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.


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

BoingBoing Link Roundup

There are some great finds in my RSS bin atm. Here’s some that I really liked.

  • Not a lamp, not a box – a tongue in cheek take on Ikea-esque flat pack furniture (2 links).
  • Formable Furniture – awesome concept, a collection of slats that can be reshaped into furniture and stay in shape by tension wire
  • Yarn cupcakes – created as a farewell gift for somebody having to leave their knitting group behind. Knitted creations make with marzipan.
  • The MC Hammer School of English – adorable video of children learning to speak and spell in English using the time-honored “Hammer Time”
  • Extermiknit – yes, somebody has knitted daleks.
  • Graffiti on a hostel door in Prague – this should be self-explanatory for you geeks out there.
  • Face your pockets! – project where people scan their faces and the contents of their pockets and submit to the site.
  • Book of Lights – folding lamps that arise from opening a book and actually work if plugged in.

I got tied up playing Kingdom of Loathing. Lots of harmless fun which has in turn taken a back seat to more exciting things happening in my life currently.

Full steam ahead for relocation to Sydney within the next 2 weeks. I’m very excited about the opportunities available and for the chance to explore a new city and see more of my friends down there.

September 26, 2007 Posted by | BoingBoing, links | Leave a comment


I’ve acquired myself a Tangler account. After some familiarising myself with the site I can see how it is a really useful way of communicating and sharing ideas. A cross between irc and a forum with much nicer navigation between threads and really elegant thread handling. Still early days yet so stay tuned.

September 12, 2007 Posted by | Tangler | Leave a comment

Quick Links

I found some very interesting articles I’d like to share with you guys.

  • I chat therefore I am….. an article about a conversation held between two advanced chatbots.
  • Alter Egos…. an author commentary with pictures of people and their in-game avatars. Interesting because of the research that this guy has done. He’s also written and published a book about these people.

I haven’t done anything remarkable with either of my machines lately but can report my ongoing satisfaction with Ubuntu. I’ve found even when I give my laptop to somebody who’s never used linux before they are able to navigate the desktop and menus with only minimal guidance.

July 1, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BoingBoing RSS Madness

While clearing some of the many unread articles in my BoingBoing RSS bin I stumbled across some really cool stuff which I thought I’d share.

Firstly, game studio Three Rings Design re-outfitted their office/studio to resemble The Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Go and check out the pictures of the office here.

Secondly, for the simple reason of increasing awareness and supporting people fighting the copyright monster I’m wanting all of you to go and have a watch of this. It’s called A Fair(y) Use Tale and it uses clips from Disney movies to briefly describe copyright and fair use – it’s very clever and even contains a section explaining why they used Disney movies for this.

June 17, 2007 Posted by | BoingBoing, interesting urls | Leave a comment

Ubuntu 7.04

I have a shiny new Ubuntu install and blinged up XGL. The latest upgrade to Ubuntu 7.04 aka Feisty Fawn.

I still need to have an experiement with settings to work out what I want where and doing what. However I’m pretty impressed with it all so far though. The help provided was very much appreciated as though I’m becoming quite competent and comfortable with using Ubuntu, I am still slightly hesitant to do a major upgrade by myself.

May 26, 2007 Posted by | Feisty Fawn, Ubuntu | Leave a comment