Archive for April, 2009

Windows 7 Stunted Edition

April 21, 2009

WSJ:

Microsoft Corp. is taking an unusual approach with its new Windows 7 operating system: Customers buying many of the least-expensive laptops with the software are likely to be limited to running three applications at a time and miss out on other key features, or pay for an upgrade.

This must be an extension of their “get them addicted” strategy. Only a true junkie would accept such an arrangement.

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xkcd and penis enlargement

April 17, 2009

I’m always careful to remember to hover my mouse over xkcd comics. Often, the “potential” humor of Randall’s comics can only be had by triggering the title attribute of his image tags.

neverball

April 11, 2009

I just wanted to take a moment to brag about finishing all of the levels in Neverball. It’s among my favorite Free software eye-hand coordination games. On Mehdi’s level 25 I found a short-cut that involves using the triple vertical loop as a ramp (rather than entering it) to launch the ball sky-high toward the finish – thus avoiding having to navigate the last third of the level. Hey, whatever works.

neverballSince Free 3D graphics drivers are not yet top-notch (though they’re much improved in recent years and getting better rapidly), to make the game playable I had to set some graphical features to “low” and turn others off. While I’m not getting the most aesthetic experience, it’s very smooth and more than playable on my system. Just sudo apt-get install neverball on gNewSense or Ubuntu. It comes with Neverputt as well – an enjoyable miniature golf game using the same physics.

“spread”?! what the Heck is that about?

April 9, 2009

Peter Heck at OneNewsNow takes issue with Frank Barney and his use of the term “homophobia”. Heck argues that “moral objections” to homosexuality are mistakenly classified as fear. He lists “physical”, “psychological”, and “spiritual” reasons why he views homosexuality as immoral. The physical/psychological reality is clearly connected to the fictitious “moral objections”. One who is socially marginalized and treated like a pariah is more likely to suffer from depression/anger and engage in physically risky behavior. Heck’s error is in connecting sexual orientation to statistics without regard to factors evident in societal situations. In fact, Heck writes off any suggestion that how society at large views homosexuality affects the mental well-being of those stigmatized. Heck’s view is that homosexuality is some sort of contagious disease that causes suicidal tendencies, a drive toward drugs and an incapacity for monogamy. He sees this as an illness, that if left unchecked by The Defenders of Morality, is bound to ooze its way into the greater population, bringing untold death and destruction to humanity.

“No, he’s not that extreme. He just has moral objections to homosexuality”, you say? But in one simple sentence, Heck makes his homophobia (and Barney’s point) crystal clear:

In Frank’s warped worldview, anyone who opposes the spread of homosexuality in our culture is a homophobe.

Yes, the spread of homosexuality.

the GPL and “development” versus “distribution”

April 2, 2009

The following paraphrased argument is extremely common:

I’m not against Open Source, I’m against the GPL. I’m against the GPL because it doesn’t give the developer the freedom that the MIT or BSD licenses offer. Copyleft restricts the right of developers.

To develop software means to make changes to your software and expect those changes to run as expected. The GPL, MIT, and BSD license all allow this to happen. All Free Software and Open Source licenses allow this to happen. What the proponents of the above view want to make-believe is that to be a “developer” can simply mean to re-license and distribute code – a task any semi-determined dimwit can accomplish. The mistake (whether through ignorance or an effort to confuse others) made is to make synonymous the act of licensing/distributing with developing.

So when a developer complains that his “freedom” (they like to use this word in an attempt to manufacture a copyleft “hypocrisy”) is obstructed by the GPL, point out to him that it is not his freedom to develop that is obstructed but rather, his privilege to distribute in a way that restricts others. A subtle but enormous difference.