Category Archives: OS

KDE 4 and the Dismal State of the Linux Desktop

There has been a lot of push over the past many years to get more Linux onto more desktops. That’s fine, as long as the pushers keep in mind that an Operating System is, fundamentally, a means and not an end. Similarly, desktop environments are neither the journey nor the destination—they are, at most, the steering wheel and the dashboard.

Continue reading KDE 4 and the Dismal State of the Linux Desktop

Alternative RDP client for Mac

We’re looking for a replacement for the Mac RDP client.  We have one client whose clock is off no matter what in Outlook.  Using a Windows PC is not an option for various reasons.  Using parallels isn’t really an option.  This was tried and it created more calls for us than using something more native to OS X.  This user is on an x86 Macbook Pro laptop.  She has limited technical skills.  We are trying to make her life easier and simplify the process for her to connect to the terminal server farm where all of their data lives.  RDP6 for Mac (Remote Desktop Connection 2) is the best solution we have so far, but it still sometimes has issues with the timezone for her.  Lastly, using Entourage 2004/2008 or Mail is also not an option – the business owner does not want any local data to reside on any PC due to security concerns.

What we want to do is run the Windows binary of RDP5 or RDP6 on a Mac or more easily run the Linux rdesktop command with a GUI wraper.  I run this tool frequently from the command line or the GUI wrapper in Ubuntu or other distros and it works great.

Can someone with an Intel Mac try this: and let me know how easy it is to setup and use?  It replaces TSClientX, an opensource GUI wrapper of the opensource RDP client.  TSClientX was awesome – a GUI wrapper to rdesktop.  Unfortunately it isn’t supported in 10.5 and the 10.5.5 or 10.5.4 update broke it (changes to the x11 environment I believe).  We want to see how easy it is to setup and use RDP, either the Linux tool or the Windows binary for RDP5 or RDP6.

The other thing we’d like to try is WINE: with a walkthrough here:

The last time I looked, the Windows RDP5 binary worked.  RDP6 was not.  This may have changed as that was six months ago.

We have tried CoRD – – but it feels slower than Microsoft’s RDP method or rdesktop.

“Free” Windows XP Antivirus App?

Windows Users,
I am running XP Pro in Parallels on my Mac for occasional uses that require it. I’ve been using Parallels “free” Kasperky subscription, which is now coming to an end. For what I use it, I don’t want to pony up $60 per year for something like that. My two questions are 1) Do I really need to run an app like that (I assume the answer is a resounding “yes”) and 2) What is a low cost/no cost alternative to Kaspersky? Please advise. Thanks!

iPhone 3g has landed

I partook in the madness and waited in line. Four hours to be exact. The wait: boring, the buying experience: perfect. Less than 5 minutes to transfer my number from t-mobile. I skipped activation in the store as it appeared to be rocky. Did it from home later without glitches. First impression: amazing piece of hardware. Used it to write this post.

dimdim for dumdum’s


OK… not really. But I wanted to share with you all a new web conferencing tool that I discovered. Patrick and I tested it the other day and we were relatively impressed. It is an Open Source solution which any geek can get behind. It’s called Dimdim.

This service, like many web conferencing services allows you to share your desktop with others. Dimdim also also allows you to share PPT and PDF’s right within the web conference which is nice. You can use the annotation tools to mark-up the ppt or PDF that you are reviewing as well which comes in handy. You can use the Whiteboard within dimdim to collaboratively share ideas or to highlight things as well.

Dimdim also has VOIP built into the service as well along with video. The video service is not included in the free version but the voice is. You can have up to 4 people I believe all with voice at the same time in the dimdim web conference. The things I liked the best were the ease of use and the nice GUI. A lot of these web conferencing tools today are powerful but don’t allow the user to manage them well and don’t give the user or the participants anything good to look at. And… it’s cross platform. There is no plugin to install when using this tool because it uses Flash to power itself. Pretty cool.

Go check them out if you are currently looking for a web conferencing tool. They have a couple different flavors of their service, one of which is of course free. And if you really want to geek out, since it’s open source you can take the entire application, download it and install it on your own server to use. Pretty cool stuff.

Lease an Apple?

Hi, Geeks.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m running a start up Spanish language immersion summer camp out in Vermont this year. It’s sponsored by Middlebury College, which you may know of.

We’re looking to lease some machines for the 6 week summer program to avoid having to buy. I’m looking for tips on any Apple angles for leasing machines. Anyone have experience with this?

We have 3 sites serving 150 – 250 secondary students at each site, so quantities would be reasonable.

For the Open Source Followers Among Us

Bruce Parens is up for a seat on the OSI (Open Source Initiative) board. You can read more about them at, but the short version is that they help educate and advocate the benefits of Open Source. They also act as a standards body to maintain the Open Source Definition — basically the traits that make up what Open Source is.

Please read up on the subject, then go sign the petition so that he may be elected to the OSI board.

Thank you!