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14 September 2013

Press Review 14-09-2013

This week started off with a turn of events for Syria, for the moment any direct military intervention from NATO members is adjourned sine die . Russia and its idiosyncratic President play the geopolitics chess masterfully, in face of NATO's reluctance and lack of strategy for North Africa and the Middle East. The risk of a rapid escalation seems put away, at least for now.

Later in the week come other important news, with the sad decease of Al Bartlett at age 90. A forewarn had already circulated of an impeding defeat against persisting illness, but we are now sure professor Bartlett won't lecture again on exponential growth. His writings and his famous hour long lecture where a great help when I started studying energy depletion issues. He had an outstanding gift to distil big issues into stark, short sentences. His most memorable quote: "sustainable growth is an oxymoron".

Below the fold, to watch or re-watch, the lecture that explains the root of most of our environmental problems.

10 September 2013

Why aren't software companies releasing their products for Linux?

profile for Luís de Sousa at Ask Ubuntu, Q&A for Ubuntu users and developers I have recently developed an addiction for AskUbuntu. The Ubuntu Fora have always been my preferred lieu d'exchange with the community, where I dealt with the initial struggles of a novice user trying Ubuntu on a novice piece of hardware. One day though a particular issue proved harder to solve than usual; out of despair I ended up leaving a question at AskUbuntu. Although not entirely convinced with the apparent community division along two different crowd support technologies, I finally got a solution there.

Some weeks ago I ended up at AskUbuntu again from some random web search. Lo and behold, alongside my user name there were these numbers and a funny icon. It happens the question I left had in the mean time got over 1 000 views; in consequence I was warded reputation points and "badges". Isn't that just great? In the fora only the number of messages is recorded, there is no interaction quality feedback. Suddenly AskUbuntu became a challenge, and I end up spending 10 or 20 minutes everyday helping anyway I can: answering questions, editing, commenting, all along piling up reputation points (this is in essence how a gift economy works, but I'll leave that for another time).

One of these days a user left a question that I imagine many Linux newbies probably have: why aren't software companies publishing their products for Linux? The answer was a bit longer than usual, thus worthy of logging.

07 September 2013

Press review 07-09-2013

The conflict in Syria seems bound to a hike in violence and complexity with the US, France and Russia committing to direct involvement. The first two through air strikes on Shia assets, the latter with unclarified support to the Shia in case these attacks take place. There is also speculation of increased material support to the Sunni from NATO. If Assad falls Syria will likely come into the hands of Al Qaeda and its allies; how then that plays with neighbouring Iraq and Lebanon is anyone's guess, but I'm not expecting peace to return to the region. But a strike by NATO members on Syria can have far more reaching consequences.