31 January 2013

don’t see that everyday

it was down about 10 minutes. good thing i didn’t need to buy anything!

amazon is down

28 January 2013

DCMA needs to die

we can thank bill clinton for signing this stupid law into effect. and now the stupidity has taken new levels. the library of congress has declared that unlocking mobile phones to be illegal under the DCMA.

mike stoltz from the EFF (electronic frontier foundation) sums it up in this quote to engadget:

“This shows just how absurd the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is: a law that was supposed to stop the breaking of digital locks on copyrighted materials has led to the Librarian of Congress trying to regulate the used cellphone market.”

for most people who are don’t care about using their phone other than given to them by the carriers, this will pass them by quietly. for the rest of us who would rather actually own the devices for which we paid money, it’s huge red flag.

what i would hope for is that this is the beginning of decoupling phones from carriers. as in the rest of the world, i can walk into an electronics store and buy a phone, any phone. then i can walk across the street to a carrier, any carrier, and get an account and a sim card, plug that sim card into my new phone, and it all just works.

i see two beneficial aspects to the customer:

  1. it causes phone manufacturers to make phone with features that are competitive with other phone despite carrier contracts. that means more phone sales for the companies since carrier contracts don’t include limited phone selections at the beginning. competition between mobile device companies increases for better phone offered on any network, opening the pool for sales.

  2. it causes the carriers to improve their networks rather than bank on the phones to bring in their customers. that means they have to focus on their networks and services rather than looking to lock people into their contracts based on a phone selection. competition is encouraged, including lower rates for us.

now, maybe i’ve not looked at this completely or correctly, so i welcome feedback to correct any misconceptions. but if this policy works for the rest of the world, i could work for us. and i would say it should be the case for our mobile device market.

related articles:
CNET: Unauthorized unlocking of smartphones becomes illegal Saturday
Ars Tecnica: Unlocking new cell phones to become illegal on Saturday
Engadget: Unlocking new phones now banned under DMCA, the EFF weighs in

26 January 2013

winter weather (finally)

we have finally started getting some of the winter weather we all love…well, that i love. most of the people who live in knoxtropolis want tropical beach weather year round. i have still not figured out why they don’t enjoy seasons.

i took some pictures. check them out.

24 January 2013

fedora 18 update: fedup (the better way)

“shiny!” — all the cast members of “firefly” at some point

yesterday, i posted my review of how horrible the new fedora 18 installer was. i do have some good news to fedora 18 upgrades. the new fedora updater called fedup.

i had another computer running fedora 17 that i was going to need to update to fedora 18 as well. given my fresh burning of my laptop’s update, i was loathing the thought of going through all that again. but i caught glimpse of fedup on the fedora website and remembered hearing good things about that.

so, while punching away on my laptop, i started the fedup process on my desktop computer. it ran with update, it rebooted. grub had included the fedup option in the boot menu as the default to complete the process. it finished the pieces necessary post-restart and cleaned itself up nicely.

wow! that was super easy! and it’s also my recommended method for updating to fedora 18. there is a catch, though: you must be running fedora 17 or higher for it to work. this means if you are running fedora 16 or lower, you’ll need to either upgrade to fedora 17 first and then run fedup or just leap to fedora 18. (see yesterday’s post and accept my sympathies in advance.)

why couldn’t have anaconda have been as stress-free as fedup?

23 January 2013

fedora 18 update: beginning to damage my calm

“you’re beginning to damage my calm.” — jayne cobb

since i’m an experienced fedora updater, i gave no second thought to downloading install media for the task. no live update spin since i wanted to get as much installed as i could in one sitting. booting from the dvd took me into the new anaconda, the redesigned installer. it looked sharp! it was clean and looked less like it had from the last couple of decades. but looks really aren’t everything as i would come to discover.

my situation: i have a hard drive with a single install of fedora and a couple of partitions of data i want to carry over untouched to the next install (/home and /usr/local). these two partitions are also segmented in a logical volume mount (LVM).

in the past, i would have performed a manual partition configuration and kept the whole partition layout reformatting all but the aforementioned two. that was my plan this time.

time to install. i got through the first part of the install screens without any problems. but when i tried to deal with the partitioning, i got stuck.

the wording of the partitioning piece was something i had to pay close attention to. i couldn’t just assume that it was all going to be click here to reformat, click there to preserve. i ended up reading the help section after several failed attempts finding in the end it wouldn’t let me keep my existing partitions. i tried this several times, a few of them after rebooting to start the process from scratch. i finally was able to get all the partitions under the fedora 18 install header, but it still told me there were errors.

fedora 18 partitioning
fedora 18 partitioning

i wanted to reformat root (/), boot (/boot), and swap. but i wasn’t really deleting these partitions, which is what i believe the installed wanted in order for the necessary space to be available for the install. in fact, i didn’t come to that realization until at the end i made the decision to wipe my entire hard drive and start from scratch.

no matter what configuration i ended up on the partitioning screen, i would always end up with the same error message not allowing any progress forward. (on a few occasions, my configuration combinations ended up locking or crashing the installer forcing me to restart from a reboot.)

fedora 18 installer errors
fedora 18 installer errors

here is what i have come to understand at the end: this installer will work if

  1. you intend to do a clean wipe of your hard drive and install fresh, or

  2. you have multiboot partitions of linux and can swap out an entire segment with the new stuff.

the latter choice is actually a variation of the former in reality. give that logic, there is no way to preserve your existing partitions. if there is a way, it’s not clear, it’s not in the help documentation, and it’s not online (at the time of my adventure).

in the end, i backed up my /home and /usr/local partitions to an external hard drive, did a complete wipe of the hard drive, set it up the same as my  previous install, and restored from backup the data in my favorite two locations. this took way longer than it should have for a “streamlined” install process, which is how it’s presented. i don’t believe enough testing was done on non-virtual environments with layouts like mine and by people who had no behind-the-scenes knowledge of how the installer worked. i do believe they will improve on this going forward given that this has been the focus point of many negative reviews.

many people complained about redesigned interface. i can handle something like that as long as the look is not off the deep end or made to look like any fruity technology. it’s the functionality that pushed me to the edge of calm.