Thursday, July 30, 2009
Is this the way American political dialog should be conducted? I think not. If these Republicans could come up with a viable plan of their own, they could talk about that. But no, they would rather continue to purvey fear upon our senior citizens, and everyone else too. What is sad is that so many buy it. I never thought I would see this country on such a downward slide so as to reach this low point in political discourse.
Rachel Maddow on MSNBC has examples in the clip below.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Back in 1990, the world of personal computing was divided into two camps; IBM Personal Computers and their clones running the ubiquitous MS-DOS, and Apple's Macintosh and its Graphical User Interface, or GUI. Text-based DOS ruled the business world, while the Mac had established a beach head in the graphic design, desktop publishing, and educational markets. But it was becoming clear that the future was a graphical one. Microsoft, the purveyor of MS-DOS had made early attempts with an environment called Windows that ran on top of DOS, but it was not very useful at that stage, and very few programs required it.
There were other attempts to bring DOS into the graphical world. Digital Research had tried to get its GEM Desktop accepted, but it gained very little traction in the marketplace. Part of that was because of an infringement lawsuit against Digital Research filed by Apple. Yet just when Microsoft was about to release its first really usable version of Windows, version 3.0, another program hit the shelves, that was in many ways superior to the Microsoft product. That program was called GeoWorks Ensemble.
GeoWorks was created by a small company named Berkeley Softworks, that had created GUIs for other computing platforms, such as the Commodore 64 home computer. GeoWorks was written in assembly language, making it extremely fast and responsive, even when running on an Intel 80286 chip. Like Windows, it still needed MS-DOS underneath its pretty shell, but it claimed several advances that Windows didn't yet have. These include filenames longer than the eight-plus-three format that DOS required, scalable typefaces, WYSIWYG desktop publishing, and a scalable interface. For neophytes, GeoWorks had a basic, iconic interface option, somewhat akin to the modern iPhone screen. For more advanced users there were two steps up, that resemble modern GUI design.
So why are we not all using GeoWorks 9.0 today? I see at least three reasons. First, although Geoworks was sold with several great applications, such as GeoWrite, GeoDraw, and GeoDex, it initially lacked a spreadsheet application. At at time where Lotus 1-2-3 had set the bar for financial modelling, a spreadsheet was a must. Secondly, the developer's kit for GeoWorks was prohibitively expensive, dissuading software coders from developing for the platform. Finally, it was a pure case of being outmarketed. With the DOS cash cow, Microsoft could easily bury the smaller firm in an avalanche of advertising and public relations noise.
Over the years, GeoWorks was sold twice...first to NewDeal Software, and then to BreadBox. But development remains stuck at least a decade in the past, and the niche markets that have been identified for the product have failed to respond.
How great it would be to see someone buy the rights who really cares about GeoWorks. It could be given modernized graphics, drivers for new hardware, support for OpenType, and perhaps even run on top of the Linux kernel. After all, Google's new operating system, Chrome, will use that kernel as its basis, and Linux is a solid base. Then perhaps we would see some real competition!
Still, that will remain only a dream. I doubt there is any chance of that becoming reality. But for those of us who found GeoWorks a viable, and advanced operating environment, it will always remain the little GUI that could!
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Get yours HERE.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Thursday, July 09, 2009
We, too, possess the heart of an early adopter but the wallet and wary sensibility of a cautious consumer.
Winda Benedetti, contributor msnbc.com
iPhone 3G S
GeForce 3D Vision Kit
Roomba 562 Pet
Dream Cat Venus
Touch Watch Phone
"I heard this lady, she was like, 'Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?' She's like, 'I'm scared they might do something to my child,'" said camper Dymire Baylor.
Reports are that when the black children got in the pool, all the Caucasian kids immediately left. Horace Gibson, a parent of one of the day camp kids said:
"The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."
The day after this happened, the camp was told their money would be refunded and they could not come back. The Valley Swim Club's president, John Duesler, said that the concern is that the kids would "change the complexion...and the atmosphere of the club".
Yes blatant racism is alive and well in America, and it is not only in the South. And what a sad thing for these children to have experienced. For the full story as reported by Philly's NBC 10, CLICK HERE.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Personally, I would love to see more widespread choice. Although Google is touting the new OS as a Windows alternative for netbooks, can its wider deployment be far behind? Now if Apple can be persuaded to release OSX into the wild, we could see some real competitive choices. Windows, OSX, Google OS, Linux, wow! Let the OS wars begin!
Monday, July 06, 2009
In my 1950s childhood mind, I probably had quite a few adventures emulating the bravery of Davy as portrayed by Fess Parker in living black & white on our television screen. Of course I was not alone. Davy was a pop phenomenon in those days. After all, he "kilt him a bar when he was only three".
One of my toys from those days is still in my possession. It was a plastic squeak toy of a child dressed out as Davy. This may be the only toy I still have from my childhood, and frankly I am surprised it is still around. The second picture is it, and you can also see the chewed up end of Davy's rifle. I recall that it was a really pleasant feeling to chew that thing, not thinking about the damage it was doing to the toy. Maybe I was like a dog with a squeak toy, chewing and squeaking it as much as I could.
So there we have it. A story of a boy, a toy, and a frontier hero who died at the Alamo.
A family in Stockton, California says that Jacko has appeared on a stump where their birch tree had a branch removed. As Skeptic magazine publisher and author Michael Shermer has pointed out, we are pattern seeking animals. This is why we see shapes in clouds and constellations in our night sky. Despite that, I am sure there are people who worship MJ to the point that they will hang on to this as a sign of some sort. I just wonder...when they pruned the tree, did they remove Jackson's nose?
Saturday, July 04, 2009
This photo was taken in 1955, and is my mother and I with our old 1939 Pontiac. I am sure of the year, as Mom is obviously pregnant with my oldest sister. This car is one of my very earliest memories. I vividly recall sitting in the back seat. I loved peering out of the second backseat window, the one in the very back that is smaller than the others. Another thing interesting about this car is that the back doors are hinged in the rear and open in the opposite direction from the front doors.
In this picture, I am wearing one of my two favorite types of head gear during those times...a cowboy hat. The other was my Davy Crockett faux-coonskin cap.
I am not exactly sure of the locale of this picture, and I will need to ask my parents, but I suspect this was at the married student housing at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, where my dad was completing his Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Below is an ad for this car when it was first offered to the public by General Motors. Wouldn't it be nice to have one of these now?
Thursday, July 02, 2009
This afternoon's storm was a nice thunderstorm, not so severe, but gave us a good downpour and a lot of rolling thunder. I grabbed the trusty Olympus LS-10, and picked up a few seconds of sound. Below is some of it, and you can hear the rainfall, the thunder, and a neighbor's windchime. Enjoy!
Edited to add: This is the first audio file I have placed on this blog using a different host. I had been using podbean.com for hosting audio files and creating an embedded player. This one is using the Internet Archive at www.archive.com. They can host text, audio, video, and many other types of multimedia files. Their embedded player you see above has a volume control which is lacking on PodBean's. The Internet Archive also creates not only an embeddable player, but it allows you to choose a license for your files. The original file I uploaded was MP3 format, but they also create other versions automatically. My file resulted in not only the MP3, but also Ogg Vorbis, ZIP, M3U, and metadata files. It is totally free, and I highly recommend it. There is nothing wrong with PodBean, but I am liking the Internet Archive a lot!
Fifty-year-old Keith Wright, a man from the Bronx who is apparently bipolar, decided to strip naked on a US Airways flight from Charlotte to Los Angeles. He refused to keep a blanket on that was put on him by a flight attendant. Ultimately, two Los Angeles law enforcement personnel on the flight wrestled him down and the flight was diverted to Albuquerque, where Wright will likely be given a psychiatric evaluation.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
The RC will begin its shutdown routines on March 1, 2010. The commercial release of the OS will be October 22, 2009, so you should be in good shape. That is plenty of time to get the final product. One note though...it isn't an easy upgrade from beta to RC. A clean install is recommended (unless you had the foresight to run the beta in a virtual machine, that is).
Houston's 104.1 FM, KRBE used to publish their playlist on record sleves for 45 rpm singles. Here is one from May 2, 1978. There were some great songs on the top 40 that week, and it is hard to believe that it has been 31 years since these were current. At least it is to me. But then again, I am old!
Just take a look at some of these. Songs like Dust in the Wind, Baker Street, and Runnin' on Empty are there. But most noticeable is the fact that songs from the megahit movie, Saturday Night Fever dominated this chart of the disco fever era. I count at least four from that soundtrack. And take a look at #4. Thank You for Being a Friend by Andrew Gold went on to become the theme song for the television sitcom, The Golden Girls. The show's theme was a cover version by Cynthia Fee. There is also a song in the Top 40 from the movie Grease. You're The One That I Want by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John came in at #9 that week.
On the back among other things, is a list of the disc jockeys who spun those hits on KRBE. As always, you can click on the images to get larger versions.
The Richard Dawkins Foundation recently produced a video featuring Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic Magazine, where Shermer takes Sagan's idea of a Baloney Detection Kit and lays out the concept for wider distribution. This video is almost 15 minutes long, but well worth the watching, given all of the claims and counter claims flying about these days.
The video is below, You can also download an MP3 audio file of this HERE (6.7 MB); or download a video Quicktime file HERE (122.4 MB).