Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Gigastrand adds Bitcoin Support to online store.

Gigastrand is accepting Bitcoin once again . After limited success with Mt. Gox tools (now seemingly demised) Gigastrand temporarily suspended Bitcoin transactions. Gigastrand has re-enabled Bitcoin transactions in the online store (

You can choose the Bitpay option in checkout. You may also use Paypal or credit card.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

PC or PoC: Gimmick Tech

If it isn't broken, don't fix it. This is pretty much the mantra of PC or PoC. 

Recently, a relative of mine has purchased a laptop/tablet convertible. The touchscreen failed inside of a week and she returned it, bought another laptop, and it failed after 3 weeks of an electrical fault.

I owned a convertible laptop with a 10" screen. Loved it. Not because it was a convertible, because it was the smallest laptop I have ever owned and was perfect for field work. It recently died when I tried to upgrade it.

The problem with convertible laptops is that they are gimmicks. When I used my convertible I rarely used it as a tablet. It was nice to fold the screen down and put it away, but when in tablet mode, it didn't magically start running Android. It still ran the OS it ran when I started the computer.

That means, even in tablet mode, it is still a laptop with a touchscreen. A device with a touchscreen is an amazing piece of tech, but a touchscreen is a compromise compared to a proper keyboard and mouse.

The experience of my relative reminds me of why I write this blog. You see, the tech industry - and in particular the computer industry - is obsessed with the next gimmick. Rather than focusing on proven, reliable technology, they push out the next gimmick to sell - ready or not.

Gigastrand has never been about the next gimmick. Our customers want reliable tech that works and works well. That is what we will continue to provide.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Gigastrand OS: How much did 1.0 development cost?

Linux is free and those with the know-how can sit down and create a distribution without much effort. But have you ever wondered approximately how much a distribution like Gigastrand OS might cost to develop? We broke it down (figures are approximate).

Development time: $19,200
Promotion and ads: $10,750
Licenses and software: $2,000
Packaging and distribution: $1,060
Utilities: $7,200
Equipment: $4,800

1 year development total: $45,010

Last year, Gigastrand footed much of the bill for the Gigastrand OS development. The rest came from generous donations from people like you. $45,000 is cheap compared to the millions and billions spent on larger operating systems - and even the base OS and desktop environment for Gigastrand OS. 

Something to think about when downloading your next distribution.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Gigastrand OS: On USB

The Gigastrand OS has now been released on USB stick. The live DVD with installer can now be accessed on systems without an optical drive.

The Gigastrand OS 1.1 image is on a 2Gb flash drive and can be used on any system that can boot to a USB drive. This can make it a handy tool for IT professionals.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Casual Fridays: Support small business for free

Dear friends and family,

I am 100% positive that you know a small business owner. You probably know more than one. All of us small business owners are passionate about our work and do our best to make a living off that passion every day.

Promoting a small business is like standing in a valley shouting up to the people on the mountain hoping your message isn't just being heard by goats. But when we make a post about our business, it is not just an advertisement, we are letting you know what we are doing in our lives (not unlike the posts everyone makes) it's just a little more - well, business-y. 

So if you get a facebook post, tweet, or even e-mail about a small business - that you happen to know the owner personally - I would encourage you to like, share, or re-post it to your friends. It doesn't cost anything and the support is greatly appreciated.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Gigastrand International: Celebrating 8 years

Gigastrand Founder Josh Tordsen at the Desktop Linux Summit in 2006
Since its founding February 1st, 2006, Gigastrand International has survived and endured some of the worst economic times in history. Throughout its 8 years of business, it has manged to continue and expand its mission of Linux advocacy during times that have killed off lesser businesses. 

Before it was founded as Gigastrand International in 2006, the Linux advocacy took on the form of LinspireNetwork in 2004, and GigabytesNetwork in 2005. That amounts to over a decade of Linux advocacy. 

A brief history.
2006 started out well for Gigastrand. Gigastrand had a presence at the Desktop Linux Summit, it sold several PCs and laptops that year, Gigastrand had many industry firsts, and things were looking up.

Then, in December of 2006, co-founder Patrick Green bowed out to focus on other projects. in 2007, Linspire, Gigastrand's flagship product, went out of business. Gigastrand searched for a suitable replacement and eventually found it in Linux Mint.

In 2007, the concept of the Gigastrand OS was born. The project was shelved in 2008 after switching to Linux Mint.

2008 - 2010 Gigastrand eliminated all unnecessary operations and maintained the website with a few residual sales of Linux Mint and freespire.

Then, in 2011, Gigastrand reorganized once again. It began with a complete overhaul of the website, a renewal of the business license, and a new plan of action resulting in increased sales. In 2012 things began to fall into place and, as a result, Gigastrand began to pursue the idea of its own OS. The Gigastrand OS concept was dusted off and reborn with a new purpose.

Over a year, the Gigastrand OS was developed and Gigastrand evolved. While the final product released fell short of some expectations, it did accomplish nearly all of the goals we had set out to accomplish. 

What's ahead?
2014 is shaping up to be a gang buster year for Gigastrand. With the Gigastrand OS embodying our mission, it will be at the center of everything we do this year. There are a lot of plans for Gigastrand this year. 

If you think all this is cool, wait until you see what is next. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Netflix on Gigastrand OS? Yes it's possible.

Many, many people are presently working to try and bring Netflix to Linux with varying degrees of success. While services like Hulu run natively in either Firefox or Chrome in the Gigastrand OS, Netflix does not currently run natively in Linux.

Well, we have a solution but it is a good news / bad news sort of thing. 

The good news? Yes it will run inside Gigastrand OS. The bad news? It requires running Windows in Virtual Box.

There are a few limitations as well. First off, you have to have an Nvidia, Ati or AMD video card with the accelerated graphics driver loaded. We have those drivers in the repository.

Second, you cannot run the Virtual Box AND Netflix at full screen. Even with desktop additions, the Virtual Box driver just can't handle it. You end up with really choppy video and audio. We got it to run well at 800x600 and with Netflix running fullscreen. This resulted in good playback and reasonably comfortable viewing on a 1366x768 monitor.

We are presently working on and testing various solutions to the Netflix issue.