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Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God

Duncan J Murray Re:Well That About Wraps It Up For God (755 comments)

Nice thought experiment, but why is it that God?

Before we knew what was outside of our milkyway, was the universe God?

I suppose you mean by using the term 'figment of some higher being's imagination', you imply that we exist in the already-nebulous concept of consciousness of a brain in a physical universe that doesn't bare any relation to our physical universe.

But I'm still not sure why we need to call this God.

about a month ago

What's Been the Best Linux Distro of 2014?

Duncan J Murray It will be... (303 comments)


There's a reason ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10 were seen as high points of the ubuntu story. I've been using unity, gnome 3 and crunchbang since then, and was worried that returning to a gnome 2 style interface would be like trying to recreate a particularly great drunken night out when you were a student - best left as a good memory. My worries were unfounded. Ubuntu-mate is fast, effective, efficient and looks great. I don't find I miss the extra gimmicks unity and gnome 3 have, and I appreciate the well-developed window and workspace management, file manager, even the simple places menu and add launcher functionailty with kupfer.

about 4 months ago

Mark Zuckerberg Throws Pal Joe Green Under the Tech Immigration Bus

Duncan J Murray Summary? (261 comments)

Or a collection of fullstops, dashes and capitalised consonants?

about 4 months ago

Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

Duncan J Murray Re:Apple? (421 comments)

MS has done nothing to prevent a PC from being sold without an OS

They may have even said that they will raise the price if they don't make all their machines come with Windows

You can get away with this when you're not a monopoly.

about 5 months ago

Testing 65 Different GPUs On Linux With Open Source Drivers

Duncan J Murray Re:Thankful for the FOSS drivers on older hardware (134 comments)

For me (a relative non-techie for this site) I find the more open-source I have on my computer, the easier it is to update the system without things breaking. I can just go to synaptic and check all updates and let it run. A lot of proprietary drivers don't play nicely with the package management, or require a manual install. Aside from that I also find them a bit glitchy, although there's no denying that if you need fps then there is no alternative.

So in summary, I find if you're not needing them for gaming/3D, then the open source drivers give a more consistent experience and mesh nicely with the rest of the system.

about 8 months ago

The Burning Bridges of Ubuntu

Duncan J Murray What's the secret formula? (346 comments)

Why is it that the linux kernel, as an open source project, doesn't seem to receive this scorn, whereas so many other open-source projects do - i.e. gnome, kde, ubuntu ?

Is it because the linux kernel generally doesn't complete revamp things. Linus proudly announced that there would be nothing exciting in the 3.0 kernel.

Or is it because the linux kernel is more of a community thing? It sounds like Linus doesn't do much 'directing' - he simply agrees or disagrees with patches. The linux kernel is like a sandcastle built up very slowly by millions of ants, with no large interventions, such as a spade. Whereas other opensource projects seem to get razed and re-built on a regular basis.

On the other hand, when linus got frustrated with the version control system, he did entirely build his own one. But this isn't a fair comparison because the system they were using was not open-source.

If a desktop GUI took the kernel model of development - i.e. lots of very small incremental changes - would we want to use it? Is this xfce's development model?

On a slight red-herring, a lot of people here mention centos and red hat. What is Red Hat going to do for a desktop GUI? They can't seriously be thinking of going to gnome 3? MATE is probably not stable enough.


about a year ago

Linux Format Magazine Team Quits, Launches New Profit-Donating Mag

Duncan J Murray Re:Remember the AmigaFormat laughs? (90 comments)

Yep - I remember!

I wish in the last few issues of AF they pointed out where they were heading, because I thought I had nowhere to go apart from Windows XP for 6 sorry years before I found Ubuntu 9.04 and LF again.


about a year ago

Linux 3.13 Kernel To Bring Major Feature Improvements

Duncan J Murray Re:Intel support is stellar this time. (190 comments)

My thoughts exactly, as I type this on a slightly more modern T60p, after my I dropped my T40 and sheared off the hinge last year.

To be honest, I'd be happy if Lenovo would simply sell a laptop without an OS if that's easier for them.


about a year ago

French Police To Switch 72,000 Desktop PCs To Linux

Duncan J Murray Re:practicalities (183 comments)

Also work for a large healthcare organisation, and have thought the same thing.

I think the key will be webapps - almost all - even radiology - seems to be moving to webapps. Some still need IE6 though!


about a year ago

LinkedIn Accused of Hacking Customers' E-Mails To Slurp Up Contacts

Duncan J Murray This happened to me (210 comments)

It was embarrassing and prompted me to close the account. Clearly a violation of privacy. I think at the time I used the same password as for my email account.

about a year ago

Why Are Some Hell-Bent On Teaching Intelligent Design?

Duncan J Murray Re:God of the Gaps (1293 comments)

From the Bible: "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the word was God." ( John 1:1 ). The Word in my understanding is the basic physical laws that runs this universe. The same stuff scientists study. It was science who convinced me that there is some sort of intelligence out there which resulted in the formation of me and everything I observe. The religious people call this God, Spirit, and all sorts of other names, but it seems to be a universal human observation that we are likely not the top in the chain of command in the Universe.

I enjoyed reading your post. I'm not completely clear on where you stand after coming to the end of it, but I get the sense you are a theist, but believe in a God which represents the abstract laws of the universe - something which is greater than what we understand at the moment. I don't know if you've read Dawkins' book, The God Delusion, but he has a whole chapter devoted to theists or agnostics of this sort. He has several arguments against these ideas of God - they mainly go along the line of - if you believe in a God which created the universe and it's laws, but doesn't bear any current interaction with the universe, then your reasoning requires a God-creator, ad infinitum - this isn't a satisfactory explanation for the universe. If your God _is_ the laws of the universe, then your definition of God is sketchy and almost impossible to differentiate between what we discover in Physics.

Personally, I was brought up Catholic. Like yourself, I never bought into the beliefs 100%, but I did see how particularly rules were beneficial to society and the individual, and generally followed them. My belief of God was, I think, similar to yours - something higher and deeper to the meaning of the universe as we understand it at present. Maybe external to our universe, not necessarily conscious, not necessarily a physical being.

In more recent years, I have changed my mind on both premises. Yes, the bible can be interpreted in ways that fit your ethical belief system, but why do this when you can think for yourself? Yes, there are aspects of the universe that we don't understand on a fundamental level, but why call it God?

about a year ago

EU Proposes To Fit Cars With Speed Limiters

Duncan J Murray 100k miles of commuting has changed my mind (732 comments)

on speed cameras. When I started out I didn't see the harm in speeding on our UK motorways (although I was vehemently against speeding in residential areas), and was largely opposed to the average speed cameras seen round the M25 and M42.

However, after so many miles of experiencing idiots driving erratically - speeding up/slowing down - some doing 90+ others doing 50mph, and having to continually be on the look out, overtaking, changing lanes just so I could drive with a consistent speed, I've decided average speed check cameras are the way to go. They stabilise the whole traffic, and generally everyone ends up driving almost exactly 70mph. There is a lot less stress, fuel economy is better than at 70, and there's much less slowing down and speeding up, which is also good for economy and safety.

If average speed cameras work - why use electronic limiters? There are very rare occasions when you need a bit of speed to do something safely, particularly at slower speeds (i.e. overtaking a cyclist or slower moving vehicle), and if there are any errors in the system, it could put people's lives at risk. Better to let the driver weigh up safety versus a speeding fine in those situations.

about a year ago

Former Lockheed Skunkworks Engineer Auctioning a Prototype "Spy Rock"

Duncan J Murray Re:IP Rights (119 comments)

"In 2002-2003, I was the Chief Technology Officer for a Boston-based hardware research and development firm, Advanced Wireless Automation (AWA)."

"Based upon my equity ownership in the company and the fact that all AWA computing resources were conducted on my own personal equipment using my own datacenter and my Internet connection, it is well within my right to auction off the backups related to the now-defunct AWA."

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Med-School Note-Taking?

Duncan J Murray Having been through medical school... (217 comments)

... I suggest you try to ensure you get handouts and then devote 100% of your concentration to listening and interpreting what you're being told.

If you write things down, you won't look at 90% of it. You will need it all in your memory at some point - either for the exams or when you're practising, so better commit it to memory in the first place. And, no, writing it down does not help with that.

My only warning is never to believe 100% anything anyone teaches you - no-one knows everything about everything, and the evidence and research is always changing.

about a year and a half ago

New Linux Trojan in the Wild

Duncan J Murray So how would this work? (2 comments)

Might be a stupid question here - but, I currently run Ubuntu 10.04 and use Google Chrome. How would this exploit present itself to me? Could I get infected from simply visiting a page? Clicking on an email in gmail? I'm guessing checking my emails in Mutt wouldn't lead to an infection? Would it present a dialog box that is or isn't decorated in my window decoration?

about a year and a half ago

Talking On the Phone While Driving Not So Dangerous After All

Duncan J Murray Quite a lot of problems with the paper (418 comments)

Just to list a few:

For starters this is a retrospective, observational (being generous here) cohort study.
I'd like a bit more technical detail on how they ensured that they were measuring mobile calls from cars (they have assurance from the telecommunications company)
They note a 7% rise in what they believe to be car mobile phone calls at 9pm on Monday to Friday on a background of steadily decreasing phone calls from 8pm to 10pm, and they don't mention whether this spike is statistically significant.
The spike in the rise of mobile car use is of a maximum of 1/2 hour before the level reaches pre-9pm levels, and continues to decrease. This interval is short - to notice an effect the recording of the car accidents in their source would have to be pretty precise. Any errors in the reporting of car accidents is probably going to make a 30 min window period difficult to measure.
They haven't analysed the variation in traffic at different times in the evening, which makes comparison at different time periods difficult. If the traffic is less after 9pm, the rate of accidents per car could be higher.

But the main problem is:
To show 'no effect' you need to ensure that your study is powered to make this observation - which they have not done. A 7% rise in mobile usage over 30 minutes would need ?how many crashes to give a statistically significant result that rises above the noise.

To be fair, they mention some of these issues as caveats, but I'm not sure they had enough statistics input for this paper. I would like to see the confidence intervals, how they were calculated, what software was used and what the p-values are. There should be a statisticians name on the paper. Certainly, you can't conclude that mobile phones are not dangerous while driving - you can only say that they found no evidence to show this in this particular study.

about a year and a half ago

IBM Opens Up POWER Architecture For Licensing

Duncan J Murray Amiga desktop? (131 comments)

Anyone want to surmise whether we'll get a desktop machine anytime soon?

Quite fancy a 5Ghz desktop beast running Amiga OS 4.

Just imagine - Full - motion - video. Less than 0 second shutdowns. Deluxe paint loading quicker than you can thumb a floppy in.

Or you could run ubuntu and have the dash load up in the time-frame your short-term memory works in.


about a year and a half ago

Canonical Seeks $32 Million To Make Ubuntu Smartphone

Duncan J Murray Re:Looks nice but bridges burnt? (267 comments)

I will admit that if I see anyone with one of these Ubuntu phones, I'm going to be quite a smidgen jealous!


about a year and a half ago

Canonical Seeks $32 Million To Make Ubuntu Smartphone

Duncan J Murray Looks nice but bridges burnt? (267 comments)

The problem is that the 'enthusiasts' who would be contributing to this have just recently had several slaps to the face from Canonical in the form of window buttons, unity, unity & unity. And amazon shopping lenses. 'This is not a democracy' is still rings in the ears. Now Canonical realise that they need the enthusiasts, who's toes they stepped on, to help with this venture into the mobile space.

To be honest, I hope they succeed. I think the concept of a phone that doubles as a desktop could very well be the future of the desktop computer for many people. The hardware also looks very nice (which is a necessity to tempt anyone off android/ios) - I agree with Shuttleworth that mobile screen resolution is getting out of hand, and I'd much rather the colourful OLED displays than the ridiculously high res LCDs (which then look laggy because the graphics can't keep up - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmywUhu2Pus) and a sapphire glass screen sounds interesting (though will it be as strong as gorilla glass - I doubt it).

I wonder how many of us would have paid up if Nokia had done this with the N950?

about a year and a half ago



Jolla Annouce Hardware for Their Linux Phone

Duncan J Murray Duncan J Murray writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Duncan J Murray (1678632) writes "Jolla, the Ex-Nokia N9 employee spin-off, has just released some details and pictures of their first handset based on their linux operating system. It will run a dual-core processor, a 4.5" screen, have a replaceable battery and a micro-SD card slot, and will initially be available in Europe for EUR399. The main selling points are a multi-tasking user-interface which is capable of running android apps using an Alien Dalvik layer from Myriad group, and *cough* replaceable multi-coloured back covers.

The technology is based on the Mer distribution, using RPM package management and QT/HTML5. The OS is called Sailfish, and work is on-going to develop a common API for Ubuntu phone, Sailfish and Plasma Active."

Link to Original Source

Sonic Tour of the Brain

Duncan J Murray Duncan J Murray writes  |  about 2 years ago

Duncan J Murray (1678632) writes "Currently exhibiting at The Barbican, London is a fayre on Neuroscience, which includes this 20-minute auditory exhibit looking at (or should that be listening to) — sounds of neurons firing, simulations of cochlear implants, the mosquito frequency, neverending scales, phantom words and speech reconstructed from intracranial electrophysiological recording, as well as other auditory illusions. It is worth a listen."
Link to Original Source

Linus Despises Widescreens, Likes Muchly Chromebook Pixel

Duncan J Murray Duncan J Murray writes  |  about 2 years ago

Duncan J Murray writes "Linus posts on Google Plus his admiration for the Google Chromebook Pixel. Citing the 13" 2560x1700 display as the main stand-out feature, he states:

"Because the screen really is that nice.
And I really appreciate not just the pixels, but the form factor. I despise widescreen displays, but I had gotten resigned to them. Until now. 3:2, baby!
I don't understand why people complain about "black bars", when I can't see why it would be any different to have "no pixels at all", which is what the silly widescreen displays do."

He goes on to state that he prefers a proper OS to chromeOS:

"So ChromeOS wasn't horrible, but running a native environment (currently still testing using a livecd just to see that it all works) really makes the screen come to its own.
I think ChromeOS isn't necessarily a bad idea, but I think Google is being a bit too timid about it, and limiting things a bit too much. And that may make sense if your hardware is limited (ie slow Atom or ARM CPU, cheap 1366x768 panel), but on this machine it's really holding the hardware back."

Personally I could never understand the move to widescreens on computers — just who is it out there that spends all their time watching DVDs on their laptop? As a photographer, the widescreen displays really limit viewing portrait orientation shots, too. 4:3 for me please."

Link to Original Source

Ask Slashdot: What is the best note-taking device for conference?

Duncan J Murray Duncan J Murray writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Duncan J Murray writes "I will be attending a 3-day science conference soon, consisting mainly of lectures, and was wondering what people thought would be the ultimate hardware/software combo note-taking device, taking into account keyboard quality, endurance, portability, discretion & future ease-of-reference. Is a notepad and pen still king? What about an Ipad? N900? Psion 5mx? A small Thinkpad X-series? And if so which OS? Would you have a GUI? Which text-editor?"


Duncan J Murray has no journal entries.

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