Well as I write this it is a few days after Vista’s launch, and it has yet to set the software market alight. But this is nothing new, it happend with XP. How do you convince people the latest and greatest is worth the money? Microsoft is in a tough position due to stiff competition - old, working, fully-compatible windows machines don’t disappear into thin air. There has been a lot more FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt)abput Vista already from the Free and Open Source camp. Some of the harsh critiscims will be justified, others probably not. Regardless this will not hurt Microsofts marketing whatsoever, the average user doesn’t share concerns over digital restriction/rights management - yet. Microsoft say it will be on 100m PC’s by years end. I don’t think it will be as fast as Microsoft would like, due to: 1) People wait for service packs. 2) People don’t upgrade PC’s as fast now. Most things people identify their computer with is increasingly online, a worrying trend if I were Microsoft, this creates platform independence for the average user, granted not the gamers, or other highly specialised software vendors.
Ubuntu/Debian are working on a Windows installer. This is great news which I welcome 100%. I think Ubuntu could eclipse Firefox as the Free/Open Source poster child if it plays it’s hand correctly. Top of the list would be the best migration of settings from Windows possible- Language, Keyboard, Preferences, Address Book etc. Make this as seamless and as thoughtless as changing from Internet Explorer to Firefox, and it is nothing surer to be a huge way of increasing Linux installs. Picture this: no CD-Recordables to be burnt, no settings to set, 10 minute .exe click install just like any Windows application and you will see what I mean. Add to that no partitioning (Ubuntu uses a disk image in Windows), no modification of Windows file and an Add/Remove option to get rid of it, and instantaneously you see the appeal, I cannot wait for this project to be mature, and heres hoping Ubuntu use it for mass distribution. It can instantly be that cure all for viruses, spyware etc. we have all come to accept on the windows platform, but why?
I am embarking on a journey I believe everyone should: digitise as much photo, video and documents you can. It serves as a record of your existance, a guide to people of what your life was like. Why? is the most obvious question you might ask. Well I will tell you what prompted me, which is the culmination of a lot of different things.
This brings me to the first reason: Television. I find shows fascinating where people discover their ancestors were orphans, incredibly wealthy or died from exhaustion in a mine. It really makes you think what makes you the person you are, so to speak. David Attenborough says (although I have paraphrased) that if people look back at his 100-150 hours of television, they will get a snapshot of what the glaciers, mountains, desert and animals were like in the latter half of the twentieth century, not a complete picture, but one nonetheless of what Earth was like at that time.
If not for other people, do it for yourself is another reason. Memories are their to cherish and recall. As I try to quantify the future I feel that if I have any childeren, it will be incredibly weird they have been missing a whole segment of my life. But no better time has existed to preserve these memories, in an age where digital devices are commonplace and cheap. They also are disposable though, so I will have to be careful to keep my data in a medium that can be read, a challenge in itself. But I believe I am up to it, and I hope to have every photo, video and document I have in a digital format sometime in the near future.
BBC are putting together a Mac, Windows and Linux user, to debate the pros and cons of being a users for each operating system. While this in itself is good news (more airtime for alternatives), most of the comments are highly in favour of Linux, then Mac and lastly Windows. This is part of the BBC’s coverage of Windows Vista. My hope for the future is that Mac and Linux gain at least 10% each (20% total) over the next 5 years of the home desktop market, as this will push innovation forward, like AMD and Intel competition.
I am selling my first item on auction giant Ebay, my Nokia 770 Internet Tablet. It has served me well, but I recently got a mail the other day that prompted me to sell my 770. It was Nokia: they informed me since I was one of the first to purchase the 770 and I was an influential blogger, they are giving me a lot of money off, and are going to let me have the n800 for a token sum. Hopefully the auction will go well, I will get the n800 and have a bit of cash to spare. Not bad as one might say!
Just a quick blurb about some things Microsoft like to say: Don’t believe it, well at least not it all anyway. On the Irish “Get the Facts” page (on Windows Server vs. Linux), they make critical errors of judgement a person reasonably well versed in computing could deconstruct. First of all, Linux isn’t a server, its a kernel, like the Windows kernel. So comparing “Windows Server 2003” to “Linux” is misleading to say the least, and stupid to say the most. You could run any server software on Linux you wished, even Windows Server 2003 if Microsoft ported it! For the sake of argument, I think they are comparing themselves to Apache, which runs 60% of worldwide servers.
It gets better though! They use Case Studies to show companies who have switched. Now what they forget to mention, out of the case studies is that some of the companies still use and sell Linux solutions to customers (like Rackspace and GoDaddy)! It took me <15 seconds to search for these companies on Google and find that out. Please Microsoft, save some face and release actual independent verifiable data. Fact is I would not buy off a company who can’t even defend and sell its products properly.
Just a quick post on Google Sketch UP for Mac (also available for Windows), it is a very nice application. I drew my Engineering project (Leaving Certificate) on it, to see if it was easy enough for a novice (Read: Me) to mess around and get something functional out of it. Most people have heard of Computer Aided Design, but usually the applications are expensive to say the least. Not so with Google Sketchup, it is totally free and can import some of the most popular 3D drawing formats. It is easy to use, but difficult to master is how I would best describe this product. The video tutorials Google provides on their website is a huge help, and got me off to a good start. They represented what every tutorial should be: short, snappy and to the point. The User Interface should be designed a little better and be a little clearer, but for a free product, it does exactly what it says on the tin. So I got down to business, and I present my very first drawing in Google Sketchup:
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