Ali’s Mental Meanderings

wandering, not lost

BoingBoing Link Roundup

All sorts of interesting links today. I’ll try to keep discussion short and sweet.

That’s the end of the slightly odd-ball but pretty cool links for the day.

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October 24, 2007 Posted by | BoingBoing, interesting urls | Leave a comment

Ubuntu 7.10 and more

I upgraded my Ubuntu install this morning. It sounds like a feat but in fact it was so easy that literally anybody can do it. Closing applications, making sure you had an internet connection and then hitting ‘Upgrade’ in the package manager. Walk away for a little under an hour and that’s it. My input was required once – to tell the installer what to do with a customised file.

Upgrade complete and system restarted to find that my settings were just about all intact, including transferring settings between a major application upgrade and the smaller subtleties such as remembering my Firefox session. Overall I have to say that from the onset I am very impressed. Tweaking for the next few days is to be expected to get everything just how I like it, but the new Ubuntu is quite able to used with little problem straight out of the box. Whether you’re upgrading from 7.04 or creating a fresh install using a CD, Ubuntu has never been easier or more accessible to those interested in wishing to use linux for everyday computing.

Here’s my list of interesting links of the week. Enjoy!

October 23, 2007 Posted by | BoingBoing, interesting urls, Ubuntu, upgrade | Leave a comment

Impending Upgrade

In the most poetic way possible, the topic of my last post about technology being the source of frustration has happened to me personally over the last week. One of my most frequently used applications has been throwing error messages at me at random for the last week, usually not a huge dilemma but it has been getting on my nerves a little.

So like any logical person would, I went out to seek a solution. Turns out my operating system is outdated again, such as is the way with Open Source applications. I can solve my problem with Gaim and upgrade my operating system at the same time. I have a new project for this week 🙂

I’ve also been finding lots of interesting items in my RSS feeds of which I’ll publish in another post.

October 22, 2007 Posted by | technology frustration, Ubuntu, upgrade | Leave a comment

Technology and Blame

I’m presently listening to Cory Doctorow podcast Bruce Sterling’s The Hacker Crackdown. The link is to Part 1, there are 15 parts in the podcast to date. I am a little behind and was listening to Part 4 this morning.

In brief the book section was describing how technology, specifically computers, can in many ways do tasks more quickly than humans could ever hope to. Humans have in this case handed over control of communications networks to ‘senseless but powerful machines’. However when things go awry, or break, humans instinctively look for somebody to be responsible and subsequently to blame. They are unable to accept that when something has gone wrong, it may be the fault of a computer glitch and thus no human is actually to blame. What then happens when a frustrated and inconvenienced person is unable to be angry at another person?

They look for somebody to blame. Typically this takes the form of hackers or some other evil person, instead of the more likely scenario…. a glitch in software. In the example described by Sterling, the error was due to a single mistyped character in the software.

This had me thinking about the number of times I’ve seen frustrated people attack an innocent party when software hasn’t fulfilled a persons expectations, though it may be functioning perfectly. Let alone when systems do in fact come crashing down which happens from time to time and is often the fault of nobody in particular. In this emerging era of technology integration with society humans need to learn how to deal with frustration without automatically seeking another human to blame. In my experience there are precious few with this skill, though I believe it coincides with the ability to see past short-term frustration and seek a workable solution to a problem.

October 19, 2007 Posted by | blame, Bruce Sterling, Cory Doctorow, technology frustration, The Hacker Crackdown | Leave a comment

Creative Commons 2007

I’ve learnt that Creative Commons has just launched their fall fundraising campaign, though it’s spring here; the newly revamped website is looking good and wonderfully easy to navigate. All you wish to know about creative commons is now easier than ever to discover.

The badges for blogs and sites to promote the fundraising are stylish also. Here’s my pick of the lot:
Support CC - 2007 Support CC - 2007

The really good news is that the campaign was only launched a little over 2 weeks ago and is already over 20% of the way to the goal set. It will continue until the 31st of December

October 17, 2007 Posted by | awareness, creative commons, fundraising | Leave a comment