Dell take a dose of Ubuntu

Congratulations to the guys at Canonical following today’s joint announcement with Dell. Having used Ubuntu myself since the first release over two-and-a-half years ago I know it’s a natural fit for Dell, but given their relationships with Red Hat and Novell I’m still slightly surprised they’re not offering Fedora or SUSE options as well.

That aside, this is great day not just for Linux but for anyone like me who doesn’t want their new computer preloaded with a bloated, proprietary, DRM-embracing hairball of an operating system like Vista but really can’t face the hassle of going the self-build route. I think I’ve worked out where the next PC is coming from.

The northern line

This is officially the furthest north I have ever been. Officially. Also, GNER’s wi-fi service ain’t half bad, although charging ten quid a pop for something that at best gives you speeds equivalent to a dial-up modem does seem rather cheeky.

Other random observations:

  • The train manager sounds rather like a Dalek. If Daleks came from the North of England and used the phrase “your co-operation would be greatly appreciated” at the end of each sentence then that would be him, spot on.
  • Competition does still exist on the railways, at least in a snipey we’re-better-than-them kind of way. Apparently the reason we’re 15 minutes delayed is due to us having ended up behind a “slow-moving Virgin train” somewhere round Doncaster. But I wouldn’t mess with the guy, because he sounds like a Dalek.
  • At least three quarters of England is covered in oil seed rape at the moment, it seems. It looks kinda freaky when you see this much of it – like some strange alien farming experiment gone wrong.
  • Just north of Doncaster near the M62 there’s a large collection of coal-fired power stations dotted around the place. Freaky things.

Adobe come good

I meant to write about this yesterday, but apparently trying to squeeze a week’s worth of work into four days prior to my day off today and fit in a trip to the gym meant I didn’t quite get round to doing so.

So Adobe have released Flex under the MPL, which is great news for the following reasons:

  • Building rich web-based user interfaces sucks at the moment. Creating anything vaguely useful means working with a bunch of semi-related standards such as HTML, CSS, AJAX that between them just about manage to do what you want them to today. It’s a mess and we need a better solution.
  • As Miguel commented on his blog, Microsoft have now consolidated their next-generation framework (now dubbed Silverlight) and I have no doubt that they will try hard to woo developers with this latest weapon in theirproprietary arsenal as they look to take over more and more of the web. Mozilla may finally be helping to claw back some of the browser share from M$, but if open standards can’t win the battle to define the technologies that are used to build the next generation of applications then we’re all in trouble. Unless you run Windows, of course.
  • Having Adobe choose an open source license to release their code under provides further validation that this is a model that works for businesses. As if we needed that, though 🙂

Even more encouraging is Adobe’s promise that as well as releasing the source code under the MPL, they will allow others to contribute to this code. That’s when you start to get the full benefit of being an open source outfit, and Adobe have obviously twigged that.

There’s no mention of their Flash player in the release, the lack of a full open source implementation of the player obviously being a significant barrier to the take-up of Flash on Linux in particular, which will limit it’s usefulness on these platforms. Releasing this code under a similar license would no doubt win Adobe a lot more kudos in the open source community, but the Flex announcement will still be warmly welcomed by many. Maybe not by Mr Gates, though.

Adobe come good

I meant to write about this yesterday, but apparently trying to squeeze a week’s worth of work into four days prior to my day off today and fit in a trip to the gym meant I didn’t quite get round to doing so.

So Adobe have released Flex under the MPL, which is great news for the following reasons:

  • Building rich web-based user interfaces sucks at the moment. Creating anything vaguely useful means working with a bunch of semi-related standards such as HTML, CSS, AJAX that between them just about manage to do what you want them to today. It’s a mess and we need a better solution.
  • As Miguel commented on his blog, Microsoft have now consolidated their next-generation framework (now dubbed Silverlight) and I have no doubt that they will try hard to woo developers with this latest weapon in their proprietary arsenal as they look to take over more and more of the web. Mozilla may finally be helping to claw back some of the browser share from M$, but if open standards can’t win the battle to define the technologies that are used to build the next generation of applications then we’re all in trouble. Unless you run Windows, of course.
  • Having Adobe choose an open source license to release their code under provides further validation that this is a model that works for businesses. As if we needed that, though 🙂

Even more encouraging is Adobe’s promise that as well as releasing the source code under the MPL, they will allow others to contribute to this code. That’s when you start to get the full benefit of being an open source outfit, and Adobe have obviously twigged that.

There’s no mention of their Flash player in the release, the lack of a full open source implementation of the player obviously being a significant barrier to the take-up of Flash on Linux in particular, which will limit it’s usefulness on these platforms. Releasing this code under a similar license would no doubt win Adobe a lot more kudos in the open source community, but the Flex announcement will still be warmly welcomed by many. Maybe not by Mr Gates, though.

The next station is… Pimlico

So the folks at OpenedHand have tied together their Dates and Tasks apps into into a nice-looking GTK suite called Pimlico, all licensed under the GPL. Assuming I can get a decent 3G (and ideally Wi-fi-enabled) phone running Maemo in eighteen months’ time when my next contract is up, I will almost certainly be making the switch back to Nokia. Perhaps not on Orange, though :-).

A Lesson in Customer Service

Lesson number one: don’t lie to your customers.

So I phoned up Orange last night, having decided I’d give them one more chance to prove their worth before switching my allegance to a provider that didn’t charge me nearly £70 for a slightly-above average month’s worth of usage. Apparently they could add a few more inclusive minutes onto one of those silly animal packages off their web site, but still nothing close to the offer from 3 that I ended up signing up for today.

I explained that if it helped I was happy not to have a new mobile phone from them, if it helped bring down the monthly cost a little. After all, I’d be saving them at least £200 by not demanding the latest N70 from them for free, having only had my current phone for just over a year and quite liking it, thank you very much.

No go, apparently. Something about me being within my contract still and having to sign up for another one if I want to change my price plan before June. New contact equals new phone. Right.

So despite not really wanting a new phone, I now have a new Sony Ericsson K610i sitting next to me on the surface, ready for when my 3 contract begins next month (apparently you can delay the start of it by 30 days, rather like a student wanting to go to Africa before starting Uni, but in this case for me who wants to live out the remaining 7 weeks of my Orange contract before switching). Unfortunately my old Nokia 6230 just isn’t good enough for the blisteringly fast 3G connections required these days…

The new phone isn’t the latest model there is around, but it’s still a phone. I can make calls, receive calls and do a couple of pointless other things with it should I have the urge. It’s not “reconditioned”, as Orange assured me it would be when I spoke to them about disconnecting yesterday, a clear exegerration of the truth that actually made me more determined to leave, not less.

I was reading yesterday in the Observer that apparently people replace their mobile phones every eighteen months. Hardly surprising really, given how difficult it is not to do so. There was a time when wooing me with new shiny things would have persuaded me to put up with the bum price plan I was on, but not any more. Now I get to spend the extra £30 a month on other exciting things, like car insurance. Mmm.

Loving: Sitting on the river, drinking wine. Drinking lots of water now.

Thursday

From a conversation overheard in a random pub on Thursday night, as two men discuss their gay friend and their own love life woes.

Man 1 to Man 2: If I were gay and you were gay, I’d shag you.

Man 2: (Drinks pint)

Bored of toast

So, according to NHS Direct:

You may have gastroenteritis or food poisoning. If it is very mild, avoid solid food and milk for a day and drink only non-alcoholic fluids. Your pharmacist will advise you about medicines to stop diarrhoea (find your nearest pharmacist). If it is severe or there is also pain, or blood in your bowel motions, call NHS Direct.

A great example of when having a concise medical description of your condition can actually end up making you feel worse about it rather than better. Still, apparently my condition is “safe to manage at home”, meaning I guess, “don’t bother calling us unless it gets worse”.

Maybe I shouldn’t have gone into work yesterday after all. But the flat was a tip after the day before, when my day of working from home had turned into a morning of answering a couple of emails followed by lots of falling asleep for the following 18 hours.

So this weekend I will be resting by mostly not leaving the flat, aside from the occasional trip down the road to buy more bread and soup. Maybe it’s good practice for later on in life when I discover that I can no longer leave the house and have become dependent on a laptop computer and old episodes of the O.C. to keep myself sane.

I’d like to think that when I reach the grand age of one-squillion-and-one – or however old we end up living until no doubt much to the Government’s consternation – I’ll have better things to amuse myself with than watching the moment where Marissa dies over and over again, but I probably won’t. Imagine how dated Ryan’s hair will look by then though. Wow.