Posts Tagged ‘New Users’
Two days ago, I was trying to help my friend make his WinXP laptop connect to Clemson’s WPA2 Enterprise network. It knows how to do it (it’s done it many times before), but at that instant the computer just didn’t feel like cooperating. We tried several solutions, including rebooting (twice!) and re-entering all of the wireless settings. No success.
Disgruntled, Mark (my friend) started to verbally assault the computer. Failing, he suggested a new approach: visually letting the computer know how frustrated I was. We opened up mspaint and I started to draw a laptop being hacked by a blood-stained battle axe. As I drew the woosh lines behind my axe – just so it was clear that the computer was about to be slaughtered – the innocent beige bubble popped up letting us know that, out of the blue, despite two minutes of sitting there after giving up trying to get an IP address, we had an excellent connection to tigernet (the wireless network).
We laughed. It was funny. What a coincidence, eh?
The next day (last night) the computer did it again. We opened the same bitmap we drew before… to no avail. This laptop knew what was going on. It knew it couldn’t actually be harmed by a bitmap image.
So I opened a command prompt and ran ‘format C:’. Before I could finish reading the warning line (Are you sure you want to do this? [y/n]), tigernet was connected.
I have to commend Microsoft on the incredible user interaction they’ve instilled in their operating systems. Threatening to slaughter and then vaporize someone would probably make them do what you want, so I suppose this is replicating human interaction, right? Man, it’s a shame Fedora won’t respond to threats like that.
In other news, Mark installed Fedora after that incident last night. It connected instantly and hasn’t dropped the connection. No threatening bitmaps necessary.
In other news, my girlfriend tells me that her computer starting running much better in the past week as well. She also happened to be shopping for new netbooks online last weekend. Coincidence??
Like many users’ personal machines, my computer doesn’t run at optimum capacity unless it has the right color scheme and eye candy. I spent the better half of the afternoon earlier decking out my Fluxbox setup with some fun new themes, xcompmgr, and some aterm-pimping.
Question, though: what happened to GDM configuration gui? I seem to remember it back in like… Fedora 7 (Moonshine)? Maybe even F8? I went into /usr/share/backgrounds today and changed up leonidas.xml so I could at least get a different background image at the login screen, but I have no interest in going much further than that.
Was this an upstream thing, or a Fedora thing?
Don’t tell me! I’m sure lots of people have asked, and people who are more observant than me are tired of saying why it happened.
Unless you really want to tell me.
Because it bothers me. Although I think I do remember something about it undergoing a rewrite… but hasn’t it been a while? Is it being redone from scratch? idk.
I’m writing the User Guide, directed at people who don’t know Linux well enough to go edit leonidas.xml, and they’ll want to change up the eye candy. I know they will. I wish I had an answer for them…
PS: I added a screenshot of gdmsetup from Fedora 6, but then I opened Empathy from the dock and X though that would be a good reason to crash. Guess I should file a bug report on that; second time it’s happened today. Good thing WordPress autosaves drafts.
When I joined the Fedora Project last year, it was a pretty big deal to me. A college freshman, I’d used Linux for a few years and enjoyed it but never really contributed anything back upstream except for the occasional automated bug report.
A year later, I’m very glad I got involved in open source. But I know plenty of very smart people about my age – oftentimes people I think would be even better at this stuff than I am – who don’t join projects or contribute back upstream for no reason other than that it’s not easily accessible for them.
I’ve been sort of monitoring a student from my old high school as he works on his senior thesis. The project is improving security for Sesame. Some of the first questions he started asking his thesis mentor made it pretty clear that he wasn’t sure where to start or how contact project members. Moreover, I’m not entirely sure that he was clear on how open source development even progresses (c’est á dire, he had never been outside of the Cathedral).
I remembered my own thesis project which involved a new type of spam detection that I built as a plugin of sorts to SpamAssassin. I remembered how confused I was about open source projects too, and now I’m wondering: if someone makes a conscious effort to open up opportunities in the open source world to students, especially high schoolers and younger college students, could we make:
- A significant boost in the number of people interested in computers who manifest that hobby in the open source world (in other words, can we increase our contributer numbers?), or
- For those that don’t necessarily become contributers, can we at least get them to try Linux? Consequently, since that’s one of the strongest demographics in terms of driving the computing market (a statement I’m completely hypothesizing with no hard numbers), can we make a dent in the consumer world where more developers support OSS or, at the very least, Linux releases?
When I thought of this, the first thing that came to mind was Google’s Summer of Code. But this is a summer thing and it usually targets pretty complex tasks. It also costs money. What if there was a web community where hackers could post jobs of various difficulty or depth with the intent of having students pick them up? There would (probably) be no payment involved, but I have a feeling that lots of students who need projects for school or who are sort of curious but have no obvious point of entry to the open source community would be happy to pick up small tasks if they’re spoon fed to them (at least in the beginning). Course instructors/professors could even use these postings as projects for their classes which have a real effect in the world – that’s perhaps the best case scenario that I could think of.
Just an idea.