History always repeats itself and sometimes that's good. Here's a second chance to be part of it: tmdtc.com

Wednesday 31 October 2007

rent-a-terminal and get very bad service

For Profoss I had signed a contract with Rent-a-Terminal (RAT below) to get a VISA + Mistercash terminal at the event. This terminal was supposed to be delivered the day before the event, on monday.

As this packet didn't arrive on monday, I called RAT and their attitude was: "we sent it, we don't care anymore. If you need more info, call the post office and request info for this packet number". I did this, but they couldn't give me more info about the delivery date.

At 17:55 I called them back, and they nearly called me dumb to loose time on the phone with them rather than phone De Post (where they didn't answer anymore at that time). I asked if they could change the delivery address to the event location, but the answer was that they don't deliver to events. Yeah, I see, but I was supposed to get it the day before....

Yesterday I got an invoice from them of 105.5 euros, of which 49 euros are VISA costs, and 4 € testing costs. On the renting cost (70€) and transport costs (35€), they give me a reduction of 50%. Great!

The best thing is that you need to pay a warranty of 1000€, and you get is back when you return the terminal. Well, this invoice amount has been deducted of the 1000€ and I got exactly 872,35€.

I really hate companies that don't take their responsabilities. Of course they are covered by their general conditions. This shouldn't prevent companies to act responsibly. I signed a contract with them, I received none of their service, how comes I still have to pay 50% of the service?

You may be sure I won't work with them anymore, and that I'll discourage people to work with them, starting with this blog post.

Friday 26 October 2007

100 posts on news.profoss.eu!

The first post was about Intel freeing their multicore dev tools, and the current last post, number 101, is about Linux' growth apprently slowing down in server deployments.

For those who don't know, News.Profoss.eu focuses on news for professional users of Free and Open Source software.

In the future, I'll look to broaden the content offered, and hope to be able to have content in multiple languages. If you have suggestions or want to translate posts in your native language, let me know!

Wednesday 24 October 2007

Photosmart C7280: my new printer

So, I finally found my new printer. I needed a device including fax, scanner, copier, printer, with wireless capabilities. It also neede to be working flawlessly with a Linux system, which explains why I chose an HP as they actively develop linux drivers for their devices. The Photosmart C7280 has it all, and some more too! It also prints double-sided, and it lets you print pics from several memory card formats. And did I say it has an Automatic Document Feeder?

I'm using a wifi network with WPA authentication, and the configuration of the printer to connect was so easy there's not a lot to say: choose the network to connect to from the list displayed on the printer screen, and then enter the passphrase.

I tried the access the IP of printer with a browser, and I got the good surprise to have access to a lot of functionalities: lots of settings, current ink levels and even the possibility to scan through the web interface.

The printer is only supported by very recent versions of hplip, so I had to install it manually. I tried hplip's binary installer, but it kept complaining libcupsys2 was missing, although the last version was well installed (this is on Ubuntu 7.04).
I finally installed it manually in /usr/local and running hp-setup as root configured the printer correctly in cups. The only problem encountered is that it didn't find the needed PPD file. This was corrected after installing Ubuntu's foomatic and hpijs packages.

From the first test, I'm happy of the printer. I've discovered it's possible to scan document to a memory card, without using a computer. This could be quite handy too.

Just one reserve: inks come in a strange, small, format. As the price of the printer is very reasonable (about 300€ only for all these features!), I hope the inks won't be too expensive, or that refills will be available.

I'm also wondering what OS is running in the printer, as a reasonably advance OS is needed to manage all these features, including simple photo manipulations, such as rotation and red eye corrections. It's really impressive how printers have evolved! There's no comparison between this printer and my previous, 9 years old, Officejet 1170C, which cost nearly 3 times at much at the time!

Tuesday 23 October 2007

Reminder: you can pipe through ssh

ssh is useful for more than just opening a terminal session to servers. You can also pipe standard input and output in and out of ssh. This is the command I used to compress a log file on the remote host and save it on my local disk, all in one command and not intermediate file saved on the remote host:

ssh host '( cd /usr/local/app/log/ && tar -jcvf - production.log)' > /tmp/app_production.log.tar.bz2

It is so useful I thought it was worth a reminder.

Monday 15 October 2007

For when you feel down

I found this excerpt from a Roosevelt speech on TechCrunch, and will always keep it close, for when I feel like my different projects don't go as I would like:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Thursday 11 October 2007

Asus' embedded linux needs windows to be updated

I was reding the Phoronix review of the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe motherboard, coming with an embedded linux you can choose to run from a boot prompt. This is quite cool, and Asus plans to publish updated of the embedded system. It will sadly require to run Windows on the hard disk to update it.

When will this stop? This is a wide-spread situation: plenty of Linux server applications require windows to run the client or administration tools.

Tuesday 9 October 2007

Profoss day 1: what happened?

Well, as usual in such organisations, little problems bugged the organisator :-)

Terrible traffic jams delayed the first speaker, who arrived 10 minutes late. Then my laptop he was using for his presentation went into powersafe and refused to send its display to the beamer. It was solved by a restart of X, and by me, replaced by Christophe, moving the mouse cursor every minute....

What's really sad is that the panel discussion I was looking forward to lost the most interesting participants: both Cisco and Avaya pulled out due to their speaker being sick..... It's a real pitty, but Dominique Deckmyn, of our partner IT Professionals, accepted to play the devil's advocate ad bring the arguments of closed source vendors. Thanks Dominique!

About the good news: feedback I got from participants and sponsors was positive, but we'll have to wait tomorrow when we'll distribute the feedback forms to all participants to really get an idea of the global opinion of participants.

Kevin P. Fleming also arrived without problems, and already participates in the panel discussion mentioned above.

All in all a good day!

Looking forward to tomorrow already, and hoping this is the start of a successful series of event!

Monday 1 October 2007

Set your price for Radiohead's new album

Radiohead is unsigned, meaning they don't have a contract with a big music publishing multinational. This gives them a lot of freedom, to the point that it is now possible to pre-order their album, In Rainbows, in download form for.... the price that you set yourself!

Wishing them a lot of success as such experiments could shake the big record labels a bit more, or encourage others to follow Radiohead's track. Some will get it for a very low price, but putting trust in the buyers certainly will make that lots of people will actually be honest, and pay a reasonable price.