Perspective is as Perspective Does

Perspective. It’s what separates one opinion from another. A person who looks at a glass that is half empty may be despondent but a person who looks at a glass half full may be full of joy. I like to think “Hey! Who the hell put that glass on this table anyway?”. We all have different ideas that shape who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Often, these ideas blend into our interests and hobbies. With free and open source software (namely Linux) we see this frequently…especially when debating on the subject of libre and free.

Often, it’s attitudes, egos, and intelligence that make this gap between users’ perspective even wider. What’s interesting about all of this philosophy and debate is that it is more prolific now than it was 10 years ago. Why? Well, more users of course! Linux and open source are enjoying a very large following currently. Add more users to the fray and you’re bound to get more perspective…for the good things and the bad.

Working with users at work who don’t even know how to place clipart in their MS Word docs (I sub in for helpdesk since we’re a smaller state agency) got me thinking the other day. Where does the new user fit in with this philosophy and debate? How are we to get their perspective across to programmers, developers, application hackers, and designers? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Linux has arrived at a point unprecedented in history…when a Linux desktop is usable and productive. As Uncle Ben said in Spiderman 2, “with great power comes great responsibility”. I feel the community is being irresponsible on this…and yes, it is all about perspective. So please read on…let’s see if we can change your perspective a bit and close the gap between new users and advanced users.

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LinuxWorld Powered by Windows Part II

Some of you may remember a previous blog entry I penned that looked at Linuxworldexpo.com. In that entry, I discussed the fact that the website linuxworldexpo.com for the LinuxWorld Expo 2006, one of the largest Linux trade shows in the world, is powered by Windows Server.

Some comments on this article when it hit the newswires at Lxer were that it was spotted previously by a site member. I revisit some articles from time to time just to clean up appearance and layout (since I’ve migrated site themes, been doing this quite a bit) and I noticed that Linuxworldexpo.com isn’t the only website that is powered by Windows. LinuxWorld leaves many of its sites to be powered by Bill and the gang:

  1. Linuxworldexpo.co.uk (previously reported by theregister)
  2. Linuxworldexpo.com (netcraft report)
  3. linuxworldexpo.com.au (netcraft report)
  4. linuxworld.idg.se (netcraft report)
  5. linuxworldchina.com (netcraft report)
  6. linuxworld.dk (netcraft report)
  7. Linuxworldsummit.com (netcraft report)

Some of these sites above aren’t live… but most of them are from the same netblock, Level 3 Communitcations, Inc. Some side info to note: Level 3 is having SEC problems currently and the Yahoo Finance Boards are a hoppin with various messages with some predicting a huge fall and others comparing it to Worldcom. Now back to our subject. We’ve identified the netblock, but let’s get a bit deeper and find out other information.

A quick “jwhois linuxworldexpo.com” yields the following information:

Registrant:
International Data Group, Inc. (DOM-373431)
5 Speen Street Framingham MA 01701 US
Domain Name: linuxworldexpo.com Registrar Name: Markmonitor.com
Registrar Whois: whois.markmonitor.com
Registrar Homepage: http://www.markmonitor.com

Administrative Contact:
International Data Group, Inc. (NIC-14208833) International Data Group, Inc.
5 Speen Street Framingham MA 01701 US
legal@idg.com +1.5089354686 Fax- +1.5084244807
Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
Donna Moschella (NIC-14208849) IDG World Expo Corp.
3 Speen Street Framingham MA 01701 US
donna_moschella@idg.com +1.5084244801 Fax- –

Created on…………..: 1998-Sep-30.
Expires on…………..: 2007-Sep-29.
Record last updated on..: 2006-May-17 11:10:55.

Domain servers in listed order:

DNS1.EMARKMONITOR.COM
DNS2.EMARKMONITOR.COM

MarkMonitor.com – The Leader in Corporate Domain Management

A quick lookup on markmonitor.com and we see that it’s not really a host per se…but a domain management service provider. I did a quick search for Linux on their site which yields no results. This quick search doesn’t really tell us if LinuxWorld has a choice in the matter of hosting…it seems they’re given a platform on which to run via MarkMonitor.com through the Level 3 netblock. Taking a look at NetworkWorld, their parent company, we find a Linux Host? That’s a bit odd. Their old parent company IDG.com was always running on Windows but it seems they should have a choice for themselves (Linux and Windows hosting platforms) since their parent company is powered by Linux right? Are they letting their services purchased expire? Are we set to see mad changes for Linuxworld domains? Who knows. We can only comment on the current.

So one would hope that LinuxWorld would have the ability to ‘choose’ what platform to run on. It seems that this may not be the case. As stated, some of these sites don’t resolve aka they have no public face and resolve to nothing. If you’re an avid Linux enthusiast and think that any Linux News site should ‘walk the walk’ when they ‘talk the talk’ then LinuxWorld might be one of the places you avoid…at least until they can show that they deserve to wear the Linux name by hosting on Linux. Afterall, what would Microsoft.com hosted on Linux be? A laughing stock one could bet.

I do recall a time when LinuxWorld was one of the only magazines and sources for enterprise Linux news. It seems they’ve gone downhill quite a bit…according to alexa.com, their traffic has dropped through the floor during the past year. Not only that, but since the relaunch around the first part of June 2006 in which they were put under new ownership from Network World, they’ve had little activity on their website. For example, look at their <sarcasm>wildly active forums</sarcasm>…spammers don’t even try hard to post there…and why would they? Is anyone reading it?

Interestingly enough, macworldexpo.com is also running on Windows, which is silly to me as well. Oh well, life is full of conundrums right? Perhaps LinuxWorld being powered by Windows is meant to be? Who am I kidding! Roast those turncoats! lol.

Devnet

Statistics and Trends of an Old Friend

Statistics are something I love. AWStats is my friend. We go out on Fridays and I buy it shots of Jack at the local tavern. Seriously though, statistics are something I generally love to look up and ponder…mainly because with statistics, time is a huge factor and in business time is money. So, if one can learn from past statistics to save oneself time and effort, business can benefit…which explains my interest.

I recently moved and during the move found a couple of old hard drives. Dusting off and installing one brought back some memories…it contained an install of SimplyMEPIS 2003.10, which was my second install of that particular OS. This got me thinking…I wondered what benefits MEPIS garnered from my old, defunct enthusiast site mepislinux.org? At the time and shortly thereafter, no benefits were clearly visible. In fact, with my somewhat loud depart from the MEPIS community, there were many claims that both my site and I did nothing for the distro.

With Google Trends, statistics are at my fingertips. Using this site, I’m able to look back in time and see if my old 12 page review did any good at all to help MEPIS along…I was very surprised to see that I was part of the highest surge MEPIS has made to date according to Google Trends.

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The Dirt on Suspicious Digging at Digg.com…

It seems that being one of the top 500 visited websites in the world has gone to Digg.com’s head. Users are reporting that some articles that are submitted are being dugg by the same users in the same exact order to up their digg rating to get them on the front page.

When these users posted articles about this phenomenon, those articles are either deleted, the users are banned (Submitted & Banned Pics), or the story is buried (despite having 164 diggs at the time of this writing…not on the front page). There is even reports of users submitting an article who haven’t submitted before only to have another user who is ‘popular’ get the story posted despite posting it later. Digg.com is supposed to have a duplicate url system in place preventing this…

Now digg.com can do whatever they want with their website. In fact, they can bully all the other websites they want to. However, they can’t build their community on a Democratic, Users-vote-for-the-story-and-our-editors-don’t model and then just drop it. They need to follow their own TOS (terms of service) to maintain their credibility or recant that part of the TOS and release an updated TOS. As of this writing, Digg insists that its content is driven by the users. With the information collected in this article, it seems that something is rank in the state of Diggmark. You decide.

For your perusal, I’ve collected all the links I can find with information on this issue. Please comment if you’ve found alternative links and I will update these as the comments come in. Please note that I belive Forevergeek.com was the first to post on this…they are listed at #1. Also please note many of the comments in these articles…users are pretty livid about this…and there is no response from digg.com yet.

  1. Digg Corrupted: Editor’s Playground, not User-Driven Website
  2. The Story that Got Deleted – The digg story that went pewf!
  3. Kevin Rose abusing Digg – links to google group tracking this story
  4. Suspicious Digging
  5. Google Blogoscoped – more on the google group
  6. Digg Corrupted – a digg.com user attempts to hold digg accountable
  7. Digg Abused? – Newsvine article on this
  8. Digg Army – Binary Bonsai
  9. Digg, not democracy after all – Yugatech Blog Post
  10. The J Spot
  11. Corruption. The House of the Digg Elite
  12. The Trouble with DIGG
  13. Growing Censorship Concerns at Digg – Just got slashdotted!
  14. Digg Army: Right in Line – More from Forevergeek
  15. 146 diggs, 57 comments, 6 hours and no frontpage at digg
  16. Non Response from Digg.com – Forevergeek
  17. Digg.com Explanation? – Kevin Responds? Sort of…
  18. BoingBoing’s Take On This
  19. The Guardian Picks Up the Story…
  20. The Inquirer Hops On
  21. Sitepoint Diggs in their Claws
  22. Boyhazard.net Blog
  23. Splasho’s Blog…Update on Digg
  24. Three Reasons Why Digg is a Crock! – Zdnet Blogs
  25. MonkeyBites Blog
  26. BlogCritics – A Must Read
  27. Thomas Hawkes Digital Connection – He has the most dugg story of all time…
  28. Odeo Podcast on the Subject
  29. ForeverGeek Comments Further
  30. Zippity Doo Dah – A Statistical Analysis of Digging Corruption? You Decide…
  31. CEO of Weblogs.inc – The Digg Backlash
  32. More from Techno Pinoy
  33. DuncanRiley.com chimes in
  34. Is Digg Rigging its Diggs? – a Tech Writer from Toronto adds two cents
  35. Businesspundit
  36. Kellegous.com Speaks of Digg
  37. ProBlogger – Digg Deception
  38. Newsome Blog
  39. RealTechNews
  40. Silicon Valley Sleuth – Social Websites have a Social Responsibility
  41. Basement.org
  42. Search Engine Guide – is digg working with their own shovel?
  43. Publishing 2.0
  44. SuperGeekBlog – The Social Corruption of Digg
  45. Student-Rant Blog – Interesting Statistics on Editor Posting
  46. Virtual Thought
  47. CNET Podcast on the subject
  48. FG-DIGG Issue on TWiT @ Forever Geek

The Digital Divide in D Major

What constitutes private property? Is it a piece of land that no one has access to? Do you post a sign up that keeps people at bay? Or is it intangible as well…perhaps private intellectual property; some algorithm written on one line in a multi-million code line piece of software. Many have ideas on what constitutes a privacy and private property. For instance, social security numbers or credit card numbers are always considered private…they’re not given out to people or organizations without the consent of the holder of said numbers/cards. However, don’t be so sure that your information is safe.

As companies increase their business with technology, their information collection engine revs up and begins to go into overdrive. What sites do our visitors go to? What product would they be more likely to buy? What have been their last 10 purchases and would they like to see a product similar to it? This information collected is only on the outskirts of the real information such as SSN or Credit Card numbers but just the same it is information about you and about your habits.

Imagine this alternative look at information collection for a second. You get up one morning and open up your blinds…it’s a beautiful day. You slap on some clothes and begin to get ready for whatever it is you might do that day. You lay out a backpack and begin to get your things together…perhaps an ipod goes in with some ear buds…a pair of comfortable shoes in case you decide to go walking…a water bottle in case you get thirsty. Whatever you might need for a day out at a shopping mall or just plain out. Now picture a guy standing at your window where you drew your blinds snapping pictures of what you’re putting into your bag and writing down notes.

That would freak me out right away…but that is exactly what is happening to us online. We’re being studied and recorded every digital step we take. To me, this is definitely wrong…but to others, it is just normal. Odd how things can become normal after only a few years. Just the same, would you want someone standing over your every move in a certain area…recording everything you looked at, everything you touched or walked by…everything you might have expressed interest in? Probably not. This is the outskirts of the third digital divide.

The first digital divide was purely social-economic. It happened when countries that could afford the new fangled technology of the internet were spurring their economies with online purchases and online business. Countries that couldn’t afford to jump the bandwagon ended up eating its dust. This new digital divide though is political. This could be the third digital divideit could be the fifth…it just depends on who you talk to.

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mv elitism /dev/null

In the beginning of things, open source was about open everything. I remember joining an irc channel # on efnet back in 1993 and chatting with people who could make things happen with computers…really make things happen. Coders, managers, hackers…they were all there and a tight nit core of about 6 of us stayed in touch for about 7 years until we went our separate ways and began to use irc less and less. The thing that I remember the most is the fact that when I joined their little group, I was a complete and total n00b. Not just a n00b to Open Source…but to computers altogether. I had a Texas Instruments computer back in 1985 but only messed with that for about a year. Mice were new to me…I didn’t know ANYTHING at all. In the short time that I began chatting on irc, I was shown how to do things. When I didn’t know how to do something, I could count on one of the guys or girls in the channel helping me to solve my problem within a matter of minutes. These people stepped down off of their level of operation long enough to educate me in the ways of the open source.

I look fondly back at this time and have spoken about it before…not because I don’t think something like this exists now…just that I think it is a rarity. There was a time when this “spirit of open source” was all about educating and furthering the program/app that you were working on. Now it seems that when a new user comes in to any channel on irc or forum, they are told off with a hearty RTFM (Read the ‘Friendly’ Manual).

Where did this Elitism come from? Where and when did Linux and open source become about the mentality “you must be this knowledgeable to ride?” It pains me to see people do this to new users…distancing themselves from potential advocates of open source…zealous ones at that. It’s a real testament to some of these new users STILL wanting to plug open source and Linux, despite being squashed by elitists in forums.

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