Busy making things: tinycast, github, links, photos, @mc.

Stable Before It\’s Stable

Posted: January 4th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Linux | 7 Comments »

Debian stable tends to be ancient. With Debian “sarge” just around the corner, the “testing” disto has become even more solid than it usually is. For production systems, a traditional (but aging) “stable” distribution is great. Only proven and rock solid components can be found in “stable.” The problem with “stable” is that it gets stale. It’s been almost three years since “woody” (the current “stable” release) came out. “Woody” is just getting tired. Apache 1.3.x and other tried and true packages just don’t do it for me anymore.

I joke with my fellow geeks that Debian “testing” (and often even “unstable”) is more stable for desktop use than many other distros. I tend to keep a “testing” desktop, as it seems to hold a good balance between the bleeding edge and stagnation. But “testing” just isn’t always good enough for production environments. For this, we need something more stable.

I’m just getting ready to commission a Debian box for semi-production use, and I’ve decided to replace my normal “stable” or “testing” entries in /etc/apt/sources.list with “sarge.” My reasoning is that for now it’s somewhere between “testing” and “stable” (we’re in release candidate territory here), but once it becomes “stable” it will remain fresh enough for my tastes for quite some time. I’ll be happy with Apache2+Dav+Subversion+other goodies that I’ve come to rely on from “testing.” At the same time, it will stabalize in the very near future and allow me to keep it in production as a “stable” box.

This is just something for people getting ready to deploy Debian-based servers in the near future to think about. If you reference “sarge” in place of “stable,” “testing,” or “unstable,” you can have the best of both worlds. You’re running “stable” before it’s “stable.”

Debunking Dave: McDonalds and Wi-Fi

Posted: January 1st, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Mobile | 20 Comments »

I’m not going to venture a guess on most of Dave Winer’s 2005 predictions. I agree with some and disagree with others. I am however going to debunk his prediction #12:

12. There will be a wifi signal at the top of the Empire State Building and in every truck stop in the US. Also in every Best Buy. McDonald’s won’t embrace the Internet.

I had Wi-Fi in a Palo Alto McDonalds over a year ago. It was during their initial launch period, so I didn’t even pay for it, they handed me a coupon for free access when I inquired how much the service was and how I could pay for it and log on.

Of course this McDonalds is across the street from the original Frys in the heart of Silicon Valley. Maybe that was a bad example.

Let’s look at the big picture then. McDonalds Wireless Site is down for maintenece right now “to help you find Wi-Fi enabled McDonald’s more quickly and easily.” I intepret that to mean that they just can’t keep up with the addition of new locations and need to revamp their site. The original site was just a bit map of the US with little blips in Chicago, New York, and a few other cities.

If you head on over to the Wayport locations page, you’ll count some 40 or so states that have Wi-Fi McDonalds locations. I did a quick check on Maryland and found 13 locations with Wi-Fi statewide. There are 3 in Baltimore. The one down the street has wireless. There are 9 other Wi-Fi McDonalds locations throughout the state, though they are mostly in urban and suburban areas. What about other states? Texas has over 100. California has more than I’m willing to count.

I think it’s a little too late to say that McDonalds won’t embrace Wi-Fi and the wireless internet. They already have.