Quick Roundup 512

Monday, March 08, 2010

Raymond on Smart Phones

Over at Armed and Dangerous, Eric Raymond takes a look at two aspects of the rapid evolution of smart phones.

First, he discusses how smart phones might render the PC obsolete.

Here's what I think my computing experience is going to look like, oh, about 2014:

All my software development projects and personal papers live on the same device I make my phone calls from. It looks a lot like the G1 now sitting on the desk inches from my left hand; a handful of buttons, a small flatscreen, and a cable/charger port. My desk has three other things on it: a keyboard about the size of the one I have now, a display larger than the one I have now, and an optical drive. Wires from all three run to a small cradle base in which my phone sits; this also doubles as a USB hub, and has an Ethernet cable running to my house network. And that's my computer.
Since adding Portable Ubuntu to my pocket office, my computing life looks a lot like this already, except, of course, that I'm not making phone calls from my pen drive. Practically any computer serves as my USB hub, keyboard, and screen.

And then, Raymond looks at things to come on the software side of this revolution:
Google is willing to let handset makers, telecoms providers, and third-party developers capture most of the overt value of the Android market. Google can give all that prompt revenue away because everything it's doing in this space is actually funded the same way its search-engine business is; by the volume of consumer attention Android devices will bring to its advertising. Apple, on the other hand, acts as a very controlling gatekeeper of its products -- requiring (and insisting) that it’s going to capture most of the profit margin for itself.
Raymond draws parallels to past battles in information technology (and refers to a few similar articles) to back up his point. He summarizes his point as "Greed kills," but I see the problem more as "Short-range thinking and a failure to appreciate division of labor kill."

Wrong Metric

An article at Politico makes a common mistake: Judging the relevance of a nascent political movement by how many of its candidates get elected. Far better is to have any major candidate who wants to get elected making sure he has something to offer you.

This error is responsible for countless stillborn third party movements and much needless frustration by good men made to feel that they are accomplishing nothing.

And speaking of wrong metrics, I see that the establishment media vultures are circling over David Axlerod -- as if the same damned message we've been hearing since FDR will resonate better if only given a different spin "next time."

Rejuvenate your netbook.

Between the arrival of my desktop and the start of my current position, my now oldish netbook has seen a lot less use. It was also in dire need of a software upgrade. Vaguely recalling from Paul Hsieh that there are Linux distributions tailor-made for netbooks, I hunted around, found a list of ten, and decided that Eeebuntu offered the best combination of usefulness and continued development. So I made a bootable pen drive and installed it yesterday.

As it turns out, I ended up making the same choice as Hsieh and am slapping my forehead for not having done this upgrade much sooner. This runs my netbook far better than the pre-installed OS in every single way that I have noticed a difference so far.

The Thing that Wouldn't Die Already

Mark Steyn explains why the Democrats might not really care about losing the mid-terms if they pass physician slavery, and a commenter to a related blog post predicts what will happen if Nancy Pelosi doesn't gather enough votes to pass it.

Off-the-cuff question, because I'm in a hurry: Does the bill die after this Congress or can it still be passed if it's around after the November elections?

Together and Wise

Karl Martin has found another fun quiz. Here are my results.
You Are Together and Wise

You have a broad, mature outlook on life. You know that there are ups and downs, and you feel like you can weather them.

You feel like you can't depend on anyone but yourself in this world. You feel quite alone sometimes.

You feel exhausted about your past and those you have loved. It's been a long, hard road.

You succeed by tapping into your reserves. You have an extraordinary amount of energy and endurance.
In the process of answering one of the questions, I came up with a corollary to the "coin-flip test:" If you don't figure out your answer while the coin is in mid-air, ask yourself whether you are relieved or unhappy when it lands.

-- CAV


: Added hypertext anchors.


Jim May said...

I've been running Ubuntu Netbook Remix on an Acer netbook since August, and while it's a bit choppy sometimes, it handles all of my e-commerce, banking etc. quite nicely. It replaced my aging dual-Athlon workstation, which sounds like a jet at idle when it's running.

I only kept the Windows side (dual-boot) for the purpose of handling Itunes for my Iphone (my main PC runs winXP64 and won't run Itunes).

Jim said...

re: "Does the bill die after this Congress or can it still be passed if it's around after the November elections?"

It can still be passed after the election and before the next Congress begins.

Such legislative action is common for resolving spending issues that were pushed by continuing resolutions until after the election; not necessarily nefarious, just that the budget and appropriations process never works on schedule.

Gus Van Horn said...

Jim May,

That had been my first impulse, but then I saw that my machine was only Tier Two for UNR here.

While most of the problems seemed minor, I went with Eeebuntu because it seemed like I'd have to do less fiddling around after the install.


Thanks for the reply.

Although not nefarious, I'm sure Pelosi will find a way to MAKE it nefarious if she feels like it.