Archive for category Apple

What’s Killing Linux and Software Freedom?

I know many will say "we knew that already" when they read what I'm about to write, but I just came to this realization today. I was reading a blog title "I miss using Linux". The author was describing some of the reasons he can't avoid using Windows.

There are many good reasons like the ones he offers. Some people want to game, but game companies just don't make games for Linux because it isn't popular enough. Others need certain programs that are only available for Windows. Whatever the reasons, it's not going to be the "year of the Linux Desktop" any time soon.

One part that really stood out to me about the post was the reiteration that Photoshop was a main reason for not using Windows. I would actually go so far as to say that the entire creative suite is a major reason more people don't switch to Linux completely.

Sure, one could possibly run it in a VM but that's not a good solution. If you need a VM of Windows, why not just run Windows, right? That's the correct reasoning if you ask me, and I'm a Linux advocate. The problem could be that more people are procrastinating truthfully. They simply don't want to switch completely or don't feel comfortable enough in Linux to use it full time. I don't think this is the prime reason, but for some it could be a factor.

Adobe is the problem, at least in my mind. Adobe is the last non-open company. Microsoft office uses an open document format finally. There is a lot of compatibility with Open Office. Most other programs have decent open source alternatives. Even Photoshop has a decent open source alternative in the Gimp, but some people don't think it is enough. Adobe has a lock on a lot of the media on the web right now with Flash, even though there are better alternatives to using Flash, most sites use it.

Adobe is holding back Linux. Rather, our dependency on Adobe products is holding back Linux tremendously. There would be a lot more people to adopt Linux if the Creative Suite was available in it. There would be a lot of people adopt Linux is Flash was no longer the defacto standard for media on the web.

Apple has the right idea by not including Flash support on the iPhone. This will help push us away from the closed-standard. I'm for this change.


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Steve Jobs at the D8 Conference and His Comments on Journalism

I was just watching the interview with Steve Jobs at the D8 Conference on iTunes. Around 41 minutes into the interview, there is a discussion about how the iPad is going to help journalists.

Jobs makes his second hint in the interview of his distaste for bloggers. His first happened earlier when they were discussing Gizmodo's blogger who published pictures of the new iPhone. One could tell that he was a bit bitter about that situation, and he made comments that showed that in his opinion blogging is not journalism.

I totally agree with this point. Blogging isn't journalism by default. As the interviewers pointed out, however, many journalists have turned to blogging as their medium of choice.

During the discussion of the iPad, Jobs points out that he doesn't want to see us become a nation of bloggers. He states that he wants to help publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post sell their news.

Here is what I don't agree with. These publications are failing because they have not been providing good journalism. All I see from the media, including news papers, is biased rhetoric or celebrity junk. Bloggers are doing the same, but I've found that in the bee's hive that is the blogosphere, there is actually some good content. Some of that content is much better than the junk our fine journalists at CNN and such have been reporting.

If these publications want to make money, they should advertise. That's where most of their money comes from anyway. They don't make a ton from News Paper sales. They make enough there to pay for the materials and printing costs. Advertisements are where the money is at. They know that. They should just work on their advertising model.


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Warning: simplexml_load_file() [function.simplexml-load-file]: URL file-access is disabled in the server configuration

If you've seen that error message you've probably happened upon a security feature that your shared web hosting provider has enabled. There are a few work-arounds for this error but most require you to have certain privileges on the server that you probably don't have. Quite frankly, if you are getting these errors you probably don't have the ability to change these settings yourself.

Rather than try to get the provider to change these settings (let's face it, they have this enabled for a reason and surely someone else has already tried to get this changed, right?) one can easily get around this with Curl. In most cases, curl will be enabled on the server. So here is the quick and dirty way to get around it:

Create a PHP file and name it anything you want. For the sake of this article we'll refer to it as curl_functions.php. In this file put the following functions:

function setupMyCurl() {
   $myCurl = curl_init(); 
   $temp = curl_setopt($myCurl, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
define("myCurl", setupMyCurl());
function curl_get_contents($url) {
   $temp = curl_setopt(myCurl, CURLOPT_URL, $url);

Include or require this file. Then, all you have to do is use the curl_get_contents($url) in your code to pull in the xml to a string. Then use the simplexml_load_string() instead of simplexml_load_file(). This will give you the same results but works around the url fopen feature. If you don't have curl enabled on your host, GET ANOTHER HOST. 🙂

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Slow wifi on iPhone 3GS