Google: Stuck on You

I require proprietary software to get through my day, but I like not being too dependent on it. With respect to that rule for myself and Google, I’ve failed.

I probably use the Internet mainly for search and email, and I need Google for both. Maps? All the time.

And there’s a doc I’d like to read now. The most important information to me is in the comments, but I can’t see the comments because this doc is “too popular”.

Google drive notice: file too popular


See also: You Can’t Quit, I Dare You

Fostering a Volunteer Community

Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia) knows a thing or two about fostering a geeky volunteer community. A desire to do well at my current post of “Mr. Open Source” on the Mifos project has led me to try and learn some lessons from people like Jimmy. Here are two crucial points gleaned from an interview with him on FLOSS Weekly:

  • small group dialogs are best, too many people on one problem ends in voting/groupthink
  • build a system that supports bees and and handles wasps (my verbage)

Eben Moglen on Technology and Freedom

I’ve been enjoying strolling through the FLOSS Weekly archives; a collection of one-on-one interviews with key players in FLOSS. Here’s a quote that really speaks to why FLOSS is something to pay attention to:

“Free as in Freedom” is a really important concept. That is, technology really as to be free in some important ways if people are to have political freedom.

– Eben Moglen, speaking on the GPL version 3 during FLOSS Weekly interview.

Brevard BioDiesel Blog

This is a plug for the Brevard BioDiesel Blog.

I was thinking about updating my broken Google Maps biodiesel stations mashup, but balked since someone over at Brevard created a much more complete map! It includes stations all over the United States using data from

A cursory perusal of their blog yielded interesting posts on Honda plans for selling new diesels (instead of hybrids) and problems/FUD regarding palm oil.

Man Bites Dog

A coworker asked me for some help with a vexing computer problem. “Would you try this digital camera on your computer?” she asked in desperation. It looked like a cheap digital camera–a Nikon CoolPix or something–one that would probably require a special driver, black magic, and lots of cursing. “Sure”, I was game. I plugged it into a Windows XP laptop expecting the familiar “new USB device detected” wizard, but it didn’t pop up. Nothing did. Meh!?

Out of pure sport, I decided to try the camera on a Fedora Core 6 laptop. I noticed the hard drive activity light flickering, then in a second or two a window popped up to let me know that a camera had been plugged in and would I like to download some photos?

Well yes, in fact, I would!

What, no recompiling the kernel? No surfing message board flamewars for secret modprobe arguments? No trolling mailing lists until I find the right Hungarian genius kid that can lead me to camera nirvana? What is the world coming to?

That, and utterly useless but completely irresistible desktop effects!

The Rich Get Richer

Old news, but still interesting and new to me. Companies get huge tax breaks by giving options to employees. So huge, in some cases, they pay no income tax.Quoted:

When an employee exercises an option to buy stock, the difference between the strike price (what the employee pays) and the market price (which is almost always higher) becomes taxable income for the employee and a tax deduction for the employer.

Why should the company get to write off the difference? Presumably because they shared the profit with the employee.