Linux is hard…

Someone said “free software is hard because freedom is hard.” But is it really hard?

The first thing to keep in mind is that whatever computer we buy comes with an operating system, Microsoft Windows if it is a PC, Mac OSX if it is an Apple Macintosh. Computers that have Linux preinstalled are very rare, but they do exist and can be purchased.

This means that “switching to Linux” requires the extra work of installing a different operating system. Normally we are not used to installing the operating system on the computers we buy, it is already there, it asks us some information to configure it, and off we go, using the computer. Also take note that today this first configuration invariably asks for personal information and to create, if it is not already has, a Microsoft or Apple account. And we should be thinking here already…

Continue reading  

Why are there continent-sized ‘blobs’ in the deep Earth?

In a strange corner of our solar system live two alien blobs.

With sprawling, amorphous bodies the size of continents, these oddities are thought to spend their time lying in wait for their food to rain down upon them – then simply absorbing it.

But their natural habitat is, if anything, even more unusual than their diet. It could be described as “rocky” – all around, there are exotic minerals in unknown shades and forms. Otherwise it’s fairly barren, except for a glittering sea in the far distance – one so large, it holds as much water as all of Earth’s oceans put together.

Every day the “weather” is the same: a balmy 1827°C (3321°F), with some areas of high pressure – equivalent to around 1.3 million times the amount at the Earth’s surface. In this crushing environment, atoms become warped and even the most familiar materials start to behave in eccentric ways – rock is flexible like plastic, while oxygen acts like a metal.

But this blistering wonderland is no extra-terrestrial planet – and the blobs aren’t strictly wildlife. It is, in fact, the Earth itself – just very, very deep underground.

Continue reading on BBC Future…

Superlinux is back!

The year 2022 was the year of my return to Linux and to free and open source software. Since 2007, I had become a Macintosh user and had therefore abandoned any vague desire to use free software. I was tired of fighting windmills and let go of the convenience of a ready-to-use system closed to outside intervention. Just think, they used to call me Superlinux. But a lot has happened in the meantime. I lost my job as a geologist and after some time my computer skills allowed me to recycle myself in that field. I began to think back to the now distant interest and fascination with programming since I had started writing simple codes for work. The memory of the command line occasionally made me think back to Linux. How might it have changed after so many years? But in all these years the intrusiveness in our lives by big Internet companies had increased out of all proportion. When I really came to terms with this inescapable fact, a certain part of me awakened….

Continue reading  

Well done, Grado!

I’ve been a little indecisive lately about using cartridges on my Thorens TD-160 turntable. I’m fond of the Grado brand because I really like the idea that in today’s USA there is a family-owned company making cartridges and headphones by hand in an old Brooklyn workshop using even old machines that were born for watchmaking. But with the Grados I had big problems. Not because of them (no Grado dance, Grado hum or… “deGraded” performance in the innermost part of the records). The fault is entirely mine. I was extremely clumsy in replacing stylii. I ruined three of them. A very precious 8MZ (I’m still in mourning), a Gold1 and a Black2. All while I was in economic conditions that did not allow me to spend money on Hifi.

Continue reading  

I can’t believe it…

What happened to me in early 2022 is unbelievable. It’s something I never thought I would achieve, a little forgotten dream that came true almost naturally. I had never considered such a possibility and yet … never say never in life. It’s so true. At my age, for the first time it happened to me to participate in a song with my guitar, a song that was released on all streaming platforms. It’s a tiny thing, a drop in the ocean, but to me it’s a huge accomplishment, completely unexpected and totally unplanned. A number of things happened that led me to this opportunity. I’m very happy that an official track contains a small musical contribution from me. I have gained a great deal of satisfaction….

Continue reading  

The Stratocaster, Hendrix and SRV

I’ve been playing guitar since I was 11 years old and always dreamed of having a Stratocaster. It was the guitar used by my favorite guitar player at the time and I wanted one too. I couldn’t afford it, so eventually my parents bought me a reproduction, which was the best gift I ever received. Some time later I was able to buy a PRS Strat at cost price and then I almost stopped playing. I picked it up again much later and decided to make the dream come true. I sold the PRS and bought a Fender Stratocaster. Even though it’s a Made in Mexico, I think I achieved my goal. It is a vintage reproduction of 56, one of the first models created by Leo Fender, who was named the same as my son and had his birthday on the same day as me.
Playing the electric guitar it is inevitable to get drawn sooner or later to Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan, especially if you love the Stratocaster; or better, if you love those guitarists you end up dreaming of a Stratocaster.
For me the dream was triggered with an Italian guitarist, then through the usual David Gilmour and Mark Knopfler I pushed me back to Jimi Hendrix and his guitar heir SRV.

Continue reading