Six Tips for Linux Happiness

So, you’re starting to be convinced of the benefits of linux? Keen to experience the increased speed and power and to try out some of the thousands of pieces of free software available? Like the thought of being secure from viruses and spyware? But still a little attached to your Windows operating system? Here’s a few tips for making the best of both worlds. 1. Use Ubuntu There are loads of distributions available and it may be difficult to make a decision. Ubuntu has rapidly become the most popular and this must be due in part to its ease of installation and...

eeePC Internet Connection via Mobile Pho...

I came across various instructions for connecting an Ubuntu powered laptop to the internet through your mobile phone’s data connection. My first thought was ‘brilliant’, followed rapidly by ‘ooh this’ll be fiddly’. It requires a bit of manual coding, but using Rahid Hasan’s excellent how-to it just worked first time (that link looks broken now, its also copied here). I can now enable my bluetooth on my eeePC, turn off the wifi, and a get a reasonable connection speed via my Nokia E71 on three. Grand – no more hotspot...

Moral Business: Changing Corporate Behav...

Paper presented to the European Sociological Association General Conference, Lisbon, September 2009. Abstract: The academic publisher Reed Elsevier also organised the world’s largest defence exhibitions. The exhibitions themselves have regularly met vibrant street protests, and from 2005 campaigners targeted the corporate organisers. A coordinated network of anti-arms trade activists, academics, medical professionals and institutional shareholders formed a multifaceted campaign that sought to persuade the corporation to change its behaviour on its own terms. After initial...

Getting the NVidia linux driver working ...

The latest edition of Ubuntu (9.04) is generally excellent. There are continuing problems with graphics cards, however, that probably flow more from the proprietary (closed source) drivers provided than anything that Ubuntu folks can control. For me, its the NVidia driver that’s the baddy, failing to recognise any accurate information from my Acer widescreen monitor. This required manually writing a new xorg.conf file pretty much from scratch – here’s the solution for pairing NVidia 8500 GT with an Acer P193w NB The following sample xorg.conf file is set...

Adventures in Thin

NB This adventure has been postponed due to my lack of knowledge/skills to make it work Moving from a flat to a house so no longer will the same room function as lounge, dining room, study and guest room. Simply having a very long cable on a widescreen monitor meant that one PC used to serve both work and entertainment functions, but alas no more. So, how to have a satisfactory work-from-home PC and a media PC without spending too much moolah? One (theoretical) answer is to scrounge a basic ‘obsolete’ PC and use it as a thin client – meaning it is just a...

Direct Action, Democracy and Individuali...

Paper for presentation at the Alternative Futures and Popular Protest Conference, 15-17th April 2009, Manchester Metropolitan University. Abstract: Direct action (DA) is often considered to be a tactical approach to protest, utilised in the service of a wide range of causes. More recently, the notion that DA forms the basis of a radical social movement of itself has gained some currency (e.g. Doherty, Plows and Wall 2003). This paper argues that we should rather understand DA as an orientational frame: a structure of normative beliefs that can form a guide to...

Campaigning on Corporations: Stakeholder...

Presentation at Medsin Global Health Conference, University of Manchester, 29th March 2009. This talk was based on recent research into the campaign that persuaded Reed Elsevier to quit the defence sector. You can download the powerpoint slides here: Campaigning on Corporations Workshop...

Hackers and Users in Anti-War Activism

Short talk for the ‘Internet for Activists’ day organised at SOAS, 15 March 2009. The purpose was to outline two different ‘ideal typical’ attitudes that activists typically bring to their engagements with technology. Within recent anti-war activism most people have approached technology as users, interested in the technology itself only to the extent that it makes the ususal organisational and communicative tasks quicker or more efficient. The talk outlines a few examples of the hacker attitude in action in order to show some of the possibilities...