Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Document Freedom Day - March 25th

Mar 23, 2009 GMT

March 25th is Document Freedom Day. Like Software Freedom Day this is a grass-roots effort to educate people about the importance of open document formats and information freedom. My friends at 4Linux, in Sao Paulo Brazil mentioned to me that they were having a "BotecoNet" to answer questions from the Internet about Document Freedom, and they requested a question to ask the panel of experts from the computer field which they had assembled. Here is the question I asked: Imagine you found a copy of the Constitution of Brazil written in 1891, the most important document in Brazil, which abolished the monarchy and introduced separate state powers. Also imagine the writers of that...
Maddog's Challenge: Quick and Dirty Videos about Free Software

Mar 22, 2009 GMT

I have been busy over the past several weeks doing various videos, all done with Free Software, in specific the programs Inkscape, Kino, GIMP and Audacity. These videos can be found on my YouTube channel "maddoghall" I have had many comments about them. A couple of people have critiqued the quality (particularly the singing) and one criticized the acting, but most of the comments were positive. One of my goals was to prove to myself that the challenge criteria I had set for the maddog Multimedia Challenge of Campus Party Brazil could actually be reached, that of creating a reasonably good video, using Free Software tools, in less than two days time. I am going to have another...
Arrrghhhhh - Closed Captioning on Videos

Mar 22, 2009 GMT

I first officially posted my video "Amazing Source" on February 6th, and to date it has had over 4200 views. O.K., probably 200 of those view were mine as I tried various tweeks to get things correct.... One of the things I have been trying to get correct was closed captioning. At first I thought this was going to be too hard and I was not going to do it, but two people, Joner Cyrre Worm and Felipe van de Wiel of Brazil, kept after me, urging me to create the translations. Eventually Joner shamed me into doing the closed captions by creating the timing file with most of the English typed in and sending it to me for verification. Now his attempt convinced me on two levels....
Saving Five Billion Dollars a Day

Mar 15, 2009 GMT

Dear President Obama, Congratulations on passing the stimulus package! I hope that the stimulus package will help the economy get back on track. One thing that could help is to eliminate some of the approximately five billion dollars a day that we waste as a world economy with closed source, proprietary software. How do I arrive at that figure? There are approximately one billion computers in the world, with 900,000,000 of them being desktop machines. The vast majority (about 90 per cent) use closed source, proprietary software. This means that the end user is dependent on the manufacturer to fix bugs that may be occurring or to create the enhancements that the customer needs to do their...
Jim Bound - Rest In Peace

Mar 03, 2009 GMT

I first met Jim Bound when I worked for Digital Equipment Corporation in their Unix operating system group. Jim was "in the field" as a pre-and-post sales technical support person. When a salesman needed some good technical help in selling a customer a technical solution, or when a customer needed someone who really knew what they were doing, they would call on these technical people to help them. Over the years, our Unix group formulated a program called the "Unix Partners Program", and we invited some of these technical field people to consult with us once a quarter as a group, so that we could better understand the customer's needs. At first the group was small,...
One of Those Magic Times: The aftermath

Feb 14, 2009 GMT

I woke up on Saturday, February 14th (St. Valentine's Day) and went to my office to start work. Since I work out of my house, it is not a very long commute. As I started to read my email, I found several emails from people wishing me a "Happy 1234567890", with pictures enclosed, and then I remembered requesting that people send me pictures of their celebrations for that part of the UNIX Epoch (Please see the blog post of February 1st "One of those Magic Times"). Our own celebration at Martha's Exchange Restaurant in Nashua, New Hampshire was fairly quiet. We had ten people show up, but only four of us were actually there for the Epoch event itself. Ben, Kenta, Clair...
Happy 200th Birthday, Mr. Lincoln

Feb 12, 2009 GMT

Dear President Obama, Today is the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln. From all the press that I have read, you are a fan of Abraham Lincoln just as I am. Recently there has been a lot of historical research into President Lincoln's life, trying to find out who he really was as a man, as opposed to the "myth" that has been created. Part of this research tells us that President Lincoln may not have thought of the Black people as equals, and that the Emancipation Proclamation was more an economic and political action to end the war than it was about racial equality. Historians are now saying that one of Lincoln's major issues around slavery was that free men could not compete...

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