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BarretTime for April 21st, 2010

Allright. I’m back among the living after my human body hosted a pretty nasty virus for the better part of a week. If I had had some sort of robotic telepresence in the studio last Wednesday, I would have informed you that the first National Robotics Week took place April 10th through the 18th. There were a number of events across the country, with a notable robotics meetup in Dallas along with a number of Robot Block Parties across the nation. The goal of Robotics week is to raise awareness about how robotics technology impacts society and to inspire students of all ages to pursue careers in robotics and other science, technology, engineering and math-related fields. www.nationalroboticsweek.org for a redux on the 10th through the 18th or to look ahead to the second National Robotics Week, taking place in 2011.

And to get you started off on the right foot, tread, track, or whatever your current means of motility may be, the HAL-PC Robotics SIG is meeting this Saturday, April 24th, at one in the afternoon at the HAL-PC headquarters. 4543 Post Oak Place Drive is where you’ll want to be to start building your robot army.

In addition to helping Houstonians welcome our new robotic overlords, HAL-PC offers a vast support network for pretty much whichever area of personal computing that interests you. And if things like Ubuntu, Slackware, Debian, Mint, or even the very word ‘distro’ excite you, then you’ll want to be at the second of two monthly meetings of the Houston Linux Users Group, aka the Linux SIG. The group meets this Saturday at two in the afternoon at the same location as the Robotics SIG. Just follow the fleeing humans upstream to SIG Room C.

For a complete listing of Special Interest Group activities, surf to www.hal-pc.org.

On a side note, the long awaited first beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 was made available for download earlier today. The Enterprise Linux 6 Beta aims to blur the lines between virtual, physical and cloud computing in order to address the shifts taking place in the modern IT environment. Available for the Intel 386, AMD and Intel 64 bit processors, the System z and IBMs Power platforms, ISO’s are available at www.redhat.com/rhel/beta.

Remember, Linux is a great alternative to getting mired down in the ever contentious Mac vs PC war. And if you’re feeling uber enough to shun Linux, there’s always the BSDs: derivatives of the Berkeley Software Distribution derivative of Unix, of which FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD are kings. Really, the only way to win a discussion about which Operating System is the best is not to get into a discussion about which Operating System is best in the first place.

On the North side of town, Alex Dumestre will be giving a two hour presentation on the use of PaintShop Pro X3, including its Organization and Express Lab capabilities. He’ll also touch on creating slide shows using ProShow Gold, getting the finished product on DVD, Blu-Ray or even the Web. The presentation wraps up with a finished slide show of a trip down an Eastern European river. All of this takes place under the umbrella of the 1960 PC Users Group this Thursday from seven to nine PM. Hit www.1960pcug.org for details and directions.

And tomorrow is Earth Day. This one is special not only because the Earth is still currently controlled by humans, but because tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the Holiday. To honor this occasion, the Contractor Recycling Partnership has organized the second annual Electronics Waste (or E-waste) collection event to be held on April 24 at Space Center Houston. The event is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to noon. TVs and white goods (such as washing machines, microwaves and dryers) will not be permitted at this event, but all other computer-related electronics will be accepted. I would assume that they’ll be recycling the non-fleshy bits of cyborgs, too, so if you’ve got some parts from the old Cyberdine T-850 Series that you can’t seem to melt down, this is your chance to get rid of them. That’s right – let the good folks at the Johnson Space Center drain the last bit of life out of those glowing red eyes for you… No muss, no fuss.

That’s it for this week’s robo-rendezvous and that’s that for BarretTime.

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