Thursday, August 31, 2006

Book meme

I've been tagged by Am Echad, so, here goes.

1. Name one book that changed your life:

J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings." It turned me into a nerd.

2. One book you've read more than once:

Douglas Adams's "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Five Parts" (although not all of it more than once); also a potential answer to #4.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:

"How to Get Off a Desert Island for Dummies." I'm not sure if it's been published yet.

4. One book that made you laugh:

Most recently, David Sedaris's Holidays on Ice.

5. One book that made you cry:

Not sure, but, I'm sure my brother must have hit me in the head with one at some point during our childhoods.

6. One book you wish you'd written:

The Torah, because then I'd be... J, E, P, D, or H?

7. One book you wish had never been written:

Charlotte Brontë's "Jane Eyre," bane of high school boys everywhere (and, he's still bitter).

8. One book you're currently reading:

Aside from lots of scientific papers, Bram Stoker's "Dracula" in real time. Thanks, eye of a cat and elettaria.

9. One book you've been meaning to read:

Richard Elliot Friedman's "Who wrote the Bible", so I can understand more of what DW does.

DW, give it a shot. (Cheap, isn't it?)

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

2006 Desktop Linux Survey: What it didn't ask

If you use GNU/Linux on a desktop computer, be sure to complete the 2006 Desktop Linux survey. It's a few short questions, mostly trying to find what distributions and large software packages are used.

Its usefulness is a bit limited, though. It does ask, for example, which web browser, email client and X window or desktop manager the respondant uses, but doesn't ask about text editors, office suites, photo viewers/editors, etc. All are applications which are necessary on the average desktop.

It also doesn't ask whether the system is single or dual-boot, and what the user's primary system is. Both those questions would give a much better idea of how desktop users are approaching GNU/Linux.

Also interesting: of the 8546 responses (at the time I answered the survey), 36.4 % said they don't run Windows applications under GNU/Linux. Does this mean that the users don't use Windows applications or that they're dual booting their systems?

It also doesn't ask whether the user thinks there are any important desktop applications that are not available on GNU/Linux (in my case, the answer would be "no").

It doesn't ask whether the user is a system administrator, programmer, or other computer professional.

And, finally, it doesn't ask whether the desktop installations are at home, at work, or both.

The survey, of course, is of little statistical value. It's respondants are self-selected. However, the self-selection could have given us an idea of what people who care enough to respond to the survey think of the state of GNU/Linux on the desktop. As written, it won't give as complete an idea as it could have, had it included just a few more questions. But, for what it does ask, it is still worth completing.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Finding meaning in false cognates

Did anyone notice that the name of one of Jill Carroll's kidnappers was "Abu Rasha?"