Home of The Tiny Guide to

Viewing Platforms at Los Angeles Gated “Communities”

April 30th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

As a recent refugee from LA, this project caught my attention and admiration: “Like the historic viewing platforms at the Berlin Wall that allowed Westerners to see into East Berlin, the Heavy Trash viewing platforms call attention to the walls of gated communities and provide visual access to parts of the city that have been cut off from the public domain.” I always wondered what was going on with these privatized streets, and I still don’t know how the city can give away public property to private interests.

Mac OS X Tiger Release

April 29th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Today is the official release of Mac OS X 10.4, aka Tiger. Some reviews came out in the NYT and WSJ yesterday, and they were glowing.

  • Wall Street Journal – Tiger Leaps Out in Front
    Mossberg writes, “Overall, Tiger is the best and most advanced personal computer operating system on the market, despite a few drawbacks. It leaves Windows XP in the dust… It also adds to the Mac’s general superiority over typical Windows computers as the best choice for average consumers doing the most common computing tasks.”
  • New York Times – From Apple, a Tiger to Put in Your Mac
    Pogue writes, “Tiger is the classiest version of Mac OS X ever and, by many measures, the most secure, stable and satisfying consumer operating system prowling the earth.”
  • Ars Technica – Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger
    This is the most in-depth review of Mac OS X you will find anywhere. Ars Technica digs in deep, with 21 full pages of analysis. Siracusa writes, “Tiger is the best version of Mac OS X yet. It offers substantial improvements over Panther in all important areas. The performance improvements are immediately noticeable. Every major bundled application has been improved. There’s an unprecedented number of substantial, totally new features and technologies: Spotlight, Core Image and Video, Quartz 2D Extreme, Dashboard, and Automator, just to name a few.”


April 28th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

TikiMac provides Tiki-themed flash drives, external hard disks and other Mac accessories. (Yes, they work with Wintel boxes too.)

Craig’s List + Google Maps

April 27th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Boing Boing points out this very useful hack, where Craig’s List housing ads are mapped on a Google map and color-coded by price. Fascinating.

“Linux for the Classroom”

April 27th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Mark Rais, at Really Linux, writes a compelling article about the cost savings and management efficiency that make a thin-client Linux-based computer lab the best option for many educational environments. Robustness, ease of upgrade, and lack of software licensing costs add up to a very impressive computer lab.

Barnes and Noble Sighting

April 26th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Today I saw The Tiny Guide to for sale at the Barnes and Noble store in Union Square (Manhattan). There were two copies, and two or three other OpenOffice books near it too. This is the first time I’ve seen my book on a store shelf, and it’s also good to see the OpenOffice section is growing!

Free Culture Vassar College

April 25th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

Two days ago, the student movement celebrated its first anniversary. Coincidentally, last week (Monday, April 18), I delivered a presentation at the Vassar College Media Cloisters promoting an Action Plan to help migrate the student body to and other desktop open source programs. One of my suggestions was to form “Free Culture Vassar College,” but I hadn’t realized was already aggressively pursuing new campus chapters. How fortuitous, indeed.

Vassar College students have already been discussing open source and its role in the university environment, for at least the past year. Many are already using OpenOffice daily, and introducing it to new students as they arrive. They don’t need me! But maybe I can help speed the process of getting the administration to accept and even support users of OpenOffice on campus.

I was invited to discuss the OpenOffice project and to talk about actions that can be taken to promote open source on campus. The notes I used to structure my talk can be downloaded here and the slideshow here. (Option-click these links to download the files on a Mac, or right-click on Wintel.)

During the course of the discussion, we calculated that each incoming class might spend a collective $90,000 purchasing copies of Microsoft Office at the student price of $150 each (incoming classes are actually well over 600 students, making this estimate rather low). From an economic standpoint, this is crazy. Local businesses would love the chance to compete for this money instead of sending it far out of the regional economy.

There are a lot of reasons why students would be best served by using OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office. What we need to do is get this information out to where it’s needed–the campus community.

I’ve started a thread at VassarChat to follow up on this topic. Please join us there.

OpenOffice News from India

April 24th, 2005 Benjamin Horst

The following message was received by the Marketing Project mailing list this past weekend. Three million OOo CDs will be making the rounds among Tamil speakers the world over! Are we reaching the tipping point in certain market segments? I think so.

I am Raman, Project co-ordinator for BharateeyaOO.o
( Project.

I would like to tell you about a great and perhaps an unprecendented
thing that has happened to

On April 15th 2005 the IT Minister of the country (India) dedicated 1.1.4 in Tamil to the Nation and brought it out as a
CD. This CD will be distributed free to those who request for it.

Apart from 1.1.4 in Tamil , the CD also contained open
type fonts, Firefox browser, email-client, OCR tools and spell
checkers all for Tamil Language.

In the coming months the ministry plans to distribute about 3 million
copies of this CD to Tamilians all over the world.

Already about 50,000 copies of CD have been produced and are being distributed.

So at least among Tamil Speaking people, we would soon see everybody
using instead of proprietary softwares.

Apart from this I also had an opportunity to demo in a
TV interview for a Tamil News Channel called “SUN NEWS.”

This interview will be telecast on the “SUN NEWS” Channel on Sunday
24/04/05 at 17:30pm (Indian Standard Time).

So big time for among Tamilians. Let us celebrate the moment.

Best Regards

SolidOffice Upgrade

April 23rd, 2005 Benjamin Horst has received its long overdue upgrade, and I have chosen WordPress as the vehicle to maintain it as a dynamic site into the future. Primary work areas for SolidOffice are to include open source software, (particularly for Mac OS X users), various writings, and publicity for The Tiny Guide to, my first book, released in January 2005.