Reuters - NEC and Panasonic will unveil on Monday nine new cell phone models running the open-source LiMo operating system, wireless Linux foundation LiMo said at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.
The Sacramento Kings fired interim coach Kenny Natt and his four assistants Thursday, a week after the club finished with the NBA’s worst record. The Kings, once a model of stability during eight consecutive winning seasons and playoff appearances under coach Rick Adelman, will be looking for their fourth coach since Adelman was fired in 2006 by owners Joe and Gavin Maloof.
McClain Braswell purchased a Canon printer recently and, much to his dismay, discovered that it was impossible to operate without first installing the required software. This is one of the reasons I’ve been extremely gunshy about recommending Canon’s consumer products as of late (I’ve about had it with their PowerShot digital camera series, too). He wondered if I had the same problem with a specific HP printer previously reviewed…
So I just stumbled on your review of the HP Photosmart C6380. It’s probably kind of old by now, but I have a question about the required software and drivers, and I think you might be the only reviewer out there who would be interested in listening.
Have you been able to install the C6380 without using the provided software CD? I recently got a Canon PIXMA MP620 which seems to be pretty much the same printer on paper (and I have to agree with you, wireless scanning is something I’ve waited way too long to get). But I was disappointed to find that I had to install a ton of software just to print. Scanning, I can understand the need for some software (although I hope there comes a time when it’s unnecessary), but printing should work right away. I used to have an HP Photosmart 2610 and all I had to do to add the printer to my system was type in the ip address in the “ipp” field. In fact, now that I think about it, I believe Bonjour found it even before I had the chance to think about typing it in.
A network printer is a great thing to have around, since anyone can use it anywhere in my apartment, even neighbors down the hall who need to print out an e-ticket quickly before going to the airport or train station, or a teammate who comes over to work on a project one afternoon and wants to print out a diagram or a proposal so we can draw on it and discuss it together. But if they have to install a bunch of software just to print one thing, it kind of negates that ease of use. Canon, unfortunately, only supports their proprietary “bjnp” protocol, which means there’s basically no way to use the printer without installing their software. Getting it to work on linux took me two hours of googling, downloading, configuring, rebooting, and trial and error. If the C6380 can at least print without installing a bunch of junk, I would immediately box this thing up and pay the difference to swap it for the HP. Have your tried to use it without the provided software, or do you know if it supports ipp or something similarly universal?
Thanks for your time, and for the great video reviews!
I could certainly use the printer outright - and yes, it was quite available on the network. Of course, it was good to have the software installed - but I didn’t feel I needed to in order to access basic printing functions. I’ll actually be doing a future comparison between that HP printer and a similar Kodak model (to test ink cost theories).
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Mohamed Zaian writes “Canonical, the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu, announced today that Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop Edition is free to download from Thursday 23 April. Also announced were the simultaneous releases of Ubuntu 9.04 Server Edition and Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix (UNR) Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop Edition delivers a range of feature enhancements to improve the user experience. Shorter boot speeds, some as short as 25 seconds, ensure faster access to a full computing environment on most desktop, laptop and netbook models. Enhanced suspend-and-resume features also give users more time between charges along with immediate access after hibernation. Intelligent switching between Wi-Fi and 3G environments has been broadened to support more wireless devices and 3G cards, resulting in a smoother experience for most users.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The Obama administration continues to give in to pretty much every wish of the entertainment industry. At an MPAA-sponsored dinner, VP Joe Biden repeated a bunch of Hollywood talking point myths as fact, and promised stronger intellectual property enforcement. He incorrectly referred to file sharing as “pure theft,” claimed that it hurt the economy (with no evidence to support that) and said that it caused lost jobs. Of course, the industry has been putting out bogus studies claiming such notions, but they’re easily debunked when you look at the details. Biden also promised that the “IP czar” would be “the right person,” which (given the audience was Hollywood execs) almost certainly means someone who will roll over and obey the industry, rather than focus on actually increasing innovation and protecting consumer rights.
Earlier at the event, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke noted that the recent leak of Wolverine “underscores the problem the industry faces,” while saying that he “believes in the full and impartial enforcement of the law.” Again, as has been discussed widely, the leak of Wolverine doesn’t demonstrate any problem at all. Plenty of people will still go see the movie in the theater, and if the industry had reacted intelligently, it could have turned the leak into a marketing coup. Instead, it acted stupidly, and because of that, the administration is going to bend over backwards to help the industry keep acting stupid rather than adapt. What a shame.
These moves represent a real loss to the economy, society and culture. For whatever reason (money has a lot to do with it), the administration seems to have bought into the totally unsubstantiated claim that there is only one business model for entertainment (selling content), and thus it needs to create laws to make sure that such a business model works. In doing so, it’s creating massive inefficiencies, decreasing content production and making it even more difficult for new and innovative business models and services to thrive.
When college students are stumped on their classwork, where do they turn? Most of the time, not to their textbooks, according to a survey performed at the behest of Nature Publishing Group. According to Vikram Savkar, who heads the group’s Nature Education effort, 80 percent of the time, the students do what the rest of us do: look to Google, and often on from there to Wikipedia. Nature Education is an effort to change that and, in the process, provide a better science education experience.
Since January, Nature Education’s first product, Scitable, has been available to the public. The goal, according to Savkar, is to provide the sort of dynamic social content that college students now expect—as he noted, biology study groups had already formed spontaneously on Facebook. “The old content models are out of date,” he said, “we all know that textbooks aren’t what students find interesting.”
Adapted from an impromptu rant I gave to some people interested in funding government transparency projects.
I’ve spent the past year and change working on a site, watchdog.net, that publishes government information online. In doing that, I’ve learned a lot: I’ve looked at everything from pollution records to voter registration databases and I’ve figured out a number of bureacratic tricks to get information out of the government. But I’ve also become increasingly skeptical of the transparency project in general, at least as it’s carried out in the US.
The way a typical US transparency project works is pretty simple. You find a government database, work hard to get or parse a copy, and then put it online with some nice visualizations.
The problem is that reality doesn’t live in the databases. Instead, the databases that are made available, even if grudgingly, form a kind of official cover story, a veil of lies over the real workings of government. If you visit a site like GovTrack, which publishes information on what Congresspeople are up to, you find that all of Congress’s votes are on inane items like declaring holidays and naming post offices. The real action is buried in obscure subchapters of innocuous-sounding bills and voted on under emergency provisions that let everything happen without public disclosure.
So government transparency sites end up having three possible effects. The vast majority of them simply promote these official cover stories, misleading the public about what’s really going on. The unusually cutting ones simply make plain the mindnumbing universality of waste and corruption, and thus promote apathy. And on very rare occasions you have a “success”: an extreme case is located through your work, brought to justice, and then everyone goes home thinking the problem has been solved, as the real corruption continues on as before.
In short, the generous impulses behind transparency sites end up doing more harm than good.
But this is nothing new. The whole history of the “good government” movement in the US is of “reformers” who, intentionally or otherwise, weakened the cause of democracy. They too were primarily supported by large foundations, mostly Ford and Rockefeller. They replaced democratically-elected mayors with professional city managers, which required a supermajority to overrule. They insisted on nonpartisan elections, making it difficult to organize people into political blocs. Arguing it would reduce corruption, they insisted city politicians serve without paying, ensuring the jobs were only open to the wealthy.
I worry that transparency groups may be making the same “mistake”.
These are some dark thoughts, so I want to add a helpful alternative: journalism. Investigative journalism lives up to the promise that transparency sites make. Let me give three examples: Silverstein, Taibbi, Caro.
Ken Silverstein regularly writes brilliant pieces about the influence of money in politics. And he uses these sorts of databases to do so. But the databases are always a small part of a larger picture, supplemented with interviews, documents, and even undercover investigation — he recently did a piece where he posted as a representative of the government of Turkmenistan and described how he was wined and dined by lobbyists eager to build support for that noxious regime. The story, and much more, is told in his book Turkmeniscam. (His book Washington Babylon is similarly indispensible.)
Matt Taibbi, in his book The Great Derangement, describes how Congress really works. He goes to the capitol and lays out the whole scene: the Congressmen naming post offices on the House floor, the journalists typing in the press releases they’re handed, the key actions going on behind the scenes and out of the public eye, the continual use of emergency procedures to evade disclosure laws.
And Robert Caro, in his incredible book The Power Broker (one of the very best books ever published, I’m convinced) takes on this fundamental political question of “Who’s actually responsible for what my government is doing?” For forty years, everyone in New York thought they knew the answer: power was held by the city council, the mayor, the state legislature, and the governor. After all, they run the government, right?
And for forty years, they were all wrong. Power was held — held, for the most part, absolutely, without any checks or outside influence — by one man: Parks Commissioner Robert Moses. All that time, everyone (especially the press) treated Robert Moses as merely the Parks Commissioner, a mere public servant serving his elected officials. In reality, he pulled the strings of all those elected officials.
These journalists tackled all the major questions supposedly addressed by US transparency sites — who’s buying influence? what is Congress doing? who’s in power in my neighborhood? — and not only tell a richer, more informative story, but come to strikingly different answers to the questions. In this era where investigative reporting budgets have been cut to the bone and newspapers are folding left and right, it’s fallen to nonprofits like ProPublica and the Center for Independent Media and, from a previous era, the Center for Public Integrity, to pick up the slack. They’ve been using the Internet in innovative ways to supplement good old-fashioned narrative journalism, where transparency sites are a supplement, rather than an end-in-themselves.
For too long we’ve been funding transparency projects on the model of if-we-build-it-they-will-come: that we don’t know what transparency will be useful for, but once it’s done it will lead to all sorts of exciting possibilities. Well, we’ve built it. And they haven’t come. The only success story its proponents can point to is that transparency projects have bred even more transparency projects. I’m done working on watchdog.net; I’m done hurting America. It’s time to give old-fashioned narrative journalism a try.
Previously: Disinfecting the Sunlight Foundation [November 2006]
Dredd-style concept wins car-of-future design competition
‘Leccy Tech This apparently is what we may all be driving in the Mega Cities of tomorrow if Peugeot’s crystal ball is on the money. Revealed as a 1:1 scale model at the Shanghai Motor Show, the Peugeot RD Concept is the winner of a design competition by the French car maker to “imagine the Peugeot in the Worldwide Megalopolis of tomorrow”.…
Punters prefer (much) cheaper Eee PCs
UMPC maker OQO has canned its latest model, if rumours fed by Twitter tweets are to be believed. It has also been claimed that pre-orders have been cancelled.…