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Win(in)Modems Work pretty well in Linux....

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:22 PM

…otherwise you wouldn't be hearing from me right now. :-) My cable modem is
unavailable since I'm getting new carpeting atm, so I went and got the lucent
winmodem driver yesterday. Guess what? It took two minutes (including
download) to install. I got the Mandrake 9.0 Package, installed it, and
started using my modem. No fuss, no muss (I can't upgrade the modem since
this is a laptop, and I don't want to use a PC Card modem).

Anyway, everything is slow at 49kbps, but at least it works…

Why I Don't Use "Linux"

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 10:22 PM

Buzzing by Buzzing Bye, I found this post that was denouncing Richard Stallman's position that “Linux” should be known as “GNU/Linux.” This hit a nerve, perhaps because I've seen so many likeminded posts, and it inspired me to write an editorial at that argues for the name GNU/Linux and also takes a side journey into why the GNU GPL is better in some ways than the BSD license.

Whether this sounds like gobble-de-gook or you already understand this issue, you might enjoy the opinion piece, which you can find here.

Why GNOME's Got it Right

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 3:23 PM

Ed wrote earlier this week about a project known as GoneME that seems to be quite upset with GNOME's moves to create the simplest user interface possible for GNU/Linux and other UNIX-like systems. While I commented a bit in his blog entry on the matter, I decided it was high time for me to exposit on the issue (I had been planning to for some time now). Thus, I have posted an article entitled Why GNOME's Got it Right on OfB. Take a look and give your two cents here.

Why Can't I Use My Phone Number on

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 3:25 AM

Zach Phillips explains my most significant frustration with iMessage on the iPad and Mac:

It would only take one feature to make Messages on iPad and useful. Allow me to use my phone number as my iMessages account. My phone number has always been my unique identifier through which I choose to receive these short bits of text (for good reason). If I can't use my real “address,” there's not much point in signing up for a different delivery company. The package will not arrive where I need it.

Since iOS 5 launched, it has puzzled me why Apple designed the system so that iMessages sent to my Apple ID go to my Mac, iPhone and iPad while iMessages sent using my phone number only go to my iPhone. It creates a confusing (and technologically needless) situation where one ideally needs to give up iMessages' brilliant capability of seemlessly replacing SMS to reap all the benefits of using it.

Apple should fix this in iOS 6.

Why Anyone Who Loves Freedom Needs to Support Apple

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:52 PM

I tweeted this article about the severe implications of the government's request for a backdoor in Apple's products and included the comment “Imagine the 1st missionary killed in a hostile land, found via an FBI mandated backdoor. This is why Apple is right.” A friend of mine asked me on Facebook why it is so crucial Apple not be forced to create a system that would allow the unlocking of the San Bernardino terror suspect's phone. I want to answer my friend's question by exploring two different parts of the problem.

To understand where this all starts, it starts with Apple creating an encryption system that they did not have the key to unlock. After the revelations about the NSA that Edward Snowden released, Apple created such a system for a very simple reason: it became clear that the government intended to vastly exceed its constitutional surveillance powers and the only way a company like Apple could avoid becoming a collaborator was to remove itself from the key equation so that it genuinely could not access customer data. If a company has the key, the government can demand the key not only to see what a terrorist has on his or her phone, but also for other, less desirable searches like the warrantless, broad data collection the NSA has been doing over the last decade. Worse, when the government utilizes these unconstitutional powers, it imposes gag orders on the companies it interacts with so they cannot even say anything about what is happening.

It bears repeating: while there is broad support for breaking into a terrorist's phone, the only way Apple can legally avoid being made a tool for the government against all of us, not just terrorists, is to create a product that does not have a backdoor. So, Apple did the logical thing: it created a product without any backdoors. Apple is now being asked not just to “unlock” its phone, but to create a new version of its software that has an intentionally broken security system. If it exists, even if it were installed on only this one phone, we will be only a few secret FISA orders away from it being installed on thousands or millions of phones. If an iOS variant that creates a vulnerability exists, the NSA can just contact Apple six months from now and order that same backdoor be included in every iOS device the next time a software update goes out. And, it could gag Apple so that the company could not warn anyone.


By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:37 PM

For the simple reason that I want to keep my mailbox from just filling up my server's hard disk as it pleases, I have a quota of 200 megabytes on it (I keep a copy of messages on the server so that I can use IMAP to access my box from different locations). Unfortunately, I forgot to pay attention to the fact that I was approaching 200 megs of messages until this morning when my mail box traffic seemed a bit slow and my message rules weren't moving things into the right folder. Stupid me!

At any rate, if anyone tried to send me an e-mail message recently, would you please resend them?

Who Copied Whom?

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:12 AM

Since Apple has been busy with their patent suits against Android phone manufacturers, certain parties have made claims about how Android was already going where Apple headed with an all touchscreen phone before the iPhone. Thus, a presentation the Verge discovered which presents what an Android phone was originally suppose to look like is enlightening:

Exact specs for those first concepts aren't detailed, but Google does spell out what it had in mind for the least common denominator across Android devices. […] At that time, touchscreen support wasn't a requirement — in fact, the baseline specs required two soft menu keys, indicating that touchscreens weren't really in the plan at all.

Keep in mind that this plan was communicated a month or so before the iPhone launched and over year before Android finally came to market in the United States. Google was clearly aiming to copy the BlackBerry until the iPhone completely changed what people wanted in a phone. To his credit, Thom Holwerda, who has been a vocal critic of this suggestion in the past, has admitted that this new revelation shows he was wrong.

What's Wrong With Android: Exhibit 1392

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:26 PM

Airpush is trying to attract developers to its Android ad network. How it suggests delivering its ads is telling: the company offers advertising shortcuts app developers can place on users' home screens and also push ads that show up in users' notification trays.

Nothing like bringing that genuine Windows adware experience to the mobile world.

What'd I Just Do?

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 3:35 PM

So, I was looking through American TV's ad this morning for their warehouse sale and noticed they had Mac minis (PowerPC) starting at $299. I called up and while my store did not have any, they had two in the St. Louis area — one 1.42 GHz/256 megs of ram and one 1.25 Ghz/256 megs of ram for $349 and $299 respectively. Both are the combo drive models, but that's not so bad.

I bought both of them. They're going for more than that on eBay, after all and they have a 15 day return policy if I get buyers remorse.

I thought I'd mention this truly great deal in case anyone has an American store in their area. Seems like a great deal. I have a sample copy of OS X Server that I'm going to put on one of them. Maybe the other will be an extra computer workstation or something, I'm not sure.

What Technology Do You Really Want?

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:00 PM

I'm just curious, dear readers, what piece of technology would you get right now if you had, say, $4,000, and could spend it on just one item? That's a tough question, isn't it?

Well, I think I know what I'd go for. It'd run this and this very nicely. It'd also complement my Dell Dimension 4550 running Mandrake Linux quite nicely (silver and black always look nice together — as the Logitech MX700 mouse demonstrates :-)).

So, how 'bout you?

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