Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Ho Ho! I have given up on trying to get answers from the politians, after several calls to each party I have completely failed to get a hold of anyone who has the slightest idea what I'm on about. In my riding it is unfortunately a race between the Liberals and NDP, the Tories have no hope in this riding. I am therefore going to hold my nose and Vote for Jack Layton, for the simple reason that I'd rather my money be squandered then stolen.
On the subject of linux games I have been given shit for not mentioning BurgerSpace an awesome clone of the classic BurgerTime, this game is hours of fun.
If any one is looking for a cool way to do VPN my buddy Vito sent me a link to this cool looking product Hamachi, seems like a cool way to do VPN, although why in the world they named it after Sushi I have no idea.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Still haven't called the political parties, working in a call centre one tends to put off talking on the phone as much as possible. I have been following the debate over Linus Torvalds post to the Gnome Usability mailing list, this really is a tempest in a teapot, if that's how Linus feels he is entitled to his opinion. Personally I now prefer the Gnome desktop, though I was a KDE user until switching to Ubuntu. In part at least I can agree with Linus, Gnome doesn't offer enough advanced options in it's GUI settings menus, for some advanced functions it is occasionally necessary to enable them from the terminal window. What I'm not sure about is if this is a bad thing, the position of the Gnome usability people is that to many options confuse people and that anyone who knows enough to want to use the advanced options knows enough to enable them from the command line. Again I'm not sure this is really an acceptable answer, many users in the Windows world who are not power users in a general way will figure out the advanced options to do particular things they want to do, if we in the open source community want to attract those people to Linux we must provide graphical access to those options. That said the answer is not KDEs cacophony of buttons and check boxes, some of these confuse even me, and I'm quite geekish, and the look ugly as sin. Perhaps the answer is something more along the line of the current Gnome menus but with an advanced button thrown in that brings up an advanced menus with additional features, this seems like the best of both worlds. One thing the usability people need to remember is that a feature a user can't use is unusable.
I often hear people complain about the state of gaming on Linux but there really are some cracking good open source games out there, I killed most of yesterday playing Freeciv, this open source implementation of Sid Meyers classic Civilization has developed into something far beyond the original game, with hundreds of customizable options and the ability to play networked as well as single player games against computer generated opponents, this game available for Windows and Mac as well as Linux is well worth the download. Another open source game to which I have recently become addicted is Kbounce, this excellent KDE game requires the player to trap the bouncing balls in no more then 25% of the screen, this is harder then it sounds especially as there are more balls added at each level. Unfortunately your Windows and Mac using friends will have to sit this one out, another reason to move to Linux. If you like platform games check out Blob Wars, Metal Blob Solid, this interesting platform shoot em up is great fun, it's available for Linux, Windows, Mac and AmigaOS4. The only frustration with this game is I can't figure out how to get passed level 4 if anyone has figured out the secret of this level please let me know. Finally now and then everybody needs to frag, there are now a fair number of great shoot em ups available for Linux, but most are commercial proprietary software, for open source purists who feel the need for some blood and gore choices are more limited, fortunately there's FreeDoom a complete Open Source first person shooter base on the doom engine. Some of the levels in this game appear to need fleshing out but whets there is great fun and good for many hours of fragging.
Ash and I are off to my parents this afternoon for an early X-mas, on our return I hope to motivate myself to call politians and find out more about the positions of the political parties on matters open source. I may post an update later today.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I have decided to go with a MythTV box as my next project, I like the idea of building something I'm really going to use day to day and that my wife can enjoy to. Also, this will finally give me the push I've been needing to buy a decent TV. I've been follwing the progress of Lugradio presenter Jono Bacon with his MythTV box and it sounds fairly do able, and lots of fun. I have heard oe slightly worrying thing, someone was telling me that standard TV tuner cards don't work in Canada, have not been able to confirm this, if anyone has more info please pass this on. I still have had no contact with the political parties, getting home to late to call, I hope to get in touch swith them this weekend, I am slightly annoy that there has been complete silence in response to my emails. One would think the parties would want to respond to requests of this type of info relatively quickly, esspecially during an election.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Stil no word from the political parties, I will call them after work tonight. Been playing with the Epiphany web browser, it's ok, but it's no Firefox, I miss my extentions. Been Pimping the ubuntu again, one of my more talented students instaled it this weekend. further updates tonight.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Productive night last night, sent emails to the 3 major political parties asking for info on their IT policies. No responses so far, but I kind of figured it would take a couple of days to hear back, if I've heard nothing by Monday. Tried to contact the Bloc to but I don't read enough French to find the contact us link on their site, if anyone who does read French wants to help me out please contact me and I'll forward you the questions I'm asking for you to translate and pass on, I'd appreciate it.
I'm assisting with a training class right now and one of my students asked to recommend a Linux distro, I recommended two, Ubuntu and Mepis, as he wants a full graphical environment, does anyone have any other suggestions? Been thinking about doing something interesting with my test box, either MythTV or Asterick has anyone tried setting up either of these type of systems? It's a duron 900mhz with 256 of ram so it may not be beefy enough for either of these projects in which case I will probably wait til the new year and buy a cheap box at factory direct or some other cheap PC store, that may be a better idea anyway as the case of the test machine is ugly as sin.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Hi all, I am a Tech support geek from Toronto, Canada. I have been working with and advocating Linux and open source software for the past several years. I have started this blog in order to pimp cool pieces of software I have found and discuss open source issues.
One f the first things I want to pimp is Lugradio, I have recently become a huge fan of this awesome Linux podcast. Hosted by four of the funniest blokes in the opensource community this British podcast addresses serious open source issues in a light hearted funny way, it's definitly worth a listen.
In upcoming posts I intend to talk about the the positions of the Canadian political parties with regard to IT and opensource issues as well as cool apps and distros.