aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, October 19, 2007
Gutsy Gibbon early reviews
This latest release, dubbed “Gutsy Gibbon,” proves that Ubuntu Linux can compete with and, in some cases, trump Windows as an everyday desktop system when it comes to pure usability.
Gamers and hardcore media hounds may still feel left out—DVDs were a little bit tricky, and the lack of support for popular games, a long-time Linux gripe, is still evident here—but we found playing music and watching movies in the new Ubuntu to be every bit as pleasant as it is under OS X or Windows.
Gutsy Gibbon is certainly easier to install and set up than Windows Vista, and it’s very close to matching Mac OS X when it comes to making things “just work” out of the box. Wi-Fi, printing, my digital camera and even my iPod all worked immediately after installation—no drivers or other software required. [...]
Ubuntu and the GNOME Desktop team have put considerable effort into improving the user experience for accessing many of Linux’s under-the-hood options. A new graphical interface makes it much easier to make adjustments to monitor settings and set up a dual-monitor workstation—both of which previously required using the command line.
Beyond these key enhancements, Gutsy Gibbon incorporates some of Mac OS X’s most useful desktop traits to improve the user experience. New to this release is fast user-switching, a mimic of the same feature in OS X for switching between user accounts without logging out. Another nod to Apple is the improved Spotlight-like applet designed to search the hard drive and act as an application launcher. Printing has also been overhauled, and each print dialog now features a default virtual “PDF printer” which allows any application to output PDF files, something Mac OS X users will recognize.
If you’ve been considering making the switch from Windows or Mac, Ubuntu makes the process painless. It’s ability to seamlessly import your settings, music and data from a Windows partition erases one of the most pressing barriers for new users. And once you’re in, the learning curve is minimal. In fact, besides requiring a little futzing to get multimedia playback set up, Gutsy Gibbon is about as easy as Linux gets.
I will admit to being a Linux desktop nonbeliever. It feels a bit like yesterday’s battle fought with the wrong weapons: geekiness rather than ease of use. There’s a chance--still a slim one, but a chance nonetheless--that Ubuntu will change that.
Asay links to three reviews. Here are screenshots.
Arrested for standing still
In NYC’s Times Square no less:
[W]hen Matthew Jones of Brooklyn lingered on the corner of 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue in the early morning of June 12, 2004, gabbing with friends as other pedestrians tried to get by, something unusual happened: He was arrested for it.
A police officer said Mr. Jones was impeding other pedestrians and charged him with disorderly conduct.
He’s gone all the way to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, which heard arguments Wednesday:
Nancy E. Little, Mr. Jones’s lawyer, said that neither the police nor the prosecutors claimed that he was doing anything other than standing on the sidewalk with friends - an activity, she said, that is not entirely without precedent in Manhattan. [...]
[O]n Wednesday, Mr. Jones’s circumstances appeared to reach a friendly audience before the Court of Appeals.
“Isn’t that lawful conduct?” wondered Judge Robert S. Smith. Later he added, “Your conduct can’t be illegal just because an officer noticed it.”
His colleague Judge Eugene F. Pigott Jr. questioned what other violations might attract law enforcement attention.
“All I could think of was a bunch of lawyers from the New York City Bar Association standing around trying to figure out where to have lunch,” Judge Pigott said. (The association has offices a block and a half from Times Square.)
Via Blog for Democracy.
It looks to me like both Barrow and Marshall voted their districts. Barrow’s sitting pretty (er, everything’s relative, we’re talking Georgia) with no challenger in sight; Marshall got in on a razor thin margin (though he ran an admired campaign) and is doing what it takes to stay. Still it seems he’s just getting by.
So, much as I might have wished he’d have voted the other way, I’d rather have a Democrat than a Republican.
And I’m guessing Marshall will sign on to whatever compromise they come up with.
LATER: Alan I. Abramowitz, the Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science at Emory, parses problems with the Gallup SCHIP poll. Via DemFromCT, whose got more good SCHIP Stories: In The Aftermath.
Money corrupts. Jay Rockefeller?
From Wired’s Threat Level, Democratic Lawmaker Pushing Immunity Is Newly Flush With Telco Cash:
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) is reportedly steering the secretive Senate Intelligence Committee to give retroactive immunity to telecoms that helped the government secretly spy on Americans.
He has also recently benefited from some interesting political contributions.
Top Verizon executives, including CEO Ivan Seidenberg and President Dennis Strigl, wrote personal checks to Rockefeller totaling $23,500 in March, 2007. Prior to that apparently coordinated flurry of 29 donations, only one of those executives had ever donated to Rockefeller (at least while working for Verizon).
In fact, prior to 2007, contributions to Rockefeller from company executives at AT&T and Verizon were mostly non-existent.
But that changed around the same time that the companies began lobbying Congress to grant them retroactive immunity from lawsuits seeking billions for their alleged participation in secret, warrantless surveillance programs that targeted Americans.
The Spring ‘07 checks represent 86 percent of money donated to Rockefeller by Verizon employees since at least 2001.
AT&T executives discovered a fondness for Rockefeller just a month after Verizon execs did and over a three-month span, collectively made donations totaling $19,350.
AT&T Vice President Fred McCallum began the giving spree in May with a $500 donation. 22 other AT&T high fliers soon followed with their own checks.
Prior to that burst of generosity, the only AT&T employee donation to Rockefeller was a $300 contribution in 2001. That supporter did not identify herself as a company executive.
When asked about the contributions, an AT&T spokesman told THREAT LEVEL: “AT&T employees regularly and voluntarily participate in the political process with their own funds.” [READ ON]
Jarrard and Moss were indicted by a federal grand jury on July 24, 2007, on charges of unlawfully manufacturing, possessing, transporting, and transferring liquor ("moonshine"), and related tax evasion charges. The pair operated a still on United States government property in the Chattahoochee National Forrest area in Rabun County during 2005 and 2006.
If you can make your own wine and beer, why not hard liquor? The feds said it was because of the lead but Slate’s Michelle Tsai explains it’s really all about the money:
Because the liquor is worth more to the government than beer or wine. Uncle Sam takes an excise tax of $2.14 for each 750-milliliter bottle of 80-proof spirits, compared with 21 cents for a bottle of wine (of 14 percent alcohol or less) and 5 cents for a can of beer. No one knows exactly how much money changes hands in the moonshine trade, but it’s certainly enough for the missing taxes to make a difference: In 2000, an ATF investigation busted one Virginia store that sold enough raw materials to moonshiners to make 1.4 million gallons of liquor, worth an estimated $19.6 million in lost government revenue. In 2005, almost $5 billion of federal excise taxes on alcohol came from legally produced spirits.
Until 1978, it was illegal to home-brew any alcoholic beverage-even wine and beer. But a growing number of oenophiles and beer connoisseurs wanted to make their own, and they helped pressure Congress to decriminalize home-brews across the country. Today, federal rules say a household with two adults can brew up to 200 gallons of wine and the same amount of beer each year. (A few states have their own laws prohibiting the practice.) The 1978 law didn’t legalize moonshining, though; you still can’t brew spirits for private consumption. It is kosher, however, to own a still and process alcohol-but only if you’re using the alcohol as fuel and you have a permit from the ATF. (In some states, you can purchase a legal version of moonshine from commercial distillers.)
So what about the lead?
One study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine in September 2003 found that more than half of moonshine drinkers have enough lead in their bloodstream to exceed what the CDC calls a “level of concern.”
That sounds pretty bad to me.