Priced at $230 which is back to netbook prices: ASUS 1015E-DS03 10.1-Inch Laptop ( Black )
I reviewed the reviews for a friend, here is what I found:
It’s the cheapest (new) laptop you can buy (at the time it was actually $208)! I’ve heard a lot of good reviews about the keyboard itself, that it’s more like a full-size keyboard than a netbook keyboard. The trackpad apparently sucks. The wireless chipset is Broadcom (bah humbug!), which may have had some issues when it first came out. They appear to have been resolved via some Ubuntu updates. It does use an old low-end Intel chip that debuted in Q2 2011 . It is 64 bit capable, and it appears to ship with 64 bit Ubuntu 12.04. It is a dual-core chip.
There are some reports that the default partitioning scheme is wasteful.. Possibly a 100GB NTFS partition for no reason that I could find.
If you have bought one let me know in the comments how it’s working out for you! And of course leave a review on Amazon as well. There are 68 reviews there and counting..
The Forgotten War
Star Wars fans have been intrigued by recently discovered EditDroid footage from Return of the Jedi. In the video you will see unreleased (alternate) takes of the scene between Luke and Yoda on Dagobah. Until now this lost footage was never seen by the public… in fact, we didn’t even know it was lost! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kz56q4t6fek&feature=youtu.be)
This has been a major find for the Star Wars community. However, in our own galaxy, there has also been missing visual data that many of us didn’t even know existed.
The Read[sic] Planet
In 1975 NASA successfully photographed the surface of Mars *from the surface* for the first time. What we might not have known was that the high-resolution photographic data were released into the public domain in 1995. Unfortunately, the raw data remained unread due to a lack of resources to develop software that could extract the images…
So, an indie software company, Cartesian Theatre, created the forensic recovery software to extract the Mars mission data because, well, it needed to. Enter the Avaneya: Viking Lander Remastered DVD(VLR).
Cartesian’s main project, Avaneya (pronounced ‘av-an-EH-uh’), is a cerebral science fiction game that takes place on Mars in a region called Arcadia Planitia. In order to represent the Martian surface accurately, the designers and artists needed to recovery the Viking mission data, which contains the high-resolution images of the neighbouring region, Utopia Planitia. The Viking lander was the only one to visit the area of interest pertaining to Avaneya. Thus, the creation of VLR.
The VLR software was also designed to work especially with Ubuntu and is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Moreover, the Avaneya game will also be software libre and developed for the Ubuntu gaming experience.
When asked about the reason for starting the Avaneya project, the creators said, “the game we wanted to play doesn’t exist and we knew there was no point on waiting for the industry do it for us, so we knew we’d have to build it ourselves.” This approach should be encouraging for the Ubuntu community. We need not complain if we aren’t going to take action ourselves. I have been personally involved with Avaneya, so I have started to understand a bit about the development process. This is also a good exercise for us to do. Get to know developers and founders before throwing stones.
Cartesian Theatre has taken huge risks to maintain ethical computing and be innovative. It is difficult to stand up against “the industry” standards, and if we aren’t going to conform to these standards, then we ought to create better ones. We need these types of developments if we are going to make it to Mars.
If you like the Avaneya project, then consider donating to the project and/or join the mailing list. You can also purchase the VLR software ($15), which will help fund the project.
Jedi Mind TricksThe whole story of Avaneya is about learning from Earth’s mistakes, and rebooting humanity. Much of our current society has turned into a “consumption only” culture. We can do better. That’s why the VLR software is of interest; instead of releasing a bunch of images for the public to consume, we can be involved in the recovery process and also look at the source code. We should be encouraged to understand (if not contribute) to the processes of the things that we consume. This goes for film, software, and society. So, instead of being told what we are looking for, we can create what we really want. This is Ubuntu.
This is the beginning of a series of articles about the challenges of growing an organization. I’m writing them to share some principles that I’ve derived from my own experience, as well as many valuable discussions with friends and colleagues, about helping companies grow from being quite small (say, 1-50 employees) to medium-sized (100-500).
There are many different ways to categorize companies by size, and not everyone agrees with me that different organizations tend to face certain similar problems as they grow, based on the number of employees. In any case, hopefully we can all agree that human systems are mind-bogglingly complex entities, and any two organizations will have many important differences—such as their culture and market situation—which influence their growth and development.
For this reason, I believe there are few if any hard and fast rules, and organizational design patterns can be difficult to translate from one organization to another. One organization’s solution can be another’s problem. Even when there is a perfect fit, the process of organization change is a feat unto itself, one about which many books have been written.
Even so, I think there is much to be learned by comparing different organizations, and much inspiration to be found in their successes and failures. Two organizations merit specific mention here, as sources of inspiration for me: Canonical, where I worked as Ubuntu CTO from near inception to when it reached nearly 500 people, and Heroku, where I currently serve as VP Engineering as it grows beyond 100 people.
Several of them share a common form:
- What it means – a short conceptual overview
- Why it’s important – an explanation of why this particular change is important at this juncture
- Old status quo – what things looked like when the organization was smaller
- New status quo – what things should look like for the next stage of growth
- Behaviors that help – practical suggestions for how to work toward the new status quo
- Obstacles that hold us back – anti-patterns that prevent progress
Table of contents:
- Part 1: Alignment
- Part 2: From implicit to explicit
- Part 3: Making and keeping commitments
- Part 4: From individual achievement to teamwork
- Part 5: Roles and Responsibilities
- Part 6: Management
This is part 6 in a series on organizational design and growth.
“The change from a business that the owner-entrepreneur can run with “helpers” to a business that requires management is a sweeping change. [...] One can compare the two kinds of business to two different kinds of organism: the insect, which is held together by a tough, hard skin, and the vertebrate animal, which has a skeleton. Land animals that are supported by a hard skin cannot grow beyond a few inches in size. To be larger, animals must have a skeleton. Yet the skeleton has not evolved out of the hard skin of the insect; for it is a different organ with different antecedents. Similarly, management becomes necessary when an organization reaches a certain size and complexity. But management, while it replaces the “hard-skin” structure of the owner-entrepreneur, is not its successor. It is, rather, its replacement.”
Peter DruckerWhat it means
Management is the art of enabling people to cooperate in achieving shared goals. I’ve written elsewhere about what management is not. Management is a multifaceted discipline which is centered on people and the environment in which they work.Why it’s important
In very small organizations, management can be comparatively easy, and happen somewhat automatically, especially between people who have worked together before. But as organizations grow, management becomes a first-class concern, requiring dedicated practice and a higher degree of skill. Without due attention to management, coordination becomes excessively difficult, working systems are outgrown and become strained, and much of the important work described in this series just won’t happen. Management is part of the infrastructure of the organization, and specifically the part which enables it to adapt and change as it grows.Old Status Quo
People generally “just do stuff”, meaning there is little conscious understanding of the system in which people are working. If explicit managers exist, their jobs are poorly understood. Managers themselves may be confused or uncertain about what their purpose is, particularly if they are in such a role for the first time. The organization itself has probably developed more through accretion than deliberate design.New Status Quo
People work within systems which help coordinate their work. These systems are consciously designed, explicitly communicated, and changed as often as necessary. Managers guide and coordinate the development and continuous improvement of these systems. The role of managers in the organization is broadly understood, and managers receive the training, support and coaching they need to be successful.Behaviors that help
- It can be helpful to bring more experienced managers into the organization at this stage, especially if there isn’t much management experience in house.
- Show everyone in the organization (including managers themselves) what managers do and why it matters.
- Consider very carefully whether someone should become a manager.
- If someone does take on a management role, treat this as a completely new job, which requires handing off their existing responsibilities and learning a new discipline. Don’t treat it as just an extension of their work. Write a new job description and discuss it up front.
- Management misbeliefs
- Granting “promotions” to management roles as rewards for performance
- Many people, when they experience what management work is like, don’t enjoy it and aren’t motivated by it. It can be hard to predict when this will be the case, and people can feel “trapped” in a management role that they don’t want. Make sure there are mechanisms to gracefully transition out of roles that don’t fit for the people holding them.