Thursday, May 29, 2008


Several years ago one of the things that was really missing from desktop Linux was the use of USB cameras, which were quickly becoming ubiquitous in both the Mac and Windows world. I spent a fair amount of time downloading, compiling, and tweaking, but it became very clear that USB cameras were not (yet) for Linux.

Fast forward to the present and Ubuntu 8 and Fedora 8. USB cameras have become plug and play thanks to the hard work of OSS developers (thanks!). And now that USB cameras have been incorporated into the Linux experience, we have Cheese, a USB camera utility to take pictures and videos from your USB camera (a la Mac). Developed by Daniel G. Diegel and Jaap A. Haitsma , this program is a great tool for engaging your kids (and having some fun yourself).

While it doesn't seem to have made it into the standard builds for Ubuntu or Fedora, it can be installed on each (apt-get install cheese, or yum install cheese). Its a great little tool and a must have for anyone using desktop Linux at home.



Sunday, May 18, 2008

First Post

I've been reading other people's blogs for some time now and have decided that I have a few things of my own to say. My concerns run to the future direction of our society. Will it be open, expansive, and growing, or closed, defensive, and moribund? My preference is for the former, but I see many trends that are pushing us towards the later, and I would like to point out both trends as I notice them, and see what others have to say about that.

Like everyone else, I am biased by my beliefs, so I will spell out the basics of my philosophy so that there is no mystery as to my motivations. I am:
  • Socially liberal
  • Fiscally conservative
  • A believer in the scientific method
  • Devoted to my family
  • Proudly American (warts and all)
  • Happy to be part of Western Civilization
  • Optimistic about the future
  • A fan of Open Source and Capitalism
  • A believer if facts, not beliefs.
I am, of course, more nuanced than the above list, but the list still provides a guide to where I am coming from.