Okay…I’ve had about enough of this. “This” is the frenzied pitch of an argument that computers do or don’t improve a child’s academic performance or…
Posts tagged as “Reglue”
FOSS Week in Review
Arguably it was a fairly miserable week in areas that are not exactly FOSS, but let’s not think about that now. Here’s what is on-the-radar worthy of mention as this week ends:
An anniversary worth celebrating: A while back, many in the FOSS world quaffed copious amount of Kool-Aid in celebrating the 10th anniversary of a particular vowel-laden distro. What unfortunately seems to be ready to fly inconspicuously under the radar is a far more important 10th anniversary celebrating a far more useful and ubiquitous software program.
Good thing I’m here to make sure the word gets out.
In a full-page ad in “The New York Times” on Nov. 9, 2004, the Mozilla project announced the release of Firefox 1.0, the first full version of the browser which has become the third most popular way to navigate the Internet, behind Google Chrome and Internet
Exploder, er, Explorer. What makes Firefox unique is that it’s the only one of the three leading browsers that’s completely open source. Ten years later, more than 450 million people use Firefox, of which about 40 percent of the code is written by volunteers. In addition, its reach can be measured by the fact that more than half of the users employ non-English versions. The browser is available in 75 languages.
It should come as little surprise to most that Reglue is just about our favorite nonprofit Linux project. This would be true even if the organization’s founder and executive director wasn’t also our own fun-to-read columnist, Ken Starks. After all, what’s not to like about an organization that collects old, worn Windows boxes, fixes them up until they’re practically new again, and finds them homes with school kids who otherwise wouldn’t have a computer? Along the way, those Windows machines become Linux machines, which helps break the vendor lock-in which Redmond tries to create in the minds of American school children.
Of course, sometimes Reglue finds itself battling vendor lock-in which has infected the minds of adult educators who should know better — but that’s another story entirely.
Decency…it’s what’s for
It wasn’t but a few days ago that I approached the KDE community in Google Plus to ask a question. In asking that question, I included a screenshot to present a graphical representation of my problem. Three community members responded right away. The first two responses were legitimate queries: questions seeking to gather information needed to calculate an effective attack vector. The third response was…well, not so much.
“Stop, I can’t. My eyes are bleeding. x_x “
The remark about “eyes bleeding” was obviously a reaction to a perceived lack of aesthetics in the screenshot. And yeah, it pissed me off. I didn’t seek a critique on my icon set or color scheme. I was asking how to fix my friggin’ frappin’ problem.
With my verbal weapons cache set to full snark, I proceeded to dress the commenter down for the misplaced and unhelpful comment. I trimmed and honed every word so that my obvious displeasure at the opinion would not be mistaken for anything else.
There are specific and discrete techniques that can help you call someone a jerk. I used a method designed so that the target momentarily believes that you are a nice guy, while everyone else in proximity is checking their clothing for blood spatter. I have become a master of this technique. Whether that’s good or bad, I dunno. It is what it is.
That wasn’t the end of it, however.
Ken Starks is the founder of the Helios Project and Reglue, which for 20 years provided refurbished older computers running Linux to disadvantaged school kids, as well as providing digital help for senior citizens, in the Austin, Texas area. He was a columnist for FOSS Force from 2013-2016, and remains part of our family. Follow him on Twitter: @Reglue
FOSS Week in Review
India drops deal with Google over spying fears
Since the Snowden leaks revealed that Microsoft has allegedly built back doors into Windows for the NSA, we’ve been saying that the spy agency’s actions are going to hurt the U.S. tech industry’s business abroad. Well, it’s started to happen. On Thursday, Reuters reported that India has decided to drop out of a planned partnership with Google designed to help voters access information.
“…the plan was opposed by the Indian Infosec Consortium, a government and private sector-backed alliance of cyber security experts, who feared Google would collaborate with “American agencies” for espionage purposes.”
There’s even been more digital security news from the EU, where there’s been a scramble to address privacy and security issues since the NSA scandal began. On January 3, phoneArena.com reported that European phone makers have been coming out with pricey phones designed for the security conscious.
Mark our words. This is only the beginning.