Sunday, December 23, 2007

Mitt Romney's Quiet Thunder

As anyone who pays attention to national politics knows, the Presidential Primary election season is filled with many ups and downs for all the candidates. A "surge" here, and a "plummet" there. The media loves to take down the leader, and elevate the underdog. We've had the Rudy surge, then the Thompson surge, then the Huckabee surge, and today, as I type this, we're hearing all about the McCain "comeback" surge.

Amongst all the noise, with all the ups and downs, it's interesting to see the quiet, gradual progress Mitt Romney has made in many of the early primary states, and even California and New York. The media has yet to anoint Romney with a "surge," but that's OK, Romney's storm is a quiet, yet powerful one.

Rather than looking at any one poll, or at any one date, if you look at the aggregate of all the polls across the last year, and trend lines, it reveals a very interesting dynamic. Let's look at Iowa, for example:

In Iowa, Romney's trend line started out in 6th place, and is now in 1st.

But, it's not just Iowa, in...

Romney's trend line started in 4th and is now in 1st.

South Carolina
Romney's trend line started in 6th and is now in 1st.

Romney's trend line started in 6th and is now in 1st.

New Hampshire
Romney's trend line started in 3rd and is now in 1st.

Romney's trend line started in 6th and is now in 3rd.

Romney's trend line started in 6th and is now in 2nd.

New York
Romney's trend line started in 6th and is now in 4th.

Click here to view all the poll trend-line graphs.

Political campaigns are long, and a bit like a stock in the stock market. They go up, they go down, but a solid, fundamentally-sound company will always be trending in the right up, regardless of the temporary market swings. By this measure, I'm feeling pretty good about the chances of my favorite candidate for the Republican party...Mitt Romney.

Romney didn't have the national recognition of Rudy, McCain or Thompson, and he's had to contend with religious bigotry for being a Mormon. In spite of all that, he has done what he does best, quietly turn a long-shot into a success. He's known as the "turnaround" master, in business, the Olympics and in Massachusetts. He's now doing it by his success with his campaign. A clear underdog, he's put an organization together to beat the odds. Washington needs turning around. Romney's the man for the job.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Democrats are Praying for Mike Huckabee

From the below Drudge Report, you get a clear sense of who the Democrats do NOT want to meet in the General Eelection...Mitt Romney. Mike Huckabee, on the other hand, is helping the Democrats get "religion," because they're all praying for him to win the nomination.

Here is the article from the Drudge Report:

Tue Dec 11 2007 10:27:53 ET


Democrat party officials are avoiding any and all criticism of Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee, insiders reveal.

The Democratic National Committee has told staffers to hold all fire, until he secures the party's nomination.

The directive has come down from the highest levels within the party, according to a top source.

Within the DNC, Huckabee is known as the "glass jaw -- and they're just waiting to break it."

In the last three weeks since Huckabee's surge kicked in, the DNC hasn't released a single press release criticizing his rising candidacy.

The last DNC press release critical of Huckabee appeared back on March 2nd.

DNC Press Release Attack Summary:

Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) – 37% (99 press releases)
Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) – 28% (74)
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) – 24% (64)
Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) – 8% (20)
Governor Mike Huckabee – 2% (4)

In fact, as the story broke over the weekend that Huckabee said he wanted to isolate AIDS patients back in 1992, the DNC ignored the opportunity to slam the candidate from the left.

"He'll easily be their McGovern, an easy kill," mocked one senior Democrat operative Tuesday morning from Washington.

"His letting out murderers because they shout 'Jesus', his wanting to put 300,000 AIDS patients and Magic Johnson into isolation, ain't even scratching the surface of what we've got on him."

The discipline the Democrats have shown in not engaging Huckabee has earned the praise of one former Republican Party official:

"The Democrats are doing a much better job restraining themselves than the GOP did in 2003 when Howard Dean looked like he was on the brink of winning the nomination."

A close friend to Huckabee explains: "Look, Mike is Hillary Clinton's worst nightmare. They should be squirming."


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Why do so many people turn to Government to solve problems?

If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until it's "free."

Those who look to government to solve all their problems get exactly what they deserve. So many people criticize government as being completely inept, and yet it tends to be those very same people who then turn around and want that same government to solve all their problems. If history has taught us one thing, it's government doesn't do a very good job at most things. We should only use big, federal, bureaucratic government to do those things it absolutely must do (national defense, etc.).

I'm all for helping our children, but I certainly don't look to the most inefficient entity known to man to do it...government. Those who truly care about children wouldn't either.

A better way.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

National Review Endorses Mitt Romney

"Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate. In our judgment, that candidate is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Unlike some other candidates in the race, Romney is a full-spectrum conservative..."

"Rudolph Giuliani did extraordinary work as mayor of New York and was inspirational on 9/11. But he and Mike Huckabee would pull apart the coalition from opposite ends: Giuliani alienating the social conservatives, and Huckabee the economic (and foreign-policy) conservatives. A Republican party that abandoned either limited government or moral standards would be much diminished in the service it could give the country."

John McCain is not as conservative as Romney. He sponsored and still champions a campaign-finance law that impinged on fundamental rights of political speech; he voted against the Bush tax cuts; he supported this year’s amnesty bill...McCain ran an ineffectual campaign for most of the year and is still paying for it. ..Thompson has never run any large enterprise — and he has not run his campaign well, either."

Romney is an intelligent, articulate, and accomplished former businessman and governor. At a time when voters yearn for competence and have soured on Washington because too often the Bush administration has not demonstrated it, Romney offers proven executive skill. He has demonstrated it in everything he has done in his professional life, and his tightly organized, disciplined campaign is no exception. He himself has shown impressive focus and energy."

More than the other primary candidates, Romney has President Bush’s virtues and avoids his flaws. His moral positions, and his instincts on taxes and foreign policy, are the same. But he is less inclined to federal activism, less tolerant of overspending, better able to defend conservative positions in debate, and more likely to demand performance from his subordinates. A winning combination, by our lights. In this most fluid and unpredictable Republican field, we vote for Mitt Romney."

Read their full endorsement here.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mitt Romney: A Man for All Seasons

Mitt Romney has consistently tried to keep his belief in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("Mormons") out of his campaign. However, others seemed insistent on making it an issue, so today, in a much-anticipated speech, he addressed the topic of "Faith in America."

You can view it here. If you haven't already, I would encourage you to spend a few minutes and watch it.

It was a risky move, and the attention and expectations were high, but Romney delivered one of the most moving speeches I've ever heard from any politician. I believe it will be one for the history books.

Here is what a few others said after his speech:

"For the first time in this campaign and it has been long already, I heard greatness this morning. If Mitt Romney is elected president of the United States, it began here today."
-- Chris Matthews - MSNBC

"It was a magnificent speech, splendidly delivered, it was moving… I don't know how he could have done it better. I mean I was very moved."
-- Pat Buchanan - MSNBC

"...he hit it out of the park."
-- Joe Scarborough - MSNBC

"Frankly, I thought what we saw today, folks, was a Republican candidate for president giving an inspiring speech. It was an inspiring speech about American values..."
-- Rush Limbaugh

"Mitt Romney, who sure looked presidential, explained effectively that he is a man of faith who is committed to America's values."
-- Kate O’Beirne - National Review’s The Corner

"Gov. Romney’s speech was a magnificent reminder of the role religious faith must play in government and public policy. His delivery was passionate and his message was inspirational."
-- James C. Dobson, PH.D. - Focus on the Family Action founder and chairman

"How did he do? Very, very well. He made himself some history. The words he said will likely have a real and positive impact on his fortunes."
-- Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal

"He transcended the Mormon issue and he spoke to the nation, something that was desperately needing. It was even more so, a moment in American history and for America's posterity and future generations."
-- Rev. Lou Sheldon, Chairman - Traditional Values Coalition

"I knew it would be powerful, I just didn't know how powerful it was going to be. It was very moving. That's a president. That's a leader."
-- Dedee Brown, wife of Rev. Jeffrey Brown

"This is, frankly, precisely the sort of clarity and courage Americans expect of a presidential candidate."
-- Michael Medved

"Romney's speech may turn out to be very historic, because he is the first politician to publicly confront the assault against religion, which has particularly been driven by the courts and by a stunningly small number of atheists and secularists."
-- Newt Gingrich - This Week with George Stephanopoulos

For those who have accused Mitt Romney of "flip flopping" on abortion to win the Presidency, this speech will show that Romney is not the sort of man to compromise on his beliefs to win office. (Off topic...not only did Ronald Reagan flip flop on abortion, but he flipped from the DEMOCRATS to the REPUBLICANS! Good thing he never became President! Whew! ;-)

I am proud to be a Mitt Romney supporter. Not only do I believe he is the best candidate running for office in '08, but I truly believe he will go down in history as one of America's best Presidents EVER.


Monday, December 3, 2007

San Diego Union-Tribune: "Meet The Huckster"

"Meet The Huckster"
San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial
December 3, 2007

"Unfortunately for Huckabee, the positive first impression he often makes fades when you learn more about him. He may have been a solid steward in his 14 years as lieutenant governor and governor in Arkansas. But he also showed an enthusiasm for parlaying his public office into a cushy lifestyle that makes Fabian Nuñez, California's similarly inclined Assembly speaker, look like a Boy Scout.

"Over the years, Huckabee has:

"Used campaign funds to pay himself $14,000 for being his own media consultant.

"Used campaign funds to pay himself $43,000 for use of his private plane while attempting to hide what the payment was actually in return for.

"Used an account set up to cover operational costs of the governor's mansion to pay such obviously personal expenses as fast-food and dry-cleaning bills.

"Set up a nonprofit organization that paid him $23,500 without disclosing the source of the money.

"Attempted to take $70,000 of furniture with him when moving out of the governor's mansion.

"Took more than 130 gifts worth more than $300,000 – while suing to overturn a law that made him disclose the gifts.

"We could go on in this vein, but space is limited. The bottom line: Mike Huckabee has an awful lot of explaining to do."

To read the full editorial, click here .

Sunday, December 2, 2007

BYU 48 - SDSU 27

...the Cougars demonstrated why they are the class of the league...



Friday, November 30, 2007

Ron Paul - Right Message, Wrong Messenger

As a Libertarian (and as someone in the tech field), you'd think I might be supporting Ron Paul for President. I'm not, and it's not because I don't want to "waste my vote" on someone who I feel doesn't have a chance of getting the nomination. I DO think people who vote for Ron Paul could better "invest" their vote elsewhere, but that's not why I am not supporting Ron Paul. I just don't think he'd make a good leader of America.

As a Libertarian, I AM for many of Ron Paul's "ideals," but when you vote for President, you vote for A PERSON, not just their ideals. For me, Ron Paul does not have the leadership skills I look for in a President. He can have all the right ideals, be very passionate about them, and even be an honest and likable person, but if he can't LEAD effectively, and has bad ideas, then his influence will be nominal. (Ron Paul has only successfully had one of his bills passed in all the years he has served in congress.) I appreciate his honest, direct, tell-it-like-it-is approach. I think he's a very ethical and sincere man, but some of his IDEAS for executing on his IDEALS worry me.

Some will argue, "He MUST know how to lead, look at all the support he has! Look at the money he's raised! HE WON A POLL ON THE INTERNET!" The support he does have is for his IDEALS, but that will only take him so far. Ron Paul, the man, and his ideas for executing on those ideals, is what will keep him in single digits.

I may agree with many of the things other Libertarians say, such as Penn Gillette or Tom Leykis, but would I want them for President??? This is one of the big challenges Libertarians face, a lack of good, electable leaders.

Believe me, I LONG for the day I can vote for a Libertarian for President, but it won't be Ron Paul. Until then, I'll vote for the right PERSON who comes CLOSEST to my ideals.


As a youth growing up, when I'd play basketball with my friends, we had a saying, "Scoreboard!" We'd use that anytime we'd win a game, and the other team would complain about why they lost. They'd always have all sorts of excuses, and we'd just reply with, "Scoreboard!" Suggesting, in the end, that's what matters. I'm sorry you had a bad day, I'm sorry your jump shot wasn't dropping, I'm sorry you couldn't find your lucky socks, but all that matters in the end is the score. I know I'm going to want to say that to all my Ron Paul friends, who keep telling me how Ron Paul really IS going to win and that the polls don't show his true support. They have a million reasons why he's the best, and a million more why no one seems to know it yet (rigged straw polls, media bias, conspiracy theories, blah, blah). If Ron Paul has what it takes to lead America, he SHOULD have what it takes to sell his ideas. I look forward to early next year when I can just say one word to my Ron Paul friends...Scoreboard. (I'll go on record here that Ron Paul will not win a single state's Primary or Caucus. OK, the whining polls are now open...I'm sure we'll see them start up below...)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Guess Planting Questions In Their OWN Town Hall Meetings Isn't Enough For the Hillary Camp

To get caught up, if you're not familiar with this story, watch this:

Having this question asked by general Keith Kerr, someone involved with the Hillary campaign, and then having him in the audience and giving him a mic, was a clear ambush of the Republican party. It's a legitimate question that should have been asked, but WHO asked it, and HOW it was done by CNN was improper.

Negative points to Hillary Clinton and CNN.

If you didn't know, here is how the Clinton camp plants questions:


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Are You Ready for "Hillary Health Care?"

I live in a very nice part of San Diego. We have a US Post Office here, just down the street from my home. Their hours of operation are from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday, and closed on Saturday and Sunday. If you get there at 3:25 PM, you'll find a red rope to keep you from getting in line, because at EXACTLY 3:30, the "gate" comes crashing down. If you have a long transaction, such as opening a PO Box, you better get there early, or they will tell you to come back on another day if it's too close to closing. These people are VERY serious about closing not one second after 3:30!

The other day, I visited this post office during their normal operating hours (not an easy task, given how limited their hours are ;-). The "gate" was closed, and there was a sign taped to it, saying their computers were down, so they couldn't remain open. No one could be found, just a closed gate and the notes. I took a photo...

Now, get this...I returned to this post office and it remained closed, with the above sign showing, for at least THREE DAYS! It could have been longer, but I personally noticed it this way for three days.

For those of you looking to the Federal Government to take care of your health and medical needs, be ready for this type of "service." This is what you can expect from Government-run monopolies. There are no free-market competitive forces to keep things in check.

What private retail business is only open from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM, and closed all day on Saturday and Sunday? What business would run you and your money out of their store if you get there five minutes before closing? What business would completely shut down for THREE DAYS because their computers were down? None that I know of, and if they exist, they will soon be put out of business by competition.

The average home in the city where I live is over $3 million. If this is the type of postal service we get, I can only imaging what will happen if Hillary Clinton gets her hands on my health and medical care.

If you think health care is costly now, just wait and see how expensive it gets when it's "free."

For a better way, read this.


Thursday, November 15, 2007


When I made Ubuntu my main desktop OS, many were surprised that I would even consider GNOME after having run KDE for so long. I mentioned that I was running BOTH Ubuntu and Kubuntu (dual boot), but that I wanted to ultimately decide on one or the other, and promised to report here on my Blog which I chose.

Surprisingly to some, I'm sure, I have chosen GNOME as my desktop environment.

KDE vs GNOME is more a personal preference than anything else. It's not like there is a right or wrong choice here. For me, however, GNOME just "feels" better for where I'm coming from. Here are four reasons why *I* prefer GNOME over KDE (YMMV):

1. It is the default for Ubuntu.

As I had mentioned in an earlier blog, I have been very impressed with Ubuntu. One reason I believe Ubuntu is so nice, is because of the millions of people using it. From the information I've seen, it looks like Ubuntu is being used ten to one over Kubuntu, which means it gets ten times the testing and attention to details.

Ubuntu, rather than Kubuntu, is also the "official" distribution being backed directly by Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical, and I think it shows. When running Ubuntu, I feel like I'm running a well-thought-out operating system, where everything fits nicely together. When I would run Kubuntu, however, it felt more "pieced together." Ubuntu felt professional and polished, but Kubuntu felt more hobbled together, as if it were more for hobbiests and developers than professionals. There are many examples of this, but one glaring one for me, is how Kubuntu uses Konquerer as the default web browser instead of Firefox. Another example is how each deals with Themes. I never did care for the, again, pieced-together feeling of themes in KDE. GNOME does a much better job here.

2. It seems faster.

I didn't do any time tests, but GNOME just felt more responsive and faster in loading apps, rendering screens, dragging windows, and so on.

3. It seems more stable.

Again, I don't have a lot of quantitative data here, but GNOME just "feels" more rugged, sturdy and stable to me. When running KDE, I saw the "blow up" screen fairly regularly, something I have yet to encounter with GNOME.

4. It's new for me.

Part of my deciding to go with GNOME could just be the simple fact that it's new to me, and I've had fun and enjoyed using it. As you know, moving to "new" software can either be an enjoyable or trying experience. The fact that I've found GNOME easy and fun to run is a testament to what they've achieved. After six years of running KDE, one would assume I'd have found myself frustrated as I stumble about trying to figure out how GNOME does things, but that hasn't at all been the case.

I should mention that KDE does have some applications which I prefer, such at KSnapshot (which allows for a region capture), Kolour Paint (nice, quick and easy program for editing graphics when you don't need all the power of Gimp), and AmaroK (a great music player). The nice thing is, I can run these and other KDE applications nicely in Ubuntu with GNOME.


Both KDE and GNOME are wonderful testaments to what the FOSS world has to offer. Either is a very capable choice, and as I said, mostly a matter of taste than anything else. I can certainly see why neither has pulled out in front of the other, and both share about the same popularity amongst the various distributions. However, for me, at least for now, Ubuntu running GNOME will be my desktop environment of choice.

Kudos to both the GNOME and KDE communities for their wonderful achievements. Thanks for giving Linux TWO great choices!


PS: Look for my "out-of-the-box" report on my new Dell/Ubuntu PC, coming soon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Blowing the Whistle on Fraud

As most of you know, every year, corrupt organizations cheat the federal government out of billions of taxpayer's dollars. What you may not know, however, is that the US Government has a website where anyone can confidentially report fraud and abuse of the Federal Government.

From this site:

If you suspect any person or company is defrauding the government, don't be afraid to report it. Not only is it is the right thing to do, you may be entitled to a significant reward often totaling millions of dollars. The most common types of fraud include; Medicare & Medicaid Fraud, Pharmaceutical Fraud, Nursing Home Fraud, Defense Contractor Fraud, Contractor Fraud, Customs Fraud, Fraudulent Loans & Grants and IRS Tax Fraud.

Recently, I made use of this form, and reported a company who I believe exercised fraud on a Federally Insured bank, trying to extort money from them under false pretenses. This is, of course, a violation of Federal law. I didn't do this for any type of reward, but to see justice served.

It's not right that your tax dollars should go to compensate dishonest and corrupt individuals. When someone steals from the Federal Government, they're stealing from you and other honest, law-abiding citizens. Blowing the whistle on those who would defraud you and I out of our tax dollars, providing evidence, testifying if needs be, and seeing these criminals brought to justice, is the right thing to do.


Thursday, November 1, 2007 - News Reader for iPhone

I couldn't find a decent News Reader for my iPhone, so I wrote my own. If you have an iPhone, check it out. (It won't look right via a regular web browser, so check it out on your iPhone.)

Ideas and suggestions welcome. I wrote this in a few hours, so of course, it's a little rough, but over time I plan on cleaning it up and adding a lot more feeds.

Thanks to Joe Hewitt for the javascript library I used.

By the way, TIME just named Apple's iPhone the invention of the year.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

600 Wal-Mart stores to carry a $199 Ubuntu-based Linux PC

This will be the first time Wal-Mart will actually carry a Linux PC IN their stores. This is great news.

Read Story

See the $199 Wal-Mart PC here


Friday, October 26, 2007

Romney Dominates in New Hampshire Poll

The latest poll in NH has Romney at 32%, Giuliani at 22%, and McCain at 15%.

They were discussing this on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews tonight, and I jotted down this quote from their guest...

"The real play is on the Republican side, Chris. Romney is now over 10 points ahead of Giuliani. Romney has been here week, after week, after week. Giuliani has cruised through the state, and hasn't really had hand holding experiences here. And you know what? The more people know Romney, the more they like him. The more they know Giuliani, the less they like him. I bet you're going to see that play out on the national stage, it just hasn't happened yet." ~ Jennifer Donahue - New Hampshire Institute of Politics

I couldn't agree more.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

San Diego Fires

UPDATE: All is safe where I am now. So far, over 1,000 homes have been destroyed throughout the San Diego area from the fires this week, with 35 homes lost in Rancho Santa Fe (where I live). As you can see from this map of homes lost in Rancho Santa Fe, the wind stopped in the nick of time. The homes caught fire from the north east, heading south west. The last home lost in RSF was one block from my home. I was very fortunate. Thank you to everyone who called to make sure I was OK.

Many friends and family members have contacted me to find out if I'm OK. So far, over 350,000 homes have been evacuated, and over 1,000 destroyed.

As of Tuesday, Oct. 23, 1:00 PM, here's a quick update...

On Monday morning, around 10 AM, I received a "reverse 911" call at my home in Rancho Santa Fe, telling me I needed to immediately evacuate, as the fires were approaching. I proceeded to prepare my SUV with all the essentials, but stayed in my house. Throughout the day I kept an eye on the news and would hourly look out all the windows from my top floor. It was obvious most people had left Rancho Santa Fe. Around 10 PM, I could see the flames off in the distance, and it was clear they were getting closer, so I decided it was time to leave. I drove to our church's evacuation site, and Toby (my dog) and I spent the night there with about 100 others.

I awoke early this morning, around 5:30 AM. There are about three different ways to get to my house, so I decided to get in my SUV and survey things. I tried all three routes into my neighborhood, and all had police road blocks, preventing me from entering the area. From one of the road blocks you could see the fire burning the hillside (just north of San Dieguito Road), not far from my house (at the intersection of Camino Del Sur and San Dieguito Road). Around 6:00 I was able to take a hidden back road to get to my home. All was well with my house and my 14-home subdivision. Again, I have a sense I'm the only one here. For now, I am going to stay in the home and keep a close eye on things, again, ready to leave in a moments notice if needs be. I'm hopeful, however, that things will start to be contained soon. I'll keep you posted. Winds are mild here, but feel like they are picking up.

This map shows where my home is located, the fire area as of early this morning (and how close it got/is), along with the mandatory and advisory evacuation areas. Click image to enlarge.

So far, over 1,000 homes had been destroyed by the San Diego fires. Here is a Google Map I set up that shows my house and those homes in RSF which are close by, as reported destroyed on TV, so far. (Click on each marker to see the number of homes destroyed and their addresses. My home is the marker in the lower left side.) As you can see, a little close for comfort.

For a list of all destroyed homes, county wide, as verified by New 8, go here.

Updates on the situation can be found at


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Review: Ubuntu 7.10 - Wow! The Best Desktop Linux

As some of you may have noticed on the Ubuntu forums last week, I mentioned that I had made the decision that Ubuntu had become my choice for my own Linux desktop PCs. This weekend I upgrade to the latest 7.10 Ubuntu, and I also installed Kubuntu 7.10 on a second partition. In my post on the Ubuntu forums last week, many had asked that I share in more detail my experience with Ubuntu, and why after so many years running Linspire/Freespire, I have switched to Ubuntu. I promised that I would do that this weekend after I updated to 7.10. So, here it is...

First, a little history...

When I was CEO for Linspire, I tried to install and look at most of the popular distributions each time they had a significant release. I can still remember the very first time I installed Ubuntu, about three years ago. It was their first release, "Warty Warthog," in October of 2004. There was a lot of buzz about Ubuntu, largely due to its wealthy founder, Mark Shuttleworth, who at the time was best known for his Russian space flight. Other than this buzz about Mark, however, there was little else to set Ubuntu apart from the dozens of other distributions out at that time. I always looked at the latest distros from Red Hat, SuSE/Novell, Mandriva/Mandrake, and a few others. The only reasons I took a look at Ubuntu, however, was from the Shuttleworth buzz. My impression at that time was, well, unimpressed. I found Ubuntu quite "geeky" and not very noteworthy from the other Debian distros.

What a difference three years can make.

Over the three years that followed, I watched as Ubuntu grew, making a lot of wise decisions (strong community focus, consistent 6-month release cycles, strong single-focus leadership from Mark, etc.). For Linspire, when it came to Ubuntu, the last three years were the classic "ignore, endure, embrace."

We "ignored" Warty Warthog, because technically, it was far behind Linspire. However, in just one short year, we were trying to "endure" Ubuntu's success with things like the DCC Alliance and our own "free" distribution, Freespire. And then, one more short year later, we were "embracing" Ubuntu, forming a partnership with them, and basing both Linspire and Freespire on Ubuntu's core technology.

At that time, one year ago, Linspire still had, I believe, three big advantages over Ubuntu: 1) ease of use, 2) CNR (click and run) one-click software installation, and 3) better multi-media and hardware support through a judicious mix of proprietary codecs, drivers and software.

I have to say that today, however, those three Linspire advantages are now, for the most part, gone. Ubuntu 7.10 is without doubt, the best desktop Linux distribution yet.

As one who has never been a big fan of long, in-depth, blow-by-blow, "techie" reviews, I'm going to focus at a high level, and share why I believe Ubuntu 7.10 succeeds, even with the three advantages Linspire use to have, mentioned above.

1. Ease of Use

Ubuntu 7.10 can be installed in about 20 minutes. Even slicker, is how it updates from previous versions. At Linspire it seemed to be our endless goal to have a good way of updating from one version to the next, but we never quite got there. We got close, with some data migration during install, but you still had to update with a CD. Updating with CNR never did have much success, and was always a little buggy. As I said, we got close, but...Ubuntu 7.10 nails it. Installing from scratch or updating via their built-in Update Manager, finding your way to Ubuntu is a snap, and keeping it updated is one-click easy.

In all the years I was at Linspire, I never bothered with partitioning the drive, as we never made it very easy or stable. The first time I ever actually partitioned a hard drive with Linux was this weekend with Ubuntu 7.10. I wanted to have two partitions, so I could have both Ubuntu and Kubuntu on my PC. Because Ubuntu incorporates the partitioning right inside the install process, and makes it easy to do, it was a snap and worked flawlessly.

I was impressed with the overall attention to detail that I'm now seeing in Ubuntu. Linspire did a lot of little things right, all adding up to an overall easier experience. I'm pleased to see that over time, Ubuntu has also made many of these same adjustments. (I do still see some minor annoyances in Ubuntu, which were resolved in Linspire, and as part of the Ubuntu community, I look forward to helping them further refine their distro. I have, however, been pleasantly surprised at how many of the "little things" Ubuntu has already addressed.)

Keep in mind, I've been using KDE day-in, day-out, for the last six years, so you'd think there would be a big learning curve for me with GNOME and Ubuntu. Not so. The desktop is clean, and the menus are laid out very logically. I really like having most all the settings right in the menu, rather than a separate "control panel." (More on Ubuntu vs Kubuntu in my next blog.)

I was able to do pretty much everything I wanted without having to visit forums or knowledge bases. Setting up a network printer, changing monitor drivers, resolution and settings, connecting to an FTP site, and sharing files across my home network were all very easy to do, and would be for even the most basic computer user. I have yet to go to the command line for anything.

Having worked for the past six years to make desktop Linux super easy to use, I congratulate Ubuntu on their significant progress in this area.

2. Installing New Software - Better than CNR!

This is the one area I would have never imaged I would ever be saying. For Ubuntu users, I see no need to use CNR, and this realization really surprised me when I started running Ubuntu. As good as Ubuntu had become, I would have never believed it would also surpass CNR for adding and removing software, but it has.

Like CNR, Ubuntu 7.10 does an excellent job of hiding all the complexity of installing, removing, managing, and updating Linux software on your PC. Even a total novice will be able to add thousands of software titles with ease. At the bottom of their drop down applications menu, they have a Add/Remove... option.

Selecting this option presents you with a very CNR-like, easy-to-use client, where you can search from among thousands of software titles, and then add them with a couple of simple clicks of your mouse. The programs are laid out logically by category, or you can find them with the quick search, built right into the client.

Everything I wanted to add was easily found and installed, such as Thunderbird, and even KDE applications which I like such as Kompozer, Ksnapshot and KoulorPaint.

Once the installation is complete, the program is added nicely and logically in your Applications Menu. does have a more robust infrustructure for community involvement with reviews, screenshots, mini wikis and forums, which are linked directly into CNR. CNR also has "aisles" which let you create compilations of your favorite applications and install them all with one click. I have to believe Ubuntu will eventually offer similar functionality, and with their large community, I predict it will be very active and garnish a tremendous amount of valuable content.

There were also a couple of programs I didn't see in any of the repositories, such as Adobe's Acrobat Reader and Limewire. As I mention in #3 below, I'm hopeful this is something Ubuntu will be addressing as OPTIONS for those who are interested in licensed software.

The nice thing about Ubuntu's application manager, is it WORKS. Functionally, it's a superior system to CNR for Ubuntu users. It's very easy to use, comes pre-loaded and integrated, is chuck full of the latest and greatest software, and works fast and reliably. It just feels like a very well thought out and implemented system. I was extremely impressed.

3. Multi-media & hardware support

One of the first things I did when running Ubuntu's application manager, was to turn on the "partner" repository setting. This allows a wider variety of software to be installed on your Ubuntu system, although not guaranteed to be supported.

One of the more interesting programs found in the unsupported repository, was called the Ubuntu Restricted Extras. This package contained dozens of files to add things like Flash, MP3 and Java to your system. Not sure how many laws I br0ke, but I did install this program and it worked brilliantly. (I guess that makes ME a "high brow pirate." =) However...

I believe this is one area Ubuntu (or Canonical really) should address immediately. Linspire legally licensed dozens of these same drivers, codecs and applications. There is no reason Ubuntu (or Canonical) couldn't do the same and make them available AS AN OPTION to those who feel they need them. Many businesses and enterprise customers will be particularly adverse to running DVD, etc. if it's not licensed. Many of these licensed bits and pieces can be obtained at no per-unit cost, and I'm quite confident many users, such as myself, would be more than happy to pay fair and reasonable licensing costs for these products. I know some FOSS purists will bristle at this, but if Ubuntu is to find its way into the mainstream, this option needs to be there. OEMs too will want to include DVD software, for example, but most are not going to want to take risks with any gray licensing areas.

My new venture,, is a Web 2.0 site and requires the latest Flash plugin. Here is what the site looked like on Firefox in Ubuntu before installing the "extras" package:

And here is how it looked after quickly installing this one package:

One of the nice things with Linspire, is out of the box, it would deal with all the file types found at In days gone by, when I had tested Ubuntu by clicking on the different links from Linspire's /filetypes page, it was a bloodbath, and hardly anything worked. Today, about half of the links work without installing anything additional, and almost all of them work once you've installed the "extras" package. So, as we see, we know that technically the problem is well in hand, they just need to get some licensing in place for those who are interested in that option.

If Ubuntu can get some optional licensing in place, which I have to believe they are working on (again, as an OPTION for users), they will lick the Multi-media issue for those who still need certain licensed codecs and drivers, until good, reliable open source alternatives can be developed.


Ubuntu is doing a lot of things right, and is really taking desktop Linux to the next level. It's certainly not perfect yet, but it's the best distribution for me, and I'm sure for many like me. I look forward to being part of the Ubuntu community and making suggestions as to how it can become even better still. Part of the reasons Ubuntu is so good, is because it has so many millions of people using it, all providing testing, input and suggestions. That alone will help set Ubuntu apart from the less popular distributions.

Of course, there are many quality Linux distributions, and they all benefit from each other. Over the years, Linspire contributed a great deal to FOSS. I take pride when I see features that Linspire contributed to FOSS, which I'm now enjoying as I run Ubuntu. (There are many, but one of my favorite Linspire FOSS contributions is the on-the-fly spell checking in Firefox. Every time you see that red underline beneath a misspelled word when you're making a forum post, think of Linspire! =) Nvu (now Kompozer) is another project funded by Linspire, which I'd like to see continued.

Mark Shuttleworth has done a wonderful job with Ubuntu. His ability to rally a strong community, his focused leadership, as well as his deep pockets =), are quite evident in the quality of the Ubuntu distribution. Kudos to a job well done!


Next Blog: Ubuntu or Kubuntu for me

Monday, October 15, 2007

Horizon "Christian Fellowship" in Rancho Santa Fe, CA - Bad Christians, Bad Neighbors

For the last 15 years or so, I've enjoyed running to help stay healthy. Presently, I live in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, and run a few miles in my neighborhood three days a week. This past week, I had something happen to me while on my run that I've never had happen in all my years of running.

Just down the road from my home is the Horizon Christian Fellowship church and school. On my runs for the past year or so, I've included running around the parking lot of Horizons. (Click here to get a satellite view of my running path and where the Horizon Christian Fellowship church and school are located along my run.) This week, while running through the parking lot of this "Christian fellowship," I was stopped by a man who worked at Horizon's who asked me if I ran there often. I told him I was a neighbor and ran three days a week, and sometimes took this route. He said I was not welcome to run through their parking lot, and if I did, he would call the police and file charges! He said it was "against the law" for me to run next to a school, and there was nothing he could do about it (a complete lie, because Horizon is a private church and school, and of course there is no "law" preventing them from allowing neighbors to run through their parking lot.) I talked to another neighbor who told me that he too was stopped when jogging there and given the same stern warning from Horizon's Head Master.

I've been a Christian my whole life, and I'm glad the church I go to ENCOURAGES staying physically fit, and would welcome any and all to use their property to stay fit and healthy.

Shame on the Horizon Christian Fellowship for telling lies, being bad Christians, bad neighbors, and poor advocates of good health.

Maybe next time I run through their parking lot, I'll bring along a video camera, tape them calling the police, and post it on You Tube. If I'm lucky, maybe they'll use a taser gun on me!

Hopefully the good people at Horizon will step up and see this policy gets changed. I've emailed several staff there with my story, and so far, none have replied.


PS: I just noticed Horizon's is having Dinesh D'Souza speak there. I met Mr. D'Souza when I sat on a jury here in San Diego where he was found guilty of not paying a large bill to his lawyer.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Why is Immaterial

This week, there was much discussion about this ad in the NY Times from All the media and talk shows were debating it, congress was putting up resolutions addressing it, and the Democrats were carefully side stepping around it.

I have to ask, why? has very little wewb traffic and influence. They've obviously over exaggerated their web traffic (they say they have 3.5M members, which I don't believe for a minute, given their very meager traffic), so I'll assume they've also exaggerated the amount of money they've raised, etc. They're way out there on the fringe.

Someone needs to explain to the Democrats how Alexa works, so they can judge which groups they should be pandering to, and which ignoring.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Lest You Think I Love iEverything from Apple...iDon't.

After my blog about my belief in the iPhone, some may think that I am under the hypnotic spell of Apple. Not at all. Just as I predicted when the iPhone was first announced that it would be a big hit, conversely, when Apple TV was announced, I predicted it would be a big flop. I felt this way because, unlike the iPhone which leap frogged past all other smart phones with its innovative UI, I didn't see Apple TV adding much to what was already being locked up through HD DVRs from Satellite providers, Cable companies, Tivo, and others.

According to Forbes, "Six months later iTV is a flat-out iFlop. Renamed Apple TV upon launch, the ballyhooed box has sold perhaps 250,000 units--far behind the 1 million sold for the iPhone, which was priced twice as high and has been on the market less than half as long."

So far I feel pretty good about my predictions. iPhone a hit. Apple TV a flop.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Walt Mossberg Reviews Ubuntu Desktop Linux

You can read his review here.

After six years of working on desktop Linux full time myself, unfortunately, I still have to agree with Walt's conclusion: "But for now, I still advise mainstream, nontechnical users to avoid Linux."

Ubuntu and other Linux companies are doing a lot of good work, but it's a big hill to climb. As much as people may dislike Microsoft and Apple, they have an enormous head start on hardware and software compatibility. It's tough to catch up. It's happening, but on the desktop, its still a slow, long and arduous journey.

However, as big of a technical job as it is, the REAL challenge is more with the mentality and dynamic of open source development. This is why articles like Walt's are GOOD for desktop Linux, because they helps the open source Linux community to understand that the average person has a very different definition of "ease of use" than a technical user does. During the last several years, desktop Linux has made big strides in basic functionality, but as Walt points out, it will take that next layer of polish to be ready for the mainstream. (By the way, here is what a mainstream market looks like.)

The REAL challenge is that desktop Linux was developed by, well, developers. Once the open source community has scratched THEIR itch, they often turn to other projects. It will take leadership from companies, such as Canonical, Novell and Red Hat, to keep the development going to scratch the itches of the mainstream nontechnical user, which are very different than those of developers.

There will be enough inherent incentive for the open source community to get Linux "to work," but it will take additional incentives to get that same community to continue making it easy for everyone. That incentive will be, as it is with most things, money and the power of a free market. It's no cooincidence that the most popular Linux distributions are from companies with serious financial dollars behind them (Canonical, Red Hat, Novell).

Will Desktop Linux ever be ready for "mainstream, nontechnical users?" I honestly don't know, but if it does happen, I predict it won't be for at least another five years, and it will come from the commercial companies with incentives to take it to that next level.


PS: You can read more on my views of the free market and open source software in this previous blog.

Phil Hendrie is Back!

About a year ago, Phil Hendrie left "terrestrial" radio and vowed never to return. Well, it didn't take long for him to change his mind, he's back, and I couldn't be happier!

You can listen to him here in San Diego on 760 AM, all be it from midnight to 3:00 AM. Phil is best listened to on a podcast anyway. =)

I guess this just goes to show, never say never.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I Love My iPhone

Apple just dropped the price of their iPhone by $200. Go get one.

I've been a believer in Apple's iPhone from it's announcement in January of this year, months before its release. While others, like Michael Robertson on his blog, were predicting it's failure, I was confident it would be a success, so much so, that I purchased a large amount of Apple stock that very day and recommended that others consider doing likewise. (Apple's stock was $85 before their iPhone announcement in January of this year, and is at $142 as I write this, up nearly 70%. ) While Robertson was decrying the iPhone for not playing with his other start-up ventures (SIPphone and MP3tunes), I knew the average consumer wouldn't care. Would they care they can't use MP3tunes, when they CAN use iTunes and mp3 files? (BTW, you can use Skype on the iPhone.)

What would matter, is that the iPhone completely tore into the mobile phone paradigm, leapfrogging past anything else on the market. The very thing many complained about (most without ever touching an iPhone), is the very thing that revolutionized the user interface for mobile devices...the lack of a keyboard.

Everyone knew you could make a better device if you didn't need to use up real estate for a keyboard, but rather than just follow the conventional wisdom that you simply MUST have a keyboard, Apple set out to innovate and figure out how to make a device work without one. They solved the problem with artificial intelligence which calculates, based on your typing and location of the keys, what words you were meaning to type, automatically correcting words as you go. As Walter Mossberg said, "My conclusion is that the keyboard issue on the iPhone is a non-issue." Walter said that within five days of using the iPhone, he could type as fast on it as he could on his Treo, which had physical keys and he had been typing on for years.

As the Vice President of Technology for Franklin Covey back in the early 90's, the largest time management firm in the world, I started using PDAs long before the cell phone was ever popularized. I have owned dozens of handheld devices, PDAs and cell phones over the years, and ended up using several versions of the Treo over the last few years. Today, I look at the Blackberry, Treo, Nokia, etc. phones, and they all look so outdated to me. It reminds me of how I felt looking at at typewriter, after I had started using a word processor.

I believe Apple has changed the rules for the UI for mobile devices, and Nokia and others better scramble quickly to catch up.

In my next blog I'll explain why I wished I had an iPhone years ago, so that I could have learned an important lesson for desktop Linux.


PS: There are hundreds of apps for the iPhone, with more being written every day. Here are just a few of my favorite iPhone applications:

And one I wrote in minutes:

Great program to use your iPhone's MP3 files for ring tones:

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Beginning...

As the CEO for Linspire, Inc. the last two years, I penned most of the "Linspire Letters." Now that I've left Linspire, I wanted to have a place to still share some of my thoughts and ideas. So, here it is.

What will I blog on about? I'm sure I'll share some of my thoughts about desktop Linux, Linspire, why I left, do I still run Linux today, and what I think the future of Linspire and desktop Linux will be. More importantly, however, I'll share information about future ventures.

Stay tuned,