Games would be just what Linux needed

Valve is intending to develop for Linux, as an insurance policy against Windows 8. I think that will lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. If more games are available for Linux, demand for Linux will increase, along with market share.

There’s historical precedence for this. Read more

Reflections on 10+ years of blogging

Om Malik shared yesterday what he’s learned in 10 years of blogging.

1. Blogging is communal.
2. Be authentic.
3. When wrong, admit it and listen to those who were right.
4. Be regular.
5. Treat others as you expect yourself to be treated.
6. Respect your readers’ time.
7. Wait 15 minutes before publishing.
8. Write everything as if your mom is reading.
9. It’s not opinion–it’s viewing the world a certain way and sharing that view.
10. A little snark goes a long way.
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Chasing the ramdisk and slipstreaming rabbits

I’ve been messing around with slipstreaming and with ramdisks, but since I’m not completely certain the slipstream process works consistently, I’m not publishing it today. I’m very excited about the possibilities that ramdisks have, but I got the ramdisk to fail on me twice last night. In light of that, I’m not going to come out and say what a great thing this particular ramdisk product is when I have doubts about its ability to stand up to heavy use.

In my Amiga days, I did most of my everyday computing using a ramdisk as my main storage medium. The operating system used it heavily, and all my downloads went there. I did all my creation and extraction of Zip files there. I even had the machine configured to reboot off one. The initial cold boot had to come off a hard drive, but the machine was capable of warm booting from its ramdisk. I took advantage of that, and when I had to reboot, the machine was back in literally seconds. Booting Windows 7 from a ramdisk is a non-starter on several levels, but if a ramdisk can’t do everything else an SSD can do and do it faster, I don’t think it’s worth having.

So I have high standards and high expectations.

When I find something that works well, I’ll share it.

How to tame e-books

I haven’t exactly been rushing out to buy an e-reader, for at least a couple of reasons. The practical reason is that I’m afraid of being locked in to a single vendor. Amazon is the market leader and the most likely to still be around for the long term, but they’re the worst about locking you in. The other vendors offer slightly better interoperability–supporting the same file format and, optionally, the same DRM–but the non-Amazon market leaders are Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Sony, all of which are scary. Borders is being liquidated; B&N isn’t losing money–yet–but its profit margins have shrunk each of the last two years; and Sony’s recent problems are well known to the security community. I’m not too anxious to climb into bed with any of them. Google is entering the market as well, but the first Google-backed e-reader doesn’t support highlighting or note-taking.

The Luddite reason is that I’m old enough to have an attachment to books. Physical books, printed on paper. Maybe this isn’t true for any generation beyond mine (I’m a GenXer), but for my generation and previous generations, having books on your shelf is a sign of being educated. And there are certain books–or types of books, depending on your field–that you’re expected to have on your shelf.

To a certain extent, the latter reason can be negated by playing the e-reader card. Of course I have the complete works of Shakespeare on my e-reader, so those Shakespeare books from college just became clutter…
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How to use WordPress’ drafts feature to your advantage

In 1994, I was a rookie columnist for my college newspaper. My predecessor, Judd Slivka, had stepped aside to become sports editor. Judd asked me one day how my new gig was going, and I observed that ideas were coming to me faster than I could write them. “Write them down,” he urged me. “You’ll need them later.” And he was right. It took about a month for me to learn that  ideas come in waves and droughts, and survival as a weekly columnist depends on stretching those waves far enough to cover the droughts.

And bloggers face exactly the same challenge. Otherwise, they run out of ideas and become people who post something only occasionally, and, eventually, not at all.

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Buy online, manufacture at home

The way we buy things (or don’t buy them) has changed a lot in the last decade or so. We stopped buying CDs. Now that our Internet connections are fast enough, we’ve really slowed down on buying movies, too. And the emergence of practical e-readers means a lot fewer people are buying books now too. All of this is part of the reason why there’s probably a Borders closing near you, and there are suddenly a lot less of what we used to call record stores too.

But there’s something even bigger looming overhead. 3D printing. Ars Technica has a piece about its legal implications.  Rather than rehash that, I’d rather talk about some of its other implications, including why you should care at all.

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How to find out what add-ons are slowing down Firefox

Here’s a site worth bookmarking. Add-ons are the big thing Firefox offers that the other browsers don’t, but it sometimes comes at the price of performance. And I guess Mozilla is tired of that, so now they’re testing add-on speed and publishing the results at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/performance/ .
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