Welcome to the Blogosphere

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This is my first blog post ever! I came to this weeks LUG during a very busy week because I didn't want to miss David Boreham presenting. I have a lot of respect for him ever since I interviewed with him to work at his company, Bozeman Pass Inc. I didn't get the job, but I did get to spend four hours learning things from him. I think he is a very wise man. I also needed to give him his book back. I've been holding on to On Intelligence for some time.

I enjoyed the LDAP presentation more for the history lessons in open source funding models and Microsoft strong-arm tactics of the last two decades than for the actual content of working with directory services. I'm not a system administrator.

There were certainly times in between Davids humors comments and stories where directory services and infrastructure was the center of attention. For those moments, I had my new Zaurus C-1000 to play with. Running the Cacko distribution of Embedded Linux, this little beast is a full powered Linux box with bash and ssh working out of the box. The wireless card though... not so much. There is GUI hostap controller that gets you online to an unsecured AP, but falls flat when encryption is required. So I spent the time trying to figure out how to get wpa_supplicant to work. Turns out I need to load firmware to the Compact Flash wifi card before anything will really get started. Bash scripting here we come!

Also attending this weeks LUG was a Nokia 770 Internet Tablet. In a word: sexy. The screen is wide and beutiful, the machine is lightweight, and it has wifi and Bluetooth built in. The operating system is supported by professionals at Nokia, and it runs very smooth.

The comparison and contrast is that these two machines (Zaurus and Nokia) are direct competitors, with distinct differences that set them clearly apart. They are both Internet appliances, good for browsing websites casually on the couch or when your bored in a meeting. The Zaurus is a clamshell, and opens up faster than the Nokia. The network card, however, might not come up that quick, and the Nokia will still win on get-to-the-internet time trials. The Zaurus is heavier than Nokia, but feels more rugged as a result. Much of the weight comes from the clamshell design, where the keyboard protects the screen. Lastley, the Nokia OS is supported by Nokia, and can be expected to work bug free. Good luck writing your own programs for it though. The Zaurus let me install Cacko Linux, which is a more traditional Linux support model. That is, if you have a problem, Google it until you find the right shell script some kid living his parents basement wrote. The GUI environment is Qtopia from Trolltech. Development environments for their QT libraries are available for free.

In conclusion, the two machines are both top notch Linux gadgets. The Zaurus is a rugged hacker friendly tool that can browse the web, and the Nokia is a slick lightweight Internet browser you can actually carry in a pocket.