I’m a Linux user. So I always like to strain my ear to hear news about Linux. But this I didn’t expect.
Caroline and I did a bit of computer shopping before going to watch a film together on Saturday. While we wandered the aisles in the nearby Futureshop, she turned and asked me what I knew about Linux. I was surprised. Caroline is a very smart and talented girl. She finished statistics at the University of Toronto after all. But she is not a person who follows computer tech. She further told me that her mother told her that Linux was the future of computing. And then she asked whether Linux was for her. To top it off, we bugged the local salesperson… and I had an intelligent conversation about what computer she should get. (No offence to the smart Futureshop employees out there, but a good chunk of your coworkers are not all that knowledgeable about computing as they should.) And the salesperson, said he that his life would be easier if PC came pre-loaded with Linux. I took this all in… amazed. After some thought on what she would be using the computer I told her to stick with Windows for now. Why?
Linux and Linux-related technology looks like very much the future of computing. Thanks to the free software licensing, active communities and flexibility of open source development methodologies, many vendors are looking toward using Linux. For a vendor Linux provides a way out of the per unit licensing problem. Also it lets the vendor to control the build out of a product from top to bottom. Linux appears creeping into non-desktop computing platforms. We hear about Linux competing with Windows in the netbook market. We hear of Linux taking on cellphones with projects such as LiMo, OpenMoko and Google’s Andriod. The hyper-fast development pace makes Linux progress in leaps and bounds past its competitors. Nokia heavily invested in Linux with their Maemo-powered Internet Tablets. Intel invests in Linux with drivers and Moblin. nVidia and ATI both crank out graphics drivers like no tomorrow. Dell and HP are each trying to outdo each other selling Linux servers and laptops. News articles compare Ubuntu Linux on the same level as Windows XP & Vista and Mac OS X. So forth and so on. Five years this was unimaginable. When I installed Linux on my laptop and desktop machines in 2002 and 2001… I could not imagine Linux being more than a cool minor alternative. Something to play with, and use for fun computing.
So with all these cool developments, why did I not sell Linux to Caroline? I could of. Linux could work for her. But I didn’t because Linux is the future of computing. Linux exists in the present of computing, but the technology is still in a transitionary stage. The next few years is where we leap the chasim from novel innovator toys to mainstream consumers. However along the way there are growing pains. Graphics and sound need to get up to par. Support companies need to spring up around the technology. We are getting there. But right now, I feel uncomfortable offering Linux to a mainstream consumer and leaving them to their own devices. If I were to support the system, I could easily setup a Linux system that Caroline could use and enjoy. A Linux system could be setup to let her do her surfing, watching TV, connecting her digital camera and media organization. But she could only turn to me for help if something goes wrong. This is not something I want to inflict on either her or myself. In a few years time, yes, Linux will work for her. But it will most likely be everywhere and work for everyone.
As usual I like to experiment on various hacks to improve myself and enrich my life. Actually recently I have been actively trying to distract my mind from other issues. Along the way I like to record what worked and what didn’t.
Blogging on a touchscreen cellphone works as a compromise of convenience. Writing on a physical keyboard works better. I don’t end up pressing wrong letters and rewriting words. But carrying an IT strains my pocket more. And carrying a phone is far more useful. Besides the IT is still in an unusable state at the moment. Hmm… Another call looks like in order.
Microblogging works less well. It acts more like a distraction, than a useful form of communication such as an instant messenger or social network site. Besides just like Marika I prefer to blog in the long format.
Ok… I’m drawing a blank on what to write next. Oh right, keeping todos on my site works better than on the builtin PIM on the 5800. TaskFreak works really well. All I need is a syncing client for the todo list on my cell. Maybe I should write one as my first Qt project. Hmm…
Additionally, I am striving to incorporate regular exercise into my life. It helps to clear my mind and to keep me fit. In the winter, I used to play indoor volleyball. Nowadays I’ve switched over to taekwondo and soon, soccer. Exercise really does work, so long as it is packaged in the fun form of a sport.
My recent loss of my Nokia N810 Internet Tablet has meant I need to resort to more exotic devices for offline blogging. At the moment I’m traveling on the bus (or standing at a bus stop), chilling to music and blogging/writing on my Nokia 5800 cellphone. So tapping on a touchscreen feels more etheral than tactile than on a slide-out keyboard. But if you don’t have what you like, you like what you have.
Also on a N810 I could use a blogging application and publish directly to my website. On the 5800, I need to take the extra step of uploading to a computer, copy and paste and then post the entry. If I need to suffer for my art to get a daily post, I’m willing to suffer cold fingers and confusing workflows.
And I just got news that the N810 is back! Note to self, when the phone rings and you are getting on the bus… Figure out your priorities. Hint show ticket first. Also learn to use the headset, it looks less awkward. And noone wants to hear your Pink Floyd tracks. 🙂
Rainy days put me in an reflective mood. Or maybe I’m just in a reflective mood recently. I don’t know.
It is raining outside. Rain drops pitter and patter on the sidewalk. On the buildings standing against the pale grey sky. On the cars passing by. On the people busy in their everyday lifes. I like the rain. Yes, days like today make me sleepy. But the greyness brings all the colours out. The pale grey becomes a canvas on which bright coloured things stand out, while the dark ones fade into the ether. And every surface becomes shiny and reflective like a mirror. People say that the rain falls down when Heaven cries. But are they are tears of sadness or of joy?
I’m am joyful today. I powered up my new cellphone today. Still need to get a provider and a SIM card, but it looks like a fun toy and tool. Today I also finished quite a few tasks. Most of the documentation I need to read at work, I read. Soon I will get to play around with Perl. In fact my task involves learning object-oriented Perl. Nice! Also went to Prince today and had a huge meal… and sake. 😛 So I’m in a really, really good mood today. 😀 And I sort out my IT troubles with Nokia yesterday… Today is a good day.
Now to make the day perfect, I just need to finish off some more old tasks. And start working on my projects. Also I need to do some trip planning!
Funny, I just read how SGI got bought out. Funny cause I remember going to an open house at the IAOD, for a computer graphics course. A very expensive course that required every student to buy a copy of Maya and a SGI rig. Funny how things worked out. I now work in an industry with a lot more stable and well-paying work than the graphics artist could ever provide. And my sad little Intel x86 computers can replace the SGI rig. And a copy of Blender can replace Maya. Funny how everyone with some time and talent can now start work as a graphics artist.
Ugh… I feel so tired this early in the morning. Normally I enjoy mornings. My best thinking happens in the morning. Today I feel comatose. So Marika, if you think that you are the only one whose brain goes on vacation for the weekend… guess again. This new entry probably comes off as forced. But I’m willing to suffer for my art. 🙂
Friday’s Latin Mass was pretty fun. Pretty confusing, and I got lost after the first few moments. I’m a bit disappointed in what was supposed to be the introduction to the mass. It came off as “Most of you never experienced a Latin Mass. And since the Pope is talking about it… Well then here, enjoy! And lets discuss afterwards!”. Clearly a very informative introduction. I hoping this leaving people in the dark, was mostly a sign of incompetence and not maliace. I’m not complaining about the people helping to organize the mass. Many of my friends and acquaintances took part in getting this mass off the ground. But I’m not sure what kind of meaningful discussion can one have after sitting blankly, trying to follow along. And the people who are familiar with Latin masses already have an opinion, so why even bother mentioning a discussion in that case? Still I found it worthwhile to attend that mass, and I enjoyed meeting up and talking with friends afterwards.
The rest of the weekend went by in a “meh” sort of way. Mostly work at home.
No real work on my writing. Other than the realization, that I could recycle ideas from a previous attempt at a novel. This will change the plot of the novel a bit, but not the general theme. And the older work, which was supposed to consist of short stories in a larger overarching story will work well for this novel. In fact you can say this novel will be the distilled ideas that I’ve toyed with for over 5 years. I’m hoping the final product will turn out as amazing.
Also my Internet Tablet officially died this weekend. So sad. Glad it is still under warranty. I miss that gadget already, it proved quite useful and usable. I managed to extract all the information I needed from the device. I’ll call Nokia for support sometime today.
Also disassembled two laptops yesterday. And assembled my old one back again. Interesting how the design of different machines is similar but with enough difference that components aren’t easily replaceable from one machine to the other.
While I’m writing this in Notes application instead of Blogger, I’m impressed with my new Internet Tablet. Not as powerful when not tethered to the seamy underbelly of the Internet, the N810 performs well as a handheld computing device. Even the thumb keyboard is quite comfortable. The device can seem a bit heavy at times. But I prefer a heavier sturdy construction, than a lighter flimsier one.
Ok it is not a phone. But that’s a good thing: I don’t have to pay for data charges, etc. That said, relying on open wireless LANs is not best way to go. I’ve seen interesting networking combinations involving USB-OTG cable, which I’d like to explore.
I like the fact that maemo (the operating system stack running the Internet Tablets) lets you run a large number of applications. I will report on some of them, once I upgrade to the latest version of Internet OS2008 later on tonight.
Last Thursday I got the chance to play with a Nokia N810 at the TigerDirect store in Mississauga. A pretty nifty device, but the price was not so nifty. So I ordered one via the Web. And hopefully it’ll arrive sometime today. Yay!
My initial review (after using for a few minutes) is that the N810 is a nice little device. I love the fact that I can carry an Internet-capable device in my pocket, without paying gigantic data transfer. Definitely useful to keep connected with people. And having a computing device that I don’t have to share is very useful.
A few negative points: the N810 loads slower than I thought. Faster than most Linux workstations, but slower than my Palm Pilot Tungsten E. The GPS doesn’t lock quickly. And tablet comes with a plastic stylus, instead of a nice rugged metal, rubber tipped stylus.
Getting to run on a Linux environment, means I’m familiar with the applications. Screen resolution is decent enough to handle the majority of sites. The slide-out keyboard is way more convenient than the infrared wireless one I have to tug along with my Palm. And there are a lot of apps already ported to it.
Overall I looking to playing on, working with and developing for the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet. I can hardly wait to get mine. 🙂