Veteran technology journalist Dan Gillmor's been using GNU/Linux since 2012, switching away from all the "control freak" services, tools and software that he'd grown used to over decades of computing.
Gillmor describes some of the switching pains and persistent thorns, but also the delight and simplicity he has encountered with Ubuntu, the flavor of Linux he (and I) use. His experience closely matches mine: I've got a few problems, different but no worse (or better) than those I had in years of using proprietary software. The major difference between my years as a Mac and Windows user and my decade (!) now of being a Linux user is freedom, not hassle.
A few months ago, when Apple introduced its iPad Pro, a large tablet with a keyboard, CEO Tim Cook called it the “clearest expression of our vision of the future of personal computing.” That was an uh-oh moment for me. Among other things, in the iOS ecosystem users are obliged to get all their software from Apple’s store, and developers are obliged to sell it in the company store. This may be Apple’s definition of personal computing, but it’s not mine.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Windows 10 — by almost all accounts a huge usability improvement over Windows 8 — looks more and more like spyware masquerading as an operating system (a characterization that may be unfair, but not by much). Yes, the upgrade from widely installed earlier versions is “free” (as in beer), but it takes some amazing liberties with users’ data and control, according to people who’ve analyzed its inner workings.
I Moved to Linux and It’s Even Better Than I Expected [Dan Gillmor/Backchannel]
Daren Schwenke's 3D printed blooming rose embeds a capacitive touch sensor -- a magnetic wire -- in one of the leaves, which trips an Arduino-controlled actuator that changes the rose's lighting and causes the petals -- 3D printed and then shaped over a hot chandelier bulb -- to splay open or fold closed.
In 2009, the bipartisan HITECH Act pledged $36 billion to subsidize the adoption of Electronic Health Records throughout America's fragmented, profit-driven health system, promising that the system would modernize American health care, save $80 billion (and countless lives), and deliver a host of other benefits; a decade later, the EHR industry has blossomed from $2B […]
Alias is an open source hardware/free-open firmware "parasite" that fits over your smart speaker's sensors and fills them with white noise; the Alias has its own (non-networked, user-controlled) mic and speaker and when you speak a magic phrase, the Alias temporarily stops the white noise and transmits your commands to the speaker; Alias also lets […]
If you’re into tech at all, you should definitely consider unleashing your inner tinkerer on a Raspberry Pi board. If you’re intimidated, don’t be. It’s a statistical probability that people half your age have created cooler things than you can imagine with the versatile kit. Not sure where to start? The Complete Raspberry Pi 3B+ […]
Are you super organized? You’re going to love the Genius Pack G4 and its seemingly limitless, well-placed compartments. Not that organized? You’re still going to love this piece of luggage because it’s so well thought out that it practically does the packing for you. We’ve all tried to stuff a piece of carry-on so full […]
Despite government legislation and improving caller ID technology, robocalls and scam artists are rampant on the phone lines – up to 35 billion a year in the US alone. They can be annoying at best and a financial threat at worst, but there’s a way to take security into your own hands. One good example […]