Saturday, February 26, 2011

WTF, Google?!

I know I've talked before about how Google's searches are unreliable, but I was honestly hoping that they would turn it around. I'd even heard several times that they were taking steps to fixing the issue. But no. Instead, I'm trying to search around for some practice for a Logic Design test, and I get this.

This is beyond absurd, this is wrong. Beforehand, I talked about how Google's search algorithm kind of left off results, but maybe it just needed to be tweaked to keep up with the web. Now, Google is telling me "I am deliberately altering your search results, completely reverse to what you told me". No, they aren't even inserting "Related" results anymore: they are full blown taking a phrase out of a result. Why not just take out the word "boolean", and then I can get a ton of results for Algebra, which is a completely different thing? (Get my point yet, Google?)

I've tried to think through why Google would drop the word "practice" specifically; I know they drop insignificant words like "and" or "the", and that's understandable. But "practice" is not uber common, it does change the nature of the search, and it needs to be included to pull up the results I am seeking (if they exist). I should not have to put "+" before every search term just to get the results I need.

The most perverted part about this is that it's not like you're told outright, right below the search input. No, it's at the very bottom of results, in a "Tip," like it's somehow not really important.

In my eyes, Google is not only not improving their search, they're going in the exact opposite direction; instead of making searches include every term, they are now dropping terms. It's reasons like this that make me glad I've found DuckDuckGo, because if Google does not clean bullshit like this up, I'll definitely be using Duck -and then even Yahoo! and Bing- before I use Google.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fun with recursive acronyms

I know that anybody who's used Linux probably knows about this, but I do love them; I tried explaining WINE to my brother the other day and he had the look of a deer caught in the headlights.
Here are some of the ones I've run into:
  • GNU's Not Unix
  • WINE Is Not an Emulator
  • LAME Ain't an MP3 Encoder

Here's a complete list, since these are not all of them.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Great video on why Linux "sucks"

Why Linux (Still) Sucks. (And What We Can Do To Fix It).

(Also on Youtube)
By Bryan Lunduke of Jupiter Broadcasting

(Going to kind of do this a little differently: Here's an outline of what he said with specific quotes, cause Bryan is so quotable. Some things are moved around and some things are from the slides.)

  • Despite the fact that Linux sucks in a lot of ways, it is awesome and it has come a long way in just the last year.
  • Fedora has really pushed the envelope in terms of technology...whereas Ubuntu, on the other hand, has really pushed the envelope in terms of just taking stuff that's stable and making it look really really pretty.
  • It is ridiculous to look at [Ubuntu's old brown appearance] and think someone thought this looked good.
  • Linux makes a great server...Linux is doing great in the mobile space, still doing great in the embedded space, and we still suck at marketing.

Things we still haven't figured out:
  1. Audio/drivers
    • Driver issues have become a little less of a problem. They're still there...but it's not as bad as it was...The biggest thing that still plagues us is the lack of particular types of software.
    • [On audio frameworks] We are essentially not just duplicating effort, we are -in most cases- triplicating and quadruplifuncicating just to make a good audio experience on Linux...The simple things: Audio Playback.
    • We want to have 30,000 different options, we want total freedom of choice. But we don't have enough resources to have 10 different audio frameworks and all make them good. If we did, that would be awesome and we should do it. But we don't, so we need to standardize.
  2. Hardware Issues
    • New versions should not have less functionality on modern equipment.
    • Why on god's green earth, every six months, are we revving to the very very latest cutting edge version of [] that is awesome but every time we rev it, we break everything? Why not trail by a couple months, wait for the drivers to catch up...then we will not have those continual video card breakages.
    • Microsoft and Apple would not make that mistake. I don't like making mistakes that they wouldn't make. I like to point at them and laugh at them. I think we all do.
  3. Packaging sucks
    • It's very much a matter of having too many packaging formats and that results in way too much duplicated effort.
    • Let's just freaking standardize...But, really, it doesn't matter. Just pick [a format] and everybody freaking use it.
    • It's the same software packaged up in some sort of a tar archive with a little tiny text file that says "Here's where you install the software". There's no real difference between them.
  4. Audio Editing
    • Where is our GarageBand?
    • This is software that has been available on other platforms since before Linux was an idea.
  5. Video Editing
    • One year ago I gave this session and video editing sucked rocks...One year ago I would not have thought we could get this far in just one year
  6. Applications
    • We don't have Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator and that makes it very hard to integrate into a production environment that already exists.
  7. Games
    • Games are huge. They drive system adoption.
    • There are very few open source games that started as open source projects and became A-list quality titles.
    • If Valve released Steam for Linux, I would freak out and jump for joy. I would leap out of this window and survive simply on will alone.
  8. Funding
    • The Linux kernel is not a weekend project. The majority of the Linux kernel is commercially funded and has been for years.
    • A team of 5 dedicated, full time developers is typically going to be more productive than 50 developers who only putz a little on the weekend.
    • We, as Linux users, need to accept that software costs money to make.
    • We then need to...donate to Open Source projects in the amount roughly equalling what we'd pay to a commercial product...or purchase closed source software for Linux in order to encourage the companies to bring more to Linux.
    • [On the Ubuntu software store thingy] That is gonna freak alot of people out. But just the same, hopefully -hopefully- they make it so that people can earn a living making Linux-specific software. Closed source or open source, I don't even care: I just need more software.
    1. Software Stores/Sales
      • On the Windows and Mac side, there are magazines and websites galore that focus on software release news...On the Linux side of things, what do we have?
      • Come on. How many people have downloaded Linux software from Anybody? Has anybody ever done it? Once?
      • Here's the problem: no one knows when the software goes out.
      • A Sourceforge store? That would be wild and if flaming pigs were flying out of every orifice in this room, it might happen. 
      • [In response to "We don't have the market share"] Here's the thing: from a desktop Linux standpoint, we have a higher market share than the Mac did 4 years ago.
      • Most people steal software. Windows or Mac. Linux is not gonna be any different. We're not that special.

(And now, my thoughts, in pseudo-random order:)

  • In terms of drivers, I honestly feel like Linux excels in this area. With Windows, alot of times I have to finagle a piece of hardware to get it working. Then I boot into Ubuntu, and everything works. Out of the box. Now the only problem is when it doesn't work. To my knowledge, instead of just updating a driver, you have to update your kernel, which is more complex and frustrating than just downloading the newest EXE off the hardware company's website. Again, like he said: for the most part, with larger distros that are updated regularly, things tend to work now. But then there are the exceptions.
  • In terms of audio, I cannot express how much I agree with him. Honestly. I guess I'm coming at this from ignorance, but the thing that people are working tirelessly sound. Bring sound to a Linux desktop, that already has working sound. But oh! Their sound is different than my sound, so I'll continue to use my sound. In essence, they all do the same thing, so the Linux community needs to do exactly what Bryan said: pick one (preferably the one with the most traction) and standardize.
  • I think that alot of people -especially the type of people that use Linux- when they run into problems, just tend to ignore them or work around them, so his points on hardware problems tend to be overlooked. I mean, yeah, the Wifi or sound will stop working for a little while, but eventually the drivers will catch up, or the Ubuntu team will find a way to fix it before the next update. But his statement about Windows and Apple really got to the punch, in my opinion. Windows and Apple do many things that I cannot even conceive because I cannot possibly understand how they would logically come to that conclusion. So when Linux finds itself making mistakes that even they would know to avoid, it's kind of a warning sign to me.
  • Packaging is something that still kind of enrages me. It's got alot of issues that need sorting out, even before considering commercial applications.
    • Obviously one of the points he talked about was all the multiple formats. Seriously. Standardize. Now look, when it comes to DEs or WMs or things of that nature, I'm all for variety; I hate people that try to force you to use one web browser or code editor or whatnot. But truly, RPM, DEB, and all the others do the same thing, and while there are apparently very complicated differences, I've heard it asked before and I'll reiterate: What can DEB do that RPM can't, or vice versa? I used to think that there were things like Yum checking the server every time and apt-get not, but now that I think about it, that's application specific, meaning that I'm pretty sure one could make a RPM manager that doesn't check the server every time and a DEB manager that does (if they don't already exist....if they do, then this proves my novice-ness.)
      I know my opinion is going to sound biased, but I honestly think DEB should just become the standard format. There's a few small reasons that I think puts it above the competition, mostly the fact that Ubuntu and Debian based distros have pushed it to the top and GetDeb is also a good motivator, but in the end, I don't care. Just pick one and stick with it. And that's not saying that the others would just have to die, it just means that one should become the standard. If someone really wants RPM, then by all means, use RPM. But if every distro defaultly started with DEB or whatever was the standard, it would make life so much easier.
    • That leads to the next of the problems of what he kind of hinted at, software sites. People use Repositories or the Ubuntu Software Center to add apps in Linux. Other than GetDeb, I've never really heard of sites where you can go to download Linux installers. People download what is in the repository, and occasionally add new smaller repos to install something else (like maybe Songbird). But the fact remains: it's different than Windows, at least. With Windows, you search sites like Sourceforge or PortableFreeware or any of the sites I list in the "Good Resources" post of FreewareWire; you search what you want, then download the installer and boom, you have it. Linux tries to localize things in a way that frankly, I've never understood. Are repos nice? Heck yes. Are they the best way to do things? I'm not so sure. They're great because it's an extremely organized, extremely well maintained list of software that you can download all from one place. The bad part is, how does one find out new software (commercial or free)? From what I can tell, Repos tend to have alot of the same software, apps that have been genuinely accepted as stable and a part of the Linux world. But if you're going to write a new piece of software and want to get the word out, how do you do it if people never leave their Repo?
    • So that's one half of the problem: discovery. I honestly think that GetDeb is kind of the answer to the call when it comes to a for Linux. It's a good looking, well organized, functional website. And on top of this, it's got the GetDeb repo, which is a huge bonus. But the fact of the matter is that it really isn't set up for two things: getting the word out about new apps (even though that could change, like maybe an "Upcoming" section), and commercial apps (which could also change). I think that GetDeb or a site like it could be the answer except that it only appeals to the DEB base of Linux users, which -although it is the largest currently- is still small when considering how small the Linux userbase is, meaning that the DEB target is a fraction of a fraction. One solution is that if DEB were to become the standard, sites like GetDeb could cater to every major distro easily, meaning they would grow exponentially. Another solution is to keep everything diversified and create a package for every single distro (practically) and make GetDeb diversify as well, "quadruplifuncicating" its efforts, as Bryan would say.
  • For Audio and Video, I don't have much to say, other than I too am impressed with the Video portion, and kind of astounded at the lack of Audio. Maybe I'm just naive, but Video editing seems so much more complicated than Audi why is Audio editing next-to-nonexistant on Linux?
  • He mentioned image management being a lacking category, which I would very much agree with...but Shotwell is hopefully closing that gap. But seriously.....Ubuntu trading out F-Spot for Shotwell is probably the dumbest thing I've ever seen Ubuntu -or any Linux distro- do. I do not care for F-Spot and Shotwell definitely looks good and I can tell I will love it. But it was so amazingly immature, for Ubuntu to make Shotwell the default when it did, I would say, borders on irresponsible.
  • Not much to say on Games....PlayDeb is awesome and amazing, I think, even if just for free/open source games. From my limited perception, Valve bring Steam to Linux is the most logical and probable way for games to enter Linux at all, and here's why:
    • I think most companies are confident on the fact that most Linux users are also forced to use other platforms (*coughWindowscough*) for other reasons, or at least are willing to dual-boot/VM, so most are willing to buy that product for Windows. The creators of Darksiders are not going to spend the time and money to port it to Linux if everyone is going to buy it on Windows if they don't. They need to see not only a Linux user that will buy a game if it is available for Linux, but also if that same user will not buy the same game that is already available on Windows or Mac. And unfortunately, I think that's a difficult thing to force on them, since we all love playing games.
    • The difference with this is Steam, because it kind of 'eases in' to Linux gaming. Alot of people already use Steam, so Valve knows that what type of following it's got. They could follow the same trend as Mac and gradually port games over until all the games you already own on Windows or Mac can be played on Linux. This is the way that I think will hopefully happen to bring gaming to Linux. I guess the core difference for my theory is that Steam is a platform, not a specific game, and plus, Valve could create a "Linux Only" (and "Mac Only", if you want to get anal) section after it's successfully ported a good number of games, so then developers could see the numbers of people that buy and play on Linux and then spend their time developing solely for Linux inside an app that promotes Linux games. How awesome is that?
  • In terms of Funding, Bryan really kind of changed the way I thought about funding open source period. I just fell into the mindset of "Free software! Yay!" and forgot that people wrote this, and continue to write it, and as much as we would love to believe that writing it doesn't cost money, it does. So his video was kind of an awakening to me, and actually inspired me to write my post called Donate to free software / services. (This just goes to show how long a post can sit in my "Drafts" section, since I initially saw Bryan's video before making that post.) That post really sums up my thoughts on donating, for the most part. Corporate backing and all that other jazz....well, I'm still kind of undecided on that stuff.
On a closing note, I'd like to say that Bryan is the first non-fanboy Linux-fan I've ever seen. When I saw the video that had "Linux" and "Sucks" in the title and did not hear someone bashing how terrible it is, I was honestly shocked. Bryan is great because he's actually kind of impartial. (You can tell he love Linux, but he also knows that it 'sucks'.) Rather than taking the high-and-mighty route that many fanboys take, he gets down to the nitty gritty and says "Yes, Linux does suck in a number of ways. But beyond that, here are the solutions." It's extremely refreshing, and I'll definitely follow up on Bryan and his show to get more of his insights and quotable quotes.

WeAmDev: Age don't mean diddly

For a while, it seemed like Cydia had completely dominated the Jailbroken app installer market; after the tragic fall of Rock, Cydia stood alone....until recently. Icy was originally created by RipDev [1], but unfortunately was lost in 2009 when all of RipDev shut down. Fortunately, RipDev was awesome and decided to release the source for Icy, creating the ability to allow several spin offs.

The first is simply called Icy and is essentially the same application updated to work for the latest firmware versions. The name of the group attempting to revive Icy is called WeAmDev, a group of four guys: Rob (Robinofree), Patrick (iChromeX), Ben (Sosumeh), and Adam (AdamApollo11). The current Icy is version 2.0.1b1 in their repo, and 2.1 on their blog. I've never really used Icy before and I can't really say I am a fan, but I did get it to successfully install. But unfortunately, it won't refresh packages, which is really kind of half of the whole point.

Then there is yet another child named Euphoria that is being built by a sole member of WeAmDev, Sosumeh, called Euphoria. This one is a little different, and kind of vague as well since it really hasn't been stable enough for anyone to try, as far as I'm concerned. I know that I got it installed and it crashes/ends a millisecond after launching it. But from the sounds of it, Sosumeh has some good ideas for a package manager.

What really pisses me off is not the apps themselves, flawed as the may be, but people's responses, even personal attacks. First off, there is the generic
  • "What's wrong with Cydia?"
  • "Why do we need 2 package managers?"
  • "These betas suck they brick my iPhone!"
Responses respectively:
  • "Two words: 'Reloading Data'."
  • "Why do we need two web browsers? Operating systems? Ice cream flavors?"
  • "First: they're betas. That means 'You betta be ready for the risks'. Second: Exaggeration much? Truly bricking an iDevice is very hard, from what I've heard."

Then we've got the next type of response:

"What? A 15 year old making a package manager?"

Age means piss diddly. No, that's not even up for argument. Let's look at some examples:

Ramanujan: age 12-17: Brilliant mathematician
Mastered Trigonometry at age 12 including adding his own theorems, going on to contribute much to the field of mathematics.

moot: age 15: started 4chan
Regardless of your opinion of 4chan, you have to give credit to a 15 year old starting the website that sits within the 500 most visited sites daily.

Geohot: age 17: iPhone Jailbreaks
He takes alot of crap, but Geohot gets shit done.

Seriously, with someone like Geohot that has been a driving force when it comes to Jailbreaks, how can people be so stupid when it comes to age?

The fact of the matter is that you can't lean too far in either direction. On one hand, age is irrelevant, and if a kid is smart enough and dedicated enough to create a Jailbreak or a package manager, his age should not be a determining factor. On the other hand, he is not quite an adult, so if he happens to like the publicity he receives for his efforts, I don't believe one should be quick to rail him for it.

Then there's the last type of response: the parody. Yeah, I can't believe it either.
There's "WeEgoDev", parodying "WeAmDev", whose description is "We like to think of ourselves as authority, even though we really aren't." Ok, I will admit it, WeAmDev's claim of being the "New iPhone Authority" is a bit rash, but at least they're aiming high. And creating a parody twitter is extremely unnecessary.
The there's "Sosumego" parodying "Sosumeh", basically focusing on the fact that Sosumeh wants attention -which I have not seen to be the case. And then there's the uber-stupid tweets like "I could make a new installer, or I could just revive an old one and have more people use it. I should announce both but only do the 2nd one." I find that it's much easier to bitch about other people not doing something than to actually do it themselves. My guess is that Sosumego has no clue about how to create an app at all, yet feels he has the authority to complain when someone who is working on two doesn't move production of one of them as fast as he'd want.
Then, lastly, there's "iChromegoX", parodying "iChromeX", basically just saying that he's obsessed with himself, which is -again- complete fabrication.

The thing is that people just seem to be treating it way too seriously. I think it's alright if some younger people want to create package managers at their own pace. It's not a black and white issue; developers don't have to either create a perfectly usable app fast, or not create one at all. Both Icy and Euphoria (if it's still in development) are extremely early in development, but that's not a bad thing; you can't say that a kid is never going to be a good race car driver just because his feet can't reach the pedals yet. Give them time, and give them the respect they deserve.

And yes, maybe they are being a bit "large-and-in-charge", but you know what that shows me? Ambition. If they are 15 and wanting to create a package manager, imagine what they'll want to do at 20, then 25, etc. On the other hand, yes, they very well could fizzle out; maybe WeAmDev will decide that it's just not their thing, or maybe even that they got in over their heads. But will telling them that ahead of time help at all, or just make you seem like a smug bastard?

The only thing that I would recommend to WeAmDev is one word: commit. So far, they've had one person quit, then rejoin, then another person quit, and then etc and etc. I think that people who want to believe in WeAmDev and Icy 2 (or Euphoria) are likely to be shaken in their resolve if they constantly see people leaving and joining WeAmDev. Just remember a few things: (1) You don't always have to immediately tell people what's up; if someone is considering leaving, give them time to think it out, or if someone else is interested in joining, give them a little while to contribute so you can know they're for real. (2) Just because you're a part of WeAmDev doesn't mean you have to consistently contribute; you can take a little hiatus without making an announcement at all. (3) Make sure that if someone is going to join, that they're in it for serious business; this kind of goes for all members -new and old- but each member should want to see the project through till the end, not just for a month or so. Or if they feel like they can only help for a month, just express that from the beginning.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Yes, I realize the WeAmDev crew has changed, but I wrote most of this post a few weeks ago and am too lazy to toss it out or edit it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My family is now powered by Ubuntu

The Hardware
The family computer has been getting on in years so I offered to help upgrade it. Here are the specs, if you are interested:
After splitting the order into three different websites, it ended up running a tab of $337 after shipping. Not bad for everything except a monitor, mouse, and optical drive.

Anyway, since I decided to upgrade the HDD, I decided it's time to switch the house to Ubuntu, since the one who uses it the most is my mother, who basically just uses Firefox and Thunderbird, both of which are available on Linux, meaning ideally, even the transition would be easy.

The Initial
The install was dirt simple, as it always is with Ubuntu. It took 1/6 of the clicks and 1/4 of the time of a Windows install, and it booted up completely ready to use.

Of course, I still had the completely functioning Windows XP on the old HDD and so I tried booting into that. Windows told me that I needed to activate my already activated Windows install. And this wasn't a nag, this was a "Hey, I'm not going to log you on, enter in the code." This would not piss me off except for the fact that for some reason related to the new hardware, the USB keyboard and mouse wouldn't even work. Then I got a P/S2 keyboard and discovered that -guess what- my ethernet port wasn't working. So Windows wanted me to register without internet, in a system that I could not log into to get my internet working. Absurd.

So in short, I bailed on that attempt. I then just set up everything: migrating Firefox and Thunderbird and even setting up a Virtualbox with a Windows XP install. As far as I remember, it was pretty seamless.

The Problems
Everything worked great except for stupid stupid Rosetta Stone and some other school software my brother needed, specifically Switched On Schoolhouse (ugh). SOS gave me a crap-ton of issues, all because the .NET 3.0 that they included with the software that is required isn't even the right version! As soon as I downloaded 3.5 in a Windows update, it worked fine. But seriously. If you're going to bundle software on the CD, make it actually work.

As for RS, let me say that this software is hell to use and hell to get working. The software itself is fine, but it is so picky on the CD. You can't create an ISO because they purposely put in bad sectors on the CD to prevent it. You can't just copy the files and then create an ISO because RS will know that it's not a real CD. Long story short:
  • You have to have CD/DVD pass-through enabled
  • You have to have the CD/DVD mounted or it will freeze your system -even the host
I tried it with WINE and could not get it working. Despicable.

I know I personally haven't switched to Linux because honestly, I faced way too many problems just setting up my mom's PC which is needed for pretty trivial things (web browsing, e-mail checking, a few Windows apps) that I'm not ready to commit my life to constant troubleshooting. Occasional troubleshooting is fine for now.

Video Game Remixes

The two best places for Video Game Remixes, in my opinion, are Newgrounds, and Overclocked Remix.

My Newgrounds Profile

  1. Love Midna, by ellebirdy23
  2. Numa Numa Game Boy Remix, by PixlCrushr (I don't care if it's not a video game. Deal with it.)
  3. Tetris Remix [Final], by Parkerman1700
  4. Tetris (Rock Version), by Soundshifter
  5. The Lullaby of Time, by ellebirdy23
  6. Luigi's Mansion (WIP), by SkriK
As for, ocremix,
  1. Pachelbel's Ganon, by djpretzel (This is my favorite remix of all. Period.
  2. Anthem of a Misguided Youth, by Benjamin Briggs
  3. Piano Concerto in A Minor, by Jeremy Robson
  4. Insomniac Skies, by diotrans
  5. Live from [SUBJECT HOMETOWN HERE], by Gamer Symphony Orchestra

As you can probably see, I'm definitely more inclined to some games more than others. You have to be in the mood to enjoy a good VG Remix, but when you are, there's nothing better.

    Great article about things Linux needs to change

    Here's an article I found a while back on TechRadar about things that they would change about Linux. As usual, I don't agree with everything they say, but (also as usual) I do agree with most of them.

    24 things we'd change about Linux

    The Linux annoyances that really needs sorting out.
    By Paul Hudson

    1. Fix Sound Once and for All
      I've never personally had this problem (at least on the input side of things), but I've heard about it enough to agree. I mean, call me a "user", but sound really isn't something that someone should have to worry about when setting up their PC.
    2. No More Infighting
      GOD YES. Seriously. Of course, I personally believe in what I guess I'll call the "Linux Unification Directive", in which all of the vast, excessive distros would merge into one (or even less than 5), but that's a far off dream. Nevertheless, until that day, people should stop fighting. It's ten times more stupid than the PC vs. Mac debate. "My Linux kernel with applications is better than your Linux kernel with applications!" Pfft.
    3. Guaranteed GUI fallback
      I'm not sure what he meant by "Guaranteed GUI fallback", other than "X works", in which case, I agree.
    4. Andrew says...[one package format]
      GOD YES. Seriously. All packages are are TARs with a little text file that says "put this here, this there, etc". Sure, there are differences like that Yum checks the server for every request and Apt only checks occasionally, but still: overall, they do the same thing. And yes, some people (mostly the nerdiest of nerds) probably have reasons of why they use this over that, but the point is that the majority of Linux users (or would-be Linux users) couldn't give a rat's ass about it. Please don't infer that I always jump to the "hop on the bandwagon, nerds!" defense; I hate that. I'm simply looking at it from a logical perspective for a unified package manager:
      • PRO: Only one type of package needs to be downloaded for any Linux OS. It's simpler for developers and users. Possibly will free up the people working on the non-chosen manager to work on other projects.
      • CON: Um......a few people won't like it.
      (*Side note: for the people that are really that picky about the package manager they use....why not just compile everything from source? I mean, I think that's what some distros do anyway, like maybe Gentoo or Arch or something...)
    5. Backward Compatibility Dependencies
      He makes a very, very good point. You know how pissed everyone got that apps for Windows XP couldn't run on Windows Vista? We want to avoid that. For the most point, a regular update to an dependency means that it is still the same dependency, just an update; therefore, if it's still the same dependency as before, it should still work with the same apps as before.
      Yes, I know there are exceptions. Sometimes when apps or things undergo a large update, they make it incompatible with previous versions. But that shouldn't be the normal case.
    6. Get Mac Compatibility for Games
      I have no clue how plausible this is, but I'm in full support of it. (Of course, if Valve were to just bring Steam to Linux, that would makes things a great bit easier.)
    7. A Single Name for the Wastebasket
      This really is silly and trivial. But it's one of those things that just should be fixed. Not high on the priority list....but come on.
    8. Easier Driver Install
      I would offer an opinion on this, but I really have no knowledge. I actually was talking with my brother the other day about Linux and he said "How does Linux do drivers?" and I just responded "I have no idea." Other than being able to download proprietary drivers for things like graphics cards, I have no idea how it works.
    9. Guaranteed sleep/hibernate
      A very good point; whenever I was running Ubuntu on my netbook, it would not sleep. I can remember one time I forgot and told it to sleep, then threw it in my bag and when I got home, took it out. It had been on the whole time and was burning up due to the lack of ventilation in my backpack. That's just depressing.
    10. Remove Grub
      I'm not sure I agree with this at all. I realize that GRUB is not the easiest or prettiest thing to work with, but it is so necessary that to want to remove it is like saying "Remove X." I realize that there are a few alternatives like SYSLINUX, LILO, and uh....LOADLIN(?) but honestly, in my experience, GRUB is used far, far more. If anything, Paul should have said "Replace Grub with ____" or "Redo Grub." Removing GRUB is the easy part: finding a replacement is the challenge.
      (*Side Note: I'd also like the say that GRUB2 is so difficult to work with. I finally understand GRUB enough to use it for the most part without even having to look online, and then they create GRUB2, which is 10 times more confusing, and still as frustrating. In the past several years, Linux has made leaps and bounds when it comes to simplifying things for the user, and GRUB has not. To put it frankly, I'd describe GRUB as "Last decade's technology, today.")
    11. Make Every Task Doable from the GUI
      For the record I believe the steps to get people to move to Linux are as follows: (1) Make everything look presentable, i.e., not butt ugly (Lucid -> Meerkat), (2) Make the console a last resort.
      Good example: rotating wallpapers. (At least on GNOME, for you KDErs out there.) I searched around and everyone kept suggesting scripts and whanot. You know what Windows has to rotate wallpapers? Programs. Nice GUIs that will watch a folder with Categories and such instead of having to dive into Gedit and add it to scheduled tasks or whatever. And the Wallpaper changer is a good example because all it essentially needs to do is (1) let you pick files (or folders), (2) execute a command to change the wallpaper, and (3) add a timer. Basically a GUI for a console command. Not that hard.
      (*Side note: I did eventually find one, but [at least in the default Ubuntu repos] the small number of [functioning] ones is disturbing, considering that even a non-learned person like myself wrote a simple one for Windows.)
    12. Rolling Releases
      Honestly, this isn't something I can speak on. I don't really care too much about updates, but I do agree that the release system needs to be tweaked.
    13. Restore the Desktop in KDE
      I don't even know what a "desktop plasmoid" is; I don't use KDE enough.
    14. Improve the documentation
      While this sounds great on paper (er....LCD screen), I don't see it ever happening. Basically, the best way to do this, from my view, would be a website -almost a Wiki. In order to do this, you'd need people to contribute, and in order to have that, you'd need people to not want to do everything their own way. (Sorry, but it really is kinda true.)
      Also, "examples" sounds wonderful, but they can range from the simple to the extremely complex, and to have an example for everything in between is excessive. So you're probably going to end out with users that are either befuddled because the examples are too advanced for them, or not helped because they are too easy.
      Again: I love it, I just don't see it happening. The best alternative is forums, which work great some of the times, if people would actually reply to my GD threads for once.
    15. Replace GIMP
      Again, the same basic concepts for GRUB apply. GIMP is amazing. Period. The UI is not. We don't want to replace GIMP because, for the most part, the functionality works great, we just need a few people with a knack for UI design. Yes, it will be a huge project, mostly because whoever takes on the project will have the weight of the community on them, since everyone wants the GIMP to be great. (Maybe I'm wrong about that. But seriously, if for the next GIMP release, it performed the same and had a UI as nice as Photoshop, would not not be ecstatic?) But to just say "Replace GIMP" is kind of short-sighted.
    16. Replace
      Now I'm just getting sick of the "Replace _____". The answer to Linux's problems is not "Out with the old, in with the new" / "Shoot the horse in the head the minute it breaks its leg." I've said it before: I like Microsoft Word 2003 more than OOo, but that doesn't mean I don't love and use OOo. Yes, it is slow, and and uses Java, but still: it's community driven (partly, anyway), and is decently stable. It just. Needs. Tweaking. And I, for one, hope that Oracle makes that a top priority. But the fact that it is a cross-platform means that it allows more of a seamless integration with Windows users, and the fact that it has corporate backing means it has resource not as readily available to a project that is completely community driven. That's not something you just want to toss away.
    17. Mike says...[filesystem layout]
      I've always wondered this because it's so incredibly cryptic for a beginning user (i.e., myself), mostly because instead of full words like "Program Files" or "Application Data", Linux just uses "bin" or "var." OS X does have it going on when it comes to how Applications are built, at least from the viewpoint of simplicity. I think I would be naive to vouch for this point just yet, mostly because if it's so archaic, why has Gobo Linux not really caught on that much? But I guess the best way to get this to change would be to change the mind of the Linux Foundation, since no single distro will take the leap because it's a risk. But if every distro changes, I think it will end out being beneficial for everyone.
      (*Side Note: While searching around quickly, I discovered that it actually was suggested as an Ubuntu brainstorm. I guess I might make a post about that later on.)
    18. Graham says...[unified desktop?]
      Of all the points, this is the one that makes the least he wants to stress that "Gnome, KDE and the rest are free to continue," but their "resources" should be compiled into a "united front"....Seriously, what is he getting at? I think he's saying that there should be one desktop that should be made standard for everything, but the others should be allowed as alternatives. I think that's retarded.
      1. People defend DEs more than distros. Considering that distros are apps on top of the linux kernel, the main difference between distros is the apps; and since the DE largely drives what apps you are likely to get, it is the driving force for distros, in my opinion. To say "Oh just pick one and settle down!" is foolish, in my beginner's opinion.
      2. Honestly, one DE is just not enough for the Linux world. KDE looks nice for a desktop, but maybe Openbox runs better on an older machine. There is no one DE or WM that can run everywhere. In this particular case, I think diversity is ok, especially since -for the most part- it's narrowed down between GNOME and KDE. If we could get down to 1  desktop Linux distro with two different varieties: GNOME and KDE, I would be ecstatic.
    19. Less Screen Clutter
      I have not found this to be a problem. At all. Windows bugs me more than Linux ever has.
    20. Better Organized Settings
      From what I can tell, he's talking about the GNOME menu bar. I'd be inclined to agree, but I'd have to say that LXDE is disgustingly unfriendly and needs to be redone. I haven't used KDE's menu system much, and I honestly think that GNOME Settings/Administration issue is a trivial one, but for god's sake, LXDE, let me put menu items where I want.
    21. Kill Off Dotfiles
      I have no words.
    22. Easier Closed-source Installs
      I honestly thought that this was ok. I'm pretty sure Ubuntu has some of the things he even mentioned like asking the user to install certain closed-source resource, but maybe I'm mistaken.
    23. Standardize use of sudo
      True dat. But if it's one thing that Linux people are afraid of, it's the word "standardize."
    24. No more open core
      This, I am confused by. So he's saying that things should either be completely Open Source, or completely Closed Source....Or just completely Open Source? I think this is more of a philosophical issue than a "this makes Linux difficult/annoying." As much as a world of complete Open Source world sounds wonderful, I don't personally think it sounds effective as a business model, and I'd rather have part of something open source than none of it.

      Sunday, February 6, 2011

      The cost of the Zombie Apocalypse

      I got the Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks and he gave a pretty lengthy list for three different categories in the case of a zombie apocalypse in three different categories:
      NOTE: Brooks subscribes to the "walking dead" theory of old, rigor mortis "1.5 steps per second" zombies instead of the Left4Dead "infection" zombies, so his guide is built accordingly.
      1. The Home Arsenal: Weapons to keep around your house or fortified area. Because contrary to what the video games or movies might tell you, ammunition does take up space and not all guns use the same type. He also generally discourages using weapons period, since there are going to be more zombies than you have ammo, and the noise from firing rounds generally just tends to draw more zombies. But should the need arise, you need guns.
      2. The Equipment: This is actually more for any type of emergency where you might be kept in one place for a long time. Basically everything you need to get a self-sustaining house, at least for a certain number of days.
      3. When Traveling: Maybe your house gets overrun, or maybe you become informed that there is a safezone a few miles over. This requires careful planning, so he emphasizes that.
      Anyway, I was curious after reading this, "Just how much would it cost to prepare for a zombie outbreak?" Following Brooks guide, I came up with the following spreadsheet:

      I originally did this in OpenOffice so if something looks strange or odd, it's probably the conversion to Google Docs. Also Please keep in mind that I'm not at all a survival guy, or a gun guy for that matter, and this guide was mainly to get a ballpark figure. But if you have any better corrections, feel free to make them.

      So basically, it would definitely take more than $10,000USD to get the necessary supplies, and then after that, I think you could survive fairly comfortably for a good while (being a few months, not years), as long as you had a good supply of water, canned food, and entertainment (i.e. books, games, etc, which Max outlined in his book).

      I've discovered that I also want to own a Katana at some point. I know that this is extremely stupid since I am not trained to wield a Katana and to get a very good one, you have to travel to Japan, but I would like to at least have a cheapo display model, because I think it would look cool on my wall, and even a display model has got to be able to kill a few zombies.


      Why a Zombie Outbreak should scare you

      In light of me taking Linear Algebra and Differential Equations, I decided to find a real life example that could have real results instead of bunnies or bacteria: zombies. I realize that exponential growth and decay are not the most amazing or challenging concepts, but it still very much applies to a zombie outbreak.

      So anyway, I was in class and thinking "Just how long would it take for a zombie outbreak to take over the world? Or even just the US? Well, the US population at this exact moment is 310,768,791 according to the US & World Population Clock. Now let's say that, being extremely greedy, Patient Zero only bites 2 people in the first day before escaping into the night or what have you. Let's just start with that, and then assume some other things that make no sense in the real world, but make it fun to attempt to find mathematical models.
      1. The human population remains the same besides those turned to zombies, i.e., none are lost to accidents and any that die are replaced by newborns.
      2. No zombies are killed. (I know, crazy, right? Because if you're interested in this post at all, it's because you want to kill some zombies, if the day ever prevents itself. But roll with me on this for now.
      3. It's not airborne. Bites and fluids only.
      Now given our initial conditions,
      2 = e k → k = ln 2
      To find what point there would be the amount of zombies = the world population,

      310768791 = eln 2 * t  →  ln 310768791 = ln 2 * t  →  t = (ln 310768791)/(ln 2)  →  t = 28.2
      So that means that on a 2 bites a day per zombie, it would only take 28.2 days -a little less than a month- to infect the entire United States. If we bump it up to 3 bites, it would only take 17.8 days.

      That is why you should be afraid of a Zombie outbreak.