Tag Archives: Ubuntu

The Generation Gap and the Church

That is a huge and growing Generation Gap in the United States.  They have been talking about this at church recently.  About how there is a “Missing” Generation in the churches of America.  How people from 19 years old until 35 are vastly underrepresented.  I am in that group, and I agree, we are vastly underrepresented.

A Quick Warning: This blog entry will be about averages and the groups as a whole, there will always be exceptions to every case but generally the following is true.  I deal with the general public all of the time and I have had friends of many different ages.  I will use the way a church operates during this entry to show the differences.   Watch this video to see facts about the world you may not know.  [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpEnFwiqdx8]

The older generation simply does a poor job of relating to our generation.  There are some fundamental ways that we think differently, and these differences get in the way often.

Interactive vs Broadcast

To me the most profound difference is the way that we interact with other people and with the world.  For most of those over the age of 35 the world was mostly a broadcast world.  People made TV Shows, made newspapers, books, and gave sermons, and you sat there and watched or listened.  You appreciated what was going on and that was it.

But the mindset of the people under the age of 35 is an interactive one.  We grew up with video games and soon after computers.  We decided what we would watch, what we would listen to, and when.  We want the world to work together.  In corporate America this has created the power of teams, almost every successful business puts people in my generation in teams, and empowers those teams to make some decisions.  This is why the most successful show on tv is American Idol, we want to vote to see who stays on.  We have YouTube and Video On Demand, so we can watch anything we want on out time table.

The successful church must realize that for people in this generation the Sermon is just the introduction to the conversation, and they must make ways for the conversation to go on and to get the input When they don’t we simply feel frustrated.  Our generation is very tech savvy so even if they brought the conversation online afterward it would much better than the way it is cut off now.   The older generation is done, and ready to move on.  The successful churches introduce the topic and start the discussion online days before the sermon on the pastors blog, and comments are posted and replied to, so when the sermon comes on sunday my generation is excited to go and see it to see if what we said made a difference, it makes us hunger for it and we are sure to attend. I am talking about much more than just saying Amen here and there.  Actually that looks kinda fake to us.  I often feel like a pastor is up there trying to answer all of the questions that he thinks that the audience may have but never bothers to ask them what their questions are.

Values

On Tuesday night on ABC they have a show called “What would you do”, it is basically a hidden camera show where they set up situations to test peoples ethics.  On the show they said that one of my generations main values is the Value of Tolerance.   Our generation is very diverse, and people often express their thoughts by how they dress.  I really don’t think that the older generations gets that we really don’t care that much on how you dress.  We will take how you look and make some preconceived notions but if your actions are different we quickly can change that.  Who cares how you look, it is about who you are.  I think that much of this comes from the fact that successful people in our generation come with all sorts of different looks and different backgrounds.  I basically will treat you the same if you wear a suit, or if you wear torn shorts and a old raged shirt as long as you act the same.  I think that much of this also comes from the fact that we carry on most of our relationships online or on the phone.  I have people I have talked to for hundreds of hours over a period of more than 5 years, who I have done business with, who I joke with and have tried to inspire and build a relationship, but whom I have NEVER met in person and never even seen a photo.  I think that concept is totally foreign to people in older generations.

Another main value of my generation is Truth.  Being real, being authentic.  I think that we are much harder to offend than people of older generations.  We want to get to the point, to get real.  The point where it starts to get good for us is well past the point where older people get offended.  One thing I find very lame in church is that pastors stop way too early, they stop before they get to the meat, or the truth because if they do keep going on someone may get offended and walk away, but in doing this they look weak to our generation, unwilling to be authentic for fear of what others may think.  Remember that our generation is the generation of tolerance, and because of that we are hard to offend, plus we have seen it all and heard it all on TV and on our computers.  For us it is about community, we know that no church is perfect, and no church leader is perfect, and that it is OK to have opinions that are different than the leaders.  Older people want to find the church leader that thinks exactly like them, and for this reason the leaders usually are reluctant to take a stand, this keeps the older generation from leaving but it looks completely fake to my generation and turns us off.

One huge value of older folks is that of Authority.  But to us we know that the world has become interactive, and that for many decades we have been betrayed by authority giving false information, and because of this we doubt everything.  For the boomers you just tell them that something is true and they run with it, but we research it, we have Goggle at our fingertips and we use it, 23 Billions times a month on average.   We know that big companies can have no web site at all and we know that a guy running a business in his underwear in his dining room can have an impressive and huge website.  We know that some crazy person can edit Wikipedia and change the information you are reading.  We also know that an unknown with a good idea can publish it and have a million readers in a few days.  For most of us there is no ultimate authority or truth, it is just millions of interpretations of truth.  This is the very reason that it so very hard for the church to reach us.  First there is only a broadcast, no conversation, and when they broadcast they tell us what is their truth, but their truth is different from what others have said and they do little to prove their truth.  They read something out of the bible to people who may not truly believe the bible is truth, they have heard so much that discredits it.  Again this is why a conversation works much better than a broadcast.

Another value of our generation is that of Equality and fairness.  Most of us believe that everyone should have an equal chance at success, that we should all have a say in things.  We all want a turn to share what we know, we want to be empowered.  In business school there were a lot of good lessons, and one that stuck with me the most is delegation.  First if you are a leader you need to delegate as much as you can, you cast the purpose and vision of the company and then delegate to smart people who have bought into that vision and give them the power and freedom to do what it takes to make you successful and the results will always be more than you ever thought it could be.  If we don’t know the WHY to a task, and how our efforts fit into the big picture than we feel like what we do is not so important so we just don’t do it.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODQ4WiDsEBQ]  Another virtue of our generation, and one that has caused some of the largest generation conflicts is the Ubuntu concept.  People in my generation see the world as one huge mass of humanity.  We should be helpful to others, we should share with others, we should build a community of caring, trust and unselfishness.  An African word has been used for many decades to express this concept, that word is Ubuntu.  Recently a group of programmers took this concept and named their operating system after it, because they built their entire OS on this concept of community.   They call the OS Ubuntu, in a few short years it is already better than windows, and as more things work with it it is gaining market share, recently passing the Mac OS as the second most used OS, and I think that it will overtake Windows as the most popular OS in the world in the next decade.   People in my generation make stuff so that it can be useful to others, and we don’t care if they use those things, and for the same reason we don’t ask if we can use what you made, we download your music, and your movies and use them however we see fit.  An open society is in direct conflict with the current system of copyrights.  Some smart companies are releasing their content to the web, and letting people change it and build on it, making those companies totally hip and cool.  While other go after and sue people who do the exact same thing, GM recently after people liked one of their commercials so much that it was posted on youtube and 3 million people viewed it, then they sued to take it down, are they that dumb.  (Well I did see their stock price recently so I guess that is my answer.)

We are used to information on demand.  I can access more information from my desk in 20 minutes than what would take a whole day in the library of congress just 20 years ago.  We are a generation that is flooded with information and rich content, but at the same time we yearn for a real human connection.  We don’t just want to sit in a lecture but we want to be part of the conversation and push it forward.

Final Thoughts

There is a verse in the bible that goes “Teach a child in the way he should go and he will not depart.”  By the time someone turns 21 they have formed 95% of their habits, and generally decided where their life is going.  For 100’s of years church was the center of society, but in the 1960’s it started to fade, there was a leadership crisis and for the first time the population as a whole doubted if we would be involved in a war.  Until the 1950’s most expression was banned, and by the 1960’s it was unleashed, and there was a new culture that was raised up, one without God at the center.  The people who were teens during this time did not go to church much and did not make it important to their kids.  The concept of church lost critical mass, it was very uncool to go to church.  Almost everyone that I know under the age of 35 is in church because they grew up in church, very few found church later on.  Now we have millions of “Unchurched” in our generation, many have never been to church or when they did they felt like they went to a lecture, they made no connection, they felt like they had no say in anything so they just never went back, and they took that opinion with them.

To reach these people is a very hard task now, because they feel that they are doing fine now, and that they don’t need God.  Many churches express God like a Magic Gene who solves all of your problems.  My current church is not like this but many churches I have visited basically have the same theme over and over, “Life is hard, life is tough, the world is unfair and against you and you need to make God part of your life so he can fix it.”  I hate it when I hear people say this.  To my generation life is awesome and great, we have more at our finger tips now than even existed for our parents, we are generally happy with out lot in life.  The message that would work for us is this “God can be your best friend, he will help you when you need it and celebrate with you when you do good, he has great plans for your future, full of hope and success.  The better you follow His advice the closer you will get to His vision for you life.  Join us and you will have an entire community at your side working to make God will happen in your life.”  Too bad few churches today are preaching this.  I love how we say in our church “Success to you and Success to the kingdom of God”  Because that is really what it is all about, lining up our definition of success with that of what will create success in the kingdom and then going for it.

The church that successfully reaches my generation will be the one that speaks the truth holding nothing back, allows us to participate in the conversation, allows us to discover what is truth, and allows us to all work together to build a community, getting rid of the idea of leaders and followers.

What is in a techs mind when they work on a problem?

I don’t know in the startup, reboot, same problem. Check the other computer on the router, works perfect. Downloading Firefox on good computer, putting it on thumb drive and loading it on broken computer. Still does not work. Still able to ping google. Resetting all internet settings, no luck. Turning off wireless and using Cat5 cable. Still pings google, but browser does not work. Going back to wireless. Hmmm, what is next?

Let me take the computer home and try it on my home router. OK same thing. Lets try to browse the network, ok this does NOT work either. OK time fore more software. Lets see what HijackThis says. Well two things I see really quick… IERESET.INF with a ton of options that are not so good, also some DLASX_W.DLL, used for a dlink wireless the client tried to get working before I came over. I am going to remove everything other than Norton and Google toolbar. Lets reboot. Same thing. Ok let’s use google to find out more ideas. Running the reset command on the TCP/IP connection. Still broken. Reboot, still broken. OK, resetting the DNS. No help. Is it just port 80, hmm lets test some other program, does RDC work…no, ok so more ports.

Now looking for a tool to reset winsock, ok found a great one, let me pop in my thumb drive. Oops electric shock, blue screen, just rebooted my main computer. Uggg. Well now it is time to install that new DVD burner I bought the other day. Ok done, all up again. OK running the winsock reset, reboot, ping works, ugg browser still broken. This is getting very lame. OK I have some reg tools but I never had them fix much, but worth a try now, we are desperate. Running RegCure, found 894 errors and fixed them. Broken, rebooting, still broken, as expected.

Well I know it is software, but lets see if an Ubuntu live CD will work on this, plus I can test my new burner. The new burner is very fast, only 2:44 to burn, about 2 min faster than my old one. While burning I typed net view, and got error 6118, let me look into that. Nothing really there for browser problems. Did a search for the firefox error message “Though the site seems valid, the browser was unable to establish a connection.” And I got a large number of good information. A bit more research and it seems that Norton has caused this problem for other people, so let me download the Norton removal tool and see if that helps. This is most hopeful I have been that we have a solution, but it is taking forever to do. Ok, done, rebooting, crossing fingers. Yippie, it worked. Stupid Norton, I always hated that thing. So cool now.

Wow, I knew I would get it eventually, but that took a long time. It totally works now, just tested everything out, no problems. I am now installing AVG so the client has a bit of AV protection. Also going to run Windows Update, he has been offline for months with this problem.  Never got to try Ubuntu on this one.

I have had similar problems in the past, and it seems that it was a different fix each time. But if you found this blog because you had the problem listed above try some of the things here, it may just work.

CLICK HERE for the removal tool I used to remove norton.

CLICK HERE for the winsock reset tool.

Market Share of FireFox

firefox-logoI was an early user of FireFox, but FireFox version 1 would simply not render many sites that I used.  So I waited.  In the summer of 2007 I decided to try Ubuntu as the only OS on my main computer for a while, and for 6 months I only could use FireFox, by this time they were on version 2 and it worked as well as IE did on my laptop, so I installed FireFox on the laptop also.  It was great.  When I moved back to the US I had left my computer behind so I was back to XP, and then Vista but I still installed FireFox right away.  Then in the third quarter of 2008 they came out with version 3, and my gosh, it is now far BETTER than IE by every measure I tested it with.  I now use it about 95% of the time, there are still a few banks that will not allow FireFox to log in, and of course some Microsoft Sites.

So after all of this I decided to see how many people use FireFox as a percent of the whole.  First I looked at my sites, a very biased view of the world.  On my Treasure Page, a page that existing customers go to the number is 58% for FireFox and 40% for IE.  This number is interesting because we install FireFox on all of the computers we sell, we put both of the icons next to each other, so this means that if given the choice most people choose FireFox.    On our main page for selling computers recent numbers show that 37% use FireFox and 57%  use IE, this is much more like a random sample of the public.

So I decided to look around, and I found that the Global Market Share of FireFox is a bit over 20%.  There is a good company that tracks all of this here.  They have found something interesting also, that on weekends and on holidays the FireFox market share is MUCH higher than on weekdays.  This is mostly due to the fact that most people are forced to only use IE when they are at work, they usually don’t have the ability to install new browsers, and most companies don’t use firefox.  So the numbers for residential usage is probably much closer to 30-35% while the number for corporate usage of FireFox is probably in the single digits.  I hope the good people at FireFox will notice this and try to focus their efforts on fixing it.  It is obvious that people who have the choice choose FireFox, and at least 30% of the public cares enough about the added benefit of FireFox to install it and use it.  I figure at least 50% of the web surfing public can not figure out how to install it or does not even know that it exists.  FireFox then should also work with the OEM Computer Companies to get them to install it.

The only thing I really miss is that in IE I could hit Control-N and it would open a new window with the current window and its history intact, in FireFox it simply opens a new window with your home page.  I have heard other techie people talk about this also, but still there is no option for this.  The best fix I have found is an Add-On program called Duplicate Tab, it basically does this and a few other things.

Tell me what you think, reply down below.

OK, I admit it, I was wrong. My OS Choice.

As most of you know my main business is Emerald Computers, a computer company, where I sell computers and give advise.  Many people look to me as their computer expert.

Well for the first year of Vista being out I was negative on it, right when vista came out I was in my Ubuntu phase.  I was trying to use linux as much as I could to see if it really could replace everything that I did.  Because of this I did not personally use Vista, I used it on the computers I was fixing but not on my main computer.

After 6 months of trying Ubuntu I decided that, for me, a power user there were too many things that just did not work yet.  There were MANY things that were much better, than the Microsoft world, but lack of support for my games, QuickBooks, Photoshop and yahoo chat with webcam were the things I could no longer live without.  I went back to XP, and I was happy.  Well in late April XP crashed on me for the 3rd time.  I needed to reload so I decided to take a gamble and install vista.  I figured my computer is VERY fast so even if vista is crappy slow it will still not be that bad.  I have used vista on about 50 or so customers computers, and mostly disliked it due to the fact that most things were moved around.

Well vista loaded, it did it faster than XP, and almost all of my hardware was detected.  It was great.  Next I loaded my software, and I load a lot of things, I have checklist of about 30 things that I load on every new computer.  Almost everything I had worked right away, the ones that did not were fixed by upgrading to the newest version.  Even when you are an Administrator you don’t have real administrator rights, this is just like Ubuntu.  In Ubuntu you just put sudo in front of anything you want to run as an admin.  In Vista you do sort of the same, you just right click on it and click on “Run as Administrator”.  It was a very easy.  As a computer geek there were about 20-30 things I changed to make it easier to use, such as network settings, sharing settings, and all the programs I run.

So now I have been using it for a month, I wanted to wait a month before I wrote this blog so that I had a more expert opinion.  I run Vista SP1 Ultimate.  I have found it to be better than XP in almost every area, and in the areas it is not better it is exactly the same as XP.  I was surprised how many small programs are basically exactly the same as XP was.  I thought they would rework everything, but there are major things the left the same, even though the XP version was bad (Such as how fonts are loaded,

Now many people have said that Vista is slower.  I have seen many customers that have 4-5 year old computers and they load vista and YES it is slower.  My computer is 3 years old but it was a top of the line computer when it was built and it is still faster than 90% of the computers our company makes, it is a 4.9 on Vistas performance scale of 1-5.  So on my computer it runs great, it is MUCH faster than XP, and almost as fast as Ubuntu.

So if you have at least 1GB of ram and a Dual Core CPU Vista is great for you.  If you have a single core CPU or 512MB of RAM stick with XP.  Basically if your computer is over 2 years old and you want vista just get a new computer.  I can help you with that if you leave a comment, I can tell you want you need for your usage model.

So my OS of choice is now Vista.  It runs all the stuff I need and is fast.  There are many good ideas and features in Ubuntu that Vista could easily put in.  I don’t agree with some of the philosophy behind Vista, about making closed source drivers, and pushing towards trusted computing, for this reason I hope Ubuntu will soon be able to run, with ease, all of the things I need, and then I hope it starts to gain popularity.  Until then I will use Vista, or the next thing that MS creates.

Safari on windows!

Wow, for once I am shocked and impressed by something in this industry. Mac just released Safari for Windows today. (Click here to get it) I was not keeping track and did not know it was coming, but shortly after midnight it came on saying that I could get it. I quickly installed it, and tested it out on my PC. The graphics look about the same but slightly better. I think they up the color setting on everything, and I like it. It seems to load as fast or faster. I will have to learn how to make some changes to it that I like to have but I will give it a good try.

This is a good idea that was a decade in the making. When you use it you feel like you are using a mac. I am a PC guy but I do see how this will get many new customers for Mac. I already see their market share increasing due to the tragic and predictable failure of Microsoft Vista. (Click here to see a survey of how big a failure vista really is)

I also downloaded FireFox on the day it came out, it was not so great at first but as IE got worse FireFox got better. For most of 2007 I used Ubuntu as my OS but I finally had to break down and go back to Windows on my main computer, but I did not go back to IE. I miss many things about Ubuntu, it is a much better OS but there are a few programs I need that simply don’t exist yet in the Linux world.

Thanks mac for raising the bar. I hope Microsoft either steps up or fades away soon.

The key to commercial success for Linux

You use a computer, and read blogs so you probably know a bit about computer and you probably know about Linux. Linux is great, robust and free OS. It runs almost all web servers and websites. Including google, wordpress and billions of others. Linux is very secure, robust, fast and hack proof. It makes great servers because servers are ran by experts. Without Linux the web would not exist as we know it.

Well for over a decade now they have been trying to make it popular for your desktop computer that you use every day as well. One of the best parts about Linux is that anyone with knowledge is free to change and customize it exactly how they see fit, and they have. Almost everything in Linux has at least 3 different programs that do the same thing, but they do it in different ways. People then pick and choose the different parts of Linux and combine them into a complete Operating System. They call this a distribution or distro. There are now 100’s of up to date distros, all with different ways of doing things and different followings. This has helped Linux in the past but in the world of mass merchandising it also has hurt Linux.

The problem is that when a company writes software to work on Linux they must assume things about how the computer is set up. Because there are 100’s of different ways to do this, and only a few million Linux users, they simply don’t bother. Companies that make drivers and hardware also don’t bother. The Linux people thus have to do all of it themselves. And, if they do it for one distro of Linux it probably will not work on many others. So the game makers, and the people who make the huge programs we need to function usually don’t bother making a Linux version. There is no Photoshop, QuickBooks, MSN or Yahoo chat with webcam, or robust video editing software in Linux because these are very complex and would usually be distro specific, and the userbase does not justify the cost.

The strength of Microsoft Windows was the fact that it was closed and controlled. People could not change the OS, all the rules from computer to computer were exactly the same. Because of this people could code for just ONE OS, that they knew would be supported and work for at least a decade. This is exactly what they did, 1000’s of companies started writing. Hardware makers could design one driver to work with the OS and everything was easy, because it was a standard platform, that was predictable. Windows was not the coolest, and it sure was not the most secure or robust, and they charged a huge price for it, but all of this was worth it because it was STANDARD. Nothing is more important than something being standard when it comes to business, and all the geeks need to learn this. McDonalds does not made the best burgers, but I have ate them in 5 different nations and they are all the same. When it is the same it is predictable, and you need that to get investors and make money flow. This is the main reason the Linux world still has less than 1% of desktop computers.

So now what? Well in a dream world someone with great power and clout would take all the best parts of Linux, get a ton of people behind him and release the ultimate distro of Linux. He would promise to not change it for at least 6 months and also promise that anything written for it will work for years on the newer versions. By creating a standard and unifying the Linux world programmers would start making software work on Linux and soon it would gain marketshare. It will be better and be free than windows, and soon takeover the world from the grasp of Microsoft.

Someone else, a tech billionaire named Mark Shuttleworth thought EXACTLY the same way, and he used his power and clout to do it. He calls it Ubuntu. He only release every 6 months, and he has static versions that are supported for two years or more. He then went much farther, he made a community around it. They have great free tech support with forums and chat. As well has many other great features and designs.  My good friend Matthew Helmke is one of the leading Ubuntu experts and forum leaders and inspired me to try it out.

This OS has the chance to become huge. For over a year now Linux has been the top distro, and it growing faster than the rest of the Linux world put together. The standard it presents has already encouraged many companies to start writing software for Linux. Many large games are not tested on Ubuntu. If you use Linux, switch to Ubuntu, for the sake of the Linux world. Raising a unified standard is the only hope that Linux has at commercial success.

I hope this explanation of a very tech thing from a business perspective educated both the techs and the business people who usually don’t understand each other.

I will offer much more of this sort of knowledge in the future so be sure to subscribe to this blog!.

Jason Dragon.