Monthly Archives: November 2005

Ubuntu Linux

Dear Reader, as you will have doubtless noticed I spend far too much time configuring computers. So much so that I’ve tried to wean myself off it and do more work. One useful thing that I’d recomend trying is Ubuntu Linux. (Or if you are a card carrying associate member of the free software foundation Ubuntu GNU/Linux).

Ubuntu Linux is an operating system which is based on free software. By free I mean free as in freedom not free as in zero cost. For more details see The Free Software Foundation. Now I find free software fascinating for two reasons:

  • I wouldn’t believe it exists unless it did. What I mean is that if someone had ten years ago said to me you are going to be able to get a fully featured professional quality operating system for free I’d have said they were nuts and work has to be paid for etc etc. Though to be honest ten years ago I thought looking at a picture a friend had uploaded on the internet was really cool so as a technolgoy evangelist I’m fairly useless.
  • It’s actually really good quality. I can do enourmous amounts of really productive work on a free operating system which a few years ago money couldn’t buy as the capabilities didn’t exist!

Anyway I really must get back to trying out that new bit of software I’ve just downloaded….

Oh and I’d recomend trying out Ubuntu Ubuntu Website

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Lecturing.

Since many people seem awfully disapointed that this blog merely contains software hints – here are some thoughts on lecturing. As my dear reader will know I recently started a new job as a lecturer which gives a bit more security than just being a contract researcher for hire.

At some point I’ll talk a little bit about the disadvantages of the whole system of R&D in UK Universities being based on “disposable people” but that’s another story.

Anyway lecturing is a series of extremely short term deadlines, none of which are hugely difficult but are all quite urgent. i.e. sort out lecture for Friday, sort out project description by Monday, write exams papers for some other time…. etc. etc. In contract research you tended to be working on goals on a weekly basis at the shortest time scale.

Don’t get me wrong I kind of like it – you get to talk to lots of people and it keeps you busy! It’s just a thought really.