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Why Run Linux On Macs?

Smurf Re:A good reason not to: (592 comments)

EFI updates. On Mac hardware, they can only be delivered by a Mac OS update. Run Linux exclusively, and you will not get firmware updates.

Just make a minimal install of OS X in a small partition in your HD, or much better yet, in an external drive. Use it for Mac-only maintenance, disaster recovery, and stuff like EFI updates.

Of course, as Ash-Fox said, you should research the EFI update very carefully before installing it to make sure Linux compatibility isn't affected.

about two weeks ago
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How To Hijack Your Own Windows System With Bundled Downloads

Smurf Re:Application installers suck. (324 comments)

c) there's nothing preventing you from shipping a zip (because windows still doesn't understand a tarball) which has everything packaged up nice and neat (ie, a bundle)

It seems you don't completely understand what an app bundle in OS X is. Yes, it is a directory where all the files that comprise an app are packaged up nice and neat.

But that directory is treated by the Finder in a special way: from the point of view of an end user, it is just a file. He double clicks on it, and the app launches. He drags a document icon on top of it, and the document opens in the app. He can move it around, move it to another disk or to another Mac, etc., and it consistently behaves like a single file and retains its functionality. Only when he right-clicks on it and chooses "Show Package Contents" is its true identity as a neatly organized folder revealed.

In fact, app bundles aren't the only kind of packages (i.e., directories that present themselves as files) in OS X. There are many others. For example, some apps like Apple's Keynote save documents as packages. From the point of view of most users, a Keynote file is pretty much like a PowerPoint file, except for the app that opens it. A slightly more advanced user knows that he can right click on the Keynote file, search for the graphs he included in the presentation, and replace those files (PNG, JPEG, PDF, whatever) with updated versions that reflect updated data... and the presentation gets updated without even opening Keynote.

about two weeks ago
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Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

Smurf Re:Forced upgrade path, Re: Nosedive (598 comments)

Mmmm... Ok, but you are exaggerating in this statement:

My MacPro, four Xeon cores and 20GB of RAM, with six drive bays,
doesn't have a MacOS upgrade path beyond 10.6.8,

Of all Mac Pro models only the earliest four don't run OS X 10.10 Yosemite. But all four of them can be upgraded to 10.7.5, as you can verify by clicking on their links in that page.

I find it odd that an owner of such a machine wouldn't know that.

about three weeks ago
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Writer: How My Mom Got Hacked

Smurf Re:This is why Time Machine is such a boon... (463 comments)

Searching again for a suitable replacement for Time Machine I found Back In Time, which seems to have the same functionality as tym but with a reasonable GUI. That's great and helps alleviate the pain for a non-technical user. But it is still based on rsync --link-dest and as I said before that has very big technical disadvantages when compared to Time Machine.

about three weeks ago
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Writer: How My Mom Got Hacked

Smurf Re:This is why Time Machine is such a boon... (463 comments)

VSS (shadow copy / system restore) is essentially Time Machine on Windows.

No, not by a long shot. They both allow you to take snapshots of your files/drive, but that's where the similarity ends.
Time Machine's implementation, both from the technical standpoint and from the user experience one, sets it apart from VSS. A consequence of that is that Time Machine is a system that even clueless end users can (and do!) take advantage of.

For a good summary of Time Machine's implementation see the excellent Ars Technica review of OS X 10.5 Leopard by John Siracusa.

Quite frankly the only backup+versioning system that I can recall that has similar functionality to Time Machine is tym, a rather complex bash script that leverages the --link-dest option of rsync. I use it to back up other Unix-like systems, as well as data on OS X machines for which I don't have administrative access.

But quite frankly it has many technical disadvantages, and furthermore it is not something that I would expect an end user to be able to configure and use. Of course you can roll out a much simpler script like this, but then again you are losing even more functionality and still suffer from the technical drawbacks without really improving the usability for non-technical users.

about three weeks ago
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Writer: How My Mom Got Hacked

Smurf Re:This is why Time Machine is such a boon... (463 comments)

Nope. As SuperKendall said in a separate reply, regular users can't modify the backups and administrators (sudoers) need to authenticate to modify them. (And yes, I verified it before posting this).

The malware would therefore need to escalate the privileges in order to encrypt the backups, making it far more challenging.

about three weeks ago
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Why Aren't We Using SSH For Everything?

Smurf Re:Another idea... (203 comments)

Condoms are pretty good for safe sex. I think we should be using condoms to protect our bank accounts, for giving everyone safe drinking water, for screening passengers at airports and for securing your valuables in hotel rooms.

I can assure you: leave a used condom on top of your valuables and no one who enters that hotel room will touch them.

about a month ago
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Ebola Patient Zero Identified, Probably Infected By Bats

Smurf Re: Kids just have to fuck everything up (112 comments)

Sounds like the parent's job to make sure a kid isn't fucking with bats, you racist twat.

Racism aside, sexual intercourse with small flying mammals should be actively discouraged, regardless of age.

about a month ago
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Hubble Reveals a Previously Unknown Dwarf Galaxy Just 7 Million Light Years Away

Smurf Only 7 million light years away? (70 comments)

Then let's go for Spring break!

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Image Organization?

Smurf Tags on Linux also (at least in KDE apps) (259 comments)

Update: I just learned that there is indeed a way to tag files in Linux (well, in KDE apps at least). In its current incarnation it is called Baloo, and it is now implemented pretty much like tags are implemented in OS X, that is by incorporating the tags in an extended attribute for the file.

Unfortunately when I google "baloo kde" I do see quite a bit of pages asking or showing how to disable Baloo. I guess it's still in its infancy and still suffers from performance issues. (Baloo actually does much more than tagging, it is the whole file indexing system, so it is more akin to Spotlight on the Mac side.)

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Image Organization?

Smurf Re: Simplest is best (259 comments)

That is fantastic! Thank you very much for the info!

For others that may be interested in file tagging in Linux, it seems there are two systems: the old one called Nepomuk and its replacement Baloo.

Nepomuk uses a database that needs to be running permanently which associates tags and files. That approach has too many drawbacks, and quite frankly would be an unsatisfactory substitute for OS X's tagging.

Baloo, on the other hand, does things the right way, by incorporating the tags into an extended attribute for the file. That is exactly the way it's done in OS X, and it works awesomely provided that you have a good indexing system that indexes those extended attributes like Spotlight does. (Close-to-immediate searches are fundamental for the success of a system-wide tagging system.)

Thanks again for the info!

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Image Organization?

Smurf Tags on OS X (259 comments)

I am aware that the original poster wants to use Linux and may be talked into using Windows but probably not into buying a Mac. But since other people will have the same question and some of them may be Mac users, here it goes:

Many responders have already suggested creating ingenious folder structures that will help you keep a basic level of organization to the photo collection. Use any of those systems, and augment it by making use of OS X's extremely useful tagging feature.

Furthermore, there are many applications, such as the ones made by Ironic Software, that allow you to search, organize, and work with your files in very powerful ways using those tags. Since the tagging system is common to all of them you are not tied to any particular application.

The only downside of this is that you do become dependent on OS X at least until other systems implement tagging.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Image Organization?

Smurf Re:Simplest is best (259 comments)

I guess it's not your system of choice (nor the submitter's), but OS X does have a very useful tagging feature on the filesystem.

Furthermore, there are many applications, such as the ones made by Ironic Software, that allow you to search, organize, and work with your files in very powerful ways using those tags. Since the tagging system is common to all of them you are not tied to any particular application (although you do become dependent on OS X at least until other systems implement tagging).

about a month and a half ago
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Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

Smurf Re:60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda? (409 comments)

Whooops, sorry. I didn't realize Slashdot had logged me out (no wonder there was a captcha!). The previous reply was from me.

about a month and a half ago
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Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

Smurf Re:60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda? (409 comments)

I'm replying to a message thread that started with arth1's assertion:

"And in the US of A, a corporation is legally a person. No, I'm not kidding."

to which you were specifically responding. We were all talking about personhood in the USA specifically, but now suddenly you want to pretend that the conversation was about something else.

about a month and a half ago
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Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

Smurf Re:What a shock (409 comments)

In Germany, even this year, 40% of the wild boars which were tested in Saxony (hunters are required to check animals they killed for radioactivity) showed radioactivity higher than the limit of 600 becquerel/kg, which made them officially unsuitable for human consumption.

Just a small comment: 600 Bq/kg may be officially unsuitable for human consumption, but it's quite frankly a very small amount of radioactivity. In fact, that means that a typical portion of 1/2 pound of meat would have less than 150 Bq, which is what ten regular bananas have.

I'm not saying that Saxonian boars are all perfectly safe to eat, only that German regulations borderline silly.

about a month and a half ago
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Is Chernobyl Still Dangerous? Was 60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda?

Smurf Re:60 Minutes Pushing Propaganda? (409 comments)

I'm legally a person, and yet I can't vote, as I'm not a citizen of the US. There are many "limits and exceptions" on the rights of many people that you would certainly agree "are persons legally," like non-citizens, minors, ex-convicts (and convicts, of course).

My point is: The fact that corporations don't have all the rights of other persons is not proof that they are not persons legally.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Google Backpedals on Turn-By-Turn GPS for iPhone

Smurf Smurf writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Smurf (7981) writes "Last October Google's Vice-President of Engineering Vic Gundotra announced that Google would bring turn-by-turn GPS navigation to the iPhone:

However, Google is working with Apple on bringing it to the iPhone, and it's not ruling out licensing the software to makers of portable navigation devices used in cars throughout the world, said Gundotra, vice president of engineering at Google for mobile and developers.

Nevertheless, after such plans were confirmed during a press conference in London yesterday, today the "Don't be Evil" company backpedaled on them:

"We did not say we would bring it to iPhone, we said to date we've had it on Android and that in the future it may come to other platforms but did not confirm this will be coming to iPhone at all," a Google spokesperson told PCWorld.

Doesn't lying through your teeth make you Evil?"

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