Lenovo, one of the world's biggest PC manufacturers, is to start selling laptops to business and consumers with Linux pre-installed on the machines.

Link to BBC story.

That's good news, I guess: In particular when you don't want or need an instance of MS Windows preinstalled on your machine, you can now finally avoid the "Microsoft Tax" that you currently have to pay no matter what, just to delete it off your box once it arrives. It may also give customers an idea of how many dollars they actually spend on Windows, because nowadays many still believe "Windows was for free, it came with my computer"...

Apparently, earlier this year Dell already announced it would start shipping Linux PCs also.

Way to go, Dell and Lenovo!

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Foxkeh Wallpaper, August 2007

Schweet, a new Foxkeh wallpaper is out. I like the color.

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Design Agency "Information Architects" from Tokyo has released a tube map of the Web (for the second time, even), connecting the allegedly "200 most successful sites on the web":

Part of the WebTrends Map 2007 v2

The map (large version here) seems to have shrunk Firefox's "station" a little, compared to the first version of the map released around new year's. I hardly even found it at first.

While I may not agree with all of the inclusions or connections (for example, I am unsure why the awfully overrated German weblog "Spreeblick" belongs on there) I think it's an interesting and fun map to look at (rather than an accurate illustration of the current structure of the web).

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OSCON 2007 starts next week in Portland, Oregon. Now, Nat Torkington on O'Reilly Radar encourages people to record presentations there and youtube them afterwards.

As I can't make it to Portland this year, I am very glad to hear that! I hope, a lot of the presentations will make it online for us to enjoy.

PS: If you don't have a camcorder, you may want to check if your digital camera can take videos (most do, actually). The quality will certainly be sufficient even so. (The only thing I am worried about it youtube's 100M upload restriction, which may not be enough depending on the length of a particular presentation.) Oh, and make sure you bring a tripod if you tend to get shaky holding a cam for too long ;)

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Pretty cool: The new Fiat 500.

Not cool: Having a "designed for MS Windows" logo next to the cigarette lighter.

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Hah, that's funny: The word "ginormous" made it into this year's update of the Merriam-Webster dictionary, two years after it made first place in an online poll for the "favorite word not in the dictionary".

They define it as:

extremely large, HUMONGOUS


(via bb)

Update: As a reader points out, it only wasn't in Merriam-Webster (an American dictionary) yet -- while it has been British slang for a long time and thus can be found in the Oxford dictionaries. Thanks, Ian!

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I need to admit: I was mentally prepared for a phone meeting later tonight. I forgot it's the Fourth of July...

Well, I guess: Happy Independence Day then, Americans! :)

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I recently mentioned flickr's questionable take on German laws by heavily restricting their German users' access to all pictures marked "moderate" or "restricted" on their service. While they recently removed the restriction for "moderated" pictures, a lot of users have lost trust in the service, mainly for their apparent inability to communicate with their user base and their failure to discuss significant changes before they happen.

Many paying users (the "against censorship" group on flickr has about 13.000 members) are considering not to prolong their "pro" accounts there, and are looking for other alternative photo sites on the web. In other words, flickr has harmed its reputation as a definitive address for photo sharing on the Internet, much to the delight of their competition.

One of the services that seems to have benefit the most is Ipernity, a quite young French photo sharing site. They currently get "700 new users a day", says their CEO Christian Conti (link, [German]). I got myself an account as well, to try it out until my flickr pro account expires at the end of the year and I need to make a decision where to keep my stuff in the future.

Ipernity is a "flickr clone", which is pretty obvious when you compare the looks of the two pages: flickr Ipernity Still, Ipernity has several points worth mentioning distinguishing it from the Yahoo product:

  • Ipernity allows you to share not only pictures but also videos and audio files. This comes in very very handy when you happen to take a little video with your digital camera, or if you want to share a song with your friends. I, for example, uploaded the German national anthem for my non-German friends to hear, if they like.
  • Ipernity features a blog. Of course, a lot of us have blogs already, but it makes it easy for people who don't, to publish their thoughts and illustrate them with their own photos right away.
  • It has a bunch of nice features, such as a variety of upload possibilities (including direct URL download or ZIP file upload), which leaves little to be desired.
  • Users can customize their personal pages. This is clearly myspace-like (and I admit I don't think I will do that) but many people seem to like it.

However, there are also some drawbacks:

  • Ipernity doesn't have groups yet. This feature is apparently "coming soon", though. (Update: It's here, see below)
  • Sometimes (yet very rarely) the site's localization is sketchy: I stumbled across a button once that said "Oui", in the English language version I am using. But actually, that made me smile rather than frown upon the apparently missing translation.
  • The upload restriction for the "pro" accounts is one gigabyte per month. That's a lot, but for real "power users", that might not be enough.
  • At last, while their user base is growing rapidly, the community is nowhere near as big as flickr.

All in all, Ipernity is a pretty good alternative to flickr: Its major advantage is that it brings together what belongs together: Audio, video, pictures and blog entries, with comments, ratings, favorites and of course RSS feeds etc. all over the place. There is an aspect of community orientation and interactiveness that flickr seems to have lost out of its sight since it was acquired by the big Y. Ipernity may have a small user base only at the moment, but they are growing constantly and arguably, a few thousand active users are better than a million not caring.

Still, Ipernity's future remains open: Will they be able to pay for their growing infrastructure/bandwidth, etc.? Can they scale their service in a manner painless for the users? And if/when they move into the focus of some big company looking for the next acquisition for their Web 2.0 portfolio, will they keep their integrity even if they sell?

The bottom line is: flickr has shown us in Europe what not to do with a Web 2.0 company. Now there are competitors out there that have more features, are more community-friendly and have been given an "invitation" by flickr to do a lot of things better.

If people like the Ipernity guys actually jump at this chance, and how they'll perform, is one of the most exciting questions on the web in the near future and something I'll certainly watch closely.

Update: A while ago, ipernity has released a group feature that works nicely and has since gained many users. Go take a look!

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Today, I decided to give my blog a new look -- mostly because I was tired of the old, white, colorless layout. After a little while, I found a nice one in the Wordpress theme directory (so, props to the guy who designed this :) )

Old (left) vs. new (right):

This blog’s old look This blog’s new look

If you find something not working, or you want to let me know that the new layout sucks even more than the old one ;) feel free to leave a comment.

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ABC news has a list of 100 blogs they "love".

Asa's "Firefox and more" is one of them. Congrats, Asa!

Sadly, the ABC people don't link to a single blog on their list, as kottke already mentioned. (Incidentally, he's on the list himself.)

So yeah, maybe somebody should give them a hyperlinks 101. But apart from that, the list is pretty well done --with no apparent surprises-- but a good one to look at if you want to know who the cool guys are.

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