Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Travel Smart

Travel Smart

By Adam Pash

Travel is stressful for just about everyone, whether you're hitting the road for fun or taking to the skies on business. We have a few travel tips that will take the turbulence out of any journey. Read on to get better seats on a plane, more entertainment on the move, nicer food on the road, and more.

Find the Best Seat on Any Plane via SeatGuru

Effort: MinimalCost: Free

Even for seasoned travelers, long plane trips are a bear. The simple key to toughing one out is to get a good seat. SeatGuru is a free service that provides you with a detailed, color-coded layout of virtually any plane to help you find the seat with the best legroom and most convenient nearby power outlets while avoiding nonreclining seats stuck right next to the john.

Bonus tip: Not that we're advocating messing with your airline seat (or with other passengers), but if you're desperate to prevent the person in front from reclining into your precious space, try wedging a water bottle between your open tray and the seat in front of you.

Convert a DVD to a Video File, and Endure a Long Flight

Effort: ModerateCost: Free

All you want to do is sit back and watch a couple of movies on your 6-hour cross-country flight--but playing a DVD will drain your laptop battery before the second flick's final car chase even starts. The solution? Copy the movies to your hard drive to play them with less drain on your battery. Download HandBrake, use it to rip the DVD to the hard drive of your other computer, and then transfer that file to your portable for a little cinema on the go. If you have no interest in tweaking the file settings of your DVD rips, give bitRipper a try for simple, one-click rips.

Follow One Bag's Packing Tips to Lighten Your Travel Bag

Effort: ModerateCost: Free

As if the long wait at baggage claim weren't reason enough to reduce your luggage to carry-on only, the extra fees for checking large bags ($25 or so each) have most travelers strategically planning their necessities. If you struggle to achieve single-suitcase bliss, let One Bag give you a hand. This site offers lots of useful packing tips, including suggestions for what to bring, tips on what you should pack it in, and methods for folding, rolling, and arranging your stuff so everything fits.

Find Wi-Fi Hotspots and Stay Connected Everywhere

Effort: ModerateCost: $29 (free trial available)

Sometimes getting work (or play) done when you're away from home hinges entirely on whether you can find a Wi-Fi hotspot. Fortunately you have a lot of options for finding Wi-Fi quickly. First, if you're sufficiently foresighted to check before you find yourself without a connection, JiWire's Wi-Fi Finder indexes both free and for-a-fee hotspots all over the globe. If you're in more of a pinch, turn to your Wi-Fi-equipped smartphone and scout the neighborhood for a promising hotspot.

The best choice, though, may be to let your smartphone make the connection. PdaNet is a $29 app that works with Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Palm OS, and Windows Mobile handsets to get your laptop online through either a USB or Blue­­tooth connection. Just make sure you have a high-usage data plan to avoid overage charges from your carrier.

Work With a Group Through Google or Vyew Collaboration Tools

Effort: ModerateCost: Free

Collaborating with colleagues can make your life simpler, but the set­up and coordination involved can add complexity to your workflow. A few no-cost, online tools have stress-free collaboration options built right in, so you can get down to business. Google Apps provides tools for centralized e-mail (Gmail), calendar (Google Calendar), and document (Google Docs) collaboration with minimal setup. If you're looking for something that's a little more meeting-centric, check out Vyew, a free service (with upgrade options) that provides live online Web conferencing, whiteboards, file sharing, and more, inside its virtual meeting rooms.

Use LogMeIn for Remote Access to Your Data

Effort: ModerateCost: Free

On trips, you might have a laptop with you at all times, but if you forget an important file or if you need to access anything else on your desktop computer while you're traveling, give the tried-and-true favorite LogMeIn a try. With a free account, you can control your home computer remotely, from the comfort of any Web browser. With a LogMeIn Pro account, you get drag-and-drop file transfer for retrieving important items, file sync for ensuring unfettered access to critical data in the future, and a ton of other practical features.

Find a Good Restaurant on the Road With Yelp

Effort: MinimalCost: Free

You already check the Yelp Web site when you're looking for good grub in your hometown. Get the same benefits on the road with the free iPhone or iPod Touch Yelp application. It will determine your current location and automatically tailor your results based on what's nearest to you. If you don't have access to the Internet, whip out your phone and text Coffee to Google (466453), including your location if necessary. You'll receive fewer options, but it's better than nothing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Motivational Moment

I Believe in You from Jon Gordon on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

10 solid Linux distributions for your netbook

10 solid Linux distributions for your netbook

by Jack Wallen

If you’ve purchased a netbook, you’re most likely looking at either Xandros Linux or some version of Windows. Although the Xandros operating system is a serviceable operating system, it always seems you are using an operating system hindered by hardware. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of flavors of Linux out there that can be installed on your netbook that will give you a similar (if not identical) experience to that of your standard laptop.

Some of these will be “remixes” of popular distributions make specifically for the netbook hardware. Some of them are just the run-of-the-mill distribution that happens to run perfectly on the netbook. I will say that the installation of these distributions is made very simple with the help of Unetbootin. With the help of Unetbootin, you can place any of these distributions on a USB drive for easy installation.

One word of caution: You can put any distribution on your netbook, but it’s not advised. Why? Because of the nature of the netbook, you need to avoid too many writes to the RAM drive and you don’t need a swap partition. So you’ll want to favor distributions that offer a version specifically for the netbook. You can use a regular distribution, especially if your netbook uses a standard hard drive — but you may have some problems down the road.

Let’s take a look at what is available.

1: Eeebuntu

This Eee PC-focused distribution might well be the best Linux for the netbook. As you might assume, Eeebuntu is based on Ubuntu. This makes perfect sense for netbook users, as Ubuntu is one of the most user-friendly Linux distributions. The developers of Eeebuntu offer three varieties for your netbooking pleasure:

Standard: This is the full-blown version of Linux. With this installed, you will feel just like you are using a regular laptop (minus the regular-size keyboard and screen, of course.)

NBR: The Netbook Remix is a version of Eeebuntu with a special desktop that provides much easier access to applications. With this flavor, you will find using the keypad much more efficient because applications are set up in tabs. This is somewhat like the Xandros Linux for the netbook but done much more elegantly.

Base: This version of Eeebuntu is the smallest, most lightweight of the three. You will find GNOME, Firefox, configuration tools, and not much more. This is best for netbooks with little storage space or for those that need to be nothing more than tiny Web browsing tools.

2: OpenGeeeU

Another Eee PC-centric distribution, OpenGeeeU is based on the Enlightenment-based OpenGUE operating system. This means you’re dealing with the Enlightenment desktop, which makes perfect sense for a netbook. Why? It’s lightweight yet highly functional. This distribution offers a touch of eye candy to a piece of hardware not usually associated with eye candy, and it will seem like a full-blown Linux installation. You won’t feel shorted on features. Because of this, you will want to have a minimum of 4GB of on-board storage space for the operating system.

3: Mandriva

Mandriva is one of the standard distributions that does run well on netbooks. In fact, Mandriva has partnered with a new company, Gdium, which will be producing a netbook with a special version of Mandriva installed. This version will have a fast boot process; a customized, lightweight desktop; and a full line of codecs for playing all types of media. If you’re running an Acer Aspire One, you’ll need to make a few modifications. The first modification is to the /etc/modprob.conf. Add this line:

options snd-hda-intel model=acer-aspire

This will make sure the netbook speakers turn off when headphones are plugged in. The next modification is to add the following line to your /etc/rc.d/rc.local file:

/sbin/modprobe pciehp pciehp_force=1

This will make sure the card reader sees a card when inserted. On an Eee PC, Mandriva Spring 2009 will work out of the box.

4: Puppy Linux

Puppy Linux is one of the lightest Linux distributions to begin with. Not only is it light, it’s fast, and it offers everything you would need for a netbook. Once installed, the speed of Puppy Linux will make you glad you made the switch. But this speed does not betray the usability of the system. Puppy has a browser/e-mail client, thanks to Seamonkey, an editor, thanks to Abiword, Xara for graphics editing, and plenty of other outstanding solutions for mobile computing needs. Puppy Linux will require some setup upon installation. Most important will be the wireless. Out of the box, Puppy supports the wireless features in the Eee PC, but you do have to configure the connection. There’s no need to load a module or add any other packages. For new users, however, Puppy might not be the best solution simply because of the setup.

5: OpenSuSE 11

OpenSuSE 11 is another main distribution that works great out of the box, except for a little tweaking necessary to get wireless working for some netbooks. On the Eee PC 900, you’ll need to add the rpms for:



so that wireless will work. Put those on a USB key to transfer them to the machine so they can be installed.

There might also be xorg.conf configurations to get the proper resolution and 3D support going. As you can see, this list keeps growing — which should help you to draw the same conclusion I did: Although OpenSuSE is a rock solid entry for the netbook market, it is not for the faint of heart or those new to Linux. The installation alone would send the new user back to Xandros. If you are dying to get a flavor of SuSE on a netbook, you could always opt to purchase an HP Mini Notbook 2140, which comes preinstalled with SuSE Enterprise 11. Yes, Enterprise!

6: gOS Cloud

gOS Cloud is an operating system created specifically for netbooks. The idea behind this distribution is that it turns your computer into nothing more than a Web browser. This might seem highly limiting, but if you think of the overall purpose of the netbook, you’ll realize that nearly all of the work done is via a browser. If you’ve ever used gOS gears, you know how well this concept can be put to use. This version of gOS lets you surf the Web, e-mail, and chat. If you combine this with a service such as Google Documents, you can expand it to handle documents and such. Unfortunately, gOS Cloud is not yet out for public consumption, although it will be released soon. Versions will be released for specific netbooks, so installation will be simple.

7: CrunchEee

CrunchEee is an Eee PC-specific edition of Crunchbang (#!) Linux. Crunchbang Linux is a spin-off of Ubuntu, and its Eee PC variant boasts a sleek OpenBox desktop. CrunchEee ships with Firefox, VLC, Skype, Flash, and plenty of other handy applications. You will find another, very useful, application called Eee-control, which is a control application for anything Eee PC related. Like Eeebuntu, CrunchEee uses the Array kernel. So this distribution will work perfectly, out of the box, on Eee PCs. It will give you the lightweight feeling of Puppy Linux with the ease of use of Eeebuntu.

8: Slax

Slax is based on Slackware and offers a unique experience, in that you can customize your distribution even before you download it. By using Build Slax, you can add whatever you need to make your Slax fit perfectly. Slax is based on the KDE desktop and is actually meant to be run from a flash drive, although it can be installed permanently on your netbook. If you decide you want to install Slax onto your drive, you can use the Slax Installer from the KDE menu.

9: Debian

Debian is always one of the best distributions for nearly any purpose. It is stable, reliable, secure, and has TONS of available packages (more than 20,000) to install. Debian can be installed on most netbooks. You might run into issues with the resolution, but you should be able to correct them by editing the xorg.conf file. Most likely, however, you’ll have to start out with an Ethernet connection, because the wireless will need to be tweaked to get it to run. To do this, you’ll have to install a non-free version of the madwifi driver. The easiest way to do this (with your netbook attached to an Ethernet connection) is to install the module assistant like so:

apt-get update

apt-get install module-assistant

m-a prepare

m-a auto-install madwifi

Reboot your netbook, and wireless should be supported.

10: Fedora

Fedora on a netbook can be a good experience — depending upon your hardware. On the Eee PC 70x series, no problem. On the Eee PC 9x/1000 series, there are some issues. On the Acer Aspire, no problem (even the Webcam.) One of the major downfalls of using Fedora on any netbook is boot times. Of all of the distributions above, Fedora will have the slowest startup times. Once running, however, you will find the experience solid.

Motivational Moment


"Successful people make money. It's not that people
who make money become successful, but that successful
people attract money. They bring success to what they do."

Dr. Wayne Dyer: Self-development author and speaker

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Smile and Move

Here is some words to live by especially here in Michigan with all the down sizing and budget cuts.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Motivational Moment

A needed pep boost from the bad news of the day.

"No one has to wait for a sudden burst of intelligence, a bolt of lightning, or a mystical experience. ...With what you have and where you are, you can begin the process of finding productive, meaningful, and profitable work."

— Dan Miller

Chrysler succumbs to bankruptcy , AGAIN

Is this the first of many to fall by the wayside???

Chrysler succumbs to bankruptcy after struggle

After months of struggling to stay alive on government loans, Chrysler finally succumbed to bankruptcy Thursday, pinning its future on a top-to-bottom reorganization and plans to build cleaner cars through an alliance with Italian automaker Fiat. The nation's third-largest car manufacturer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York after a group of creditors defied government pressure to wipe out Chrysler's debt.

The company plans to emerge in as little as 30 days as a leaner, more nimble company, probably with Fiat as the majority owner. In return, the federal government agreed to give Chrysler up to $8 billion in additional aid and to back its warranties. "It's a partnership that will give Chrysler a chance not only to survive, but to thrive in a global auto industry," President Barack Obama said from the White House. Chrysler said it will close all its plants starting Monday and they will stay closed until the company comes out of bankruptcy.

At least three Detroit-area factories sent workers home Thursday after suppliers stopped shipping parts over fears they would not be paid. CEO Robert Nardelli announced he would step down when the bankruptcy is complete and take a post as an adviser with Cerberus Capital Management LP, which will give up its 80 percent ownership of Chrysler under the automaker's plan. Vice Chairman Tom LaSorda, who once ran the company when it was owned by the German automaker Daimler, said he would retire. "A lot of us are scared," said Steve Grabowski, 33, who has worked at a Warren, Mich., parts stamping plant for seven years and was sent home Thursday.

"We knew something like this was going to happen, but we didn't think it would be so soon." Chrysler's bankruptcy filing is the latest step in a drastic reordering of the American auto industry, which has been crushed by higher fuel prices, the recession and customer tastes that are moving away from the gas-guzzling SUVs that were once big money makers. Lee Iacocca, the retired chairman and CEO who led Chrysler through a government bailout in the late 1970s, said it was a sad day. "It pains me to see my old company, which has meant so much to America, on the ropes," he said in a written statement.

"But Chrysler has been in trouble before, and we got through it, and I believe they can do it again." The government has sunk about $25 billion in aid into Chrysler and rival General Motors Corp. GM faces its own day of reckoning on June 1, a date the administration has set for it to come up with its own restructuring plan. GM has announced thousands of job cuts, plans to idle factories for weeks this summer and has even offered the federal government a majority stake in the company as it races to meet the deadline. Like at Chrysler, debt may be the stumbling block. GM has asked its unsecured bondholders to exchange $27 billion of debt for a 10 percent stake in the automaker.

The creditors balked, saying that would leave them with just pennies on the dollar and they deserve a majority stake if they give up their claims. When Chrysler emerges from bankruptcy, the United Auto Workers union will own 55 percent of the automaker and the U.S. government will own 8 percent. The Canadian and Ontario governments, which are also contributing financing, would share a 2 percent stake.

Under the deal, Chrysler would gain access to Fiat's expertise in small, fuel-efficient vehicles. The U.S. automaker eventually wants to build cars that could get up to 40 mpg, far more economical than its current fleet focused on minivans, Jeep SUVs and the Dodge Ram pickup. In exchange, Fiat would initially get 20 percent of the company, but its share could rise to 35 percent if certain benchmarks are met, and Fiat said Thursday it could get an additional 16 percent by 2016 if Chrysler's U.S. government loans are fully repaid. Fiat would also get access to the North American market through Chrysler factories and dealerships. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said he planned to spend time meeting Chrysler employees and touring its plants over the next few weeks. He said Fiat was preparing for Chrysler to "re-emerge quickly as a reliable and competitive automaker." Fiat also plans to reintroduce brands like Alfa Romeo in North American markets. First, though, bankruptcy court Judge Arthur Gonzalez will have to sort out the issue of Chrysler's creditors, who hold $6.9 billion of the company's debt.

The company's first hearing is set for Friday. The Treasury Department's auto task force had been racing for the past week to clear the hurdles that led the government to reject Chrysler's initial survival plan one month ago. Along with the Fiat deal, Chrysler adopted a cost-cutting pact with the UAW on Wednesday. Four of the largest banks holding 70 percent of Chrysler's debt agreed this week to a deal that would give them $2 billion. But a collection of hedge funds refused to budge, saying the deal was unfair and would only return a small fraction of their holdings. When the hedge funds refused a sweetened offer Wednesday, Chrysler and the government resorted to bankruptcy. Obama chastised the funds for seeking an "unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout." One lender, OppenheimerFunds Inc., said it rejected the government offer because it "unfairly asked our fund shareholders to make financial sacrifices greater than the sacrifices being made by unsecured creditors." Later Thursday, one of the hedge funds that had been a holdout issued a statement agreeing to the offer. "We believe that this is in the best interests of all Chrysler stakeholders, and our own investors and partners," said the statement from Perella Weinberg Partners.

The fund said it was working "to encourage broad participation in the settlement." The White House said Chrysler could comes out of "surgical" bankruptcy in 30 to 60 days. Under normal circumstances, it would be difficult to complete such a large bankruptcy so quickly. But John Pottow, a University of Michigan professor who specializes in bankruptcy, said the government's level of involvement is much greater than a typical corporate bankruptcy. "If you have the president of the United States who wants something to happen, I think anything's possible in bankruptcy protection," he said. The Fiat deal and bankruptcy cap a disastrous time for Chrysler. The Auburn Hills, Mich.-based company lost $8 billion last year and its sales through March were down 46 percent compared with the same period last year, leading some auto industry analysts to question whether Chrysler can survive even in bankruptcy. But company executives told reporters Thursday that Chrysler vehicles with Fiat's fuel-efficient technology should reach showrooms in 18 months. Vice Chairman Jim Press said Chrysler has cut expenses to operate profitably at a lower sales volume, and he said it would be able to take advantage of Fiat's distribution network to sell more vehicles globally.

Also, the company has new products coming out such as the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, which debuts in early 2011. Press said the company predicts that small-car sales will rise dramatically around the time the Fiat products hit the U.S. market. "The real volume pickup opportunity for smaller cars is going to start to ramp up about two years from now," he said. Despite the turmoil with Chrysler and GM's looming deadline, Obama urged consumers to keep buying cars. "If you are considering buying a car, I hope it will be an American car," he said.