The Latest

OLPC Crisis: Customer Data Lost

UPDATE #4: Before you read my original posting, check out this link... http://wiki.laptop.org/go/How_laptop_delivery_breaks#Internal_Patriot.2FBrightstar_database_errors_may_cause_updates_to_be_lost

:snip: Internal Patriot/Brightstar database errors may cause updates to be lost

Customer service (PatriotLLC) and/or the shipper's (Brighstar's) databases are known to have internal integrity issues, such that order changes - such as corrected shipping addresses - may be overwritten and therefore lost by subsequent updates or syncronization activities. (The database is reportedly Microsoft SQL Server, but would be controlled and populated with custom programming by Patriot and Brightstar).

Many donors affected by issues the two issues above have called or emailed customer service at Patriot numerous times to provide corrected information (such as the lines that were dropped from their shipping address - see above), but the original data would later mysteriously reappear in the database, with the later changes lost. Patriot representatives have insisted they are following correct procedures to update customer information; if this is true, then it may be the fault of the custom programming or the way the database is managed. For example, an operational or programming procedure that would cause partial or complete overwriting of records in one database (e.g., Patriot's) with older or simply different information from the other database (e.g., Brightstar's) would explain these observations and continuing issues.

Donors affected by this issue may have no recourse but to keep contacting Patriot by phone (reportedly more effective than email, which may or may not be acknowledged or processed by them) in the hope that one of the changes will eventually "take" and the order will be sent to shipping. :snip:

There has been an undercurrent flowing in the Bay Area and online about all of the people who ordered OLCP XO-1 laptops on the first day. I am sorry to inform you -- your customer data has probably been lost. more>>

Gutsy's Good on a Laptop

Here is a recent experience installing Kubuntu on a laptop.

Though I love to tinker with the latest cutting-edge distros on my desktop machines, I have been more conservative with my laptop, the machine I use for work. This is a sweet little R Cubed (i.e. a Linux-based Acer) laptop running SUSE 10.1, and I had everything set up and tuned like I want it. more>>

Free Music! Get Your Free – Legal – Music!

If you've been looking for free music but don't want to get busted by the Buzzkill Brigade de la RIAA, then Last.fm might just have the answer you've been waiting for. more>>

MountainWest RubyConf 2008, it's getting close and it's looking good

Planning and carrying off a hackers conference is an interesting process. We learned a lot last year as we ran the 2007 MountainWest RubyConf, hopefully we’re able to put some of that experience to good use as we come up on the 2008 MountainWest RubyConf. more>>

Linux by the Numbers

Sometimes it seems like Google is the all-knowing oracle, with their millions of bots constantly indexing the internet and instant results for any term. That being the case, it's amusing to see what the oracle has to say about our beloved Linux. more>>

Internet Threats Out in Force

It's always just a bit dangerous out on the information superhighway, but this week seems to be a bit more so than usual, with news of several particularly nasty bugs popping up in short order. more>>

eBay CEO: Thanks for the Memories...And The Billions, Too

Ten years is a long time to spend in the same job, and a billion dollars is a lot of money. But, according to the Washington Post it's enough for eBay's CEO. more>>

See video

Review: Aleutia E1

See video

Linux Journal Gadget Guy, Shawn Powers, reviews the Aleutia E1, a small, portable computer that uses very little electricity and can run on solar power. more>>

First Draft of HTML 5 Is Out

In a landmark move towards updating the foundation of the internet, yesterday the World Wide Web Consortium released the first draft of the HTML 5 specification — the first extensive upgrade to HTML since 1997. more>>

Yahoo Plans to Chop the Workforce

There was a time when Yahoo! was on top of the world. Then along came a startup called Google, and things started to slide. Apparently, the slide has finally reached the forest, and the company is resorting to the axe to bring things under control. more>>

Study Finds Cellphones Hazardous to ZZZ's

If you're tired and grumpy, it may well be the fault of cell phones. No, not that everyone everywhere — from the grocery store to the golf course — is talking on one, as maddening as that is. more>>

RIAA Gets Comeuppance Via Hacker

As a general rule, the perpetrators of website hacking wouldn't be classified as custodians of the greater good, however, on occasion they may well do a public service. Such appears to have been the case over the weekend, when a series of attacks brought the RIAA's website to its virtual knees. more>>

The Project List

You have been hearing about this Geek Ranch for a couple of months. I have been talking about computer things I have done. There is so much more to do that will involve Linux that I have decided it is time to ask you some questions. That is, ask you what approaches you would take to do various things. more>>

Facebook Runs Afoul of UK Privacy Regulators

The social networking community is beginning to look beleaguered, with many of the top social sites besieged with user, legal, and PR troubles. Now Facebook finds itself back in the hot-seat, with news that UK regulators are concerned about the site's privacy practices. more>>

UK Besieged by On-the-Fly Trojans

A deleteriously-clever new bit of malware is invading the United Kingdom, and — in a feat not seen since 1066 — appears to be unstoppable. more>>

Free Range, not Free Beer

I was eating breakfast in my favorite restaurant today and I noticed a sign up on the wall that said: "Free Range Eggs, $4.00 per dozen"

Now at first I had the common knee-jerk reaction to the word "Free" that everyone does, thinking of the concept of "gratis". Then I realized that the word "Free" was related to "Range" and not the price of the eggs. more>>

2008 Readers' Choice Survey

The 2008 Readers' Choice survey is now closed. We received nearly 6,000 responses -- thank you to everyone who participated.

Winners will be announced in the June 2008 issue of Linux Journal (on newsstands in early May). more>>

What open code developers can teach PR

Is the real challenge for PR just "influence"? Or is it something bigger thatn that? If so, are there ways we can help PR move past its history of spinnage and into a future of usefulness? more>>

Just Say No...To DHS?

It's not every day that a U.S. state decides to declare a federal law non-applicable. It was, however, Friday when the Governor of Montana decided to do just that, and to bring seventeen other states along with him, over — of all things — drivers licenses. more>>

Why I Keep Reinstalling Linux

It drives my wife nuts when I reinstall an operating system. She'll just get used to how things are working, and then I go an format the drive and start over. We've actually gotten to the point that I'm not allowed to do anything but fix her computer, and only reinstall when things are totally botched. more>>

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