Archive for the ‘Computer Rescue’ Category

Ultumix 0.0.1.3 is comming soon to a Desktop near you!

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

ScreenshotScreenshot2

LOOK OUT! Ultumix is running faster than ever thanks to the new XFCE interface. It’s running so fast with such a small RAM requirement that It does not even slow my PC down when I start it up in a Virtual Machine.

But thats not what makes Ultumix 0.0.1.3 so cool. I found a Start Button on the internet that looked very similar to the XP start button. It looked so similar that I decided it needed some tweaking first. Basically it’s like an ICE version of the XP start menu button if there is such a thing. It’s a cool blue button with START in Big Red Letters across it. No more excuses to not use this OS.

Now there is one thing or make that two things that are driving me crazy. First of all I can’t edit the start menu the way I’d like too because it’s not KDE. The editor only lets me have some abilities. The second thing is that I can’t just right click on the icons in the menu and add them to the desktop.

However in XFCE there are no monitor resolution problems. This is a very good Plus.

In order to add the applications to the desktop I will need to write down the commands used to open each one. It also appears the link to writer is broken in the menu. It opens office but it does not open a document.

There is a lot of work to be done yet to make it more Windows user friendly but I’m getting there. The hardest thing yet may be to edit the GRUB and boot splash.

FOSS Blogging Has its Perils

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Oh yeah.  This post is going to be biggie.  Not as in a big deal, but as in the size of said post.  I will not be talking of blogging alone, but blogging FOSS.  FOSS blogging can be quite fun.  Sharing the excitement of having tested another distribution of *nix (or sharing disappointment of wasting said time… depends on the experience) or sharing an opinion on the happenings of FOSS today can be an interesting experience to say the least.  However, blogging is not always without peril.

In the past, I stated how I would not promote my own writings on LXer due to being ripped to pieces over an entry that I eventually wound up deleting.  So why did I come out of my exile of sorts with a blog post that made the front page of that news site?  It was inspiration of sorts, which I will go into first.  The second part of this post will take into account Bruce Byfield’s follow up entry to his prior writing on his blog.  Shall we begin?

Flushing Fear Down the Toilet

I will be the first to admit that I do not like being told when I am wrong in any way shape or form.  Who does?  When I spewed a few choice words out of my keyboard concerning James Burgett and the trouble he was having with a state organization, even he criticized me in his own blog over my entry, and rightly so.  Not only that, but I was slammed pretty hard by another reader on LXer.  Then I read the comments concerning Justin Briethaupt’s follow-up on the situation with Newegg…

Before I go on any further, you may want to read this first.  It explains how this blog has multiple authors.  Each author will of course have a different style.  As of right now, there are two active authors: Justin and myself.

I read the comments concerning his newegg.com consumer report, and my mind began to race.  Then I read this entry from Bruce Byefield that I wholeheartedly disagreed with, which resulted in my previous entry.  I began to think to myself, “You know…. it takes courage to endure all those comments against what was posted.”  It was those two moments combined that caused me to realize what an intellectual coward I have been.  Scott Ruecker of LXer said it best concerning Justin’s newegg.com follow-up…

“In order to think critically about something and stand a chance of coming to a accurate decision or stance on an issue or issues you have to be presented with and have access to information that you agree and disagree with.”

I could not have said it better myself.  After all, Justin was trying to do something that I myself was only willing to dream up and talk about for eternity and getting reamed over and over again by the same people, and yet I was too scared to expose myself to criticism from a few readers who can have a different mood at different times?  Intellectual cowardice indeed….

So yes, I am coming out of exile of sorts concerning LXer.  I am limiting myself if I choose not to do so at this point.  The time to hide from everybody’s criticism is over.  Even if I only posted on this blog, it is one thing I will not be able to escape, because unlike other bloggers out there, I don’t axe legitimate comments (ones that are spam however are treated appropriately).   So next up is my response to Byfield’s follow-up post in response to the feedback that others have provided to his writing concerning conspiracy theorists in FOSS.  Prepare to be surprised.

Open Hand to Bruce Byfield

 “With all the people baying for my blood – some of whom, frankly, sound disingenuous in their demands for proof – the entry could easily take over my life, so in the last couple of days, I’ve withdrawn from active discussion of it.”

Bruce,  I certainly hope that you did not perceive me as wanting your hide or anything of that nature.  I was confused when you were making the broad statements in your previous blog entry.  To me, it was like lighting a barn on fire and walking away from it, thus forcing everyone else to deal with said fire.  Perhaps my humor was misplaced or of the wrong variety when I asked those two very sarcastic questions of mine earlier.  Perhaps it was nothing more than an insult.  Either way, my apologies.

Now let us take a look at another tidbit of what Byfield wrote.

“To start with, I notice that Brian Profitt’s suggestion that I was lashing out at some negative criticism I received has been seized on by some commenters as a reason to dismiss what I said.”

Hopefully, I was not one of those individuals who was perceived as having said that.  Also, in my opinion, to suggest that Profitt of linuxtoday.com was suggesting that you were lashing out goes a bit far.  Here is a sample from what Profitt wrote:

“Byfield, who I think is an excellent writer, by the way, may be projecting a little bit of his own defensiveness in this entry. I know he’s been on the receiving end of some harsh criticisms in the past, and I know from personal experience it’s pretty disheartening.”

I know the feeling to a degree myself.  I believe there is a difference between lashing out and being defensive, since lashing out implies (to me) that one is on the offensive.

That’s not to say that I don’t find people’s reactions fascinating – and more than a little intellectually distressing, since I’m an ex-university instructor who once spend his days trying to help people develop their abilities to argue coherently.

Here is another tidbit of opinion from me on the subject of debate and arguing.  There are traditional academic methods and methods that are considered unorthodox and unacceptable.  It reminds me of the beginnings of the Revolutionary War in America, in which the standard rules of war was not followed by the Minutemen who would pick off soldiers from the British army one by one while hiding behind rocks and trees.  During that time, it was considered inappropriate and uncivilized to fight in such a manner.  Suffice it to say that declaring that a position of prestige was once held is not going to sway me very much.  Read on further to understand why.

“But I think my favorite response was from a commenter who assumed the responsibility of giving me elementary advice about how to write. I’m always willing to learn, but, considering that last year I sold roughly a quarter million words about free software, now I know the spirit in which Lauren Bacall responded a few years ago on hearing that she had been voted one of the sexiest elderly women in film. ‘That will certainly pep up my career,’ she said (or something to that effect). ‘I can’t wait to tell my agent.'”

Look man, I could care less if you were on the New York Times best seller list.  When it comes to blogging about anything, including FOSS and discussion of technology in general, all the titles of prestige, all the accomplishments of the past, no matter how great, are stripped away.  At that point, the only thing left is people talking to one another (and in some cases, at another).

“No more working out of ideas publicly for me – from now on, I need to make sure that I state my assumptions clearly, and address opposing views in more detail, and not publish on certain subjects until my ideas are fully developed.”

On the other half, it would help.  However, not working out an idea publicly is something I disagree with to a degree.  While Justin Breithaupt’s consistent stream of criticism was the ignition switch for my mind, it was your situation that cranked my mind over, thus causing me to realize that I should not be so afraid of criticism from others.  Listen.  There is a way to work out ideas publicly.  In the title or at the beginning of a blog entry, indicate that it is a rough draft of sorts (or a brainstorming session).  I believe that WordPress also allows the creation of categories, so things can be tagged under something such as “brain storms” or “sand box.”  Whatever tag labels you want are up to you.   Of course what I am saying are merely suggestions as well.

I disagree with closing things down in a sense.  Why not open up a bit more instead?  To me, that is an excellent way of learning from each other, and if there is that constant nagging person who constantly annoys the dickens out of you, then you always have the option to ignore them at that point.

Overall, I would like to thank you for acknowledging a lesson that I am still learning today.  When it comes to blogging, you are never going to be without feedback, even if it comes in the form of a spam-bot or an individual who vehemently  disagrees with you.  I know that I do not know enough about you, but I still want to share my views with you.  So please, keep sharing yours with me and everyone else.

Opinion: FOSS Supporters Need to Think for Themselves.

Monday, January 7th, 2008

I’m sure everyone who is reading this is quite curious by the title of this blog post.  Don’t FOSS users already think for themselves?  After all, they use operating systems that utilize some variation of the Linux kernel.  Many utilize Firefox (or Iceweasel) and OpenOffice.org (or Abiword and Gnumeric).  Many of those who utilize free and open source software read related news sites and blogs pertaining to events, news, opinions, and more.  As of late, I have become slightly disappointed to say the least.

Half of the disappointment concerns a popular FOSS news site, and the other is an individual who believes that Microsoft bashing needs to come to a halt and that anyone who essentially disagrees will be seen as nothing more than a conspiracy theorist.  So, who is up first?

A Portion of the LXer Readership

Yes, I am somewhat disappointed by some of the LXer readership, particularly after reading this forum post here.  For starters, an assumption is made that Justin Breithaupt was angry with Newegg.  That is not the case.  He was simply asked to post any updates with interactions with the Newegg representative.  Nothing more, nothing less.  But this tidbit by remi troubled me…

We get that you’re upset, but please respect the LXer readers and calm down and try to make better distinctions between what is and is not news worthy. I’ve read the blog posts. I’ve read the comments here and there. There’s nothing news worthy about any of it. This belongs on a personal blog, not on the front page for all to see. Yeah, I’m sure you’ll rant on about free speech or something and that’s wonderful … that’s not what I’m saying. You can speak freely, but are you responsible enough to be given the power to speak at a pulpit that all the world hears *without* abusing that power by announcing your *personal* troubles to the world?

The problem is not so much the other comments, but the idea that somebody doesn’t like to see a company they like being criticized.  Alright.  I can understand that.  It’s easy to jump in when a popular distribution such as Ubuntu gets criticized because it happens to be a favorite of the one defending it against the criticism, even if said criticism was constructive, but the idea of blaming the editors for not preventing other readers from thinking for themselves goes a bit far in my view.  What happened to thinking and coming to one’s own conclusions?

Here’s an example.  Quite a while ago, I went on a big rant concerning James Burgett when he was having issues with state environmental regulations.  I let my emotions get the best of me.  Was I censored by the editors?  Oh no.  I was torn to shreds by the readers.  It caused me to change my position and rethink how I was going about with blog posting and writing a full-blown article.  Now that’s the type of thinking I’m looking for, not, “This is bad, so we shouldn’t have to see it.”  Well, don’t read it then.  It’s not that hard.  When reading FOSS-related sites/blogs, there is bound to be something that any reader is going to disagree with, and they said reader should simply get over it and move on (and of course voice their opinion, but expect a response countering what they are saying).

So here’s a few tips of my own, which are opinion based, so feel free to disagree:

  1. While it is understandable that a blog author may make assumptions based on opinions of other experts and/or other individuals, don’t counter with an assumption of your own.  This is the world wide web of course, and with such things, except with say, Skype and other programs, it is virtually impossible to interpret the true emotions of the person posting.
  2. It’s perfectly alright to disagree with a blog post or a website article.  A site and blog operate off of different principles (one being automated, and another not-so-automated).  However, don’t assume that something isn’t newsworthy.  As they say, one person’s junk is another’s treasure.  In other words, think for yourself and allow others to do the same.
  3. LXer wasn’t made for the editors: it was made for everyone who reads the site.  If something is commonly interpreted as completely garbage, and I dare say, insane, you bet there will be readers who will jump at the chance to prove the person wrong and come up with points of their own.

So in short, please don’t assume how a particular author of any article or blog post feels, and definitely allow others the opportunity to think for themselves.  The fact that editors offer the opportunity to other readers to decide for themselves what is deemed worthy of discussion is an indication that they may believe that the readers are intelligent.  Finally, don’t pretend to be speaking for an entire group.  No individual ever does.

Next Up, Bruce Byfield

Oh yes.  I put this off for quite some time, as LXer readers have commented on one of his articles in which he stated that it was time to get over Microsoft.  I read it.  I also read his blog post in which he suggests that not everyone who uses alternatives are Microsoft haters.  Such a blog post is certainly understandable.  After all, there are those who simply use the alternatives because they fit their needs better than Microsoft-based solutions.

However, when he posted his opinion on what he believed were the characteristics of conspiracy theorists, a couple of very important questions came to mind.  Bruce, what are you smoking, and more importantly, what are you snorting?  In other words, are you on drugs?

That was a bit of humor on my part, in which you stated that “Don’t expect a sense of humor, either – that’s usually lost with the self-reflection. If they call you a ‘Microsoft shill’ and you ask, ‘Where can I send an invoice?’ they’ll assume you’ve just revealed your true allegiance, not that you’re making a joke.”  Yes, so called conspiracy theorists do have a sense of humor and more than likely will know a joke when they see one, especially since they are capable of making jokes themselves.  Let us now examine a brief portion of his blog post concerning alleged conspiracy theorists:

However, you should also bear in mind that you can’t win. Try to refute a conspiracy theorist, and you simply prove to them that you’re the enemy. In the end, the best thing you can do for yourself – to say nothing of free software – is to stop responding to the conspiracy theorist as soon as you realize the type of person you’re dealing with. The time you spend dealing with a conspiracy theorist will be put to much better use writing code, persuading a friend to try free software or dealing with the real threats to the community instead of the imaginary ones.

First of all, it is not about winning.  It never is.  it is about learning from a different point of view.  If one can not read and understand a different point of view despite disagreement, then they have intellectual limitations.  Such a thing is true no matter what subject is discussed, whether it be software itself or religion.  Let us examine another tidbit from Byfield’s blog.

disregard for the rules of evidence: The wise pundit looks for evidence that would hold up in a court of law – that is, establish a point beyond a reasonable doubt. By contrast, conspiracy theorists have no such restraint. For instance, if a company has hired a former Microsoft executive, that is proof that the company is controlled by Microsoft. Never mind that Microsoft is so large that any North American company has a good chance of hiring a former Microsoft executive – the one tenuous connection is enough to establish proof for a conspiracy theorist. Key phrase: “Can it be coincidence that . . . ?” (Sometimes, yes)

Yes, Microsoft is a large corporation, which also has plenty of influence on U.S. politics, or have you forgotten about thatHow about the influence on world leaders?  Yes, the President of China visited Bill Gates himself way before giving George W. Bush the time of day.  Think about that for a moment.  Of course, other interesting tidbits can be picked up in an article that I wrote myself, but then again, I am quite certain that you know most of what I cite.  Additionally, I wrote about an individual who once worked for Microsoft.  In order to avoid retaliation of any sort, they chose not to have their name revealed.  So I suppose that not all former Microsoft employees are bent on “world domination.”

Of course when a group of concerned individuals begin voicing their views on Novell and Microsoft, can one blame them, especially after the other things that the Redmond Giant has pulled in the past?  I think “The Beez” had it right on this one. He said that, “If you do not win a discussion you may be defeated but that doesn’t mean you have to be a loser.”  Right on.

Who else has added to the discussion?  Why the Boycott Novell group of course.   They have also countered Byfield with this post as well.  Brian Proffitt of LinuxToday has also added a balanced perspective to this debate.  So what’s the point of all of this?

Returning to Byfield’s blog, I noticed a comment from Patrick, a reader of the blog.  He said, “Well, put your cards on the table. Where is the proof of your contentions. Who is showing the signs you are talking about? A few url’s please.”  It’s fair enough to ask for evidence as one reader of this blog has asked Justin to do in a prior post.  What does Byefield give to Patrick?  Here is his response to Patrick quoted below:

“I said at the start of the blog entry that I wasn’t going to specify who I was talking about. I won’t give them the attention, and I don’t have the time or inclination to start what seems likely to be an endless discussion.

And if that’s not good enough for you — well, you are reading a blog entry. It’s an expression of opinion.

However, if anyone else wants to suggest a candidate for discussion, please go ahead. But I’m not going to participate in the discussion much.”

So Bruce.  Why broach the subject in the first place if you are not going to offer information to support your claim.  I would certainly like to know who has been wild eyed lately, so that I can potentially learn from their mistakes.  However, you have opted not to do so.  You lit a fire and walked away.  This is but a blog, but I myself tend to link to plenty of other resources that support what I am saying.  Those resources also link to yet more resources that may have views that I do not agree with.  That is fine with me.

Conclusion

The whole point of this blog post is to argue one thing: think for yourself.  Even if it means you will read something you do not like.

To the readers of LXer, please keep thinking for yourselves.  If you want to shred what I wrote to pieces, feel free to do so.  In fact, I beg you to do so as I will learn from the end result of it.

Users of FOSS need to think for themselves, rather than be led by one person or another on the Internet.  That especially includes myself, the author of this blog post.  It is not about the freebie part of FOSS that is the most rewarding: it is the potential of raising the level of the mind.

Newegg.com Consumer Report.

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

Newegg.com Consumer Report.

Well about a month ago I submitted a story to Lxer.com suggesting that we boycott Newegg.com. The original story is below.

————————————————————————————————————————–

“Should the Linux community boycott newegg.com?

I’m beginning to wonder myself. My uncle bought a $1200.00 laptop that didn’t work right brand new and wanted to return it for a refund in under 30 days. In the US its illegal not to refund someone’s money for a defective product or a product that is not as described and everyone has the right to return something that is new.

“Desktop PC, Notebook, and Tablet PC Return Policy
Return for refund within: non-refundable
Return for replacement within: 30 days (defective items only)

This is our Detailed Desktop PC, Notebook and Tablet PC Return Policy. Under this policy all Desktop PCs/Notebooks/Tablet PCs are non-refundable, and this supersedes all other return policies. There are NO EXCEPTIONS to this policy. Any Desktop PCs/Notebook/Tablet PC that is deemed defective may be returned for a replacement within 30 days only, but a request for refund will not be granted. If a Desktop PC/Notebook/Tablet PC is returned for a replacement, but no problems are found, the Desktop PC/Notebook/Tablet PC will be returned at your (the buyer’s) expense. You should be certain in your decision to purchase a Desktop PC/Notebook/Tablet PC and must agree to this policy before completing your order. By confirming your order, you indicate your agreement to this policy.

A defective Desktop PC, Notebook, or Tablet PC that is returned for a replacement may be repaired or replaced at Newegg.com’s discretion, unless otherwise required by law. We strive to uphold our standard RMA processing time for these types of items; however, in some situations the item must be sent to the manufacturer for repairs. Unfortunately Newegg cannot expedite the RMA repair process in these situations, as we must abide by the manufacturer’s established processing time. If you have a question regarding a Desktop PC, Notebook, or Tablet PC RMA, please contact our Customer Service Department.”

Newegg.com is not obeying the law and has you agreeing that they can break it with every purchase of a Laptop, Desktop, and Tablet PC. This to me sounds like a Microsoft agreement. They don’t trust the customers. I myself have purchased thousands of dollars of their products over the last year for my customers. I know that they are convenient and low cost. However if they don’t trust us why should we trust them? They won’t listen to their customer feedback. I think that the only way to get Newegg to listen is to do the following:

1.Kindly send them letters from everyone in the community stating that we want them to change their return policy before we boycott them.

2.Get the Linux community to decide on a date that we will all boycott newegg.com and boycott them for at least a month. If we all do this their sales will drop dramatically and they will look into their consumer feedback. It might take them a while if it’s backed up.

3.Resend our letters.

4.If they don’t comply repeat steps 2 – 3 and let all your friends and family know as well as any computer businesses in your area.

5.If they do comply then everyone should send them a letter of thanks but be careful as they can change their policy at any time.

If you think this is what we need to do please comment here. Thanks.”

What shocked me was that after all the calls that I had made to Newegg.com resulting in negative responses someone from Newegg.com contacted me here on lxer.com. The messages you will see below are direct quotes except for the names used and account information. Newegg.com’s responces and comments will be in BOLD.

“Dear usacomputertec,

We Sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you may of had, and Thank you for your informative review. At your earliest convenience please contact me at [] or at ——– ext ——- with your order information so I may make this right for you as we truly care about each and every customer like family here at Newegg and really hate to hear any negative feedback or bad experiences as we try to make every customer’s purchase a positive enjoyable one.

Thank you

Sincerely,

Newegg Support”

“Dear, John Doe

This is usacomputertec / Justin Breithaupt from lxer.com

I purchase thousands of dollars of hardware from you every year and resell it to my customers. I also recommend you to some of my customers and other resellers. I figured that should have counted for something and even mentioned that on the phone to the newegg.com representatives. All they said was that they had to follow their return policy which is not legal in the US.

Original Product Invoice.

Order Information

Invoice # Order # Order Date Order total CustomerPoNumber  ----- 11/9/2007 1:40:24 AM $1,213.98     Shipping Information  To From Date Method  -----  11/9/2007 11:19:37 AM  UPS Ground   Payment Information Cardholder's Name Card Type Card # Exp. Date  -----        Products   Qty. Product Description Total Price  Item(s) shipped from CA       Tracking Number: ----- Track  1 ASUS A8 Series A8SC-B1 Intel Core 2 Duo T7250(2.00GHz) 14"  Wide XGA 2GB 160GB DVD Super Multi NVIDIA GeForce 8400M G NoteBook -  Retail Item #: N82E16834220225  Return Policy: Desktop PC, Notebook, and Tablet PC Return Policy For Asus Tech Support, Please Call 502-995-0883 or  http://helpdesk.asus.com/  $1,198.99    Subtotal: $1,198.99  Tax: $0.00  Shipping: $14.99  Amount Paid:  $1,213.98   Special ordered items are not refundable. All items come with  manufacturers warranty only. Open box items come with 15-day warranty only. All  refunds require 15% restocking fee. Do not remove any labels from any  parts or it will result in your  warranty being void. Any wrong or  damaged item must be reported within 7 days. No refund after 30 days, NO CPU  REFUND AFTER 7 DAYS, no exceptions.  PLEASE NOTE:   - If you need to return an item to Newegg, please obtain an RMA by  contacting Customer Service at (800) 390-1119 or clicking "My Account" on  our web page.  - Please save all packaging and accessories. All original equipment,  components, manuals, cables, documents and packaging must be returned  with your item in order for Newegg.com to process your RMA.  Return Policy Text  Desktop PC, Notebook, and Tablet PC Return Policy  Summary   Return for refund within: non-refundable  Return for replacement within: 30 days (defective items only) Detail  This is our Detailed Desktop PC, Notebook and Tablet PC Return Policy.  Under this policy all Desktop  PCs/Notebooks/Tablet PCs are  non-refundable, and this supersedes all other return policies. There are NO  EXCEPTIONS to this policy. Any Desktop PCs/Notebook/Tablet PC that is deemed  defective may be returned for a replacement within 30 days only, but a  request for refund will not be granted. If a Desktop PC/Notebook/Tablet  PC is returned for a replacement, but no problems are found, the  Desktop PC/Notebook/Tablet PC will be returned at your (the buyer's) expense.  You should be certain in your decision to purchase a Desktop  PC/Notebook/Tablet PC and must agree to this policy before completing your  order. By confirming your order, you indicate your agreement to this policy.  A defective Desktop PC, Notebook, or Tablet PC that is returned for a  replacement may be repaired or replaced at Newegg.com's discretion,  unless otherwise required by law. We strive to  uphold our standard RMA  processing time for these types of items; however, in some situations the  item must be sent to the manufacturer for repairs. Unfortunately Newegg  cannot expedite the RMA repair process in these situations, as we must  abide by the manufacturer's established processing time. If you have a  question regarding a Desktop PC, Notebook, or Tablet PC RMA, please  contact our Customer Service Department.  

Policy & Agreement | Privacy Policy | 2000-2007 Newegg Inc.

My customer/uncle who received the laptop is content to keep it now because of all the hassle but we still both believe that return policy is a joke. I’ve even talked it over with people that use to work for the Government that told me it is against the law. So now it’s not a matter of getting a better laptop or getting our money back but just to get newegg.com to realize that having a no return policy even under 30 days for a return does not comply with US Laws. And even if there is some loop hole where online sales can escape US Law that does not mean that we should be taken advantage of.

With a reputable company like newegg.com I figure that when I agree to terms and conditions that these terms and conditions are within the laws passed in the US. I’ve had no problem in the past returning items that were DOA or just completely not as described like a USB wireless card that didn’t work right in Window$ or Linux. I felt that that case was handled very well. This laptop that we ordered was described as being very high quality and having a large LCD screen. When we got it not only was the screen smaller than it looked in the picture due to the fact that the manufacturer had put the screen in a tapered hole to make it look bigger but there were numerous other problems that were most likely manufacturer related. The Ethernet didn’t work at first. I installed Linux and left Vista Home Premium on for the customer as well as he requested. (He really wants to become independent of Vista) When we booted Linux it would not recognize the Ethernet connection and when we booted Vista the entire computer would lock up after opening Internet Exploder 7 on the first boot. In order to turn the computer off we had to hold down the power button. 3 reboots later we got Internet Exploder 7 to go directly to www.getfirefox.com and it corrected the problem. I also had to reconfigure Linux to accept the Ethernet card as well. This was very unexpected because the Linux drivers for Ethernet work on any Ethernet device. So you can see how with Vista crashing when trying to access the Internet and not even bringing up a page and Linux not connecting that we thought the Ethernet was broken. Of course that was just the beginning of our fun. The laptop has 2GBs of RAM, a 128MB NVIDIA video card, and a dual core Intel processor and it still runs slower than Mozes with Vista like it is an 800Mhz PC with 128 Mbs of RAM and I know for a fact that cheaper Laptops with the same specs run much faster with Vista on them. To me this hunk of junk should not have been priced at $1,200.00 and been described as being the elite laptop that it was intended to be. We should have been able to send it back and get that $700.00 Gateway laptop that had much better hardware. It was under 30 days.

To be realistic here lets think about this bogus return policy. You walk into a store in the US and you buy a Laptop in the US and you get it home and it does not work. You take it back and they give you your money back and you go somewhere else. Thats the American way and it’s the law. What makes that any different than shopping online?

Thats why I made that comment about signing for something like a package and finding out that you just agreed to sell yourself to a sweat shop in a foreign country and are contracted to work for them for 4 years. That would be signing your rights away to a company. Rights that American citizens have been given by the Government can’t be taken away by contracts or agreements. And Like I said before even if there is some loop hole for selling online that I’m not aware of it’s not right to exploit it in this manner.

The best example of this is the Window$ Vista agreement that gives them the right to invade your privacy, control your computer, deactivate your computer, and you sign away your ownership of any previous Window$ licenses that you used on that computer. Thats like saying that by buying this cell phone from me you no longer own your old phone and will not be credited any money back for your old phone. Of course here is where it gets really good. You can recover from Micro$oft and its suppliers only direct damages up to the amount you paid for the software. You cannot recover any other damages, including consequential, lost profits, special, indirect or incidental damages. (Translation Micro$oft is not responsible for any problems with the software that may cause you loss of money or property unless that value is less than the cost of the software) It also applies even if repair, replacement or a refund for the software does not fully compensate you for any losses; or Micro$oft knew or should have known about the possibility of the damages. So Micro$oft gets to be legally negligent with your permission.

So you can see why someone like me or the other Linux users might react the way I did to your return Policy.

Also for your information

Also I have a few suggestions on how to make newegg.com more Linux Buyer Friendly like adding a rating for how Linux compatible an item is and if the user had to use a Window$ driver to make the device (like a wireless card) work or if they had to install a Linux driver or if it just worked out of the box. You should also have something that says what percentage of the components were made in the USA if any and where it was assembled. It matters to some of my customers and it matters to me.

Anyway in conclusion I don’t believe that Newegg.com is practicing fair and just business practices. If Newegg.com can’t change their policy to be considered fair business practice then I will buy locally instead of online as some suggest despite the higher prices. The fact that you pay attention to lxer.com gives me some faith that you will do what is right.”

“Dear Mr. Breithaupt,

Thank you for contacting Newegg.

I’d like to start by once again sincerely apologizing for any inconvenience, I understand your point and totally agree with the things you have explained in this email. Please give me the chance to make this whole ordeal right. I have went ahead and automatically credited your account in good faith for this inconvenience $200.00, please allow 3-5 business days for this credit to post in your credit card. Also, I would love to speak to you by telephone to talk further about this issue if possible, you may contact me at —- at ext —–. Anytime you have any other issues and or concerns please accept my personal offer to become your personnel agent here at Newegg by contacting me directly and if the issue needs an exception I would give it 110% to doing just that. We here at Newegg try for only the best customer service and hope this one issue doesn’t detour you from shopping with us again and I personally will make sure your shopping expirience with us from here on out goes as smoothly as possible.

Thank you,

John Doe

Customer Service Professional

Eggxpert Moderator”

“I am sending this message to my uncle because you have refunded the money to his account as far as I understand and I am sure he will appreciate this gesture greatly.

If you want me to call you on the phone please let me know what the best time is to reach you.

You will be rewarded for your actions when I post the results on lxer.com as many are curious as to what is going on between you and me.

Some have suggested that I ask you about Linux vendors (such as myself) being able to sell computers on newegg.com as well as the name brand companies that sell Vista computers primarily. In fact I’ve even thought of a system that would benefit newegg.com even more.

Because some Linux vendors like me buy our parts from newegg.com and resell our computers it might be easier if we saved time by advertising our computers on your site and listing the parts (as a group or kit) that are in the computer. Then Linux users could simply buy the kit from newegg.com and the vendor that is responsible for the hardware being compatible would get commission off of the sales. And further more the buyer could request that the vendor such as myself could build the Kit for them for an extra fee.

I’m sure there are more ways that newegg.com can attract more customers from the Linux community. I want to help out in any way that I can.”

“Dear Mr. Breithaupt,

 

Thank you so much for your reply. If possible, can you please put together an email and send it to me with all your information and what you would like us to do so I may pass it on and see what we can do on our end, since we do usually deal with only vendors in that regard. With you sending that email out to me I will be able to further assist you in this matter. If you would like you can contact my via phone at —- ext —– from 8-5 PST.

Thank you,

John Doe

Customer Service Professional

Eggxpert Moderator”

“The vendor thing was just an idea. Mainly I was thinking of other Linux Vendors that have been in the business longer than I have and have more impressive web sites.

Justin Breithaupt
—————
PO Box —
1-5————-
1-2————
www.mindblowingidea.com

newegg.com Customer number: ------”

“Dear Mr. Breithaupt,

Oh I see, let me ask you this. Is there anything else I may assist you with, or do you have any further questions or concerns ? I want to make sure everything is good and you are a happy Newegg Customer 🙂

Thank you,

John Doe

Customer Service Professional

Eggxpert Moderator”

“The only question I have for you is this.

Are you going to change your policies? Thats what it boils down to.”

“Dear Mr. Breithaupt,

 

Unfortunately, we have policies Sir and we are unable to change these policies but are more than willing to make exceptions when need be to assist our customers. Also, we are working with our vendors to do what we can to make any possible changes that will benefit you the customer. I understand your point in regards to our policies but they are legal Sir. We will be monitoring the Lxer sight just in case anyone has any issues or concerns and if able we will be more than happy to help them out. I would love to talk to you via phone if you can Sir, you may contact me anytime within 8-5 PST. If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact me personally.

 

Thank you,

John Doe

Customer Service Professional

Eggxpert Moderator”

Conclusion: I recommend my uncle buy a laptop from Newegg.com. My uncle buys it and we are not satisfied with it’s performance or quality. Newegg.com informs me that they have a zero return policy. I complain on lxer.com. Newegg.com Customer Service Professional Eggxpert Moderator contacts me. Newegg.com gives me $200.00 in good faith and tells me they completely agree with everything I said including the part about their return policy being illegal. Newegg.com asks me if I’m happy and if I have any more questions. My last question was if they would change their return policy to comply with US laws. They said no but apparently if you complain here they will be monitoring this site and may make an exception. In the last message it says “in regards to our policies but they are legal Sir” after saying that he agreed 100% with what I said in my first reply to him.

Result: I won’t be buying anything threw Newegg.com unless I can’t find it anywhere else or I need it in a pinch. You can look at this however you want to. I’m trying to be as positive as possible and still retain the facts without being biased.

Ultumix 0.0.1.2 has some new cool stuff!

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Ultumix 0.0.1.2 has the illegal lame, and win32 codecs removed and has the newest PCLinuxOS Kernel 2.6.22.10.tex1 and Xorg 7.2.0-1. I also included Kormair fonts for Cambodia. This way we can give this distro to a new country. The latest drivers (except ALSA and x11 openchrome) have been installed and updated as of 12-18-07. There are new icons on the desktop to further simplify the user’s experience. The IRC chat has been fixed and there should be more people in there more often. If you use Ultumix please leave the IRC chat open when you are at your computer so that you can help answer other people’s questions. Also don’t e-mail me with hardware problems. Put them in the SF.net Forum. If your having a problem chances are someone else has the problem too and is looking for the solution also. I don’t want to send out separate e-mails over and over. The new mouse theme is a plus. Users that want something different will like it and elderly will be able to see it better (tested on the elderly). I also went ahead and included the downloaded biblical texts so that users would not have to download them. This way in foreign countries they can hand out DVD-Rs with an OS that has the Bible in English already on it. If they want another language they can download it. I’m not going to use all the disk space for all the languages of the Bible. That can wait for the Christian Edition. The current ISO is 2.8Gbs. www.mindblowingidea.com/Ultumix

The Software Story

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

I’ve been under heavy fire latley from the Linux community all over the internet about Religion and Linux. The one statement that really stuck out was when some guy asked “What does Relgion have to do with Linux?” I know this sounds like a question that would stump most people right? Well Here was my responce.

“What does Linux have to do with Christianity?

Well it’s simple really.

Linus Torvalds created a better Operating System that he could use. He didn’t think anyone would really use it but he made it anyway. Then he decided that he would share it with the world if anyone wanted to use it. All that he required was that you share it with anyone who asks you if they can get a copy.

Jesus Christ gave up his luxury in Heaven and comfort to be born on earth as a little child in a horse trough or manger. He came to offer salvation with the hope that at least one person would use it. He chose to take on all the pain and suffering that everyone deserved as well as the guilt and shame. He was and is blameless but for the time he suffered and took our place he was looked on by everyone including God as though he had committed every crime, and he felt that guilt. All that he requires of us is that we accept his gift and share the news of it with others.

So you see weather or not Linus Torvalds is a Christian is irrelevant here. What is reliant is the spirit of sharing and sacrifice. Besides Christianity uses the Internet and programs in Linux to spread the word and educate people. A lot of Christian organizations have not been reached by the Linux community and are still using Proprietary software because we don’t reach out to them. So why not? Is this what we really want? To leave the Christian community in the darkness and blindness of Proprietary software and licenses? If he is without God then how great is that darkness.”

Now I had one reply in my forums that I deleted and had the writer correct the grammar and spelling errors due to popular demand. EdwinStar should be posting it back in the forum soon.

The Software Story

Hi Everyone,

About 4 years, or more like 7 years, ago — I can not remember when it started, I blocked it out of my mind every day for YEARS — I started to come under conviction for using and sharing the computer. …Before Linux came along… I wanted to live right, but it seemed like some computer related laws would not let me. …Before Linux come along… You see, it wasn’t really the computer at all that was the problem, nor the software written for it, but the legal issues surrounding the software written for it, that was the problem! It’s called copyright laws. …Before Linux came along… You see, I was a born-again, Holy-Ghost-filled, washed-in-the-Blood, Sanctified, baptized-in-Jesus-Name, Bible-believing, walking-with-God, Church-going, Christian. …Before Linux came along… Now, I must have installed this Micro$oft software 100,000 times on 10,000 computers only paying for it, maybe 4 or 5 times at the most! And I never did been caught!! …Before Linux came along… Or did I get caught? God was convicting me every time I booted another computer for the first time, after installing all that wonderful software I had copies of. Micro$oft Windows, IBM Dos, MS Dos, DR Dos, etc, etc, etc, and the list goes on and on and on. …Before Linux came along… I had hundreds of thousands of illegal copies of software programs to share with my friends and neighbors — all for free, and I never got caught!!! …Before Linux came along… God was starting to talk to me about this “pirating” of software that I was getting all messed up in. …Then Linux came along… And I continued pirating all this wonderful software I had at my disposal, because I thought Linux was too hard to use yet. …Then, SimplyMepis 6.0, Linux came along…I didn’t think I was breaking the law, or should I say, I blocked it out of my mind that I was breaking the law. …Then, PCLinuxOS v.92 Big Daddy, Linux came along… Linux was getting easier and easier to use and God was starting to convict me more and more! …Then, SimplyMepis 6.5, Linux came along… and kept coming… and coming… and coming along!! I was now so convicted, and felt so bad, that I finely started to use Linux as my primary operating system more and more!!! I felt better for the first time in a long time about my computer addictions! …Then, PCLinuxOS v.93 Big Daddy, Linux came along… But, I backslid and went back to law-breaking again (BTW, breaking the copyright laws in software is law-breaking, in case you don’t know it)!! …Then, PCLinuxOS 2007, Linux came along… And God was convicting me more and more and more!!!…Then PCLinuxOS 2007 Final Linux came along… Now, I consider myself very lucky that the FBI hadn’t broke down my door and confiscated all the thousands of illegal copies of software I had by now, along with my 4 or 5 legitimate copies to-boot, and thrown my happy butt into prison for a very, very long time, by now! …Then lots more Linux distros came along… All the time Linux was getting easier and easier, and better and better!! BTW, Linux IS free — REALLY!!! …Then Linux came along… God was convicting me even more. I could not live for God, go to Church, or call myself a Christian anymore! …Then Linux came along… Now, God obviously provided a way for me to use the computer completely legally!! This was through the great solutions of things called Open Source Software Foundation, GNU, and GPL/Linux!!! …Then Linux came along… Therefore, now I can be that born-again, Holy-Ghost-filled, washed-in-the-Blood, Sanctified, baptized-in-Jesus-Name, Bible-believing, walking-with-God, Church-going, Christian again! — if I want to be!! …Because Linux came along… So, you see — for me — sense Linux came along, I can feel so much better about my computer addictions!!! I can not separate God from Linux — ever — in the Open Source community, ever! …Because Linux came along… I can now live a little closer to God!! …Because Linux came along… I even think that God Almighty Himself has chosen the free GPL/Linux operating system, along with all the other GPL/Linux software that so FREELY comes along with it, as thee foundation for His followers all over the world to use!!! …Now Linux is around… At least this follower will, from now on and for evermore, will happily use GPL/Linux based software as thee primary choice to feed his computer addictions! …Now Linux is around… I also think that God Almighty Himself uses Linux only, and that He is the One who got this GPL/Linux software revolution where it is today in the first place!! …Now Linux is around… Nevertheless, I will give Linus Trovalds credit for being the vessel God used; and Richard Stallman credit for being the vessel God used as well!! …Now, Ultumix Linux 2008 Final Pre Release, Linux is around… You see, when something is needed, God will provide it, for His followers, and for the whole world — He will provide it — whatsoever the need is — He will provide it!!! He always has provided, always will, and it never ends. …Now Linux is around… And Linux will keep coming and coming and coming around! Now, this might not sound like a religious experience for you, but it sure is for me!! …Now Linux is around… Because now, sense God and Linux are around… the computer communities all over the world, us hackers/users, have something, and Some One, to help us feel a whole lot better about the addicting computer revolution that is hitting the world right now!!! …Now Linux is around… So, for me, Linux is a religion, always has been, always will be, and will never end! God too!!

I will never have a problem with religion being mixed into Linux stuff. Like two peas in a pod, they are so much alike. Not a problem with me at all. Even in a “World without end”. amen

…Now Linux is around… And Linux is going to keep getting better, and better, and better!!! amen

EdwinStarr

ps
Sorry about the looong paragraph, I just could not see where to break the story up. 🙂

If you want to use Linux go to www.mindblowingidea.com/Ultumix

Thank you Justin Breithaupt, for getting the MindBlowingIdea to remaster PCLinuxOS 2007 Final into an even greater distribution. Ultumix Linux 2008 Final Pre, it’s as solid as a rock!

Thankfully and humbly yours,

EdwinStarr

No Refunds at newegg.com even under 30 days!

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

When buying certain items on Newegg.com like laptops you are signing an agreement that says that you can not return the item for a refund ever even if it’s damaged, under 30 days, is not as described, or whatever. You can however get a replacement item. In layman’s terms if you buy something under this agreement (I think it even applies to CPUs) you are married to that item for better or worse in sickness and in health tell life does you part. The only way you can get rid of it is to throw it away or sell it.

My uncle bought an ASUS laptop that had a non functioning Ethernet port. ASUS said that newegg.com would have to refund me because they would refund newegg.com. Still haven’t heard back from them yet. The laptop is now considered over priced at $1,200 when it’s ACER counter part is only $700.00. This is America and we have certain rights. These corporations have the right to take those rights away from us by getting us to sing agreements that we really don’t want to read.

Ultumix V0.0.1.1 with added graphics and less complaints?

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

logo-500

I had to release this version 0.0.1.1 because I was violating the GPL and other licenses in the previous version because what I was stating was misunderstood. So now I have released the politically correct, graphically enhanced, genetically altered, and morally sound version (drum role) 0.0.1.1 . The video on my site is fuzzy and out of focus and if someone could do a better one I would appreciate it. I would even replace the one I have with it. I need people to help me by submitting feedback to my forums on SF.net. Don’t be afraid to flame me there I won’t ban you unless you decide to use foul language or try to make others angry.

Ultumix Linux 2008 v0.0.1.0 Final Pre Release Is Out

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

TUX Ultumix v0.0.1.0 2008 Final Pre Release

Welcome to Ultumix Linux OS. The OS designed for Windows users by previous Windows Users.

Go to www.mindblowingidea.com/Ultumix to get the latest copy via Torrent (recommended) or FTP. If you want to know more about Ultumix Linux Click the FTP link and open the .pdf in your browser or read the summery on the www.mindblowingidea.com/Ultumix web page. We also will have a video demo up on our site shortly. 🙂 Ultumix v0.0.1.0 is very stable. I haven’t had any problems with it yet. Please let me know about any issues you may have in the SF.net forum. Moderators are needed for the IRC chat. Ultumix Linux is a remaster of PCLinuxOS and the source code can all be found in the PCLinuxOS repositories and in the SF.net packman project.

When Work is Not Enjoyable, it’s Pointless!

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

I’ve seen the arguments go back and forth concerning how to deal with potentially new people learning a different OS. Now, first up, is this little tidbit. Now this particular shall we say “gentleman’s” argument is quite simple really. Let’s quote a piece from his blog post and examine it shall we?

Yeah, hello, can I get a word in, everybody? I’m Penguin Pete, and this whole [darn] blog is about building that bridge to those 80%. But guess what? I, unlike many out there, know that lying to people and telling them that hard work doesn’t exist isn’t going to make that 80% move over to our side. I do just the opposite: I tell them “Yes, it’s hard, hard work. Just like anything else worth having, it takes a lot of effort. But it won’t kill you. I’ll help you – that’s some of my work – but even if I do, you will still have to work.”

You wanna switch to Linux? Learn it. You want to be a master programmer? Study it. You want success? Work. WORKWORKWORKWORKWORKWORK Work.

Call us elitist? Go to hell.

Say we’re excluding you? Go to hell.

Want to find an easier way? Waste your time, then. Then, go to hell.

Now here’s the question here: Does this sound helpful at all to you? If you said no, then you wouldn’t be alone. Now let us take a look here:

“Call us elitist?”

So who is this “us?” If there’s a mouse in this guy’s pocket who agrees with everything he says, well then…. that would make sense. Does this person speak for everyone? I would definitely think not.

“Say we’re excluding you? Go to hell.”

Wow. Pipe down there bud. This isn’t the military. Anyone can learn this stuff, but they’ve got to be willing to do it. Perhaps by saying what you’re saying, you’re also saying, “If you don’t do it my way, then go away!” This is a point I believe that Eric S. Raymond himself pointed out as quoted by Cathy Malmrose on the blog of helios.

“If this were primarily a technical problem [between Windows & Linux] the outcome would hardly be in doubt. But it isn’t; it is a problem of ergonomic design and interface psychology, and hackers have historically been poor at these things. That is, while hackers can be very good at designing interfaces for other hackers, they tend to be poor at modeling the thought processes of the other 95 percent of the population well enough to write interfaces that J. Random End-Uer and his Aunt Tillie will pay to buy… We half joke about ‘world domination’, but the only way we will get there is by serving the world. That means J. Random End-User and his Aunt Tillie; and that means learning how to think about what we do in a fundamentally new way, and ruthlessly reducing the user-visible complexity of the default environment to an absolute minimum.” (pgs 222-3)

That is an important point that ESR has brought to many people. People are often stuck in their ways, and unless they can be convinced, they aren’t going to change one bit. That means (*gasp*) marketing to them! What does that require. Oh yes, work! The same type of work that this guy is so proud of. Then again I could be completely wrong about what he’s saying. Oh well. The whole point is that if FOSS advocates around the world wish to bring in a new audience, they need to understand their audience, which requires effort on their part. Take a look at this entry from the blog of helios. I don’t think he’s quite done with it yet, but…. he’s making an effort to ask people what they’re thoughts are on helping people understand the potential of a different OS.

Now take Justin Breithaupt. He’s been in the business of selling and servicing computers in the Pomeroy, Washington area. He specifically uses PCLinuxOS as the distribution of choice, because he found it to be the most stablee ever, hence why he is using it as his base for Ultumix. The idea behind Ultumix is simple: take the best aspects of multiple distributions, and put into one comprehensive OS, hence the name. It’s a “mixture” of sorts. Justin’s attempting to do something to address the issue of a new audience. I’ve got a few ideas of my own, but…. he’s the one who is hard at work and trying to figure out how to make custom bootsplash screens and whatnot. There’s still plenty of work to be done, and he’s stepped on some toes to be certain, but….. he’s still trying, even though the reception has been pretty… shall we say “mixed.” 😉

The whole thing is this. We need to understand where other people are coming from, and what they want in an OS. Microsoft hasn’t really listened as a corporation, but… neither have we. There are those who are doing a good job of course, but we need to start jumping into the fray and drawing in a new audience. ZaReason can’t do it by themselves. There are other OEM companies, but they can’t do it by themselves either. So…. Wait for the next blog post. I’ve got an idea. 😉

Update: Pertaining to the question of the first block-quote in this post, I don’t like mentioning Penguin Pete’s name often. As talented as he is, he is also extremely misguided and extremely possessive in my view of what he views FOSS should be. He went on to attack two other individuals who were trying to spread FOSS to a new audience, and that is something I just couldn’t understand. Yes, effort is needed in anything that has to be done, but the individual must be convinced to do it. Telling them to go to hell is not the way to do it in my opinion. We’re all human beings here. Isn’t it time we started treating each other like one? Isn’t it time we stopped treating people like they are stupid? That’s the whole issue I’m having. When people see a new system for the first time, and they’re computer “illiterate,” they feel stupid, and deep down inside, they hate it. Nobody likes to be equated with idiots, especially by themselves when they can’t figure out a computer system’s OS.