Category: TechnoBabble

Phone = Soap

I cannot really add much to Miles’s post. And I suppose it is coming a little late. And at an odd time (4 in the morning). But someone asked me earlier today (or I guess yesterday) to describe the L2ork tour. And well one of the best ways for me to do that was to cite a funny instance on the tour. Actually, it doesn’t really do anything to describe the tour. It’s just kind of funny.

I think we were in Carbondale. And I reached into my pocket to grab my phone so that I could text Ico and ask him when we would get a break to eat. But instead of my phone, my pocket yielded a complimentary bar of soap, compliments of the Carbondale Comfort Inn.

Apparently, complimentary bars of soap in your pocket feel the same as a phone in your pocket. I then proceeded to text people on my newly acquired soap phone throughout the rest of the day.

Oddly enough, no one seemed to reply to any of my texts.

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As busy as things have been since the onset of the spring semester, only now are we finally getting to updating community resources. To start off, we have created a general l2ork-dev public mailing list for the purpose of encouraging community participation in our infrastructure development as well as for support of creation of other L*Orks around the globe. In addition, since in L2Ork we do not like compromises, we’ve also provided a custom Ubuntu 9.10 real-time kernel that provides 100% hardware support for the MSI Wind U100 notebooks (available on the Software page). A growing library of Pure-Data externals and abstractions should follow shortly.

For additional info on the said content visit “Join the L2Orkmania” page.

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Penguins and Apples

While somewhat off-topic, I suspect Linux enthusiasts will get a kick out of this one…

A couple weeks ago one of the L2Ork students ended-up with a dead Macbook Pro, likely culprit being the batch of faulty Nvidia video chips (something I’ve had a great honor of experiencing myself last year while being over dozen hours of driving distance from the nearest Apple repair center). Initially, he did not seem to be overly upset since he did have a 3-year extended warranty. The following week, however, he came to me quite upset telling me how Apple would not cover his repair because his Macbook had a dent and that he had to cover the cost himself. So, he decided to send a lengthy email to the highest echelons of Apple and in his email he indicated that I suggested to him, rather than dealing with this mess to simply switch to Linux. After all, this is what we use in L2Ork, right?

The irony is that while I certainly have a soft spot for Linux, I also realize that Linux is not for everyone. Sure, it does allow relatively easy customization. This fact alone has made it the prime pick for us in L2Ork, but customization is time consuming and unless there is a proportional payoff for such an effort, it is also a total waste of time and resources. In L2Ork we maintain our own machines and students loan them out for this exact reason. I also believe, if one is to switch to any OS, there has to be a genuine and compelling reason to do so that comes from within. Hence, while I certainly may on occasion joke with my students about having them switch to Linux, in this case it was the very last thing I would want to suggest. If anything, I wanted to see student’s computer fixed.

Lo and behold, less than 24 hours later (he must have good connections with Apple, since it took me over a month to get my laptop fixed and mine had no dents to start with), he gets the following email from the Senior VP of Retail Ron Johnson (obviously citing only relevant parts):

It sounds like you are not near a store. Let me have Marty dive in and

We don't want you to switch to Linux. You enjoy the Mac and it is a
essential part of your studies.


A couple days later my student got a brand new Macbook Pro. So, I guess the moral of the story is if your Apple hardware ever fails, rather than going through the regular support channels, you may want to simply notify Apple that you are considering switching to Linux and maybe you too may end up with a brand new laptop…

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