Archive for June, 2005

I am getting a Zaurus

Yeah baby! 🙂

I am getting the Sharp Zaurus SL-5500! Geeks.com have a super-special price on it, at just $140. When this PDA first-released cost between $500 USD and 600 Euros.

The PDA comes with the Sharp ROM, but I will soon be upgrading it to the OpenZaurus with QPE and GPE. The good thing if you move to OpenZaurus is the fact that it has new apps and capabilities, e.g. support for more BT, WiFi CF cards, DivX support, gaim, but no good web browser etc. But if you stay with the Sharp ROM you get Opera (or Netfront), a full office suite and other apps that were tested well by Sharp.

If you are a Linux or unix lover and you live in US, you might want to consider getting one too. We tried getting one off eBay a few weeks ago and prices were crazy! At the last 2 minutes auction prices would go well above $200 for that model!

update

So, we bought a second Airlink101 antenna today at Frys (we were passing by in the area coming back from our visit to our lawyers’ offices in Santa Clara), I think signal performance got better, but not extraordinarily better.

Also, I bought a really nice laptop bag for $10, a Class 1 BT 1.2 dongle for $15, a hard case for my iPod Mini for $5, 3 styli for $2 and two 1440 mAh batteries for my Axim X5 (at $5.50 each, a super bargain) and a laptop-flexible usb webcam for $8.

All these are from www.geeks.com, they have clearance specials for 28/29th of June 2005. If you are in US and you read this in time, I suggest you hurry up and check out geeks.com, they have some super deals this time around!

why do some people need extra explanation?

That’s why I don’t want to have much to do with news sites anymore. Many of its readers are just terribly rude. I posted a story on osnews tonight and they all started going berzerk: oooh, eugenia is back! oooh, I knew it wouldn’t last!

Why this reaction? I ask! I am NOT back, I am simply contributing!

I STILL have access to the osnews backend (and I will continue to do so), and I clearly said both on my blog and on the osnews commenting section on my last story as editor-in-chief that I WILL be posting stories from time to time!

I guess people thought that I went away for good? That I died or something? I am not the editor in chief anymore, I am not into the daily posting thing, and I unsubscribed myself from the internal osnews mailing list.

But this doesn’t mean that I won’t be posting every now and then when a truly interesting article comes along, or when I have an original article to publish. In fact, today I posted a QNX interview, the interview was done before I left, but it will still be posted under my name, because I personally conducted it, and because, heck, my editor_id is already in the database.

But OSNews does not run my life anymore! THAT’S the difference, not that ‘Eugenia has dissappeared from the face of the earth’. FAT CHANCE!

OSNews used to take 90% of my WAKING moments. It now takes 1%. THAT’S a resignation on my book. But OSNews is not a company with real employees, and so when you ‘resign’ from your post (in my case: all around developer, maintainer and editor in chief) doesn’t mean you can’t come by on lunch time and bring some doughnuts with you to eat with your ex-collegues.

Since last Friday, I am and I will continue to be, a simple, occasional *contributor*. This much was CLEAR on my previous posts.

OSNews is dead for me in terms of running my daily life. It now is a site that I happen to have access to it and to *occassionally* contribute when I feel like it or when I feel it’s important to say something. Is this so hard to understand?

My new hobby revolves around fighting with NetGear routers! 😛

The WiFi adventures continue

What a freaking worthless products are out there… The people who release such crap should go to jail.

I decided to instrall our other wifi router last night, a NetGear WGT624v2 (I managed to sleep at 4 AM because of its crap). Well, the fucking thing wouldn’t get an IP address from our cable modem. I tried everything, I resetted the modem, I even updated Netgear’s BIOS, no good, it’s just not compatible with our RCA DCM215 cable modem that Comcast gave us.

Someone said online that Comcast keeps the MAC addresses on file so if you change the MAC address to the device connected to the cable modem it wouldn’t work. So, I even spoofed momentarily the Netgear box to pose as our previous LinkSys router, to no effect. The thing won’t connect to the RCA modem.

And then, I placed the Netgear router BEHIND the Linksys router (so it would need to get DHCP info from the Linksys instead of the cable modem). And guess what: it worked flawlessly! Which means only one thing: that the Netgear WGT624v2 is not compatble with the RCA DCM215 cable modem from Comcast. Its DHCP client fails to get the data from the RCA modem.

So, we are back to the LinkSys box and we are thinking of using the Netgear behind the linksys box, but in our living room. This means that we will have two WiFi wireless systems in our house, both interconnectable. It would increase our wireless signal spread in our area.

On the good side of things, the new OSNews commenting system just achieved RC1 status. More on this soon, after a beta server is up for the public to check out.

The Airlink101 WiFi antenna adventures

We went to Frys today and they had an extra special price on this WiFi antenna, just for $6.50:
http://www.airlink101.com/products/asb-7ma.html
It makes normal wifi router signal cover twice as much space!

I was all happy when I came home with it only to find out that our Linksys wifi router in our closet has two antennas, not one. After reading the airlink101 manual, it says that IF your router has TWO antennas you need TWO Airlkink101 antenna products. If you use one Airlink101 antenna and one standard router antenna the Airlink101 degrades its performance on purpose in order to work with the second antenna! (they have to work together)

So basically, the antenna we bought today, was useless. I need either a new router that only has one antenna or I need to go buy a second Airlink antenna. Problem is, going to Frys again will cost us $20 in gas and car usage, so it doesn’t worth the driving all the way to Palo Alto.

And yes, I do have a second router, still in its box, and it has a single antenna. Problem is, that this other Netgear router does not have a detachable antenna so I can’t remove it and plug the Airlink antenna into it instead.

Damn. >:(

The stupidity of some linux distros

Fedora was supposed to be “user friendly”. It’s not Linspire, Xandros or even Mandriva in terms of “home desktop-orientness”, but it IS geared towards new Linux users as well as experienced users.

Now, I was discussing Fedora-x64 with my ex-fiance over IM today (we are still good friends, yes), as he installed it two days ago on his brand new 64bit AMD machine. His previous Linux experience was only a few days with Lindows, 2 years ago.

He is very fond of Fedora, he was very surprised to see automatic support for his bt848 TV card, network, sound, graphics etc. However, he was not able to find a way to mount his NTFS and FAT32 partitions that that machine also has. I told him to “su -” on a terminal, “mkdir /mnt/fat32; mount /dev/hdb2 /mnt/fat32; cd /mnt/fat32″.

At first he said “why NTFS support is not there?”, and then he said “why do I have to use the terminal for something like this? On Lindows this worked on the file manager automatically”. And then I explained to him that Fedora simply uses /etc/fstab as its instruction to what to mount and what not. He hasn’t heard of fstab of course, and he was unhappy to hear all that mumbo jumbo and for the first time he started to think negative about Fedora. But then, the really bad thing happened. He said:

“ok, I know what to do. I will run as root, all the time. It is ridiculous to have to provide passwords or login as root every time I want to do something that XP or even Lindows would allow me to do as a user”.

I tried hard to explain to him that running as root is dangerous. His machine is connected to the internet but he said “oh, but I have the firewall enabled, and I am the only one who uses that machine”. Then, I told him that running as root he endagers the machine to crash or to misconfigure in the case of a pref panel or system app had a bug. He said “but open source does not have as many bugs, right?”.

You get the picture. From one side we have a new Linux user who has been overhyped about Linux and from the other side we have a company (Red Hat) who doesn’t wanna make up its mind of what Fedora really is and provide a solution that really works for the indended audience. Fedora might be a so-so “business desktop” solution, but it sucks ass as a home desktop. Everyone is free to not use it of course, but the HYPE is what I can’t stand in the Linux world. Fedora is a piece of shit in terms of usability when compared to OSX or XP.

Take eggcups for example, that runs on Fedora by default, it takes 40 MBs of RAM. For WHAT? For a fucking tray icon for printing jobs! And I don’t even have CUPS installed or running! And yet, when I kill eggcups it keeps coming back, relaunching itself! God help us.

The new OSNews face coming along nicely

So, Thom Holwerda and Andrew Youlle from Expert-Zone.com are now joining OSNews. Thom will be the editor in chief, replacing myself. Thom was very active at EZ, so I am sure he will be the same at OSNews too. He needs to learn a bit more about programming (so he can ask interesting questions to interviewees and to evaluate programming articles) but other than that he is an excellent choice, my first choice too. 🙂

As for the new commenting system, it’s coming along nicely, it should go public beta this coming week! Adam is working relentlessy on this.

As for me, I am sitting outside in the balcony right now, something I haven’t actually done in a while! And I am reading Harry Potter.

Life is better when you don’t have any “virtual” daily responsibilities.

Except that dentist me and JBQ had to endure this morning… I had two fillings done (nothing major), but JBQ had to do a root canal. It was a terrible experience for JBQ, 2.5 hours on the drilling chair. 🙁

Last day at OSNews

I just published my last article at OSNews with the capacity of the “editor in chief”. That was my last day in.

I will be sending my original reviews/editorials for publication from time to time, but it won’t be a regular thing at all. I will be submitting regular news bits though, and so you do so too, to help out David and Adam. 🙂

And speaking of Adam, he is preparing a new kick-ass commenting system for OSNews (will support logins, user moderation and stuff)! The mobility version of OSNews will suffer for a few days after this new version goes online, but I should be around to fix it though. I can’t stand not having my baby render on my PDAs. 😀

*Update:* We did some good work with Adam tonight to ensure mobile support for the “OSNews version 3”, as we call it. Version 1 was this one: http://old.osnews.com/ (1997-2001)

Apple Sued over iTunes Interface

So, Apple got their asses sued over a patent. Thing is, the patent holder is right, the patent WAS infriged by Apple.

But this is not the point.

The point is that this patent is frivolous. It’s a freaking UI for God’s sake. Anyone with half a brain could sit down and create that interface in no time.

Patents should be about really difficult stuff, like a compression algorithm, or an advanced graphics algorithm, not crap like a UI or a computer case. This is a major problem here in US, patents granted are almost always no-brainers. In Japan, in order to get a patent, your idea must REALLY-REALLY shine. I know a company that has over 50 patents in US, and they managed to only get ONE in Japan! That says a lot!

Funny

In 1986 Apple asked for a price quote from Cray. They wanted to buy a Cray supercomputer in order to help them “design the next Mac”.

The reply that Apple got from Cray was: “Sure, but it’s kinda funny, we are using a Mac to design our next Cray”.