Free software activist Bradley Kuhn wrote that “I’m not against the closing of this bug; however, the closed status should be something like ‘Can’t Fix.’” (The actual status is “fix released.”) Kuhn went on to note that the original bug report stated that “[a] majority of the PCs for sale should include only free software,” and that even Android devices tend to include proprietary software.
In the book the authors happily take up the white geek’s burden. A liberal sprinkling of convenient, hypothetical dark-skinned worthies appear: Congolese fisherwomen, graphic designers in Botswana, anticorruption activists in San Salvador and illiterate Masai cattle herders in the Serengeti are all obediently summoned to demonstrate the progressive properties of Google phones jacked into the informational supply chain of the Western empire.
Google phones use mostly free software and Julian Assange is not exactly a shy freedom of information activist. But getting into international politics has a cost.
Samsung Chromebox Review
I bought a Samsung Chromebox (core i5 based) recently with the expectation that this would be a quiet, general purpose small form factor PC that I’ve been trying to build for years. Turns out that it’s more complicated than that.
Turning off verified boot and enabling the dev BIOS doesn’t necessarily give you the ability to plug in a external USB drive with a bootable MBR like a traditional PC BIOS would. Scripts like the one from ChrUbuntu partition the already meager 16GB drive. What I’m looking for is the ability to keep the ChromeOS partition as pristine as possible, while retaining the ability to boot something else.
What has been demonstrated so far is the ability to boot a ChromeOS kernel on a Ubuntu partition. Anything else requires some time commitment and hacking on your part (which is probably going to cost you more in terms of time than the cost of the hardware).
Ability to kexec a non-chromeos kernel (or grub) on an external device in the dev mode would be nice.
Bluetooth: don’t expect to be able to connect to your audio system and stream music. Only bluetooth keyboard, mouse are supported.
Lack of hardware settings: either things work or they don’t. No ability to configure anything. Don’t like 1024x768? Get a new cable. Don’t get audio from the builtin speakers when display port/HDMI is plugged in? Get a new headphone. Don’t like headphones? Sorry. Reduced complexity is good, but this one goes a bit too far.
In spite of all the limitations, the device delivers on the promise of a fast, quiet, general purpose x86 box. Sometimes I don’t like mobile computing (= devices that I have to go looking for around the house). This one makes a great immobile computer that stays in one place.
Too much coffee
This is what happens when I drink too much coffee on a Saturday night:
Search Privacy Improvements
I spent a few evenings hacking Chromium (open source version of the Chrome browser). The idea is that users can have personalized and anonymous services from a single browser instance.
Today, a Chrome user has to have two windows open: one in incognito mode for using services where identity is not disclosed and a second one where the user is logged in. It’s hard to manage and easy to get things mixed up. I suspect that the number of search queries from an incognito browser instance are minuscule.
On the other hand, the “Manage search engines” dialogue is a great place to provide a search engine option for users who don’t like or don’t want personalized search. Open Search for example could define an <anonymous/> tag or equivalent. Browser implementations could then build the UI to give user the option of using a given search engine anonymously (i.e. without sending cookies).
I uploaded proof of concept patches to github earlier today. If the search provider also is an email service provider (not very uncommon), you can now use one browser instance and two tabs — one personalized (email) and the other anonymous (search), so your search queries are not associated with your email profile.
How to invest in a democracy
In her remarks in Westport, however, Ms. Raskin played down the effects of low rates on investors. She said that less than 7 percent of household assets were held directly in certificates of deposit, savings bonds and the like. “Instead, the bulk of household wealth is held in stocks, retirement accounts, business equity and real estate,” she said. “For these other types of assets, rates of return depend primarily on the strength of the economy and how fast the economy is growing. Thus, these returns should be supported, over time, by the accommodative monetary policy that we have in place.”
Watch where the majority of the voters are investing.
Chromium is open source. Does it matter?
arun@dell: ~/src/chromium/src $ du -sh third_party/ 4.8G third_party/
Out of the 95k commits, a mere 356 are from people outside of the google.com and chromium.org domains. Not sure how many of the chromium.org commits are from google employees.
PS: AUTHORS lists about 160 non-google employees, mostly sporting gmail.com email addresses.
I wish large open source projects that consume more open source code than they add, really stopped checking in everything they need into their own repo. Providing a chromiumos-overlay and a binhost would be a lot nicer to potential contributors. Most contributors I’m guessing have no interest in recompiling a gazillion third party dependencies.