Please excuse our brief absence

Well, perhaps the interval between this and the last post was on the longer side of “brief”. The truth is we’ve been wondering what to do with the blog. What with leaving the ABC and readers of the column not knowing that there’s an online home for it, there seemed little point …
And the new grand-daughter, Indigo, takes up quite a lot of the already minimal resources of spare time, to say nothing of the singing lessons – perhaps we should post an MP3 of some of our bass baritone efforts one of these days? – and the table tennis and the adventures on the motor scooter.
Anyway, the continuing stream of questions from readers indicates that there is still a need for a site like this, so we’re going to try to make more regular appearances on the blog, and with the support of the incredibly loyal and knowledgeable team that runs the forum, maintain it as a valuable resource for Australian computer users.
The Age has very kindly agreed to add a little line to the column which directs them to the blog, which should bring in more readers.
I do feel that I have to acknowledge publicly the tremendous support The Age has given to the local user community by continuing to run a column which no other newspaper in Australia – and from what I’ve seen, no other newpsaper in the world – has had the courage or commitment to run.
Let’s face it, the vendors, many of whom are major contributors to a newspaper’s advertising revenue, hate columns like ours. We’re firmly on the side of the user. If something doesn’t work, we say so. If the consumer is being ripped off, we say so. If we can find a way for the public to save money by not contributing to the budgets of mighty and powerful interests, we’ll let people know.
We take that ageing journalistic principle “without fear or favour” very much to heart, and we might have had to compromise somewhat, if we didn’t write for The Age.
There’s a cost, of course. Many companies – Telstra being the primary example – deny us information and try to silence us, to the extent of censoring us as a public speaker, threatening to call in the lawyers etc. And we don’t get those nice little favours, those free tickets to shows and sporting events and the overseas trips that most of our colleagues accept as a matter of course. On the other hand, we suspect that they find it more difficult to meet their own gaze in the mirror than we do.
There’s a lot more that we’d like to do. We’d like to see, for instance, a public resource that helped the average user, and small business in particular, save money and gain efficiency by using Open Source software, rather than sending so much money offshore to companies like Microsoft. If you’d like to support an effort like that, let us know.

6 Responses to “Please excuse our brief absence”

  1. Mike Bird (mibi)

    I am with you all the way. I hope over the past 6 months or so I have proved that I am passionate about open source, freeware and Linux. How can I help? I will willingly do what I can to help develop BE into a major resource to help those who need assistance particularly with software selection and it’s use.

  2. cw

    You have a point, Roy. So lean Puppy loads directly into RAM, happily and easily co-exists with Windows, and can restore abandoned hardware to fast, useful life.

  3. Richard Castle

    CDubya, your articles on the Eee PC have sent me on a voyage of discovery towards OpenOffice, which if I could find my OSX install disks would be sitting proudly on my imac now. I’ve overcome ill-informed resistance to converting my consultancy business to mac. I’m up for a conversion to OpenOffice or something similar.

  4. Alan Lazarus

    Stay with it; your article is one of my favourite pieces in the Age and I lurk here a lot!
    I’m more than happy to assist (nay, get involved) in a large scale effort to popularise open source software.
    It would be great to get involved with a bunch of like minded people to help produce a decent standard workstation (“workhorse”, perhaps) with a build of Linux tailored for that blend of hardware, working with a bunch of dedicated people to assist in supporting both the desktop and the hardware.
    (Volunteers for home user support; paid staff for business support)
    We’d source the codecs and all the necessary software, plus all the drivers.
    Result- cheap reliable supported home desktops with no software “tax” on the top.
    How about it Charles…care to organise the meeting?

  5. bryan

    In addition to Open Source sw it would be nice if you could market all your experience in setting up communications in a small business. We pay heaps towards Sol’s annual bonus and would prefer to see it go towards our son’s education (or a nice bottle of wine on occasions. We do not have the expertise nor the time to work our way through the “Plans” contracts and investigate VOIP.


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