Friday, September 30, 2016

Education in IT, the state of teachers in after school centers; Are the computer instructors qualified? The password is 'Linux'.

In the 25 years I've been in IT (that's Information Technology for those figuring out the IT factor ;-) ) I'm one of those old school self starters. And funny enough, that in itself seems to be a good indication whether an IT potential employee is going to thrive or wash out in this industry because while the foundations aren't changing anytime soon, the abstract layers covering those principles are.  Without digressing too much into all the layers you don't see when using your smartphone app (I recommend opensource only but most of you will ignore that advice...), your website, your OS (stick to Linux, Linux Mint is good for first timers, but most of you will get stuck with Windows 10 which sends all your data sent to the USA for processing by the intelligence community there. Vladimir Putin has just gone on record encouraging the world embrace open source and get rid of MS Windows there, so he's very aware of things). ) But aside for small advice for people in the "consumer" level of IT, back to education. 

An interesting conversation took place: Recently I setup and left formatting (as I had other work to do) a QNAP NAS RAID 1 device. Pretty basic and easy to use. The device appeared to be formatting (setting up) the 2 disks inside for awhile or so it appeared on the web portal. The computer instructor was asking ME for how to work with the device, which is odd as any computer instructor qualified in teaching should be able to do a quick lookup, login into the device using SSH, and look into the device inner workings. Puzzled why he hadn't done this, I ask if he was familiar with Linux. He answer was "I've heard the name" to which I quickly replied rather annoyed "Okay, you don't". Now I understood why a "computer instructor" was calling me at all. Any of my colleagues, even the most junior would have gotten a lot farther before calling me. The next day when things still weren't set up I said I could come by after work and in the future if a computer instructor doesn't know Linux they shouldn't work there. I was called "judgmental". I found this amusing, and concerning for a school owner, claiming to teach kids to be ready for the future, hiring computer instructors who were barely qualified for a junior position at the Rogers tech support hotline. Given the rather exorbitant prices being charged as schools like this, you'd think there would be move concern about actually educating the students. But the mighty dollar wins out here and it's clear if a teacher is cheap and eager to please they will get hired because as long as parents pay, they'll take a skeleton in a suit if it passes. 

For parents to be aware let me give a little history and evolution of IT and why Linux is a corner stone: In 25 years Linux has gone from being a geek only operating system only the tech savvy could use, to running over 70% of the world's infrastructure. Here is a list of things you probably have heard of: Apple: MacOS was built from BSD which was created fromUnix and shares many features of Linux (I've run Linux apps on the MacOS). And the same for iOS which runs on iPhones also from BSD Unix. Android was built using Linux. Amazon, Ebay and Google could not exist without Linux. The well know NSA turned whistleblower, Edward Snowden said in a lecture his job could not have existed without open source software including Linux. More than half the worlds cells phones, websites, printers, scanners, most robots/drones (if not all) are running a version of Linux. The vast majority of the geek communities are all using Linux. the reason is simple: Faster/More Powerful than MS Windows, open to improvement/modification by the public, free for all to use, and a great way to make a name for yourself be making something like...WordPress. (you've heard of that right? If not, Google it). Virtually all routers you get from Bell or Rogers when you sign up with them are running a modified version of Linux or FreeBSD as are most wireless routers in the store. So, if you know Linux, you know a KEY part of the IT World know the underlying structure of how IT systems work togeter,.. The job market for tech people who only know MS Windows get's smaller with every tablet and smartphone sold. Microsoft knows this, but could not break into the cell phone/tablet market, even when they offered free us of the smartphone version of MS Windows. Google and Apple had gained far too much. And why pay MS for license to learn when you can learn more for free with Linux and the Internet? 

So parents, when you go to some after school center hoping to give your child a competitive edge and you sign up for a computer, ask the school if their computer instructors can show your kids how to use Linux. (which is easy by the say, just look at Linux Mint, easier than MS windows)  It's a quick easy way for IT companies recruiters, and managers to eliminate those lacking the knowledge,expertise and self-starting qualities required for a IT professional to do well in an constantly changing world. It can also tell parents if the school has actually done their due dilligance in knowing what future generations need to have an edge in todays workforce, or whether they are just faking their with with fancy colored ads and slick sales staff. This could the difference between whether your child fly with those on the cutting edge, or make the barely make the grade to talk an Internet customer using a script written, most likely be someone who know Linux. :D

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A note on professional posion pills

There is a karaoke DJ pair whose name I will not mention but they have been leaving posts on their competition...all negative at this point. which in the author's view is an attempt to improve their business by attempting to poison other people's reputation. While I am liberal on comments I do NOT approve comments from competition design to hurt other people's business nor will negative comments from karaoke DJs be taken seriously. (Obviously there is a conflict of interest). I have removed one such comment (and everyone can have a bad night) and will show another to illustrate the point:

-- comment begins --
For hosts, until legislation is finalized on the rights and wrongs of laptops, the "legal" way is to have original discs. Everything else is a grey area until a licensing mechanism is approved for copying discs (see both the Copyright Act and the Trademark Act).

Even the use of laptops is gray, although hosts believe that if they have all the music as originals on disc, it is ok to copy this on to a laptop and use it at shows. The Copyright legislation states a personalized copy can be made -- it disallows a copy for the purpose of business, e.g., hosts who get paid).

We have reached a time when technology is ahead of legislation, and the use of laptops and copied discs is not policed in Toronto because there is just too many of them; however, there have been occasions where police have visited the bar and the equipment has been taken away, and fines delivered to both the host and the bar.

Food for thought.

-- comment ends--

Now this person wants to hurt the business of CAVS and anyone using electronic media or at least scare them. (Basically anyone who has potentially a technical advantage over them) The professionals are well aware of what is needed to be compliant but more importantly, CDG are NOT the primary method of selling Karaoke media. The primary method is not MP3+G and you can buy professional karaoke licenses for those for the purposes of use in karaoke pubs which are more expensive than the standard price. So this comment is as technically out of date as they claim the laws are in relation to technology. Further more, CAVS encrypts all the files to prevent cloning. They've been operating in the USA for years and again, what is required is proof of licensing. Due to the MP3+G karaoke file formats, license is the key word. I must stress this comment is not a legal opinion, and these Karaoke DJs are NOT lawyers. Further more, most systems cannot ready CDG disks which makes MP3+G files not only more relevant but will soon be the ONLY method of obtaining karaoke files.

I've had people try to ask me to sabotage competition before based on interpretations on legality. So let me make this CLEAR: Anyone submitting legal information to me who is not a lawyer can have that comment removed. If they are Karaoke DJ's that also goes.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The New Desktop Experience of Linux in Toronto

Hello folks. Yes I know I SHOULD be doing this on my own site (which is under construction) but wanted to get my observations on Linux as a DESKTOP (as in the old Windows USERS who have little technical knowledge). Yes we all love Linux for development,as web servers, files servers and advanced "geek projects.

I'm on a mission: To show people the wonders and joys of Linux for even "ordinary" users who didn't dedicated themselves to understanding how everything works. Truth be told, I'm a Debian fan. Second Truth be told, I think Ubuntu is one of the better user geared OS distros out there. there is Mandrake but I've had bad experiences with Mandrake in the past. I won't go into OpenSuse because of issues by a friend with the layering used in the Yast tools. Plus the fact that Novell has back stabbed the Linux community by allowing themselves to be bought by Microsoft (and let's be honest, this is EXACTLY what has happened, Novell is now part of MS and whatever MS says, Novell will now do), consequently I avoid it. If you wish to keep MS from locking down your Linux as well as using Novell to attack and try to destroy Linux and the open source movement all together, don't support Novell. Period. They have been a severe disappointment to the Linux and shown a complete lack of consideration and respect for the Linux community including their own Linux customers. Samsung is also doing a MS license deal which of course is an attempt to give substance to an argument when MS knows there is none. (Like SCO who MS helped fund their attack on Linux which backfired) The one thing MS does wells: marketing (+ FUD). The only way to ensure MS doesn't attempt to attack the open source movement, is to pull our support from those who stand behind MS's attempts to destroy it. As my sister always says: Vote with your mind, vote with your heart and vote with your DOLLARS.

Anyway I digress. The real point is to show easy ways of using Linux for Desktop use. Basically I and others who are weary of MS DRM (Hollywood is now MS's customer, not us), Spyware (WGA which is now forced fed through XP, Vista and MS updates so I tell people to turn automatic updates off and do it manually), bluescreens of death, privacy violations (MS can periodically "check" on your files, any files, in Vista) and tight fisted EULA terms can go to Linux for all the desktop needs except, perhaps for some gaming (in which case go get a Nintendo Wii). People willing to try out Linux have an extremely powerful alternative (more powerful than windows actually) with countless tools, all free. My goal is to allow people to move to Linux with more confidence and ease and like many (not all) Desktop version of Linux, all my experiences posted here are free to for people to use and republish (just don't abuse by not giving credit for my work). I've already started one convert from XP (which got false positives constantly gives the "not activated" message). She got so frustrated she asked me to set up Linux for her and she is very happy now. Minor issues which I will address on this blog as I find answers. I'll also be looking at using Linux in Desktop business world as well and give examples of how Linux can be as good as or better in many ways than MS stuff out there.

I'll give as much detail as Linux converts will allow me to post. Technical details obviously, but I need permission to give specific business cases as details about specific industries (if commercial business) could potentially identify people and we all like our privacy. Oh, I am officially giving commercial Linux support to small business in Toronto. If you live in Toronto and want to know how to move to Linux in your business, I'll give a hand. New converts I'll help get started without charge. (as it helps add materials for my blog but feel free to buy a machine from me if you need one as I do have living expenses to pay). Support for existing Linux users I'll have to charge for but I believe in being fair: I do house calls within the GTA. I won't post fees here but let's just say I charge less than most people with significantly less experience than I do and I can charge less for Linux support. Being a software developer I have additional insight into some problems mere network administrators often lack.

The whole point is not so much to get me business (although I don't mind getting it) but to help people feel more confident in making the move to Linux for Desktop use. I believe Linux now has Distros that are truly ready to be desktops OSs for the average user and I want to help give a hand in this exciting era of Information Technology. Let the good times roll!

Oh, I'll be starting with a All-In-One Linux PVR (using MythTV plus a few other tools suggested by colleagues, thanks for your input Alex) using an Antec Fusion Case and a really slick Motherboard (Asus M2NPV-VM with a High Def COMPOSITE interface included, screams PVR folks). (I'm really excited about this).