Sunday, December 21, 2008

Best Mac Downloads of 2008

Brad added this link for the best Mac downloads of 2008 to his account and it has several interesting entries including Timemachine backups over the network, Dropbox (file synchronization over the net) and XBMC (a very nice looking cross platform media center).

Writable NTFS on Mac

I use an external HD to to carry large files between home and office but the Mac (or at least Leopard) doesn't support NTFS as a writable filesystem so the arrangement is only useful when all the new data is at the office and nothing needs to be changed at home. Obviously this is not ideal.

MacFUSE allows the addition of new fileystems to the Mac including NTFS-3g which originated on Linux (I believe). Installation is quick and simple (install MacFUSE, install NTFS-3g) and after a reboot, NTFS partitions are writable without any configuration required.

A quick search turns up a number of other filesystems that could also be used through MacFUSE incuding two that will encrypt a partition and one that will allow the se of a Gmail account as storage.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Illegal Use of Linux in the Classroom

A teacher in Austin, TX did not like what she saw when she found a student in her class experimenting with a liveCD from HeliOS.. so she confiscated the CD, reprimanded the student and then wrote a letter to his after explaining he was potentially liable to a civil suit and that the kids should be using Microsoft products which they (MS) would be happy to supply for free..


Breathlessly awaiting the followup after the teacher and the parent meet in the superintendent's office.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More Uses For An OLPC

Video player for toddler.

Meghan likes watching DVDs in the minivan and she likes banging on the keys of the OLPC so I combined the two. I used Handbrake to rip one of her favorite DVDs then loaded mplayer onto the OLPC and played back the movie from a a thumb-drive.

VLC and mplayer had similar problems with freezing before announcing the file was longer available. I tried turning off power management with no improvement. It wasn't until I disabled the radio that playback was successful .. then I found the defect mentioned earlier.

Perl is Dead! Long Live Perl!

This somewhat risible survey reveals that Perl has almost fallen out of the top 10 programming langauges in use. Given the many different ways that statistics can be mashed together and the loose method of collecting the numbers, I think it is unlikely that they can claim 3 decimal places of accuracy for any of this.

On the other hand, using activity as a barometer of interest in a langugae and perhaps what to brush up on to stay/get employed, take a look at stats on Ohloh. You can pick a basket of languages and compare check-ins and TLOC and decide that actionscript is not about to overtake C++ any time soon.

This page lets you look at a ramge of stats for a language off their long list while this will let you compare a wide range of languages with a pretty chart: take a look at this comparison showing that the volume of Python checkins is growing faster than Perl and Ruby together. Or maybe it is showing the rate of Python projects being added to Ohloh? Who can say?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My First Defect (for the OLPC)

I noticed that turning the radio off and then back on from the OLPC control panel resulted in being endlessly prompted for my WEP password.. so I investigated a little more and then raised this defect .. now I will have to see if there is something similar in Fedora.