Monthly Archives: August 2007

Hasta la vista, Vista.

I just recieved an email from eWeek titled The Trouble with Vista.

The linked sideshow addresses ten major problems with Windows Vista, and I have to say I’ve been reading a lot about this lately and have had several friends and patrons who don’t like Vista. Some people who recently bought systems pre-installed with Vista asked for my help to switch back to Windows XP (which really is a fairly good and stable OS). I also got a link to a new low-priced ($379 Vostro 200) Dell and popped it up to check it out. I was mainly interested in whether the cost reduction was due to Ubuntu Linux as an OS since this is now an option on some Dells. I was surprised to find that Dell is recommending Windows XP over Vista. If you are in the market for a new computer, I would follow Dell’s recommendation and NOT get Vista preloaded. Of course, there are other¹ options.



1. Other options: A Mac or a Dell preloaded with Ubuntu Linux.


Second Life not much better than the first.

As part of an assignment for an MLIS class, I spent some time on Orientation Island in Second Life. Some parts were fun, some a little frustrating. Second life, for those who don’t know (me included), is (according to the website) a “3D online digital world imagined, created, and owned by its residents.”

As I was rounding out my orientation (the fun part) I ended up getting stuck in a wall (the frustrating part). I guess it was my own fault. I was exploring some of the controls, and realized when right-clicking somewhere a circular context menu pops up with fun things to do with what I clicked on. On this menu was “sit here”. Hey I’ll try that, I thought. It must have been the wrong thing to do, because when I tried to stand, I found myself trapped initially in the floor, but then as I struggled, jumped and attempted to fly (yes, you can fly here) I found myself stuck within a wall. I tried quitting and then logging back into SL, thinking it would fix itself, but SL is very good at keeping track of where your avatar left off. I hit the Net and searched for how to get out of walls and all I found were people talking about how when they started they often got stuck in walls and how when they try to help newbs stuck in wall, the newbs get embarrassed and logoff. But, none of these posts explain how to get out of the wall.

So, armed with the knowledge that one CAN get out of the wall, I logged back in and decided that since sitting is what got me into this mess, I would just sit my avatar down right there and think through this. After some deep virtual contemplation, my avatar stood back up and began jumping, flying and walking in every direction – and suddenly he, or I, was free and falling to the ground.

So, Second Life is a whole lot like my first life. I may not get stuck in walls literally here, but often the solution is to just sit for a bit and think it through… and then, thrash around wildly.


Microsoft products on Linux?

Today I read a bit of news from India that caught my eye.
Software bonhomie: Microsoft products to operate better on Unix, Linux Could this be more movement toward the tipping point from proprietary to open source software?

India is a leader in the use of Open Source software, and for good reason: businesses often can’t afford proprietary software and it seems that the growing Indian economy is catching the attention of Microsoft. The article mentions that ” with large customers finding newer ways of leveraging cost advantages of Linux, it is becoming compelling for Microsoft to start working towards opening its products to rival environments.”

Another issue touched on in this article is the attitude of Indian government toward proprietary software: “Proprietary software in government segment is considered a taboo and Microsoft is playing a catch-up game here.” Many European government are beginning to feel the same way, that an open government should not use a closed system.

I have watched Linux for many years and have read many articles titled “The year of Linux,” and the tipping point may actually be coming. Dell introduced a line of computers running Ubuntu Linux earlier this year and sales must be good enough that they are expanding the line. HP and Lenovo (owner of the IBM brand) are also introducing Linux computers.


Library Computer Guy 101

My first instalment of my first blog is intended to be a bit of an introduction and explanation of the moniker “Library Computer Guy.” I didn’t know this was my name, but apparently everyone thinks this is my name… even me.
Let me explain. For the last several years I have worked at a public library in a town of about 15,000. My desk sits out in the middle of the library by the banks and banks of computers that now are a predominant feature of the “connected” library. The first thing anyone sees upon walking through the doors is me, so I get a lot of face time. Often I look up and smile – being distracted by moving objects.

On the “outside” people stare at me as if to say “”Don’t I know you from somewhere.” Some will translate the look into actual words and as I mention that I work at the library they excitedly say “Yeah, you’re the library computer guy.”