With the recent departure of one of my friends for New Zealand, I thought it was about time I got into using Skype. I’ve had it installed on my CentOS machine at home for some time, but only have one friend who uses it, so it’s not really been a big thing for me.
Until yesterday, I used a dodgy old microphone and my PC speakers, but I thought I’d nip down to Rip-off World (PC World) and buy a headset to make it more convenient. Whilst shopping, I decided to buy a cheap and crappy headset and webcam package, allowing me to make video calls… Or so I thought.
It turns out support from webcams on Linux is really crappy. I quick search on the net shows there are several projects that produce drivers to support an assortment of webcams, but there are none that support my hardware. Added to that, the latest version of Skype doesn’t include the beta video call functionality under Linux.
I guess I should have expected it really. There is little reason for manufacturuers to write Linux drivers for their kit when the demand is so low, but until they do using Linux on a home desktop has some limitations.
I’m going to stick with CentOS on my main machine. It serves me well and it’s free, so I can’t complain. I’m planning on buying a new laptop in the next few weeks/months. I had half a mind to install Linux on it, but maybe I will stick with the preinstalled copy of Windows Vista after all…
I don’t remember a time when I’ve been so sad, and I hope I never have to feel this way again. A good friend of mine has just left to start a new life in New Zealand. We met about 12 years ago on a computer training course and we’ve been like brothers ever since. I’ve had about 3 months notice of this move, but I don’t think I really believed it until I just said goodbye.
There are lots of really positive things I should say, but at this moment I just feel like life really sucks!
Things can only get better…
Tom Kyte has written a nice piece on How to scale.. Suffice to say, I agree entirely with him, as previous posts on this blog will testify, but I wanted to look at this from a different, maybe cynical, angle…
For a hardware manufacturer, doing more work in the middle tier is a dream come true. Sure, J2EE can scale well, mostly because it has to! You need a server room like a Google data-center to run the Pet Store demo application. 🙂 Encouraging companies to invest in middle-tier processing is a massive win for the hardware manufacturers, especially the Intel/AMD based guys.
From the software licensing perspective, this is a massive win also. Scale out in your middle tier and pay us lots of money for licenses. No wonder Oracle are laughing all the way to the bank. In my company, we probably pay more for our application server licenses than we do for our database licenses, yet I’ve worked on far more complicated projects that manage with a single Apache server. We’ve been encouraged to believe that if it doesn’t need 10 clustered application servers, it’s not worth having, when the reality is, it needs 10 clustered application servers because the middle tier stinks!
We seem to be a society that relies on quick fixes. If we want to lose weight we go on a fad diet, get our stomachs stapled or have cosmetic surgery. Middle-tier processing and scaling is the cosmetic surgery of the IT industry. It doesn’t matter about fixing the root cause, just brush over the surface and everybody’s happy… Right?
Wrong! Put your fat-ass application on a middle-tier diet!
It has become my way of late to try and fit references to excrement into most film titles, so I was pleased when I finally got a chance to see Acrapalypto, because it works so well! 🙂 Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, that name is not really befitting for Apocalypto, which is a pretty good film.
I know very little about the Mayan civilization, so I have no idea if this is an accurate portrayal of that time. What I can say is the film is shot well and held my interest. Despite his numerous personal issues and often unsavory political motives for his subject matter, Mel Gibson does seem to have a good eye directing.
I guess it would be wrong to say I enjoyed the film, because I don’t think the films content is not meant to elicit enjoyment. I think it’s meant to be interesting and a little disturbing, which it is.
If you want a good night out, go and see Rocky Balboa, but if you want to see a spectacle with a bit of pseudo-history then Apocalypto is a good film.