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Mario Lang: I love my MacBookAir with Debian

Planet Debian - Sat, 05/07/2014 - 10:25

In short: I love my MacBook Air. It is the best (laptop) hardware I ever owned. I have seen hardware which was much more flaky in the past. I can set the display backlight to zero via software, which saves me a lot of battery life and also offers a bit of anti-spy-acroos-my-shoulder support. WLAN and bluetooth work nicely.

And I just love the form-factor and the touch-feeling of the hardware. I even had the bag I use to carry my braille display modified so that the Air just fits in.

I can't say how it behaves with X11. Given how flaky accessibility with graphical desktops on Linux is, I have still not made the switch. My MacBookAir is my perfect mobile terminal, I LOVE it.

I am sort of surprised about the recent rant of Paul about MacBook Hardware. It is rather funny that we perceive the same technology so radically different.

And after reading the second part of his rant I am wondering if I am no longer allowed to consider myself part of the "hardcore F/OSS world", because I don't consider Apple as evil as apparently most others. Why? Well, first of all, I actually like the hardware. Secondly, you have to show me a vendor first that builds usable accessibility into their products, and I mean all their products, without any extra price-tag attached. Once the others start to consider people with disabilities, we can talk about apple-bashing again. But until then, sorry, you don't see the picture as I do.

Apple was the first big company on the market to take accessibility seriously. And they are still unbeaten, at least when it comes to bells and whistles included. I can unbox and configure any Apple product sold currently completely without assisstance. With some products, you just need to know a signle keypress (actually, tripple-press the home button), and with others, during initial bootup, a speech synthesizer even tells you how to enable accessibility if you need it.

And after that is enabled, I can perform the setup of my device completely on my own. I don't need help from anyone else. And after the setup is complete, I can use 95% of the functionality provided by the operating system.

And I am blind, part of a very small margin group so to speak.

In Debian circles, I have even heard the sentiment that we supposedly have to accept that small margin groups are ignored sometimes. Well, as long as we think that way, as long as we strictly think economically, we will never be able to go there, fully.

So, who is evil? Scratch your own itch doesn't always work to cover everything.

Categories: Elsewhere

John Goerzen: The Heights of Coronado

Planet Debian - Sat, 05/07/2014 - 06:28

Near the beautiful Swedish town of Lindsborg, Kansas, there stands a hill known as Coronado Heights. It lies in the midst of the Smoky Hills, named for the smoke-like mist that sometimes hangs in them. We Kansans smile our usual smile when we tell the story of how Francisco Vásquez de Coronado famously gave up his search for gold after reaching this point in Kansas.

Anyhow, it was just over a year ago that Laura, Jacob, Oliver, and I went to Coronado Heights at the start of summer, 2013 — our first full day together as a family.

Atop Coronado Heights sits a “castle”, an old WPA project from the 1930s:

The view from up there is pretty nice:

And, of course, Jacob and Oliver wanted to explore the grounds.

As exciting as the castle was, simple rocks and sand seemed to be just as entertaining.

After Coronado Heights, we went to a nearby lake for a picnic. After that, Jacob and Oliver wanted to play at the edge of the water. They loved to throw rocks in and observe the splash. Of course, it pretty soon descended (or, if you are a boy, “ascended”) into a game of “splash your brother.” And then to “splash Dad and Laura”.

Fun was had by all. What a wonderful day! Writing the story reminds me of a little while before that — the first time all four of us enjoyed dinner and smores at a fire by our creek.

Jacob and Oliver insisted on sitting — or, well, flopping — on Laura’s lap to eat. It made me smile.

(And yes, she is wearing a Debian hat.)

Categories: Elsewhere

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