The Ultimate Lock-In

Submitted by jbreland on Wed, 03/19/2003 - 11:17

I just read an intersting article on osOpinion about the Microsoft's file format lock-in tactics. Basically, it discusses Microsoft's current dominiation of the Office Suite environment, how it is largely due to their proprietary file formats that prevent people from switching to other suites (hence the term "lock-in"), and where this is headed in the next versions of Office and even Windows. Hint: It's not good.

The bottom line is that now is the time to begin looking at and switching to alternatives. I recommend OpenOffice to get started. You can and should read the full story below.

http://www.osopinion.com/perl/story/20982.html#story-start

phpMap 0.1 Released

Submitted by jbreland on Mon, 03/17/2003 - 08:43

This is a late announcement here, but phpMap 0.1 was released a couple weeks ago. Why am I announcing it here? Becuase it's my project! What does it do? It's an online, php-based map program. Right now it's still in very basic form (it only allows image zooming and navigation), but in the future it will also include location recognition, database tie-ins to retreive additional information, location pinpointing, a menu-based navigation system, etc.

For more information, see the phpMap web page. To see it in action, check out the Ole Miss Campus Map. Remember, though, that most of the features in the Campus Map are not currently present in phpMap.

Open Source Software / Free Software page

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 02/25/2003 - 21:22

I finally got around to putting up an Open Source Software / Free Software page on my site.  It's intended to be a general resource for newbies and experienced users alike.  It's still under planning and construction, but so far I have four main areas:

  • What is it? - written to provide decent introduction to the whole concept of OSS and FS for those not already familiar with it
  • The Case for OSS - points out all of the benefits for using OSS/FS in the home and at work, including why it's a "Good Thing"  (still under construction)
  • List of Applications - contains a list of and links to the applications that I personally consider to be among the best OSS/FS available
  • Tips and Tricks - contains HOWTO-like documents on various topics that I've written to make things easier/better

This section of the website will pretty much be under permanent construction, with the apps list and howto section updated as often as I discover a new app or write a new document.  Of course, I'm always open to suggestions, so PLEASE e-mail me about anything you think could improve the site, including corrections, new apps, new HOWTO suggestions, etc.  Also, please feel free to drop me a line just to let me know what you think about it.

Intel, AMD chop chip prices -- good for us, bad for them

Submitted by jbreland on Mon, 02/24/2003 - 15:58

Intel reduced the prices on all its desktop Pentium 4 processors by as much as 21 percent Sunday. Meanwhile, AMD cut prices on select Athlon XP desktop chips by as much as 32 percent Monday.

Link to article on Zdnet

--looks like ill be getting a new athlon after all... now if only the motherboard prices would go down ;)

Add your favorite comic to DailyStrips

Submitted by jbreland on Wed, 02/19/2003 - 18:32

All of you should be familiar with my DailyStrips module. I chose the group of comics shown there each day simply because they're the ones I've always liked growing up. If you'd like to see your own favorite comics on there, just let me know. Choose from this list.

As a side note, I do intend on developing this module further so that each user can customize it to their liking, but that's going to take some time. PostNuke modules are especially rough (for me, anyway), and I haven't even figured out how to allow myself to set the comic selection list through the web yet. :-)

Hey! Old Guys Can make a difference

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 02/18/2003 - 15:28

Thomas Bayes, one of the leading mathematical lights in computing today, differs from most of his colleagues: He has argued that the existence of God can be derived from equations. His most important paper was published by someone else. And he's been dead for 241 years.

Wow, tells you that sometimes old ideas are good ideas still.

Here is the news article from C|Net

Be afraid. Be very afraid...

Submitted by jbreland on Mon, 02/17/2003 - 19:35

Anyone reading my page has probably heard of Palladium. Just in case anyone's not up to speed, Palladium is basically Microsoft's attempt at creating a hardware-based DRM (Digital Rights Management) platform. They always accompany it with such phrases as "trusted computing" and "better security." I won't even get into the irony of MS using terms like "secure" and "trust" to describe anything relating to them or their products, but needless to say, many people feel that MS could use this new-found control of your PC to even further exploit their illegal OS monopoly.

Microsoft and other Palladium backers are, of course, denying any malicious intent for the platform. I can buy this, as it does have legitimate use for such industries as entertainment. However, my fear is that once MS controls the keys to our computers, does anyone really think they'll be content to just leave it at that? If you do, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

A recent article on The Chronical discusses many of these fears and doubts. It's geared towards the education sector, but the issues discussed apply to everyone. Definitely worth reading.

And needless to say, I will be thoroughly pissed if this in any way affects my my ability to run Linux, or other open source software.

Dolly the cloned sheep dies

Submitted by jbreland on Fri, 02/14/2003 - 15:49

Wow, I hope this isn't indicative of the cloning process in general...

LONDON - Dolly, the world's first mammal cloned from an adult, has been euthanized, scientists said Friday.

A veterinary exam confirmed the six-year-old sheep had a progressive lung disease. Her cells had started to show signs of aging faster than a typical animal.

Complete story