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Comments

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Every Day Is Goof-Off-At-Work Day At the US Patent and Trademark Office

Phillip2 Re:Where do I sign up? (327 comments)

So, patent examiners are employed by we the people, from who they could have nothing to fear. As a result their union is an evil vested interest.

On the other hand, taxes are collected by a vicious and cruel IRS, using the ever present threat of violence and death.

I'm glad that you cleared that up, because I thought it was the same organisation, the government, that both collect tax and employ patent examiners.

about three weeks ago
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Is the Software Renaissance Ending?

Phillip2 In what sense is this about software (171 comments)

He is complaining that there is little room for independence, that everything is becoming owned by large corporations who control everything through a combination of their power in the marketplace, use of the law.

I am struggling to understand how this is an issue with software development. The same is happening everywhere. Once he's been writing for a while, he'll discover that this is mostly owned by a few large corporations. The same is true with music, science, education and so on.

We are sinking back into a "free market" feudal hierarchy. Software development is just following the rest of society.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Rapid Development Language To Learn Today?

Phillip2 Re:Scala (466 comments)

"Scala also runs on the JVM, so it's fast as opposed to Python."

This is so wide of the mark that I had to comment. The JVM is a fast virtual machine, but that is a poor benchmark. Java and Python run at roughly equitable speeds, but where Python wins out is that it has a much stronger interface to C or Fortran. For hard core number crunching, python wins because you can either call existing scientific or numerical libraries, or use tools like numpy which do the stuff that needs to be fast in C.

Phil

about 3 months ago
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Richard Stallman Answers Your Questions

Phillip2 Re:Interesting (394 comments)

Stability is not the same thing as stagnation! Obviously, it is the same thing as stability.

about 4 months ago
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Richard Stallman Answers Your Questions

Phillip2 Re:Interesting (394 comments)

Slower moving is good sometimes. I can still compile 20 year old documents that I wrote in Latex, but cannot open 20 year old documents that I wrote in word.
"Innovation" is often used to mean "planned obsolescence" where the business model depends on software and hardware being replaced every three or four years.

A lot of the problems with recent desktop systems have also been about change, when it has been affecting things that people use all the time. I'm a scientist so I want to do innovative work on my computer; most of the time, I just need the desktop to get out of my way.

It's all a matter of degree. Stability is not the same thing as stability. Change is not the same thing as innovation.

about 4 months ago
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How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

Phillip2 Not enough eyes (582 comments)

So, the "with many eyes all bugs are shallow" notion fails. There were not enough eyes on the OpenSSL library, which is why nobody discovered the bug.

Except that someone did discover the bug, when they were looking at the code because it was open source. And they did report it. And it did get fixed. Later than anyone would want of course. But it happened. Maybe the similar errors would and are being missed in the Windows and Mac implementations.

about 5 months ago
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London Council Dumping Windows For Chromebooks To Save £400,000

Phillip2 Re:Biggest saving is... (193 comments)

2300 Chrome machines vs. 4300 XP machines, I wonder what the true saving are. Since the totals doesn't add up, what did they do eliminate 2000 workers and 2000 machines, or are they going to make 2000 workers use pen and paper or am I missing some here?

Probably the numbers are real. Since we spent lots of our money on bailing out banks and wars, and big business doesn't pay tax any more, many areas of the public sector have been cut. Most local councils have shed workers wholesale.

about 5 months ago
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Scientists Publish Letter Saying, "We Need More Scientific Mavericks"

Phillip2 Re:25% grant success rates? (126 comments)

Shocking though it may be to you, these scientists who were publishing a letter in a British Newspaper are by and large resident in Britain. I would hazard a guess that the majority of their research funding does not come from NIH, but from the UK research councils.

Trust me, mavericks or not, I bet all the signatories could tell you the success rate for all the grants schemes they apply to.

about 5 months ago
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Jewish School Removes Evolution Questions From Exams

Phillip2 Re:How does evolution work like this? (431 comments)

There are lots of whats that speciation could occur -- one obvious one is that the population gets split into two which then evolves away from each other. If you had 100 different high related species then they would likely compete with each other or interbred. The end result of either is that you end up with fewer populations -- one wipes out the other, or the two interbred till they become one.

about 6 months ago
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Low-Protein Diet May Extend Lifespan

Phillip2 Re:PIZZA! (459 comments)

Pizza is not that healthy, I am afraid. The problem is that most Italian pizza's have really significant amounts of salt in both the base and the topping. Of course, Italians tend to use rather too much salt to my taste anyway, but Pizza is where it is the biggest issue, because it doesn't taste really salty. The only reason you know is that you have to pee a lot afterwards.

about 6 months ago
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Github Rolls Out New Text Editor Atom

Phillip2 Or not so misinformed (82 comments)

It's not quite that misinformed. Emacs lisp is a special purpose language. It's implemented in the Emacs core and is not implemented any where else. It's in the same family as the 1958 lisp, but is none-the-less as different language from all the others.

It's actually quite a nice language; it has some nice data types good for editors. And being a lisp, you can layer anything you want on top of it.

about 6 months ago
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Emacs Needs To Move To GitHub, Says ESR

Phillip2 Re:What about Mercurial? (252 comments)

Why not mercurial? Two main reasons, I can think of. Firstly, some of Emacs (ELPA) is already hosted on git. And, secondly, because Emacs support for git (magit) is way ahead of that for mercurial.

ESR gives a third reason, which is that git has won and mercurial is not in great health, and may end up in the same position as bzr. Maybe, maybe not, but it's a factor.

about 8 months ago
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If Java Is Dying, It Sure Looks Awfully Healthy

Phillip2 Re:Java won't die. (577 comments)

This is demand lead. Students want Java. Many of them think it's good, or that it's a "real" language or something. Even though, it's not actually very good for teaching, it's what people want.

about a year ago
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GNU Make 4.0 Released

Phillip2 Re:I'm ready to replace Make (179 comments)

Ant? Seriously, you have to be kidding!

The bottom line is that there is no replacement for Make; it still does what it was designed for very well. I use it when ever I have lots of small files with unix commands to convert them; python normally shows up there as well.

But make sucks for Java, hence ant, and then maven. And I use leiningen for Clojure. I'm not sure having one build tool per language is a great situation, but there you have it. But make fills its niche and it will be there in quite a few years time.

about a year ago
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Science Magazine "Sting Operation" Catches Predatory Journals In the Act

Phillip2 Re:Bias (194 comments)

"Is the peer review process at open-access journals acceptable?"

It's a perfectly scientific question; you can address most questions, including those about values and personal preference, with a scientific methodology.

But it's a poor question, because open access has no bearing on the question -- Is the peer-review process acceptable.

All he has done is sub-select a biased, non-randomised group in the first place. To justify this, he should be comparing open access
to something else, otherwise, it has no role in the experiment.

Basically, he's taken a journalistic approach -- performed a test which gave him the answer he needed for the story -- and not a scientific
approach. It does raise a lot of questions about peer-review. In particular, it raises the question of what sort of peer review did this paper go
through?

about a year ago
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"Feline Herd" Offers Easier Package Management For Emacs

Phillip2 Re:An Honest Question: (142 comments)

Well, the editor is really good. It's fast and light. It's works with pretty much every language every invented and several that haven't yet. It integrates fantastically with all the different version control systems out there. You can plug it into any command line tool that you want. It's got find and grep support. You can connect to remote machines via ssh. You can use it entirely without a mouse. It has some incredible buffer and file switching facilities that mean you can open the right file instantly. It's got org-mode, which is a work of insane genius. If you do lisp it has paredit which has been widely copied.

You can configure it however you like. I configure it so that it does different things on different machines but feels that same to me; I've also got a custom colour scheme for use on my laptop, when it's sunny, It works over X, so I can use my desktop while plugged into the wall; you can also have two people editing the same file in different places this way. When it doesn't have a mode for what every you are editing, it's not that hard to write one. You can release these and people will help to improve them for you.

it's not as polished at editing Java as Eclipse that's true. It's a jack of all trades. If I worked on one project, in one language, I would use eclipse (or whatever was best for that one language). Because I switch a lot I use emacs. Actually, at the moment, I am doing a lot of clojure, so I'd use Emacs anyway. But that's a side issue.

about a year ago
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"Feline Herd" Offers Easier Package Management For Emacs

Phillip2 Re:"divergent package manager paradigms" (142 comments)

The different factions do different things. ELPA is server based, but works with a raw Emacs. el-get gets files in a number of ways, but I suspect that git checkouts are the most common. But you need git installed.

I suspect it will come together a bit more eventually though.

Phil

about a year ago
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"Feline Herd" Offers Easier Package Management For Emacs

Phillip2 Re:too much package management (142 comments)

The problem with these is that they get out of date; more over, if you use emacs a lot, then having to use different package management systems on different operating systems is also a pain. Likewise, with tools like R.

So, it all depends on your application and your requirements. I a combination of ELPA style packages, and checkout git repositories for my Emacs package management. And, yes, version conflicts happen. But, the alternative of living with very old packages isn't always great either.

about a year ago
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Researchers Pull Out of Talks With Publishers On Text-Mining

Phillip2 Re:Sad ... (67 comments)

Some publishers do require exclusivity. Some do not. There is a free-to-submit equivalent. Ironically, it's licence is also a bit restrictive for this sort of thing.

Basically, we got ourselves tied up here. It all made sense 20 years ago. Now it doesn't. The social incentives to give away our value for free are still there.
And the publishers want to keep this also. Trying to make understand the situation now is pointless; you have to look at the history.

Hopefully, the future will be better than the present.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: With Grants Drying Up, How Is a Tech Non-Profit To Survive?

Phillip2 Re:Try the private sector. (178 comments)

This is actually at the root of the problem. The general ideology is these days moving toward the idea that the private sector is the only plausible way to function. A marked change from the days when we a mixed economy with different kinds of entity were considered important; this is why we invented the legal frameworks for charities, not-for-profits and so forth. Perhaps all of this is pointless. Personally, I think not. There are some things that are worth achieving, could be achieved but for which is is hard to find a business model for.

One solution to this problem is hope that a few people earn pots of money, and then give it away in a fit of philanthropy. This can work, although there is a problem; generally these sort of entities are only willing to give money to things on which it is possible to attach an advert saying who bought it. This is, I think, the core problem here. Easy to stick a label on the side of a new van; much harder to do so with the diesel.

I think we will be, and are becoming, a poorer world for this. Perhaps the trend will turn back again.

about a year ago

Submissions

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WebCitation calls for cash on FundRazr

Phillip2 Phillip2 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Phillip2 (203612) writes "WebCite is an effective tool against link-rot on the web. It's used by Wikipedia to secure the evidence they base their articles on. And many academic journals reference the web through it. Despite this value, it's been obviously in need to modernisation for years; to the extent that it is now asking for funds on FundRazr. Following on from a fundraising efforts by archive.org over Christmas, it raises this question of whether we take digital preservation seriously."
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