Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Linux Experts: Please help me get a camera working in GNU/Linux

Small USB Camera for Kids
Make: Sakar International
Model: 16380

lsusb from Ubuntu Linux shows:
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0979:0227 Jeilin Technology Corp., Ltd

Output from gphoto2 (none):
userkid@edubuntu-mach:~$ gphoto2 --auto-detect
Model Port

I've tried loading different camera models with gphoto2 but no luck.

Could I ask you for any suggestions as to how I might get this to work?

Also, is there an easy way to list out what device IDs the camera names from 'gphoto2 --list-cameras' match up to?

Thanks SO MUCH for all that you do for Linux!!


Shannon VanWagner

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

User selects which OS(Linux or Windows) to boot into on all new Dells

My latest prospect for promoting GNU/Linux as a mainstream OS:

Dell Ideastorm: User selects which OS(Linux or Windows) to boot into on all new Dells

Imagine the headline.."With Dell you get a choice in what OS you can boot into when your computer starts up!" OR "Experience the best of all worlds Windows/Linux with your dual-boot Dell!!"

Dell could be the only company (at least initially) that sells all computers with the capability to select which OS (Linux or Windows) to use after the computer boots up. The computer can be configured to dual-boot Linux or Windows at the factory.

This would give both new users and experienced users the awesome capability to choose which Operating System they want to use every time they boot up their computer!! It's very important that common people get a choice when it comes to which OS they get to use - it's the future of computing!

Technology and Innovation is so important these days and so by offering this feature I think this would help to make Dell the market leader in innovation.

Here's how it might work:
The computer boots up and gives the user a choice with a snazzy, easy to use menu to select whether to enter Windows or to enter Linux (the Linux could eventually even be a few different distros so there would be even more choice!).

The user would then select which OS they want to use for that session, select it and then boot into it. Eventually Dell could then add the functionality for the two operating systems to share(or at least have access to) a part of the filesystem so the user's files could be accessed from whichever OS the user is currently booted into.

There would also be a simple recovery DVD and/or partition that could put the machine back to its original state if the user were to mess anything up.

Think about it, this would give users ULTIMATE POWER and more importantly A CHOICE!!! DELL CAN BREAK THE MONOPOLY AND SET THE NEW STANDARD!


Can't wait to see it!!


Shannon VanWagner

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Brain Dump of Useful Stuff for Technology - From a Techie

Feast on This

Keeping up with technology is tough...

Here's a few of the websites that I keep an eye on to keep up to date:

Websites for help with GNU/Linux (biased towards Ubuntu).

Some people say GNU/Linux doesn't have any support resources. I say Baloney.

Open Source Software Sites.

Most people don't know it but there's a world of free and useful software out there. Free software is great because it doesn't restrict the user to maximize profits.

Key Concepts for Making Technology Work for YOU...

Here's a few thoughts on how I make technology work for me

  • Throw out that $400 Office Suite and Use Gmail Documents or or IBM Lotus Symphony instead - GMail Documents not only stores your work online where you can get it from any Internet connected computer, you can also work with your documents in to many different popular formats (similar to For example, you can upload/read/edit/save/export files in the formats: .doc, .xls, .ppt, .odt, .pdf, etc. (the list goes on) OR you could also download the Free or IBM Lotus Symphony software (Windows/Linux/MAC(MAC version for is NeoOffice) and read/write/export(pdf, same format, open format) all of the above mentioned formats plus do much more with your documents.
  • When it comes to getting new software, Think "Free" (as in Open Source Software that's Free, NOT as in making Pirated Copies of Software!) - If you need some new software for whatever reason(the choices are vast), look for Open Source software. For example, go here or here or here to find an Open Source program that fits your needs.There are literally thousands of titles of open source software available for your use, and all for free. If you find an application you particularly like, consider "Getting Involved" with the project, you can donate your time and/or money, usually by visiting the project home site (e.g., Unfortunately lots of Windows think it's OK to share proprietary applications (e.g., Hey I'll make you a copy of this....), this makes people instant Pirates of the Software - AVOID BEING A PIRATE by simply using Open Source software!
  • Help Yourself and Others like You, use and promote GNU/Linux and Open Source software - The more people that use, the better the software will become! GNU/Linux and Open Source need people like you to USE IT to help MAKE IT EVEN BETTER; you should share your suggestions, and problems with the authors to further refine the software. Let's face it, computer technology is entwined with humanity today - the most elemental software should be free like arithmetic or astronomy(think Isaac Newton or Galileo Galilei - software is an infrastructure of our society like sidewalks and roads - we can't let big companies gobble up the software and make it proprietary because that RESTRICTS the software and prevents US the users from receiving the full benefit of the software (checkout this article for more info). It's amazing to me to hear that some people actually pay for Antivirus software for Windows, whereas if they would use GNU/Linux instead they could be more secure.
  • Don't Attach Yourself to Any ONE Computer - When you put all your GOODIES in one basket, you're taking a BIG risk. Now is the time to get that external hard drive and backup all your data to it. You can also put copies of certain keepsake data (the kind without your SSN on it) online in various places so you will have a redundant backup copy.
  • Continuously Learn More About Computing Technology - Nothing Irks me more(except maybe GREEDY Monopolistic Companies) than people that want to use computers and don't take the time to learn something about using computers. People who drive cars, learn more about how to drive cars (well mostly), why shouldn't people who use computers be willing to learn how to use computers (the right way)?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Let's Bust Through the Last Barriers to Using Linux at Work!!

I've been trying relentlessly for months to completely switch over my company issued computer to GNU/Linux to use as my work machine. Arggh! It's been very frustrating! Everytime I start to figure out a non-Windows path I end up being restricted by applications not playing friendly with Windows.

So what's the problem?
Well there's two major ones actually - Exchange Email System and VPN access

Exchange Email System
For GNU/Linux to be a realistic solution on the work Desktop, it will have to be capable of connecting to the Exchange Server with a Personal Information Manager (PIM) - like Outlook. And don't say that I can just use OWA either OWA SUCKS!! Linux Devs have already started working down this path, I am able to access my email with Evolution (and likely other IMAPI capable PIMs). But we Linux users need a FULL push towards being able to use our machines to connect with the Exchange so we can then be more suited to choose Linux in the workplace.

Where is the Killer app for GNU/Linux that will make it possible for me to use Exchange for Email, Public Folders, Appointments, Notes, and Tasks? If it doesn't exist, please create one!! I say why hasn't this been a priority? Is it because people don't want to waste development time creating an application to fully work with Exchange server? Is there some Licensing restriction for connecting with Exchange server? What's the real story?

(update 01/22/08) - I'm using Mozilla Thunderbird with IMAP, and it works well (ldaps for GAL autocomplete) except I'm still lacking the calendaring component. Setting up IMAP access is pretty straightforward and apparently Ryan Hadley knows a way to setup iCal Calendar access, see his blog entry here.

VPN Access
Checkpoint, Cisco, Firebox, and others - don't tout having VPN clients available for use with GNU/Linux. This needs to change!!

(update 01/22/08) - I'm able to achieve this via loading Windows XP on VMWare server in my Ubuntu 7.10 installation. From the VM I can connect VPN and access the company network.

Run outside yelling at the top of your lungs, start a bonfire, break some glass!!

Let's get this moving and break the barriers for switching to GNU/Linux at the workplace!!

Shannon VanWagner