Aug 14, 2011 GMTOne of the great pleasures of helping to represent the Free Software community is to meet a lot of young people who have done some amazing things. Often in my talks I show a slide of some of the young people I have met in the fifteen years since I met Linus Torvalds and became involved with the GNU/Linux system. Of course a lot of them are no longer considered “young”, as they are in their mid-thirties or even (cough) approaching forty years old. However, when they started their various projects a lot of them were either in university or still in high school, and some even earlier than that. I still remember the Texas parents of a young man, aged twelve, who stood...
Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog
Aug 10, 2011 GMTI am a big fan of Star Trek. I do not consider myself a “Trekie”, but I do enjoy the show and thought a lot about what the writers put into it. For example, on Star Trek the interaction with the computer was not only through the one interface of keyboard and mouse. If you were walking down the corridor and you had a simple question to ask you would hit your communicator badge and simply say: “Computer, how far to the next galaxy?” In which case the computer might answer: “The next galaxy is four hundred light years away and the ship can get there in four hours at warp factor nine”. Simple question, simple answer. [Trekies, please do not...
Aug 07, 2011 GMTTonight is the eve of the anniversary of my sixty-first birthday. It is late at night and some birthday well-wishers on the other side of the world are already sending me birthday greetings. This has been a hard year for me, with both my mother and father having died within a few months of each other, so tonight I have been going through some of my Orkut and Facebook accounts looking at some of my friends in each. Many of the people in these “networking sites” I have never met, and some I have met only briefly. Others I know quite well, from either past jobs, past conferences or past associations. Many I only talk to through email or (even rarer occasions) telephone...
Jul 18, 2011 GMTThey are at it again. The closed source companies are attacking open source, using similar tactics that they always use.This time they are using “associations of professionals” (sometimes called "lobbyists") to declare that Open Source is a failure in the software marketplace. They started in Brazil, and are now making the same claims in other countries. They claim that the governments of these countries are “fostering” open source and use statistics to show a lack of “growth” in the “computer industry” due to this "fostering".The companies behind this attack use the same tactics used before by hiring a well known research firm to do research and then...
Jul 17, 2011 GMTWhat about Sex? “What about Sex?” the woman sitting across from me at the dinner table asked. I felt my face start to flush. She was about my age, and fairly attractive. I, of course, am unmarried, and therefore “available”. However, her husband was sitting next to me...... “She is afraid that these young people who are in front of computers the whole day, only communicating by Facebook and the Internet do not have the social contact that people need”, her husband explained. “She wants to know if they have 'significant others'.” I explained to her that things are different now than forty years ago when I started with computers. Twenty-five years ago...
Jul 06, 2011 GMTOver the past forty years I have written a lot about my mother and father, who were called “Mom&Pop(TM)”. They were the perfect examples of the average person who is befuddled by electronic devices and their controls. Their inability to use even the most rudimentary electronic devices has become well known in human interface design circles.As some people know, Mom died last March, and at that time I wrote about her life and death at length. I expected Pop to die soon after, as they had shared the same bed for 68 years, and I felt that the grief of Mom's passing would “do him in”. What I had not counted on was Pop's very intense Alzheimer's disease, which made him keep...
Jul 06, 2011 GMTFor reasons that I will never quite understand, people seem to like having their picture taken with me.Most of the time I do not mind the picture taking, and I enjoy meeting people, I will admit that sometimes it gets a bit tiring. Particularly when the picture-taking process goes like this:md (talking to someone, but noticing out of the corner of his eye someone fidgeting...): “Do you want to take a picture?”Other person (OP): “Yes, may I take a picture of you?”md (turning to person he was talking with): “I am sorry, but this should not take long....”The OP then: searches through their backpack for the camera tries to turn it on, finds out that the batteries are...
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Galileo board is targeted to embedded developers and educational institutions.