Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Texas can future proof education

This is one is simple.  The Texas legislature, or even the Texas Commissioner of Education can give schools around the state a $50 million  boost, without spending a penny. (It may actually be a lot more that that.

Here's the setup: there are thousands, I'm guessing close 100,000 old Windows XP machines running in school systems through out the state.  Last week, Microsoft came upon it's hard deadline to no longer support Windows XP.  

That makes XP machines pariahs because users will no longer get updates, including security updates.  Schools have to have security updates because the law requires them to be secure if students use them.  Many of these machines are used for little else that state sponsored programs for helping students with reading, math and the like.

Simple, you say (if you know a lot about computers), "why don't you just convert them to machines running Linux.  Linux is a lot less demanding on old machines and will run fine, especially if you run those programs in a browser."

That's the crux.  Those 3rd party programs, that Texas pays for and provides to the schools for free, don't run in browsers.  They run in the Windows operating system -- not on Linux.

If Texas tells it's software providers, these must run in browsers or we will look for other software sources, the old machines can be spared for another few years -- schools won't have to run out and replace maybe as many as 100,000 machines at $500 a piece -- $50 million.

"But," you say, "students will have a hard time running a completely new operating system."

That's where Zorin OS comes in.  (see this link )  It has the look and feel of Windows XP.  It can even run many Windows programs thanks to software included with the Zorin distribution that handles that. 

A enormous added benefit is that Texas future-proofs its software buying -- software it buys will run on browsers in computers, tablets, cellphones, chromebooks... anything with a browser.

I am awake, aren't I.  I am not still dreaming, yes?

Monday, June 10, 2013

The last scientific discovery

I doubt anyone could keep up with all the development in science and discovery these days.

The number of new discoveries seems to accelerate.

Which means we are accelerating to the time when the last discovery will be finally announced.

There has to be a last discovery.  The number of discoverable science facts is not infinite, is it?

That's a good question. A good question which, I suspect, is unanswerable.  The reason? -- we don't know what we don't know. (If we know that we don't know something, we can make that the subject of our research, but we can't research something that we don't even know exists as a subject to study.)

Now to the point.  What if the number of discoverable science facts is not infinite.  What if some day, say 50 years from now, all of the scientists come together and announce that every single significant discovery has been made.  

What then?  What do scientists do starting the next day after that big announcement.

I want you to know that this is a think piece that I don't have an answer.  I just think that pondering whether there will ever be a final discovery lets us get a clearer picture of who we (humans) are and what we do. 

We are discoverers, searchers, pioneers.  It is in our blood and our souls.  

Suppose, however, that final scientific discovery had been made 50 years ago today. What would we be doing now?

Who would we be?

Go look in the mirror, pioneer.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What's your list life like?

How many lists do you have?

I am a list man, but I am not a LIST man.

I don't do lists for lists sake.  I do however have a  list of things to do. If I do something that is not on the list, I put in on the list and then cross it off.  That makes be a list man, I am sure.

However,  I keep my lists to minimum.  At least that is what I thought until I started counting them the other day.

  1. -- The to do list.  I have a written one and I have been experimenting with online organizers -- haven't found the perfect one yet.
  2. Bookmarks list in Google Chrome -- it is getting big, but is
    not yet unwieldy.  And, it is classified so I can find what I need quickly.
  3. Passwordslist.  Need this, since I am access the internet though three devices these days.
  4. The history list of sites I have visited -- on all three devices and three different browsers.
  5. My start page list in my Chrome browser -- it does the work for me by listing bookmarks, history and websites I use frequently.
  6. My email in box -- well not so much the inbox but the several dozen folders I stuff things in-- to keep track of projects, things I want to refer to again, and ideas I am developing.
  7. My email client also has several of my contact lists -- one I imported, another is a list of contact emails from saved emails sent to me, and several for different projects.  I haven't imported my big email list into that yet, but I will get around to it soon.
  8. My email client also has a list of sorts in the calendar -- birthdays, events and other important dates.
  9. I have list in where I track my technology life. I have it divided by my Business timeline and by my private timeline.
  10. I have a list on that is quite extensive. Its about several technology areas that I like to keep up with -- the good thing about it is that this is a shared list -- others that follow these topics add to the list -- I get the benefit of their finds.
  11. I use OneTab -- when my browser tabs get too cluttered, I push the OneTab icon and it closes all the tabs, but keeps a list of them on the one tab it keeps open.  That way I can get back to any of them quickly.
  12. I use SpringPad to keep a record of special things I want to refer back to.
  13. I also use Archify -- I know, this is redundant, but I like having things taken care of for me such as my web footprints.
  14. And I use GetPocket -- mainly for things I don't have time to read now.
  15. I am experimenting with Clipboard and NoteBoard and others.
  16. I use to keep up with my tweets and their stats.
  17. I use StatCounter to keep up with stats on my web sites-- 8 different lists.
  18. On Twitter, I have lists of my 287 followers and 491 whom I follow.
     I am following and 787 tweets I have sent out.
  19. I also make good use of the Twitter lists -- I have 20 lists -- most of them public but some private ones to. The public ones include News, Texas News, Southeast Texas Tweeters and more.
  20. I also use Linkedin -- where I have a list of 387 connections and 18 groups I follow.
  21. I could add a few more. ( Heck who am I kidding, I could add a couple dozen more -- Facebook, Google+,Youtube, Google Docs, iGoogle ( I read a lot of RSS feeds so I am converting over to Feedly ), and don't get me started on all the lists on Google Dashboard and my web site hosting spaceWhat I am looking for in #21 is a way to depublicate these lists, bring it all together and give me the extra power that the Internet promised.
What's your list life like?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Twitter's role in selling a house

I was sitting in the bathroom today, listening to the skylight.

Photo Credit: o palsson via Compfight cc

You heard me right.

It is a very windy day and the clouds are racing buy -- the low ones are racing to the west and the higher ones are zooming northeastward.

This I supposed makes for some very gusty stuff and the skylight is taking part in it. Every few minutes it makes a crackle or a plastic twisting kind of sound.

I was sitting there thinking of this, having just been on twitter.   Maybe I should tweet this?

My thoughts started to roll like the wind outside.  It got me to wondering: When you buy a house, you do a title search.  Maybe in the future you will do a social engine search before purchasing your next home.  Just to see what the occupant complained about in their humble abode.

Maybe you tweeted how you hated the neighbors or how you had to build a fence to keep their dog out.  Maybe you complained every time the toilet overflowed ( and it overflowed a lot.)

I could go on, but, I think you get the twitpic.

Social media changes everything doesn't it?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I won't do it.

I will NOT  do it.
I will stand my ground on this.
It is, I believe, a matter of highest principle.

I believe, as I am sure you do, that when a language dies and gives up its words, they are released into the public domain – a Creative Commons license, if you will.

When the English language decides to adopt and take as its own one of these at adrift words, it becomes English, in toto, owning no allegiance to its former state. When in English, do as the English speakers do.
My good friends I refuse to accept the stare decisis on this.   To me, English is a place where Latin teachers dare not tread.

I do not do this out of an ignorance of Latin -- I was enriched with four years of Latin.  Cicero and I have stared each other in the metaphorical eye.  (I will not even brag here of two additional years among the Greek language which gives its words away with no covenants  - open source as it were.)

I merely have a problem with purveyors of Latin telling me how English should be used, as if, once spoken in Latin, it is now de iure, ad infinitum.

No, I will not say "data are."   I know it marks me as a common man.   "Datum is, Data are," scholars will scold me from latin lecterns.  Quo iure?
I stand fast.   Praesto et persisto!

Does one say "fish are good for you?"  No, because fish can not trace there lineage to Caesar or Cato.
"Fish is good."  we all entone.   Fish here is a construct of the mind neither plural nor singular.

Why is there "sand" on a beach, and not "sands" as in the "sands of time."  Common usage becomes correct usage.

My words will be spoken as the English-tongued speak and they will not of latine dictum.

I believe there is data to support me.
-steve buser

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Missing the point

So I am at the BIG STORE, doing what I like to do -- touching all the electronics.  Suddenly nature makes an unannounced call.  That is if you don't consider this sudden urge an announcement -- it is more like a demand.

I proceed politely to the restroom, proud of myself for not knocking over anything (of importance).

Then I see the sign on the door.  "No Merchandise Beyond This Point."

Duh.  Like I am going to the restroom to shop for merchandise?

Let see, I'll have two rolls of toilet paper and three squirts of soap.

I think they're missing the point.

Hey, smile.  :)))
--steve buser

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Unpaper my life

I pulled up to the gas pump the other day, opening my gas cap and starting to maneuver through the menus.

Then it asked the question.    "Do you want a receipt?"

The only answers possible were "Yes"  and "No"

Where was the "email it to me" button.   Sure, I want to keep track my expenditures. It is just that I do not want anymore paper in my life.

The inbox is my filing system.  My paradigm.  When are the gas companies going to get this?

Why did I think of that?

--steve buser