Saturday, July 15, 2006

Swap (old_monitor, new_panel);

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Liquid Crystal Display(LCD) Panel prices have come down considerably, perhaps partly driven by some competition from plasma displays, though I feel the LCD will win in the long run.

The price drop has encouraged many organizations (especially in developed countries) to ditch their old monitors, (that have been arriving by the container loads into Colombo), for new LCD displays.

I've been contemplating on an LCD TV versus a Plasma TV but both seem a tad too high for my budget. I didn't want to settle for a 15" or 17" LCD display either because there was already a perfectly functioning 17" monitor. So anything above 17" that was reasonable was what I had in mind and thats exactly what I found (sort of).

I came across a brochure from Metropolitan, that said they would buy back any monitor and sell you a 19" Acer LCD for 10k less. I was a bit skeptical as to the price saving so I decided to do some home work at Unity Plaza. From initial investigations it seemed as if this wasn't a good deal at all, because I could buy a 19" LCD without returning an old monitor for about the same price or a little higher!

Further investigation into the specs revealed that none of those displays were as good as the Acer display. For example most displays could only go up to 1280x800 or in some instances 1024x768 while the Acer could do 1440x900. Also most other displays did not mention their response time which probably meant it was around 12ms or higher, while the Acer one had a wooping 8ms. The lower the response time the less ghost effect you get with high action video. So I came to the conclusion that the dislay was worth more than the extra 10k that is being reduced.

But where would I get an old monitor thats worth less? Ah.. thats where my 10 year old 15" monitor which my dad was using comes in. Its a win-win situation. He gets a 17" monitor; I get 10k off for a really old, "not so good for your eyes" monitor; our family saves on electricity because I'm a heavy computer user; the problem of disposing a junk monitor without hurting the environment has been handed over to someone else.

So if your looking for an upgrade, this might be a good opportunity.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

BabyTux Digest, probably the first...

babytux_digest The babyTUX Digest came as an idea to some of us to create an online magazine that covered Free & opensource software(FOSS) and related technologies. It is probably the first FOSS Magazine from Sri Lanka, carrying several articles by local writers.

The magazine hopes to cover a wide range of FOSS applications in the style of reviews, how-do-i/how-to etc. as well as other local news and events related to the local FOSS movement. While it is primarly written for the intelligent newbie, there will be some articles for the intermediate and advanced user as well.

To commemorate the launch, there was a small private party at "The Commons", which was attended by few key contributors to the project as well as some well wishers (who'll hopefully be future contributors). Arunan, who is also the Editor, gave a run down of the pilot issue and enlightened the gathering as to how and why it was put together. In addition to the local writers, several foreign writers have also provided articles for the first issue.

The magazine, which is being distributed via a Creative Commons License, can be downloaded from the BabyTUX Digest website - http://digest.babytux.org. Don't forget to sign up for the babytuxdigest googlegroup to be notified as soon as a new issue of the magazine is released. For the moment, the babyTUX Digest will is planned to be released once every two months.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Which came first? The Computers or the Operating System?

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Imagine going to your vehicle dealer to buy your dream car and inspecting evey inch of it. Beautiful interior and gourgous exterior only tempt you to look under the hood.

At first your dazzled by the sparkling engine, but your eyes quicky gaze at a sticker pasted on engine.

"This car was designed for Kaltech Koolant and Engine oil"

"Have times changed", you might think to your self. Last time you bought a car, it pretty much ran on any type of Coolant or even water. Same went for engine oil. Weren't Coolants and Engine oils supposed to be designed to work with cars and not the other way around?

At this point you might change your mind, and start to look for another car. To your horror, all new cars come with this logo.

"What's up doc?", you ask the dealer. "Oh come on....practically every car these days runs on Kaltech, he tells you. Seeing that your not satisfied with his answer, he titls over to your ear and wispers, "Don't worry, it does run on other Coolants or just plain old water... but don't quote me on that!". "We're not allowed to remove that sticker and tell you that the car is more flexible than meets the eye. If we do, we could loose our dealership!", he explains.

Thankfully this story is fiction... atleast in this parallel Universe; or is it??? Something somewhere has terribly gone wrong in our universe, because apprently computers are now designed to run on a certain Redmond OS.

The best things that happened to our computers were a result of IBM opening up their PC architecture design. As a result there was more innovating in both hardware and software that powered the PC. So why deny that power by having a sticker that undermines it.

Get the real facts and ask your self, is the sticker worth it! Shouldn't your computer deserves more.

Your computer doesn't have a chicken and egg problem. Well may be just a chicken problem.