London Google Open Source Jam

If you are in the London catchment area and are an Open Source geek, keep an eye on The Google London Open Source Jam page – I would link to an umbrella page on the Wiki, but onesuch does not seem to exist (?) although there are links for previous events they’ve done.

This month was pretty cool, not least since Google provides all of free software, free beer and free pizza

pizza++! pizza!

…but also you get to see neat stuff like the OneLaptopPerChild device in action – which somehow made me vaguely nostalgic for the ZX80 / ZX81 and Spectrum – and the Trolltech Linux Phone:

olpc olpc in context Trolltech Linux Phone Trolltech Linux Phone

(Quoth DME“…the joypad’s horrible…”) – and there were representatives of LinuxChix there, and one of them had brought a PS3 from Sony running Linux – cute, but not actually very interesting when you are not permitted to do decent graphics under Linux (Sony restrictions enforce this) so unless you want to do some hard floating-point numbercrunching on the Cell processor, why not buy a real PC?

linuxchix in attendance Linux on the PS3 DME plays with Linux on the PS3

Also there was no evidence of /usr/games/tombraider, so doubly what’s the point? 🙂

One of the talks I found oddly most interesting was the chap from, a band of folks who fill the gap in the market for places that nomadic independent geeks can work, in big cities; the three biggest reasons I go into the office rather than work at home are:

  1. Coffee on tap.
  2. I’d go crazy without people to talk to about stuff; work/social/whatever.
  3. (flipside) Bumping into random people for a chat makes me more effective.

…and when I am travelling I tend to drop into local Sun office anyhow, to sync e-mail, meet the locals and drink the coffee. It’s like having your own personal Geek Gentlemen’s Club. The people have spotted that proles normal people might also appreciate something like this and are forming a loose-knit society to provide these environments globally.

It sounds a good idea to me. Also, from their website I found which seems similarly like a good idea.

ps: Kudos to Ben Laurie for the invite / heads-up.

APPLE may sell notebook computers without hard disks

I had dinner with Geoff tonight, and he mentioned this, of which I had not heard before:


APPLE may sell notebook computers without hard disks later this year, an analyst said.

The devices would use the same type of fast memory as music players and digital cameras, driving down prices of hard-disk drives.

The maker of the popular iPod music player and Macintosh computers hopes to introduce flash memory in small computers known as sub-notebooks in the second half of 2007, Shaw Wu, an analyst at American Technology Research said.

A shift to flash memory in place of slower hard-disk drives would eliminate one headache for consumers: lengthy start-up times when turning on computers.

Apple already uses flash memory in its iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle music players. Flash memory is lighter, uses less power and takes up less space than hard-disk drives.

It makes sense, and from a Sun-insider perspective and as someone who has wondered about this in the past, it also makes a good explanation for the rapid adoption of ZFS in MacOS X.

If you need an explanation as to how this would work, watch this cheesy but educational ZFS demo by some German colleagues (original German version) (Pertinent Blog Article) – all you need to do is to poke the block storage code a bit to avoid hotspotting, and implement some mechanism to rotate idle/unchanged blocks around the Flash RAM so as to not wear-out particular areas, and the result should be good for a decade’s worth of use, according to Geoff.

Hell, I’d buy one. It’s be motorcycle-proof and a Fabulous wardriving tool.