One question which amazes many people is how the world of Open Source runs and from where it gets all its funds. Open Source and Linux developers work for free and it is a community driven and open project.
Anyone can join and for that question, anyone can leave as well. There is no-one bossing you around. But that is true only for projects which are hosted for free. There are other projects managed by Linux giants like Red Hat and Novell which get their funds from the Enterprise Solutions they provide. Additionally, there are many companies financing the world of Open Source, especially the world of Linux for their own benefit. Many of them are reputed companies specializing in providing state of the art business solutions.
One such company is Google. Even antitrust controversies like Microsoft are in the game. Microsoft has its CodePlex foundation where, it is said, Microsoft puts employees to write open source code and pays them and has been denying this fact ever since it surfaced. But Microsoft has other better things to worry and care for.
There are many other companies which deal in Linux development specifically.
Red Hat is a S&P 500 company and is a major promoter of Linux and Open Source. Its most popular product includes Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora. Red Hat was founded in the year 1993 and has never looked back ever since.
The company went public in 1999 and has received wide appreciation from the Open Source world. It has its headquarters located a Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. It has 2800 employees and has a net income of 78.72 million USD. Achievements :
Red Hat grabbed the Operating System Product of the Year award more than once and has been awarded a number of times elsewhere.
The entry of Red Hat into the S&P 500 was a big win for the world of Linux and ensured continued development over the years. Red Hat has followed a number of acquisitions ever since its birth. It acquired Cygnus Solutions in 1999 and the JBoss in 2006.
These were major milestones for Red Hat. Products :
The major products of Red Hat include the Red Ha Enterprise Linux and the community driven and Red Hat backed Fedora Project. Red Hat developers work for the Fedora project project along side their mainstream job and many developments from the Fedora project make it to the Red Hat distribution releases.
Canonical Ltd. is a company founded by South African multi-millionaire Mark Shuttleworth. He made a furtune when he sold away his venture Thawte to VeriSign. Ever since, Mark Shuttleworth has been financing open source software and development all over the world through his company Canonical Ltd., which is a private company dedicated to this sole purpose.
The company was founded on 5th March 2004 and has its registered headquarters at Douglas, Isle of Man in Europe. Canonical Ltd. has revenue of 30 million USD and has a little over 200 employees.
The company has been involved in a number of activities right after after its birth.
The Software freedom day is held on the third Saturday of every September. Canonicals sponsored the event in 2005-2006 by a huge amount.
Freedom Toaster is an innovative kiosk designed for users to save on download costs and burn CD/DVD of their favorite Linux distribution of choice, for free of cost and in seconds.
The major contribution of Canonical to the world of Linux includes the Ubuntu distribution of Linux which forms the base for a number of side projects like Mint, Ubuntu Ultimate Edition etc. Ubuntu has a definitive 6 months release cycle ensuring a continuous flow of quality work from the developers. Other products include Landscape, which is a browser based web-server manager, Launchpad, the website containing Open Source software projects and Ubuntu One which is a closed source file synchronization service.
Novell was founded in 1983 and has over 4000 employees currently. Its headquarters are located at Waltham, MA, USA and the company specializes in enterprise software solutions for Linux. This is one of the oldest players in the Open Source world and has played a key role in emerging technologies like the LAN and network security.
The company was one of the first tech giants to compete with Microsoft and started with buying UNIX rights from Novell. Novell was headed by current Google CEO Eric Schmidt for a long period and has flourished to be a key competitor to the closed source world of paid software.
The company ran into many controversies due to its deal with Microsoft and was looked down upon by major Open Source communities around the world. Things have started getting better now and Novell will probably gain back the confidence it had once. Novell has a net income of 8.7 Million USD.
Novell entered into an agreement with Microsoft on 2nd November 2006 whereby it decided to setup a lab which allowed research to be carried out for better compatibility of its software with other software vendors. Novell is especially known for its excellent customer support and it holds support as a top priority in its business solution.
Novell has a number of products which include Novell NetWare, SUSE Linux and the Novell Cloud Security Service.
The next sequel in the mega successful Call of Duty line was released November 10th, 2009 and was lead by a huge blitz of hype since the announcement in February. With such big boots to fill, COD:MW2 had its work ahead. The game was developed by Infinity Ward who also created many of the other Call of Duty titles including the immediate predecessor Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Thanks to Infinity Ward, the company that produced the game, the game was up for the challenge.
The game brings back Soap MacTavish and his team who are sent to hunt down terrorist Vladimir Makarov. You will visit unusual locations like Rio de Janeiro, Kazakhstan, and Afghanistan among other locations. The locales are brought to life with Infinity Wards proprietary software engine dubbed W4.0 which they claim is a generation more advanced than the predecessor COD4:MW
The game starts off with training exercises and an obstacle course to figure out the controls and to assess your level of difficulty for the first mission. For me, it was Super Beginner.
One of the best parts of a new COD game is new weapons and MW2 ds not disappoint. Players will get to use the Predator missile. The unique overhead view to launch the missile allows you to guide to its final destination. It takes minimal time to get a hold of the controls for the first time, but this addition adds another layer to the COD player experience. The game also adds Special Ops mode which can be played solo or with others. Special Ops mode is basically a series of mini missions. Other new features include preloading classes like Ranger and Overwatch and adding some unlockable classes like Riot Control. Players can create their own classes as well for more gaming freedom.
Multiplayer mode is where this game shines. Just like MW1, MW2 handles very similar in the multiplayer mode. Users can unlock new weapons, gain experience, and use other add-ons throughout the game. A new feature to Multiplayer is the addition of custom killstreaks and deathstreaks so players can determine what items will become available based on the number of subsequent kills. Deathstreaks were created for players like me so we don’t die too often. Deathstreaks allow a player who dies three times before killing an enemy, to then assume the enemy’s abilities. I like this!
Over all, the game has impressive graphics to give the player the feeling of being immersed in a battlefield and is a Must have if you are a Call Of Duty fan or an avid First Person shooter. Infinity Ward knows how to build a compelling and fun FPS and it shows in MW2. Modern Warfare 2 is focused squarely on the multiplayer mode. The single player mode is shorter that previous editions of the Call of Duty games. So you will find yourself with your friends in a room online playing what could be the biggest game of the year!
Linux has been a thing of pride amongst all geeks. Linux is the buzzword amongst noon-geeks as well; they refer to it as some Martian mojo. Though today, Linux has come a long way from being all fast text being typed into boring terminals and long frightening messages scrolling up and down user screens.
Linux is no more all about the command line. GUI in Linux was popularized by the release of Red Hat Linux 9. From then Linux has improved both, in its features as well as its GUI. Today, Linux has a GUI comparable to any Windows that will be released in the next five years. The plasma effect of KDE desktop and the Compiz effects have proven time and again that GUI is not all about Windows.
Linux has a plethora of desktop environments, distribution types and specialized distributions to choose from unlike Windows versions of Home Basic version, Home Premium version, Ultimate version, Professional version, Corporate Version and all that confusion.
The distributions in Linux are all managed and released by individual groups of developers. Unlike the Suse, Ubuntu and Red Hat Linux we know of, Linux actually comes in many different flavors and distros with different features and capabilities each. Many of them are built for specialized operation like scientific research, network testing system stability and performance testing etc.
Here are three of the lesser known but widely used Linux distributions. These distributions are specialized for particular tasks only though, general users can always give it a try and the best thing, these professional operating systems, are all free and open source.
Scientific Linux, is a Red Hat based Linux distro and is developed by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and CERN in collaboration with many other laboratories across the world. The primary objective of the Linux distro is to prevent duplication of development of the same features by labs around the world and provide a standardized OS for various research and experimental works. It is basically Red Hat Enterprise Linux, recompiled from the source. This ensures a full compatibility with all software from Enterprise. Also, this Linux forms a base for the addition of additional specific packages for a particular lab. Also, each lab is allowed to create its own distribution with all its scripts and custom software, and redistribute it. The OS is available for all users as it is Open Source and you can try it out too if you are curious about what all the CERN uses.
The environment used is Gnome and there is extreme support for programming in Java.
Visit the Scientific Linux homepage here.
BackTrack is the Linux of choice when it comes to networks security and exploit testing. BackTrack contains a powerful 300 application base, packaged into one distro to make it the #1 Linux distro amongst networking professionals. BackTrack was awarded the #1 Security Live Distribution by inseccure.org in 2006. It was formed as a merger of two popular distributions, WHAX and Auditor Security Collection. The BackTrack distribution is based on Slackware Linux and just like any other Linux has a live CD too.
One of the featured applications in BackTrack is Metasploit, which is tightly integrated into the distro. Also, the applications in BackTrack are categorized and structured for ease of access. Any new feature is made available immediately, through updates. This makes BackTrack the perfect Linux for both budding hackers and security professionals dealing in Computer Forensics. BackTrack is used in many institutions providing specialization in network security.
The desktop environment available in BackTrack is KDE.
Visit the BackTrack homepage here.
ArcheOS is an acronym for Archaeological Operating System. This Linux distro is based on Kubuntu 8.10, although a new version is under development which will be based on Debian Squeeze. The distro is available as a live DVD like any other Linux and the Kubuntu base means full compatibility with the Ubuntu repositories. This gives it the ability to add more software packages. The distro features many specialized softwares like AutoQ3D for CAD, QGIS and GRASS for GIS (Geographical Information Systems), GPSDrive for GPS, Blender for 3D graphics, Gimp for fast image editing and other basic application like Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice etc.
The ArcheOS distro features a KDE desktop environment.
Visit the ArcheOS homepage here.
An important feature of Linux, Live CD, which allows us to try a distribution before installing it, is present in all the three distributions. Linux has finally captured more than 1% of desktops worldwide. More and more people are using Linux every day. Clearly Linux is not all about web-servers and any general PC user can always try out one of these distributions.
Live Sync: https://sync.live.com/clientdownload.aspx?ibm=10
Live Sync is a wonderful tool if you need to share files with someone or if you want a hands off backup of important files. Live Sync allows you to synchronize foldersbetween two computers (Windows XP and later and Mac OSX up to 10.5). The computers can be on a local network or just connected to the internet. This is a great way to share photos with relatives or files with other people. I personally use it to synchronize a folder full of Keepers on my desktop with a folder on my backup server so if my computer ever crashed after I added the document but before the nightly backup could run, I still wouldn’t lose the files.
Security essentials: http://www.microsoft.com/Security_Essentials/
Microsoft has realized the necessity of antivirus software on windows PCs and has stepped up with the free Security Essentials. Security Essentials provides protection against viruses, spyware, rootkits and Trojans. This is a huge step in the right direction by providing this service free of charge. Keep in mind, that like all anti-viruses, they are typically only effective in telling you AFTER you’ve been infected, so practice safe surfing habits like not downloading from questionable sites, don’t open e-mail attachments, and make sure you are running as a limited user on your computer and not running as administrator.
Microsoft has a history of releasing non-supported PowerTools and Power Toys that their developers create because there is a need. These are not publicized formally nor are they supported by Microsoft, but there are some gems.
Color Control Panel Applet: Being an amateur photographer, being able to control how the computer displays colors and be able to control it from the screen all the way to the printer is very important. This powertoy does just that in one centralized area.
SyncToy: If you have multiple copies of files or need a simple way to compare files, Sync Toy was built to help copy, move and synchronize various files like photos, docuemtns, etc.
RAW Image Thumbnailer Viewer: As a photographer, I like to shoot my DSLR to capture RAW images. The issue with RAW images is that many softwares can’t display the RAW files natively. This is where the RAW Image Thumbnailer Viewer comes in. it allows you to see thumbnails, previews, EXIF data and even print RAW images you may not otherwise be able to see.
Alt-Tab Replacement: If you multitask and have many files open at once, you may use the Alt-Tab key combination to cycle through the open windows. The Alt-Tab Replacement PowerToy beefs up this ability and included page previews and the application icon.
Tweak UI: By far, my favorite of the PowerToys. TweakUI has been around for years allowing people to manipulate the user interface of Windows to better suit your needs. Tweak UI is a must have for me when I set up a new computer.
Image Resizer: Why open up Photoshop or some other powerful image editing tool if all you need is to resize the image to e0mail or post somewhere? With a right-click, you can resize one or many images.
Webcam Timershot: This PowerToy allows you to set up a time lapse photo using your webcam. Maybe you want to capture traffic or the weather moving in. The Timershot tool is a simple way to take snapshots at specified intervals.
Windows Home Server—what is it?
I have a small network at home with 8 computers attached to each other. I had various shared external harddrives across the network, but finding things became cumbersome and unwieldy. I wanted something like a server that I have used for many years at my place of employment, but I didn’t want a full server. I wanted something that was easy to set up and manage and provide a central location for videos, music, and other files. My search began and I quickly found Windows Home Server. HP quickly began selling their MediaSmart server for far more than I wanted to spend; I purchased a copy of Windows Home Server and used one of the PCs I already owned to set it up. The minimum specs for WHS are 1GHz Pentium III CPU, 512MB of RAM, 80GB of hard drive space, DVD-ROM drive, and a wired Ethernet adapter. No problem. In fact the most difficult part of the entire setup was buying the software. WHS is not offered in retail stores. Thankfully you should be able to find a copy on Amazon, NewEgg.com or TigerDirect for around $120. What you will get is the server install disk which is installed on your server. You will also get a disk with the connector software on it. This is installed on the other PCs on your network so that they can be automatically backed up to the server. Lastly, you will receive a recovery disk that you can boot into to recover the backed up data from the server.
Installation of the server software and connector is pretty straightforward. Once you install he connector software, you can then modify the user privileges in case you don’t want your teenage son to have access to the software directory where you keep all the installers for a few hundred necessary applications. Plus you can then manage the individual PC backups and see what has been successfully backed up and what hasn’t. You can even kick off the backup from the server console.
Sharing audio and video from the WHS server is pretty trivial. Once you have all the media on the server, it can be accessed by anyone with access on the network.
One of the nice features WHS provides is the ability to add multiple hard drives, either internal or external, into a storage pool. So now my collection of 100GB, 250GB, 500GB and 1 TB drives can be placed into a giant storage pool on the server and utilized as multiple terabytes of storage. This was a nice addition to the features since now I can increase the storage size by just plugging in a new hard drive and selecting to add it to the storage pool from the server console.
Lastly, the server software allows me to connect to my home network from any internet connection. I can access my data, configure my server or even stream media like music or video. Very handy for those long nights in hotels after conferences or training sessions. Just log in and stream some music or a movie. Very handy.
All in all, WHS has impressed me and is now a required part of my home network infrastructure. I imagine this might work equally well in a small business environment where the employees need access to a central bank of files and be able to automate the scheduled backups. Microsoft has done an excellent job scaling down a full server into something fit for a home or small office environment!
I am Dadmin. I have three children varying in ages from 1st grade to high school, so I’ve been dealing with strategizing on the best way to exercise my geekery to keep my kids safe. I use a few different items to ensure I am keeping abreast of my children’s online lives.
- I talked to them about proper online safety. Things like : Don’t talk to strangers, don’t publish things like your last name, address, or phone number, don’t accept any files from anyone, and you must give me a current password for any accounts you want to have. Like any good EULA, I make them agree to all my demands before they get access to anything. I also let them know that I will be tracking them. What they say, who they talk to and where they go. This is the most important step and involves no technology whatsoever.
- Open DNS. Domain Name Servers are utilized as a sort of phone book for the internet. You enter www.zmogo.com and your internet browser goes to the DNS server and looks up the IP address (ex: 10.1.1.1). Open DNS is a free service that I can point my broadband router to that also allows me to control what sites they can and can’t get to. Setting it up is simple. Just go to http://www.opendns.com and follow their instructions. It takes just a minute or so to do. Then log in to the Open DNS account and begin to limit the sites your home network can get to. It took us a bit of time to fine tune it to our needs. I entered in some sites that were not adult, but just not where I wanted them to go, plus selected some categories to prevent large sections of adult material and such from being accessible to them. This covers a majority of the items I didn’t want them getting into.
- Real VNC. (http://www.realvnc.com) Commonly used for remote administration of computers, I set up a Real VNC server on each of the computers so I can take a peak at what they are doing at any given time. I made them all aware that I can do this and that they wouldn’t know I was there watching, so even if they were doing something to negate my other strategies, I could catch them red-handed and punishment would be revocation of Internet privileges.
- Since our oldest is a fan of Instant Messaging, I required that all his conversations be saved to a server. I did this in a setting that said something like Archive conversations and then you choose a location. I can then track actual conversations he’s having with his friends and can ask questions about people he chats with online. Sure, he can turn off the archiving on his computer, but if I stop receiving updated message logs on the server, I know he did it and can reprimand him, and turn it back on. Every instant messenging system is different, so find out where this setting is on the tool your child uses.
- Keeping the computer in an open space is always the best idea. This makes it far less tempting to try to get around the controls that are in place is someone is watching.
- Lastly, I install a keylogger, which captures all the keystrokes on that computer. It is done silently behind the scenes and ensures I can see EVERYTHING that is going on on that computer. I like keyloggers like Home Keylogger (http://www.kmint21.com/keylogger/) or KGB Keylogger (http://www.sharewareconnection.com/free-kgb-key-logger.htm)
I am sure to let them know that I am tracking their keystrokes as well and using any software or hardware to avert it is in direct violation of the EULA we agreed about prior to accessing the internet.
Yes, I may have gone a little overboard and utilizing all these avenues is not for everyone, but if using this to keep tabs on your kids who are hiding things from you can prevent big problems, then I am all for it. Honestly, just showing them what I can do to track them is enough to keep them out of trouble because they know they can’t get away with anything.
Halloween is coming soon, so now is the time to get your technology ready and maybe express some of your geekiness. Besides the staples of candy corn, plastic orange pumpkins with black toothy grins, and kids dressed like Spiderman, here’s eleven items to put the geek back into your Halloween.
- Turn your monitor into a strobe light. http://www.bobshowto.com/fun/strobe-light.htm
Maybe it’s a laptop, or a big projector, get a great spooky effect in your house with just your monitor and this web site. This would be perfect for a haunted data center for the co-workers to walk through!
- Decorate your workstation for the spooky season with this USB powered decoration set. http://www.thisnext.com/item/C5EB1B00/BC37BE2A/USB-Halloween-Decoration-Kit
Complete with seasonal mouse pad, lights to hang on the monitor or possibly your collection of action figures in your cubicle.
- Build your own talking skull. http://www.kickthefog.com/talking_skull.htm Everything you need to build your own creepy talking skull. This is an involved build, but the result is one that will make all your geeky friends drool with jealousy.
- Create your own Jack o Lantern carving pattern. http://www.canadianliving.com/crafts/other_crafts/digital_crafts_jack_o_lantern_templates.php That’s right. Want to carve Tux or maybe a portrait of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates? Follow these instructions and you will have a 100% original pumpkin on your porch this season! Here are a few of the geekier Jack-o-lanterns I’ve seen decorating the porches of probable geeks.
5. Use a voice changer. http://www.screamingbee.com/product/download.aspx Sure there are great toy versions of this technology, but here’s a free piece of software that will morph your voice into something a little creepier!
6. Dress up like Master Chief from Halo. http://halloweenaddict.com/2009/08/halo-master-chief-costume.html Who wouldn’t want to be master Chief from Halo? Hop on your Warthog, although it does looks more like a Puma and go blast some enemies. Afterwards, kick back and watch a little Red Vs. Blue.
7. Dress up as Pixels. Get a bunch of square boxes and spray paint them different colors. Walk next to each other all night. Try to look Jaggy.
8. Get answers from the Beyond on the internet. http://www.witchboard.com/online-witchboard/Online Ouija-like board for your amusement and Halloween fun! Ask questions like What is the next Apple Announcement and see what the digital spirits have to say. Hopefully it won’t be a Null Pointer Exception.
9. Online Trick or Treating? http://doorlesschambers.com organizes online trick or treating for virtual Disney-themed goodies every year from October 25 through the 31st. It may not fill up your pillowcase, but it might be just what you need while you are stuck answering tech support phone calls on October 31st.
10. Make your own real Spiderman web slinger. http://www.instructables.com/id/Creepy_Cobweb_Shooter/?contestId=V9T8TI4FLROLS8R Instructables does it again with a great video and set of instructions on creating a webslinger. Sure you need an air compressor, but what Spiderman fan didn’t want their own web shooter?
11. EVERYTHING Halloween Online. http://www.halloween-online.com/ Buy a prop coffin, check out some ghoulish recipes ( I like the Skull Jell-O mold), find some costume ideas, check out some Halloween games to play with your friends, and even Halloween party planning ideas and suggestions. This site has everything you need for a fun and safe Halloween.
I’m a big fan of FREE STUFF, so it should be no surprise that I gravitate towards free software. Sure much of it is junkie, but there are some realy diamonds out there that haven’t hit the mainstream yet. Here’s my favorite 10.
1. Logmein (https://secure.logmein.com)
Ever find yourself away from home and wishing you could e-mail yourself something? Or maybe you have a mother-in-law who lives 4 states away and is always having computer problems, and instead of loading up the kids in the family trickster for a marriage-trying trip, you could just log in to her computer remotelyÂ¦.without her needing to do anything? This is where Logmein comes in. There are lots of products out there that will do this, but very few will do all these things as well as Logmein ds for free.
2. Mesh (http://www.mesh.com)
Microsoft has a knack of not promoting some of the apps that they offer. Mesh is one of those apps. Another computer sharing application, but Mesh displays all the computers in a 3-D rotating ring and also offers a Web DesktopÂ that syncs with all the computers on your Mesh. There is a promise of making Mesh work on Macs, but I haven’t yet seen it work. Mesh is super responsive and I really like how it feels while using it! The interface is clean and intuitive and I think the reason Microsoft ds not promote it is too many people would use it!
Yet another non-marketed gem from Microsoft. Photostory 3 is one of the easiest ways to create a very professional photo slideshow complete with background music (MP3 or you can create your own with the built-in music generator) and narration. The application is super easy to use and the results are far superior that some softwares that I’ve paid to use. The only downfall is that it dsn’t have a built-in burning application to burn the slideshow to CD or DVD.
4. Orb (http://www.orb.com)
Like many people, I don’t get to stay at home with my vault of audio and video goodness at my disposal. This is where Orb steps in. Orb allows a simple way to put your audio, photos and video online and accessible to your little antsy fingertips. One of my favorite features is the ability to stream webcams live on the internet, so if I miss my dog, I can log in and see and hear him. Very slick and very easy to set up!
5. Dropbox (http://www.getdropbox.com/)
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a storage cloud of your own to store items and further more wouldn’t it be nice if it synced with your other computers? That’s Dropbox. I use it to store keepersÂ or documents and small apps that I want in multiple places or to ensure I don’t lose it. Dropbox installs easily and creates a folder on your computer. Drag the files you want to sync into the Dropbox and dropbox takes care of the rest. All the other computers you log into the dropbox with can now access and upload their own files. A great solution for simple collaboration or small off site back ups.
6. MWSnap (http://www.mirekw.com/winfreeware/mwsnap.html)
If you need to do lots of screenshots for websites or manuals, this is a great tool. It has a nice zoom tool to enlarging parts of the screen to draw focus to it, a ruler for measuring the size of items in the shot, and can export in BMP, JPG, TIFF, PNG and GIF.
7. Camstudio (http://sourceforge.net/projects/camstudio/files/)
If you need to create a screencast, this a a great free tool. Comparable to Camtasia or Adobe’s Captivate, it’s not as feature-rich as those, but it will get the job done. It will record whatever you do on your screen and produce and AVI or SWF output. Plus you can narrate as you go through a microphone. This is the easiest way to convey complex techniques or just a way of communicating step by step instructions.
8. DimDim (http://www.dimdim.com)
A tool similar to WebEx, DimDim allows you to create free webinar-style sessions where you can share screens, whiteboards, presentation, web pages and even voice and video. I have been super impressed with DimDim in that it supports up to 20 people, it dsn’t require any installation and it handles the voice and video, unlike some other pay-for softwares. Sure, it isn’t as ubiquitious as WebEx (I’m certainly not going to tell someone to DimDim meÂ, but for free, this is a wonderful offering.
9. Ning (http://www.ning.com)
If you’ve ever wanted a web site for your church group, scouting group, or maybe even class reunion, then Ning is the place to go. It’s a DYI social networking site that allows you to roll your own blog/forum/event feed/calendar/whatever. I’ve used Ning for several side projects to collaborate with large and small groups of people. I also use Ning for a special interest web site-BisManPhoto.com, which is a site devoted to camera lovers in the Bismarck/Mandan North Dakota area. The sites scale wonderfully and gives me the freedom to worry about content rather than functionality.
10. Qik (http://qik.com)
Everyone carries their cellphones with them all the time. Ever wanted to stream live video from your phone? That’s what Qik ds and it ds it beautifully. Great for budding independent journalists wanting to stream live to the web (and post an alert on twitter simultaneously) and it’s equally great to share part of your vacation with people at home. The stream is recorded from your phone and saved for posterity so people who couldn’t see the live stream can watch it archived on the Qik site.
When Twitter was first created many people couldn’t understand the point and proclaimed, Twitter sucks!. Many still don’t see the point of it. It’s ridiculed as lazy blogging, pointless drivel, a waste of time, and the end of the world as we know it. With things like potted plants and grocery stores tweeting, the derision of Twitter grows.
Many things that break new ground are often misunderstood or greeted with skepticism. Twitter has begun to evolve into a huge part of the web, and more and more people are using it for all kinds of things. The skeptics just haven’t found their niche yet, or are too stubborn to open their eyes and see what’s evolving. They’re distracted by the noise, spam and useless information; All common problems across the Internet. There have been polls that suggest 40% of all Twitter traffic is basically useless information. Is this out of character for the Internet? Look at all your emails for a day; how many of them are spam, newsletters you never read, and forwarded chain letters? Poke into any random forum post about any topic and you’ll likely find 40% of it is just reiterating what’s already said, unrelated tangents, and one line agreements with the the original post. If you just take a quick glance at a couple of twitter pages and don’t find the information to your liking doesn’t mean that there is no value there. Tweets are fleeting, and they reflect present time much more than they provide any archival value.
Even what’s deemed useless information or a waste of time might be helpful to someone. Maybe checking out what others are having for lunch will help you make your own decision about what to eat. Maybe you’re in a basement somewhere but noticing tweets from people you know are nearby about the crazy thunderstorm that just rolled in reminds you to bring an umbrella when you go out. Other people’s meaningless tweets could serve as restaurant reviews, traffic alerts, or a note about a nice sale at the mall. Twitter is by no means the be all and end all of social media. However it’s an important first step in what will eventually be one big integrated redevelopment of how we use the web.
Twitter reflects the stream of consciousness of the Internet, and sometimes the Internet contains noise, spam, and junk. There is also value if you know where to look. If you are tuned into Twitter, news will come to you without having to search it out. Once you build a solid group of followers with a diverse subset of interests stories and news and information that is actually pertinent to you will come across your Twitter screen. Instead of having to hunt down information, often when you don’t even know that something has happened, you check Twitter and everything is there for you. Rather than have to listen to news reports or radio stations, news and events that may be relevant to you or your day can be accessed via Twitter.
Twitter is just like what you would discuss at the water cooler in the office, except you’re discussing it with everyone, at every water cooler, at every office, in every part of the world. If a major sporting story, such as a no-hitter in baseball or a player getting traded, chances are you’ll first hear about it on Twitter. If a celebrity dies, a new movie trailer comes out, or a band adds a tour date to their schedule it makes it’s way around the world via Twitter and everyone that’s interested finds out about it. For those further interested, a simple search on Twitter will reveal all sorts of chatter and discussion around the topic. You can here anything anyone has to say about it, instantly. You’ll see statistics mentioned, highlight plays, discussion on the player’s attitude, and just about anything anyone has to say. On a broader scope, you could follow big events like the NFL draft, a presidential press conference, or the World Series of Poker as they are happening. This is what’s called trending topics, which are basically the hot news of the hour. If you search for these trends you’ll see a continually updated stream of people weighing in on the topic. Some of it will be from experts or authorities on the topic, and others will just be the thoughts and word of mouth of other people that are interested in what’s happening. Instead of tuning to a news channel or going to one news website, you’ll be tuned into the stream of consciousness from interested parties around the world. If someone 3000 miles away happens to hear a tidbit of information in his own corner of the world, he can instantly tweet that data and suddenly everyone knows it. This information gets propagated and retweeted throughout Twitter until the insight of one individual is carried across the globe.
From a marketing standpoint, Twitter can provide some instant feedback on your product. You can conduct surveys and interview people and find out what people are thinking, or you can type in your product’s name into Twitter and find out what people are saying. One quick search can tell you what people think about a new movie release, a new commercial, or a new piece of software. Faster than any RSS reader Twitter can alert followers to a new post on a blog.
Twitter is a part of the future of the Web. Even people that don’t tweet are affected by Twitter because it’s become a concept more than any one site. It’s about the propagation of information, and that propagation continues beyond the website when users repost what they’ve learned into IM away messages, email, IRC chat rooms, Facebook, or by word of mouth to the person sitting next to them. This concept has been there all along, and Twitter just streamlined it. As more and more people and companies start using Twitter it’s only going to continue to redefine how we use the web.
During the early 2000′s, netbooks originally emerged as low cost laptops with a heavy emphasis on web browsing and wireless internet – it was initially aimed at needy children in developing countries. It came bundled with an adequate enough OS to run the most basic of software (email, word processor, the odd mp3 player, etc) the focus was to keep the computer connected to the Internet so that the information the child received was always up to date.
However, word spread of the low cost laptop (netbooks usually range as low as $100 – $400). This option made especially perfect sense for traveling business people, however, the pre-installed OS (commonly Windows XP home edition) was sub par and forced the user to use either processor intensive, bulky, and outdated software which could reduce precious battery time, or search for time consuming workarounds to meet their needs.
That is what JoliCloud is trying to change. Designed for netbooks and using the best of what Open source software and open web technologies have to offer – JoliCloud is an Internet Operating System aimed at being a clutter-free, simple, yet slick solution to the current netbook operating systems out there. Using parts of the Ubuntu and Debian Operating systems (which are both Linux based) JoliCloud intends to blur the lines between web application and locally installed software. For example, Facebook, Twitter and Gmail (which are web applications) will look the same as Skype, VLCplayer, OpenOffice Writer (which are locally installed software applications).
With cloud computing becoming a reality with every forthcoming day – JoliCloud’s developer, Tarik Amin, foresees a future where applications designed for powerful processors will be a thing of the past. He sees everything being processed on web servers and all the user really needs is a basic computer with an internet connection of some sort (in netbooks case its 3G and wireless).
Already examples of this are evident, as GoogleDocs and Zoho are online office suites that don’t even use your hard disk to store data, it is stored on the service providers severs.
The world is slowly turning into a forever connected state. It’s not uncommon to hear about someone leaving their laptop switched on overnight to download the latest 100 MB office presentation to view it the next morning. Sure it doesn’t happen everyday – but it is happening…and JoliCloud intends to be the first OS to catch and surf this new wave.