data we just passively consume (and sometimes collect).

What are the data we create -- various documents -- yes, of course -- but the majority of our data represent e-mails and probably pictures (digital camera rules ;-) ). Now comes another interesting question -- where do we tend to store these personal data today? Well, more and more often it is somewhere on a network. Many people use for web-based email for personal purpuses. People typically post their pictures at specialized servers (like flickr), blogs, home pages, etc. Why do we this? Well because of two reasons -- the network provides higher flexibility and makes possible to easy share our data with others.

So, what does it mean "personal computer" these days then? Today personal computer is more about an identity and data related to this identity. The personal computer itself is just a gateway to our data.

Friday Mar 03, 2006

Czech Open Source 2006

A popular Czech server root.cz focusing on Unix/Linux and Open Source announced a survey to find the most popular Project, Software product, Event and Expert / Celebrity in the area of Open Source in Czech. And here comes the cool bit -- NetBeans and CZOSUG are there :-) !

Wednesday Jan 11, 2006

SchilliX and OS Virtualization: CZOSUG #4

Yesterday we had the fourth CZOSUG meeting. We had two speakers -- Frank Hofmann who presented about OS Virtualization and a surprise guest -- Joerg Schilling! Joerg presented about SchilliX and it was very interesting to learn about the problems he had to overcome to create the first OpenSolaris distribution. Big thanks both to Frank and Joerg who drove in the morning from Berlin to Prague and then in the night back after the meeting (and the meeting was rather long -- we started at 7pm and finished after 10pm). Around 50 people turned out on the meeting, so Frank's and Joerg's trip was well paid off by the audience. Thanks to all who attended and see you the next time!

Here are two pictures from Vita:

Friday Nov 11, 2005

The Second CZOSUG Meeting

The second meeting of Czech OpenSolaris Users Group (CZOSUG) was held on November 10 at Sun's office in Prague. We had there two presentations -- "OpenSolaris distributions" by Petr Sumbera and "DTrace backend implementation on Solaris/x86-x64" by Frank Hofmann.

As you can see on the following pictures (thanks to Milos Muzik for taking them) -- more than 20 people attended and the discussion after Frank's presentation was quite interesting. (And yes, we all enjoyed the pizza.).

Thanks to all who attended, Frank and Petr for their presentations and Bubli for help with "spreading the word" about the meeting.


Petr's presentation, the crowd and pizza ;-)


Frank's presentation

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The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.

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