Knowledge Amplification

“…What he learns, we all learn;

What he knows, we all benefit from…”

This video commercial from IBM is the best explanation I have ever heard of what Linux and Free Software really are:

“..the future is open.”

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phpwebhosting.com

phpwebhosting
phpwebhosting.com

This site is hosted on the server of a very reliable hosting company: phpwebhosting.com I have used their service since long time ago for different projects, and I can tell that is very professional and inexpensive at the same time.

They have very fast connections on very reliable linux servers, with apache, PHP, MySql, phpMyAdmin, ImageMagick, etc you can have full control of your account via a ssh shell.

They have improved their service and now offer even several domains in the same account, I know they also have now virtual private servers although I haven’t tried them yet.

One thing I can tell this hosting company is the one I can really recommend.

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Ubuntu GNU/Linux: my Operating System of choice

The combination of the linux kernel and the GNU project tools, plus many other things produce a great operating system, which is commonly refer to as LINUX.

There is no single corporation governing Linux,  all this is based on Free Software (Free as in Freedom), there are many projects with thousand of volunteers and companies involved in the development of the Free Software, there are also many corporates developing software for linux some of the free and open source, other proprietary components.

Using linux is like playing lego, the whole is clearly an assemble of many different pieces. You can switch the pieces, interchange positions, colors, get a different shape, and make a different article based on the same pieces. That’s why there are several Distributions (Operating Systems) based on GNU and Linux.

The first time I try Linux, it was back in late 90’s with Caldera Open Linux, I tried that distributiun because it was recommended for begginers. I remember using  the KDE  1.1.2 desktop and facing an old problem: Win modems, software based modems based on proprietary drivers and not functional in Linux. I remember this everything when I found hardware that is not compatible with Linux like our office printer DELL MFP 1125 printer.

This win modem issue keep me away from using Linux seriously for a couple of years.

A big quantity of the Windows licences in Mexico were (and I guess still are) installed on many PC’s. It was in 2002 when the mexican agency IMPI (Mexican Institute for the Intellectual Property) visited our company looking for the validity of the Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec and some other brands licences. The deal was simple, they made an inventory of the installed software, then after a couple of days you have to provide the proof of purchase of the licenses.  The general idea was more simple: you don’t have it, go buy it, we wait for you.

My GNOME Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop
My GNOME Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop

It was at that moment when I decided that I was not going to give any money to any of those companies, for using bad software that keep me annoyed, it was clear for me: I’m fully switching to LINUX.

It was then when I switched to Mandrake Linux 9.0, at that time a very easy to use distribution know known as Mandriva. And I keep on using it until I got a Laptop. Then I face a new problem suspending and hibernation was an issue with Mandrake Linux and my new DELL laptop.

I did some research and found a distribution that solved my problem: UBUNTU 5.10 since then I’ve been using it.

At first I did not liked the GNOME desktop, which is the default in Ubuntu, then I switched to my preferred desktop KDE, via the Kubuntu derivative. After around a year using it but not happy with the KDE implementation into Ubuntu I realized what many people were, and still say: KDE is a second class citizen in Ubuntu, and in order get the best from the distro, I dumped kubuntu and switched to plain ubuntu.

Since then I have always keept an eye on KDE, and in order to get it back I tried other distros like Open SuSE, Gentoo and Archlinux, but the very good integration of Ubuntu and the fabulous APT packaging system and conflict resolution keep me on Ubuntu GNOME.

GNOME has improved a lot, and I’m very happy with it now… But i still keep an eye on KDE  4.

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So, what is the jailbreak? is that Safe? Legal?

Jailbreak is the process by which a device is modified to allow unsigned code to be run.

In a more technical view, is a process where the firmware is patched to allow access to the device filesystem, then some applications are automatically installed (like Cydia or Icy), and that allow you to install new applications via an apt system ported to the iPhone.

The iPhone is running a modified version of the OS X which is already based on a BSD Operating System, therefore porting applications developed initially for Linux or BSD becomes easier.

On a jailbroken phone applications like a terminal, an SSH server, and even Java can be installed.

Also since there are no Apple restrictions developers can make better applications that can do things that otherwise it would not be possible.

So, Is it Safe?

I would say it’s completly safe, because you are modifying the software, not the hardware, of course that Apple will say it voids your warranty.

Since is software what we are talking about, you can always use iTunes to restore your factory settings.

And, is it legal?

I’m sure it is. Let’s compare it with a car:

If you bought a car, can you modify it’s engine to perform better? can you put a better sound system? can you paint it of a diffrent color?…. well it’s pretty much the same, of course if you modify your car you will for sure lose your warranty, well that’s the same for the iPhone.

And remember that anyway the only person responsible for your device, it’s yourself.

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Jailbreak: Why?

themed iphone
customized jailbroken iphone

So what about that Jailbrake thing, why would we need it for?

One of the main disadvantages of the iPhone are the very restricted rules that Apple has applied onto it for monetary (they will say safety) porpuses:

-You can activate and synchronize your device with your computer only via iTunes.

-You can install software only via the apple store, whether directly from the iPhone or from iTunes.

-You can’t theme your iPhone.

-You can not access your device by any other means.

-etc…

There are also several restrictions applied to the app developers in order to get their programs approved to be inside the Apple Store, The rejection of Google Voice is the more sounded one, but there are also many limitation that won’t allow several programs to be ported to (or developed for) the iphone, issues like:

-Programs can’t run in the background.

-Programs can’t run when the phone is “sleeping”.

-Certain type of programs, like VoIP software, can’t run over 3G.

-etc…

There are even restrictions related what Carrier you can use: iPhones came locked to a specificy carrier and you can not change your mobile company.

But the iphone is not only a phone, is a computer more powerfull that the first i386 I had back in the 80’s, it can do much more. But it feels like it’s in Jail!

There is where the clever guys from the iphone dev-team came with a solution: Jailbrake

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Volkswagen Bora (Jetta) TDI DSG

Bora
Bora

I got a Volkswagen Bora TDI DSG… very good car. The TDI is the trademark for the new Volkswagen Diesel engines. I remember that around 20 years ago the Diesel cars came to Mexico, there were Caribe and Atlantic (Golf and Jetta) but they never make it into the mexican culture, they were slow… well if you have that in mind from a Diesel Vehicle, that has completely changed!

New TDI (Turbocharged Direct Injection) vehicles are turbo aspirated diesel cars that have a very strong engine, they have a very good acceleration. Also these new diesel vehicles are friends of the environment,  they have even been recognized in Europe and USA as “Green Vehicles”, they pollute less than gasoline cars, and they have a very good consumption, I have experimented up to 20km per liter.

In Mexico there’s a different story, they are not consider ecological cars because the diesel supplied by Pemex has very poor quality, there was a plan to supply Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel in Mexico but that was promissed for beining of 2009… we are still waiting. But don’t blame the car, blame Pemex.

The DSG stands for Direct-Shift Gearbox it’s an electronically controlled multiple-shaft dual-clutch manual gearbox – without a conventional clutch pedal, and with full automatic, or semi-manual control. It performs Extremely fast shift time of 8 milliseconds and Consistent shift time of 500 milliseconds, regardless of throttle or operational mode, the result: You don’t feel the shifts!

Mine is white, which is a color I never liked before in cars, but it’s minimalistic design combining only black and white makes it very pleasant to the eyes.

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iPhone 3G

iPhone 3G
iPhone 3G

When the mobile phones and the minicomputers called PDAs where in early stage I remember I had a conversation with some friends: it’s a race, mobile phones will improve to turn into PDAs and PDAs will turn to be mobile phones, let’s see who wins.

The final product from this merge are smart-phones. After all this time we can clearly declare a winner, is not BlackBerry is not Palm or Nokia, whether we like it or not, the winner is the  iPhone from Apple Inc.

But now the race rules are changing, smart-phones and Laptops are competing for a new merge, that’s where we have the netbooks like the popular Acer One or the Eee PC competing with products like iPhone or the new kid in town Android, which is a Linux based Operating System from Google that is coming to be in some new smart-phones to compete with the iPhone… who is going to win?

In the mean time I got an iPhone 3G with 16Gb, it’s without any doubts the more pretty -and useful – phone I ever had, it’s design is very clean and simple. I have tried several cases to protect it, but I ended up dumping them all and keeping it naked, it’s so beautiful that any case makes it ugly (and big)… anyway I’m sure that after one year 2 at most, I will be switching it for a new one, so I prefer to have a nice phone scratched than an ugly protected phone.

The iPhone is more a minicomputer turned into a phone than a phone turned into a minicomputer. You can install many applications that you can get free or paid from the Apple Store, but there is still the taste that something is missing, some cleaver guys from the iphone-dev team came to fill that gap: Jailbreak.

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movinex.com

movinex.com
movinex.com

Movinex.com is a site I have run since last year, it’s mainly a search engine specialized in online movies.

The sites crawls the internet focusing only on sites with free online movies.

Then it crawls those sites looking for the direct links to the movies.

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mexlinux.com

mexlinux.com
mexlinux.com

mexlinux is my nickname then Mexlinux.com is my new site, intented to be my blog. The name comes from:

mex (Mexico) my country.

linux, my hobby.

Alothought in Mexico we speak spanish, I’m writing this in english for two main reasons:

  1. I want to practice and improve my english.
  2. English is really the current internet language.
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