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...
Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog
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...
Jul 06, 2011 GMTI have returned from FISL 12, the largest Free Software event in Brazil.This year I decided to fly to Florianopolis first, to both do work on Project Cauã and to attend the Sixth Annual Brazilian Homebrew Festival that my friend Michel Grando was organizing. I will not go into the Homebrew festival other than to state it was spectacular and that Michel did a great job setting it up. I ended up not only tasting a wide variety of beers, but coming home with a bottle of a very special beer that the brewer calls “love beer”, which I assume is because the high alcoholic content makes you feel like a lover. I can not wait to try it out.A day after the home-brew festival I got on a...
Jun 02, 2011 GMTYesterday I accepted a long-term, half-time contract with Futura Networks SL, the producers of “Campus Party”. I have written before about Campus Party, which started in Spain 1n 1997 and has since spread to Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador and Mexico. It is hard to describe Campus Party, but the formula basically is to take a very big convention hall, bring together lots of electricity, lots of Internet capacity, and many thousands of college, post-college and “older”.....geeks to share ideas and discuss what they are doing. I hesitate to use the term “geek”, because it so often gets confused with the term “nerd”, the latter being someone...
Jun 01, 2011 GMTYesterday evening I went to a Linux user group meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico. The name of the group was “Linux Cabal”.The meeting was held in a very large warehouse-like room with a shelf and seats placed around the wall, and convenient electric outlets and Ethernet hookups. On the walls were mounted T-shirts of many past events, as well as posters and banners from various past Linux events and diagrams of how code goes together.The organizer and host of this group was a man named Richard Couture. An expatriate from the United States, he wears colorful clothes and several earrings in each ear (who doesn't?), is helping a hawk recuperate (he has a permit from the government) as well...
May 29, 2011 GMTToday I met with a person who was one of my students in an evening class at Merrimack College in 1981. At that time he was programming for Compugraphics, and eventually became a manager of thirty people at a large hardware company. Our conversation was not about “bits and bytes”, but tended to be on management style and those things that freeze a project instead of moving it forward. The parts of the conversation that impressed me the most were not things that came straight from a text book on computer science, but were things picked up over time and honed through experience. Some people would call them “common sense”, but unfortunately the points he made are not that...
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced an even smaller version of the tiny computer that will fit into a DIMM slot.
A new class of problems lets a malicious app pre-configure an invisible privilege update.
New Hack language adds static typing and other conveniences.
New crypto policy system will offer easier configuration and more uniform security.
Ubuntu founder denounces insecurity in proprietary, close-source software blobs.
Vulnerability affects many Linux web servers
The Bavarian capital shuns Microsoft, Google, and other alternatives to implement an open source groupware solution.
Phone vendor partnerships bring Mark Shuttleworth's dream of Ubuntu on a phone a step closer to reality.
Donors will get to vote on new features for the free video editor.
Debian project puts init out to pasture and says no to Ubuntu's Upstart.