Monday, May 25, 2009

How does one Roll out Linux in any Organization or Entity?

When We ask people how do they plan to implement a Linux migration or roll out plan , we see a variety of diverse answer sometimes one conflicting the other... but then again there is always a need for a standardized system or process that should be viewed as the best practices to be shared in the community.

Internetnews. com cites a recent report that discloses it’s findings on just this question. An IBM-sponsored survey of 1,275 IT professionals around the world asked for feedback on their experiences making the switch to Linux in their organizations. (You can see the summary and download the free report from Freeform Dynamics here.) Here are the key findings:

  • Desktop Linux adoption is primarily driven by cost reduction
  • But deployment is currently limited, and challenges to further adoption frequently exist
  • Selective deployment based on objective targeting will yield the highest ROI and acceptance
  • Linux desktop roll out is easier than expected for properly targeted end-user groups
  • A focus on usability reflects a maturing of thinking

The report locates potential pitfalls in a proper lack of planning and finds that users are most resistant when the idea is pitched that they have to “compromise” (in other words, give up some applications that won’t run on Linux) in order to move to Linux. However, it is noted that some must-have applications for users could be virtualized on Citrix to solve that problem.

Were you aware of, or included in this survey? If you’ve rolled out Linux to your users or just a targeted set of users, how did it go? If you’re thinking about such a transition, you might find some tips in the report that will help you plot a path.

Feel free to comment

Why should IT companies hire you a guide for budding service contractors

With an increase of people in the job market, there’s more competition for independent contractor gigs. Get tips on how to make prospective clients know that hiring you will help their bottom line.This is a prospective guide to budding entrepreneurs.


When the Information technology trend first began and pushed programming back in the late ’70s, the demand for people who could code was so high that if you knew how to spell GOTO you could find a job. The industry has gone through a lot of cycles since then. In the current phase, hiring of full-time developers has fallen off dramatically, which could be good news for independent contractors. We’re easy to hire and easier to fire than traditional employees. Also, we typically don’t enjoy employee benefits or get paid for time spent on social networks or World of Warcraft.

However, as more regular employees lose their jobs without many prospects for new ones, the pool of available contractors may expand as well. Now the advantages of hiring an independent don’t necessarily work to your personal advantage — especially if former employees are available at a lower rate. How do you make the case that prospects should hire you instead?

Money, money, money

Do you try to represent yourself as the Rolls Royce option? The best consultant that money can buy? The L’Oreal of consultants — because they’re worth it? I don’t think so. Prestige comes at a price that fewer companies are willing to pay for these days. In this economy, it comes down to the bottom line: What is your net effect on profitability (short- and long-term), and how does that compare to their other options?

How can you save them money? How can you make them money? Answer these questions convincingly, and the engagement is as good as yours. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Expertise. You know what you’re doing, you won’t have to be trained, and you’ve already made the mistakes that others would encounter. So even though you may charge more per hour, you aren’t going to need nearly as many hours. Besides that, your implementation will be more maintainable than something cobbled together by a first-time, saving them money for years to come. So if you have experience in the specific technologies involved, talk that up.

  • Results. All the knowledge and experience in the world doesn’t stack up to being able to get the job done. Offer examples of past clients whom you were able to help. Be ready to go into the details (as far as you’re allowed under any non-disclosure) to show how your contributions made a difference to their bottom line that far exceeded what you cost them, or what most anyone else could have done.

  • Personality. “Hey, I thought we were talking about money,” I hear you cry. We are; if you’re a condescending jerk, you’ll bring the whole team’s productivity to a grinding halt. Show that you’re not only friendly and self-deprecating but also that you’re willing to learn from others and give them credit where due, and that you know a thing or two about team-building. A good team player brings out the best in everyone else to get things done — and thus make money.

  • Soft sell. The worst thing you can do is to reek of desperation. If you’re really as good as you say you are, you’ve got plenty of opportunities, and you’re shopping your clients as much as they’re shopping you. I prefer the soft sell: “Here’s what I’ve got to offer — if it works for both of us, great!” If you sell too hard, they’ll be more likely to doubt some of your claims. Go light on adjectives and adverbs; say what you’ve done, not how gloriously you did it. Let them know you’re all about business.

If you can confidently demonstrate that you will save or make more money than any of their other options, then the objection “we can’t afford you right now” goes out the window. Instead, prospective clients can’t afford not to hire you.

Friday, May 22, 2009

YouTube increasingly less of an option in schools

I generally haven’t been inclined to block YouTube in schools.

Despite the countless videos of kids skateboarding, extraordinary amounts of educational content are there for the taking. Like Filipiniana...folk dances.. science materials and even political and soiological topics...

Unfortunately, it looks as though the junk is quickly on its way to overwhelming the good. However theres an uncomfortable trend lately like what Ars Technica is reporting on the so-called carpet-bombing effort to fill YouTube with pornography:

Today, May 20, has been deemed “Porn Day” by denizens of 4chan and eBaum’s World, with an organized group of users from the sites uploading video clips of explicit, adult content en masse in an attempt to overwhelm the search results. In actuality, it appears that content was prematurely uploaded on the afternoon of the 19th. YouTube has already taken some steps to fight back, but it’s disturbingly easy to find stuff you really don’t want to see, and the uploaders are changing tactics.

On the local level... terrible scandalous videos of movie personalities and political personalities have also mushroomed... thus showing much of a lesser moral fibre in display.....

What this means is that we need to train our teachers and provide them with easy tools to deliver appropriate content to their students. No more, “Hey kids, put together a PowerPoint presentation and feel free to search for some resources on YouTube.” YouTube does make it incredibly easy to embed video on the web and now has tools for excluding those “related videos,” which are all too often a source of said junk.

Therefore, we need to train our teachers to place videos on their own websites or blogs or, better yet, use a site like Fliggo to really isolate useful video content from the rest of YouTube. How many of your teachers know how to embed a YouTube video in a blog? There’s no need to throw out the baby with the bath water in terms of online video, but there is a real need for increased vigilance and helping teachers find new ways to clearly direct instruction around useful video.

Another good thing to consider is to teach Netiquette (net Ethics) to students so that they would be able to appreciate the whole ambit of the net as well as clinging to even a small semblance of respect and ethics for the privacy of others and the better interest of the Public and learning

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Microsoft, Linux Foundation issue joint letter opposing proposed software-licensing principles

Truth can, indeed, be stranger than fiction — as is evidenced by a May 14 letter on software-licensing policies that was signed by both Microsoft and Linux Foundation officials.

The letter, which the two sent to to the American Law Institute (ALI), was designed to “express our shared concerns with the group’s draft Principles of the Law of Software Contracts,” according to a blog post by Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel.

(Yes, that same Horacio Gutierrez who is known for claiming free and open-source software violated 235 of Microsoft’s patents.)

According to Gutierrez’s latest blog post, while Microsoft and the Linux Foundation have been almost always on opposite sides of the software-licensing fence, they both agree that the ALI Principles — designed to provide guidance to judges and others charged with interpreting software-licensing agreements — could do more harm than good. Gutierrez blogged:

“While the Principles reflect a lot of hard work and thought by the ALI, Microsoft and the Linux Foundation believe that certain provisions do not reflect existing law and could disrupt the well-functioning software market for businesses and consumers, as well as create uncertainty for software developers.

“We have asked the ALI to allow more time for comment from interested parties reflecting the wide range of software developers and users.”

The joint letter to the ALI specifically highlights the policy body’s call for a non-disclaimable “implied warranty of no material hidden defects” as being onerous to both Microsoft and the Linux Foundation. (The Linux Foundation has been objecting to this proposed implied warranty and its possible negative effect on free and open-source software since at least August 2008.) Microsoft and the Linux Foundation both are advocating that by making this warranty disclaimable, vendors will be more willing and able to offer customers their applications and services under a variety of software-licensing models. (That’s my best attempt at explaining this; I’m sure folks more conversant with legal language will be able to chime in as to exactly what the pair want….)

Update: Linux Foundation chief Jim Zemlin explains the warranty issue in a May 18 blog post this way: “The principles outlined by the ALI interfere with the natural operation of open source licenses and commercial licenses as well by creating implied warranties that could result in a tremendous amount of unnecessary litigation, which would undermine the sharing of technology.”

Raymond Nimmer, a professor at the University of Houston Law Center and co-director of the Houston Intellectual Property and Information Law Institute, wrote a strong critique of the ALI draft principles, where he also objected to the proposed implied warranty

Nimmer blogged on May 11: “(I)f the (implied warranty) ‘principle’ were followed, the software industry would be subject to a rule that does not apply to any other industry. Why discriminate against one of our few burgeoning industries?”

The ALI’s annual meeting — where the final vote by memebers on the proposed draft of the Principles is expected — takes place this week.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Looking at the Quezon City Scholarship Fair 2009

We were invited to join the Quezon City City Scholarship Fair 2009. I actually was supposed to attend an "Education Nation Conference" at the University of The Philippines where my good friend Gene Morada of was attending.

We started at around 7 am for the flag raining ceremony and awarding of scholarship vouchers. We were looking at the different schools that were also offering their scholarships and course offerrings.

I noticed that when I saw the different schools actually followed suit. When we opened our course offerings in Multimedia applications and Computer Graphics Design in 2006, everybody barely understood and saw the significance of these courses. We actually pioneered Multimedia and Graphic Design Courses in the TESDA even before other schools and TESDA were offerring and promulgating Training regulations in these specializations in the Philippines. This was because we saw the significance of these courses in the ICT industry. We were also the ones who openly advocated putting and using FOSS in TESDA courses in order to popularize FOSS. So it was quite safe to say.. that other schools like AMA, STI, Informatics merely followed where we pioneered.

The scholarship fair was a showcase for the different schools and TEKBOK Providers....

It was also an opportunity for to showcase its versatility to other schools especially the bagong henerasyon foundation which had satellite training centers in the different community areas in Quezon City.

Explaining the value of cloud computing for indigent students, Trainors from Bagong henerasyon were welcoming the idea and looked forward to having a demonstration of the product to their community computer learning centers

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Do Online Word Processors work?

A friend from IOSN Mam Yolynn Medina shared me an online article , "The case for Online Word Procesors by Dustin Wax ". Naturally Id always take a look at any article shared... and see if its worth commenting or reading.

This one I like... Its written by a person who uses for his daily activities. Imagining just a browser and there you go... you can transfer from PC to PC anywhere you go. This is the beauty of cloud computing. Personally I agree with Dustin on the choices he had recommended, Google Docs (not that I am Google Fan), Zoho Apps and adobe(something I don use). This actually presents the best justification for educational collaboration, where teachers can actually check the written articles and projects prepared on Gdocs and Zoho shared with them, and be edited, collaborated, shared and commented upon.

I agree with Dustin that this is a perfect example of how online word processors can be used for educational purposes. This application can also be found in a visrtual web based OS that has web based applications for cloud computing, an online web based office suite that handles communications and other office work. also is best for schools since if you have a web based desktop that is accessible anywhere there is a connection (internet).. there is an online word processor that you can sue to prepare your projects, term papers and articles.

Indeed Online word procesors can even help minimize paper consumption... one of the best practices in education thats worth sharing with other educators.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Teacher is the curriculum

Telling Teachers they are they are the curriculum

I have recently attended a teachers seminar-workshop held by the Computer Professionals Union today at the University of the Philippines at Balay kalinaw.

Its good to be at UP once again....savouring the breeze, the shady trees and of course Khas food haus with the traditional beef briani for lunch with Gene Morada of

The Theme of the workshop ws “Workshop on the trends and developments in Science and Mathematics”. When I arrived, a listened to inputs by various succes stories on how they used ICT as a tool in enhancing teaching in math and science.

Most of the questions on the open forum was actually centered on either the lack of support from LGU's or supervisors. I however noticed several things.... the teachers paradigm and mindsets were still the repository thing. Meaning they had to grasp it on hand and serve it on spoons to their students.

Of course part of what the previous speakers were telling them that there were options available to them, they just need to look for them.

The same questions and tone of clarifications were going on.

Of course, Gener was next to talk. ICT tools and web 2.0. Gene explained the use of the web to education and the need to use the web to enhance the interest of students and the usage of social networking sites. Also he introduced the value of cloud computing thru G.HO.ST which is actually the best tool for students who dont have their own PC's.

I actually was supposed to talk about school experiences using ICT. Something like best practices. But I felt that I need to tell them something. So I asked them to affirm the following:

The teacher is the curriculum

I am the curriculum

I am a teacher

I will empower my students

I am empowered

I dont know if indeed they felt their statements. I thought them that in order to be empowered they must be able to learn the tools in order to help students. Students nowadays learn more through collaboration than spoonfeeding. It is by introduing collaborative tools like Google services like Blogger, picassa google groups,as well as other web based tools. The concept is that we allow the students to be able to share and ciritique their peers objectively would enhance not only their skills but their responsibility as well.

I hope that the teachers realize that unless they learn that it is only by self-empowerment they can enhance their level of teaching and not on relying on what their supervisors, principals can tell them or what DEPED or TESDA or CHED can tell them.... They can do better because they know what their students need.... thus that is the very key to empowerment and enhancement of education at the very grassroots level. That is the message that they should understand in that seminar.Tools are there....they must be empowered to use these tools as a way to empower themselves and their students.........

Thursday, May 7, 2009

FTC investigates Google and Apple

Google and Apple are learning that while it is important to keep friends close, sometimes the Federal Trade Commission may want to know just how close those friends really are.

According to The New York Times, the FTC has opened an investigation to determine whether or not there are antitrust concerns over the two companies' close relationship. Specifically, the potential problems arise from the fact that both Google and Apple share two directors, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, and Arthur Levinson, former CEO of Genetech.

The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 specifically prohibits the presence of two companies sharing board members when those companies compete. The act is aimed at ensuring that competition between the two companies would be decreased.

The Times reports that the provision against "interlocking directorates," or Section 8 of the Act, is not enforced regularly. Still, as both technology companies continue to expand their reach the FTC has apparently decided that an investigation is warranted—even if the provision is rarely invoked.

In the case of Apple and Google, concerns are likely being raised over the fact that both companies have been making strong pushes into the mobile device market with the iPhone and G1, respectively. In addition, both of the companies compete in the Web browser space, with Apple offering Safari and Google offering Chrome.

Beyond the mobile device and Web browser market, there are other areas where the two companies overlap in a competitive sense. Apple's iTunes and Google's YouTube both distribute video and media on the Web.

Android, Google's mobile device operating system, is in the process of being developed into an OS for netbooks. Apple, of course, has long been a systems maker that loads machines with its own operating system.

The key for Apple and Google to come away from this probe relatively unscathed may center on whether or not the two companies can prove that their competition overlap is minimal. The Clayton Act stipulates that interlocking directorates are not problematic so long as the total revenue overlap between the companies is less than 2 percent, according to the Times.

Monday, May 4, 2009

OS Migration this year

A survey reveals that 84 percent of IT pros don’t have plans to upgrade to Windows 7 in the next year and half of respondents are considering alternatives, but it pays to parse a few nuances.

Andrew Nusca has the details on the survey, which was conducted by Dimension Research and commissioned by KACE, a systems management appliance company. The survey (Techmeme) had 1,142 respondents and 99 percent of them had Windows installed at their companies.

The spin here is that it’s somehow bad that most IT professionals won’t jump to Windows 7 in the next year. However, Windows 7 is still in beta and hasn’t been released yet. Of course, 84 percent won’t upgrade to Windows 7 in a 12 month time frame. If you go April to April and Windows 7 is launched in October-ish that means IT pros would have just six months to make the leap. In the OS upgrade world that speed just doesn’t happen.

Cast in that light, this chart below looks pretty impressive to me.

So within two years 59 percent of IT pros will upgrade to Windows 7. The good news: That’s some pent up demand. The bad news: Vista is the reason there’s pent up demand.

But what really caught my eye is the secondary headline about Windows alternatives.

The headline: 50 percent of IT pros are considering a move from Windows. Operative word: Considering. You’d be dumb not to consider a move. In fact, I’d argue that the other half of IT pros aren’t doing their job: You should always assess alternatives.

Of the 50 percent considering a move away from Windows 14 percent are actively making a jump. That’s up from 11 percent in 2008 and 9 percent in 2007. Your choice: Determine whether the money quote here should be:

  1. Of 50 percent of folks considering a move from Windows, 36 percent stayed.
  2. Of 50 percent of folks considering a move from Windows, 14 percent are bolting. Alternative OSes gaining steam.

The truth is probably in the middle.

And another nuance to ponder. Apple’s OS X is the most likely platform to replace Vista or Windows 7 with 27 percent eyeing the Mac platform. The rub: That percentage is down from 29 percent in 2008.

Perhaps the headline should be that Vista, Windows 7 and OS X are in decline—for Ubuntu.

Check out the chart:

In any case there’s a lot of fun with numbers that can be played with this survey.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

CHS students trained with FOSS as alternatives

Engaging Students with FOSS.

TESDA has recently given 50 scholarship slots in computer hardware servicing NC II to our school, the Asian Academy of Business and Computers. This was part of the 175 recently given slots of Pangulong Gloria Scholarships courtesy of TESDA.

Previously, we held an assessemnt on PC operations NC II around October of last year, we used open office and mozzila firefox as part of the test pakage for our students. Most of them (90 %) had passed the assessment and were declared “competent” (TESDA uses the term COMPETENT instead of passing).

Last Month (April) we also held assessments for our students in Computer Hardware servicing NC II every weekend. 94% (67 students) were declared competent in this category.

Currently our 2 classes of Computer Hardware servicing NC II are being trained to be both familiar with proprietary and FOSS software.

Touching on the merits of FOSS,most students were surprised how come LINUX and other FOSS Operating systems never have viruses.

Running on their third to fourth week, most students are still having their doubts as to the workability of linux. Perhaps after they have done installing and maintaing the computers they will have as projects.. they may realize that indeed Linux and other FOSS products are good technical alternatives to proprietary software.

Our trainors, linux Guru Brian De Vivar and hardware guy John Lopez are both doing their stuff in training these students to learn to use better alternatives like Ubuntu Linux and Mandriva Linux.

Unlike other Computer Hardware servicing students from other schools, our graduates will be both familiar with proprietary and FOSS.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Should you rip or should you not?

Is backing up a DVD fair use or piracy?

SHOULD people who have bought DVDs legally be allowed to make digital copies of them for their own use? Any reasonable person would say yes. In copyright terms, that ought to be considered “fair use”. The law, however, presently says otherwise.

In America the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 considers it fair use for people to record copyrighted radio broadcasts for personal use. But the act says nothing about making digital recordings; and ripping copyrighted music tracks off CDs and storing them on iPods has now become an everyday occurrence. Apple would be in serious difficulty if people were prevented from transferring their own CDs to their iPods. Indeed, the software Apple gives away to iPod customers is designed to let them do just that. Yet it is probably illegal.


One reason cited by people who believe they are entitled to make copies of any copyrighted material is security. A backup copy is needed, they say, in case a rare or favourite DVD is attacked by “disc rot” or gets badly scratched.

They are being disingenuous. Optical discs are not indestructible, but they are remarkably robust. Certainly, the adhesive used to bond the layers within the platter can lift, causing the aluminium data-layer below to become oxidised and patchy. But the solution is simple: keep all optical discs out of direct sunlight.

Meanwhile dust, fingerprints and even scratches can usually be removed by wiping the polycarbonate disc with a polyester cloth dipped in dilute washing-up liquid, and then rinsing with rubbing alcohol or methylated spirits.

Just remember to wipe the disc radially—from the centre to the edge. Wiping with a circular motion—parallel to the direction the data are laid down—can create microscopic blemishes over the Hamming error-correction codes. The picture can then become jerky or freeze as the video player stumbles across the patch of corrupted data.

In an act of desperation, your correspondent once used toothpaste to rub out deep gouges on a Laser Disc. The unplayable disc was restored to life, and subsequently replayed many times with never so much as a flicker.

The polymer coating of a Blu-ray Disc makes it even more durable than a DVD. Though little more than half a millimetre thick, it can withstand a surprising amount of abuse. It even stands up to a screwdriver attack.

Another excuse used by those who would copy DVDs is convenience—to have copies of favourite films on a laptop while away from home. Maybe, but your correspondent thinks it is easier to take the original discs with him. A better case can be made for copying DVDs onto a dedicated home-server, especially if it is hooked up to a wide-screen television using a secure cable.

Copying DVDs for such purposes may make life easier, but it is almost always against the law. With every DVD sold in America, both the packaging and the introduction to the video itself clearly state that unauthorised reproduction, distribution or exhibition is illegal. To be more specific, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 makes it a crime to circumvent measures that control access to the copyrighted material.

Unfortunately, the copyright protection on DVDs is so pathetic that it positively invites piracy. The encryption method known as Content Scrambling System (CSS) was first cracked in 1999 by Jon Johansen, a Norwegian programmer. In a few short lines of elegant code he called DeCSS, Mr Johansen showed the world how utterly useless the encryption was. Ever since, free software tools with names like HandBrake, DVDFab and DVD Shrink have circulated the web for copying the contents of DVDs onto hard-drives and recordable discs.

The one way you can legally copy a DVD, at least for the moment, is to buy one of the $10,000 home-server and player combos beloved by Hollywood moguls and made by a Silicon Valley firm called Kaleidescape.

A Kaleidescape server works by ripping the tracks off an owner’s collection of CDs and DVDs and storing them on the digital jukebox’s huge hard-drive. The digital content is then encrypted and fed to various screens and speakers around the home by a secure cable.

Ironically, Kaleidescape was sued several years ago by the film industry’s friends in the DVD Content Control Association for breaching its CSS licence. In its defence, Kaleidescape claimed that content distributed this way was even safer than it was on the original DVDs. The judge not only agreed, but could find no breach of the CSS licence either. The Content Control Association is appealing against the ruling.

RealNetworks, a digital media company that pioneered much of the technology for streaming music and video from the web, has pinned its defence in court this week on the Kaleidescape ruling. Last October a group of Hollywood studios sued the Seattle firm for the way RealDVD, a $30 software program, makes copying DVDs to a PC’s hard-drive a simple one-click affair, busting the CSS digital-rights-management system wide open and encouraging flagrant piracy in the process.

Not true, claims the company. RealDVD keeps the encryption intact as it copies everything—CSS included—to a PC’s hard-drive, and then wraps the lot up in an iTunes form of digital rights management. Lawyers for the firm have framed the debate in terms of fair use, as the software not only maintains the CSS encryption but also locks the copies of the DVD onto the receiving PC’s hard-drive for the owner’s private use.

But why, might our reasonable person ask, would RealNetworks go out of its way to provoke the Hollywood studios, who rely on DVD sales for most of their revenue these days? It is not as though a $30 program, sold in direct competition with a dozen well-established freebies from the internet, is going to make any significant difference to the media company’s sagging bottom line.

The answer can only be that RealNetworks has far bigger fish to fry than mere backup software for DVDs. Under questioning in court this week, the company was forced to reveal its long-term plans for the technology.

It seems that RealNetworks wants to turn its handiwork, code-named Facet, into a “TiVo for DVDs”—and do for video what MP3 players have done for audio. Apparently, the company has contracts with set-top-box makers in Asia awaiting the go-ahead. If the San Francisco court rules in its favour, RealNetworks could have its $300 version of the formidably expensive Kaleidescape jukebox out by next Christmas.

There is just one problem: the federal judge hearing the present case is Marilyn Hall Patel, who ruled against Napster in 2001—and put a stop, albeit briefly, to peer-to-peer sharing of MP3 music files over the internet

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