Archive for October, 2006

Dawn Community

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Asteroid Belt 1

Dawn Community

Send your name to the asteroid belt on the Dawn spacecraft. Your name will be recorded onto a microchip that will be placed aboard the spacecraft accompanying it on its mission to the asteroid belt. After entering your name below, you will have the opportunity to print a document that verifies your journey aboard the spacecraft.

My name is travelling on the Dawn mission, a fitting birthday gift. Thank you to NASA.

Linuxforum BoF day 2006: Noter fra sessionen om Åbne standarder

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Linuxforum BoF dag, 28. oktober 2006Linuxforum BoF dag 2006

I løbet af Birds of a Feather sessionen om Åbne standarder på Linuxforum 2006 tog jeg nogle få noter.

Generelt var der en god debat, og man må jo gang på gang understrege at der er STOR forskel på åbne standarder og åben og fri software (open source software).

Jeg fangede følgende kommentarer mod slutningen af debatten:

  • DKUUG har en mailing liste og en arbejdsgruppe indenfor standarder, den hedder std@dkuug.dk…Som der blev skrevet: “Også mig…”, så meld dig til denne liste
  • Vi har faktisk en åben implementering af dokumentstandarderne, det er den STØRSTE styrke
  • eAftale, som er Microsofts storkunde aftale med det offentlige er pt. til genforhandlig. Der er også forhandlinger om eneleverandør aftaler, eAftale skulle være 3 årig. Der er et notat i et ministerium der antyder at der kan spares 100 millioner ved at terminere eAftale.

Vi diskuterede også forhindringer for udbredelsen af OpenOffice og Open Document

  • Svært at få support og uddannelse
  • Svært at opdatere og installere
  • Dårligt integreret

Jeg kom til at tænke på Simon Phipps og Suaraz-Potts opfordring fra Linuxforum til at se at komme i gang med at lave små konsulent firmaer der tilbyder at løse den slags problemer, vi er vist ikke kommet så langt endnu.

Hvordan kommer vi videre:

Det er NU der skal rykkes!

  • Lav en rapport som ikke er afhængig af snævre industri interesser, men fremhøver de langsigtede fordele ved at vælge den åbne og fri vej, det handler IKKE om teknologi det her
  • OpenOffice skal godkendes af IT chefen i det offentlige, det kræver benarbejde
  • Vi skal “tæppebombe” IT-afdelingerne med “rigtige” standarder Begynd f.eks. at sende dokumenter til dem i Open Document formaterne, og hvis de ikke kan læse dem så henvis dem til B103, at de bare kan åbne det i Google apps eller hente og installere OpenOffice, det har de fleste da råd til. :DOC er IKKE en rigtig standard!
  • De nye tilgælgelighedskrav er en “Trojansk”, der kan bruges til at påpege at de offentlige myndigheder kan få store gevinster ved at anvende åbne standarder og open source

Debatten fortsætter på min wiki side (WiKim: Linuxforum_BoF_2006:Åbne standarder), kig forbi, du skal være så hjerteligt velkommen. Wikien kræver ikke registrering, og indholdet er udgivet under en fri dokumentations licens (FDL), men hvis du skriver noget, så registrer venligst, det gør det lettere at følge med i hvem der skriver hvad, og at afgøre at der ikke er tale om “spam”.

Linuxforum BoF day 2006: LET’S GO! And I’ll spare you some highly irregular expressions

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Linuxforum BoF dag, 28. oktober 2006Linuxforum BoF dag 2006

The 28th of October 2006 was the day of the Linuxforum 2006 Birds of a Feather sessions, and as it might have been noticed by regular readers, yours truly hosted the session on “open standards”, inspired by the recent legislation that asks the government to start using, and implementing, open standards in their IT solutions.

The forum was held at Symbion, which is a “research incubator”, I arrived late, and I followed the signs…Hmm that door leads to a stairwell, I entered, and immediately the door shut, I knew I was in trouble – I’ve experienced the same situation before – Shudder! There was NO way to exit the stairwell without a valid keycard, which I naturally didn’t hold. OK, in the words of Douglas Adams, Don’t Panic…There actually was a door to the outside, but it had a clear sign that said…Don’t open, it will trigger the alarm…

Hmm…I was as usually packing, using my cell phone to access the yellow pages actually yielded a number, I called it and the man on the line was quite surprised, first and foremost he was a bit annoyed about the fact that the building was open to host the Linuxforum, secondly he wondered how I got hold of his number, well it was listed with information! Well he gave me the main number to Symbion, he suggested that they had a number to call in case of an emergency…No way, I got a machine and a friendly goodbye! Damn…Well there were two numbers to some security services posted in the stairwell, I called both but they were also closed for the weekend. Now I started pounding on the door, but no one could hear me…Finally I heard a door slam…Hey! Wait a second…Phew someone was working that afternoon…With one swipe I was let out of my temporary prison, but I could have stayed there for a long, long time.

It’s a stupid set-up, and dangerous, I’ve experienced worse once, where I got trapped in another stairwell, and in that particular stairwell I didn’t find any doors to the outside, luckily I had my cellphone and the number of one of the employees.

The label on the button that opened the door read “Udtryk” this is funny, “udtryk” is Danish the litteral translation is “outpush”, and the meaning is that you press the button to get out, but “udtryk” also means “expression”, I’ll spare you the highly irregular and colourful expressions that I wanted to spill while trapped in the stairwell.

Oh well, now on topic!

My call for BoF was:

The spread of open standards
With Kim Bach, kim.bach(at)gmail.com

I’m interested in how we can help implement the legislation B103: On the use of open standards in the public central administration.

Steps like the implementation of Open Document Format is a small step in the right direction, but don’t we need to establish a central CIO (Chief Information Officer) function in the public, inspired after Massachusetts. The “Bedst og Billigst” (best and cheapest) software policy of the government isn’t too clear, and it often results in “non-movement”, since that always will be cheapest.

How can we spread the knowledge of open and free alternatives to commercial products within, for instance, content management.

I’ve never done anything like this before, so I didn’t really understand the BoF format, but it’s really workshops, and quite informal, or at least that was the way my session ended, and I was very happy to see that some 20 people had joined the session, and more arrived later and they actually stayed!

Most of the sessions yesterday were hardcore technical sessions, and most of them were really packed.

I had prepared a few slides (follow link) and I’ve blogged on the subject several times, and I’m maintaining a page on my wiki.

I started out by presenting my slides, but really I only had 2-3, and immediately we had a real discussion going on, but it wasn’t till the end that we begun getting suggestions that we could write down. I’ll put it down to my lack of experience, and that I should have done more to keep focus, but it was really more of a brainstorm, and it was very rewarding indeed, at least to me, with most of the audience getting involved in the discussion.

We had a long and very fruitful discussion, mostly focused on the window of opportunity that we have right now, with Linux and open source software reaching such a high degree of maturity, and the major commercial player being almost tied down by huge technical challenges creating the next generation of their bread-and-butter software.

When it came to open standards, we spend a lot of time talking about Open Document Format, and ODF is very important indeed, because it can be considered a “Trojan”, simply start sending documents to the public authorities and tell them that they simple need to get hold of an open and free implementation of an Open Document Format viewer, for instance OpenOffice. With B103 in our hands, we can just say that what we sent was a document in the ONLY format that is an official ISO standard, and that the authority should start complying with B103.

Another important point that was made was that the volume agreements that the Danish public sector has with Microsoft, called eAftale is about to expire, so now’s the time to start pushing the alternatives to the politicians.
I’m quite happy with my own performance, and I’ll try to use this experience to build a shorter presentation, and I think that I got good response.

After “my” session, there was a session on the next steps for the open source movement in Denmark.

A number of suggestions on next steps were listed. We need to do A LOT more lobbying, and we need some reference cases, e.g. this school switched to Linux…

We’ll set-up a press centre…using the SSLUG wiki as a starting point, it seems that the Open Source movement in Denmark is in need of new blood, and I’m voluentering my services, I really need to join these SIGs.

The day ended with quality beer and more geekery, I’m REALLY REALLY impressed by Ubuntu 6.10 and I have the perfect machine to test it on, an iBook G3 500MHz that I just acquired.

I’m right@home@Linuxfourm. IT’S MY CULTURE! AND LET’S GO WITH THE LOBBYISM.

Home banking…Do we need it? I say NO!

Monday, October 30th, 2006

If you did a poll among adult Danish Internet users on why they have a computer and an Internet connection, I’m pretty sure that home banking would come out on top, but do we really need home banking in Denmark.

I’ll put in an argument that private users don’t need it, and that the nightmarish security threats, alone, should disqualify home banking as an application for home users.

I need to pay my bills?

Hmm…Do you really?

If you ask ordinary people, they will say that they only need to enter bills 1-2 times every month, so couldn’t you just do that at the nearest ATM, it’s very few people that NEVER go outside.

The reason that Danes need to pay that few bills, is that we In Denmark has a long tradition, it’s been in existence since the 70-ies, of automated electronic payments. Most of the payments can be automated by signing up with the common payment service of the Danish banks, BS (BetalingService= Payment Service), and all bills will be automatically charged to your account, this means that it’s VERY rare that you need to enter bills manually, and when you do, you can usually choose to have the bill registered with BS automatically, so that it will be charged automatically in the future.

I only get printed statements every third month

Hmm…Do you actually need home banking to get that?

The next argument is that you no longer get a printed statement from the bank, well the statement could be e-mailed, using encrypted e-mail, to you at set levels, e.g. after 10 transactions, daily, weekly etc., but why not make it into a RSS feed that you could subscribe to? And you can get a printed statement at the nearest ATM 24-7-365!

You can also use the good old voice service over the phone, or the WAP/SMS based services that the banks are offering. I’d say that the security of the phone solutions always were questionable.

Conclusion

The majority of us could live without computer based home-banking.

  • The security threats are too big for ordinary users to handle
  • The voice services are much more mobile and secure
  • Most of your banking needs can be handled at the ATM, for instance transferring of money to other accounts
  • The banks could offer simple e-mail subscriptions, the eBoks solution is WAY too complicated for ordinary users.

So dear banks here’s a challenge, start working on making the anachronism desktop PCs and home banking a thing of the past, most private users need mobile and SIMPLE solutions, not the bloated incompatible applications that require lots of computing power and quite often are tied to specific platforms, that we have right now.

Tip: ny måde at gemme sine Firefox faneblade på!

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

Så er den klaretHer er et tip til alle Firefox brugere som ikke gider lukke sine faneblade fra en af mine kreative venner.

Jeg har brugt Firefox et par uger, det har været en sjov oplevelse, det kedelige var at jeg ikke kunne få mine faneblade tilbage, når jeg havde slukket for min computer. Men i mellemtiden hørte jeg at der var kommet en ny version af Firefox, og den har jeg lige hentet ned til min computer. Jeg har ikke haft lyst til at lukke mine faneblade, men så ved et uheld gik min strøm mens jeg sad og arbejdede med min midt i min arbejdstid, så jeg var helt ude af den, men heldigvis havde jeg husket at gemme dokumenterne, men hvad skete der med min Internet browser. Så startede jeg min computer årh heldigvis spurgte Firefox mig om jeg vil gendanne den gamle session eller starte en ny session, så kom smilet tilbage i mit ansigte.

Tak til Bilal fra http://www.bilalameen.info.

For andre eksempler på kreativ problemløsning kig her: Barometerhistorien.

PortableApps.com – Portable software for USB drives | Your Digital Life, Anywhere™

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Portable Apps Logo3

PortableApps.com – Portable software for USB drives | Your Digital Life, Anywhere™

What Is A Portable App?

portable – carried or moved with ease
app – a computer program like a web browser or word processor

A portable app is a computer program that you can carry around with you on a portable device and use on any Windows computer. When your USB flash drive, portable hard drive, iPod or other portable device is plugged in, you have access to your software and personal data just as you would on your own PC. And when you unplug, none of your personal data is left behind.

NordicOS.org – Nordic Open Source: Velkommen til nordicos.org

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

NordicOS.org – Nordic Open Source: Velkommen til nordicos.org

NordicOS.org er et nordisk initiativ hvor der bla. er offentliggjort en rigitg god liste over open source programmer.

Citat fra NordicOS.org hjemmesiden:

Vi fortæller nærmere om 30 programmer, der mere eller mindre alle sammen virker til
WindowsWindows
MacOSMacOS
LinuxLinux
Vi fortæller forbrugere om hvad open source er, og om hvordan man finder og bruger open source-produkter.

I afsnittet Scenarier har vi grupperet open source-programmerne i pakker. Et eksempel på et scenarie er hjemmebrugeren som ønsker at læse email og surfe på internet. Vi beskriver hvilke produkter der kan bruges og hvor man kan finde dem. Der er 6 af disse scenarier i alt.

I afsnittet Programmer findes en liste over de mest almindelige open source-produkter samt informationer om hvert af dem. Du kan læse om hvad produkterne kan, om deres historie og hvor man kan downloade dem, samt finde skærmbilleder og andre råd.

Vi har samlet nogle af vores yndlingsprogrammer i en Top 5 og svarer også på typiske spørgsmål

Afsnittet Open Source indeholder artikler om hvad open source er, om dets historie og om de licenser, der bruges.

Godt tiltag, men desværre dødt…Her er hvad der skete da jeg prøvede at sende dem en mail…

Mason error
error in file: /var/www/www.nordicos.org/var/common/obj/SITECOMP/doctypes/OrderForm

line 40: Can’t call method “mail” on an undefined value
context:

36: $mail_error = “E-mail-adresse ikke korrekt udfyldt
” if (!$output->param(‘_incoming_not_obligatory_email’) and !$mail_error and $from !~ /^[^@]+@[^@]+\.\w+$/);
37: $mail_error .= “Navn ikke udfyldt” unless ($output->param(‘_incoming_not_obligatory_navn’) or $name);
38:
39:
40: $mail_error = “Failed to specify a sender [$from]\n” unless ($mail_error or $smtp->mail($from));
41: $mail_error = “Failed to specify a recipient [$mailto]\n” unless ($mail_error or $smtp->to($mailto));
42: $mail_error = “Failed to send a message\n” unless ($mail_error or $smtp->data([$mailtxt]));
43: $mail_error = “Failed to quit\n” unless ($mail_error or $smtp->quit);
44: }

component stack: /doctypes/OrderForm [sitecomp]
/switch [globalcommoncomp]
/dhandler [docroot]
/autohandler [sitecomp]
code stack: /var/www/www.nordicos.org/var/common/obj/SITECOMP/doctypes/OrderForm:40
/usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.8.0/HTML/Mason/Request.pm:693
/var/www/www.nordicos.org/var/common/obj/GLOBALCOMMONCOMP/switch:25
/var/www/www.nordicos.org/var/common/obj/DOCROOT/dhandler:13
/var/www/www.nordicos.org/var/common/obj/SITECOMP/autohandler:45

LOL!

JPL.NASA.GOV: Feature Stories: The Spark of a New Era

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

JPL 70th anniversary banner

JPL.NASA.GOV: Feature Stories: The Spark of a New Era

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is celebrating it’s 70th birthday.

In this feature the early history of JPL is described.

I consider the JPL to be the most succesful NASA subdivision, as the true pioneeers of planetary exploration.

70 years ago my own mother was born and my father was 7. Back then, the things we do today would have been considered so far into the future, that you might have been committed to a closed ward, if you had suggested that humanity could, for instance, visit all the planets in the solar system within a lifetime. Just try to imagine where we can be in another 70 years, what put’s it into perspective is that it might be so amazing, that we can’t even begin to imagine it.

Congratulations to the JPL.

NASA – ‘McMurdo’ Panorama from Spirit’s ‘Winter Haven’

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

NASA Spirt Mars Rover banner
NASA – ‘McMurdo’ Panorama from Spirit’s ‘Winter Haven’

To celebrate the 1,000th sol of the Spirit rover Mars mission, NASA has released a panorama.

Congratulations to NASA with this amazing success, makes you wonder what the next generation of rovers will achieve.

Oct. 26, 2006, marks Spirit’s 1,000th sol of what was planned as a 90-sol mission. (A sol is a Martian day, which lasts 24 hours, 39 minutes, 35 seconds). The rover has lived through the most challenging part of its second Martian winter. Its solar power levels are rising again. Spring in the southern hemisphere of Mars will begin in early 2007. Before that, the rover team hopes to start driving Spirit again toward scientifically interesting places in the “Inner Basin” and “Columbia Hills” inside Gusev crater. The McMurdo panorama is providing team members with key pieces of scientific and topographic information for choosing where to continue Spirit’s exploration adventure.

With Firefox 2, Mozilla touts security and speed | CNET News.com

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Firefox-TitleWith Firefox 2, Mozilla touts security and speed | CNET News.com

FirefoXXXy 2.0 has been released, and so far it’s gr8! All my feeds and quick links (e.g. the WordPress bookmarklets that I couldn’t live without) still works. The UI is a little sleeker, and it seems more responsive. I’ve also installed my first plug-ins – the new spelling dictionaries – and yes, there’s one in Danish, can’t wait to let it loose on my Wiki projects, if it works, this is really, really good news.

Nothing runs like a Fox (hey wasn’t that the motto of a Microsoft product sometime?)

On a curious note, the Firefox team received a cake from the Microsoft IE team congratulating them on shipping. I REALLY REALLY like the Microsoft IE team!

“The key focus in Firefox 2 is making sure that what we are focusing on is tightness and efficiency–with the ability of turning that browser into exactly what one needs, focusing on security, stability and speed,” said Mike Beltzner, who Mozilla describes as its “phenomenologist.”