Monday, 28 April 2008

I think Apple may have been very clever!

Needing to upgrade my computer and having the funds to do so, I have made the decision to buy a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 24" iMac and I have come to this decision after a number of weeks of assessing my options.

I started out using Macs in the early 90's having purchased a 9" Mac SE and continued using them, my last being a grape 266mhz iMac which I still have, until early in the new millenium when I moved to a Windows based PC. However, for the past 18 months I have become a convert to Linux and have been running Kubuntu! I have continued to run Windows XP on an older desktop using mainly Open Source software and a few other applications that required Windows that Linux will still not deal with!

My original intention was to purchase a powerful Dell desktop or similar with Linux installed and running Windows virtually aiming to spend $3000 in total. Apart from the fact it works so well, I really like Linux because it is Open Source and philosophically I support that notion so going and buying an Apple machine from an organisation that is arguably more proprietorial than Microsoft seems an odd thing to do.

However, I have been seduced back into the Mac fold for a number of reasons:
  1. The latest OS is without peer and chock full of excellent features and I really want to be using it.
  2. The software supplied with a Mac is top quality, highly functional and can only increase my productivity.
  3. I can run Windows and Linux virtually and practically seamlessly providing me with an extraordinarily capable machine.
  4. With an education discount, I can get the iMac, pay for the 3 year warranty and purchase an additional 2GB of memory for $3000 and I get a 24" screen.
  5. It is based on Unix and uses Intel processors.
This last point is where I think Apple have been very clever in regard to their strategy to combat the threat of Linux as the debacle of Vista provides further opportunity to gather an increased following.
Now that Mac is Intel based it is easier to port Linux software to the Mac and open source pundits can appease our philosophical obligations and run all our favourite applications like Open Office Aqua, GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus etc within MAC OS X so I am thinking I don't actually need to have a Linux virtual machine!
Very clever indeed!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Break down the Great Firewall of China!

The rest of the world takes for granted that free and unfettered access is available to the Internet but this is not the case in China because of the Great Firewall of China which is one of the most complex internet censorship regimes in the world.
Amnesty International is running a campaign to put pressure on
the large internet companies who help the Chinese Government censor internet users in China rather than allowing them full access to the Internet.
If you want to get involved in helping to change this click on the image of “Nu Wa” – the Uncensor China campaign mascot to visit Amnesty International's site.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

My Mum passed away!

My Mum, Amy, left us on the 4th of March 2008 after just over a year of battling the recurrence of breast cancer as a tumour in her left lung. She made it to 85 outliving both her sister Alice and my father Jimmy by many years. She spent the last two or three weeks of her life in the comfortable surrounds of the local hospice cared for by the wonderful staff and volunteers that work there.
I think one of the hardest things I have ever done was the reading of the Eulogy at her funeral service.
I am getting used to her not being here anymore but it is still a little strange as I busy myself with admistering her estate.
I have recently sent off 30 letters to various friends of hers around the world and I am just starting to get some replies back from them which has been very interesting as they relate something of the part she played in their lives.


My laptop's hard drive collapsed a couple of weeks ago and I have been continuing to use it by running initially the RIP Linux Distribution which has worked really well allowing me to access the internet through my local network with very little need to manually configure.

However it is a little lacking in usable software so I have switched to using the Knoppiz Live DVD and I have a much more usable system again with very little manual setting up required. Everything works just fine. So I am pretty impressed actually and have acquired the Knoppix Hacks publication and am working my way through it with interest. I love it's swiss army knife persona and usefulness as a repair tool. I have even downloaded a cd version of it for use on older PCs.
I have finally got around to ordering a new hard drive and am seriously considering installing Knoppix rather than Ubuntu as Knoppix uses KDE by default saving me the need to install the Kubuntu desktop in the Ubuntu edition of Gutsy that I have.
Well worth a look if you haven't done so before.