Geek talking

Pinoy geek talking about everything under the sun

Archive for March, 2005

Ahoy there!

Posted by rom on March 30, 2005

Why am I not surprised when I hear my students say that they pirate software applications and games? Is it because I have accepted this as the norm? Is it because that it is so rampant that it can be considered as legit – everyone does it anyway, right?

When you ask these students the reason behind software piracy, the most common answer is the cost of the legit software – being too unaffordable as far as their allowances or salaries (some work as student assistants, etc.) are concerned. Economics seem to be the best reason for piracy and coupling it with branding software companies as greedy by pricing their products too high.

I think that this is deeply rooted on the Filipino already – having been in poverty for close to eternity whilst having a select few elite who are rich (and mostly greedy). I can trace this as far back as the Spanish occupation when friars and Spanish conquistadors exploited the Filipinos. Add the way Filipino movies portray heros by making them poor whilst their adversaries are the greedy rich folks. To complicate things further, include the battle between capitalism and communism or socialism in the country as well.

Anyway, what needs to be done is for us to educate our students on the perils of piracy – of using illegally acquired software, of illegally distributing software. First, determine what software applications are being pirated. You will find out that the most pirated software are Microsoft Windows operating systems and the Microsoft Office suite. Next, present affordable alternatives such as Linux and OpenOffice.org, StarOffice or KOffice – which are all free! These recommendation, however, should not be seen as being anti-Microsoft but rather should be construed as encouraging students not to pirate. Heck, if they can afford the software, by all means buy it.

Follow-up by making students realize that electronic games are considered as luxury than a necessity. Luxury items are often bought when there’s excess cash (although the same cannot be said for those who are impulsive buyers like me hehehe). Make them save up to afford the game. If you cannot cut it, so to speak, don’t play it.

Students are different, for professionals, it is something else. More so for IT professionals! It is NOT ethical for IT professionals to even consider using pirated software (heaven forbid, recommend it to their clients!). I am wondering how many of these so-called local IT professionals are aware of the ACM or IEEE Professional Codes of Conduct. I have read an article at inq7.net about an IT professional purchasing or using pirate electronic games to “try it out” before purchasing it, if it is worth it. What makes the game worth it? If it is not, you already pirated the game, right? Did you help the industry? What if the ‘lousy’ game was created by Filipino game developer, who is the breadwinner of the family from lesser known province? You deprived their company of revenue needed to pay the Filipino game developer.

How about you? Do you pirate software/games? C’mon – be honest. 🙂

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Back to the SE Clinic

Posted by rom on March 26, 2005

Well, my SE K700i is now being diagnosed for, hopefully, a possible replacement. I had the unit fixed last February but it exhibited the same problems as before – now I am hoping that they will replace it. I just dropped it off at SM North today whilst doing some errands with Echo.

Anyway, I hope that I’d get a new unit next week – which I will definitely sell and get myself a new phone – maybe go back to Siemens or try the Motorola E398. Need a bluetooth phone that syncs with my powerbook, of course. Any recommendations?

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Musical Chairs

Posted by rom on March 20, 2005

Sun Microsystems is losing two key folks to different companies. One of them, whom I have met before, is Danese Cooper, the Sun Open Source Diva. She works for Sun techvangelist Matt Thompson. I am wondering why she is moving to Intel specially since Sun is now marketing AMD Opteron-based solutions. Anyway, good luck Danese! Hope to see you in JavaOne this year, though.

Anyway, I am hoping that this does not mean that Sun’s Open Source plans are changing. Sun has been on of the largest contributors in the community. Even if Java is not fully open sourced, Sun’s support to open source projects is one that cannot be beat by any company so far. However, IBM is fast moving in to that position as well. I must admit that IBM’s open source IDE, Eclipse, is a tool that has gained a lot of followers whilst competing directly against NetBeans, Sun’s baby. Since I do not have any use for IDEs yet, I have no opinion as to which one is better. I have, however, seen the SWT vs Swing debate and whilst Swing is fully portable, SWT is faster and looks better. I wish that the Swing engineers are doing a lot to improve it.

I do have one gripe about Sun, though. Its support for Java development on the Mac. Yes! Although Apple’s Mac OS X Server comes bundled with a lot of Java support, I think that Sun must also support the Mac by providing the same tools available on Solaris, Linux and Windows. Honestly, I think this is also a good move by Sun specially with Apple’s seriousness in getting a piece of the server market share. The more Java applications deployed surely is a big boost to Sun. 🙂 But then again, what do I know? Sun and Apple may have been working together to come up with something by JavaOne. 😀

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The Eagle has landed

Posted by rom on March 18, 2005

Yesterday, I got so frustrated by the fact that my reseller informed me that my 2005 powerbook order will be fulfilled by April 2005. Yes, a full two weeks from now. I was able to order it from a friend in HK – already made arrangements until I have decided that I can probably live with the recent model, the 1.5Ghz 15″ model. I sent an SMS blast to the resellers and found out that stocks have all been used up. Until I got a reply from Apple Centre – told me that they do have stock, arrived the day before yesterday.

I immediately had it reserved. Asked them to have it sent from their Megamall branch to SM North EDSA and in 2 hours, I have a brand new 2005 15″ 1.67Ghz Powerbook with 512MB RAM, 80GB HD, Bluetooth, Airport Extreme and Superdrive – all paid in cash! Good thing that it was not pay day yet otherwise the bank will be full of clients. 🙂

I have reinstalled the OS after partitioning the 80GB into two. Tried to connect my 12″ powerbook via Ethernet but couldn’t make AFP to work. Shesh! I just couldn’t be bothered to think of how to do it – I simply plugged in my 40GB iPod, transferred my data there – deauthorized my computer (iTMS downloads) and uninstalled CiphireMail.

Plugged the iPod to the 15″ and transferred the data quickly. Yeah, in 2 hours, I have all my data in my new powerbook. Coolness, huh?

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Let’s see how good you are…

Posted by rom on March 9, 2005

Ever since ISAW started publishing hacked or defaced government sites, a lot of local hackers and hacker-wannabe’s started contributing there. Check out the comments and you will find a lot of activity there.

Now, this challenge from Linuxense will prove how good these hackers are. This will be great! First person to post a vulnerability here gets to win… nothing. 🙂

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The Waiting Game

Posted by rom on March 9, 2005

I just got a call from my reseller that Apple Singapore did not ship any powerbooks this week. This means I have to wait another week for my 15″ powerbook to arrive. ARGH! The waiting kills me. PLDT will launch its WeRoam service and I want to test it out with the new powerbook since my 12″ powerbook does not have a PCMCIA card slot.

I am curious, however, since it only takes 5 days for Apple HK’s Online Store to ship the 1.67Ghz 15″ powerbook. How come it is taking them forever to ship it to the Philippines? This is one of the reasons why Apple resellers locally are having problems with grey market. They do not get their stocks early and grey marketeers can easily ship it to local customers.

Apple Singapore has to wake up!

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Why do I love thee?

Posted by rom on March 5, 2005

I bought my first Mac same time two years ago. It was an iBook that made me switch! It did not take long for me to upgrade to the powerbook and now I am graduating from the 12″ to the 15″. I think it is about time for me to get a ‘real’ powerbook. My notebooks are all desktop replacements and although the 12″ provided me with all the power and portability that I needed, I think the 15″ will provide me with some more.

People now brand me as either a Open Source advocate or a Mac advocate. Truth to tell, I am both. I do not ignore the fact that x86-based processors still have the largest share of the computer market but I do recognize superior technology when I see one. 🙂

Anyway, I advocate Linux and other OS applications on x86-based computers instead of Microsoft’s Windows operating systems. Yes, whilst I know that Linux has a small market share similar to the Mac, it is far more superior than the popular Windows operating system. It is far more secure, flexible, robust and best of all, affordable! It never fails to amaze me how people still use Windows operating systems while at the same time whine about getting infected by trojans, worms and viruses! Wake up, i-dee-ten-tee!

Although I advocate Linux and OS apps, I tend to use the Mac more often. Before I shifted, I was using a university-issued Toshiba notebook running Linux. Running Linux on notebooks has a lot of issue (in fairness, however, most issues have been solved as of press time) when it comes to hardware and software compatibility. There are some hardware devices that are simply not auto-detected by Linux on install so you need to tweak it and add modules and drivers. Whilst this is not unique to Linux, it is just a tad more difficult. Don’t get me wrong, that was two years ago. Today, driver support has improved by leaps and bounds. Manufacturers provide official Linux drivers already.

With the same market share as Linux, Mac share the same problem of being a second class citizen in the software industry. Software manufacturers tend to release Windows versions first before the Mac or if you are lucky, a Linux version, too. Let’s face it, with market share as the basis for revenue, we cannot blame these software developers. So what do I do? I turn to Open Source apps on the Mac as well.

I use OpenOffice.org Calc for my spreadsheet because I do not want to invest on a single Microsoft Office license! I use LaTeX for my documents and now that I have Pages, I use it for some quick unofficial documents. Anyway, I use Keynote 2 for my presentations and save it as PDF if sharing is required. No, I do not port it to Powerpoint!

I use VLC to view DVDs and other video formats (except for Quicktime, I use QuickTime Pro, of course), even Windows media format. If the format does not play properly, it is their fault and not VLCs. I simply delete the file and empty the trash bin right away! Hehehe…

So, with BSD running under the hood, I get the Command Line Interface (CLI) that I get on Linux, X11 as well BUT I have far better software-hardware integration than Linux and a more cooler interface, too.

If you are on the look out for a new computer, get a Mac. If you have invested on x86, use Linux!

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Waiting for Santa

Posted by rom on March 3, 2005

I have finally succumbed to technolust once again! For weeks now, I was struggling to decide on which option to get:

1. Get the 2005 12″ Powerbook (trade-in my 1.33 12″ powerbook) and get Mac Mini
2. Get the Mac Mini
3. Get the 2005 15″ Powerbook and give 1.33 12″ powerbook to my wife

After reading some Mac Mini issues and after realizing that I do not need 3 years warranty for the Mac Mini (besides, the wife does not want it but I might just get one for the kids later this year), I have decided to go for Option 3.

Yes! I am now getting the 15″ 1.67Ghz Powerbook with SuperDrive. The faster hard drive, backlit keyboard, PCMCIA slot (I might just get the new PLDT WeRoam service), better video card did it for me. And besides, the feature difference between the 15″ 1.67 and the 17″ is not that much — I think the only difference is the screen size. 🙂

And now the waiting begins… was told by my reseller that I will get it next week.

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Protecting the Shuffle

Posted by rom on March 3, 2005

Thanks to my friend from Hong Kong, I just received my Sports Case yesterday. First impression – it is a bit heavy. Yes, it does add weight to your Shuffle but I guess with the protection it offers, it is acceptable. I checked out the other cases available so far and except for one released by XtremeMac, the other cases do not offer the same protection as the Sports Case.

One major gripe, though – you cannot turn the Shuffle ON or OFF whilst it is in the case. The controls, however, work wonderfully. You just need to press on it harder than without the case.

What I like about this case is the fact that I no longer worry that someone will just come up to me and snatch my Shuffle whilst wearing the bundled lanyard. With the Sport Case, the Shuffle is very secure – no chance of being able to snatch it without really hurting your neck. 🙂

Next target, better lanyard. Orange seems not to fit me. hehehe… although I was wearing an orange shirt yesterday – matched perfectly. 🙂

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