Feisty Fawn – Works as advertised

Whenever a new version of Ubuntu comes out I download the CD, run it in LiveCD mode and see if my Laptop (Thinkpad T43) works with everything included (video card – ATI, sound, Wireless card the Intel a/b/g wireless thingy) and succeeds in connecting to my home wireless network (using WPA2 encryption).

Previous versions usually missed either in the wireless card or the WPA (or it was really cumbersome to configure WPA).

I tested Feisty Fawn (7.04) and surprise, surprise, it works as advertised.

Everything was correctly configured and recognized including the cool new wireless applet for Gnome which found my network and even figured that its WPA.

Good work Ubuntu team! You are on the right path!

Being the geek that I am, I always find myself trying to figure out whether I should install a Linux distribution that simply works (up until Feisty Fawn there wasn’t really something that did that without further tweaks) or should I go 100% geek/developer and run Gentoo.

After all, if I’m going to tweak thing, at least give me 100% control over what I am doing…

I guess that from now on I’ll really have a dilemma…

The new and slick myOpenID.com

I’m probably the last person to talk about it, by myOpenID.com has a cool and slick new design [via Scott’s blog].

They also added a cool new feature, client side certificate, so when you install such a certificate on your machine you don’t need to do anything to sign in. It does all that for you!

Just remember to NOT use it on public computers or on computers that are being used by more than one person and do not have a different user names for each person.

Congrats to Scott and all of the fine team at JanRain!

In the transition, one thing was lost though, my personal icon. It wasn’t a biggy cause I uploaded it again. On the other hand if I haven’t read about the redesign of the site I would have probably thought I was hijacked to a different one :-) (not!).

Forgive me Outlook for I have sinned (not)

Forgive me Outlook for I have sinned.

I have been using you as one of the primary communication tools that I have form your very first days. I have stayed within the 2Gb PST file limits but when I was told that Outlook 2003 can hold up to 20Gb I have rejoiced, joyed and thanked you for your kindness.

I still dreaded the old 2Gb limitation but decide to look forward for a better future. I therefore installed Outlook 2007 blindfold as I have known that each version of Outlook brings it’s own bliss and helpfulness to the world.

But oh and behold, my mail downloads prolonged. Is it thy punishment for my ever increasing in size PST? Am I guilty of not enabling “Auto Archive” and splitting my PST files?

Perhaps I was still good this year, for you have sent me a savior in the form of this fix

Seriously now… I have discovered this fix via this post in Download Squad and the responds from Outlook’s PM was very annoying:

“Outlook wasn’t designed to be a file dump, it was meant to be a communications tool…There is that fine line, but we don’t necessarily want to optimize the software for people that store their e-mail in the same .PST file for ten years.”

While it may be true that it wasn’t designed to hold ten years of mail, this is certainly not the first or second version of Outlook. If you’ll take the accumulated usage hours of Outlook of all the people on this planet you’ll amount to thousands (if not more than that) of man years.

Do you want to tell me that all of the MS employees don’t have PST files larger than 1Gb? Do you want to tell me that after 5 years of developing Office 2007 and thousands of hours of dog fooding Outlook 2007 within Microsoft you didn’t check an average user’s PST file to see that its well beyond 500Mb? I don’t save 10 years of Email on my main PST file, mostly from the years that the PST was limited to 2Gb, but I do have 2 years and its more than 500Mb.

It’s you that decided to add RSS feeds into the PST file which means MORE information is placed inside the PST file not less. You should have seen that coming. Really.

Perhaps now is the time to chip in and help the new versions of Thunderbird (the Release Candidate for 2 looks really well) and combined with Lightning (the project to add Calendaring abilities to Thunderbird) and create a decent and usable replacement for Outlook!

Outlook 2007, you have failed me and robbed me of my productivity time while I waited for my mail to download. I’m afraid its time to pick up a fight and make sure that the best PIM software really wins.

Stop the PIM tyranny and join forces to beat the beast. Competition will make it better and we will all rejoice in reclaiming our mailbox as well as our lost Email download time.

Google Apps for Your Domain and Gmail Mail Applet for Nokia phones

I own a Nokia E61 cell phone. A nice phone all in all (aside from the backup problems my wife encountered).

Gmail has this cool little applet that lets me access my Gmail account in a nicer (and better cached) way from my cell phone. It’s a really nice program and I use it quite often.

It has one problem though. If you host your own domain through Google Apps for Your Domain to get the Gmail like interface for your Emails you cannot use this program.

Technically (as far as I could see) the interface is rather the same, the only different should be the user name and password. But there is a restriction in the user name in the mail applet that forces you to put an Email address with a suffix of @gmail.com only. It will not accept anything other than a @gmail.com user name.

Google Apps for your Domain has, however, a program for Blackberries. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I would really like to have the current nice mail applet working with my hosted Google Gmail application.

I want the normal Gmail applet to work with my custom domain and Google Apps for your domain, otherwise I’m forced to use the not so nice Cell phone browser web mail access which is far less usable than the applet.

Is it too much to ask? I don’t think so, considering that it seems there shouldn’t be any problem supporting it technically (it’s the same backend). If any of you Google Apps for your Domains Googlers are reading this and there is a bigger issue/problem with forcing the mail applet to support Google Apps for Your Domain, I would love to know why (you can even ping me privately through my contact page).

Crawling to the people

Yaniv let the cat out of the bag about some of our ideas for making other parts of the search and its relevant data open, free and accessible to all of us.

I’d thought I’ll add some background and my thoughts on the subject.

First, the idea was iterated a couple of times when we were in that place where you have a solution(s) and you are seeking a problem(s) to solve.

It all started from this post by Jeremie Miller. Jeremie, being the good guy that he is, was thinking about create standards and protocols to make the crawling, processing and sharing of data for search and search engines public, free and accessible. While neither Yaniv nor I are in Jeremie’s loop and have no idea of what he is up to (but you can count on it to be interesting, that’s for sure), we talked about it a bit and it sunk in.

We both liked the idea of having the raw data accessible as well as being able to run custom post processors that can make something useful out of it so that no one is tied to whatever logic and algorithms the crawler writer enforces.

Then came the announcement from Kevin Burton about spinn3r, a service that re uses the web index of the Blogosphere crawled by TailRank’s crawler and allows you (and everyone else) to use that crawled data.

This information also sunk in and today at lunch (which did take quite a while :-) ) we started to brainstorm about it a bit more seriously.

This can really open up and innovate search from the bottom up. Give access to a lot of people to APIs and capabilities that were previously only available for big companies. This is the platform that can create something very interesting.

We would love to hear your comments.

Universal Binaries

Is it just me or Universal Binaries for Mac are a world domination scheme to increase the bandwidth usage of the world?

I know that the Apple folks didn’t want people to start figuring out “Do I have an Intel process or a PowerPC one?”, after all most people don’t really know what’s inside their machines, but in 99% of the cases, when downloading from the web most sites that do provide the software could tell quite easily if the the browser is running on an Intel Mac or a PowerPC Mac by looking at the “User-Agent” string that the browser sends.

I also have another solution, add a patch to older OS versions (and add it to new ones) so that they could look inside the .app file (executable or whatever they call it) and see if it has the necessary bits to tell it if its Intel or PowerPC. If it’s the wrong version, the file itself should include a link to the correct version.

This adds a bit of a burden to the creators of the software (they need to provide a link to the Intel version on the PPC version and vice versa and use a specific compiler and compile two sets of the application) but makes the whole thing a lot more pleasant.

Combine these two methods together and you get decreased bandwidth costs for everyone. Only at the worst case where both the web application failed to detect the correct Mac version and the person downloaded the wrong version that doesn’t fit his/her Mac type, only then they will download both.

Luckily Apple’s market share in PCs worldwide is still a single digit percentage so the bandwidth issue is still small, though its probably rising around Silicon Vally ;-)