Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Cast of Thousands
The mission of the church is not efficiency, but developing all its people.
Lillian Daniel | posted 12/19/2008

A Cast of Thousands

At my daughter's elementary school musical, the printed program noted: "This musical was originally written for 15 actors, but it has been adapted to accommodate our cast of 206." You know what kind of show this was. No-cut auditions, no performer left without something special to do. They danced, they sang, they delivered lines, and somehow 206 children graced the stage that night.

It was not a short program.

So many productions in life are competitive. TV's American Idol is popular as much for the failures as for the successes. Admit it. If no one got cut, would we really want to listen to these people? The excitement is seeing who makes it and who does not, and the winner is idolized. Celebrity worship is not just a figure of speech.

Well, the world may operate that way, but the gospel response, the church's calling, is like the volunteer geniuses that took an elementary school musical with 15 parts and creatively made room for 206. We take a few loaves and fishes and feed thousands, at the church potluck or at the homeless shelter. We take a task that we could professionalize and simply pay someone to do, and we divide it into parts so that everyone has a job. Is it efficient? No. Not if all you care about is getting the job done.

Read more at Leadership Journal

The Difficulty of Christian Submission

[In an article for Decision magazine], Samuel Kamaleson illustrates [the difficulty of submission] through a Christian folk story from South India. There are several versions of it, but here it opens with a young boy who loved to play marbles. He regularly walked through his neighborhood with a pocketful of his best marbles, hoping to find opponents to play against. One marble in particular, his special blue marble, had won him many matches.

During one walk he encountered a young girl who was eating a bag of chocolate candy. Though the boy's first love was marbles, he had a weakness for chocolates. As he stood there interacting with the young girl, his salivary glands and the rumbling in his stomach became uncontrollable, and he thought to himself, I have got to get my hands on those chocolates.


Review: PcLinuxOS 2008 "MiniMe"

It's been nearly ten months since we last reviewed a PcLinuxOS release. This time around we have a brand new flavor to look at. The venerable "MiniMe" 2008 release. What's different about this version over the previous 2007 version? Let's have a look and find out..

The first thing you'll notice about this distribution is that it is relatively the same as the old 2007 version. The biggest difference comes in the fact that it not only boots faster, but you don't have to go through the morrass of screens you used to in order to get to the desktop. It's actually pretty quick from first boot to full desktop in the live CD. You only have to answer one question, which is about keyboard type, before you can complete the boot. Once on the desktop the one thing you quickly notice is the newer, black "polished metal" look. It's a somewhat "Vista'ish" look that has really become popular lately. I'm not all that much for it, but it is at least done tastefully.

Read more at Raiden's Realm


Texstar has announced the release of PCLinuxOS 2008 "MiniMe" edition, a minimalist live CD with KDE: "Here is a little MiniMe 2008. It comes with kernel, ALSA 1.0.15 and a very basic KDE 3.5.8 desktop. This is a minimal live CD that is bootable, plus it can be installed. Add in your own background, window decoration, localizations, preferred applications and supporting libraries to fully trick out your desktop. Other changes: I moved Internet and Clock setup to a Utilities folder on the users desktop. Only one question at boot to select the keyboard. Other utilities include ALSA sound configuration, ATI/NVIDIA installation tool, Make Live CD GUI, Make Live USB key and Redo-MBR with OS-probing utility for adding other GRUB boot entries into the GRUB menu. Root password and user setup moved to first boot after installation to hard drive. Also included are NdisWrapper support files." Here is the full release announcement. Download: pclinuxos-minime-2008.iso (297MB, MD5).


Beginners: Learn Linux

1. What is Linux?

Linux is a free Unix-type operating system for computer devices. The operating system is what makes the hardware work together with the software. The OS is the interface that allows you to do the things you want with your computer. Linux is freely available to everyone. OS X and Windows are other widely used OS.

Linux gives you a graphical interface that makes it easy to use your computer, yet it still allows those with know-how to change settings by adjusting 0 to 1.

It is only the kernel that is named Linux, the rest of the OS are GNU tools. A package with the kernel and the needed tools make up a Linux distribution. Mandrake , SUSE Linux, Gentoo and Redhat are some of the many variants. GNU/Linux OS can be used on a large number of boxes, including i386+ , Alpha, PowerPC and Sparc.


An in-depth look at Puppy Linux

by Howard Fosdick

Puppy Linux is one of the twenty most popular Linuxes worldwide, according to the distro-tracking website Distrowatch. Puppy's distinct personality makes it of interest to those who want a Linux that...
  • Includes all the applications required for daily use
  • Works right out of the box
  • Is easy to use, even for Linux newbies and Windows refugees
  • Runs fast and performs well -- especially on limited hardware
  • Runs on old computers, thin clients, and diskless workstations
  • Installs and boots from any bootable device, including USB memory sticks, hard disks, Zip drives, LS 120/240 SuperDisks, CDs and DVDs, rewritable CDs and DVDs, and network interfaces
Unlike most Linux distributions, Puppy is not based on some other distro. It was created from scratch to meet these goals.

Let's discuss Puppy's distinguishing characteristics. We'll wrap up by summarizing how it differs from other Linux distributions.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Linux And Music

One obvious advantage of Linux is lower acquisition cost, and while this is definitely a factor for sites with large numbers of computers and limited budgets (for example schools), it's not actually the major reason for most migrations. In the case of a multi-million dollar movie studio, it's unlikely to be the price of Linux alone that makes it attractive. These studios can afford to buy any system they want, so why are they choosing Linux? The answer is in part the lower cost of Intel processor hardware compared to the traditional SGI UNIX platform, and the fact that it's much easier to move programs from SGI to Linux than from SGI to Windows.

But a far more compelling reason for the migration is the quality and flexibility of Linux. Machines powered by Linux have been known to run for months or even years without needing a reboot, let alone crashing. In the UNIX world that's not unusual, but that kind of reliability hasn't been seen on desktop computers before. And the open source development model means that users can get the software they want, rather than just choose from what's on offer.

Another factor often cited by people who have migrated to Linux is the supportive and knowledgeable user community. If you have a problem with your Linux machine, there are lots of places to ask for help — both with local user groups and on the Internet. Linux users tend to be self-documenting: when they find the solution to a problem, they will often create a web page describing the fix to share their knowledge.

Read more at SoundOnSound

Windows 7: The Linux killer

Submitted by srlinuxx on Mon, 12/22/2008 - 00:06.

Microsoft has long been worried about Linux competition in the server market. When it came to ordinary PCs and laptops, however, it knew it had little to fear.

But that was then. Now Microsoft may fear Linux on the desktop as much as it does the Mac. It's finally taking Linux seriously as a desktop operating system, and it has designed Windows 7 to kill it.

Let me explain.

The threat to Windows comes entirely from "netbooks" -- lightweight, inexpensive laptops that typically use Intel's low-powered Atom processor and don't come with substantial amounts of RAM or powerful graphics processors. They're designed mainly for browsing the Web, handling e-mail, writing memos, and taking care of simple word-processing or spreadsheet chores.

Rest Here

Monday, December 22, 2008

GNU/Linux on old hardware
Saturday, 13 August 2005, michuk

Is Linux a good choice for your old PC? In this article I’m going to examine the main issues connected with using GNU/Linux on some very old hardware. I will also cover choosing a distro, a desktop and the key applications for such a configuration.

Author: Borys Musielak
What are the minimal hardware requirements for Linux?

In theory, a computer with 386 processor and some 8MB of RAM is good enough to run GNU/Linux. There are a few specialized distros (still supported!) that allow you to install Linux on such a PC. Of course you won’t be able to run most of the modern apps on such a system, but it should be enough to do simple office tasks and play some old-school games.

If you have a Pentium I with some 32/64MB RAM, you can, with just a little bit of effort, make an outstanding desktop computer out of it, running GNU/Linux of course. You will still need a special distro for that, though.

However, if you get a Pentium II 455Mhz with a 10GB hard drive (it can be purchased for less than $50 nowadays), you can install any modern GNU/Linux distribution on it and with thoughtful selection of applications, it can make a great home Internet and multimedia center for next couple of years.


Linux distros for older hardware

By Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier on February 24, 2006 (8:00:00 AM)

Microsoft lately has been challenging Linux's suitability for older hardware, so it seems like a good time to look at Linux distributions that can run on older machines. I took six distributions for a test run on an old machine, and also tried software that turns old hardware into a thin client. The bottom line: Linux is still quite suitable for older hardware. It might not turn your aging PC into a powerhouse, but it will extend its lifespan considerably.

For these tests, I dug out Igor, an old PC that had been collecting dust in my closet. Igor is a Pentium II 233MHz machine with 64MB of RAM, an 8x CD-ROM drive, a 3GB hard drive, and an integrated ATI 3D Rage Pro video card with 4MB of video RAM. You can run Linux on older and slower machines, but this is the most under-powered machine I had available.


How low can you go and still run Linux?

Opinion -- I remember when getting a decent PC would set you back at least a grand. Then it was $500. Now, it's $150!? That's the story that small vendor LinFX wants you to buy along with its PC with pre-installed Linux.

How does LinFX manage to sell a fully operational computer with a 15-inch display for $150? Well, while the Linux distribution, PCLinuxOS 2007, is a state-of-the-art 21st century desktop Linux, the hardware, an IBM NetVista desktop with a 900MHz Intel Pentium III and 256MB of RAM, is right out of the year 2000.

Back in its day, this system ran either Windows ME or Windows 2000. Today, if you're a Windows user, it's a doorstop. For a Linux user, though, this refugee from the junkyard is actually still a useful computer.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Windows Steady State Bulletproofs Your System

Windows StreadyState

So you're thinking, "Hey, I want to be totally irresponsible with my computer and load it up with crapware!" Really, isn't everyone getting tired of having to be so stinking responsible on the Internet all the time? We certainly are. We're ready for system protection that isn't afraid of our reckless browsing, indiscriminate downloading, and general apathy towards good computer usage habits.

...Which is why we love Windows Steady State. It creates a cache file in which your operating system operates, meaning any harmful changes can be undone by simply emptying the cache. After downloading it's a snap to install - just a few obligatory clicks and the usual EULA mumbo-jubmo and you're set.

Read more at DownloadSquad
Back up your Google Apps data

Face it: If you use Google services like Gmail, Calendar, Docs and Spreadsheets, Reader, or Blogger, you've got a life's worth of data on Google's servers. Unless you back up your stuff locally, Google holds the keys to your digital life and you're out of luck if and when Google loses or denies you access to that data. Rather than run screaming for the hills, a few steps to back up your Google-hosted data can ensure that you're in control of your stuff and not the big G.

There isn't one easy, universal backup for all Google Apps, but there are methods that work. The strategies outlined below require different levels of work and commitment on your part. The Gmail and Gcal backups described are more or less automatic (you just need to set it up and run the applications), while others require you to manually perform the backup every now and then. However, none of them are terribly difficult, and the few minutes required to back up your data every week or month are more than worth the peace of mind that comes with knowing you still control access to your data.

Read more at Lifehacker

Monday, December 15, 2008

Disable USB Autorun to Save PC from USB Viruses

The most effective method of preventing your system from getting infected is to disable autorun feature of USB devices. DJ tells us about disabling autorun feature on Sizlopedia. He tells us a method in which he uses gpedit.msc and disable autorun feature but the problem is thatgpedit.msc is not available under Windows XP Home Edition.

So, I am going to explain how to disable USB autorun feature through registry editing which not only works for WInXP Home but also for any other edition of Windows.

Read more in Ashfame's Tech Blog
Disable USB Autorun to Save PC from USB Viruses

I know how hard it is to keep a PC safe from viruses and trojans as nearly every USB stick carries some undetectable and auto-multiplying virus. Especially in university, where I have to constantly exchange USB sticks, it becomes hard to keep my USB stick safe and clean.

Mostly the viruses that multiply through USB sticks use the autorun function of USB as it does not require any user confirmation and runs secretly in the background, unlike a CD or DVD.

The best way to keep USB viruses from injecting themselves to your PC or laptop is to Disable the USB Autorun feature and I will teach you how to do it.

Read more at Sizlopedia

Friday, December 12, 2008

Who's Doing What to Whom?

In a world that increasingly measures national power and national security in economic terms, foreign countries and corporations are placing increased emphasis on the collection of scientific, technical and economic-related information of all types. The increasing value of trade secrets in the global and domestic marketplaces, and the corresponding spread of technology, have combined to significantly increase both the opportunities and the incentives for conducting economic espionage, as discussed in Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage. The illegal export of controlled technology is a related but somewhat different offense discussed in Illegal Technology Transfer.

Read more here

Risks During Foreign Travel

You Are the Target

The risk of becoming an intelligence target increases greatly during foreign travel. As an American government official, scientist, or business traveler with access to useful information, you can become the target of a foreign intelligence or security service at anytime in any country. As described in Who's Doing What to Whom, the threat is certainly not limited to so-called "unfriendly" countries.

Never think, "They wouldn't dare risk something like that against me. They have too much at stake." Many countries do risk it, routinely, because the potential benefits are great and the risks are very low when an intelligence service is operating on its home turf. Even U.S. Government cabinet level officials and corporate CEOs have been assigned to bugged hotel rooms and had all their documents secretly photographed or their laptop computers accessed.

Conversely, never think you are too low-ranking to be of interest. Secretaries, file clerks and cleaning crew are targeted because they can often provide access to valuable information.

Read more here

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can't Read, Write, Or Add.
Charles J. Sykes, author of the 1996 book 


Rule No. 1: Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teen-ager uses the phrase "It's not fair" 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids, they realized Rule No. 1.

Rule No. 2: The real world won't care as much about your self-esteem as much as your school does. It'll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain that it's not fair. (See Rule No. 1)

Rule No. 3: Sorry, you won't make $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you won't be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn't have a Gap label.

Rule No. 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait 'til you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he's not going to ask you how you feel about it.

Rule No. 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren't embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain all weekend.

Rule No. 6: It's not your parents' fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of "It's my life," and "You're not the boss of me," and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it's on your dime. Don't whine about it, or you'll sound like a baby boomer.

Rule No. 7: Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your bedroom.

Rule No. 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn't. In some schools, they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. Failing grades have been abolished and class valedictorians scrapped, lest anyone's feelings be hurt. Effort is as important as results. This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in real life. (See Rule No. 1, Rule No. 2 and Rule No. 4.)

Rule No. 9: Life is not divided into semesters, and you don't get summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours. And you don't get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on. While we're at it, very few jobs are interested in fostering your self-expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to self-realization. (See Rule No. 1 and Rule No. 2.)

Rule No. 10: Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer Aniston.

Rule No. 11: Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.

Rule No. 12: Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you're out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That's what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for "expressing yourself" with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.

Rule No. 13: You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven't seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.

Rule No. 14: Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school's a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you'll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now. You're welcome.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Found a nice online game and stress-reliever called Chromon.