23 April 2011

Branding is useless?

According to Zonker, branding for a Linux distro is of little use since a FOSS user is fully aware of what he's using, so my natural question come: then why do we cover our laptops with stickers? why do hang on our backpacks as many pins as we can? why do we wear printed T-shirts? We surely know what we are running.

fedora pins
foss laptop

19 April 2011

Speaking about Fedora

When I got the invitation to talk about Fedora at a local FOSS conference, which kind of speech I am supposed to deliver?

  • honest: it used to be a great distro, but some idiots are running it down the drain;
  • half-hearted: ignore the present and talk about how it was 0.5-1 years ago;
  • coward: use the pretense of a busy schedule decline participation,
  • small scale: focus entirely on the local community (Romanian) and our struggle to survive and not say a word about the international project.

14 April 2011

Best of both worlds?

From time to time I help a bit a NGO (won't enter into details now, there may be some common projects to talk about later, some older were covered on my photography blog, is a foundation helping mothers that had children die), this time they bought a couple of netbooks, for some activist to get some work done, Considering the budget and the requirements I put my FOSS in the closet and recommended some Acers with Windows 7 Starter, they are going to be used by some basic users (think "girl scouts but at a mature age") who won't learn a new interface or new software, they need something they feel comfortable with and I won't school them.

The computers came to me to make them useful (remove tons of pre-installed crap, add some useful things, switch the defaults to Firefox and VLC and so on), and, much to my surprise, when lifting the screen I saw this cute sticker with the green android popping from the edge and saying "dual loads. best of both worlds!"


Only after I started Windows, completed the install and, probably in the process, agreed to the MS EULA, when everything was done it gave me a dialog asking if I want to set up Android. As busy as I want, and as hurried (I had to give the computers forward in a couple of hours) I took a couple of minutes to see what this android is about (but only a couple of minutes, not enough for a review):

One thing to notice: the arrow in the top-left corner say something like "Go back to Windows". And the sticker is true: the boot is fast, not instant. Since it was not my computer, and I didn't want to leave my Google account data in it, the computer was not able to do much anyway.

So back to Windows, hide all Android traces (it would completely confuse the users), finish the setup and pass the netbooks forward.

Now, honestly, my best hope is the they will use at least GIMP instead of a pirated Photoshop (small image editing is one of the target use), on this I put my foot down, when asked to teach some graphic editing, my reply was: I teach only Free Software, Photoshop I don't use and don't know.

12 April 2011

No torrents needed

him: hi... i bother you again:)
him: you think you can send me the app which you are using for vector graphics, the one from your tutorials :)
him: i can't use torrents to get it
me: no need for file transfers or torrents... is free software, you can get it directly from http://inkscape.org/
me: take care to download the windows version
him: thanks:)
me: my pleasure

11 April 2011

Needing help with data recovery

Me in big trouble:

kernel: [ 9406.243037] usb 2-1: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 5
kernel: [ 9406.364420] usb 2-1: New USB device found, idVendor=05e3, idProduct=0715
kernel: [ 9406.364425] usb 2-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=3, Product=4, SerialNumber=2
kernel: [ 9406.364428] usb 2-1: Product: USB Storage
kernel: [ 9406.364431] usb 2-1: Manufacturer: Generic
kernel: [ 9406.364433] usb 2-1: SerialNumber: 000000009412
kernel: [ 9406.365409] scsi11 : usb-storage 2-1:1.0
kernel: [ 9407.372992] scsi 11:0:0:0: Direct-Access Generic STORAGE DEVICE 9412 PQ: 0 ANSI: 0
kernel: [ 9407.375394] sd 11:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg2 type 0
kernel: [ 9438.118031] usb 2-1: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 5
kernel: [ 9448.336036] usb 2-1: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 5
kernel: [ 9464.555023] usb 2-1: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 5
kernel: [ 9464.774027] usb 2-1: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 5
kernel: [ 9474.992028] usb 2-1: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 5
kernel: [ 9475.108909] sd 11:0:0:0: Device offlined - not ready after error recovery
kernel: [ 9475.108939] sd 11:0:0:0: rejecting I/O to offline device
kernel: [ 9475.108953] sd 11:0:0:0: rejecting I/O to offline device
kernel: [ 9475.108961] sd 11:0:0:0: rejecting I/O to offline device
kernel: [ 9475.108966] sd 11:0:0:0: [sdb] READ CAPACITY failed
kernel: [ 9475.108970] sd 11:0:0:0: [sdb] Result: hostbyte=DID_NO_CONNECT driverbyte=DRIVER_OK
kernel: [ 9475.108974] sd 11:0:0:0: [sdb] Sense not available.
kernel: [ 9475.108982] sd 11:0:0:0: rejecting I/O to offline device
kernel: [ 9475.108988] sd 11:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
kernel: [ 9475.108994] sd 11:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
kernel: [ 9475.109179] sd 11:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI removable disk

Lost about 700 photos, the result of a full day of shooting in 3 locations. So far tried TestDisk/PhotoRec with no success, since they can't see there is a card. The camera offers to format the card, but I don't dare to do that (and try a recover after) with no backup first. I am quite upset about this, since a lot of people are waiting for the photos, only for a few there is a partial replacement (well... at least it was not a commercial endeavour)

07 April 2011

My lawn, my preciousss...

a gnome... go away!


When I am flooded with what some people supposedly are, I have to keep my sanity:

sane desktop

05 April 2011


I don't have strong feelings for beefy things and I am sure the joke will be old half a year from now, still I selected "Beefy Miracle". Why? Because it enables a link to "Bacon" for F17.

...mmm, bacon! that's more like it :D

A bus story: of Windows and user interfaces

This morning going to work the traffic was a killer, fortunately waiting in the bus in the middle of the traffic jam, I got the opportunity to relax a bit overhearing the conversation of two guys, apparently Windows sysadmins at something like public administration institutions.

They did catch my attention while talking about security and the primary threat being the internal users, which, as every sysadmin know, are stupid, they do stupid thing, including writing passwords on post-it notes they stick on the computer display. Then they went about user stupidity and how they set their users to classic grey user interface they learned and knew, then moved to Office, where in Office 2007 the suite is better, but the ribbon interface is bad, hated both by them and their users, unable to find the functions they knew, with Office 2003 having a better interface but they being forced to use 2007, because that's they have license for. And then they moved back to Windows: not one of them even tried to deploy Vista, which is awful, with Windows 7 correcting some of the drawbacks. Then it came the absolute pearl of the conversation: "If you want a stable computer, use XP, that is tried and tested" (they know XP is going out of support soon?), after which they moved away from the IT topic.

If you wonder, no, I couldn't put my half-ambassador hat and tell them: "Hi, I am Nicu, let me introduce you to the beefy side, we are inventing an even worse interface."