Wednesday, 10 February 2010

HBCLUG is gradually cranking up for 2010 - we need to start responding to the increased corporate and institutional interest in free software. Like:

DELL NZ are now offering Ubuntu pre-installed on some of their computers. I found this offer for the Latitude 2100 which puts the gnu/linux and Win7 offers side by side. Bottom line: Win7 will set you back NZ$765 while Ubuntu manages NZ$660. I suspect Windows costs a bit more than NZ$105, and the Ubuntu version does more from the start.

Considering my involvement with the last vendor to offer Ubuntu pre-installs, I have been asked about this one. Readers will recall that Acer offered the Aspire 4315 with a broken install, and some prospective buyers have been cautious as a result.

I cannot comment: I don't know and have never seen one. Considering the interest, and the traffic the Acer page got (and still gets) I have asked DELL if I can get a loaner for review purposes. Well- it doesn't hurt to ask ;)

Adam Gifford wrote this bit about Albany College in the Herald. Interestingly he gives emphasis to the liberty over the openness, even making a pun of the common confusion in the name:

One thing holding back the greater adoption of free software in this country is free software.

There is a possibility that HBCLUG can start regular meetings, in conjunction with AuckLUG, at Albany Senior College. It may be a bit far for Orewa residents though, I'll have to try to spread the Word further. Since ASC managed a strong event last Software Freedom Day, there are likely to be a lot of new gnu/linux users around that area.

In support of free formats - you know that html5 includes a video tag which utilises royalty-free theora format in popular browsers. Firefox, Opera and such ilk have this support native. Apple have this in Safari, through a third party plugin, and IE ignores all this as usual.

You don't have to wait for web-sites to implement html5 to enjoy this. You can take advantage of the built-in theora decoder to watch youtube videos right now, through a service called TinyOgg. This service will also host the theora version of a requested video so you can use it in your own web pages.

The sorry state of the nation's math skills was on display last night with news media making something of a hash of GST calculations. How to work out GST is in the third-form curriculum and in national assessments: you got taught it.

Its not hard folks:

Right now the NZ sales tax is set to 12.5% of what the seller wants to end up with. So, if I want to end up with $100 from a sale, I have to charge you $112.50. Word is that this is set to increase to 15%, so I'd have to charge you $115, which is an increase in cost to you of $2.50. Got it?

This means that from your, the consumer, perspective, out of every $100 you spend, $11.11 is tax. But, after the expected law change, it will be $13.032. This increases the tax take by $1.914 for every $100 spent.

All this means that the $2.50 soft drink will either increase in price by 6c to $2.56, or the vendor will have to accept being out of pocket by up to 5c, which would keep the price the same. (Personally I expect the price to be either $2.55 or $2.60, because nobody applies these things exactly.)

The 12.5% is simple because it is an eighth of what the seller wants and a ninth of the price the buyer sees. 15% is a bit harder, it is three twentieths (0.15) of what the seller wants and three twenty-thirds (0.13) of the price the buyer sees.

By the time Nightline rolled around, the math seemed to have cleared up, but their example purchases seem a bit funny. $1.50 for a soft drink? Really? I must be shopping in the wrong places.

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