As Linux Turns 20, Hopes and Wishes for Its Next 20 Years

Friday, September 9, 2011

Birthdays and anniversaries are a natural time for reflection on what has been and what is yet to come. When they mark major milestones such as 20 years, however, there's a considerable temptation to think bigger.

So it's been in the Linux blogosphere, where our favorite operating system officially turns 20 today. Happy Birthday, Linux!

The celebrations began months ago, of course, thanks to the Linux Foundation's jubilant efforts, which culminated last week at the LinuxCon show. Now that the actual day is upon us, however, that 20-year anniversary is dominating the thoughts and conversations of bloggers far and wide.

Have Apps, Will Travel

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Travel apps open a whole new world for vacationers and business travelers alike. However, there are now so many travel apps that it's hard to determine which will render the best and most frequently updated information.

Muddying the issue further, app stores tend to list flight and hotel apps first and leave the fun and wonky and offbeat apps buried somewhere underneath. To liberate you from that app rut, here are some suggestions and "did ya knows" to make your next trip truly memorable.

Best Apps for Traveling Abroad

Momondos is a free iPhone app that sorts through more than 1,000 websites to find the best travel deals on everything from flights to high-speed rail.

Results for U.S. domestic flights are a bit sketchy, but it's great for making travel arrangements elsewhere in the world. This is a very lean, deep-search app with no trip itinerary functionality. It has a very handy filter that allows you to easily compare flights by price, departure times and other criteria, and thus easily figure out which you actually want to take (a huge plus for anyone who has ever had to toggle between multiple windows to compare flights on numerous airlines). Weirdly, you have to go to the actual website to make hotel reservations.

The Lonely Planet mobile app offers city and country guides with a lot of truly helpful detail. Here you find more than tourist traps -- little known area secrets, local favorite sites, and travel tips are featured. Download the city or country guide you want, and then use it online or off. Did you know that this app will guide you back to your hotel, group or to a new destination? No worries then, if you can't read the street signs or speak the local language.

The Rail Europe app is a digital itinerary, rail guide and alert system rolled into one. The free app allows travelers to choose the route, select a seat, and book tickets directly from their iPhone or iPod touch. The app uses geo-location technology to provide side-trip suggestions available by rail, calculating the time and distance to identify realistic rail journeys that will add to the overall vacation experience.

Video Clip Reveals Possible Chinese State-Sponsored Hack Attack

Monday, September 5, 2011

Solid proof regarding the origins of high-profile international cyberattacks is typically elusive. However, when Western interests are targeted, suspicion often turns to China -- whether rightfully or otherwise.

Those suspicions were again aroused recently, courtesy of government-controlled China Central Television.

CCT ran a 20-minute documentary called "Military Technology: Internet Storm Is Coming." The clip included a brief segment featuring a hacking tool that appears to be used to attack a U.S. website.

While the subjects of the segment speak about theory, the video footage shows Chinese government systems launching attacks against a U.S. target, according to Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of anti-virus firm F-Secure. He called the situation "highly unusual."

HP's Tablet Failure: Big Fun for FOSS Fanatics

Saturday, September 3, 2011

There may be life yet for the seemingly defunct HP (NYSE: HPQ) TouchPad. The company has discontinued its development of all webOS devices, leading retailers to drastically mark down prices on the TouchPads they have in stock. Some buyers have been able to score one for as little as $100 -- that's $400 off the initial asking price when the device entered the market a couple of months ago.

Those TouchPads aren't necessarily doomed to support a dead-ended OS, either. Open source hackers have launched efforts to port Android to the TouchPad, and at least one effort to port Ubuntu to the device is reportedly underway.

It's not clear whether TouchPads running Android will become mainstream devices -- after all, TouchPads are no longer being made. But at the very least, porting can provide hackers hours of fun, and it may result in a low-cost tablet that can live a long life with a vital and active OS like Android.

"People love to have a bit of hardware to toy around with,"Al Hilwa, a program director at IDC, told LinuxInsider. "The TouchPad is now so inexpensive that people may feel they're not putting much at risk."

Where the TouchPad Went Fatally Wrong

Thursday, September 1, 2011

TouchPad tablet never sold so well as when HP announced last week that it was ceasing production of the device.

Consumers have cleaned out the market's US$99-per-unit inventory of TouchPads.

At a time when Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) selling all the iPads it can mak and manufacturers are launching new Android tablets that are making headway in the market, why did the TouchPad crash and burn?

Many factors play into the answer, falling roughly into four categories: issues with HP's management; a lack of apps; the competition; and patience -- or the lack of it.

HP's Management and the TouchPad

Issues at the top level of HP management may have impacted the TouchPad's future.

First, there was the taint of the firm's previous leadership, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

The TouchPad runs on Palm's webOS, which HP acquired when it purchased Palm under the leadership of then-CEO Mark Hurd, who left under a cloud.

Second, HP's leadership, both C-level executives and its board of directors, seem intent on moving the company away from client products, including tablets, King told TechNewsWorld.

That combination essentially made the TouchPad "the Oliver Twist of tablets -- an unwanted foundling," he remarked.