I try hard to keep my blog on topic - you know Flash, e-learning, that sort of thing. I'm losing the battle today, the manufacture of this 'news' has just pushed too many of my buttons. The Register is generally a pretty good read, and is fast with relevant news for the IT sector but it suffers sometimes from poor journalistic standards.
Today The Reg reports 'Hangover cures don't work: official', apparently relying on a British Medical Journal paper. The paper itself seems of pretty scant use or importance and limited in it's conclusions. The summary conclusion is "No compelling evidence exists to suggest that any conventional or complementary intervention is effective for preventing or treating alcohol hangover. The most effective way to avoid the symptoms of alcohol induced hangover is to practise abstinence or moderation." That doesn't say very much. Mostly it means that not many studies have been undertaken.
Ignoring the news and the studies, the truth is that hangover prevention measures can be very effective. Hangovers are primarily caused by dehydration, and keeping hydrated is a simple effective preventative measure. Preventing a hangover is a case of having a few glasses of water before bedtime, and curing a hangover is about getting hydrated again fast. There's more useful info on hangovers prevention and cure this Christmastime.
Armed with this information, have a Merrier Christmas.
I've been trying to find out some more about the $100 laptop. That's the MIT / One Laptop Per Child project to bring affordable laptops to poorer countries. Some commentators think it will be an educational revolution, others think the laptops will make good table lamps for poor families.
it triples the global production of laptops. I'm wondering if all those new users are going to be able to see Flash content
Turns out it's going to be shipping with Redhat and probably Firefox. Steve Jobs had offered OSX at no cost for the laptop but MIT declined. While I think it was a generous offer, I can see why it would have benefitted Apple too. Redhat will gain exposure and legitimacy as a usable OS. MIT is also planning a $200 version for western markets. I think there will be an appetite for a simple hardisk-free laptop and it will do well as a product.
One target of the project is to make 100 to 150 million units by 2007. To put that into perspective, it triples the global production of laptops. I'm wondering if all those new users are going to be able to see Flash content. The reason MIT turned down OSX was a desire to keep the laptop open-source only. Where does that leave the Flash player? It is more than capable of running on Redhat with the laptop specs (500Mhz/128MB), but it is decidely not open source. It looks like the laptop will have a kind of default Redhat installation which the buyers(governments) can change. So while it may be possible to add the Flash player in any event, I'm hoping the laptop includes Flash by default. Otherwise they'll be sidelining a great delivery mechanism used widely in education and with it a lot of existing educational content. I hoping the pragmatic educational objective wins out here above the open-source ideology.
David Moss of PC Pro magazine and school sys admin investigates moving his school away from Windows. He concludes that the switch to Mac is too expensive because of hardware costs and Linux too expensive because of retraining costs. He doesn't speculate what the reactions of students and parents might be to a switch. I suspect there would be significant resistance there - especially to Linux.