...making Linux just a little more fun!

Almost-but-not-quite Linux...

By Ben Okopnik

It's a well-known fact: if you've just bought a sky-blue Nissan Sentra with a spoiler, black-and-gold pinstripes, and whitewall tires, you're suddenly going to start seeing that exact car all over the place. It's as if everybody in the world read your mind, and shamelessly STOLE your brilliant idea of what's in style! Although before you start ranting about Those Idiots and using the top row of characters on your keyboard to describe them in detail, get this: It's Not Them. It's You.

What I mean here is this: those cars have been there all along. The only difference is that your attention has now been focused by your baby, the best car you've ever bought, the coolest chick-magnet... well, you get the point. As long as you're in your honeymoon period with your new purchase, your brain will instantly snap-focus on all those factors in a given street scene - something that you would normally tune out of your consciousness, at least the parts that don't offer you a specific benefit or threat. That's how we humans operate.

In that vein, and with a nod of recognition to our wonderfully-selective perceptions, we present a few images that should warm the heart of any geek. Enjoy - and if you should happen to have a few similar snapshots of your own, please send them to us. We'll be happy to share them with all our readers!

Alsa Baking Powder
"Having sound card problems? Just follow this simple recipe."

Crypto Plant Food
(Sent in by René Pfeiffer)
"Protect your prize roses by encrypting them with our patented CHAINSAW algorithm! To a casual thief, they'll look just like a small pile of woodchips... We're still having a bit of a problem with decryption, but our i18n is excellent!"

"Gentoo" dinghy
"All right, lads, here's how we're going to catch that damn fast-moving penguin..."


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Ben is the Editor-in-Chief for Linux Gazette and a member of The Answer Gang.

Ben was born in Moscow, Russia in 1962. He became interested in electricity at the tender age of six, promptly demonstrated it by sticking a fork into a socket and starting a fire, and has been falling down technological mineshafts ever since. He has been working with computers since the Elder Days, when they had to be built by soldering parts onto printed circuit boards and programs had to fit into 4k of memory (the recurring nightmares have almost faded, actually.)

His subsequent experiences include creating software in more than two dozen languages, network and database maintenance during the approach of a hurricane, writing articles for publications ranging from sailing magazines to technological journals, and teaching on a variety of topics ranging from Soviet weaponry and IBM hardware repair to Solaris and Linux administration, engineering, and programming. He also has the distinction of setting up the first Linux-based public access network in St. Georges, Bermuda as well as one of the first large-scale Linux-based mail servers in St. Thomas, USVI.

After a seven-year Atlantic/Caribbean cruise under sail and passages up and down the East coast of the US, he is currently anchored in northern Florida. His consulting business presents him with a variety of challenges, and his second brain Palm Pilot is crammed full of alarms, many of which contain exclamation points.

He has been working with Linux since 1997, and credits it with his complete loss of interest in waging nuclear warfare on parts of the Pacific Northwest.

Copyright © 2010, Ben Okopnik. Released under the Open Publication License unless otherwise noted in the body of the article. Linux Gazette is not produced, sponsored, or endorsed by its prior host, SSC, Inc.

Published in Issue 178 of Linux Gazette, September 2010