Newspapers Make Pact with Devil

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May 132015
 

Newspapers Make Pact with Devil
In an unmistakable sign of desperation, the newspaper industry has made a Faustian pact with the Devil.

Struggling to make money in an Internet era when readers crave more news but stubbornly refuse to pay for it, major news organizations including The New York Times and Washington Post are floundering with declining subscribers to the print edition and revenues and profits in free fall.

In the present era, content is valuable only as long as it’s free.

Newspapers Jump into Bed with Facebook

Utter Insanity

Now under a cockamamie scheme that Facebook has cooked up called Instant Articles, a bunch of newspapers have agreed to publish some of their news stories on the social networking site. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 1:16 pm

Comcast-TWC Flush $536m Down the Drain

 General  Comments Off on Comcast-TWC Flush $536m Down the Drain
May 052015
 

What a colossal waste of money!

Comcast’s dreadful move to acquire rival cableco Time Warner Cable has resulted in needless waste of over half-a billion dollars for the two companies combined.

Given that high-speed Internet access is a monopoly in vast parts of the U.S., it was clear that only a hopelessly corrupt Federal Communications Commission would approve this foul merger.

Fortunately for Americans, the FCC proved resilient and immune to all the lobbying and pressure brought upon it by Comcast and opposed the merger.

On April 24, 2015, Comcast and Time Warner Cable called off the proposed merger following strong opposition by the government and the certainty of its rejection.

Of the total $536 million that went down the drain from February 2014 through March 31 2015 because of the ill-conceived merger deal, $336 million was spent by Comcast and the rest by Time Warner Cable.

The wasteful expenditure went toward legal fees, lobbying, employees retention, bank fees, IT consulting and management consulting.

Horrible Service

If only that half a billion dollars had gone into improving Internet infrastructure, Comcast subscribers would get the Internet speed they’re paying for. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 6:27 pm

Obama is Giving $100m for TechHire, Are You Ready?

 General, Linux  Comments Off on Obama is Giving $100m for TechHire, Are You Ready?
Mar 102015
 

Wisdom is finally dawning on American politicians that the tech sector pays better wages than Walmart or McDonald’s.

So President Obama announced a $100 million TechHire initiative on March 9, 2015 to get more Americans trained for better paying technology jobs.

The White House also said there were half a million job openings in the information technology sector including in software development, network administration and cybersecurity.

According to the White House, information technology is currently the largest occupational category for open jobs right now.

TechHire will work with community colleges, coding boot camps and online course providers to rapidly train Americans for information technology jobs.

Accelerated training providers Dev Bootcamp, Hack Reactor, Microsoft, Treehouse Island and Udacity intend to expand free or discounted training for underserved communities and individuals.

What are You Waiting for?

The TechHire initiative is still in the works and it will likely take some time for the grant money to flow to your state.

But you can get started now.

Within information technology, Linux is a hot area where hiring managers are scrambling to find talent.

Even if you’re not a computer science graduate, you can pick up valuable Linux skills.

Linux is not rocket science. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

With enough determination and by putting your nose to the grindstone, I guarantee you’ll gain adequate Linux skills in three months.

In this post, I will point you to some free resources where you can learn about Linux command line tools, system administration and security.

I have also provided links to some key Linux distributions that you can download to your computer for practice.

Free Books to Learn Linux

If you check on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, you’ll find that computer books are frightfully expensive.

Now there’s no reason for despair if your budget is tight because plenty of free legal books on Linux are available online.

Here are a few Linux books to get you started:

1. Linux Command Line by William Shotts
2. Linux Systems Administration by Paul Cobbaut
3. Linux Cookbook
4. Linux Fundamentals by Paul Cobbaut
5. 33 Free Books on Linux

For the command line, I suggest you start with William Shotts’ excellent book (see link above).

Once you gain confidence in your Linux skills, obtain certifications like Red Hat Certified System Administrator or the Linux Foundation’s Certified SysAdmin.

Having certifications will make your resume more appealing to employers.

Download Linux Distributions

Some Linux distributions are more easier for newbies than other distributions. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 3:09 pm

Linux Distros – Less is More

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Dec 182014
 

There has been hand-wringing in some circles that the number of Linux distros is declining.

A story in Datamation notes that the number of active Linux distros has fallen from 323 in 2011 to 285 now.

While diversity and choice are virtues in the software universe, I’d reckon 285 is still far too many Linux distros even if you consider both the consumer distros and server versions of Linux.

Despite the growing popularity of Linux in recent years (thanks largely to layman-friendly distros ike Linux Mint), it’s still an insignificant player on the consumer side.

One major reason is that things sometimes don’t work as well on a Linux computer as they do on a Mac or a Windows machine.

For instance, as small a matter as adding a shortcut to applications on the desktop of the fairly new CentOS 7 system (with Gnome 3 desktop) turns out to be a struggle. Even an extremely popular Linux distro like Linux Mint with Cinnamon desktop has serious issues like frequent freezing (including in the latest version, 17.1). It should not be that way in 2014.

On the server side, Linux has made giant strides in the last decade and it’s hard to find a web server not running some flavor of Linux or Unix. Even on the server side, one hears of major security holes some in the very architecture of the operating system.

If you ask me, the ideal number of Linux distros is no more than 25.

This number would take care of consumer and server versions as well as lightweight distros that require minimal resources in memory and processor power.

Having fewer distros would mean (I hope) that developers will devote more resources and time to improving the remaining Linux versions than would be possible when developer energy is scattered across scores of distributions.

 Posted by at 12:38 pm

Unbeatable Open Source Deals for Black Friday

 Deals, General, Open Source  Comments Off on Unbeatable Open Source Deals for Black Friday
Nov 102014
 

If I have realized one thing in the evening of my life, it’s that smart people are few while the not-so-smart number in the billions.

Wherever you live, a good, secure computer with Internet connectivity is a must these days.

But most of us do not need a iMac with Retina 5K display with an obscene price tag of $2,500. Or a Windows 8 systems where even finding the “Start” button is an ordeal.

Black Friday 2014 – Open Source Deals

So this year on Black Friday, instead of lining up in the cold at Best Buy, Walmart or Staples like all those not-so-smart people, why don’t you be smart (or at least act smart) by sitting at home in your pajamas and pamper yourself with a bunch of nice open source gifts.

Your cost will be less than $150 (monitor excluded) for a secure Linux desktop computer with a bunch of important applications.

Here are some great open source deals I recommend for you this Black Friday:

* Dell Optiplex 780 SFF – These are used business computers easily available on eBay or Craigslist. For those of us not into molecular designing, heavy online gaming or graphic intensive tasks, these SFF (small form factor) workhorses are more than adequate. They usually come with Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz processor, 4GB memory, 160GB hard-drive and Windows 7. Pricing ranges from $100-$149 depending on memory, hard-drive size and whether it has Microsoft Office installed. My suggestion is to pay no more than $130 and get a system with 4GB RAM and 160GB-500GB hard drive. (If you have money to burn, go for faster systems like Dell Op[tiplex 980 or 990. They’ll run you a couple of hundred dollars more since they come with current Intel i5 or i7 quad-core processors.) But Dell Optiplex 780 is good enough for routine tasks.  Optiplex 780 SFF is Bluetooth enabled and my Logitech wireless mouse and keyboard run without issues. Once you get the Optiplex 780 computer, install the following software (some of them like LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird may already be installed). By the way, Optiplex 780 comes in three sizes – Tower, SFF and USFF. My recommendation is to go for either SFF (small form factor) or USFF (ultra small form factor). They won’t take much space.

* Linux Mint 17 – For newcomers to Linux, things can’t get better than Linux Mint 17 with the Cinnamon desktop. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 4:24 pm

Why E-Book Subscription Services Will Fail

 General  Comments Off on Why E-Book Subscription Services Will Fail
Nov 062014
 

E-book subscription service Scribd announced the addition of 30,000 audio books to its content trove on November 6, 2014.

Now is that really a big deal?

Will the addition of 30,000 audiobooks make Scribd a smashing hit with consumers and help the fledgling to eclipse its rivals?

Besides Scribd, Amazon (Kindle Unlimited) and Oyster also offer e-book subscription services.

Major E-Book Subscription Services

Failure Guaranteed

Sadly, none of the e-book subscription services are Netflix (in the sense of unlimited offerings) and in my opinion all of them will most likely fail.

In my opinion, there are several issues with e-book subscription services.

These hurdles will make it extremely hard for e-book subscriptions to succeed with consumers in a big way. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 1:44 pm