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Posts published in “Hardware”

Microsoft Tablet Plans ‘Surface’

It wasn’t much of a surprise Monday when Microsoft announced their new tablet, called Surface, at a press event in Los Angeles. For about a week, media pundits had been speculating that the folks in Redmond would use the occasion to unveil a tablet. What caught many by surprise, however, was that this will be a Microsoft branded device instead of an offering by the likes of Dell or HP.

Surface has all the features the public has come to expect in a tablet, like a 10.6 inch high-def touchscreen, cameras front and rear, and a small form factor. However, it also has some innovations that will help distinguish it from the crowd, most notably a removable keyboard that also serves as a “bookcover.” According to the Associated Press, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that Surface is intended to be an entertainment device “without compromising the productivity that PCs are uniquely known for.”

The Time Is Right For Desktop Linux

Nobody seems to want to talk about the desktop anymore. It seems that the trend followers have jumped to the next biggest thing. The glamor now isn’t in desktops and laptops, machines that do all the necessary grunt work, but in gee-whiz tablets and smart phones. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but desktops and laptops aren’t going to go away soon – not as long as there’s work to be done.

I mention this because it seems that many of the folks who write about Linux have all but given up efforts to increase the penguin’s share of the installed base. I find this curious, because I think we’ve never been better positioned to get folks to make the leap to Linux.

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

UEFI Plans & Workarounds, Skype Invokes DMCA, Microsoft’s Samba Code

Friday FOSS Week in Review

Here we go, Friday FOSS Week in Review, Special Tuesday Edition. I’ve got to find a way to schedule my time better so I can stay on deadline. This coming Friday’s going to be difficult, as I have a dentist appointment and FWIR can’t really be written in advance, so expect it to be published on Saturday – but I’m still hoping for Friday. In the meantime, I’m working on adjusting my schedule so this column will be published in a more timely fashion in the future. Like on Fridays, when its supposed to be.

That’s the bad news. The good news, at least for us news hounds, is that last week there were quite a few items of interest for the FOSS community. At least I found them to be items of interest. I’ll let you decide for yourself.

UEFI Secure Boot Gets Complicated

There were a ton of articles written about UEFI and Secure Boot last week, and the more I read about possible workarounds to allow the average Linux distro to boot on Windows 8 certified machines, the more confused I get. This bothers me, because if I’m confused what does that mean about the person who’s never dealt with anything other than Windows, DOS or one of the Apple OSes, who might be getting ready to make that first leap into the Linux world?

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Apple Patents Gestures, Secure Boot Is Here, Android Bests iPhone

Friday FOSS Week in Review

It’s been a busy week. So busy, in fact, I was unable to make my deadline for FWIR, so here I am with a special Saturday edition. Just so you know, there’s a precedent for this. Back in the days when ABC ran “Monday Night Football” they called any NFL game they ran “Monday Night Football,” no matter what the day of the week. Hence, we were often treated to “Monday Night Football, Special Thursday Edition” and such. In that spirit, I offer you “Friday FOSS Week in Review, Special Saturday Edition.”

Of course, if I’m going to get busy and miss deadline, it’ll happen on a busy week in FOSS news. The fates work that way, I’m convinced. Indeed, after a couple of ho-hum weeks, the news flew fast and furious this week. Hold on, it’ll be a hell of a ride!

More Apps Downloaded to Android than to iPhone

It was reported on Tuesday that ABI Research says Android now leads the pack in the number of apps downloaded. According to their figures, 44% of all mobile apps downloaded are headed for Android devices, with 31% going to the iOS platform. These figures are miles away from what the research firm predicted back in 2009 as the mobile wars were just getting heated up:

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

ESR Defends RMS, Google the Musical & MS Plays Bad

Friday FOSS Week in Review

Another typical week in the FOSS world. Mainly, the proprietary guys have been busy bad-mouthing the competition, while the FOSS folks have been busy finding solutions.

ESR Defends RMS on Jobs

This week I ran across a blog by Eric Raymond that was posted on October 8, in which Raymond defends the now infamous remarks made by Richard Stallman on his blog shortly after the death of Steve Jobs. I found this to me more than a little interesting, because Raymond and Stallman don’t always see eye to eye on FOSS issues. Indeed, he even manages to take a swipe at RMS while speaking in his defense:

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Steve Jobs: The Ultimate Enabler

Town Called Dobson

A couple of years ago I literally ran into “Woz,” Steve Wozniak, the inventor of the Apple II and co-founder of Apple Computer, while wandering in one of the geeky electronic parts shops in the bowels of Silicon Valley. When I realized whom I had almost accidentally knocked over, I squealed like a child, even though I was 46 years old at the time and well out of diapers. I can only imagine the self-humiliation I would have experienced if I had accidentally bumped into Steve Jobs at the farmer’s market in Palo Alto. I probably would have needed diapers.

Secure Boot: What’s Microsoft’s Agenda?

Secure boot is the sort of security solution Microsoft loves. Back in the days when Windows was even less secure than it is now, one of their security solutions was to have software vetted and signed. Although this might have helped enterprise customers a bit, it did little to make the home user more secure, as any software would still install normally after clicking through an “are you sure” warning. If this scheme did anything, it hurt small vendors who couldn’t afford to go through the process of having their software approved by Redmond.

Secure boot is the same sort of scheme, except this time there’s no “are you sure” screen to click through. If a user is trying to install an operating system (or even run one from a live CD) on a machine with secure boot enabled, that operating system will have to have unlock keys to enable hardware devices. These keys are provided to the creator of the operating system at the whim of the hardware makers.

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Can Penguins Dance on a Dell, Will Reiser File Again, Are Samsung and Intel Going to the Prom?

Friday FOSS Week in Review

The biggest news this week has centered around fears that Linux may become uninstallable on Wintel machines from the big OEM’s. But there’s been more. Some fun stuff. Some silly stuff. Some stuff that might eventually develop into something important…

Secure Boot Has Penguinistas Buzzing

Last week on FWIR I mentioned there was a storm beginning to brew around Windows 8 and secure boot, which could potentially keep Linux from being installed on some computers once they’re implemented. Well, it’s not just brewing anymore, it’s a full fledged storm with hurricane force winds.

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

No Brass Ring on HP’s CEO Carousel

Since September 18th I’ve been saying that Hewlett-Packard needed to get rid of Léo Apotheker sooner rather than later. Well, the deed’s been done and Apotheker’s been shown the door. The trouble is, HP’s board doesn’t seem to have learned their lesson. They’re replacing him with former eBay CEO and would be California governor Meg Whitman, who might even be less qualified than Apotheker to run the ailing tech giant. The announcement of the switch came early this evening, pretty much timed to coincide with the closing of the stock market.

Apotheker’s Troubled Tenure

Léo Apotheker
It wasn’t obvious that Léo Apotheker was a good choice to replace Mark Hurd in the catbird seat at HP last September when it happened, and it has never been obvious since. In fact, it’s never even been obvious that Mr. Hurd’s resignation should’ve been forced to begin with, as the cloud over his head, a charge of sexual harassment, was evidently short on substance. HP’s board, evidently after blood, ignored the fact the he’d put the company on a sound financial footing and had charted a reasonable course for the company to follow, a course that left room for expansion into other areas.

None of this mattered, according to James B.Steward writing in The New York Times, for the bigwigs at HP thought the company to big to fail:

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Tech Firms Facing the Abyss

There seems to be quite a few tech companies in trouble these days. In fact, in an article published yesterday on 24/7 Wall Street, tech firms represent six out of the eight major companies listed as being in troubled financial waters. There aren’t any surprises here for anyone who’s been paying attention, but a year or so ago most of us wouldn’t have suspected that some of these companies would even be capable of falling on hard times.

Topping this list is Best Buy. Although we’ve known for some time that the company is ailing, this is still something of a surprise given the recent history of consumer electronics retailing. After all, it was only a couple of years ago that Best Buy’s main competitor, Circuit City, floated to the surface face down, killed by intense competition from…you guessed it, Best Buy. For the latest quarter, the chain’s net income dropped $77 million from the same quarter last year, from $254 million to $177 million.

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Intel Still MeeGos, Apple Loses Again, Yahoo Presents ‘The Charlie Sheen Show’

Friday FOSS Week in Review

What a wacky week for tech news this has been! I couldn’t make much of this stuff up if I tried – and if I did, you wouldn’t believe it. That’s one of the nice things about the Internet, I can provide you with links so you can see for yourself that these stories really happened…

Apple Loses Another iPhone Prototype in Bar

Less than a year and a half after an Apple employee lost a top secret prototype of an iPhone 4 in a bar, it’s happened again. This time the prototype of an iPhone 5 was lost at Cava 22, a bar located in San Francisco’s mission district. Although every tech site on the planet is covering this story, I think it’s only fitting to turn to Gizmodo for a quote, given their connection with the first lost prototype:

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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