Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Jon
RTFM: It is not just for computers

Jan 31, 2011 GMT

 Some friends of mine own a consulting company with about twenty employees. Every once in a while they buy “something nice” for the common area used by all the employees, and very recently it was an automatic coffee maker. This is not just any coffee maker, but a very sophisticated machine that can either use ground coffee OR it can grind the coffee beans and put them directly into the brewing cycle. The machine can also heat and froth the milk for cappuccino, make small or large cups of coffee, and allow all sorts of adjustments for weaker or stronger coffee. The number of buttons on the front is only slightly less than you would find in the cockpit of a Boeing 747...
Fermilab, the Tevatron, and Linux

Jan 11, 2011 GMT

It was 1998 and I was attending a Comdex event in Chicago. Comdex was one of the largest computer trade shows on earth, and for a while they held two events a year, a Fall event always in Las Vegas, and a Spring event typically in some other large city.That year “Spring Comdex” was in Chicago and my company, Digital Equipment Corporation was there along with a motley crew of companies pushing this concept of Free Software. One of the Comdex organizers, Sonny Saslaw, had started a small exhibit area of Comdex pushing Linux and we were attracting our own set of attendees. One of the main companies involved with Comdex in Chicago was this young upstart called “Red Hat”.At that event...
Pearls Before Swine

Jan 09, 2011 GMT

 I have written about my frustrations with service before, but I wanted to share three more items. For those of you who have not seen today's (January 9th, 2011) “Pearls Before Swine” comic strip, it mirrors some of my frustration with service groups. This was the first item I wanted to share. The second item was with my Internet service. For many years I had two different land-based telephone lines coming into my house. One of them was a “residential” account, and one of them was a “business” account. Having worked for the telephone company in my younger days, I even understood the rationale between having two different types of accounts, and charges, for...
Very Alarming

Jan 05, 2011 GMT

Over the New Year's weekend a news story started to unfold. It was about the Apple iPhone and how the standard clock application would not sound its alarm when set. The story became (said a radio announcer) the number two story of the day. All day long I heard about the iPhone's clock not working, and it was also reported that Apple was not going to fix it, since it was deemed as being a “temporary” problem and that things would be back to normal by January 4th “or so”....no one seemed to be sure why it occurred or exactly when things would go back to normal.Late on the evening of January 3rd I sent out a Tweet that said:> iPhone users: I know my Android phone will wake me. Can...
Peace On Earth - Good Will To All

Jan 01, 2011 GMT

 The last day of the year is here. At an hour when a lot of people are out partying and “ringing in the New Year” I am sitting here with a glass of wine and taking a bit of quiet time to reflect on what happened last year and what might happen next year. If you are reading this hoping to learn something about FOSS or Free Software, and will be disappointed if you do not learn to grep or pipe from this blog entry, perhaps you should stop reading now. Some things are certain, the sages tell us, like death and taxes. Certainly there have been a lot of both this year, and there will be plenty of both next year.  On the death scene, one of my former Boy Scout leaders died...
AXE and your shell receives

Dec 27, 2010 GMT

 I was at a Linux Meetup a couple of months ago and I ran into another former employee of Digital Equipment Corporation (“They are everywhere, everywhere!”) named Larry Camilli. We started talking and somehow the conversation came around to a program called “AXE” (vaX Archictecture Exerciser). Larry looked at me with a strange look on his face and said “That was my program! That is what I did for Digital!” Larry went on to say that few people he met, even those who worked for Digital, knew about the AXE (or its equivalent for the MicroVAX, the “MAX”) program. I replied that I worked in an operating system group, so we often delt with new CPUs, and we knew the *AXE...
The Gift That Keeps On Giving - Your Time

Dec 23, 2010 GMT

 It is late, very late, and you are still trying to decide on a gift for your  [ mother | father | sister | brother | uncle | aunt | grand* | step* ] You would have had enough money for a gift, but you saw those really awesome headphones that you just had to buy, and now you are very low on money. And it is late....very late.... Why not give the gift that keeps on giving? The gift that most of these people will really appreciate, and that demonstrates the true meaning of the holiday season? The gift of your time. Find a nice holiday picture on the Internet (make sure it is freely licensed, perhaps by Creative Commons) and use GIMP, Inkscape or some other freely...

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