Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Monthly Archives / August 2011

  • Aug 31 / 2011
  • 5
technology

Amazon Tablets to Launch Q4 2011 and Q1 2012

According to Digitimes, Amazon has orders for 7 inch tablets in Q4 2011 and 10 inch tablets for Q1 2012 to Foxconn. Amazon knows how to move product and Foxconn knows how to make things by the millions so this could be an important development in the assault on the iPad by Android/Linux tablets. Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader sells 15-18 million units per annum. If there was any doubt that the tablet PC has legs this should dispel all doubt. It probably means that iPad will drop below 50% share of tablet production in 2012.

“Kindle is our #1 best seller and has the most 5-star reviews of any product on Amazon.”

see Amazon’s Kindle page

Not only is the Kindle loved by buyers, they bother to write about it with 30500 reviews and 21946 “5 star” ratings. Some of the reviews are now in their “second edition” because people come back to write more… How large an impact do you think a small cheap PC replacement from Amazon will have if an e-reader does that for Amazon? Expect Amazon, alone, may provide a product that will give iPad a run for its money in volume of sales, karma1, and any other measure of success one could apply. Expect a lawsuit from Apple, if Samsung’s success is an indicator…

see Amazon’s reviews of the Kindle

1 Karma – The doctrine of fate as the inflexible result of cause and effect, especially the principle by which a person is rewarded or punished in a subsequent incarnation for deeds in the previous incarnation; the theory of inevitable consequence. (1913 Webster)

  • Aug 30 / 2011
  • 1
Uncategorized

Libya: Battle for Sirte

The new government of Libya has given Gaddafi’s supporters at Sirte until Saturday to surrender. In the interim, forces from all over Libya will be concentrated there. There is no doubt about the outcome except for the number of casualties. Gaddafi has caused the deaths of so many thousands a few more thousand will not likely cost him sleep.

Sirte is a tiny place just a mile or so in size. There are only a few strategies that may be applied and all will be successful for the new government of Libya:

  • Lay siege – futility and time to think will resolve the issues,
  • massive assault – will easily sweep through the artillery and mines but casualties will be huge,
  • probe for weaknesses and infiltrate – that took Tripoli in a week with moderate casualties, and
  • a few narrow assaults, overwhelming defences locally – probably the optimal strategy.

The largest advantage the new government has is time not manpower. They can take lots of time for reconnaissance and assembling forces and psychological warfare. No doubt Sirte has been well prepared for months and a good plan will be needed. The troops don’t care much about losses. They seem to like charging ahead. Combined with the subtlety they have learned, the end should come quickly whatever the plan. Even a siege will get results in a few weeks.

This is an awkward situation for NATO who are nominally overhead to protect civilians. Sirte is an armed camp on both sides. NATO can still take out machinery caught in the open but when the infantries get so close that they can see each other’s eyes, there is not enough separation for use of 250 kg bombs. If NATO suppresses artillery, the new government will be able to get in close.

I expect no one wants this to drag on much longer. The battle of Sirte will be quick and dirty with high casualties. The end is near. After victory in Sirte, no enclave of Gaddafi will have any illusions about holding out.


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  • Aug 30 / 2011
  • 52
technology

The End of Lock-in is Nigh

I read an article, “The End of the OS is Nigh“. The authour claims the OS is losing importance and then goes on to observe that he no longer depends on this or that application. It’s that layer that’s dying, not the OS. You still need an OS on your gadget to manage resources such as access, memory, bandwidth, etc. no matter where the application lies. This is an end to lock-in, not the OS.

The issues with operating systems still remain. If it’s your data and access to it that matters, you still need the OS that facilitates that reliably, speedily and economically. For me, that’s still GNU/Linux. The KISS principle applies. If your OS does nothing more than what you need done, it will be nearly optimal. That other OS that M$’s partners “recommend” is not optimal. It’s too fragile, slow, bloated and costly.

  • Aug 30 / 2011
  • 29
technology

The Tablet Effect is Real

Canaries used to be taken into coal mines to detect accumulations of explosive gases. In the world of IT, the canary is an upstream supplier of components used to build gadgets. iSuppli has detected a huge oversupply of big RAM for those hair-driers. People are buying small cheap computers with a lot less RAM in them. Price drops for RAM are predicted to be about half over 2011 and two thirds since 2010. Meanwhile, RAM for mobile devices continues to ramp upwards. This does not bode well for Wintel which is anchored to hair-driers.

  • Aug 30 / 2011
  • 58
technology

Big Brother Still Thinks He Knows Best

Chuckle. This is too funny for me to make up. I am just not that creative. M$ has had lots of push-back on “the ribbon” in their office suite but are Hell-bent to foist it on users of “8″… ;-)

And the trolls here think migrating to GNU/Linux will involve “retraining”!!! Wait until buyers of “PCs” on retail shelves return units because they “don’t work” like that other OS.

Here are the people who will rebel:

  • people with hand-eye coordination they learned when they were 5 years old,
  • people who know where the icons are,
  • people who have point-and-clicked since 1990,
  • people who know how to use a menu, and
  • people who don’t like change.

That covers just about everyone over the age of 20. Hint: teachers are mostly over the age of 23 and are reluctant to change themselves so they are not going to provide free training for M$.

Read it and laugh…

There are folks in the world of FLOSS just as determined to sabotage their installed base. Ubuntu Unity, KDE 4.x and GNOME 3 come to mind. Perhaps those new interfaces are “better” in some ways, but the users will notice the learning curve. I don’t doubt some will not even be able to start using them because they are used to clicking on things they can see in front of them just as they have been seeing and grasping since infancy. Unnatural may be new but it’s not intuitive. Training had better be built in or it will be resisted.

  • Aug 29 / 2011
  • 44
technology

M$ v World – In The Cloud

Perhaps I am missing something but it looks increasingly that M$ cannot have a monopoly on the cloud. Look who is providing cloud services independently of M$:

Judging by the weight of competition M$ will be just another competitor in a large pond with no particular advantages compared to the diverse solutions offered. GNU/Linux will be there in large share.

  • Aug 29 / 2011
  • 20
technology

Really Small Cheap Computer Rocks

There’s a demo of a Raspberry Pi here:

The device comes in two models. $25 gets you a small cheap computer without networking and $35 gets you a small cheap computer with networking. Once networked the uses are only limited by imagination.

see more at RaspberryPI.org

I think that when the cost of the computer is so much less than the cost of the peripheral devices attached to it, we are “there”, now. This should make IT available to a few billion more people and serve the stated purpose for that organization, inspiring innovation. I can see entrepreneurs all over the world running with things like this, making a little money per machine and closing the digital divide.

  • Aug 29 / 2011
  • 2
technology

DOS

Had another DOS attack today. I did some more research and found others had seen the same kind of attack. It turns out that WordPress puts some link tags in the headers of every page that some browsers are hauling in… all at once.

So the “attacks” are probably not malicious but due to ancient browsers on the web. The UserAgent strings are really primitive.

  • Aug 29 / 2011
  • 5
technology

Wintel Tries to Restore Former Glory – Ultrabooks

Wintel is trying desperately to upsell itself by promoting “ultrabooks”, powerful portable notebooks with fine form factors. While there is a niche market here, Apple has already filled it. People who want to pay a high price for the feeling that they have bought something better already know about Apple. Acer and Asustek have fallen into the trap of thinking ultrabooks will save them when their real problem is Wintel, Intel and M$ making money on the free labour of “partners”. These OEMs would have much larger margins by selling machines with GNU/Linux. We know they could sell product because both already do that in parts of the world. Wasting time on ultrabooks is digging their hole deeper. They should support and promote GNU/Linux to maximize the benefit of their products to the OEM and the customer.

see Digitimes – Asustek set to launch 5-6 Ultrabook models in October

  • Aug 28 / 2011
  • 23
technology

As The Worm Turns

Yet another worm is wreaking havoc around the world. First indications are that the malware comes in and starts on machines running that other OS with

  • port 3389/tcp (RDP) open, and
  • really weak passwords for “Administrator”.

Of course, then all Hell breaks loose. The thing was new and not detected by any of the malware scanners but it literally tried to take over the world and plugs connections to the Internet with attempts to spread via RDP.

While this is a vulnerability globally, it appears that the system software is functioning as intended but the vulnerability relies on poor/no system administration. Someone had to pick really weak passwords and leave “Administrator” available. Of course, human stupidity is in great supply as is that other OS so the lights could dim around the world as this thing spreads. M$ has a fix but it may not be applied by the twits with the weak passwords…

see Worm spreading via RDP and M$ has been working on this for days

The mind boggles that people still depend on a monoculture of that other OS and it can all fall down so easily. If you want to leave 3389 open on your systems and not fall down, I suggest using GNU/Linux. It works and it would at least leave some of your system alive. Please use decent passwords.

  • Aug 28 / 2011
  • 19
technology

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Linux Market Shares
Created by: MBA Online

Clearly, Linux forms a good basis for IT, judging from the percentage shares in tablets and mobile IT in general. What’s wrong is that 0.79% share for “desktop”. That’s the nonsense spouted by M$ technological evangelists who will proclaim that GNU/Linux will never make it on the desktop for a plethora of “reasons”. These fail to notice that GNU/Linux does make it on the desktop around the world in particular markets, like the BRIC countries. All of the “reasons” vanish when monopolistic control of retail shelves and OEMS is weak. The reasons GNU/Linux makes it on the desktop are many:

  • the four freedoms work for real people,
  • because GNU/Linux is Free Software it may be freely copied, lowering the cost of acquisition for everyone,
  • there are millions of developers of FLOSS working cooperatively around the world to deliver software the world needs,
  • the four freedoms also ensure the software is flexible and can be used for optimal benefit to users, not restricted by the marketing plans of a business,
  • the low cost of acquisition is a huge advantage for the poor, students and young people who are not rich,
  • the low cost of acquisition keeps the bulk of expenditures for supply and distribution in the local economy, where the software is actually used, maximizing benefits of the activity,
  • the software works on ARM just as well as it works on old and new computers of all kinds, and
  • the software works faster and more reliably because the only objective for its existence is to run, not to lock-in users to some corporation’s plan for world domination.

My own use of GNU/Linux demonstrates most of these advantages. In remote northern communities of Canada, I have taken existing IT which is often older and running obsolete non-free software with hundreds of malware infections and made it run like a Swiss watch. Further, because there is no budget item for licensing, whatever money is available can be used to buy additional hardware rather than sending money to M$. Typically this means free donated hardware gets to run modern software in schools for $0. Computers for Schools does distribute free computers with XP but it was obsolete when it was released, picks up malware and runs much slower than GNU/Linux on the same hardware. Combine that with the flexibility to allow students legally to install GNU/Linux for no cost and a vibrant implementation of the IT curriculum exists with no restriction of non-free licensing. It’s a match made in heaven. A school that can afford very little money for IT can have servers, databases, social web sites etc. running in-house for $0 and students get to learn everything about clients and servers, hardware and software.

see 2008 – Deploying KDE to 52 million young people

see 2011 – Ubuntu Linux boosted by 10,000 seat PC win

The number of users of the Internet is expected to double in the next few years in the BRIC countries and Indonesia. They are fine with GNU/Linux on desktops and Android/Linux on smart thingies.

The difference between USA and Canada and much of the world is that retailers enjoy putting GNU/Linux on shelves in much of the world while M$ has trained retailers in USA and Canada like salivating dogs to push only M$’s junk. Not so with Android/Linux which is doing very well, judging by my last trip to Walmart.

IGEL, a maker of thin clients and software for thin clients has had 300% per annum growth in its “Universal Desktop” product, which while not free of charge, includes the Linux kernel and various software to convert any PC into a thin client. Tell IGEL that GNU/Linux isn’t making it.

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