Archive for November, 2009
Today Google announced more details on the new Chrome OS, it’s not an OS release (which will be sometime next year), not even a beta release but the source code is open to the public for people to tinker with. So give it a day and people should have working copies on their machines to review.
I was reading the post of the live notes from the conference on Tech Crunch and the part that really caught my eye was this:
You cannot download and install Chrome on any machine. You will have to buy a new one.
End of next year. Before the holiday season.
I don’t like that at all.
I was looking forward to being able to throw Chrome OS onto my netbook as a quickboot alternative when I just want a quick web lookup or some thing similar. This makes it sound like you can only get it if it comes preconfigured on the device as it comes from the store.
Think about that, even Windows can be installed afterwards onto an existing OS and be given the option to dual boot into one or the other. In fact my netbook works exactly like that now. When I boot I have the choice between the initial install of Windows XP (I keep for legacy networking programs) or Windows 7 with Win7 being the 5 second default.
In fact I also have Backtrack 4 beta on the SD card where I can hit “esc” during boot and boot over to that instead of the two OS’s on the hard drive. During the POST and 5 second timer I have the choice between 3 different OS’s to go into. I was hoping Chrome OS would be similar for a quick lightweight alternative OS when I don’t want a full Windows OS.
Things may change, this is just a quick comment from a live blog. The other bad news in the quote, the fact that its due at the end of NEXT year means a lot can happen in the meantime.
Which comes to the final point. There are many great OS’s out there now that do everything I want in a quick light-weight OS. There are some really good Linux builds made especially for netbooks that take most of the hassle out of dealing with driver installs and the initial setup I ranted about in the last post. Another TechCrunch post mentioned JoliCloud which sounds very similar to what I’d like in Chrome OS, with great optimization, device sync and the ability to choose your own apps (as opposed to using all google), and it’s available for beta testing NOW.
Chrome OS still look great but the biggest news of the announcement seems to be potentially bad news IMHO.
I almost always disagree with John Herman’s Apple Butt-kissing posts over at Gizmodo. But I could not agree with him more in his post about what Chrome OS needs to “be a contender”
I’d add to it but I’ve got nothing other than a big +1 to that.
Ars has a great article about Windows continuing efforts to improve their kernel from the Windows 98 monstrosity to a more stable and diverse core like Linux uses (at least an improvement in that direction if not making it a tiny featureless core like Linux).
Inside “MinWin”: the Windows 7 kernel slims down
Of course saying anything pro-Windows causes a backlash from either the Mac or the *nix camp. Since the kernel is the realm Linux rules a post from Crunch Gear came out in response with a very “Windows drools, Linux rules!” undertone.
Everything old is new again: Microsoft MinWin attempts to modularize Windows
I disagree with Scott’s article in many points, the whole post itself is treating the Ars post like it was an announcement for a new Windows. MinWin is more of a design philosophy the designers at MS are trying to instill to improve their OS; see the Ars article for a better explanation. Scotts article seems like a watered down version of the “Linux is taking over Windows” chant.
Both articles cover a lot of ground in OS design philosophies that I can’t top. My main reason for positing is something I noticed Scott do. It’s human nature and a problem that underlies every news/editorial/review blog and organization. Thinking that your in-depth experiences are representative of the rest of the world.
This is very common in the tech world where we think that everybody has the same access to tech as we do and that everybody is just as proficient. I could recount dozens of mainstream editorial articles where this plays out. Like where people say that basic public services should move 100% into the internet. For example when one of the major phone carriers was going to start charging people to receive a normal paper bill in the mail instead of setting up e-payments and email statements. It’s moronic because many people still don’t have or want internet, others may only have limited access, and still others may have to pay for the data they use online (I know all of us techies are shuddering as we recall the darkages of dialup).
Scott caught my eye as somebody falling into this mentality in his post:
Microsoft has touted the superiority of it’s GUI, and the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and its snap-ins, as the best and easiest way to manage complex services. I think we can all agree, now, that that’s more than a bit of hyperbole: GUIs and the MMC make some administrative tasks easier, while simultaneously making other tasks much harder. The resurgence of command-line administration in MinWin, and the Server Core installation option of Windows Server 2008 (original, and R2 flavors) is clear indication that a GUI is not the end-all-be-all of systems management.
Scott, you’re wrong. It’s not hyperbole, much of the iPhone’s appeal is it’s ease of use GUI. MinWin isn’t even about command line, it’s about smaller kernels. And Server 2008 having the Server Core installation option is just that, an option, an added feature, it’s not going to supplant the server GUI in the future. I notice Linux zealots can be easily spotted by their idea that the command line is the best interface for working with computers. I know they’ll come out of the woodwork when they read this but… They. Are. Wrong.
GUI isn’t the end all be all of systems management, something someday will supplant it (here’s hoping for the Minority Report style interfaces!), but it’s a damn sight than command line. Here’s a fun experiment. Stick your grandmother infront of a computer with a GUI and say “figure it out” then do the same with a computer with command line only, see which she can learn quickest.
And don’t give me that, “But you can do MORE with a command line” excuse; that is dependant on the design of the GUI or the command line. And even then if only 99% of the features I want can be done by GUI with no training, and it takes me 3 days of studying a textbook to figure out 10% of the features by command line, then technically the GUI can still do more for me. This a major gripe of mine with Linux builds, even the most simple operations still require extensive study to do what would be a mindlessly simple task on Mac or Windows. Compare plugging in an external USB hard drive into windows vs. “mounting” one onto a Linux build (I hope you have the right tarball for the USB drivers and a compiler to compile them before installation so you can name then mount the drive! And make sure you’re build is persistent if you don’t like doing this everyday!)
Anyway my point is that if you separate yourself from the insular tech world and observe how normal everyday people are at using computers may be we can avoid making comments like how “command-line” is making a resurgence in computer OS’s. Or how we should abolish the US Post office because email is just as good. Or how movies are dead now that people can download online. Or how CDs will be extinct because of the iPod.
Anytime somebody tells you that a real world system that has been in place for decades or even centuries is being eliminated by Twitter, or Google, or Linux, or “Cloud Computing”. Ask yourself if your grandmother could do it on a regular basis or even understand what you’re talking about.
Sorry not hacked. According to Facebook’s official response, it’s not a hack, not a problem, and what you see happening doesn’t really exist.
What am I talking about? 300+ Facebook groups have been hijacked (unlike hacked this description is 100% accurate no matter what Facebook says). But the people hijacking them aren’t doing it maliciously, only to raise awareness for how easily social data can be manipulated. In the hijackers own words:
Our main goal is to draw attention to questions concerning online privacy awareness.
We have seen too many examples where friends and relatives of ours have suffered from their lack of in-depth knowledge concerning their online presence. After some research we discovered this is a wide spread problem. People have even lost their jobs over Facebook content. So we wanted to do something about this.
Our method of choice only serves the purpose to prove our point and put emphasis on how easy it is to lose track of a part of your online presence. If we wouldn’t have communicated this way, our message would probably have fallen into oblivion the moment it got out.
I have to say, I am 100% behind these guys. They share the same viewpoint on social networking that I do, it’s great to keep in touch with friends but people’s social lives are now dictated and controlled by their Facebook interaction. Just this weekend my friend was relating a tale of how his falling out with one friend has now started having repercussions with others because the one friend “removed him from their friend list”!
What a sad state of affairs, I may not be able to quantify my number of friends through Facebook associations but I don’t have to worry about online drama affecting my offline relationships either (or vice versa). People say I’m either paranoid or anti social; paranoid maybe, but I don’t consider interaction through the internet to be on par with social interaction face to face.
Back to the point at hand, Facebook has responded to the hijackings thusly:
There has been no hacking and there is no confidential information at risk. The groups in question have been abandoned by their previous owners, which means any group member has the option to make themselves an administrator in order to continue communication to the group. Group administrators have no access to confidential information and group members can leave a group at any time. For small groups, administrators can simply edit a group name or info, moderate discussion, and message group members. The names of large groups cannot be changed nor can anyone message all members. In the rare instances when we find that a group has been changed inappropriately, we will disable the group, which is the action we plan for these groups.
So apparently this hijacking group isn’t helping Facebook to do anything about improving their system. The group claims that they’re not going to do anything malicious with the groups, only point out their vulnerability. But this is a problem they should take more seriously, groups that can be renamed to anything can cause huge issues. With the drama that came of being “de-friended” imagine the drama that would come if your friends (or potential employers) visited your site to see that the groups you belong to are “NAMBLA” “BNP” “Al-Qaida” “KKK” and “George Michael Fanclub”.
And to the FBI agents who just visited because of all the flags in that last line, please read the whole article.
ViaLoose Wire Blog.