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Elon Musk's New Hologram Project Invites 'Iron Man' Comparisons

Greg Merchan Re:Those who do not study the past (135 comments)

You've said what I was thinking when I read the quoted line. I think it is what Antipater was thinking too, so I figure the bit about stronger arms was in jest.

about a year ago
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AI System Invents New Card Games (For Humans)

Greg Merchan The Matrix Begins (112 comments)

So this will be the Architect. Who's working on the Oracle?

about a year and a half ago
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'Gorilla Arm' Will Keep Touch Screens From Taking Over

Greg Merchan Re:This is a ridiculous article (610 comments)

I know one person who has used Windows 8 for work. She likes it and she doesn't even have a touchscreen.

Oh, and she's a long time Mac user.

about 2 years ago
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Forbes 2013 Career List Flamed By University Professors

Greg Merchan Troll? (370 comments)

Having now looked at the CareerCast article, I believe it to have been a joke. Not a funny kind of joke, but more the "*grunt* *grunt* I'm a troll!" kind of joke.

about 2 years ago
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Krugman: Is the Computer Revolution Coming To a Close?

Greg Merchan Re:Easy way to solve robots taking jobs (540 comments)

You don't have to sterilize anyone or otherwise restrict anyone's rights in order to limit reproduction. What you have to do is respect the rights of women, and the women themselves. Make sure that women are free to get an education, own property, vote, control their own bodies, and all those other things men are often free to do. Just look at the birth rates in the countries that already do this, and look at the quality of life in those countries. For anyone bothered by abortion, the rates of that actually go down too, but why don't you go work on early detection and artificial wombs instead of treating women like cattle?

about 2 years ago
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Ubuntu Focusing on Tablets and the Cloud in 2013

Greg Merchan Re:It was fun while it lasted! (202 comments)

. . . everyone in the research group uses Macs . . .

This was pretty much my point. Whether a researcher uses Windows or Mac OS seems to be determined by either the likelihood that they program or use TeX; in either case they use Mac OS.

Still, I don't see how folks are productive with them . . .

As far as I can tell, they are. I mean, you just have to accept that. Would they be more productive on Linux? If so, I can't imagine why they would have switched. And I'm not saying everyone has jumped ship, just most. I've seen no compelling reason for anyone to switch to Linux from Mac OS or Windows. All that said, Linux still runs the computing clusters, but you can run an X server on either Mac OS or Windows for those remote apps.

. I see people holding the "left" arrow key for five seconds in the terminal to scroll to the beginning of the line since Apple doesn't believe in the "home" key, highlighting things and then doing "command-click, choose copy from menu, command-click, choose paste from menu" instead of having proper middle-click-to-paste support, and other such things that seem a great deal harder than on Linux.

The poor use of Home, End, etc. on Macs is one reason I haven't switched. I don't think they are even normal keys anymore; you have to press Fn or something, I think. I think somehow Up is almost the same as Home, and Down as End, but I'm not sure and . . . ugh. As for copy and paste, two options: keyboard shortcuts, and select then drag. Yeah, I think you have to give up middle-click insertion of PRIMARY, but I'm pretty sure you gain a clipboard that works for more than text. (Granted, this may have improved on X11 desktops—X certainly allows selection of anything—but I don't use that lately.)

You also get drag and drop that works correctly.

Then there's the fact that Apple seems to have merged the concepts of "show me the programs that are on this computer and let me launch them" with "show me the windows that are open and let me switch to them", with the result that figuring out which of 8 terminals is the one I want is more involved than it needs to be. I'm not sure why it does this; is the differentiation between the actions "switch to my Firefox window" and "launch Firefox" really too complicated for the average user?

But aren't Windows, GNOME, KDE, Unity, and whatever pretty much doing the same thing? I dislike it too, but shy of going for otherwise even more broken desktop environments, I don't see a way out of that. I think I'm soon due for another round of trying everything out, but last I checked, Unity was the best without having to tweak anything.

about 2 years ago
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Ubuntu Focusing on Tablets and the Cloud in 2013

Greg Merchan Re:It was fun while it lasted! (202 comments)

Bullshit.

Call me back when drag and drop works correctly on any X11-based desktop.

about 2 years ago
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Ubuntu Focusing on Tablets and the Cloud in 2013

Greg Merchan Re:It was fun while it lasted! (202 comments)

Because the desktop is a solved problem, . . .

. . . called Mac OS.

That's where many desktop Linux users I've known are now. Many hated going there, because they believe in software freedoms, but they had work to do.

about 2 years ago
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After 12 years of Development, E17 Is Out

Greg Merchan Re:Does drag and drop work? Really work? (259 comments)

As stated above, I misread fnj's description.

X11 remains the windowing system on which nobody implemented click-to-focus and focus-to-raise with exceptions for things like drag and drop.

Not that it's not possible. It's just that nobody has released code that does it.

about 2 years ago
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After 12 years of Development, E17 Is Out

Greg Merchan Re:No - that is changing focus (259 comments)

I see I misread what fnj wrote in my haste and excitement. Yes, it seems fnj is just describing sloppy focus behavior in E17. I misread "as soon as the mouse goes over it" as "as soon as the mouse button goes down over it".

Still, you're providing an excellent example of not getting it.

This is really easy: go find a computer with Windows or Mac OS and try it out, then try to do the same thing on anything built on X. Seriously, if you haven't once seen a properly functioning click-to-focus-unless-the-ButtonPress-could-begin-a-drag system, there's no point in replying.

There is no version of PointerRoot or sloppy focus or any such thing that exhibits the correct (as in, "expected by most of the world") behavior. Windows and Mac users—i.e. the vast majority of computer users—do not expect a window to get focus and stay below other windows as PointerRoot and sloppy focus allow. It has to be at least click-to-focus and raise-on-focus, or you're talking about a system that does not work as most people expect it to. All the systems have windows that are exceptions like docks, menu bars, palettes, the desktop; those are not the issue. Neither are pedantic points about scroll wheels being implemented as buttons 4 and 5.

The problem is that on X click-to-focus is click-to-focus-always. It needs to be click-to-focus-unless-some-conditions-are-met. One of those conditions is that the ButtonPress not possibly be the beginning of a drag; there may be other conditions I'm forgetting at the moment.

At least most of the people I've known to have worked on window managers acknowledge that they cannot do what Windows and Mac do without baroque schemes. I don't know who you are calling "bullshit" on behavior that has long been standard on Windows and Mac OS.

I've already wasted too much time on this. Until you've realized that there is a deficit in existing X-based systems, or found one that lacks the deficit, I'm not replying again.

about 2 years ago
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After 12 years of Development, E17 Is Out

Greg Merchan Re:No - that is changing focus (259 comments)

I can't tell if you don't know what you're talking about or are being a pedant, but I'll assume the latter.

If "focus" bothers you so much, then pretend I said this instead:

"Can I drag a file from a lower, inactive folder to anywhere without either raising or activating that folder? You know, like Windows and Mac users have been able to do almost as long as those have existed?"

I'm not talking about the focus change that happens whenever there's a grab or anything like that. Most people aren't when they talk about this.

about 2 years ago
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After 12 years of Development, E17 Is Out

Greg Merchan Re:Does drag and drop work? Really work? (259 comments)

I'm really very surprised that anything on X is doing this correctly. I know of one way to get it right, but I haven't found any code (but my own) doing it that way. Some baroque schemes were being discussed a long time ago and, except maybe in some rare instances, nobody went forward with any of them. It's just not important enough to most of the people using X for anyone to have bothered. Most don't see any value to it because they are using pointer-root-, sloppy-, or something other than click-to-focus, and various schemes for controlling raising and lowering of windows.

Thanks for the tip. I'll have to check it out.

about 2 years ago
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After 12 years of Development, E17 Is Out

Greg Merchan Does drag and drop work? Really work? (259 comments)

Can I drag a file from a lower, unfocused folder to anywhere without either raising or focusing that folder? You know, like Windows and Mac users have been able to do almost as long as those have existed?

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Were You Taught About Computers In High School?

Greg Merchan 1980's and 1990's in Louisiana (632 comments)

In the mid 1980's as part of some gifted program in Baton Rouge, I learned Logo. I think that was part of a Summer enrichment program. I don't remember what kind of computers we used.

I taught myself TI-99/4a BASIC.

In the late 1980's, there was a computer in my middle school algebra classroom which was really just an excuse to goof off.

In the early 1990's, in high school at LSMSA, I learned Pascal on a VMS terminal.

Given where I was and when I was there, I fell into this gap between "everyone should know how to use a typewriter" and "everyone should know how to use a keyboard", so I never had to take a typing class. I think most of my classmates and I would have been insulted to have had to take one of these "How to use MS Office" courses I hear about.

more than 2 years ago
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X11 Window System Turns 25 Years Old

Greg Merchan Re:X12? (285 comments)

Window managers are supposed to claim a selection for each screen they manage named WM_Sn, where n is the number of the screen. All this is really used for right now is to let one window manager take over from another one. The selection is one of a special kind of selection known as manager selections. Basically it makes sure that some shared resource is only controlled by one program at a time.

The freedesktop.org System Tray Protocol uses a manager selection so applications can find the "system tray" to put icons in it. I don't know if that spec is still used.

The principle idea that hasn't seen much use is side effect targets. Normally selections are used for moving data around, but the ICCCM specifies more than that. Requesting a ConvertSelection on a side effect target is basically a remote procedure call.

Suppose you have something that allows operations on groups of windows, like a task bar. One thing I do on Window that I can't recall doing on X is asking for a group of windows to be tiled or cascaded. The EWMH spec, so far as I can recall, doesn't provide a way to do this or even an obvious path for extension to do so. The request to cascade a list of windows would have to somehow include all of those windows, and can't be broken up into a series of ClientMessages without using something to specify that a sequence of ClientMessages has begun and ended. A side effect target is ideal for this. The task bar calls ConvertSelection on WM_Sn with a target of CASCADE and a property which contains the list of windows to be cascaded. The window manager then cascades the windows listed and lets the task bar client know if the operation succeeded or failed.

more than 2 years ago
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X11 Window System Turns 25 Years Old

Greg Merchan Re:X12? (285 comments)

I didn't blame X for anything. I actually like Gtk+ and have longed wished this problem would be solved. (You see my name. You can dig up a bug report.) But I haven't been able to convince the right people to see focus handling (and other things) the way I see them. Unfortunately, "the right people" means not only Gtk+ developers, but also Qt developers and at least a few window manager developers. I'm working on what I hope is a more convincing argument, but this is really not my day job.

I also have this nagging feeling that compositing window managers may have changed the scene so much that my understanding no longer applies. But if that were so, I would trade a compositing window manager for a properly working non-compositing window manager in a cycle.

Oh, but gimp itself is probably part of the problem. The gimp way of handling windows was snafu last I checked.

more than 2 years ago

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