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The Rise of Chemophobia In the News

Randyll Not all chemicals are bad! (463 comments)

"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer."
--Dave Barry

more than 2 years ago
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Google Launches Google+, The Social Network of Goo

Randyll Oops (2 comments)

Can you edit the title after the comma to "Its Own Social Network".

more than 3 years ago
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Windows 8 Early Build Hints At Apple, WebOS Competitor - EWeek

Randyll Ribbon makes things faster for the power user (375 comments)

While many people find the inclusion of the Ribbon in Windows Explorer debatable, I don't think the Ribbon is a failed concept. It's excellent for its purpose, and that is to provide a) an accessible user experience for new users b) versatility for experienced users and c) swiftness for really experienced users.

Point a), given the intuitive interface, is more or less a given. Point b) is the most common source of disagreement among users, others say it hinders their ability to work and the others say it makes it easier, because they find features they have never seen before. The latter makes sense, as that was one of Ribbon's purposes. The former is a matter of getting used to, and in fact, I will elaborate on point c) in this regard. Point c) is about key bindings. Yes, key bindings.

I mostly do text editing and programming with vim. So I live and breathe keybindings. The Ribbon UI is designed to provide dynamic keybindings for everything. You simply press Alt and the keybindings will highlight above the buttons and tabs, highlighting subgroups dynamically as you go, sequencing tab groups. For example, in a hypothetical Ribbon program, if the 'Insert' (I) tab group had the subgroup 'Image' (M) and 'From File' (F), one would press Alt+I+M+F to access this option. This is extended to every control in the application, and it allows everything to be keybound, requiring no mouse input, which I find slows me down. So if anything, this will make using Windows Explorer faster for the experienced user, provided he is willing to learn keybindings (or just watch the labels).

Another strong point about the Ribbon is that it can be hidden. Towed away, able to be called back with a keybinding. Thus if one finds the Ribbon obtrusive in anything, one can effectively minimize it -- making any Ribbon UI more minimalist than its previous non-Ribbon incarnation!

So speaking as a "power user" of applications I, for one, find the addition of the Ribbon to Windows Explorer a pleasant surprise. While I do not feel its inclusion to be completely warranted--what does one need from a simple file manager anyway--it will make using the program a lot faster for someone used to having keybindings for everything. I'm sure most of you can relate to this sentiment.

more than 3 years ago
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Meteorites Brought Ingredients of Life To Earth

Randyll The toilets of the Gods (199 comments)

Perhaps the great author Arthur C. Clarke was not far off in his hypothesis.

Being descendants of... alien poo... is a humbling thought.

more than 3 years ago
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Gmail Accidentally Resets 150,000 Accounts

Randyll Re:IMAP (401 comments)

I am doing the opposite. GMail is just a POP3 client for me. I prefet it to most non-web e-mail clients as its user interface works well and looks better than most clients, e.g. Thunderbird. All mail is on the POP3 server -- which has backups -- GMail just duplicates it.

more than 3 years ago
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Nokia and Microsoft Make Smartphone Alliance

Randyll Meego and Symbian aren't dead just yet (479 comments)

From their letter to developers [nokia.com]:

Qt will continue to be the development framework for Symbian and Nokia will use Symbian for further devices; continuing to develop strategic applications in Qt for Symbian platform and encouraging application developers to do the same. With 200 million users worldwide and Nokia planning to sell around 150 million more Symbian devices, Symbian still offers unparalleled geographical scale for developers.

Extending the scope of Qt further will be our first MeeGo-related open source device, which we plan to ship later this year. Though our plans for MeeGo have been adapted in light of our planned partnership with Microsoft, that device will be compatible with applications developed within the Qt framework and so give Qt developers a further device to target.

So they are not ditching Meego and Symbian completely, but it definitely looks like the systems will be sidelined into low-priority projects.

more than 3 years ago
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Nokia adopts Windows Phone 7

Randyll Meego and Symbia aren't dead yet (1 comments)

From their letter to developers:

Qt will continue to be the development framework for Symbian and Nokia will use Symbian for further devices; continuing to develop strategic applications in Qt for Symbian platform and encouraging application developers to do the same. With 200 million users worldwide and Nokia planning to sell around 150 million more Symbian devices, Symbian still offers unparalleled geographical scale for developers. Extending the scope of Qt further will be our first MeeGo-related open source device, which we plan to ship later this year. Though our plans for MeeGo have been adapted in light of our planned partnership with Microsoft, that device will be compatible with applications developed within the Qt framework and so give Qt developers a further device to target.

So they are not ditching Meego and Symbian completely, but it looks like the systems will be sidelined into low-priority projects.

more than 3 years ago
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Hack Chrome, Win $20,000

Randyll Chrome stands tall (79 comments)

Chrome has never been hacked, which is not surprising, because the contest requires the contestant to exploit a Chrome bug and escape the sandbox while doing so. This is a far greater challenge than merely exploiting a browser bug that lets you do whatever, because if you find an exploit in Chrome the odds are high you will run into the sandbox and be stopped outright.

more than 3 years ago
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App — the Most Abused Word In Tech?

Randyll The distinction is irrelevant (353 comments)

As much as Google Docs is a website it is also a web application. Whether the shortcut I see on my "Apps" view in Chrome takes me to a local or remote (cloud) program is irrelevant. If I am using vim remotely through a ssh client, am I using a terminal or vim, or both? In the same sense, the browser acts as a terminal for Google Docs, and denigrating the contemporary definition of 'app' is a waste of time.

more than 3 years ago
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Should Colleges Ban Classroom Laptop Use?

Randyll The laptops aren't the problem (804 comments)

The students that find lectures uninteresting are. But this is a problem that is a rather large problem, one that you can't solve easily. Depriving people of their distractions doesn't always work -- chances are they will find a new one. Conversely, it's just as likely they will focus better, but it's not automatic -- you can't just shackle a person down and have him or her register every single word you say.

The underlying problem here and is that laptops are capable of being a distraction -- and a tremendous one at that, granted -- but they can also be a tremendous utility. During my student experiences I would often have the lecture slides open on my laptop in order to read them 'offline' from the lecturer. Yet, on other lectures, I would just as often have IRC open. How that undermined my potential performances as a student I don't know - I found out that on most lectures I could read and recap the material, wherever present, offline without problems. If I found myself doing nothing but IRC and browsing the web during the lectures of the same course, I stopped attending those and opted for reading the material on my own.

Personally, I was never distracted by what others did on their laptops -- granted, I wasn't studying during the Facebook era. Others doing whatever on their computers provided momentary distractions ("Oh, that guy is playin WoW now? And he clicks his spells? *sigh*"), unless the lecture wasn't interesting, upon which I would probably have been surfing the web.

But I digress. If I was sitting at a really boring lecture right now, I would probably be thinking about a bunch of rocks.

more than 3 years ago
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Stargate Universe Cancelled

Randyll Well (762 comments)

The show's only merit besides using a Scottish accent on one of its pivotal characters was its plausible portrayal of aliens. Unlike the traditional English-speaking, bipedal vaguely homo sapiens-y aliens we encountered most of the time on SG-1 and SG:A, these aliens were, in fact, alien. If they were humanoids and capable of communication in one form or the other, they didn't understand our language. If they understood anything, it was Ancient, failing that, it was a few words ("Surrender" being one of them).

What essentially killed the show was the plot, or rather, the lack of advancement thereof and the ever-lasting status quo. Almost all serious conflicts were solved by the end of their episodes or at the beginning of the next. Serial storytelling requires progress, otherwise all you have is a boring sitcom, in a big ship that is essentially a submarine, in outer space. Characters were developed, relationships were made, but the first major advancement happened only by the middle of the second season. The reasons for that are anyone's guess, but it shows a distinctive lack of skill from the writers.

Had they focused on the aliens this show might have been worth something.

about 4 years ago

Submissions

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DNA Components Found In Meteorites From Space

Randyll Randyll writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Randyll writes "Scientists at NASA have confirmed the existence of DNA components in extraterrestial meteorites. They have found traces of adenine, guanine and other compounds called nucleobase analogs, which are a key ingredient in DNA. In the past, nucleobase analogs and other amino acids have been found on meteorites, but whether they were contaminations from Earth or not has been difficult to prove. The recent analysis conducted by the researchers shows that the nucleobase analogs found on the meteorites were rare or did not exist at all on Earth, which points towards an extraterrestial source. The conclusion suggests that these extraterrestial compounds may have had a major role in the early development of life, and that these essential building blocks of life were delivered to Earth by meteorites or comets. NASA has also published a video explaining the study in brief."
Link to Original Source
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Google Launches Google+, The Social Network of Goo

Randyll Randyll writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Randyll writes "Today, Google announced its decisive entry into the world of social networks, by introducing Google+, a social network tied around the Google services. Its aim is to be different from other networks, with emphasis on privacy and a different kind of social networking. Instead of connecting with your friends, Google+ aims to center connections around specific groups—colleagues, projects or groups of friends—and with the ability to use high-quality video chats and an unique and rich web-based user experience. It is currently in beta, with an opt-in for invites. A demo exists as well"
Link to Original Source
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ISO C++ Committee Approves C++0x Final Draft

Randyll Randyll writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Randyll (1914386) writes "On the 25th, in Madrid, Spain, the ISO C++ committee approved a Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) for the C++ programming language. This means that the proposed changes to the new standard so far known as C++0x are now final. The finalization of the standard itself, i.e. updating the working draft and transmitting the final draft to ITTF, is due to be completed during the summer, after which the standard is going to be published, to be known as C++ 2011. With the previous ISO C++ standard dating back to 2003 and C++0x having been for over eight years in development, the implementation of the standard is already well underway in the GCC and Visual C++ compilers. Bjarne Stroustrup, the creator of C++, maintains a handy FAQ of the new standard."
Link to Original Source
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Oxygen-rich atmosphere discovered on Rhea

Randyll Randyll writes  |  about 4 years ago

Randyll (1914386) writes "During its Saturn flyby in March the Cassini space probe detected an oxygen-rich atmosphere on Rhea, Saturn's second-largest moon. While 100 times thinner than the atmospheres of Europa or Ganymede, the atmosphere contains a surprising amount of carbon dioxide. There is an explanation for the oxygen, while the origin of the carbon dioxide is a mystery. A few of the possible explanations are that Rhea has carbon-rich organic molecules or that the gas is seeping from Rhea's interior, however researchers have been unable to determine the exact source for the gas."
Link to Original Source

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