A good sample of home/desktop Linux distributions

www.makeuseof.com/tag/best-linux-distros/

Missing some critical business focused distros…but worth reading.

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FREE: Keeping Raccoons out of the recycling, 7 years and 4 tries later

Back in (gulp) 2008, I posted a simple design to keep raccoons out of the garbage and green bin.  The design worked, I got some nice comments, and even a possible CBC TV spot on the design (which didn’t pan out, but it was nice to be asked).

raccoon closeup
Do you have ‘little visitors’ like this guy who came sniffing around my green bin?

Continue reading “FREE: Keeping Raccoons out of the recycling, 7 years and 4 tries later”

Productivity hints: Get a better monitor (today)

One of the best things you can do for your personal productivity (and the productivity of those you manage) is to make sure that people have the right tools for the job.

To keep it brief:  monitors are cheap, your time is expensive.  23″ and even 27″ 1920×1080 monitors are regularly on sale.  Check the usual suspects: SIG Electronics, Newegg, NCIX, TigerDirect. Full disclosure: I have no financial interest, and I don’t get an affiliate marketing fee; I just feel strongly about this, and I worked on a laptop with a great external monitor both in my home office and my corporate and consulting offices for years.  It makes a big difference!

Cheers,
Dak

The Elements of Security: Omit Needless Software

[Inspired by a mail virus that’s going around, and the classic Strunk and White text, The Elements of Style]

DO NOT install random software from friends, links you get in email, ‘free’ screen savers, and the like. Less is better. Your systems will be faster and more secure, and you don’t need them.  Even if they work, they are a waste of your time and system resources.

Here’s a longer aside for those of you who are thinking “But surely you don’t mean avoid installing anything?”

If  you DO need something, do the research and get what you need for the time and money price you are willing to pay.  (Free isn’t necessarily what’s best for you;  the ‘more expensive’ package can easily be better for you in the long run.)

Here are a couple of relevant examples:

1) Web browsers:  Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.  Great web browsers, all free, and worth the minor work to keep them up to date. They all have their strengths; I use Firefox most often, but both Safari and Chrome for some other tasks.  (Comments are more than welcome!)  Sorry, I’ve been burned too many times by Internet Explorer to want to use it, and the other browsers support a wider range of machines, since Microsoft has dropped upgrade support for older Windows versions, and doesn’t support other operating systems.  Your mileage may vary.

2) EVault data protection software.  Yes, there are free alternatives, but for your business servers where you really, really have to be able to recover, these folks are really good.  I’m no longer with the company, but I did run the engineering team for a year and a half, and I still happily recommend the products and services.  The free/’freemium‘ alternatives are good as far as they go, but system restoration is tricky, and EVault gets it right.  EVault software is owned, and the service operated, by i365, a Seagate company, so you know they’ll be around.  Highly recommended.

I’d love to have comments on other ‘elements of security,’ so please feel free to chime in.

Thanks,
Dak

Meta-comment: I LOVE Wordpress spam suppression in comments

I hand-approve all comments (and let pretty much everything through, just in case…because obnoxious spam is NOT going to show up on my watch!).

That said, I have yet to see a single instance of auto-spam in the approval queue. Every single last creeping, festering, crud-mongering piece of spam has gone into the reject queue, automatically. 100% rejection.

That’s darn impressive. Well done, Akismet!

Not high volume, but perfectly effective to date.
My blog isn't a big target, but this is still very impressive.

The ongoing evolution of technology…Cameras

Digital cameras continue to evolve very rapidly.  (VERY).  Back in April, I passed on a link about a high-speed digital camera, reviewed by David Pogue of the New York Times.  Since then, the field has evolved to the point of having a DSLR that is capable of shooting movies. (And thanks again to Chris Schmitt for sending this along.)

Er, wow. This elevates the DSLR from the ‘better image quality, and, by the way, status symbol’ camera to a real, high-value imaging tool.  It’s also a brilliant move on the part of Nikon:  leverage camera owners existing lens investment; this is what marketing folks call ‘stickiness.’

Aside from being extraordinarily cool in its own rite, this is an important reminder:  innovate, or die.  If you aren’t working to obsolete your product line, rest assured, your competitors are!

Camcorders are now just waiting to shuffle off this mortal coil, in my humble opinion.

Regards,

Dak

A brilliant management two-for-one

There are two excellent ideas in this posting on ZDnet, aside from the observation that you can scale Ruby on Rails if you avoid hitting the disk farm for static content:

1) Have a team devoted to rapid scalable prototyping.  (LinkedIn Light Engineering Development)

2) Use free apps for both proof of concept testing and marketing.

Read and enjoy.

Ruby on Rails: scaling to 1 billion page views per month by ZDNet‘s Dennis Howlett — While a lot of attention has been focused on Twitter with questions about whether Ruby on Rails scales, LinkedIn has been quietly running a RoR application on Facebook that is beating down around 1 billion page view per month. Bumpersticker, a relatively trivial Facebook application that allows you to create a cartoon that you can […]

Best,

Dak