My Two Cents
Your 'app' has been served 
Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 07:49 AM
Posted by Administrator
My husband owns an IPad. We gave my dad an IPad for Christmas. IPads are cool, easy to use and fun. I am used to open and free computer environments - my phone is a Google Nexus One and I have never paid for any app. Because my trusted EEEPc is circling the drain (frequent freezes, I suspect the SSD) I am in the market for a new mobile device.

What should it be?

It can't be an IPad. We are IT professionals and always have a variety of systems. We have an IPad in the family - the 'other' system should be something else. I would never buy an IPad anyway. ITunes is not available for Linux, I would not be happy with Apple's closed shop philosophy - I don't feel like the typical 'IPad' crowd I usually see at meetings. It's like farmer 'Joe' climbing out of a Porsche Turbo in rubber boots - ready to feed the cows - if you catch my drift.

So I did some hard thinking. What do I need a mobile system for?

The usual web surfing time burning aint't got nothing else to do comes to mind. All tablets can do that. Check. Is flash important. Well, not really. Than again, sometimes, I use flash to do some voice chatting. So it would be a 'NTH' - nice to have. What about apps? AppleStore? AndroidStore? No store? Hmm. Looking at my Nexus I realized, I didn't add too many apps to the phone. And the apps I added, mostly belong to category a) - time burning. The only apps I am using frequently: SIPdroid to link my phone into our VOIP environment, Skype and a little app that allows me to use my phone as a flashlight. So - no preferences here.

I checked a few Android tablets on Amazon, but the units didn't convince me. Either cheap Chinese systems with old Android versions (I am talking 1.5 here), without capacitive touchscreen, without GPS, too small batteries or bad reviews.

The Motoral Xoom or the Samsung Galaxy looked interesting, but they are either tethered to a mobile phone network (thanks but no thanks) or ridiculously expensive.

While I was still in the pondering process, I happen to walk into a pawn store for my usual once a month grazing. And there I found the solution to my mobility problem.

Here are the specs for my new 'tablet':

2 Gigabyte of RAM, 40 Gigs of mass storage;
Complete keyboard (flap open);
USB, Ethernet, Firewire, VGA and Serial ports to connect attachments;
1024x768 in landscape;
6 hours or runtime;
WiFi on board;

It's made by IBM and it's called 'R40'. It's not a tablet. It's a laptop. It (now) runs Linux and I am able to do the same things I do on my work station. I don't have to worry about this app-store or that 'app', no need to give away my soul to AT&T or T-Mobile. I can ssh into any server, do what needs to be done, I can not only 'run' presentations, I can actually create them. I can write letters or other documents without playing one eyed eagle (swooping down to stab the letters). Flash and Java are working like a charm, as do all the other little tools I am used to.

I paid 150 bucks for the computer (add another 200 for RAM upgrade and a new battery).

An while I was happily playing around with my new device, it actually dawned on me:

A 'tablet' is nice as an entertainment tool, if you have a second computer somewhere to do the work. But I don't really need a gadget - I was looking for a tool that allows me to work without being glued to my desk. A tablet wouldn't give me the flexibility I need.

I am glad I found my new laptop before I had to pay serious money for a device I wouldn't be happy with. No - my R40 doesn't come with GPS or UMTS. But that's where my Nexus One comes in. It gives me the GPS or map information I might need while on the road and it can act as a WiFi access point for my laptop. I guess, I am covered.

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Wikileaks And The Embassy Files 
Monday, November 29, 2010, 03:47 AM
Posted by Administrator
So - the cat is out of the box. The recent publication of diplomatic messages by Wikileaks might be embarrassing or amusing, but I couldn't find anything interesting so far. No revelations about the bad Americans trying to rule the world, no hint about corporate America bullying small countries into submission, no news in regard to the Kennedy assassination and not a word about UFOs.

All in all, it's just a collection of impressions, rumors, chitchat.

Say - did you know that Mr. Miller was drunk at the party yesterday? That the blonde babe in account receivables has an affair with Bob - you know Bob? The guy who used to drive that red Porsche.

Those kinds of 'information' are exchanged every day - by co-workers, friends, colleagues, you and me. What would you say if I would publish every email YOU ever sent to me? The people you were talking about might be interested in your confidential opinion about them. Not newsworthy you say?

Then why is it important for the world to know what a few embassy employees think about this politician or that country? Every country collects data about other countries, everybody gets 'confidential' information about other people. Where's the news? What was the reasoning behind Wikileaks action?

The world needs an outlet for confidential data - we need to know if somebody somewhere is trying to pull a fast one on us. Wikileaks could have been this outlet. Unfortunately, Assange and his team are publishing 'yellow press' data with no significant relevance at all - thus damaging diplomatic relations without reason. What are we going to read next? The president's personal shopping list? Just because something is marked 'confidential' doesn't mean it's news and the world should know about it.

Assange's 'coup' might even mark the beginning of the end for Wikileaks. More and more people are questioning Wikileaks motives - why do they concentrate on America? Don't they have data from, say, China? Russia? Iran? Are they afraid of taking on a country that may not retaliate with words alone? It's easy to embarrass a democratic, free and civilized nation. It may prove to be more of a challenge to get away with publishing data about countries that respond with a 'kill the guy' fatwa. This would be inconvenient and would surely limit Mr. Assange's travel and entertainment projects.

It wasn't worth it. Wikileaks has sacrificed it's credibility for some attention. Assange is not a responsible 'Editor in Chief' - but somebody who just craves the attention of the media.

I am a supporter of Wikileaks. Well - I was anyway.

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