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Friday, May 21, 2010

One Last 30 Year Anniversary…

Oh yeah, it’s the thirty year anniversary of Pac-Man.

1980 was a very good year.

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 8:05 pm  

Friday, April 2, 2010

R.I.P. Dr Henry Edward Roberts

Dr. Henry Edward Roberts, inventor of the Altair 8800 – considered by some to be the first “personal computer” – died yesterday at the age of 68.

The Altair 8800 was a switch-based computer, and it caught the attention of Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who moved from suburban Seattle to Albuquerque, NM (where Roberts lived at the time) to found Micro-Soft and write anย  the BASIC language – to help people program it.

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 7:22 am  

Sunday, November 9, 2008

No More Portland

Alas, OSCON – the collection of open source hippies I hang out with for a week every summer in Portland, Oregon has moved the 2009 conference to San Jose, CA.ย  So Portland will have to wait until 2011 (the next Humphries family reunion) to see me again.ย  On the upside, I have cousins in San Jose! ๐Ÿ™‚

Fortunately, even though Portland is brimming with India Pale Ale microbreweries, there are now plenty of micro IPAs available in Chicago.

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 12:39 pm  

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

OSCON Posts

There will be OSCON posts here, I posted one last night but it got “unformatted” so I have to re-write it. Check in later today if you want to hear more about my experiences at OSCON.

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 6:16 pm  

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

OSCON 2008 – Keynote Night

I’m at OSCON 2008 right now, which is a great conference if you are an open-source hippie like me. I’m attending the late opening keynotes now, and Mark Shuttleworth just talked about how we need to give agile programmers a break, because even though they might write crappy code, it’s more about providing new features. See the rest after the jump.

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posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 9:18 pm  

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Email for the Email Challenged

Note: This is not a review or product endorsement.  I’m actually making fun of this product.

So it’s come to this.  As if WebTV wasn’t enough, and those stories you hear about Internet-shy executives who have their secretaries print out their email for them, now you have  a service that does this for you.

Billed as "Email without a computer for your parents or grandparents", BUY.COM is selling the HP Printing Mailbox for $30.  I’m sure there’s a monthly service charge too.  Basically, you set up a service (called "Presto") which this device calls into, and any email sent to your Presto mailbox is printed out by the device, pictures and all.

I see some value for this, they point out that it can be used to get extended families more involved in elderly care by keeping them connected on the go.  You could, for instance, use your iPhone to send a reminder to Grandma to take her pills.  Then, Grandma gets a nice little printout on her HP printer.

Despite that, I can’t help but laugh about this.  I won’t endorse this product, so you’re going to have to go to BUY.COM yourself and search for "HP Printing Mailbox" if you want one.  I’ll be here at home, laughing.  ๐Ÿ™‚

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 8:01 pm  

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Greeting Card SPAM

There’s a new reason to hate spammers. These rodents have recently discovered that one type of unsolicited email that almost everyone not only opens, but trusts – will go to websites as directed, accept cookies, and perhaps even give up personal information – are electronic greeting cards. So spammers now are sending “you have received an e-greeting card” emails to their spam recipients. The problem is, the emails and websites that they direct you to will take over your computer, give the spammer access to your personal data, and also will set up your computer as a “spam bot” – basically a cog in their army of machines that send more spam out.

This is extremely dangerous, especially the social engineering aspect, because when you trust the email and website of the greeting card announcement, you’re more likely to let it do things to your computer that you shouldn’t – like install software.

Here is a link about the new type of spam: http://redtape.msnbc.com/2007/08/if-you-think-a-.html#posts

My advice: if you receive an email that says that you received a greeting card, delete it. As the article above says, “Don’t ever read electronic greeting cards. They have officially become more trouble than they are worth. ”

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 8:22 am  

Saturday, July 29, 2006

OSCON 2006 II

"I’ll post my thoughts here during the week"

Well I guess I won’t post my thoughts here during the week.

OSCON 2006 this year was great; but the bandwidth and connectivity seriously sucked this year.  I did not get one chance to post any of my thoughts.  But I did collect them, and eventually I will post them here.

Eventually, because now I’m packing for our family’s summer trip to  PA which starts early this coming week.

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 3:25 pm  

Saturday, July 22, 2006

OSCON 2006

I’ll be in Portland, Oregon from July 24-28 to attend O’Reilly’s OSCON 2006.  This is my second year at OSCON.  It’s a great networking opportunity, but also a place to meet experts and learn what they know.  I’m most interested in improving my Perl-fu but it’s also interesting to learn new technologies, like Ruby on Rails and Ajax.  Then, maybe I’ll drop by the Expo and see what Schwag is available.

I’ll post my thoughts here during the week. 

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 3:29 pm  

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

The $100 PC, MIT, and Bill Gates

This might turn out to be a "Rant and Rave", or maybe a political entry.  But for now, I’ll leave it "Technical".

MIT Professor Nicholas Negroponte has made a rather public announcement recently that he intends to have MIT develop a "$100 Laptop" that MIT will then leverage to get technology into the hands of developing countries.  This is both a technically ambitious and charitable effort – the ability to produce a $100 PC in quantity has long been a holy grail of cutting edge PC manufacturers and upping the ante to make it a laptop makes it even more interesting.  This will require a great deal of new technology development, hence the need for MIT to do it, because the components today just simply aren’t cheap enough in quantity to maintain production at a zero or miniscule profit.  So the boys at MIT have their work cut out for them.  I’m rooting for them.

 Apparently Bill Gates is not.  He is mocking them.  Apprently sensing a threat to his new "Tablet PC", which has nothing to do with putting technology in the hands of developing nations, Bill Gates has come out saying:

“The last thing you want to do for a shared use computer is have it be something without a disk … and with a tiny little screen,”

He went on to mock the crack that provides power when a battery is not present, and other features of the PC.  I guess those Ugandan children really ought to learn to plug their laptops in – to what, I don’t know.  Maybe Bill envisions electric goats or something in Africa.

Clarly Bill Gates is put off by anyone who challenges him both at technology and charity.  The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is certainly very generous… with some causes.  But it hasn’t promised to put technology into the hands of the masses like MIT has.   Also, Bill completely misses the point of the project… to provide A PC to every child in the developing world, not a SHARED PC.   I think Bill engaged his mouth before checking the brain gear position this time.  

First of all Bill, unlike your world, it’s not about $100.  Ugandan children can no more afford a $100 dollar PC than a $3000 PC.  That’s not the point.  The only people paying a dime for these PCs will be developers, who will likelly run, not walk to get the opportunity to develop software for the billions of emerging markets.  Oh and probably some NGOs, and even government organizations.  But certainly not some South African tribal pre-teen.  And Bill’s higher spec tablet PC will be as interesting to them as … well, you get the point. 

The point is, that MIT is working to make a notebook so cheap that a real difference can be made by organizations that do have the money to buy them.  That’s a far cry better than Gates is doing right now.

Some news links after the jump. 

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posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 8:08 pm  
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