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{ Category Archives } Applications

Software for getting the job done; programs, suites, utilities, stuff like that

text editing wars

The vi vs emacs thing never dies. Luke has a nice rundown on Why Vim?. First up is a graph of learning curves – realistic humor. Then there are pictures of the terminal Bill Joy was using when he wrote vi and the influence that terminal had on the user interface. There is also good […]

Privacy vs SciFi

Scott Adams has a good rundown on just what could be at the Dilbert blog post Privacy versus Efficiency. You may have noted that some squawk in terror tones anytime they think their privacy is being abridged – consider what happened at Google’s recent privacy policy update. Adams starts by noting that there is a […]

The quality of information

Chris Dawson says he prefers G+ to Facebook because of information quality. Facebook has become pure noise. The reason it is pure noise is that I was an inexperienced social media user when I first started using it. I added whoever to my friend list. Now I get random political messages from both sides, people […]

Building things in the early days

Bootstrapping is not a trivial task. A Spellchecker Used to Be a Major Feat of Software Engineering is a reminder about the bootstrapping phase of software development for personal computing. Here’s the situation: it’s 1984, and you’re assigned to write the spellchecker for a new MS-DOS word processor. Some users, but not many, will have […]

Modern messaging (email) technology, policies, implications

The climate research messaging archive that was released surreptitiously, in two parts with a protected archive so far, provides a good example for learning about how electronic messaging works and the laws regarding privacy and retention that have been put together to balance privacy and legal openness. Anthony Watts provides a very good synopsis of […]

Usability and application interfaces

It’s about learning and doing and experience. Hans Kwint takes on why Gnome, Ubuntu and the like don’t understand “usability” – rather long but some good stuff to think about. Lately there has been some uproar about the ‘dumbing down of interfaces’..KDE4 didn’t offer the settings 3 did, Gnome dumbs everything down, and maybe Apple […]

The era of rotating optical drives ending?

Way back in the dimdarks, software was distributed on floppy disks. That worked because most applications only needed a megabyte or two for the complete installable package. Systems pushed this a bit. Slackware and OS/2, for instance, often needed ten or twenty floppies. That is why the CD became a media of choice for systems […]

Keypad number entry

For some reason, the numeric keypad on the keyboard stopped being usable to enter numbers. — turns out that it was in ‘mouse mode’ where its function was to move the mouse pointer around rather than to type in numbers. Hitting the numlock key did turn on and off the numlock indicator in the status […]

Ubuntu apps level 2, the Launchpad PPA

One of the primary benefits of the Debian based Linux distributions is the collection of ready to install applications. Ubuntu has leveraged this benefit with its software center and with the Launchpad Personal Package Archive or PPA. The PPA is a “hosting service for public software development” (Ubuntu News 27 November 2007). Launchpad is fast […]

Natty applets

Tech Drive-in has a rundown on 10 Useful Application Indicators for Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. These populate the bar along the top of the screen. Indicators with install instructions include: weather Dropbox (file backup tool) system monitor for cpu and memory system load graph for network, memory, and CPU touchpad enable and disable battery status […]