Monthly Archives: March 2013

Save toner (but maybe not paper) by dumping Arial for Century Gothic

CenturyGothicSpecimen.svg200px-ArialMTsp.svgPetter Reinholdtsen reports on how large organizations can save thousands of dollars in toner costs by changing from Arial to Century Gothic for their typeface in printed documents.

Century Gothic is a “thinner” typeface and hence uses less toner. That’s where the savings comes in.

But Century Gothic is wider than Arial and for that reason probably uses more paper.

You win a little, lose a little, I guess.

In my case, it’s the first time I’ve even thought about how one typeface uses less or more toner than another.

If you’re like me, you probably print a whole lot less than you used to, and you’re saving a whole lot on toner and paper. Printing isn’t going away, but it’s certainly happening less than it once did.

Secure boot and restricted boot in the eyes of Matthew Garrett

One of the most important people in the Linux world regarding secure boot is Matthew Garrett, recently of Linux giant Red Hat, now with Nebula, who writes about the nuances between secure boot and restricted boot in this post.

Here is a meaty quote:

The x86 market remains one where users are able to run whatever they want, but the x86 market is shrinking. Users are purchasing tablets and other ARM-based ultraportables. Some users are using phones as their primary computing device. In contrast to the x86 market, Microsoft’s policies for the ARM market restrict user freedom. Windows Phone and Windows RT devices are required to boot only signed binaries, with no option for the end user to disable the signature validation or install their own keys. While the underlying technology is identical, this differing set of default policies means that Microsoft’s ARM implementation is better described as Restricted Boot. The hardware vendors and Microsoft define which software will run on these systems. The owner gets no say.

And, unfortunately, Microsoft aren’t alone. Apple, the single biggest vendor in this market, implement effectively identical restrictions. Some Android vendors provide unlockable bootloaders, but others (either through personal preference or at the behest of phone carriers) lock down their platforms.

I’m no expert on UEFI or secure boot. I do know that the traditional BIOS has had its day and then some, and for that reason I believe that UEFI is a step forward that we should all welcome.

The whole secure-boot part of the equation is more troubling, since it’s Microsoft in control of the keys — literally — and it seems both complicated and cost-prohibitive to strike out on one’s own with secure-boot keys.

That’s where guys like Matthew Garrett come in: He was untangling this for Red Hat and hopefully will continue to do so — and to keep us up to date in his blog.

Originally posted on wtflinux:

bacon_audoenceThis morning, the inexplicably named after a tasty breakfast sandwich Ubuntu Community Manager, Jono Bacon, sought to quell fears that UN peace keeping forces may be called upon to intervene in the Ubuntu Developer Community.

Speaking at a press conference held at Canonical’s recently completed secure compound, Mr. Bacon defended his regeme’s position to the few reporters able to squeeze into the bomb proof bunker. “Gentlemen, community community community, communitze community awesome community Unity community interface awesome”. Helpfully, an interpreter, fluent in English and Communitymanagerese, was appointed to translate Mr.Bacon’s statement into comprehensible bollocks. In digest , the statement laid out the regeme’s holy mission to create confusing launchers and shove menu and window commands where nobody could find them, was given to them directly by God, and that the forces of decadent interfaces with their imperialist ideology of giving people something that works without having to stir the mouse round the…

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Originally posted on Sticky Valentines:

Here I am interviewing a Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue official.

I get asked two questions several times a week, and I brush off both with a verbal swat.

One — because I’m in my late 20s, I suppose – is when are you getting married? And the other, because it seems like small talk, is why did you leave the newspaper?

I could answer both with a single word: Money.

But I usually deflect the marriage subject, wrongly justifying it as an acceptable passing question, with a practical reason: I’m not eager to have children. And I answer the news question with something to which my audience can nod along: “It didn’t seem like a sustainable career path.”

But that’s a cold and detached answer. I don’t feel cold and detached about news, and I only give that response under the assumption that people don’t want to hang around for the full story – ironically, the same reason newspapers aren’t really working anymore.


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Google Drive is pretty amazing

google_apps_for_businessI’m doing a whole lot of collaborative work in Google Drive these days — my company has gone all in with Google Apps for Business — and it continues to amaze me how you can have dozens of people in a document at once, all making edits, and the thing hangs together. It’s a testament to what you can do with a web-based application — which is a hell of a lot.

I know that EtherPad Lite does pretty much the same thing as Google Docs (the text-editing/word-processing app), and I fully support what they’re doing and hope development continues. I’ve used it in the recent past and like what I see.

But for the non-free-software-aware masses, Google Drive solves a great many problems and makes collaborating so much easier than it’s ever been. It makes me wonder why many of the other apps I need to use are so crappy.

Canonical cuts support for non-LTS versions of Ubuntu, users now get nine months of bug fixes

Originally posted on Tech Bundu - Diary:

Until now, people who downloaded non-LTS (long-term support) versions of Ubuntu were treated to a lengthy support period — a full 18 months. Now, though, Ubuntu’s technical board is shortening that support window to nine months, in the hopes that Canonical can assign its engineers to other projects. (If you look at the board’s meeting notes at the link below, the group also agrees that most bugs get fixed within nine months anyway.) If you’re wondering how this might affect you, the new policy applies to version 13.04, along with all future non-LTS releases.

Separately, the board decided that it will switch to a rolling release model, in which users won’t have to do a full system upgrade to take advantage of major OS updates. Many of the particulars there are still up in the air, though, which is a shame because this has already been a hot topic of…

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