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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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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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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If Apple was Target, Microsoft would be Wal-Mart.

Joel on Software about Font Rendering on Windows vs. OS X. Interesting how their different algorithms sacrifice font character for crispness and vice versa.

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So yeah, another day, another blog meme, and this one seriously is on the cheesy side but fair enough: I am C++. ;)

You are C++. You are very popular and open to suggestions.  Many have tried to be like you, but haven't been successful
Which Programming Language are You?

I am not sure if that's a good or a bad thing -- especially considering I haven't coded in C++ in, well, forever. The closest I've got in the last years was Java cause most programming assignments in my university are in Java. And whenever I can choose freely, let's just put it like that: C++ is usually not on top of my list.

Now, which one are you?

(via binblog and JP (who is Prolog: talk about weird programming languages!))

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Sun’s engagement in OpenOffice.orgI'm delighted to hear that Sun announced today joining the Mac OSX port of OpenOffice.org.

Sun, who founded the OpenOffice project by open-sourcing the StarOffice program code shortly after they acquired its former vendor StarDivision, are going this way due to the increasing use of Macs. They write:

Why is Sun joining the Mac porting project? If you look around at conferences and airport lounges, you will notice that more and more people are using Apple notebooks these days. Apple has a significant market share in the desktop space. We are supporting this port because of the interest and activity of the community wanting this port.

I am very glad to see this happen as it makes a native "aqua" port of OpenOffice much more likely to happen in this century than it was ever before.

And since most people at Mozilla are using Macs these days, this seems to be something to look forward to for a whole bunch of people.

(via TUAW)

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Foxkeh, the Mozilla Japan MascotMozilla Japan's Mascot, a little "firefox" named Foxkeh, became popular across the Japanese speaking Internet quite quickly and wherever he goes, people seem to like the cute little fellow.

I personally always liked his monthly wallpapers (featuring foxkeh and the current calendar), though admittedly I wasn't quite able to read Foxkeh's Japanese blog.

As of today though, Foxkeh has an English blog as well, foxkeh.com, and you should check it out.

After all, you are as curious to learn new things about the web and Firefox as Foxkeh is, aren't you?

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Thunderbird 2 ArtworkThe newly released Thunderbird 2 was promptly BoingBoinged: Cory Doctorow calls Thunderbird "free, kick-ass email" and shows that Thunderbird is the best mailer out there, for the average and not-so-average mail user:

I send several hundred emails a day and receive at least a thousand non-spams every day. I need an industrial-strength mailer, and I get it from Thunderbird. I love it.

Thanks to Cory for the nice review and thumbs up to the Thunderbird team for their latest and greatest release :)

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When I just closed Firefox (on OSX), I got this window:

Firefox New Settings Window

Firefox -- New Settings New Settings have been created for this application. Do you wish to use these settings from now on? [Use new settings] [Use original settings]

Quite frankly, I am confused. Now I don't know if this is a Firefox window or one that the OS gave me, but since I upgraded to OSX 10.4.9 earlier today, it is possibly something OSX asked me. Yet, I have a few thoughts on this, if you ask me, unfortunately bad piece of UI.

  1. May I see your ID please? Who are you, after all? Not only did the window itself not have a title in the title bar, also the menu bar was completely empty. I had no idea whatsoever, what process/entity/program asked me this question. I actually still don't know. Let alone...
  2. ... why? As a basic rule of thumb, I expect dialog windows to tell me, at least, why they they showed up in the first place. "New settings have been created" is fairly vague. What kind of settings? Who created them? And why do I have to make a decision? But worst of all...
  3. ... what will happen? Now that I don't know what the decision is even about, I am even worse off since I don't know the implications of either of the decisions. If I click "new settings", will you overwrite my Firefox profile? Will I lose data? What will change, compared to how it was before? Or, if I click "old settings", (still assuming the window has a reason to show up in the first place:) will that make my Firefox instance unusable/incompatible with some sort of magic and important component?

I clicked "Use new settings", and, judging by the fact that I can still blog, that doesn't seem to have been the "wrong" decision. But you never know...


Update: The fabulous little box is apparently an effect after several subsequent crashes of an application on OSX. There's an Apple help document about it, thanks for pointing that out in the comments, Michael.

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If your webservice breaks, at least give people a reason to smile when they read the error message -- like Technorati this morning:

The Technorati Monster escaped again

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