Smoothwall Firewall project

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Chrome shoots to number 2 in my blog viewing figures.

My Blogs visitor browser stats
Now, we must get the caveats out of the way first:
1) I know my blog is Linux/open source oriented
2) This is a very small sample set and number of users
3) I'm sure absolutely positive that other sites could have their views slued depending on the subject matter.

However, I have been using Google Analytics to keep an eye on my blog since I started it, and without fail the order of browsers visiting my site has always been Firefox first and Microsoft Internet explorer second, but not anymore. Google Chrome has moved into second place by some margin as you can see above.

In the grand scheme of the computing universe this is probably not that significant, but I have definitely seen a shift in the visitors browsers who come to this blog, which in combination with other statistics flying around the web does show a shift in peoples attitude to switching their browser.

Tuesday 16 February 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 alpha has added many latest versions of it's software components

I have just run up my Virtualbox virtual machine image of Ubuntu 10.04 - Lucid - to see what if anything had changed in the last week, and it most definitely has. So, we must give 10/10 to the software packagers working on Lucid who have worked extremely hard to incorporate the latest releases.

We now have the only just released Openoffice 3.2 , which will be a big win for this release of Ubuntu given the massive speed improvements and extra compatibility. There is no doubt that this software is of core importance on many desktops, as I use it on a daily basis.

Mozilla Firefox has also now been bumped up to the lastest 3.6 release, which also adds performance increases to the browser experience, and with Google Chrome in the software repository this release is going to be well supported for web browsing. I admit I would have liked to have seen Google Chrome or even Chromium installed along side, but I guess it's not that hard for people to install it now.

The kernel has been moved to 2.6.32-13, which includes several improvements, and far to many to list here.

Gnome itself has moved to the latest series 2 release - 2.29.2 - so as predicted there is no sign of Gnome 3 or Gnome-shell. This is not surprising as these will change the way people work with OS, and can't be done lightly.

It's worth noting that currently the rumoured removal of Gimp from the default install and the switch from Google search within the Firefox search box to Yahoo(Bing) has not taken place. These changes may well occur in later releases but I will be keeping an eye out for that.

The boot speed has improved in the virtual environment, but it is too early to say if this wil hit the desire of a 10sec boot on an SSD based machine.

Friday 12 February 2010

Wow , Openoffice 3.2 is extremely fast on Ubuntu 9.10

I have been using Openoffice for years, and while it's compatibility has always been good with other office products, speed has never been one of it's strong suites, but boy has that all changed with this latest release. When you click on the menu item to start the application, even on a machine that is busy, as mine always are, it is near as damn it instantly there. Now you can't get much better than that.

I will also comment that the last release - 3.1.1 - had made moves to getting faster anyway, so it is obviously something the dev's have been looking at.

On Ubuntu it has not made it into the standard repositories to install, so you have to do it manually, which really isn't that dificult.

Basically go to the Openoffice web site HERE and grab the file that contains all the installation files.

Untar this file into your home directories tmp directory and then from a command line change into the directory it creates, which in out case is the DEB's directory and run the command shown below, simples as the Meerkat says ;-)

Now, as we already have Openoffice 3.1.1 installed, setting up an icon to access the program is slightly harder, if you don't remove that version first. I didn't as I wanted to keep both around for now.

So you need to right click on your Applications menu on the task panel, and add a link to the new application manually, like so.


Thursday 11 February 2010

Chromium adds a slew of new security features to Chromium

While looking through the latest improvements to the latest daily release of Chromium I noticed a whole new page of security management.

Now I have been reading some very foolish and childish FUD around the web about how chromium calls back to the mother ship and tells Google about everything you have ever done and what you are currently drinking. I have have always know this is nonsense, and you can control exactly what goes where if you have more than two brain cells available to you. Just switching in privacy mode is just one such option open to you.

This new screen allows you to control what happens with your cookies,images,Javascript,Plug-ins and Pop-ups, that's right you can tell Chromium never to allow pop-ups. I know Firefox has had most of these for a long time, and they could be more granular, but it really is a great step forward in controlling what your browser can and can't allow.

One other nice touch is the ability to control your Adobe flash plug-in settings which also allows you to protect yourself against some of the new breed of Flash plug-in exploits.

Yes this is a great step forward and one warmly welcomed here.

Saturday 6 February 2010

Is cloud computing really that new and original

I have been working in IT for more years than I care to remember, but it seems that if you wait around long enough, technologies that I have used before, suddenly become the flavour of the month and re-appear with smart presentations from slick young people in nicely tailored suits to tell us all how different it all is this time.

This happened with virtualization, where if you are brutally honest , the only key difference to what IBM were doing decades ago, was that the technologists got it to run on the Intel architecture, with all it's horribly legacy memory management et al.

So to the cloud, which in essence is the ability to leverage the power and storage of a remote machine to achieve the task's that you were used to doing locally, sound familiar, it certainly does to me. Literally decades ago people used to share resources on an IBM mainframe to run their payroll or business finance systems, which would be physically a long way away - people couldn't afford their own mainframes - and people would attach via modems and dumb terminals.

This is exactly what we are moving towards with the concept of the "Cloud is the machine". The local device can become significantly less powerful as all the real processing of the services is done remotely. This leads to much cheaper consumer devices, whether they be phones, iPads or netbooks. The services that people also want to use today are also becoming more and more central service orientated, things like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, Email, Instant Messaging etc.

I now their are many new technologies like HTML5 and improved Javascript performance that will improve the ability of the clients to do some work locally, but they are not going to be over tasked. The new breed of Intel Atom and ARM processors will be more than powerful enough to cope with the enhanced new GPU's that are appearing almost daily.

There will always be some tasks that are best suited to having a large powerful computer locally as their are many tasks that don't virtualize well, but we are talking about a small percentage for many users who today in 2010 consider the net to be the reason for owning a computer in the first place.