Chrome Vs Android-No Conflict Whatsoever

I was inspired to write this after hearing the good people at Buzz Out Loud as well as others talk about Chrome OS (supposedly coming in a year or two) and the Android Mobile OS somehow being evidence of some sort of disorganization of Google’s intentions Etc.

Google has these two initiatives that keep getting mentioned: Android, a “mobile OS,” and “Chrome (an OS allegedly coming out in a year or two),” which has been announced after all of us are already aware of the Chrome browser, which is pretty awesome in my opinion.

Here’s what I think practically everyone is missing about  this.

Linux Distros are all frankensteins.  I’m most familiar with Ubuntu, but I think anyone that knows about Linux would back me up in saying that Linux is an open-ended compilation of source-code.  And if you have a given distro and need some additional software, you very likely are going to be using add-on code that users of other distros are also using.

For this reason, Android and Chrome OS are not necessarily different initiatives on Google’s part.

And to go even further, I don’t believe that Android and Web OS from Palm are competitors.  I think it’s completely reasonable to assume that a Web OS front-end for Android is likely (as long as Android and WebOS continue to be released to consumers).  They’re both just Linux with different front-ends.  And with Linux Boxes, as they used to be called, the GUI is itself just an add-on.

Back to Google Chrome and Android.

I suspect that as an afterthought, Google realized that it should choose “Chrome”as it’s brand for NetBook sales because “Android” is not as friendly a name to the average buyer of a low-end laptop.

Along with that, banking on the fact that Mobile Data Connections are only going to get better, while WiFi only becomes more ubiquitous over the next two years, the idea of a machine that, for instance, has a music player that’s basically Pandora or Last.FM starts to make a lot of sense. (remember the FT article where the teenager says streaming music preferable owning it? I don’t know that we’ll even need to download mp3’s in 2 years, just stream!)

In order to make as many apps cloud-based as possible, Google Chrome could come to us with small API-based developments that take advantage of services like Yahoo!’s Flickr or Delicious or even news and entertainment services that plug right into the struggling corporate content businesses we keep hearing about in the tech news.

Perhaps the Chrome-loaded Asus laptop will be a direct Kindle competitor (or even an additional revenue model for amazon).

Meanwhile, mobile (pocket sized) devices aren’t going to stop getting smarter.  Android is just a catchy ‘band name’ for what’s ultimately the result of Google seeing that it’s in their best interest to get the OS market out of the hands of Microsoft and Apple.

Chrome is the same thing, but with a better name, and a wider appeal as long as the NetBook trend keeps up.

And at this point, I don’t think Google is risking much on its campaign to popularize Linux.  I personally believe that Linux is finally mature enough to begin competing with Mac OS and Windows so Google is just helping it along.  They’re jumping on the bandwagon because it serves them to do so.

In case I didn’t make it clear enough, Chrome and Android are the same thing or at the very least they’re both just Linux with different default drivers and GUI coding.

You can run Linux on a toaster.

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Linux Phones and Carrier Wars: iPhone, G1 and Palm Pre

In Response To: gdgt roundtable – Palm Pre (gdgt is currently hiding their permalinks so… sorry)

Some things to consider…

With the G1 on T-Mobile and the Pre on Sprint, I think both carriers now have something comparable to what AT&T offers its subscribers with the iPhone. Verizon has the Blackberry Storm too, but I’m not really going to talk about Blackberry accept for saying that they had better step it up.

The problem with Sprint is its underdog status… But more importantly, many people are locked into their carriers because of coverage issues Etc.  When I lived in NYC, Sprint was awesome.  Here in the boonies outside of Sebastopol, CA, AT&T is the only choice for reliable service.

The G1 runs Android, a Linux distro that Google is promoting.  The Palm Pre runs WebOS, a Linux Distro thaty Palm is promoting.  The iPhone runs some sort of bastard version of OSX which is a version of Unix (a proprietary version of Linux basically).

One of the main attractions of the iPhone is the availability of add-on apps.

I wonder which systems(s) will prevail once all of these devices are available on all carriers.  

The best apps will probably be available on all three systems with development for the Linux-based ones probably being easier and cheaper than for than Apple OS, since it’s proprietary.

Another thing that doesn’t seem to be addressed by the good folks at gdgt or anywhere else:

Unlike other mobile OS’s or basically anything we’ve ever seen before in mainstream computing, Linux itself is an Open-Source project. Linux distros are community-driven.  They are inherently democratic in their evolution.  For this reason, I don’t think Android and WebOS are competitors. I think they are both contributions to Linux that we should thank Palm and Google for.  And there’s no reason in my opinion that Android can’t look like WebOS and vice versa.  Perhaps the best of Android and the best of WebOS will come together in the coming years.

Also, I have to say that I don’t believe there’s any sustainable reason for UI design standards to be different from system to system or from OS to Web.  At the end of day, WebOS is one of the smartest things ever, given that it’s based on HTML, CSS and Javascript.  Add Flash and Silverlight (or whatever) and there’s very little you can’t do, while your development efforts scale across OS’s… I think this kind of change is inevitable as we move toward a cloud computing world.  I’m glad to see someone stepping up to make it happen.  Good job, Palm.

Two Ways Mobile Will Change Personal Computing

It looks to me like the Smartphone market is going to spear-head of a lot of improvements to personal computing.

Surely location-based services are going to make our lives a lot easier in many ways, and of course, these technologies are probably going to completely change the face of advertising. But the ubiquity of GPS, and in turn, the development of new location-based services is only one of the more obvious ways Mobile will likely evolve personal computing as we know it.  

Here are two areas where I think the powerful mobile devices of the near future are going to be major game-changers. 

1. The Race for Affordability and SPEED in Mobile Data Connections – It seems like the mobile phone carriers haven’t been doing much to grow or improve their coverage.  It’s like there was an initial land-grab and for the past several years, whichever carriers are dominant in a given area have been left alone by the other carriers.  For years now, in the tech news I consume, I’ve been hearing about small, experimental rollouts of WiMAX and other alleged 4G technologies, but as far as  can tell, connectivity is just as crappy and overpriced as ever.

Smartphones are a real incentive for carriers to improve their networks.  The days of dumb-phones are coming to an end.  It wont be long before we all have , in our pockets, devices capable of streaming video in either direction. We will all be using ‘cloud’ services from our phones.  The devices are going to be practically free, so if the current major carriers don’t make better and more affordable connectivity available, some one else will. 


2. The Homogenization of Operating Systems – Linux is on the rise and JavaScript+HTML+CSS is proving to be an adequate way to build UIs (Thanks, Web2.0 Boom!).  You don’t need to look far to see evidence that the languages the Web is built on may be most of what we need.  One case in point is Palm’s “Web OS”, a mobile OS, the UI of which is totally done in JavaScript with HTML and CSS (and the backbone of the phone is all Linux) …Or how about Android? Again, Linux-based.  I don’t see non-linux OS’s continuing to rule the Mobile OS space for long.  It’s got to be just too tempting for Developers to write applications that will work on many devices rather than just one, especially when those Apps will be very easy to port to Browser-Based UI’s… What Smartphone 3 years from now will come without a browser?  

So you see, the browser is a leak into the cloud. And devices/OSs that allow cloud Apps to run natively rather than through a browser window are appealing for users and developers.  I just don’t see any way I could be wrong about this.  Instead of your phone having a browser, imagine that your phone will be a browser.  Right? You see?  For instance, the settings pages on your phone are just little web pages hosted by a tiny server you keep in your pocket.  Palm is on to something.

So the iPhone may stick around for a while, but I see a major uphill battle for for Apple or any other device manufacturer who wants to maintain complete control of what apps and services consumers can use.

I believe that the desktop computer and the desktop OS are going to move aside when it comes to what is really important to most people.  Connectivity.  Anytime, anywhere for anything.  And rich Applications to go along with it.  That’s what’s important.  Your Mac OS or Windows can be virtualised.  



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Better Than Azureus, Transmission OSX BitTorrent Client

Currently on OSX 10.4.11


Better Than Azureus

I’m going to miss the cute frog I’ve gotten so used to relying on.

But what I’m not going to miss is VUZE or VUSE or whatever, the media portal that Azureus started making me look at a while back. There hasn’t been any settings for making it so Azureus launches into “advanced” view, so every freaking time I launch Azureus, I end up having to deal with that Vuze shit.

Goodbye Azureus. Hello Transmission!

Transmission is light-weight, user-friendly, smart, Open-Source… Do I need to go on? It’s just way better.

Sorry, cute, shiny frog. Goodbye. I doubt I’ll ever look back. But I will miss the froggy.

bcm43xx (bcm4306 to be exact) problem solved for xubuntu 6.06

A ONE-CLICK SOLUTION!!!it’s amazing how computer problems often lead you on wild goose chases. I think I started out by googling eth0 not active or something and over the course of about 10 hours gradually learned what and what NOT to google until I finally found:

THE SOLUTION TO THE bcm43xx PROBLEM… And in a one-click non-terminal way!


I kid you not –I spent much of the day re-re-reinstalling Linux! If only I had found this earlier.

It’s the EASY WAY!

Props to Mr. or Ms. ‘DarkNOOB

the “easy ways” I was finding before weren’t at all easy.


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ndiswrapper for bcm43xx problem on OLD pc with Xubuntu 6.06 – IMPOSSIBLE


By the time I finally threw in the towel last night and decided to have a cocktail, I had in the neighborhood of 30 tabs open in firefox. All forum discussion threads discussing this whole issue with the bcm43xx chipset used by some wireless cards.

Ironically, most of the solutions being offered by the smarties in the forums involve:

A. Using the Synaptic Package Manager to download everything you need: ndiswrapper, ndiswrapper-utils, make (in order to use ndiswrapper), and a whole bunch of other dependancies…

B. going the fwcutter direction. Yada Yada.

The ironic thing about these idea is that it’s not an option to simply download these things from the repositories, if you don’t have an effin connection!

I tried both and find it really frustrating that there isn’t a fully functioning reliable version of Synaptic online!

I ended up downloading deb after deb finding that each level had numerous dependencies that I didn’t have.

Here’s a pic of the contents of my jump drive.

jump drive full of debs
Part of my problem is that I don’t know jack about Linux. I’m not affraid of the command line, just new at it.

I will try to update this with how I finally end up solving this silly problem.

And I must say, the fact that this whole problem is a copyright issue over the firmware for these cards is amazing. Who cares about rights to their stupid firmware?

The reason I’m going with Xubuntu 6.06 and not 7 is because the BIOS of this PC is 1999 and I couldn’t get ANYWHERE trying to upgrade that, not even to thirty open browser tabs of non-helpful forum threads and a flash drive full of useless junk!

Heading over to a friends house to see if I can use his Synaptic to get the packages I need along with all the dependancies.

I will update if I get this piece of shit working


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Start-up ‘Live CD’ for Xubuntu 6.06 on a G3 iMac fix Black Screen Problem

Thanks to this thread on the ubuntu forum I was able figure out what was going terribly wrong with my attempt to start up xubuntu on an old G3 I want to keep alive.

Basically, the default display setting need to be changed through the linux terminal or you boot up to a blank black sceen. First I found this from the forum:

1. ctrl-option-F1 (should give you a command prompt)
2. type: sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf (return)
3. make your edits (see below)
4. ctrl-O (return) to write edited file
5. ctrl-X to exit nano back to command line
6. type: sudo /etc/init.d/kdm restart (return) to restart KDE

At the very least you’ll need to modify “HorizSync” to 60-60 and “VertRefresh” to 75-117. Both are in the monitors section.

If you restart KDE and everything is in extreme slo-mo, you’ll also need to edit xorg.conf to disable DRI (in the modules section, put a hash mark (#) at the beginning of the line containing “load dri”).

…but I didn’t have KDE, knowing a little more now I was able to find this

sudo killall gdm


sudo gdm start

Then, I didn’t have the login for Xubuntu, so I was able to find this:

control option F1

sudo adduser yourusername

answer the questions and your password when happy y to accept.

sudo killall gdm


sudo gdm start

Someone named Brandon Stafford has additional information that it looks like I may need as I go forward.

1. Put the Breezy Badger for PowerPC install disk in the CD drive.

2. Reboot.

3. At the first prompt, type “server” and hit return. This will install everything in normal Ubuntu install except the GNOME desktop.

4. Install the Xubuntu desktop and the GNU display manager using apt-get:

sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop gdm

5. To get the graphical interface working, I had to tweak /etc/X11/xorg.conf a little. The first change was to alter the HorizSync and VertRefresh settings. I also switched from the fbdev driver to the ati driver. The snippet below shows the original settings commented out and the new settings added. (Link to full xorg.conf.)

Section “Device”
Identifier “Generic Video Card”
# Driver “fbdev”
Driver “ati”
Option “UseFBDev” “true”
EndSectionSection “Monitor”
Identifier “Generic Monitor”
Option “DPMS”
# HorizSync 28-51
# VertRefresh 43-60
HorizSync 60-60
VertRefresh 43-117
6. The last tweak was to add a printer to CUPS manually. To enable the web administration for CUPS, I added a root password:

sudo -s


In /etc/cups/cupsd.conf, I changed RunAsUser to No, so that CUPS would run as root, and not switch to run as the user cupsys, as I believe this is what disables the web interface:

RunAsUser No

Then restart CUPS:

/etc/init.d/cupsys restart

Here is what ended up in /etc/cups/printers.conf: (Yes, I live in a farmhouse, and I work on Sunday nights)

# Printer configuration file for CUPS v1.1.23
# Written by cupsd on Sun 08 Jan 2006 07:34:40 PM EST

Info Farmhouse
DeviceURI socket://
State Idle
Accepting Yes
JobSheets none none
QuotaPeriod 0
PageLimit 0
KLimit 0

Overall, Xubuntu is working really well– much better than OS 9.2. It’s only got 64 MB of RAM, but Firefox runs surprisingly well. I plan on maxing out the memory when I get the chance.

The Xubuntu people have been planning on releasing a CD version of Xubuntu coincident with the release of the Dapper Drake in April. I found the XFCE file manager, xffm, to be a little squirrely, and I couldn’t get it to connect to our file server through Samba; maybe that will work in the next release, or maybe I will have figured out how to configure Samba. The Dapper release of Xubuntu will likely be based on XFCE 4.4, which will allegedly include the first release of Thunar, XFCE’s new file manager.

Hmm. If Thunar is good, I might switch to Xubuntu entirely. So far, XFCE seems like a fast version of GNOME to me, and I spend most of my time in Firefox and a terminal window anyway.

and this too:

# /etc/X11/xorg.conf (xorg X Window System server configuration file)
# This file was generated by dexconf, the Debian X Configuration tool, using
# values from the debconf database.
# Edit this file with caution, and see the /etc/X11/xorg.conf manual page.
# (Type “man /etc/X11/xorg.conf” at the shell prompt.)
# This file is automatically updated on xserver-xorg package upgrades *only*
# if it has not been modified since the last upgrade of the xserver-xorg
# package.
# If you have edited this file but would like it to be automatically updated
# again, run the following command:
# sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

Section “Files”
FontPath “/usr/share/X11/fonts/misc”
FontPath “/usr/share/X11/fonts/cyrillic”
FontPath “/usr/share/X11/fonts/100dpi/:unscaled”
FontPath “/usr/share/X11/fonts/75dpi/:unscaled”
FontPath “/usr/share/X11/fonts/Type1”
FontPath “/usr/share/X11/fonts/CID”
FontPath “/usr/share/X11/fonts/100dpi”
FontPath “/usr/share/X11/fonts/75dpi”
# paths to defoma fonts
FontPath “/var/lib/defoma/x-ttcidfont-conf.d/dirs/TrueType”
FontPath “/var/lib/defoma/x-ttcidfont-conf.d/dirs/CID”

Section “Module”
Load “GLcore”
Load “i2c”
Load “bitmap”
Load “ddc”
Load “dri”
Load “extmod”
Load “freetype”
Load “glx”
Load “int10”
Load “type1”
Load “vbe”

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Generic Keyboard”
Driver “kbd”
Option “CoreKeyboard”
Option “XkbRules” “xorg”
Option “XkbModel” “pc104”
Option “XkbLayout” “us”

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Configured Mouse”
Driver “mouse”
Option “CorePointer”
Option “Device” “/dev/input/mice”
Option “Protocol” “ImPS/2”
Option “Emulate3Buttons” “true”
Option “ZAxisMapping” “4 5”

Section “Device”
Identifier “Generic Video Card”
# Driver “fbdev”
Driver “ati”
Option “UseFBDev” “true”

Section “Monitor”
Identifier “Generic Monitor”
Option “DPMS”
# HorizSync 28-51
# VertRefresh 43-60
HorizSync 60-60
VertRefresh 43-117

Section “Screen”
Identifier “Default Screen”
Device “Generic Video Card”
Monitor “Generic Monitor”
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection “Display”
Depth 1
Modes “1024×768” “800×600” “640×480”
SubSection “Display”
Depth 4
Modes “1024×768” “800×600” “640×480”
SubSection “Display”
Depth 8
Modes “1024×768” “800×600” “640×480”
SubSection “Display”
Depth 15
Modes “1024×768” “800×600” “640×480”
SubSection “Display”
Depth 16
Modes “1024×768” “800×600” “640×480”
SubSection “Display”
Depth 24
Modes “1024×768” “800×600” “640×480”

Section “ServerLayout”
Identifier “Default Layout”
Screen “Default Screen”
InputDevice “Generic Keyboard”
InputDevice “Configured Mouse”

Section “DRI”
Mode 0666


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