Capitalism vs Open Source

I bought a scanner back in 1999, a Plustek OpticPro 9636T. It worked fine in Windows 98. Unfortunately they did not make this model when Windows XP or 2000 were released, and therefore refused to make a driver for them. I believe it’s on the premise that they would rather people buy another scanner. Geez.

My last Windows 98 machine is almost dead, so I did what any self-respecting geek would do, I hooked it up to my Linux box. It did not work out of the box with Fedora Core 2 – I had to configure some “sane” (Scanner Access Now Easy) settings first, but lo and behold, it works great! You’d better believe I will not be buying another scanner simply because Plustek wants more of my money!

Voice over IP

I’ve been encountering more and more references to VOIP – Voice Over IP – lately. Supposedly I can pay a company a little bit of money (relative to my current phone bill) and set up a computer system at home with VOIP software, resulting in substatial savings on my phone bill along with improved options in my phone call handling. Heck, AT&T has VOIP with unlimited long dist and local for $29/month, and $19 for unlimited local… voip.net has even better rates, plus killer international rates – 2 cents/min to London?!? Wow. Almost makes me want to send the kids to boarding school with the Brits…

One link I came across lately is http://www.softwink.com/papers/Installation_Securing_VoIP_With_Linux/, which talks about an installation on a Linux machine. I’ve got a couple of other links I’ll post eventually when I find them.

Personally I can’t do this yet b/c my wife won’t let us change phone numbers, so I don’t have a driving need to read about it as much. But one day we’ll add a kid’s line, and it’ll come in handy. (Oldest is 10 and on the phone all the time these days).

A friend of mine at work is implementing it – he makes calls to Vietnam fairly often to talk to family – this will be much cheaper for him, plus he can work in conferencing options, all for MUCH cheaper. Hmmmm….

Might be a consideration for some of my side businesses….