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Ubuntu 11.04 Quick Review

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So I finally got a chance to update my netbook to Ubuntu 11.04. And I have to say that so far, I’m very pleased with it. At least currently, I’m not running into any wireless issues like I did in 10.10. The overall look and feel has been very clean too, and it’s perfect for any sort of development type of environment.

Overall, I have to say that it’s amusing the application dock bar is almost a direct copy of the Mac OSX docking bar. It’s not completely the same but the similarities are definitely there. What can you say, don’t mess with a good thing when it’s proven to be a good design. I do love the full screen app mode where it takes over the entire screen itself too. The menu system will come up when you hit the alt key, so it’s actually very easy to work with and doesn’t change any of your current working styles, just makes the real estate to work in larger.

One change that I haven’t really tested too much are the differences between LibreOffice and Openoffice. LibreOffice has replaced OO, and it’s actually a fork of it where it’s trying to remove the dependencies of Java. Looks fairly clean, but like I said… haven’t had a change to play with it since I’m usually embedded deep in command line, vi, and terminals.

The only thing that I can see where linux is drastically missing something now, is probably a spectacular email client. There has to be something that can replace Outlook completely, but still have the ease of use and simplicity of Ubuntu. That’s really what has driven Ubuntu’s user experience in my opinion and driven linux use forward. Especially compared to the days when you had to compile X11 and all you had for window managers was something out of the Unix term environment.

If you have an older computer, I definitely recommend checking out Ubuntu 11.04. The speed of it really breaths new life into a computer that you thought couldn’t be worth anything anymore. And with basic browsing, printing, and your average document processing? Ubuntu 11.04 has come a long ways since I first touched linux.

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The Dark Power of Bitcoin

While this project is currently in beta, it’s actually a game changer. A scary one.

Bitcoin itself is an open source project where a currency bartering system was created based on P2P. A completely self-sustaining currency where there is no centralized system and everything is based entirely on the algorithm in which creates the bitcoins and the distribution. The fact that there’s an underground market for this, and that apparently there are people that are some stories of people using it as tender for illegal activities makes it entirely interesting.

The way each bitcoin is made seems to be along the same lines as [email protected]. Processing power is used to compute blocks, where when the blocks are assembled, it creates a bitcoin at random. Probably not entirely correct, but it’s enough to go on.

The biggest change here is that while governments can ban the use of bitcoin, they can’t really control the actual flow of money. Since it’s headless P2P, there really is no way to track the movement of the bitcoin transactions alongside the fact that you can’t tax it, or anything. The entire currency is hard to break down since it’s virtual and in essence, it could start an entire black market trade if it truly became banned. On top of this, the algorithm is an open one (considering the project is released under MIT license) but the amount of power to compute the entire thing is completely ridiculous to try to game the system or mine for more “money”.

All in all, this project was brilliantly conceived and scary in the same breath. I so want to actually give it a test run, but you know that the government at some point will turn their eyes on this. And the moment that happens, everyone will fall into a net of some sort if you have a connection. Thanks but no thanks. Irregardless, it’s one of the few currencies in the world right now that actually has some value to it instead of drawing up some random paper and assigning values to it. Consider this: this is the only currency that requires power to generate it in the sense of the energy spent in CPU processing. No other currency has that sort of value outside of commodities. Food for thought.

(h/t to Jason on the project itself)