"It's yet another in a long series of diversions in an attempt to avoid responsibility." - Chris Knight

Archive for December, 2007



Happy New Year 2008 Plus 25 years of TCP/IP

December 31st, 2007 by iDunzo

Google does it again with a great tribute logo to the year 2008 which is just a few hours away:

Happy New Year & 25 years of TCP/IP

Not only are we celebrating the upcoming year 2008, we are also celebrating 25 years of TCP/IP which is a very important part of the intarweb :)

So with that in mind, how about a little TCP/IP technology trivia?

The Internet protocol suite is the set of communications protocols that implement the protocol stack on which the Internet and most commercial networks run.

It has also been referred to as the TCP/IP protocol suite, which is named after two of the most important protocols in it: the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), which were also the first two networking protocols defined.

Today’s IP networking represents a synthesis of two developments that began in the 1970s, namely LANs (Local Area Networks) and the Internet, both of which have revolutionized computing.

The Internet Protocol suite—like many protocol suites—can be viewed as a set of layers.

Each layer solves a set of problems involving the transmission of data, and provides a well-defined service to the upper layer protocols based on using services from some lower layers.

Upper layers are logically closer to the user and deal with more abstract data, relying on lower layer protocols to translate data into forms that can eventually be physically transmitted. The TCP/IP reference model consists of four layers.

Want to know more? Check out the official Internet protocol suite Wiki.

On that note, have a Happy New Year. See you next year!

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What song is this? First Backwards. Then Forward. Crazy.

December 29th, 2007 by iDunzo

Ok. This is really cool. The guy over at OneManSho can sing backwards.

Watch this video. Seriously. It’s truly amazing.

First he sings backwards while the video is playing forward in real time, then about 1:19 into the video, it reverses speed to reveal the song:

Taken from the YouTube video page:

This took a heck of a lot of work, and is dedicated to those who told me I have too much time on my hands in my 200 impressions video – this goes to prove you right! Wait… oh well.

I would have to agree, this guy has a lot of time on his hands but I really enjoyed this little diddy. Thanks OneManSho!

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AOL Kills Netscape’s Future, Leaves Firefox To Battle IE

December 28th, 2007 by iDunzo

Netscape LogoAOL earlier today stopped development of the Netscape browser, saying the respected brand that launched the commercial Internet in 1994 had little chance of ever regaining market share against its archival Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

The Web portal, which took over Netscape Navigator in the $4.2 billion acquisition of Netscape Communications in 1999, said development on the browser had recently devolved into a “handful of engineers tasked with creating a skinned version of Firefox with a few extensions.” Firefox is the open source browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation.

While internal groups within AOL have invested a great deal of time and energy in attempting to revive Netscape Navigator, these efforts have not been successful in gaining market share from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

-Tom Drapeau, director of development

While once commanding 90% of the browser market, Netscape Navigator now accounts for less than 1%, and AOL had no interest in spending what it would take to revive the brand.

Instead, the company, which was once a subscriber-supported portal, preferred to spend its resources on its transition into an ad-supported Web business.

The change left “little room for the size of investment needed to get the Netscape browser to a point many of its fans expect it to be,” Drapeau said.

Instead, AOL said it would leave it to the Mozilla Foundation to do battle against IE. When AOL acquired Netscape, the latter company was working on converting its browser into open source software that was later called Mozilla and became the foundation of Firefox.

Mozilla also was the underpinning of version 6 of the Netscape browser released in 2000. The Mozilla Foundation was formed in 2003 and AOL continued to develop versions of Netscape based on the work of the foundation.

Given AOL’s current business focus and the success the Mozilla Foundation has had in developing critically acclaimed products, we feel it’s the right time to end development of Netscape-branded browsers, hand the reins fully to Mozilla, and encourage Netscape users to adopt Firefox.

As of November 2007, IE accounted for 77.35% of the market, and Firefox 16.01%, according to Internet metrics firm Net Applications. Netscape had 0.6%.

AOL planned to release security patches for Netscape Navigator 9, the latest version of the browser, until February 1, 2008. After that, all active product support would end for all versions of the browsers.

AOL, however, planned to post a Netscape Archive link for people who wanted to download versions of Netscape without support.

Besides the archive, two other sites offering information would continue to exist: UFAQ and the Netscape Community Forum, AOL said. Netscape.com would also remain live as a general use Internet portal.

The Netscape browser made the commercial Web possible by providing a ubiquitous platform to view and interact with Websites.

The browser was based on the Mosaic browser developed by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina at the University of Illinois. Andreessen and James Clark, former patriarch of SGI, founded Netscape Communications in 1994.

The Web software maker was among the stars in the dot-com era of the mid- to late 1990s, becoming the most successful public stock offering of its time. Netscape Communications forced Microsoft to restructure its entire product line to become Internet compliant.

Microsoft’s tactics in grabbing market share from Netscape Navigator with IE was one of the main issues in the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust cast against Microsoft.

Microsoft was found to have abused its Windows monopoly and was forced to make changes in its business practices.

For any users feeling nostalgic for the days of old can install Netscape’s theme and extensions pack for Firefox.

Source: Netscape blog post

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Better Living Through Open Source: The Directory

December 28th, 2007 by iDunzo

Open Source Living is a recently-established directory of open-source software.

Basically it’s stuff you can use without having to pay for it and without worrying about proprietary software issues.

Most of the criteria for inclusion in the Open Source Living revolve around the nature of the licensing for the product — it has to be freely redistributable, not discriminatory in its licensing, with source code available, etc.

To that end, the programs already listed in the Open Source Living Directory are something of a “who’s who” of open-source success stories: Firefox, OpenOffice, 7-Zip, and so on.

A fair number of Mac-specific open-source programs are also featured: Camino, Vienna, and NeoOffice.

The layout and design of the site are friendly and clean; it doesn’t look like something that was thrown together in an afternoon.

The Open Source Living was originally derived to list free programs regardless of their source or licensing provisions, and so there are still a few programs listed in the Open Source Living catalog that are free without being open source like Irfanview.

Over time, though, they will be dropped in favor of applications that are entirely open and since I’m an Irfanview user I’m curious to see what could eventually replace it.

I like resources like this for two reasons. One, even someone like me can remain unaware for a long time of a well-developed and highly useful open-source project, and it’s a pleasure to stumble across such a thing in a forum where other people have already vetted it for quality.

A listed project that I’m now curious about, Haiku, picks up where BeOS left off, and if done right could be a serious desktop contender. That’s a long way off and won’t come without major hurdles, but my attention has definitely been captured.

Two, it’s a way for newcomers to open source — people who simply don’t know what’s out there — to get introduced to the available applications without having to dig through an installation repository or just stumble around.

They can find out relatively quickly what’s worthwhile, what other people are using and benefiting from, and what applications cover what sort of duties like the difference between OpenOffice or Scribus.

Perhaps in the future we’ll see features like detailed community feedback or comments on each entry, but for now the forums on the site are handling that job.

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DVD Doomed?

December 27th, 2007 by iDunzo

DVD LogoVictory in the next-gen war is far from decided, but analysts are already predicting the extinction of the plain vanilla DVD format.

Michael Nathanson of Bernstein Research notes that sales of regular DVDs were down more than 4 percent in 2007, and he attributes the decline to competition from HD DVD and Blu-ray. Upshot is that retail shelf space devoted to regular DVDs will shrink to make room for next-gen discs.

But there’s less upside for participants than previous format changes, Nathanson says.

Unlike going from videotape to disc or vinyl to CD, the DVD to hi-def migration isn’t compelling enough to get consumers to re-buy movies they already own.

Source: Tech Trader Daily – CDs Are Dying. Are DVDs Next?

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VectorLinux: Save An Old Computer From The Dumpster

December 27th, 2007 by iDunzo

From time to time I’ve mentioned Linux distributions specifically designed for low-end systems — some of which I’ve used to save machines from the dumpster.

Today I’ve got a new release of one such Linux distro: VectorLinux version 5.9.

VectorLinux, built using the ever-popular Slackware distribution and now using the 2.6.18.5 / 2.6.22.14 kernel (depending on which edition you’re using), has been designed to work as well as possible on an older system, although it comes in a couple of different editions to take advantage of newer hardware whenever possible.

Because of the fact that VectorLinux been written to run on older hardware, a lot of legacy device drivers have been kept on board — for instance, by using the older IDE drivers rather than the cutting-edge libata kernel driver set.

If your system is old enough that it doesn’t even boot from CD, there are instructions for creating a bootable floppy and using that to bootstrap the CD.

The Standard edition uses the Xfce desktop environment, and can also run FluxBox or JWM if you’d rather use those. I prefer JWM — not too bloated, not too minimal.

The whole thing’s been configured to run in as little 96 MB of RAM and 2GB of hard disk space. I love their statement about processor requirements: “a Pentium w/200 Mhz or better.”

The SOHO edition uses KDE and likewise requires a slightly better machine: a Pentium running at 750 Mhz or better, 256 MB RAM, 3GB hard disk space, and a 1024x768x24-bit color depth display.

Bootable live CD versions of both Standard and SOHO are also available, and for those with the video hardware to run it, there’s the Beryl / Compiz Fusion desktop available as an option.

5.9 has been built from Slackware version 12 and includes pretty up-to-the-minute versions of everything you need — for Internet browsing, for instance, there’s Firefox 2.0.0.11, Opera 9.5.0 beta 1, and the SeaMonkey suite (1.1.7) , all available from the CD or from the repositories.

The package-management system is slapt-get, Slackware’s package system, so if by some chance you have come from the Slackware side of things you ought to find this pretty familiar and you can even point VectorLinux at the Slackware repository if you want to get packages from there instead.

One really intriguing feature, new to 5.9, is “Vlpackager”, a way to package source code to be built on demand, although this is the kind of feature that only the more really adventurous users will want to mess with.

Like Puppy Linux (my other current favorite “small is beautiful” distribution), Vector is designed to be tiny, swift, and to get the job done, and it seems to succeed nicely on all three counts.

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