Archive for April 2009

CLI vs GUI

23 April 2009

Moving forward well includes not losing the good-old along the way. Graphical user interfaces (GUI) provide a pleasing computing experience and sometimes make a task quicker and/or easier — and sometimes not.

As I did a routine FTP task today, I thought about how Gnu/Linux is cresting into mainstream consciousness in such things as netbooks and embedded devices. How will broader adoption change Gnu/Linux? Could we ever lose the command line interface (CLI) tools?

How would my FTP task (delete some files) be done with a GUI application?

Click an icon to start the application. Wait for the window to open.
Click the bookmarks menu.
Click the bookmark for the site I want.
Enter the password.
Click OK.
Double-click to the directory I want. Wait for files to be displayed.
Click to select the first file.
Shift-click the last file to select the range of files.
Click delete.
Click OK to confirm.
Click to close the application.

How do I do my FTP task now? (‘enter’ means press the Enter or Return key)

Click to start a terminal emulator (usually open already)
Type “lftp username,password ftpsite ‘enter'”
Type “mrm regular-expression-that-covers-the-files-I-want ‘enter'”
(today that was ‘0*.jpg’ and really only 0* was necessary)
Type “bye ‘enter'”
Type “exit ‘enter'” (If I want to close the terminal window, which I usually don’t)

Ofttimes CLI is quicker and easier than GUI. My own computing is probably about half and half. Given that Microsoft saw fit to create a new command shell (Powershell) for Windows XP and Vista, I suppose it is fair to hope that Gnu/Linux will retain its CLI capabilities even in the face of growing mainstream use.

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More on Service

18 April 2009

Another week has passed and still no word from either Chevrolet dealer or manufacturer of the other product (a cell phone holder/wallet). 😦

During that week I was trying to get some slightly odd-sized fluorescent lamps. Went to a supplier in North Vancouver, they had stock in Chilliwack. Would have them for me in North Van next day.

Went back two days later. The lamps had come, but arrived broken and no one had ordered replacements. Got the replacements ordered. They would be in North Van the next day.

Went back two days later. The lamps were ordered, but were waiting for pick up in Chilliwack. North Van branch called Chilliwack branch. Straightened that out. They would be in North Van the next day.

Went back two days later. The lamps had been shipped from Chilliwack … to Abbotsford. As it happened I was going to be in Chilliwack that afternoon, so I just picked some up while there.

I often hear that consumer confidence and consumer spending is needed to get the economy back on track. I’m trying to spend, I swear! Does everyone find it so difficult to spend?

Nuff said about customer service.

Service

10 April 2009

Some recent interactions.

Buying a dish of food court lasagna. While it was reheating the proprietor talked about the ingredients he used, where they came from, showed me the cheese that went into the dish, etc. I didn’t actually care, I was just looking for fast food, but he really wanted to show the quality of his product. And he threw in some meatballs for no extra charge.

Looking to replace a good product that I’ve worn out. Can’t find one anywhere so went to the manufacturer’s website. They still show that product in their catalogue, but don’t seem to have online sales. I emailed them asking where in my region I might buy one of these products. It’s been some days and no reply.

Shopping for a van. Stopped in at a Chevrolet dealer where they had lots of passenger vans, but none of the cargo version. Salesman told me they would locate one for me to see and would phone. It’s been a few days and no phone call.

Of these three businesses, which would I likely return to and recommend?
Which is going belly-up?
Why?

Green Computing

5 April 2009

microclient
Quite a bit of my screen time lately has been at the keyboard of a Norhtec Microclient Sr. This little machine uses 5 to 7 watts of power, a tenth of the power of a full-sized PC. It’s only a 500 Mhz processor, so it is not fast. Still, just prior to this post I was using OpenOffice.org, GIMP, Freemind and Firefox all at once on Mandriva 2009 with KDE and the speed was quite acceptable. The Microclient is fanless and I run it using a compact flash card instead of a hard drive so the system is also completely silent.

Save power, save money, save space. I am looking forward to trying the 1 Ghz Microclient Jr DX soon!

MPG -> L/100KM || L/100KM -> MPG

4 April 2009

Here’s a handy.  With peak oil just around the corner a lot of people should be looking for more economical transportation (not to mention alternatives).  For comparisons, to convert between litres per 100 km and miles per (imperial) gallon just divide 282.481 by the number you are converting from.  ie 282.481 / l/100km = mpg and 282.481 / mpg = l/100km.

That 282.481 is the product of the number of miles in 100km and the number of litres in an imperial gallon.  So if 282.481 is hard to remember, try 62 miles in 100km (roughly) times 4.54 litres in an imperial gallon = 281.48.  Close enough if it means the difference between remembering and not. For example;

281.48 / 8.4 l/100km = 33.51 mpg

282.481 / 8.4 l/100km = 33.63 mpg

Of course having written this I’ll probably remember the 282.481 now.  🙂

Hello world!

4 April 2009

My brother said I should do this.  I wonder if he’s right?

I am using Michael Martine’s sapphire theme for the launch of my blog.  This is to honour my aunt’s sapphire anniversary today.

The broad topic of this blog is moving forward.  Posts will cover things and ideas I think can help the broad ‘us’ to do that.  If you come along, please bring cookies.  The oatmeal sorts are good for dunking in coffee.