For a long time I've wanted to learn a lot more about Linux. At my last employer I asked for Red Hat* training, and would have probably started the training course, if it were not for the fact we were all laid off...
Since changing jobs, I've migrated from RedHat to Debian at home, but at work we still use RedHat. I've tried several times to get training, and though I've picked up a lot on my own, I still feel that proper training does help. At the moment I'm trying to get on the RHCT course as a prerequisite to taking the RHCE course.
* Red Hat have a nice enough web site, but they have picked an utterly awful default font for the site. I know Luxi Sans is a TrueType font distributed in most Linux distributions, but it's still awful...
Today at work someone sent me a word file. They should have sent the body text in the email, but they are too stupid to grasp the concept of email.
I started up Microsoft Word to view the document, only to discover that there was nothing in the document. They must have sent a version of Word that my version ('97) was unable to work with.
I ran the Word file through Antiword and the day was saved. After all the effort, I was presented with four short paragraphs of text, that I already had, and didn't address the problem I written to the person about in the first place.
Douglas Adams famous work returns to BBC Radio 4. It's missing the BBC Radiophonic workshop and the odd cast member has passed away, but it's still rather funny in a way that only Hitchhiker's can be.
I now have a nice Dolby-S recording on type-IV tape from a DVB-T source, and a wav/Ogg copy of a RealPlayer stream. I could just wait for the CD to come out, but part of the fun in radio, is making your own copy.
While in passing, my father mentioned he may be interested in a computer, to give him something other than TV to do. I've not decided what to do yet, but one plan is to take the next stable version of Debian and produce a custom install, called DAD. Basically strip out 99% of the server function, and produce a streamlined office style desktop, but with basic media and games.
For the best part of the past two years I've been considering buying a new box for my main desktop system at home. I've considered mini-ITX systems, an Apple iBook, upgrading my SPARC box, a dual Opteron workstation, and most recently a plain cheap grey box AMD.
I still don't know what to do... However whatever I do finally decide, will be so much more powerful than my current kit, it will be hard to compare...
Another colleague at work has upgraded from IE to Firefox. He couldn't use his copy of IE because the stupid company he bought the PC from, put some silly ISP config on his computer, and he couldn't connect to the Internet. Instead he installed Mozilla Firefox, and is now happily browsing the Internet without IE.
Though I can't install Mozilla Firefox on my Debian Woody machine at home, I can install the Mozilla Suite. The latest 1.7.3 version is a lot more advanced that the 1.0.0 version that ships with Debian Woody, and while somewhat slower than Firefox 0.8 on the same box, has a number of security and other updates to make it worth using.
It's a lot better than IE, it would be hard to be that bad, but I think I generally prefer Mozilla Firefox now over the older Mozilla Suite. Now I have it running I think I'll use it for a while to see what I think. From a practical perspective it has the main plug-ins I want and a usable skin, so it's fully usable.
I installed the latest Firefox 1.0PR on my work box today. It's built on the current stable Mozilla 1.7.3 version of Gecko and seems just as excellent as the previous versions. There is a whole raft of small incremental improvments, and best of all it didn't break anything when I did the install.
On feature I did find really useful was the new integrated RSS support in the bookmarks section. It's called Live Bookmarks, and it's quite amazingly simple and powerful.
I've no sooner sent an Open CD to my father to try and get him on to Firefox or Mozilla, and new versions come out. Mozilla has crept up to 1.7.3. and Firefox is now at version 1.0 (pre release).
The Mozilla Suite release is a security and bug fix. The Suite is still inching along towards the 1.8 release at the moment, new versions come out quite infrequently, as a it's considered a mature product.
Firefox is under much more active development, so it's release frequency is much higher. This release fixes the same bugs a Mozilla, plus adds lots of Firefox specific fixes too.
At some point, The Mozilla Suite should be replaced by the component pieces, Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird and Nvu, but it's not quite clear if or when this will happen. It turns out more people like the Mozilla Suite than it's detractors thought.
The German BSI has added it's voice to the chorus of security agencies that now recommend web users switch from Microsoft's Internet Explorer to another browser, as soon as possible.
No product is perfect, even Opera and Mozilla have defects, but they do have a reputation for fixing them, and fixing them quickly. Even if you have a safe product, and it's properly configured, you still need to be vigilant and keep it up to date.
This morning I removed the last Windows partition of this PC, and installed lilo as the default boot manager. I'm now Windows free - I feel much better.
In practice I've not actually used Windows on this box for nearly a year anyway, but now I've actually clawed the space back, and purged the system of the last vestiges of the evil empire.
After a pause of many years the BBC has created and is to shortly transmit new episodes of this British Classic. All the remaining cast has been brought back and it shall be shortly transmitted on BBC Radio 4.
In theory I should be able to convert the RealAudio feed back into a non-streamed audio format and make my own CDs from it. I can get a nice digital feed of my DVB box, but I can only record that to audio-tape in Dolby-S, as I don't have a digital recording device as part of my hi-fi.
I lent a Knoppix live CD to a colleague at work. After a few days of playing, he installed it on his PC, moving an XP partition. So far he's had very few problems and seems quite happy to be running Knoppix/Debian Linux on his PC.
He's been so happy that he's now considering setting his family members up with Linux too. At first I though he would only install Firefox on their Windows machines, but he's gained so much confidence with Linux that he is now considering removing Windows all together!
Came across this site today. Nothing revolutionary, but a nice link, and some useful but gentle advice.
Basically it's a nicely put together site advocating browsers other than IE by the Web Standards Project". It's a bit more subtle that their previous upgrade campaign, which while technically correct did annoy some of the cluless types.