revolutionary doublethink

January 23, 2012

When corporations hold some power in education and then take further steps to tighten that control, why do we call it a “learning revolution“? Digitized textbooks should be in open formats for editing and reading. Authors and publishers need to reject absurd EULAs, and educators need a dose of scepticism.

the philosophical difference between free software and open source software

January 17, 2012

captured in links:

The advantages of Free Software.

The advantages of Open Source Software.

“public” social networking (an observation)

January 9, 2012

Before clicking on the links below, be sure to log out of both Diaspora and Facebook.

A “Public” post through

A “Public” post through

Hungary, open standards, and funding

January 6, 2012

Good news out of Hungary:

Hungary’s public administrations will by default use open document standards for their electronic documents, as of April this year, the government ministers agreed on 23 December, and all public organisations are encouraged to move to open source office tools. Hungary’s government also in December decided to cancel the funding of proprietary office suite licences for all schools.

What would make this even better would be to continue funding schools making the transition so they can better support their free software infrastructure. This would also help incentivize schools to make the switch.

reigning cats, not dogs

December 20, 2011

A human problem is that we often think like cats or dogs.

Image source here.

my son’s cursive handwriting practice

December 6, 2011

I think the last "D" and "Dis" should be circled.

fear of death

November 19, 2011

I fear death in that I fear deep sadness for the few who are very close to me and the possibility of physical suffering before the light goes out. The good news is, I think the few who love me dearly will be able to get on with fulfilling and happy lives. And, my pain is at least temporary. Admittedly though, the thought of suffering physical pain (either excruciatingly and/or continually) still freaks me out. I guess I don’t fear “losing” anything since I can’t imagine that an afterlife capable of such reflection is anything but a fantasy.

To Mark Shuttleworth

November 9, 2011

If this goes through, I want to publicly thank you and Canonical. Perhaps this “dropping” of Mono was purely for technical/practical reasons. Or maybe it was a recognition of the threat to Canonical’s business interests in the form of software idea patents. Or perhaps it was both a technical issue and a long-run, market-based decision.

Regardless, I hope it pays off for you. It already has for Ubuntu GNU/Linux users.

networking as matryoshka encapsulation

October 29, 2011

I’m taking a course on the basics of open networks and my tutor Koos Baas used a great letter/envelope analogy to describe the addition/removal of PDU PCI headers as data moves down and up the stack. I wondered what other analogies might work to describe a user sending a message to another. I remembered the doll I had and took a snapshot:

The smallest doll could be thought of as the data from the sender’s application. The largest doll could be thought of as a frame, just before being turned into bits for the physical layer. Shortly thereafter, the unpacking begins until the recipient gets the smallest doll at their application layer.

To my sister Lesley who gave me this gift I say, spasiba!

Stallman on Steve Jobs (part 2)

October 28, 2011

rms has a few “opinion” writers’ knickers in a twist. He criticized Steve Jobs’ legacy shortly after his death. It seems you’re not supposed to say that you’re glad Steve Jobs is no longer an influence in the technology industry so soon after his death. Apparently that’s  bad “taste”. I’ll self-censor my criticism of the opinion writers as it would surely be what’s rude and in poor taste. Instead, I’ll  quote an even more constructive follow-up from Richard:

Jobs saw how to make these computers stylish and smooth. That would normally be positive, but not in this case, since it has the paradoxical effect of making their controlling nature seem acceptable.

Jobs’ valuable contributions to the computing industry were more than negated. He promoted a market that has needless negative spillover effects. Sexy products are not enough to reconcile that blunder. And even worse, his attitude toward the ownership of design ideas in hardware and software are gasoline on the fire. As rms notes, the war on Android is a war that Jobs wanted waged. The full post is here.