• Love letter to IRMA's Solicitor

    • This post is a continuation on the previous one. IRMA is the Irish Music Rights Organisation which represents the big four record companies and their bottom line: never the artist. They have recently tried to regulate the Internet and have forced the biggest Irish ISP: Eircom; to use the three strikes rule and boot people off the Internet… No Judge, no Jury, no evidence of a crime.. Just an IP address and a sanction which you cannot contest.

    * I have sent a poignant email to IRMA’s solicitor based on their letter of attack on the ISP’s. If you think any of the language is too harsh by me; please have a look at a sample of the threat letter this solicitor sent out here. This is a legal firm who were suing individuals for thousands of euro; which I would hazard a guess most couldn’t pay. So in my eyes this is a form of legal terrorism; and a joke letter to give this solicitor a heads up that there are people out there like me who read and know the tactics of the Irish Music Rights Organisation; and the parent companies like IFPI, RIAA and the Anit-Piracy Bureau they spring from…. It is my opinion that nothing short of punishment (jail time) for frivolous threat letters should be carried out, plus damages (x10 like they do in their cases) to individuals and companies wrongly stressed out by this. I will compile a blog post of all the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) that IRMA has spread soon; and a rebuttal of why their actions may even increase piracy. One thing is for sure; my analysis will be a whole lot cheaper (free) and probably more accurate!

    Note: I have taken out names, but the legal firm and the acting solicitor can be examined in the letter above \^

    Dear [Solicitor for IRMA’s name],

    It is my position that you are morally bankrupt through your actions via IRMA vs. ISP’s. If you need independent advice on how this technology works (I am in Computer Science; but I can explain things slowly; so who knows?) I would be most delighted to help. Please note my hourly rate is at least twice yours; but I’m worth it!

    I look forward to hearing from you in 7 days; lest I contact a credit agency for non-payment. As this email constitutes services rendered by me. But I am willing to trade for legal advice on disbarment of a solicitors firm I know which abuses the law; only because I am a reasonable person!

    Kindest Regards & Love,
    [My Footer]

    PS: This is intended as Humour… only slightly…(joke!). I will publish any response you make on the Internet; so keep this in mind; if you don’t wish it so; don’t respond.

  • Linux Desktop Environments?

    What are Desktop Environments? Wikipedia defines it as:

  • Ubuntu in four years

    Last year was me celebrating four years of using the best operating system out there: Linux and the best distro Ubuntu. Ubuntu was my first foray in to Linux; and I haven’t left it since; although I have tried all the other major distros. I started with the first version of Ubuntu; Warthy Warthog:

  • KDE 4.2 Beta 2

    Recently I downloaded the Kubuntu packages of the new KDE 4.2 beta 2. For those of you who don’t know; KDE is the K Desktop Environment; which includes a window manager (KWin), common desktop applications, its own menu (Kickoff), browser (Konqueror), file manager (dolphin) etc. Basically it is the most popular desktop environment on Linux next to Gnome.

    image *KDE 4.2 Beta 2 with Kickoff Menu visible

    * **What is so special about KDE? **
    The philosophy of KDE is the advanced configuration it allows through its Graphical User Interface (GUI), this is versus Gnome which chooses sane defaults and leaves configuration in hard to reach places and out-of-sight. This isn’t to say KDE doesn’t choose sane defaults; it does and is very user-friendly. KDE has always been the more Windows-like of the major desktop environments and this hasn’t really changed in KDE 4.X series. KDE is available in popular distributions of Linux such as Kubuntu, Mandriva, OpenSuse. The special part about 4.X series is that for the first time for any Linux desktop environment; it is fully cross-platform, easily installs and works on Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X.

    image KDE 4.2 Panel; with KOrganizer calendar open

    Whats new in 4.2?
    Stability. Ever since KDE started the really beautiful 4.X branch they have gotten harsh criticism for stability problems. This is not surprising as KDE 3.5 was the result of years of bugfixing and stability fixes and was really rock solid stable; in fact I don’t remember it crashing at all in the times I used it; but I have been a Gnome user for a while. This criticism was deserved; but perhaps premature: KDE always stated this almost ground-up rewrite of everything major wasn’t going to be pretty and it wasn’t. I used KDE 4.0 and KDE 4.1 and both crashed frequently; especially Plasma since it powers almost everything on the desktop.

    Desktop Effects
    With this release comes the introduction of desktop effects; if your graphics card is supported. I think this is a great move since projects like Compiz required hacked in dectection of KDE or Gnome and I suspect this was coded in; it really makes sense to have desktop effects in the core; as it will really help stabilise them as the KDE4.X branch matures.

    • Better Customisation
      You can now control height and length of the menu bar; as well as add many more plasma applets to it. The Kmenu replacement Kickoff has stepped up to the plate in this release and features almost a complete set of icons for any application (much to my chargrin in earlier release a lot of ? icons could be seen). Also more customisation and preference panes of Plasmoids are allowed.

    image Desktop Effects in KDE 4.2 Beta 2

    Full major feature overview is here.

    So whats the final assessment?
    When this is released I definately recommend you try it! This is the first release of the 4.X branch I would be happy to install and support on my family’s desktop. Since I don’t often get to access it physically to fix problems; this is one area I couldn’t trust either 4.0 or 4.1 to behave. It still isn’t as feature-completed or as stable as 3.5 series; but in my opinion it is damn close and approaching fast; get it while its hot!!

    Kubuntu Instructions to get KDE 4.2 Beta 2 on Kubuntu Intrepid 8.10

  • Firefox and Opera lead the web video way

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    Something however is still not quite there about web video. The video solutions mentioned above are proprietary closed solutions that rely on plugins to display in a web page - what we need to make video a first-class web citizen is an easy, open solution to integrate video into web pages, and native support for video in browsers.

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