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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why Linux is a Viable Commercial AND Home Option

     So, I've been thinking a lot lately about why Linux hasn't really established itself as a viable personal PC option yet, and that has lead me to think about why I think it could be viable personal PC option.  I guess, standing on the ledge looking out into the broad world of PC manufactures, with Digital Fruit taking its first baby steps out into that wider world, I'm contemplating our best options.
     That said, this is my argument as to why Linux might just be the operating system of the future, and why Digital Fruit will begin supporting Linux as well as Windows and Mac OSX.
     First off, cost is the major reason anybody supports Linux of any variety, and probably the most compelling reason to use it now.  Linux, based off of open source code, doesn't have to be free, it can be sold, it just can't be locked away under restrictive licensing agreements (it has an agreement, called the GNU Public License, or GPL, but it a simple document essentially setting anything it is attached to as public domain).  This holds a lot of power in the business world, especially in small businesses.  It allows them to only concentrate on the cost of hardware, they don't have to worry about OS costs.  Plus, most of the modern business software available on Linux distributions is either cheap or open source as well, so it falls into the same boat.
     The second reason I have for liking Linux as a personal PC option is that it has the support of community.  Instead of having a small group of people working on OS development, (and by small, I really mean 200 - 500), you have thousands of invested programmers on major Linux distributions working to come up with the best product they can, and with out even insisting on getting paid.  This means that in the best case scenarios, more gets done.  It isn't a perfect system by far, but I have seen some amazing things happen in a short amount of time on open source projects, and Linux is no exception.
     The third reason I think Linux will be a viable option for the personal PC is it's ability to cross the device barrier.  With our world becoming even more interconnected all the time, Linux is the fastest OS to jump any device barrier, because the design is so morph-able in the first place.  Linux can operate on everything from the bios chip-sets on motherboards to full-scale super computers, all without having to change your distribution (if you choose the right distro).  So, with the capability to go anywhere, on any device, I think Linux might just be the system to propel computing into the future, and I'm personally looking forward to it.
     So, I'm sure I'll get plenty of complaints against this article, but I stick by my guns.  I've seen a lot of things happen in the computing world in my time, and I have to say, that as far as I see the technology space moving, Linux fits best to fill the void. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Grueling C++ Regiment

     So, I've decided that I have to master the language of C++, and I'm setting out to do it as fast as I can.  I'm not just focusing on the basics either, but getting prepped for serious game development.  I'm studying as much as I can on the subject, and going as deep as the rabbit hole will take me.
     With that in mind, I decided that I would share the laborious path I'm traveling, in case anyone else dare to travel this sordid road.
     My journey began with a book I've already reviewed here as a product pick, Course Technology Beginning C++ Game Programming, which is an awesome primer on C++.  Then to round out the corners, I'm in the middle of reading Sam's Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days, which is harder to understand, but goes much more in-depth into the language of C++.  For a basic reference, I picked up both O'Reily pocket references for C and C++, as it seems both are necessary to actually understand the language.
     From there I'm branching off though, in two different forks.  The first will be 2D game development with a cross-platform approach, studying to build games for Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX.  So far I have only two books planned for this section, Game Programming All-in-One, by Jonathan S. Harbour, as it covers the concepts of basic 2D game development, and because it uses the Allegro cross-compatibility library.  Following up there, I'm going to be buying up Advanced 2D game development, a book by the same author.  I haven't read this one yet, so I'm hoping it will be just as good.
     Then, when moving into 3D game programming, it will be Windows only for the first little while.  The first two books I'll be covering there are Beginning Game programming, by Jonathan S Harbour, and Beginning DirectX 9, by Wendy Jones.  These two books get you started on the concepts of using DirectX 9 directly for developing 3D games.  But as they are both basic primers, I'm going to have to finish of the set with 3D Game Programming All-in-One and Programming Role Playing Games with DirectX, as both of these are huge manuals for studying 3D game development.
     And, this is just the beginning, there are plenty of topics I have to research in C++, so I'm sure I will be able to add to this list later, and get a complete study course up for anyone who really wants to learn about C++.  Till next time, I'll catch you on the flip side

Considering Options for R&D

     So, I'm sitting here tonight and pondering over the best way to fund Digital Fruit's R&D department.  Much of what we do here at Digital Fruit is greatly enhanced by the research we conduct, currently on people's free time.  But the best research gets done when people have time to devote to it and an incentive to work.
     Which poses a problem, because there is currently no room in Digital Fruit's budget for R&D.  Heck, were still working on getting our advertising budget up to snuff.  So, I'm contemplating setting up a Paypal donations button on the website, our Facebook, and possibly here on the blog.  But personally, I'm not too up to date on the ramifications of asking for donations for a part of a business thats for profit.  So, I'm asking out to the great ether of the internet.  What do you reader's think?  Leave comments and help Digital Fruit out with its dilemma, and help us provide a better computing world for all.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ubuntu Software List

     Its been almost a year now, and I've essentially converted completely over to Ubuntu.  One of the major factors that has assisted in this transition has been the abundance of software I have found that is cross compatible between Linux and Windows, and that happen to be open source.  So, I figured I'd help out those searching to make the switch from Windows to Ubuntu by providing a list of these softwares and where to download them.
     So, to start of this list, I've got a list of programs developed by Google, and we'll move on from there:
Picasa 3
Google Earth
Google Chrome
Google Voice
(I suggest using Ubuntu's repository to download)
HP Linux Driver
The Gimp
(I suggest using the Ubuntu repository)
(I suggest using the Ubuntu repository)
(Once again I suggest using the Ubuntu repository)
(Ubuntu repository suggested)
(Ubuntu repository suggested)
IBM Lotus Symphony
Adobe Reader
(Not actually open source, but preferred for reading PDF)

Update 09-22-2011

Here are a couple of other programs you can enjoy both on Ubuntu or Windows, and even Mac for some of them:

(difficult to install on the latest Ubuntu if you don't know what you're doing, but so worth it if you're setting up an HTPC.)

Miro Internet TV
(use the repo!)

VLC Media Player
(use the repo)

I hope that this list of cross-platform softwares has helped any of you trying to make the switch over to Linux, but are left pining for the familiarity of windows.  If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail me at  I'll be glad to share some pointers.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Suggested Courses For Web Design

     I thought I would just take a few minutes today and suggest a course of action for anyone interested in learning the skill of web design.  This is something of a tricky field, because you've got to have a one part designer, one part techy, and three parts determination.
     So, for a web designer, there are several key ingredients that can help you on your way.  First, your training.  As someone who has done both the higher education method, and the self taught method, I have to say I prefer the self-taught method, at least as far as the technical skill is concerned.  Far too much of the collegiate study I did concerned its self with useless web history that has long since been forgotten by the general public, and has no place in its future.  I know that if you forget your past you are doomed to repeat it, but learning about graphic-less web browsers and old Javascript security issues doesn't help a new web designer in any way.  You will never have to deal with these issues again.
     So, as to my suggestion about teaching yourself, after many years of digging through Borders and Barnes and Noble, and pouring over the listings of Amazon, I have found O'reily's Head First HTML with CSS and XHTML to be the best starting point, followed by their Head First Web Design and Head First Javascript manuals.  These three books form a good ground work, even if Head First HTML seems a bit dated, (it makes the bold claim that there will never be another HTML, because everything is moving to XHTML, and now we are sitting here with HTML 5 being the next big web technology).
     With those three books under your belt, the next suggestions I have are couple of websites.  These two references have been the ultimate resource for advanced web designing, with all the darkest and taboo topics brought to light.  The first,, outlines every possible tag and style you can possible use in web programming.  The next deals strictly with design:  This one website has been one of the most amazing online resources I have ever found for web design.  Any layout problem or design issue, and the guy who writes this blog seems to have it fixed, or at least an explanation as to why it can't be fixed, which is really useful when your customer is irate because something doesn't look exactly the way they want it to.
     So, if you have any aspirations to be a web designer, this has been my path, more or less, and hopefully you can benefit from my experience and avoid the pitfalls I stumbled blindly into.  Good luck, and happy reading.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Game Developers Needed

     So, I'm putting this out here in the hopes of maybe finding enthusiastic people willing to work on something without threat of pay.  Digital Fruit needs involvement on some of its video games, but with no really development budget at the moment, those involved would do so of their own free will, with out the hope of pay, or at least anything decently resembling pay.  I'm offering this project because it will provide anyone interested the opportunity to put down something on their resume.
     We're offering this to anyone willing to collaborate on the project, artists, programmers, game designers, marketers, anyone looking to pad their career in game development.  If you find yourself interested, email me at to let me know and I'll get you the list of game projects that are currently in development.  Anyone willing to help is welcome, you don't really need any experience, just a desire to work and the will to listen.
     If you would like to help but have no knowledge of the discipline you prefer, we do have a list of materials and tutorials for study, and can happily answer any questions you have in the learning process.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

DF Con Update

     Tonights post is a really short one.  I just wanted to update our customers as to what will be taking place so far at DF Con.  We've got some nifty stuff going on.  We're working on a game for the new Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets, and we should have some updated work on Epic the RPG in time for DF Con.  Some other possible software projects may be showcased as well, but we haven't gotten everything else straightened out yet.
     We will also be displaying the DigiFruit Mini 1 computer, based on Intel Atom technology, and we should have two different operating systems installed for showcase by then.
     And, if we're really lucky, there may be some footage from projects being worked on by Digital Fruit Animation ready by the time DF Con roles around.  Stuff that may even warrant the big screen, (and by that I mean the silver screen).  So, who knows at this point, this may be the coolest thing we've done yet.  So till then, catch you on the flip side.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ah, High-End Equipment

     I told you yesterday that I had a really great product review coming up, and boy is this thing awesome.   Though I will tell you now it is not for the faint of heart, the price tag is something most would choke on.  Today's product pick is the D-Link Xtreme N Storage Router.  And let me tell you, if you want a router that does it all, this thing does it all.
     Equipped with four gigabit network ports, full 300mbs wireless N, the ability to add a hard drive for internal storage, display port for viewing photos and network stats, and date and time functions, about the only thing this router doesn't do is play your music.
      And its performance isn't too shabby, either.  As of this writing, I don't have a hard drive installed to test with yet, but all other stats are top notch.  This thing sings.
     Though, as a router, I really don't have much else to say on the matter, it handles my data, well, and that is the most important characteristic of any router.  The D-Link Xtreme N Storage Router gets a solid 5 out of 5 fruit, and is our pick for a high-end home router, if it isn't a bit overkill.  So, until next time, catch you on the flip-side.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Long Lapse

     Wow, its been a few days hasn't it?  I've kind of fallen by the wayside, flu's to blame, but I'm back and posting tonight.
     First thing, the first pieces of on display for DF Con 2011 showed up, some stuff from Intel to help answer questions customers might have over some of our new product line.
      Also, a surprise package from our most generous investor arrived, and I'm floored.  So, a new product pick tomorrow, and all of you get to find out what it is.  I need a little more time to put it through its paces.  Until then, catch you on the flip side.

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Month, New Work

     So, as a new month dawns, I have decided that working on Digital Fruit is far too much work and I'm calling it quits.  I think I'll sell out all of our research and projects to some other digital business.   Honestly, I don't know why I got into this in the first place.  So, thats it, I'm done.  Bye.
     (If anyone hasn't figured it out by now, this is an April Fools joke.  We are doing great this month and already have a couple of customers, even though it is the first of the month.  We'll post something serious tomorrow.)