Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

The Centenial Year of a Great Man: Alan Turing

Jan 05, 2012 GMT

I was four years old when Alan Turing died At the age of four I never knew I would become involved with computers, in fact I did not know what a computer was.It was only when I entered university in 1968 and started studying what was then “computer black magic” that I heard about the man who conceived of the theory of the Turing Machine, and later the classic test for artificial intelligence, the Turing Test.When I worked at Digital Equipment Corporation, we had conference rooms named after great computer scientists, and of course the “Turing Room” was one of them.This year I will be 62. I will have lived twenty years longer than Alan Turing, and despite many things I am proud of...
Wanted: Help with determining the best audio components for Project Cauã

Jan 03, 2012 GMT

Since I have written about Project Cauã before, most of the readers of this blog know that Project Cauã is about using Free Software to create jobs for Systems Administrator/Entrepreneurs (SA/Es), both selling and supporting services that utilize Free Software.In implementing Project Cauã we decided to take a half-step and create a demonstration unit that people could use in their homes as a home theater, store pictures and store music. From there we would expand Project Cauã to the full vision of the home unit, adding items like home security and home automation.We have selected xbmc as the media project on which to base Project Cauã, and we are now putting together a reasonable set...
My grandmother, the thief!

Jan 01, 2012 GMT

 Just when you think the copyright and patent laws have reached their peak, more atrocities whack you in the face. After all these years I find out that according to US patent law (35 U.S.C. 161 Patents for Plants) my grandmother was a thief! My grandmother loved plants. Every year seed catalogs would appear in our mailbox, and grand-mom would pour through them for hours. A couple of weeks later small packages would appear in the mail and a few weeks after that flowers would start to bloom around the yard. Of course some plants you do not grow from seed. They are propagated asexually, usually by a cutting being taken from one plant and either “rooted” (by putting it in...
Free Software and Beer: Not just for breakfast anymore!

Nov 16, 2011 GMT

 Those of you who know me also know that I like a little beer every once in a while. Some of you also know that I often brew my own beer at an establishment called Incredibrew in Nashua, New Hampshire very close to my home, and sometimes use this beer at various Free Software events. Incredibrew is known as a “brew-on-premises” or “BOP” for short. At a BOP you will find all the materials and equipment necessary to brew, label and bottle significant quantities of your own beer without all of the mess and clean-up necessary if you brew the beer in your own house. Recently a friend of mine, Michel Grando, took me under his wing along with his friend Flavia and a mutual...
RIP Ilya

Nov 15, 2011 GMT

I had heard, of course, of the Diaspora* project some time ago. It is a project to create a decentralized social network that would allow the users to have complete control over their data and their privacy. Started by four college students, they had the audacity to take on a project that would be daunting to programmers with many more years of experience and many dollars of corporate investment behind them.....reminding me of another young friend of mine who started a small project in 1991 called “Linux”....When Diaspora* was first pointed out to me I received a login account, but the early functionality was not enough to keep me using it, so my account languished.In July of 2011 I...
What recession? Lessons learned through Free Software

Nov 15, 2011 GMT

 It all started ten years ago, at a beach party called (appropriately enough) “Open Beach”. A young programmer named Douglas Conrad had discovered Free Software about two years before, and dreamed of having his own company devoted to Free Software, making a living from the use and production of Free Software. Douglas started his company “OpenS Tecnologia” a year later in 2002, but still did not have a good idea for a sustainable business plan. In the years between 2002 and 2006, his company grew slowly while Douglas investigated different parts of Free Software, until the year 2008. In 2008 Douglas created a business plan revolving around VoIP, utilizing software...
RIP Dennis

Oct 13, 2011 GMT

Over the weekend of October 8th a giant of computer science died. Like a lot of really great people in the field, he died without a lot of fanfare, most of his friends and colleagues finding out about his death several days later. I heard about his death last night from a post by Rob Pike, and while I wanted to blog about it last night, I found I could not, so I waited until this morning. I sit here typing with tears streaming down my face.Dr. Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie, known as “Dennis” to many people and “dmr” to many more, passed away the weekend of October 8th after a long illness. I will not discuss here the many accomplishments of the man, as there will be much discussion...

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