Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog


Feb 24, 2010 GMT

I have a few personal heroes whose lives have inspired me: Abraham Lincoln, Samuel Clemens, Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, Albert Einstein and Alan Turing. Recently I learned of another, and I would like to share their story with you, since in a lot of ways they had a major effect on Computers and Free Software.It was 1937 and Europe was in turmoil. A lot of Jewish people were fleeing from the regime of the Nazis, quite a few coming to the United States to escape oppression. A lot of these immigrants were highly educated. My "hero" had received a good education in Austria, but also had a love of mathematics and science that went far beyond their formal education. My hero's...
Project Cauã: Vertical Market Definition

Feb 22, 2010 GMT

Several months ago in the printed issue of LinuxProMagazine I wrote an article about Project Cauã (, a project that I had initiated, and several people have joined, with goals of: Creating millions of new, high-tech, private-sector jobs throughout the world; Make computing much easier and cost-effective; Significantly reducing the use of electrical power and other environmental impacts of computers; Bringing digital inclusion to under-served populations in urban areas; and do all of this with private-sector money, not government spending.While these are very high goals to achieve, even if a fraction of the goals are realized the project will be worthwhile. And...
Walk the plank....or not! Help Microsoft eliminate software piracy.

Feb 15, 2010 GMT

Several times I have written about "Software Piracy", and I think a lot of my readers get a little tired of hearing about it, but something happened this week that started me thinking about Software Piracy again.Microsoft made Software Piracy Prevention a voluntary thing.Of course Microsoft will probably pitch a different explanation, but what they actually did was post an "update" to Windows 7 that had lots of anti-piracy software in it, and told their customers that it was "voluntary" to install the anti-piracy software.Now this was probably in response to another time when Microsoft tried to force down the throats, er....ah..."distribute"...
Linux Professional Institute and Training Materials

Feb 06, 2010 GMT

Recently there has been a discussion on the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) mailing list about why LPI does not publish its own training materials to help students prepare for their tests. I started to answer in the mailing list, but instead I decided to answer here.LPI, of course, is a non-profit organization that creates certification exams for Linux systems administrators. It is distribution neutral, and tries to be comprehensive in its tests.When we started LPI many years ago, there was a long discussion about whether LPI should create its own training materials.At that time "Linux" was a fledgling industry, and the number of Linux books, publications and (particularly)...
Free Software In Action: Please donate to Inveneo's work in Haiti

Jan 29, 2010 GMT

Four or five years ago I learned of Inveneo, a company that was trying to bring low-cost and low-power usage computers to the developing world. They were some of the first to use Asterisk to set up a PBX for a village and (of course) the recognized the benefits of other Free Software in what they did. They also recognized the issues of reducing power consumption in computers so you reduce the number (and cost) of solar panels.I met the three co-founders, Kristian Peterson, Bob Marsh and Mark Summer at many different FOSS events, and I am proud to say that I once helped them get booth space for free at a Linuxworld event in San Francisco when they showed up and there was "no space...
Jobs For The Jobless

Jan 27, 2010 GMT

No, even though today is the day that the wonder-child of Apple shows off his latest marketing blitz, this blog is not about Steve Jobs and his DRM-laden tablet.Instead we are going to travel thousands of miles to the south-east and visit a man in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Marcelo Balisteri, of who most people do not know.Marcelo was born in the favela, the Brazilian term for "slum", but since he and his mother were poor, Marcelo had to learn to be an "entrepreneur", and to make money any way he could. While sometimes this leads to drugs and theft, in Marcelo's case this lead to computers and Free Software, to the point where he created his own company.Marcelo found...
Mr. Obama, Please Tear Down This Wall!

Jan 26, 2010 GMT

Only three days after posting my blog regarding the plight of Google's Chinese customers and how their data is now at the whims of a US-based company and its conflict with the Chinese government, I read about the issues of and the U.S. State Department's Export lists and how the data stored in a US-based company, sometimes created by non-U.S. based citizens, is now being controlled by U.S. State Department rules.In 1984 Digital Equipment Corporation was about to ship a commercial copy of Unix called "Ultrix". As we readied the product for shipment, Digital's export authority raised its hand and asked if there was any encryption code inside the product. Yes there...
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