Dear readers, I have a couple of things you could help me with..

1) Do you know a cheap and usable alternative to A service with even cheaper domain prices (it’s $10/year for a domain) and a reasonable user interface?

2) I am still planning my switch to Mac – I am still using my Windows desktop and latptop at home and a Ubuntu desktop at work. Ubuntu is great for web dev, but at home I do need to connect to a lot of various peripherals that are basically unsupported in Ubuntu. Also, I like the pretty. Anyway, I am thinking of buying a G5 tower on eBay for about $1000. Hardware-wise it’s a dual processor machine similar to my dual Xeon Dell, but it was only $500 on eBay.. So, is this the best way of getting into Macing on the cheap? I don’t want to buy a Mac Mini because it cost an arm and a leg to add a second monitor.

3) I already mentioned this, but does anybody know a good Linux sysadmin with Apache/MySQL administration skills who’s looking for a job (preferably with some php coding skills)? Let me know, k?

Memex is Here

I think I finally found a piece of software I was searching for all of these years, the Memex that Dr. Vannevar Bush predicted. Too bad that the  good ol’ leader of the Majestic 12 is not around to see it.

Evernote is almost everything that I ever wanted in a Memex. It now even has a web component which will let me use it on Linux. The text recognition actually works and is useful, unlike what the retards at Riya were trying to do.

Evernote seems to be rapidly improving, in leaps and bounds. It was around for a while, but without web storage and access I wasn’t interested enough.

This is best symbolized by what I presume is an old logo, which is pretty lame:

The new logo, with an elephant (they never forget), a dog ear ear – now that’s recursive, and an overall look that would not be out of place on an early 20th century pencil box just simply rocks. There’s more hidden imagery in the elephant’s head. In any case, looks like a real pro made this logo.

Happy New Year!

Man, this was a tough year. I haven’t blogged much and you haven’t commented much, so I guess we are even.

A lot of things happened. The little tree that I grew out of a pine cone from Rockefeller Center tree that was featured in 2006 card is growing fast. So does Natalie E. I grew 30-40 pounds or so.  With a little help from the Joel I found a new job and left Rockefeller Center (you should really check out his job board). I am at World Trade Center 7 now. I am slowly but steadily switching to Linux. I am hoping that 2008 is going to be my annus mirabilis because this one was more anus than mirabilis.

Happy New Year!

You can see the old New Year’s cards are here.

The Microsoft Movie Conspiracy

Robert Scoble is the most powerful Microsoft blogger. One word from him and hordes of bloggers start typing gibberish, hoping to make it into the A-list. Must there be anything he can’t do? Yep. Apparently there is a building at the Microsoft campus where his badge does not work.

That top secret facility produces the best Microsofts products I’ve ever seen. They make (amongst other things) short movies shown to attendees at shows like PDC and CES. Sadly, once shown, those movies do not make it onto Microsoft’s website or into the bundles of MSDN subscription cds (I’ve checked). They get suppressed for some reason.

I believe there’s a conspiracy to hide the fact that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer left the company a long time ago. I mean think about it, would you continue to work if you had that kind of money? My theory is that they were replaced by two top notch actors. The actors must get bored from time to time, so they are given a high quality production crew and a possibility to create short movies from time to time.

I can’t find the link now, but IMDB listed Steve Ballmer cast as a possible villain in Batman: Year One movie that never got filmed.

In any case, the convention shown movies sometimes leak out. Matrix spoof, the latest one, for instance is partially available at this website (if you scroll down there are screenshots from the full version). In it Linux agents are interrogating hacker known as Steve-O.

In previous years there was the Volkswagen commercial spoof, where Gates and Ballmer are cruising around the neighbourhood in a Jetta, pick up a discarded Sun server from the curb, but then, after a few blocks and a few whiffs of something stinky inside the server, they deposit it back on the side of the road. I saw that one at a PDC event, and it was preceded by a never aired IBM commercial in which Mike the Lawyer and friends are cramming a huge server in a small elevator.

There were also the Napoleon Dynamite spoof and the Austin Powers spoof which I can’t find anywhere for some reason. Are there any others that I’m missing?

By the way, impersonating Austin Powers seems to be a favorite pastime of gazillionairs.

The Guardian Of the Notes

For a while now I’ve been trying to organize all of my notes. For years I had great hopes of finding a perfect electronic organizer. My first love and biggest disappointment were devices created by Jeff Hawkins and Celeste Baranski.

I owned my share of Palms and Handsprings, even the first Handspring phone module, but the damn things just kept crashing, running out of charge, loosing data and breaking exactly when I needed them the most. Also, the phone module was probably the worst cell phone I ever owned. Arrrr, just the memory itself of the scurvy thing be driving me nuts.

Funnily enough, three or four of my co-workers who did not even want to listen to my raves about Handspring in those days now own latest Treo cell phones which are a little less terrible, but still not as good as what I use these days. What high technology do I use? I use an ugly brick of a cell phone with Verizon service which is easy to use, keeps charge well, never crashes, is comfortable to hold and manages to get reception even in some shallow subway stations. For a phone book and notes I use little black books made by Moleskine.

Because of its slowness and bad text recognition my Tablet PC is sitting on a shelf waiting for a Linux installation, but I am trying to organize all of my notes and transfer them from random pieces of paper into neat new Moleskine notebooks. Tilde the cat keeps a watchful eye over them.

So, It’ve Come To This….

I thought I’ve developed a bit of a strategy in buying computers for non-techie relatives and friends.

First of all I always tell them to get a laptop. The huge benefit of laptops for me is that it can be brought over for servicing. You can’t imagine how many hours of sitting at an uncomfortable “computer” table in a rickety “computer” chair away from my tools, network jacks, a plain, comfortable table and an Aeron chair this saved me while fixing stuff.

The Internet today reminds me NYC subway in the 70es: a place full of graffiti, foul smell, filth, physical danger and a general sense of lawlessness. Gone are the days when you could help your non-techie relative pick a computer, hook it up, install an email client and a browser and be done with it. Viruses still propagated mostly on floppy drives. Those were the times.

Now my process involves installation of an external backup, hardware and software firewalls, an antivirus, Adaware, Spybot Search and Destroy, getting all the windows updates and teaching the non techie how to maintain this bevy of protective tools. Oh, and most importantly, password protected all accounts and remove administrative privileges from the ones to be used on a daily basis. And set up Firefox as the default browser.

Did you read up to here? Sorry, all of that stuff is crap. It’s pointless. I have a relative’s laptop thoroughly screwed by Outlook viruses sitting on my desk waiting for my non-loving hand to proove that. The firewall stopped them from calling out, but it seems like one of the virii somehow had its privileges elevated and locked out the admin account. Arrrrrgh, this be driving me nuts!

The purchase of the laptop in question happened before my universal advise to people who just want to browse the web and read email became to get a Mac. I am tired of cleaning out computers infested up to the gills with the wiliest stuff. I am desperate enough to try Linux now.

I guess all I really need is Mozilla, Open Office, some CD player, wrap all of that in some kiosk-like windowing environment and I’m done. Or am I?

Some Microsoft Poetry

I have not had any problems with Windows 2000 for years. Until the last couple of months. One of the patches must have done something to the crispy crunchy goodness that is Windows graphics code. Since then – nothing but trouble. It seems to begin when I have too many windows open. It happens both at work and at home where I have completely different video cards.

I already replaced a floppy drive in my home computer with an internal memory card reader. This left me totally unprepared to nasty progression of : messed up window rendering -> bungled driver upgrade -> 640×480 only mode -> 640×480 only mode in safe mode only -> crash -> crash -> crash -> fundamental system file corrupted -> repair boot that DEMANDS THE STUPID RAID DRIVER ON A FLOPPY -> a whole weekend with a computer that has all my files on it that won’t even boot. This is what you get when your operating system of choice has graphics code mixed in with everything else.

That’s it. From now on there will be a fully built Linux server with all my files on it somewhere in my apartment. Hopefully in a couple of years I’ll be able to make a complete switch to Linux. Lets face it: Windows XP is slow, buggy and generally crappy. Especially in it’s Tablet PC variety. I can’t even imagine what crap they are whipping up right now without Dave Cutler, but that doesn’t matter. It’s going to be too little too late. Now, if there was a whole lot of developers walking around MS campus with Cutlers boot squarely up their collective asses things might have been different. And now Windows 2000 is messed up by patches. Linux starts to look better and better.

Bag Lady Thatcher

“To handbag” – to assault verbally, to intimidate. This expression was coined by Margaret Thatcher’s opponents. The actual bag sold for 100,000 pounds.

What does Queen Elisabeth carry in her handbag? My photography teacher said that she carries a Rollei rangefinder camera, but I could not find any references on the Internet. Oh, and the Queen’s website doesn’t run on Linux these days. It runs on a Windows machine. But It looks like she does use a Dualit Toaster though.