You’d like to use your Linux computer as an alarm clock, egg timer, or just to remind you of things beyond what a calendar program or cron or at support.
The best solution depends on your selected OS and window manager. I am currently using xfce4 as my window manager. That means I’ll look for a solution that docks with the xfce WM. xfce4 timer is the name of the program. I suspect GNome and KDE and LDXE have their own alarm/timer programs.
How to solve this
There are many ways to solve this issue. This is just the one I used based on my experience and expertise. I didn’t use this complex solution initially, it was only after all other solutions attempted failed, badly. My Windows Vista and Win7 computers were losing 2 minutes a day. After the first attempt to correct it with daily time sync, is was still losing about a minute, which was impacting some scheduled events. 1 minute off matters when someone else sets the start and end schedule.
Well, I’ve arrived. Seems besides winning the European, Spanish, Hong Kong, Singapore, and world wide lotteries, I’ve also won 10% cash back from VISA every month. I just need to enroll by clicking on a web link. Sweet!
WOW! That’s a deal!
Except it is a scam.
So whenever it snows here, even flurries, almost everything public closes down. Stores stay open, but with highly reduced staff.
On Friday, 1/8/10, the Atlanta area had a snow event. It began on Thursday evening and dropped less than 1 inch of snow as far as I could see.
Here’s a photo of my back yard 3 days later. Not much melt has happened due to daily hi temperatures of less than 30degs.
Roads were closed in Atlanta and so were churches, schools, and many workers telecommuted to their office jobs.
We’ve all heard of the RIAA and MPAA, but what about laws being enacted in South Korea to prevent online storage? Here are a few articles about Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA):
These are being added to international agreements, since they cannot pass in representative government legislatures. International pressure to sign treaties bypasses representatives in the USA. The House has no say in treaty approval, only the Senate.
So, laws that cannot be passed still become law, and by treaty, must be enforced both locally and internationally.
INAL, but as I read the draft treaty text, I see protections for artist, producers and owners to use ineffective DRM, yet anyone who may circumvent the DRM for practical reasons
- player isn’t available
- player broke
- DRM doesn’t work on a computer
- you don’t like DRM,
is now automatically a criminal. Yes, criminal penalties, not just civil. There are no protections for consumers or end users who purchase a product with a reasonable expectation of lifetime use to be able to use that product for life. We’ve already seen DRM protected purchases fail. Did you buy any Microsoft PlaysForSure crap? The Zune cannot play PlaysForSure music purchased from the MSN Music Store. Nice. If you remove the DRM from our purchase so you can listen, you are a criminal under this treaty.* There is no protection for you.
Pharmaceuticals and agriculture products are included in the protections.
What I see is an agreement written by big business to ensure their current method of profit generation continues for 70 years after the death of the inventor, artist, actor, or producer. For example, you create a song at age 25 and die at age 75. Then it is another 70 years (at least, longer periods in law is ok too), before it falls into public domain.
There’s a provision for Three Strikes for alleged infringement without any legal proceeding. Three allegations and you are out is more like it. What is out? Your internet connectivity is canceled and that action is shared with other internet providers. I didn’t see a time limit on the disconnection or an appeal process included. Parents, watch your teens closely. Their actions could get you disconnected from the internet for life!
Here is an ACTA summary- written by the EFF.
How does this all track back to the prevention of internet storage in South Korea?
Time to write your senators. and have public debates over this treaty. We don’t want any back room agreements where consumers are locked out.
I like copyright, patents, and trademarks where they protect businesses for a reasonable amount of time. What is reasonable? That’s the real question. 10 years, 20, 50, 70, 170 years? That’s the issue. My understanding of the intent for copyright and patents is to allow a reasonable period of time for the creator to make a profit, but not an unlimited time to lock out all competition. I believe Disney has abused both copyright and trademark protections to save Micky Mouse from outside abuse. Trademarks last in perpetuity as long as it continues to be used commercially by its owner. Boo.
Often, the best implementations of new technologies is performed by the 2nd and 3rd to market, not the inventor. We’re trying to help all mankind, not just those who have lawyers to file for copyright, patent and trademarks.
That is just crap. Do we want a treaty forced on us that may be amended in perpetuity too?
I love gummi candy. LOVE IT.
Recipe for homemade gummi candy
I’ll post the outcome here after trying it.
If it weren’t for Outlook’s inability to support other messaging and calendaring systems with FOSS, MS-Exchange wouldn’t be nearly as popular. Enterprise Calendaring, where each user can see availability for other users, is the holy grail.
July 2011 Update – Things have changed. We don’t need to pay Microsoft (or anyone else) anymore. Read more at the bottom of this article.
MS-Exchange – Calendaring
End users don’t like change. I know this first hand. In my company, I refused to install an MS-Exchange server or MS-SBS. That was unpopular with the users, since MS-Outlook and MS-Exchange just work together. They work together very well, actually, and we all know it. Until you have 50+ users and the license costs explode that is, then it is a huge profit center for Microsoft. That’s the main reason I refused to get hooked on MS-Exchange, future license and migration costs.
Outlook – Calendaring
Outlook doesn’t support calendaring systems from competing solutions very well – or not at all. So, for any calendar server to work with Outlook, it will need to implement the MS-MAPI interface used by MS-Exchange. Lot of companies do that, but ZERO of them do it for free. It feels like a conspiracy to me.
Zimbra Message and Calendaring Server
Zimbra implements a complete functional replacement for what MS-Exchange provides on the server. Email standards are fixed and work even with Outlook, but enterprise calendaring is different. To use that with Zimbra with Outlook, there are two additional requirements.
- You must use the paid Network Edition of Zimbra
- You must pay for each Outlook client plug-in deployed
For a small business, it is easier, much easier, to just buy MS-SBS and go.
If you want to be cheap, like us, you simply tell your users to use the Web2.0 AJAX interface built into the free Zimbra for all calendaring needs. It really is a beautiful interface with everything you expect for calendaring, email, contacts, instant messaging, and more. It is less convenient than a thick client, especially when you are off line, but it does work as expected. Heck, our CEO only uses the web interface.
Zimbra provides a java thick client, which implements everything that Outlook does and everything that the ajax web interface does … except it is big and slow, like most java applications. I let my users know about it, 3 tried it and deleted it. The complaints were it was slow and big. We all know that MS-Outlook is slow and big, but somehow that is fine, because it only feels slow and big at startup. The Zimbra thick java client was slow and big all the time.
Other non-MS-Outlook Clients
So, if you mandate no Outlook, you’ll lose. You have to replace Outlook with something better, faster and with all the same functionality. Thunderbird isn’t there, but now that they are working to increase releases, perhaps it will get there. Lightning, the thunderbird calendaring plug-in, is … buggy and basically broke. It is a read-only iCalendar client, no write. I was able to get to the point where zero calendars could be viewed, but reminders still popped up constantly with no way to write any updates back to the zimbra calendar server. Boo. I must say that Thunderbird for email works beautifully with Zimbra but IMAPS and SMTPS are very well understood protocols by all email clients. Any email client will work well with Zimbra.
I’m still looking for a good calendar server and client.
There are other options that show up from time to time. I pull them down, implement a server and try them all out. Most are toys. The Zimbra web interface is the low bar for replacement. If calendaring with a client doesn’t work better than the MS-Outlook/MS-Exchange pair, forget it. If you don’t need enterprise calendaring, there are many, many tight, small, efficient solutions for an enterprise. Heck, a small Linux server running dovecot and postfix can easily support 4000 email only users. EASILY.
No cloud here.
Most of my readers will think AND YELL – gmail and google calendar. Why don’t we just use them? Our corporate data is often sensitive. Sometimes our client’s data is sensitive too, so use of google-almost-anything is against corporate policy.
Stop the Madness
So to remove Microsoft from email and calendaring, we need:
- Server replacement that supports everything that MS-Exchange/MS-Outlook do
- Outlook replacement that supports everything that MS-Exchange/MS-Outlook do
- Enterprise management of the server
- Enterprise management of the clients
- Vibrant client plug-in community
The shortest distance to a workable replacement is probably Zimbra / Thunderbird / Lightning team that actually works for enterprise calendaring. Doing something to help this team is something we can probably do. Let’s git ’er done.
As I actively work this, I’ll post issues and solutions. All three of these parts have had major updates since I tried them too. Perhaps it everything is already solved or at least much closer?
Just reviewed Zimbra / Thunderbird / Lightning Capabilities
Seems they aren’t even trying for complete calendar integration. They just want to view a single calendar. What a waste. Without full, enterprise calendar integration, this is DOA. Worthless for replacing MS-Outlook/Exchange installations.
July 2011 Update
A recent group of upgrades here have convinced me that Zimbra + Thunderbird v5 + the Lightning extension can fully replace MS-Outlook + MS-Exchange. These upgrades were:
- Zimbra Community Edition v7.x
- Thunderbird v5
- Lightning Extension for Calendaring
After performing these upgrades, email, calendaring, enterprise calendaring all work extremely well. I’d even say perfectly. I cannot think of anything that MS-Exchange/Outlook does that this setup doesn’t do better. I’m serious. Read more about Enterprise Calendaring and what that means.
This is a big deal. Of course, to stay on Outlook, a company would need to deploy the paid, Zimbra Network Edition, but for the rest of us, Zimbra+Thunderbird+Lightning are perfect.
I read a comment on a popular blog site today where people were complaining that Ubuntu didn’t work with their computer. They’d tried a few different versions and it still didn’t work. Of course, they blamed Ubuntu, not the hardware provider.
Some complained about sound or video or wireless cards not working. I’ve had issues with RAID cards not working beyond a basic level; JBOD only, no RAID support. In the old days, the complaints were with modems (win-modems) not working.
In their mind, Ubuntu wants them to switch from the other operating system and needs to do whatever it takes to support that. Clearly they are confused. Ubuntu has very little to do with which hardware is supported. Very little.
So, I found a few free minutes today and decided to upgrade this blog to the latest release. This was a security related update, seems Typo had a few security vulnerabilities. As usual, things mostly went fine following the instructions provided by the upgrade web page. Mostly.