Laptop Usage

My grandmother reminds me that she got a laptop in the late eighties, [1] it's massive by today's standards (particularly in comparison to my 12 inch thinkpad), but it had a great keyobard, and she remembers using it rather effectively. It had WordPerfect 5.1 back in the day but I think it also had StarWriter/StarOffice (which, the astute will recognize as the predecessor code-base for today's Open Office). It probably weight ten or fifteen pounds, and I think she even brought it between work and home several times a week (using a luggage cart); but this was before her days on the Internet, and like all good things this laptop has gone to the land beyond.…

Keep reading

Treating Users Like Idiots

People who use free software are almost all "open source/software freedom advocates" in on sense or another. There's something empowering about the experience of using software that you control, really control, and we want to share this with others. That makes sense, not just on a "lets get the family using GNU/Linux" level, that we want to increase the user base of free software as much as possible. One of the chief recruiting concerns for communities, seems to be "lets make this piece of software more usable.…

Keep reading

Do Y'all Use RSS?

I just wanted to check to see if you all use RSS, and if so I have a few questions: Is one of the primary ways you interact with content on the web? What software do you use to read feeds? (Google Reader? NetNewsWire? Lifrea? Newsbeuter? FeedGator/FeedDemon? LiveJournal?). What's your biggest pet peeve about the RSS ecosystem? (including feed readers, feed parsers, variations in feed generation/publication, under/over adoption). Thanks.…

Keep reading

Thinking about Git

A collection of thoughts about git. I caught news, somewhat late in the game, about a project called "Flashbake" which is a tool to make git use-able for non-programmers to take advantage of git without needing to bother too much with thinking about how to use git. (Which is needed because git is incredibly complex). I think this (and tools like and derived from this) is really cool, and a train of thought that I think we'd really benefit from enjoying.…

Keep reading

The State of the Discourse

This isn't a fully formed thought yet, but I was wondering what the status of discussion and commenting is on the web these days. Clearly microblogging like Twitter and Identi.ca produces a powerful platform for conversations and I think what's coming with xmpp (innovative interfaces for group chats, etc.) furthers the potential for conversation online. At the same time, I'm wondering what the status of conversations are "older" media like blog comments.…

Keep reading

On Knitting Lace

When I packed to come live with my grandmother for an extended stay, I didn't give a lot of thought to my knitting. I packed some, the usual ongoing projects and whatever yarn was attached to them, and that was about it. I'm at a point in all of my knitting where I've made serious progress (but haven't completed) on a number (2? 3? big projects). My hope, by not packing too much yarn, was that I would be able to make some serious progress on all of my projects without being tempted by the sweater (which is my wont).…

Keep reading

Open Source Words

I'm working on laying the seed content for a new wiki that I hope to launch in a few weeks. I want the wiki to be a free text/open source, and I have been giving some thought to the best way to accomplish this. This is, as it turns out, is pretty hard to accomplish: open source software licences are designed (not surprisingly) for software, and while Creative Commons Licences are great, I don't think they support community authorship in a way that matches with my ideals/gaols.…

Keep reading