Archive for February 7th, 2009

The age of steam

The train arriving at Kings Cross was thirty minutes late.

But then, dear reader, this was on the 7th February 2009. Trains are expected to arrive late so there was no point in complaining.

This was “The Talisman”, a £30,000,000

steam train financed and built by enthusiasts from all over and took eighteen years to complete. After the critics said the project would never be completed!

Although the BBC have called it “The Tornado”, readers will see from my photograph above that it is not the name on the front of the train. (I have since received a comment explaining that the train is called “The Talisman” and the engine alone is called “The Tornado”. All very confusing. As the engine arrived pulling the carriages, I will keep the name of “The Talisman”.)

These are just a small amount of the enthusiasts awaiting the arrival of this special train. The crowds stretched from the entrance, where it was the most dense, all the way up both sides right to the end of each platform! There were a lot of people there, believe me! When we decided to leave, it took us ten minutes to get out of the platform entrance! It was bitterly cold but for the onlookers here, I doubt if a single person noticed!


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Ampers’ Rants on Google

I was browsing through Google Analytics and asked it for a breakdown of browsers used this last four weeks and received the following which surprised me.

Windows 56.37%
Linux 37.42%
Macintosh 5.60%
(not set) 0.23%
iPhone 0.23%
PalmOS 0.05%
Playstation-3 0.05%
SymbianOS 0.05%

I was surprised at the number of people who were Linux users as opposed to those using the Apple Mac. I was also surprised to see how many as a percentage over those that used Windows.

Quite frankly, I thought Google had broken down somewhere along the way.

Then I realised that my readers come from (at the last count in December) sixty-one countries throughout the world. A lot of these countries were poorer and it stood to reason that those people would want an operating system that allowed them a choice of nearly twenty thousand free programs to use.

Everybody says Linux is too complex to use, but these are stories put out by people involved with the Windows industry, and from Windows users who were either too lazy to relearn a new operating system, or those who couldn’t admit they were stupid enough to buy all the software they used.

People are also a lot brighter in the third world than Westerners give them credit for. They are willing to learn, especially when it means it will make their life easier. Take South Africa for instance. When I lived there, English and Afrikaans were the two dominant official languages. Most blacks could speak their native dialect, as well as English and Afrikaans, and depending on what part of South Africa they lived, either Zulu or Xhosa. Four Languages, sometimes five! It got them by everywhere they went. And made it easier to get jobs. Even now, in Namibia, Afrikaans is the most widely spoken language as it is the “Esperanto” of fourteen million people there.

Third world peoples will learn Linux if it means real benefits for them. So, yes, perhaps Google isn’t broken. I was approaching my 68th birthday when I decided to move over to Linux and decided which to use when I loaded all the names into “Google Trends” and found Ubuntu was the main flavour of the day. So its also OK for decrepit old geezers like me.


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