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Comments

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Debian Switching Back To GNOME As the Default Desktop

Dystopian Rebel LXDE, XFCE are "a little too light-weight" ? (395 comments)

my whole workflow is based on the quaintly named "classic desktop model" where screens and windows don't magically resize and change position (...) I'd switch to LXDE or XFCE, but they're a little too light-weight for my taste

What does "a little too light-weight" mean? Something like JWM or icewm?**

LXDE has a useful set of features and it won't waste your time with unwanted "special effects". If you really are frustrated by the barkers at the KDE-Gnome-Mate-Cinnamon desktop carnival, I suggest that you try Debian LXDE or even Lubuntu.

The configurable simplicity of LXDE is the main reason to use it. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_X_window_managers)

One of the main reasons why the Debian folks switched from Gnome to XFCE was that they couldn't fit Gnome on a CD anymore. The fact that the market is abandoning optical disks in favour of USB/SDHC booting doesn't mean that I want KDE/Gnome bloat.

**Disclaimer: I use icewm on my Raspberry Pi(s). The icewm DE light, simple, and easy to understand. Oh yeah, and the R.Pi won't run much else very well anyway. (o;

about a week ago
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Recommendations For Classic Superhero Comic Collections?

Dystopian Rebel Recommend that you keep reading /. (165 comments)

"Due to being in a relationship with a comics geek"

This must mean that you are a girl who enjoys basement lodging. Therefore, your post is false and was either submitted by a program that won the Turing Test or by a CIA operative.

It's 2014 and Slashdot is full of Golden-Age Comics.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Protect Your Privacy These Days? Or Do You?

Dystopian Rebel Re:Depending on the platform, there are some optio (319 comments)

I use Seamonkey with Adblock Plus and No Script. I also block all third party cookies. I'm also considering adding Ghostery to the mix. This takes care of most of the trackers, cookies, ads, etc.

Not Ghostery -- it has a dubious mission and works by parsing lists that are growing longer by the week. Try the Request Policy extension for Firefox. Request Policy is simpler. It blocks off-site requests and shows you a list of what each site is requesting. You'll learn just how much tracking is happening and you may begin to avoid sites that you used to trust.

The latest Firefox has a "click to play" feature. Type "about:config" and search for "click_".

I have not used Linux on a desktop in years, and I am yet to touch Windows 8, so I can't comment there.

I prefer Linux on my desktop in every way. Just don't buy Nvidia and Broadcom hardware. Linux provides the tools that show exactly what your computer is doing. Debian 7 is excellent.

Windows 8, like ChromeOS, ties your computer to an e-mail account. Stay away.

about 10 months ago
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Raspberry Pi Hits the 2 Million Mark

Dystopian Rebel Agree with Free as in Libre. But I got an RP... (246 comments)

We're in the golden age for software development. I prefer an "open" solution like the Beagleboard but I received an R.Pi v2 for free and have made it part of my low-power dev environment. I'll describe this environment for the amusement of ye 'dotters.

I installed a $10 hardware clock in the R.Pi and I power the it with a spare power cord from an Amazon Kindle.

I run Raspbian (Debian) with Icewm DE. I use the R.Pi for coding (Java, C++, Perl, Go) and I push Mercurial updates to a code repo on a Sheevaplug running Debian Wheezy. The Sheevaplug's power supply had failed (typical problem, melted capacitors) but I wired the mainboard to an AC adaptor from a USB hub.

I've overclocked the R.Pi to 900MHz. This isn't enough CPU to browse the Internet directly from the R.Pi with Iceweasel/Firefox, but Midori and NetSurf work well enough. On a Pogoplug V2 (running Debian, you see the pattern here), I have lighttpd and a Perl program that fetches and summarises RSS feeds for me. I can view the RSS summary from the R.Pi using NetSurf or Midori. (Dillo doesn't do tables well.)

When I need to do Web research that requires Flash or special plug-ins, I use rdesktop to connect to a VM instance of Firefox (M-Windows XP or Debian) installed on an AMD box running VMware ESXi server. ESXi server is free.

I have all this running with an APC battery back-up. The APC unit can run for some time with only the ARM kit to power. I have another APC UPS feeding my modem, router, and assorted switches.

It's a versatile dev environment and it didn't cost much. None of it would be possible without Linux. I'll say it again: this is a golden age for software developers.

about 10 months ago
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MenuetOS, an OS Written Entirely In Assembly Language, Inches Towards 1.0

Dystopian Rebel Re:What a... (372 comments)

a senseless waist of human life

Kardashian is working on this too?

about a year ago
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R 3.0.0 Released

Dystopian Rebel Re:Congratulations R Team (75 comments)

I once had a job in the EduBubble where I had to learn SAS. It's a language could only survive in the EduBubble, which is at least 15 years behind in technology and 25 years behind in thinking.

If R isn't a well designed language, at least it is free, open source, and capable.

about a year and a half ago
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Declassified LBJ Tapes Accuse Richard Nixon of Treason

Dystopian Rebel Re:If this is true... (536 comments)

If this is true, then it proves once again these truisms of a military-based capitalist economy:

= Politicians serve their economic masters.

= When the rich declare war, poor kids are sent to die.

= The betrayal of the credulous happens every day.

about a year and a half ago
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DoJ Admits Aaron Swartz's Prosecution Was Political

Dystopian Rebel Re:Sums it up ... (326 comments)

Welcome to the oligarchy folks, it's all down from here.

In other breaking news, the Egyptian foreign minister just announced the completion of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

about a year and a half ago
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LibreOffice 4 Released

Dystopian Rebel "migrating German code comments to English" (249 comments)

Great, now I will know what the function with the following comment does:

"Gott vergib mir, das ist eine schreckliche Hack!"

about a year and a half ago
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LibreOffice 4 Released

Dystopian Rebel MS Office mewlers and shills, queue here! (249 comments)

For the sake of order on this sadly degenerating News for Nerds site, please add your post to this parent if the essence of your "thinking" is one of the following:

= LibreOffice is not MS Office, therefore it's crap.
= LibreOffice uses Java, which everyone know is not as fast and portable as .NET.
= LibreOffice lacks MS Office proprietary features and misfeatures, therefore it disappoints me terribly.
= LibreOffice doesn't read or write the constantly mutating, rubbish file formats of MS Office the way only MS Office can.
= LibreOffice isn't backed by a large corporation that Only Wants The Best For Me.
= LibreOffice is bloated, and I insist on the lean responsiveness and stability of MS Office!
= LibreOffice doesn't have ribbons to help me not find features that I used to use.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Dr. Robert Bakker About Dinosaurs and Merging Science and Religion

Dystopian Rebel There is no "merging of science and religion" (528 comments)

How you resolve your cognitive dissonance is your personal matter. You abandon intellectual integrity and the practice of science when you talk rubbish.

 

about a year and a half ago
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HR Departments Tell Equifax Your Entire Salary History

Dystopian Rebel Episode 1, The Adventures of Randian Nutbag (472 comments)

Citizen: Help! Randian Nutbag! My house is on fire!

RN: Contemptible Weakling, if you were strong, I would help you. Or perhaps I would murder you and take everything that makes you strong. That certainly would be an option for a Heroic Spirit. But you are weak and destined for failure.

Citizen: My family is in the house! Oh, save them!

RN: Pusillanimous Conformist Vermin, you have bred hapless, dependent whelps as pathetic as yourself. You are weak and destined for failure. I am indifferent to your suffering. { begins to fly away }

Citizen: W-wh-where are you going?

RN: To collect my welfare cheque. I am *not* indifferent to my own suffering.

about a year and a half ago
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Dell Going Private In $24.4 Billion Agreement

Dystopian Rebel "I'm no economist, but" (217 comments)

> I'm no economist, but

That's ok, they don't know what they're talking about either.

about a year and a half ago
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Missile Defense's Real Enemy: Math

Dystopian Rebel Numerical superiority, not "math"... (589 comments)

And I expect that a highly numerate society would understand the probabilities well enough not to wage open war against a numerically superior adversary.

Hence the "global economy" that we have today.

about a year and a half ago
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Is 'Brogramming' Killing Requirements Engineering?

Dystopian Rebel Bad code... survives (432 comments)

There are many forces apart from incompetence acting upon any non-trivial software project. There are compromises to be made, and risks to be evaluated.

In short, there are factors that have nothing to do with the code that affect the quality of code.

The larger the organisation, the greater the tendency towards failure to understand, failure to communicate, and failure to complete. It isn't simply a question of architects, coders, testers, and documenters doing their very best.

There are some coding projects that are as essential as housing, in the sense that defects might cause death. But the majority of coding done in the world is slapped together and discarded within a five-year cycle.

What the heck, if it's for revenue recognition, release the prototype and hire e-workers to post favourable comments on some Web sites!

To paraphrase the Shat, "Bad code... survives."

about a year and a half ago
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Perl's Glory Days Are Behind It, But It Isn't Going Anywhere

Dystopian Rebel C must be dying too... (379 comments)

... except that it's not, despite several similar obituaries having been published.

With all due respect to "language companies" and all the script kiddies coming out of universities today, C and Perl are the stable tools. They will remain important for any work requiring stability.

Most "alternative" languages mentioned in this discussion have broken backwards compatibility at least once, have serious performance and other internal problems, and don't come close to the practical effectiveness of C and Perl.

Perl 6 is a new language. I have played with it and I think it is evolving with the right principles.

The next big challenge to serious programmers is concurrency. Functional programming is the only solution, but let's acknowledge that functional programming is nowhere near becoming the norm. It's very difficult to master, especially for OOP-damaged, pattern-deranged programmers and their IDEs of Desperation.

Having said all this, I'll add that tools will change. Fads come and go, but the tools that do the real work in the most efficient way are always at the top of a smart coder's tool box. Including a Fad Detector.

about a year and a half ago
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New York Passes Landmark Gun Law

Dystopian Rebel A constutionally protected gun business (1591 comments)

> We have a messed up society.

What the US has is a constitutionally protected gun business.

There are more than 20 US manufacturers of guns. This business is worth about $30 billion a year (
http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2013/0103/A-look-at-America-s-gun-industry).

The US market for guns is more than 300 million people. Gun ownership in Canada and the UK, to cite figures from nations that have gun-control laws, is at about 30%. Gun ownership in the US is at about 80%.

So, the probability of a gun in the US being in the hands of a crazy person is very high.

The probability of a gun in the US being in the hands of a person who will *go crazy* at some point is also high.

The guns won't go away -- there are too many of them now, and a profitable, constitutionally protected gun business with a huge market will do whatever it must to keep producing and selling.

The only practical options for gun ownership are

constraints on types of weapons and quantity of ammunition for citizens, and
annual psychological testing of gun owners.

In short, political suicide.

about a year and a half ago
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Richard Stallman Answers Your Questions

Dystopian Rebel Re:"Elegant jails" (527 comments)

> I can't help but to see bitter jealousy

You probably mean "envy".

And if so, you'll need to explain how you think RMS demonstrates envy of the late Thermonuclear Patent Litigator.

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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HTML5 storage bug exploitable in Chromium, Safari, Opera, and MSIE.

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "A Stanford U comp-sci student has found a serious bug in Chromium, Safari, Opera, and MSIE. Feross Aboukhadijeh has demonstrated (safe link: http://feross.org/fill-disk/) that these browsers allow unbounded local storage. Aboukhadijeh has logged the bug with Chromium (https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=178980) and Apple but couldn't do so for MSIE because "the page is broken" (see http://connect.microsoft.com/IE). Oops.

Firefox's implementation of HTML5 local storage is not vulnerable to this exploit."

Link to Original Source
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Software developer says OS X in a state of "rot"

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "MPG author and software developer Lloyd Chambers has published his frustrations about Apple OS X, which he says is in a state of "rot" because of serious file-management bugs and Apple's focus on superficial features. He isn't alone in his frustration, to judge from comments that his post has received.

The iPhone and iPad are where the money is for Apple now, but is Apple ignoring quality in the OS that saved the company?"

Link to Original Source
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Intel to use soldered CPUs; end of PC building?

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  about 2 years ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "ZDNET reported that Intel will sell the next-generation Broadwell CPUs as a ball grid array (BGA) rather than an land grid array (LGA) package. In short, Broadwell CPUs will be soldered onto the circuit board. The article mentions that Apple now has RAM soldered onto the mainboard of some PC products. Is this the end of hobbyist PC building and upgrading? Will AMD find new support from hobbyists and OEM builders?"
Link to Original Source
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Gates Foundation buys $23m of Monsanto shares

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has purchased 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock worth more than $23m US, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission from August 2010.

As reported by the Real Food blog, the significant investment by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in agribusiness giant Monsanto has been criticized by experts and activists who are concerned in particular about the impact of Monsanto's technology and the company's treatment of small-scale farmers in Africa.

Dr. Phil Bereano, University of Washington Professor Emeritus and recognized expert on genetic engineering, condemned the investment as an "enormous conflict of interest". "Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and well-being of small farmers around the world, as well as an appalling environmental track record," he said in a press release. The investment, says Bereano, casts serious doubt "on the Foundation's heavy funding of agricultural development in Africa and purported goal of alleviating poverty and hunger among small-scale farmers."

As an example of Monsanto's destructive behaviour, the press release mentions that Monsanto gave free maize seeds to small-scale farmers. When the seeds failed to produce and the rate of crop failure reached 80%, Monsanto compensated large farming operations that purchased the seeds, but did nothing for the small-scale farmers.

"When the economic power of Gates is coupled with the irresponsibility of Monsanto, the outlook for African smallholders is not very promising," said Mariam Mayet, environmental attorney and director of the Africa Centre for Biosafety in Johannesburg. "Monsanto's aggressive patenting practices have also monopolized control over seed in ways that deny farmers control over their own harvest, going so far as to sue and bankrupt farmers for patent infringement.""
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MPAA admits overstating downloading on campuses

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "The NY Times news blog reports that the MPAA has admitted that it overstated ("overblamed") the losses that the US movie industry has suffered because of downloading by students on campus.

The MPAA said a "human error" (oh, those pesky humans) exaggerated the losses incurred by the movie industry by a factor of three. The previous estimate was that students accounted for 44% of the US movie industry's losses. The new estimate is that piracy on campus accounts for 15% of the industry's losses.

Of course, the loss in profit from popcorn sales is still quite large."

Link to Original Source
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Oprah's Web offer causes Food-Swarm in Meatspace

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "Talk-show personality Oprah Winfrey promoted a free-meal gimmick for KFC (warning: moronic advertising) last week: download a coupon from Oprah's site and get a free (as in chicken) meal from the beloved Colonel himself (or logo thereof).

Trouble ensued when a large number of hungry Oprah acolytes began downloading the coupon. A time limit for the availability of the download was not enough to prevent a food-swarming in meatspace. As noted by the Sunday Herald (Scotland), Web developers responsible for the Oprah-KFC snackfest had done nothing to uniquely identify the coupons and track the identification numbers. Some people who had obtained the coupon were photocopying it so they could plan their meals for the rest of the week. Beseiged KFC locations soon ran out of food amid cries from hungry, angry, coupon-waving crowds.

If only the poor and hungry had private jets of their own, they could fly to another fast-food joint."
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Enduring software mistake that riles you most?

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "Enduring software mistake that riles you most?
- reboot after update
- embedding IE in the OS
- case sensitivity
- DRM
- null-terminated array of char
- Windows Registry
- Perl syntax
- BoyCow Neal"
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Yahoo announces the closure of Briefcase service

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "Just when people are talking about storing their data in "the cloud", Yahoo has announced the closure of its "Briefcase" online storage service as of March 30, 2009.

The explanation offered by Yahoo: "(...) in a Web 2.0 world where Yahoo! Mail has unlimited storage and Flickr offers media sharing, users and services have outgrown what the Yahoo! Briefcase service can provide."

Yahoo Briefcase has been around for many years but only offered 30 MB of storage, which once upon a time was an adequate amount but is much too small for storing pictures, music, or MS Excel spreadsheets bloated with pivot tables. Could Briefcase have become a contender if the service had provided more space to its users? What reliable alternatives are available?"

Link to Original Source
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RMS: 'Microsoft Windows is like tobacco addiction'

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "In explaining the many reasons why he withdrew his support from the OLPC project, Richard M Stallman writes in the Boston Review that "teaching children to use Windows is like teaching them to smoke tobacco."

A free program "develops democratically", says RMS, "whereas a non-free program subjects users to the developer's power." In RMS's opinion, developers tend to "abuse their power, even to the point of installing malicious features."

"What makes OLPC's retreat from free software so unfortunate is that the 'free' refers to freedom of knowledge and action, not to price," writes the founder of the Free Software Foundation ."
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Apple Did Not Disclose Knowledge Of Job's Cancer

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "According to CNN Money, Apple's Directors knew that Steve Jobs had pancreatic cancer 9 months before he had surgery but chose not to disclose the information.

Jobs "explored alternative treatments" and for some time considered not having the surgery at all. The surgery was eventually performed in July 2004.

Given the crucial role that Jobs plays at Apple, the question of fiduciary responsibility is discussed. Apple's Board does now have a "back-up plan" for succession, says the article.

Multi-page format, unfortunately."
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Microsoft Begins War To Conquer Yahoo

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "As previously reported, Yahoo rejected Microsoft's $31/share buy-out offer. In the offer, Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer had warned Yahoo that "Microsoft reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo!'s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal."

According to this report, the war has begun. Two pension funds are suing Yahoo and its board for rejecting the hostile takeover. Microsoft has hired a proxy solicitation group to help ensure that all 10 members of Yahoo's board are not re-elected this year.

The plaintiffs in the suit are arguing that Yahoo's board has placed "personal distaste for Microsoft" before the best interests of shareholders. "Yahoo's directors cannot 'just say no' indefinitely to legitimate acquisition offers," says the suit. "Yahoo's directors cannot pursue transactions that do not require shareholder approval for the primary purpose of making Yahoo unattractive to Microsoft.""
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OS X filesystem "utter crap", says Torvald

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "It's been reported that Linus Torvalds, speaking to Linuxdom in Australia at the linux.conf.au conference (neat logo!), was asked to offer his opinion on MS Windows and Apple OS X.

Torvalds criticized the architecture of MS Windows and said that OS X is the better OS but that its filesystem is "complete and utter crap, which is scary."

"An OS should never have been something that people (in general) really care about," said Torvalds. "It should be completely invisible and nobody should give a [airborne expletive deleted] about it except the technical people."

(In this alternate world, there are no marketing departments and Steve Jobs took the stage at MacWorld to announce a better Finder. The crowd went wild.)

Here's an abridged transcript of the interview. (Single-page version.)"
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IBM, U of Florida Healthcare Project Helps FOSS

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "It's been reported here (http://www.linuxworld.com/news/2007/072407-ibm-un iversity-of-florida-team.html) and here (http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.j html?articleID=201200769) that IBM has been working on an interesting health-care project with the U of Florida.

Networked "smart" devices in the project can report a patient's readings from home to a doctor or other "healthcare professional", sparing the patient the need to make an appointment and read old magazines while waiting. Configuring the devices is supposed to be simple — and Grandpa says it had better be!

Big Blue has given some of the components from the project to the Open Health Care Framework of the Eclipse Foundation. (http://www.eclipse.org/ohf/)

There's a video about the project: http://www.monstrouslittlevoice.com/charley.html

Most Whimsical Citation goes to Bob Sutor, VP of standards and open source at IBM, who said: "What's the ultimate legacy system for us? The human body."

Yikes! Watch where you put that USB connector!"
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Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "A very convenient truth. The Beeb (don't say venerable) reports that a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences represents the strongest support yet from the scientific community for the hitherto scientifically-unsubstantiated observation that Wiggling Chicks Are Hot and Swaggering Guys Are Cool.

Or, in Researchese, "the compatibility of these basic precepts [e.g. she's in shape and she struts] predicts perceived attractiveness."

It is unknown at this time if the researchers will follow this paper with a study of the arousing effect of bikinis, cosmetics, and Slow Motion."
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Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "new person smokes new person watches TeeVee new person is biased against Flying Spaghetti Monster new person will not bring Cheetos while I am gaming new person says "LOL" in conversation new person says my binary clock is "weird" new person has dated Cowboy Neal I take what I can get, but the Cheetos thing gives pause"
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Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "The Financial Times reports that Taiwanese company Luxpro (discussed on Slashdot last year) intends to sue Apple for US$100 m for "lost revenue caused by Apple's abuse of their global power." In 2005, Apple had obtained an injunction against Luxpro's Super Shuffle/Super Tangent but the Taiwanese Supreme Court has overturned the injunction, opening the door to Luxpro's legal action.

From the article: "The {Luxpro} product had almost the same measurements and weight, came in a white plastic casing and had similar buttons on the front. Its name, Super Shuffle, also closely resembled the original."

The Luxpro product has OLEDs on it but visit your optometrist immediately if you don't see other similarities.

Apple has since changed the design of the Shuffle significantly."
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Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Dystopian Rebel (714995) writes "A New Jersey public-school history teacher was recorded telling his students that they "belong in Hell" if they do not accept Jesus. The teacher, who is also a Baptist Pastor, lied later when we was asked by the school principle what he said to the students. Unfortunately for this dodge, a student recorded the teacher's "lesson". Neither the teacher nor the school is reported to have offered an apology. We've seen several articles about religion on Slashdot recently: Ubergeek Richard Dawkins continues to stir the primordial soup. This is a disturbing example of what can and will happen if we let silly people prate their nonsense unchallenged. Soon you'll have Creationist museums that... oh wait..."

Journals

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Vista & Win7 -- The Dongle OS

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 5 years ago

I've been thinking about the differences between "renting" and "owning" software recently because of Windows Vista and the beta of Microsoft Windows 7 ("Vista Reloaded"). (Yes, my friends, I have Vista running on a computer. Not Win7, though. The beta would not install.)

My opinion is that Microsoft needs to adopt a licensing solution that does not penalize its customers.

What consumers receive (or will receive) for their money when buying one of these operating systems is, in short, a rental agreement represented by a sequence of digits (an unlock key). The use of the unlock key is tied to the hardware on which the OS is installed. If a user upgrades or replaces a significant component of the computer, the user must seek Microsoft's permission to use the unlock key. The retail version of the OS allows a certain number of new installations with the unlock code. After that, the user must ask Microsoft for permission or buy a new unlock key. The OEM version of the OS is even more limited.

This is much different from the licensing of previous versions of Windows (which were, I note, successful products). In previous versions, the consumer had the software medium and the unlock key. The number of new installations with this unlock key was/is unlimited. I can still install my (legitimate) copy of Windows 2000, which I had to do recently for a development project. I can still install my (legitimate) copy of Windows XP. Whereas I consider this to be value for my money, Microsoft thinks my value is their loss. But 5 years from now, I may have used the all the permitted renewals of a Vista unlock key. In the last 5 years, I have had hard disks crash and mainboard problems, as well as a new computer or two.

I bought a software product (name not necessary) in the 1990s that was unique and very good. It was also expensive. To prevent piracy, the company sold the product with a parallel-port dongle. I detest the dongle but I have to admit that I can't think of a more effective anti-piracy measure. I'd be punished if I lost the dongle, but that just means I have to keep track of it. I am still using the software after almost 15 years -- I'd say I've got my money's worth.

I cannot say I feel the same about Microsoft's new licensing strategy. It's like having a dongle with an expiry date. Apple ties OS X to its own computers and no one else sells Macs (i.e. the Computer Is The Dongle). Linux is free and can be installed anywhere. Real dongles are not popular for a good reason. And, given that dongles can be cracked and cracks can be distributed today better than ever before, a dongle isn't a guarantee of licence protection. But is the only somewhat effective way for Microsoft to sell Windows under terms that are favourable to them *without* penalizing customers to sell a Windows Dongled Edition?

Or is it an outdated notion that consumers should be able to choose the (1) computer on which they install the OS (and change their minds as it suits them), and be able to use the product as long as it is useful to them?

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Ballmer Quotations

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 8 years ago

"Google?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooo!"

"GOOGLE?! AIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!"

"GOOOOOOGGGGGGAAAAALLLL! I'm going to fucking KILL those guys!"

"It is hereby forbidden effective immediately for employees and other on-site personnel to 'make googly eyes'."

"Just don't tell me that you're going to Goo... AUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGH!" [throws chair]

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Avoid RSI: ergonomic solutions

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I've tried TouchPads, trackballs, and various mice. After 20 years of computing, here are four things that I recommend to everyone:

1. Learn how to type by touch. It isn't difficult.

2. Reduce your clicks: use X-mouse focussing. (If you use Windows, install Microsoft's TweakUI Powertoy. If you use X, you have the setting somewhere.)

3. Keep your forearms flat on your desk. Adjust your chair's height if you must.

4. Use a REAL ergonomic keyboard, one with the split-key design. (Any keyboard that does not have the split-key design is ~not~ ergonomic.)

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Notes On Programming Languages

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 8 years ago

C
^^^
Favourable: concise; powerful low-level manipulation; very portable; makes programmers learn

Unfavourable: string manipulation is clumsy; no garbage collection; in general, it takes a good programmer to use C well; no OOP, although you can find workarounds, since an object is really just a struct

C++
^^^^
Favourable: like C, but with OOP capability; better string manipulation than C

Unfavourable: string manipulation is still clumsy; some OOP purists dislike multiple inheritance and other "imperfections" of the OOP implementation

Perl
^^^^^
Favourable: easy to get started with; versatile; near-perfect portability; excellent ability to manipulate file-contents

Unfavourable: poverty of data structures; syntax that worsens in proportion to the complexity of the implementation; weirdness with I/O;

Python
^^^^^^^
Favourable: object-oriented; can be compiled;

Unfavourable: some portability problems; clumsy REGEX implementation; white-space is significant to the logic;

Java
^^^^^
Favourable: garbage-collection; good implementation of OOP

Unfavourable: cannot be compiled;

top

Dystopian Rebel Dystopian Rebel writes  |  more than 10 years ago The future of Linux depends on STOUshare.

STOUs are Simply Task-Orientated Users. STEVEs are Serious Techies, Engineers Vilipending Enslavement.

People stay with M-Windows because most people are STOUs not STEVEs.

STEVEs want an open road, the Mustang GT390 of hardware and the Jacqueline Bisset of algorithms... and, er, hardware.

STOUs want to "send a picture" and "read mail".

A STOU doesn't really buy much software. A STOU doesn't even buy the OS: it comes with the "mail reader" or "picture scanner", or they get it for free from someone. A STOU doesn't care about the implications of anything he needs to do his task. (SUVs are for STOUs.)

In the 90s, MonopoSoft was happy to let piracy go on because it captured STOUshare for them. MonospoSoft understands the economic importance of STOUshare. The first version of M-Windows for which MonopoSoft has seriously tried to control piracy is XP.

It's just much easier for everyone in the retail food-chain to steer and market to STOUs. Why have a variety of foods when this bag of chips -- the brand your neighbours are eating! -- will do just fine. Oh, by the way, you can't eat anything else.

Linux, the STEVE OS, has done most of the catching up that it can with STEVEs. In nations with low per-capita income and a mistrust of the US and MonopoSoft, Linux will probably gain STOUshare.

Until STOUs can talk about Linux without having to know what they are talking about, Linux will not gain STOUshare.

Until STOUs can call a Help Desk and talk to more STOUs about problems neither of them understands, Linux will not gain STOUshare.

Until Linux can do MORE than M-Windows can while supporting all that M-Windows supports and working flawlessly with everything that MonopoSoft controls, Linux can't direct where the market goes and cannot gain STOUshare in North America.

The outlook is bleak. But there is a trump card: any OS that makes Jacqueline Bisset want you is so STEVE that even all the STOUs will fight for it.

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