Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Where's the York Windows OS survey data gone ?

On my web site I've an informal bio that makes mention of the work I did putting together surveys of windows 95, 2000, NT adoption in UK universities.

These surveys were pretty well regarded in their time, and I know that various people in the UK HE computing community made use of them, not to mention Microsoft UK themselves for marketing purposes.

They are now clearly of historic interest only (unless, of course, you're going to offer me a job and want proof of organizational ability ;-) ).
The web pages were hosted at the University of York, my employers at the time.

Well I haven't worked for York for four years now, and no one else there, or elsewhere in the UK, has taken them over so not surprisingly York have finally sent them to /dev/nul.

If you are looking for the survey information it seems to have been archived on the wayback machine. There are a number of copies, and as not much happened to them after 2003 any of the last few copies should be accurate.

Click here for the entry point to last copy archived.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Retro computing (again)

I've acquired an old G3 MacBook - a Wall Street according to lowendmac.

Initially I was going to put linux on it, but then it's an oldworld Mac with the closed firmware and yellow dog needs bootx to start and it's all a bit of nightmare to install, so I thought I'd try Jaguar.

Problem - no CD drive. Not going to happen. So I'm forced to start thinking what can i actually do with an OS 9 Mac. Fortunately it has some basic internet tools and stuff so it can be used as a terminal, and it still has some of the apps installed on it.

Possibly just possibly I might still have my old claris word floppies from the legit copy I bought years ago, which woud help turn it into a basic writing machine for offline blogging and the like, because whatever you say about it, it is a nice machine.

And that's it. Perfectly usable, useful if dated. Seems a shame to trash it. I'll keep you posted if I start using it for something purposeful

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Adding a calendar application to fluxy ...

As a final tour de force I decided to add a calendar application to my virtual low memory/ubuntu/fluxbox/icewm machine. My first thought was orage but while it installed it didn't play nicely, so I went for something rather more heavyweight. korganizer. Coupled with my orage synchronisation script from January (plus a couple of edits to get rid of the xfce/orage specific references) it worked just fine.

This begs another question - if I can get kpilot to work can I get it to sync with my old palm pilot? - I forsee fun ahead when I build up the real box

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Prototyping a lightweight linux box

At home, wrapped up in a plastic bag I have an old P2 400MHz machine with 64MB RAM that we used until recently as an alternate dial up machine. Has Windows 98, and somewhere I have a spare no name ethernet card that will work with it. I've also had a hankering for a linux machine at home, but even now linux is a little bloated and a lot of distros don't run comfortably in so little memory.

However in theory you could build ubuntu to run in that little memory with an alternate window manager. Well, I didn't build it on the old clunker, but using parallels I built a custom low memory vm using the alternate install cd for ubuntu 7.04 (feisty fawn) to build a command line only system (there's an ubuntu guide that walks you through this).

To this I added:
  • window managers
    • icewm - preferred
    • fluxbox
  • editors
    • gedit
    • Kwrite (my favorite) & Kate
  • applications
    • abiword
    • firefox
    • icepodder
  • doobries
    • xfe - file manger
    • dillo - lightweight browser

    Notice - no mail client. Theory is that firefox, while a bit slow will perform well enough to work with gmail and by keeping things light the system should perform well enough. If mail is really dire there's always mutt. As a test system it seems to hang together nicely. I can edit (this is being written with kwrite on the vm), print, wordprocess, and surf the web, not to mention download podcasts, which is all I want to build the system for.

    In emulation it seems fine. Next question is how well does it perform on genuine 1999 hardware?