TechBytes Audiocast – Episode 11 – 22/11/10

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Intro music: “I fought the troll” by Tom Smith.  You can find more of his work here.

Hosts: Tim (OpenBytes) Roy (Techrights) Gordon (Thistleweb)

Featured Track: SPARKLE” by Honey Sac (published in SXSW 2009 Showcasing Artists)

We continue with part two of our discussion on Microsoft FUD and tactics, including privacy/security we then conclude with looking at the following articles:

NY lawyer gets jail in Dead Sea Scrolls case

Chinese bride sentenced to hard labour for retweet

Jolicloud’s Jolibook Netbook Hitting Stores

Due to time constraints, I will link to TechRights for episode 11 and will host on Mediafire by Monday.

UPDATE: The ogg version of episode 11 can be found here and the mp3 here.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com / TwitterIdenti.ca

You can also contact me on Skype: tim.openbytes

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

TechBytes Audiocast – Episode 7 – 14/11/10

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Theme music is by Tom Smith from the track “I fought the Troll” and you can see more of his excellent work here.

We covered the following news/articles:

JoliBook set to launch with JoliCloud OS

Whilst talking about this mention is made of Peppermint which was reviewed on OpenBytes a few months ago.  You can find that article here.

The Difference Engine: Linux’s Achilles heel

The Economist talks about Linux and in my view the usual “I love Linux but….” type of way.  As you have probably guessed, we were not overly impressed by the article which doesn’t even appear to have an authors name behind it.

I also thank Chips for his Windows Phone 7 contribution and add the information which explores more issues.

Dr Schestowitz of Techrights has his own show notes here.

You can download the ogg version here.

You can download the mp3 version here.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com / TwitterIdenti.ca

You can also contact me on Skype: tim.openbytes

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Grahame Morrison – No feuds on his watch?

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Is Mr Morrison "stirring the pot"? Does he actually think differences of opinion or "feuds" are harmful? We all remember "Ah....Youre killing FOSS"

I read an interesting article by Grahame Morrison entitled “Feuds and rivalries are damaging open source” (where all the quotes are taken from) which I start (and not beat around the bush) by saying is complete rubbish in my humble opinion.

After digesting his discourse I came to the conclusion that either he doesn’t understand the concept of different opinions being productive or simply wants to join in on some imagined “damaging” conflict in order to attract readers.  The article is not what I would expect TechRadar to publish and to be honest, its slightly cheapened Techradar credibility for me.

For a community that’s supposed to rally under the noble banners of freedom, fairness and fraternity, the world of free software is chockfull of disagreement, feuds and simmering rivalries.

Before we look at this comment, lets put something into perspective here.  We are talking about technologies, not world peace, global warming or famine.  There are plenty of other far more important issues in the world than software.  I don’t know about anyone else but I can have a disagreement with someone and actually get on with my life afterwards.  If that person (or opinion) returns again, fine, I debate again.  Its hardly detrimental to my life and Ive often said if overnight Linux (for example) was to wiped off the planet, it would hardly be the end of my world.  I’m an adult.  I hope you are too.

Now it might come as a shock to Mr Morrison, but the open source community (or any other IT related one) is not a collection of people patting each other on the back and agreeing blindly.  We all have our opinions and in the Open Source world, we have the flexibility to exercise a considerable amount of choice in our solutions.  In the FOSS world differences are championed, its maybe one of the reasons why the end user has so much choice and afterall, if everyone agreed that Transmission was the only BT client of choice, then we wouldn’t have Deluge and the plethora of others (as I said in a previous article here)

….Rather than promoting the use of open source, this division does more harm than good. The Gnome desktop is pitted against KDE, while Xfce dislikes them both

How silly.  I personally don’t like KDE and have Xfce as my DE of choice.  I do have/use/like Gnome too (and Fluxbox and Enlightenment) how is this damaging to the respective techs and how is Mr Morrison suggesting this “choosing of sides” is damaging a DE?  Utter rubbish.  Mr Morrison, I repeat, this is tech we are talking about and at the end of the day I would consider any such rivalry of little consequence.

Could Mr Morrison mean the devs themselves?  If he is then his point is even more ridiculous since competition (friendly or not) has shown in the past to produce better end products for the user.  If Linux/Mac never existed, do you think that Vista would have been replaced so quickly?  Thats one example, Im sure you can think of many more.

….If that doesn’t scare you off, take a look at some of the articles by the FSF’s President, Richard Stallman…..

So why then Mr Morrison are we seeing not only an increase in usage of Linux, but a larger deployment of FOSS technologies all across the IT spectrum?  I don’t see many people being “frightened” and I’d suggest that the only frightened users were those from the early days of Linux when it was not as “out of the box” as it is today.  The FSF has opinions that I don’t agree with, Canonical has ideas I don’t agree with….so what? They are opinions and I think the vast majority of users will base theirs on a mixture of many sources/views on the net.

In the end, those are the only things that are important, because without users there would be no work for the Foundation to do at all. It’s high time everybody lightened up.

Are you "scared off" as Mr Morrison seems to suggest or do you think (like me) that competition (or his words "rivalries") are good for the end-user?

We are already “lightened up”  Do you seriously think anyones world would come to an end if KDE was to remove competition (for example)?  Even though I am not keen on it, I think I would cope.  In the meantime I welcome healthy debate and disagreement.  To do otherwise would at best make for a dull community and at worst be dishonest.

Lets keep the “feuds” going, in my opinion they are great for the FOSS/Linux community.

Or should we all just stop what we are doing, move back to Microsoft products and all pretend that we agree with each other?  I don’t know if Mr Morrison has failed to grasp this whole concept anyway since whilst he was mentioning about “feuds” between DE’s, he seemed to completely miss a far bigger (and perhaps aggressive) “feud”, that being the Mono issue which he managed to quickly mention in a few words.  He claims Python versus Perl, really?  Ive dabbled with Python (which I stuck with for personal reasons, nothing to do with any “feud” that I honestly haven’t seen.)

Anyone seen this Python V Perl feud and can anyone evidence where it has damaged or hindered either product? and I wonder if Mr Morrison will think that my article which dares to challenge his opinion, counter productive in the same way?

I’ll let my readers decide and whilst they are at it, we can remind ourselves of an article by myself on the claim of “Killing FOSS”

….This eclectic position slowed progress toward version 3 of the GPL licence – used by most open-source projects

Did it? and how was this detrimental to the FOSS world we live in today?  I would love an explanation of that.  Specifically, what has suffered and how?

My question to Mr Morrison would be: How are these “feuds” of yours detrimental to Linux/FOSS?  Do you not agree its far more popular now than ever before?  In fact why don’t you evidence an example where a difference of opinion in community (or in your words feud/rivalry) is harmful to a product?

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the Openbytes statement, here.

When must you shill for Linux? – A rather disturbing idea.

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How many times have people accused me of “Microsoft Hater”, “Linux Zealot”, “Linux Unwashed”?  Comments like these (and many more vulgar ones) are often thrown by a Microsoft advocate with no argument to any person who dares to suggest there is an alternative to their products.  Its easy to dismiss a point of view with a single insult and the practice has been going on for years (and will for many more to come).

The purpose of this article is to report on a Linux distro and ask the question what would Linux users do?

I reported recently that I had been trying Elive and that due to the apparent lack of continuation of Wolvix (thats now changed) I was trying out many distro’s for my new distro of choice on the main rig.  With that in mind I eagerly downloaded Elive, from the professional site and the nice trailer it had me sold on at least a download and test.  And test I did.   The LiveCD functioned very speedily and was a very solid, reliable piece of software.

So far so good? Well no.  Due to limited time I had been running my secondary rig off the LiveCD and had not got around to installing it on the HD.  My mistake, if I had, I would not have wasted tweets (and lines in IRC) saying how good a replacement to my beloved Wolvix it was.

So what went wrong?  Well, whats not made clear is that Elive in fact wants a donation.  In itself not a problem at all, I fully support and champion the idea that hard work should be rewarded/supported, but Elive does it a little differently.  Firstly it requires payment before you can install it, so to me the donation comes as something of an enforced user contribution.  Secondly if you dislike the ethos of DRM, then you are not going to be happy at the fact that in order to ensure you have paid, an “install module” (unique to your PC apparently) has to be downloaded and present after payment.  Great stuff? This all came as a bit of a surprise since it is not clear on the site that you cannot install without payment, but the bigger surprise for me was yet to come if you want to get a “free” code to install Elive without payment:

Write an article about Elive on any website you like, we give you a free invitation code for this, depending of the importance of the website and how good the article is you can obtain up to 5 invitations.

Thats taken from the Elive website and found here.

Now over on reddevil62-techhead.blogspot.com/2010/03/elive-20-topaz-gem-that-comes-at-price.html which reviews the distro in detail and looking at the comments of users, on the whole this apparent covert way of asking for a donation is not well received.

But thats not my main issue with Elive and their “scheme”, what worries me is this free invitation “deal”.  I particularly dislike the part where it says “depending of the importance of the website and how good the article is you can obtain up to 5 invitations” which to me sounds like it would encourage that which Ive challenged so many times in the past – Articles on the basis of a freebie.  I wonder if this article will receive any free invites and I wonder if the average 1000 unique reads a day is deemed as important by the Elive creators?

This to me is wrong, very wrong.  I do not blindly download software, I do not skim through EULA’s or T&C’s without reading them properly, thats why I believe this whole donation scheme which the Elive creators have is rather poor.  I would not have downloaded it had I known that before I could test it on my HD I would have to either pay, or write an article about it (presumably to help promote the distro)  There is reference to payment on the site, however its far from obvious and Ive learnt a valuable lesson that even I now need to check the fine print of FOSS products….what has the world come to?

How many times have we seen bloggers who will write in the hope they receive a freebie from Microsoft?  Have we not seen articles from people where its alleged they have received a free laptop from good old MS?  If I did not highlight this distro, I would be hypocritical and I hope that it will also put an end to our Microsoft faithful who claim I only challenge Microsoft because its Microsoft.  Wrong doing is wrongdoing whether it be Microsoft, Apple or anyone else and whilst Elive may not be doing anything wrong (I’ll leave you to make your mind up), I certainly have covered similar practices in the past by other companies.

I may be strange but I only champion software which Ive actually properly tested and have an honest held belief in.  I think that to write an article with the intention of getting a freebie is not only dishonest but also very damaging to the reader who expects (and rightfully so) that whilst they may not agree with the article writer, their opinion is coming a position of not having a hidden motive.

So what’s next?  I am composing an email to send to the creators in the hope that they may have a reply to this article and in the meantime do wonder, how many invites will I get for this? – I’ll let you know.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the Openbytes statement, here.

The Windows 7 problem that never existed is finally fixed.

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Thanks to Roy Schestowitz of TechRIGHTS, my attention was drawn to this article.  I am sure TechRIGHTS will be covering the topic in more depth so you may want to check out the site shortly.

It is being written over at ZDnet by Mary Jo Foley that the battery complaint (in respect of battery reporting low) that was seen on some forums that

Microsoft officials said at that time that there weren’t any battery-related problems of note

Well she now reports that those “non-problems” have been fixed.

She later says:

Microsoft published a Knowledge Base article that points to BIOS refreshes now available from LG that will fix false “battery is low” reports.

So thats good news eh?  The problem that didn’t exist is now finally fixed.  You can read the ZDnet article here.

I think that says it all and maybe further shows why Microsoft were keen to award an MVP status that I wrote about in the previous article.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the Openbytes statement, here.

Microsoft gets two more retail outlets?

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More Microsoft stores on the way? Don't expect them to officially compete with Apple unless they can show better sales....Microsoft ego doesn't like second best.

The good ship Microsoft is chugging along very nicely, or so they would claim, Ive noticed an increase in Bing advertising on UK TV, however it seems all in vain since the “average joe” Ive spoken with still doesn’t know (or care) what it is.  And why should they? Most of them use Google.  I suppose if Microsoft buys more trade (as in Yahoo) then it can improve its figures.  As a competitor to Google? No way.  Before any Microsoft advocates here try to claim otherwise just remember the words of your leader that its not a search engine its a decision engine.  Of course it will only remain that way unless they ever manage to topple Google usage figures, then it will be a search engine again.

Its this perception of refusal to be acknowledged or admit being second to any other product that it appears to me Microsoft likes to “change the goalposts” when it comes to competition it can’t win.  Its why Im bringing you this next piece of news.

It is being reported that Microsoft is opening two stores, one in Denver one in San Diego.

Microsoft watch says:

….or that Microsoft sees the stores as more of a branding opportunity than a source of revenue. Whatever the reason, though, Microsoft evidently sees reason to keep on going.

“Keeping on going” seems to be a common theme.  One only has to cast ones mind back a short while to remember in the face of all the issues and dislike of Vista, its advocates were still claiming “Vista is loved” (and we covered those remarks many times over the years)

Microsoft Watch also mentions the two previous stores opening and says:

….after months of Microsoft executives trumpeting that they were prepared to challenge Apple’s retail experience head-on.

Since I think its a no-brainer to say that to date the Microsoft stores have in no way emulated to success of their more fashionable cousin (Apple), I am sure Microsoft will have some spin on it stores to suggest it never wanted to challenge Apple stores in the first place.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the Openbytes statement, here.


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Just a few bits and pieces that I wanted to clear before the new week starts.

Nintendo Sales – Fastest selling console in UK history?

It is being reported that sales of the WII console have exceeded 6 million, which makes it the fastest selling console in UK history. David Yamon of Nintendo had this to say:

the Nintendo Wii has captured the imagination of over six million families across the UK…..We’ll work even harder to ensure that the interest in Wii stretches over months and years, appealing to people of all ages and gaming experience.

But there may be envious eyes from both Sony and Microsoft, whilst many WII parties will be ocurring in households around the UK.  You only have to remember how the PS3 was received on Ebay on its initial days of release (compared to the WII) or simply cast you mind back to the “red rings of death” that the Xbox360 could suffer from. Its ironic that the lowest spec’d of the three current consoles is the most popular, but then maybe Nintendo have done what Microsoft (IMO) cant (very well) and thats relate to their customers.  I’ll let you decide that, but I certainly know what my family will be playing with this Xmas and it certainly won’t be the 360.

Channel 5 now on Youtube!

UK viewers will now get the last thirty days of Channel 5 on Youtube.  The deal was made possible by an advertising deal with Google.  Its not all good news though and it appears that those wishing to watch CSI[1] and Flash Forward[2] will not get them on Youtube.  Instead Channel 5 shows such as Neighbours can be viewed.  Great idea!? Im sure there a millions who would prefer a good Aussie soap to CSI any day.  IMO #Fail.

Google’s free DNS Service?

Google are offering (for those that don’t know) a free DNS service for everyone.  Speaking as an O2 customer, the one area Ive had repeated problems with was their DNS servers offering a service which at best I would call intermittent.  Located at and, they offer a faster alternative to your current ISP’s DNS (in theory) There have been voices of concern over privacy issues, however Google states that IP address are only kept temporarily (24 hours) and URLs are used to improve the service. Having now been using them for a few hours they seem no faster or slower than any other DNS service I’ve used.  Nice and easy to remember though and handy if, as I experience, your ISP’s service lets you down.  Why don’t I just permanently set my DNS server to a free one?  Simple, I resent having to pay a monthly subscription to an ISP and then permanently using a free service from someone else. http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns/ Google are reported to have said:

Google Public DNS stores two sets of logs: temporary and permanent. The temporary logs store the full IP address of the machine you’re using…We have to do this so that we can spot potentially bad things like DDoS attacks and so we can fix problems, such as particular domains not showing up for specific users. We delete these temporary logs within 24 to 48 hours.

Convinced?  Personally I am, but then theres plenty of choice out there for your DNS needs.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com