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Comments

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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

ThePhilips Lots of people... (440 comments)

Lots of people want physical home/back buttons.

Lots of people also want non-glossy screen.

Lots of people *need* resistive touch-screen, because capacitive ones can't be used in gloves.

But all that doesn't mean that it is going to happen. Production/etc moved to Asia - distance between customer and manufacturer is as great as it ever was.

I personally do not expect thing to get better.

yesterday
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Math, Programming, and Language Learning

ThePhilips Re:I, in turn, disagree (241 comments)

Man, I haven't even mentioned the numerical computing. It is an exception, because that's where programming serves the math, not the other way around.

In numerical computing, ironically, there is very little overlap between the math methods used in the development and math methods used for the goal of the development. Programs there often look more like a math formula. Developers simply skip the "computer science" as a whole and use the computers (with help of specialized libraries) as almost pure calculators.

As an exception, it is simply obscures the subject of the discussion.

The talk here is about what precisely from the math is used in general software development. (IOW, math serves the programming.) My personal experience, having majored in the applied math 15 years ago, is that by studying math one learns the methods to approach the real world problems. "Learns" is a weak word. The methods are implanted, grafted (or even brandmarked) onto the brain. Normal person's brain go into freeze when faced with thousands pages of specification. Person with math background, already switched into "divide and conquer" mode, and probably has already dismissed the >90% of it as trivial, incremental and derivative. (Some people learn it one their own. But studying math is definitely a nice shortcut to get there faster and earlier.) But the math in itself, either discrete/algebra or analysis or numerical, is very very rarely needed.

about two weeks ago
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Math, Programming, and Language Learning

ThePhilips Re:I disagree (241 comments)

discrete math

Algebra?

Then it is fine. I would expect programmers to struggle with classical math geared toward physics. That's perfectly logical: it is easier for people who come from physics because they understand the applications. And vice versa: physicists have huge problems with discrete math, where you can't round or generalize everything to hell.

Otherwise, it was repeated many times before. The math in itself is not as useful as studying math is. Math doesn't relate to software development directly - but mathematical methods and approaches translate often one to one.

Studying math is fitness for the brains and method to the fitness.

P.S. But it doesn't mean that people who are good at math are good at programming too. Theoretical math != applied math. I have seen profs who could invent a new proof for theorem on a whim (forgotten notes), but struggled to implement something as trivial as a quick sort.

about two weeks ago
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Google Reader: One Year Later

ThePhilips Re:I miss it. (132 comments)

InoReader did the trick for me. Using it for over the year now. So far - no problems whatsoever.

about three weeks ago
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Meet Carla Shroder's New Favorite GUI-Textmode Hybrid Shell, Xiki

ThePhilips Re:Next Big Thing! (176 comments)

I've used emacs for that (editing 'uneditable' things in the buffer and then re-executing). See my post above - handy link here

OK. You completely miss the point.

Emacs' shell wrapper is just that: shell wrapper. Typing anywhere but at command prompt makes no sense. Command goes at the bottom. Output after it. Command at the bottom. Output. Rinse and repeat. You can't have (a) commands/outputs out of order, (b) non-shell commands or (c) re-execute in-place part of output as command.

Probably you simply never met with such problems so it is hard for you to even realize where from I'm (and apparently authors of xiki are) coming.

about a month ago
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Meet Carla Shroder's New Favorite GUI-Textmode Hybrid Shell, Xiki

ThePhilips Re:Next Big Thing! (176 comments)

I dunno about the rest, but for filesystem browsing you can use vim :e on a directory which vim will then let you navigate

Well, you really have to try it first to understand the difference.

Browsing a directory in VIM - ':E' - shows you the content of directory in a buffer. What xiki demo shows is more of ^X^F (because you edit the path right in the editor window, with the rest of your text) but allowing you to actually dynamically run ^X^F on different parts of the dir/file name, changing content of the window accordingly. IOW, while ':E' is a dedicated browser, xiki does something like ^X^F to allow to edit/browse/etc inline, right in the middle of the text file, at any time when you need it.

And that's where the "innovation" comes. The tools to do all the things exist. But they all have different (and typically graphical) user interfaces. Xiki/etc try to combine the tools by putting them into an text editor, and making their output interactive and/or ready to be fed to the another tool. Because despite all the chrome, the basic nature of the content of the editor's window doesn't change: it is plain text. Commands are just text lines. Output are just text lines. It all becomes alive when special macro is run, which looks at the current line and tries to decide what to do with it.

Another way to look at it, and the way I often use my VIM hack, is that the same text file serves dual purpose: it is at the same time the script and the output of the script. The script and its output are interleaved. (That for example allows a very nice minor perk: rerun any command, flip between undo/redo and see the differences between then and now.)

about a month ago
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Meet Carla Shroder's New Favorite GUI-Textmode Hybrid Shell, Xiki

ThePhilips Re:Next Big Thing! (176 comments)

Can you describe something that Xiki can do that cannot be done with `:r!`?

I can't. Because I do not use Xiki. I use something much simpler coded in VIM.

But the paradigm as I use it, in VIM terms: the command and the output are kept in the same editor window. You can apply exiting VIM functions to both - commands and output. You can save and load both at the same time - since in the essence it is an ordinary text file. With a special ':g//' I can rerun all the statements in file at once. Or I can selectively rerun only particular ones by the mask. I can ':w' and it is all made persistent. (My small creation was born first as a text file to keep the shell pipelines I use often. But with a VIM macro I have integrated also the output of the commands into the file. And then I given names to the commands. And then I allowed in pipes to refer to other pipes by the given names. After adding folding, it is still mostly looks like a text file with shell pipelines. Replaced bunch of terminals I used to keep open to run small monitoring/diagnostic commands. And a calculator, which I use most often (iow, a text file full of formulas, which I can copy/paste/modify and recalculate).)

Xiki, being a cross of Ruby and a text editor, apparently does more: it recognizes and presents as interactive not only the shell commands, but also the file system hierarchy, the Ruby code, the SQL statements, the CSS, the HTML, and probably more.

about a month ago
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Meet Carla Shroder's New Favorite GUI-Textmode Hybrid Shell, Xiki

ThePhilips Re:Next Big Thing! (176 comments)

For those already on VIM: [...]

I already do something similar in VIM, and xiki is far from been the same as ":r!". You probably should watch the first screencast.

The xiki thing is basically a Ruby shell, with built-in free-form text editor. But primarily it is a wrapper around the Ruby. Thus it limits its appeal to mostly Ruby users and developers.

The concept is definitely interesting. It basically brings back to CLI some capabilities that many have given up to GUIs. Adding something like this to an editor like VIM is definitely possible, but not trivial, since VIM's support for scripting and scripted buffers is very limited.

OTOH the xiki reminds me of what Emacs does to the shell prompt. Unfortunately, Emacs' integration with the shell ends with the repetition of commands and copy-paste from the buffer. Xiki goes a step further.

about a month ago
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Perl Is Undead

ThePhilips Re:Yes, Perl is indeed dead and rotting (283 comments)

More telling is how utterly fast Perl is compared to the other languages.

The test is ridiculous.

In any (Perl) program more complicated that helloworld (and in Perl terms that could be already pretty sophisticated piece of code) most of the time would be spent on calling functions.

All the test accomplishes, is testing how well Perl itself is implemented. And that we know already. (This test is basically biased against Java, or in fact, any language with immutable strings. Java just tops it off with slow IO.)

I use Perl still when doing scripting tasks. I love Perl, always have. I don't, however, necessarily think it's the right choice for building a medium to large web-based application any more. Sure the performance is there [...]

That's the problem: performance of Perl5 with any kind of largish framework would be pretty miserable because Perl's interpretation model is not designed to handle it.

Literally all interpreters decades ago went with p-code interpreters - and only Perl5 is still stuck with the traditional interpretation by (slightly optimized) syntax tree.

In my personal tests I have seen a clear dependency between performance and the size of optree: larger the optree, slower the code.

With any kind of sizable framework, the optree would be enormous. While bytecode allows for more aggressive optimization (inlining or IPO or profile based optimizations; after all, bytecode is just data), optree is very hard to modify (it is structured and inter- and intra-linked).

about a month ago
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X Window System Turns 30 Years Old

ThePhilips Re:time to die... (204 comments)

No. Remote display is used everyday. Network transparency is not.

Remote display is used only if you are locked into the Windows. And comes with bunch of little problems, of which stuck keys and broken clipboard (until server restart) are though most annoying, the least. Recently admins where I work had to reboot PDC simply because a disconnected remote session got stuck and server didn't allow new sessions because RDP supports only one session.

But that's on Windows, where people have no choice. On *NIX, there is no good reason to choose RDP/VNC over X+ssh. But if you wish, you can RDP/VNC too.

Funny enough remote display is a feature possible on Wayland too.

Do you even know what you are talking about? Wayland's official statement is that network support is out of scope. Because Wayland is an interface to *local* graphical subsystem.

As network support goes, Wayland has only recently gained support for the X protocol (aka X Server can use Wayland as a display driver).

about a month ago
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Endurance Experiment Writes One Petabyte To Six Consumer SSDs

ThePhilips IO pattern (164 comments)

That's a heck of a lot of data, and certainly more than most folks will write in the lifetimes of their drives.

Continued write cycling [...]

That's just ridiculous. Since when the reliability is measured in how many petabytes can be written?

Spinning disks can be forced into inefficient patterns, speeding up the wear on mechanics.

SSDs can be easily forced to do a whole erase/write cycle just by writing single bytes into the wrong sector.

There is no need to waste bus bandwidth with a petabyte of data.

The problem was never the amount of the information.

The problem was always the IO pattern which might accelerate the wear of the the media.

about a month and a half ago
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Firefox 30 Available, Firebug 2.0 Released

ThePhilips Re:Anybody please! (270 comments)

You linked to the list of bugs *fixed* in 3.6

Vast majority of the later bugs were actually caused by the major internal redesigns starting with the version 4: new JS engine (which changed 3 or 4 times) and reworked layout engine. And IIRC there was even one UI security bug, where web-site could trick new FireFox into displaying green verified label for a compromised site.

I'm not saying that 3.6 is perfectly secure. But with AdBlock, FlashBlock and NoScript, it is probably more secure than the recent FireFox out of box. The add-ons cut off the major exploit vectors at the root.

about a month and a half ago
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Firefox 30 Available, Firebug 2.0 Released

ThePhilips Re:Pale Moon (270 comments)

Just where it is in 3.6.

In 29+ the option simply isn't available.

about a month and a half ago
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Firefox 30 Available, Firebug 2.0 Released

ThePhilips Re:Pale Moon (270 comments)

That sounds interesting. Tell me more.

Can one place the close button on the right side in the tab bar? So that I do not have to look at the specific tab in the tab bar while closing tabs in a bulk?

about a month and a half ago
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Firefox 30 Available, Firebug 2.0 Released

ThePhilips Re:Is the status bar back yet? (270 comments)

Comparing recent Chrome and FireFox versions, the only real difference is that Chrome still doesn't have a properly functional AdBlock.

But some animations used by web sites are smoother in Chrome, while still jerky in FireFox.

If you do not use AdBlock, or want smoother graphics at cost of ads, keep the Chrome.

If you want AdBlock, then use FireFox.

If you want just a reliable browser, and you are on up-to-date Windows, then better use IE. Ironic as it is, YouTube works better in IE (and FireFox) than in Chrome.

about a month and a half ago
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Firefox 30 Available, Firebug 2.0 Released

ThePhilips Re:Pale Moon (270 comments)

Brrrr.... Close button is still on each tab... The annoying "+" new tab button irrationally placed in the tab bar... Brrr....

Unpredictable and unreliable UI is as unpredictable and unreliable as always.

about a month and a half ago
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Firefox 30 Available, Firebug 2.0 Released

ThePhilips Re:Anybody please! (270 comments)

even if you like Australis, because of all the nice customisation options it gives.

Care to elaborate what are those customization options?

I have the 29 on my Ubuntu VM, and I see much much less options than, e.g. my desktop's 3.6.

about a month and a half ago
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Firefox 30 Available, Firebug 2.0 Released

ThePhilips Re:Anybody please! (270 comments)

Or just install the 3.6. Works too.

about a month and a half ago
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Sony Overtakes Rival Nintendo In Console Sales

ThePhilips Re:That's why.... (127 comments)

I'm not sure about the whole scope of the lay off, but many of the departed were translators and testers. Definitely not "paper pushers".

(My office is near. Some people stopped showing up for the lunch breaks. Asked few other neighbors and learned that Nintendo in the location laid off 160 out of 600.)

about 1 month ago
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Sony Overtakes Rival Nintendo In Console Sales

ThePhilips That's why.... (127 comments)

That's possibly why in Nintendo's Frankfrut am Main office, about 20% of employees were laid off.

Oh the flip side of financial news.

about 1 month ago

Submissions

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ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ThePhilips (752041) writes "Interesting C|Net piece How GPL fits in with the future of antitrust regulation about case which wanted to challenge GPL on anti-trust grounds. Quotes:

The plaintiff in the case, Daniel Wallace, has wanted to compete with Linux by offering a derivative work or by writing an operating system from the ground up. He argued that he has been barred from doing so, while Linux and its derivatives can be obtained at no charge. He asserted that IBM, Red Hat and Novell have conspired to eliminate competition in the operating-system market by making Linux available at an "unbeatable" price: free.

The court found Wallace's theory to be "faulty substantively." The decision pointed out that "the goal of antitrust law is to use rivalry to keep prices low for consumers' benefit." Here, the court concluded that Wallace sought to employ "antitrust law to drive prices up," which would "turn (antitrust law) on its head."

Common sense prevailed.

"
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ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ThePhilips (752041) writes "OpenDocument Fellowship has done some interoperability testing. Sadly, no ODF suit/application has as of yet received "5 out of 5 stars" conformance/interoperability mark.

KOffice and OO.o are noted as having problems with each other documents - specifically images. Or to put it bluntly, goal of interoperability is more than just far away. But at moment it is clear that price is major driving force behind the office suits so interoperability apparently had been lowered to second priority.

I wonder how would OASIS.org handle interoperability of ODF suits in future. Apparently interoperability with M$Office is still higher in list of OO.o priorities - compared to fellow ODF suits / standalone applications.

P.S.

Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop
No scoops, just botherdom of real world."
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ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ThePhilips (752041) writes "I recently tried to make simple QuickRef document for GNU/Arch. QuickRef in theory is simple document which encompass list of often used commands of specific tool. I wanted to create such one in ODT using OpenOffice.org 2.0 under (sorry) Windows.

It's all started Okay. But after typing few lines, I got tired of OO.o2 bug: one-two minute freezE when opening fonts dialog (It happens sometime when you have several documents open in OO.o for long period of time.)

I bravely decided that KOffice 1.5 would do better job, so I fired up VMware Player (we are not allowed to have Linux in office - free VMware is Ok) with Debian. First problem appeared - fonts. Windows and Linux do not have same fonts. Document with Times New Roman and Courier New looked ugly, until I replaced M$Windows fonts with native Linux ones - Bitstream Serif/Sans/Mono.

Then second problem surfaced: KOffice 1.5 apparently doesn't support character styles, but only paragraph styles. I used such style in comments intermixed in meta-code I were adding to QuickRef.

Okay. KOffice is really more pleasant to work with, compared to OO.o1/2. And bit later job was done. Now I was going to enjoy the results. "Print" > "Print to PDF" ... Oops. That looks ugly. Apparently GhostScript didn't like fonts I have used and all labels in PDFed QuickRef were misrendered: readable, but ugly. Nevermind - let's try another fonts. No luck: the same ugly result.

Okay. Nevermind. Let's bring my QuickRef back to Windows and OO.o2 - if it's inconvenient to edit document, printing/exporting framework of OO.o is definitely more stable compared to KOffice one.

FTP, copy document, fire up OO.o2 ... Holy crap. Fonts - OO.o seems used some randomization algorithm picking font substitution. Font sizes - some paragraphs or parts of them displayed with font size two times (or so) smaller than standard (and no apparent problem is visible in paragraph style dialog - all sizes globally set to 11pt, reapplying style didn't help). Italic I have used for comments got partially removed... Needless to say that next-to-perfect PDF export function of OO.o have produced exact replica of the ugly mess I have had on screen.

No matter how raw and unstable KOffice 1.x, OO.o2 dumbly breaks on document created in alternative application. The only way I have come up to fix the observed in OO.o weirdnesses - reimport thru plain text file (select all, copy to notepad, reselect in notepad and then back from notepad into OO.o) what is bogus. Does anybody ever tested OO.o with ODF generated by other tools, me wonders.

I wonder if I am only one who is trying interoperability of ODF suits. Have anybody else tryed to move ODF documents around between ODF capable suits (OO.o and KOffice are the only I know and have) with positive results? Moving documents from Windows to Linux and back?

"

Journals

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Debian as a "working" model for democracy

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Fun to watch "democracy" at work at Debian. Now 2+ years old social bug Please decide on Python interpreter packages maintainership opened by Python DDs, complaining about poor communication skills of the Python maintainer and request for his replacement, is still open. After two years, lots of emotions, personal involvement of the DPL and total silence from the actual Python maintainer being discussed, the CTTE seems to be reaching consensus that maintainer shouldn't be changed: because situation somewhat eased over the two years, but mostly because he is good guy, esp when talking to important Debian people, e.g. CTTE members. And he's also maintainer of many other important packages in Debian so pissing him off is quite dangerous. The most ironic part, is the last message (last as of writing) mentioning that the Python maintainer is again at it.

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More choice is less? PC market, I'm looking at you!

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Interview with Barry Schwartz on Colbert Report, where he "explains why people are paralyzed with indecision when they're offered too many choices."

In a way, an eye opener. I started scratching my back trying to recall when/why that happened to me. Because I had immediately the feeling that it had been happening to me more than often. And then I have recalled.

Buying the computers and PC parts.

Why I bought an Apple MacBook? Because I spent too much time trying to configure a perfect notebook for myself from HP and Lenovo. Way too many choices. Impossible to pick one. Went to the online Apple store: two product lines (plain v. pro) further differentiated by a screen size. Input screen size, input amount of money one's ready to spend - and you get the deal.

Building a desktop was similar experience. Went with cheapest (of recently released) dual-core AMD because figuring out best deal on more expensive Intel CPUs started slowly driving me nuts.

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EULAs reaches new low

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 5 years ago

As was posted on BoingBoing (originally on BoingBoing Gadgets by John Brownlee):

[...] watching Sleeping Beauty on Blu-Ray requires that you accede to over 120 pages of legal garbage in various EULAs before you can start the movie.

And Cory Doctorow has a bit more to add on other EULA abuses from Disney:

Disney has a sickness when it comes to abusive EULAs and contracts. I once had to cancel a speech at Imagineering because the legal department wanted me to sign something saying that I'd never use the word "Disney" in print again without permission. The Laugh Factory attraction at Disney World's Tomorrowland had a ridiculous EULA on a sign (you agreed to the terms by passing under the sign) (!) in which you promised that any jokes you suggested were your own and that you would indemnify Disney from any copyright suits arising from the telling of the jokes (the sign was not a joke). As though eight year olds can form contracts (they can't), by standing under signs (they can't), and as though most jokes people tell are original (they aren't).

What's next? Jokes with EULAs requiring you to laugh? And hearing the joke means that you agreed to EULA automatically?

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Six Nations "Just Say No" to ISO/IEC

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Fresh very informative entry ConsortiumInfo.org blog:

The latest blowback from the OOXML adoption process emerged last Friday in Brasilia, Brazil. This newest challenge to the continued relevance of ISO and IEC was thrown when major IT agencies of six nations - Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Paraguay, South Africa and Venezuela - signed a declaration that deploring the refusal of ISO and IEC to further review the appeals submitted by the National Bodies of four nations.

Seems, the saga isn't yet over. Andy also linked to the new initiatives Civil ICT Rights and The Hague Declaration aimed to protect privacy and free speech rights in digital age.

Main question is: might ISO be an organization governments can trust on sensitive standards? Or new body, vendor neutral, dedicated to IT standards, should be established?

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Are Linux File Systems poor performers?

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Found fancy article which is lambasting Linux File Systems as being unsuitable for servers and big loads. It is even hard to debunk article which starts like:

And what was Linux's initial target market? A Microsoft desktop replacement, of course.

and then goes into some theoretical technical problems - theoretical because no real world task is given as an example of what is affected by the problems. Since article is presented as being written by "industry consultant with 27 years experience in high-performance computing and storage" and contains unproven load of facts, it is pretty hard to swallow. Especially after many I/O intensive tasks I have accomplished on Linux. What will be /. judgment of the article?

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The 2007 International Privacy Ranking

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 6 years ago Fresh report from Privacy International is in. From key findings:

The 2007 rankings indicate an overall worsening of privacy protection across the world, reflecting an increase in surveillance and a declining performance o privacy safeguards. Surveillance initiatives initiated by Brussels have caused a substantial decline in privacy across Europe, eroding protections even in those countries that have shown a traditionally high regard for privacy. The lowest ranking countries in the survey continue to be Malaysia, Russia and China. The highest-ranking countries in 2007 are Greece, Romania and Canada. The 2006 leader, Germany, slipped significantly in the 2007 rankings, dropping from 1st to 7th place behind Portugal and Slovenia. The worst ranking EU country is the United Kingdom, which again fell into the "black" category along with Russia and Singapore. However for the first time Scotland has been given its own ranking score and performed significantly better than England & Wales. Despite political shifts in the US Congress, surveillance initiatives in the US continue to expand, affecting visitors and citizens alike.

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10 illegal job interview questions

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Interesting (and rather old story) on Tech Republic: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/10things/?p=229:

Although HR departments should be aware of questions that are illegal to ask prospective employees, some hiring managers aren't so savvy. Many illegal questions are easy for just about anyone with elementary social graces to avoid, but others might surprise you. In general, you should not ask interviewees about their age, race, national origin, marital or parental status, or disabilities.

List of innocent questions and small talk stuff is in the article. Enlightening read.

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Open source video editing still has a long way to go

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Here is Roblimo's take on Linux video editing state of affairs:

Kino captures video (although not high-definition video) competently through a FireWire port, and Cinelerra can do most video editing tasks if you are willing to spend three to ten times as long doing them as you would with Vegas or Final Cut.

I do not have a high opinion of Cinelerra. If you are accustomed to Sony Vegas, Final Cut, Avid or other high-end video editing packages, you will find Cinelerra painfully clunky. Of course, once you've gotten used to really good video editing software, you won't like most proprietary consumer-level video editing products, either, not even MainActor (for Linux or Windows), which costs more than three times as much as the much more capable Magix Movie Edit Pro (for Windows only).

I have had no luck using Jahshaka, and although I have downloaded GStreamer-based PiTiVi from the Ubuntu archives, so far I have not gotten it to start up successfully, let along do anything useful with it.

Bugs. Crashes. Clunkiness and over complication. We've seen it before.

"It's OK to spend money to make money":

I did my first "video" edits with film and razor blades, so I am often amazed at how easy it has gotten -- with high-level proprietary software -- to turn out professional-quality video work, and I am especially amazed that it now can be done on an inexpensive desktop computer instead of requiring a special, high-powered workstation. Beyond those miracles, asking for my video editing software to be free (in either sense) almost seems like too much.

Linux's state of muiltimedia support seems to be always on catch up - with three-four years lag compared to Mac/Windows solutions. Now authoring became a hot topic - and Linux development community again is seen as bunch of amateurs. What is kind of true in the context.

RTFA worth reading - if like to know that you are not alone with your video editing problems under Linux.

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eBay security conspiracy catches on with readers

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Interesting RTFA - in comments from readers section - posted on ElReg.

One of the quotes:

It looks like the hacker gained VPN access to the internal eBay network. That, along with the fact that they don't stored hashed passwords but plain text ones is a very likely explanation of what is happening. So it's just plain old fashioned hacking which leads to disastrous results because eBay's bad security design.

Seems like eBay got itself compromised. I doubt that so much of eBayer computers' got 0wned. And the fact that crackers started immediately posting scam/auctions seem to point into direction of organized criminals who penetrate eBay's intranet or buy client accounts from its employees - to sell fitting account information to scammers. Original ElReg's story here is also worth reading. Quote:

A month later, Auction Guild was back, this time with evidence that a Romanian hacker going by the name Vladuz had developed and was circulating a sophisticated tool that reads confidential information residing on eBay's internal network, allowing attackers free reign of virtually any account and a trove of information that could be used in phishing attacks.

In short: stay away from such lucrative scam target as eBay.

P.S. Screen shots of the aforementioned tool from Vladuz.

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Korea: EA "started giving away the game" FIFA Online

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Interesting report on IHT:

"FIFA 07," a video game for soccer fans, costs around 50 in Europe. In South Korea, five million players have downloaded the online version free -- yet Electronic Arts, the publisher, is cheering them on.

Realizing that it was impossible to sell "FIFA Online" in a country where piracy is rampant, Electronic Arts started giving away the game last spring. Once the players were hooked, the company offered for sale ways to gain an edge on opponents; extending the career of a star player, for instance, costs less than $1. Since May, Electronic Arts has sold 700,000 of these enhancements.

Not that EA can helps its margins with such numbers, but yet the practice - of competitive pricing - still seems more plausible one than misguided anti-piracy onslaughts. (*) I know that similar practice was used by several publishers to sell games in Russia: games were officially priced at 2-3 times what they cost on black market: $5-8 against fixed rate of $2.5 for CD/DVD of black market. It's stupid to expect people to pay they monthly income for a mere computer game.

(*) Misguided, because most of the "pirates" - consumers buying games on black market in 3rd world - are largely not affected by the anti-piracy measures: sellers are stripping them before pressing bootleg copies. It's only customers - honest ones - in main markets like US/EU/Japan struggle through the all copy-protection bumps.

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EMI is in trouble

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Funny article on Bloomberg: EMI Ousts Top Music Executives, Forecasts Lower Sales. Quote:

EMI Group Plc, the U.K. record company that signed the Beatles, ousted its two top music executives and forecast lower revenue after disappointing holiday sales.

Alain Levy will leave after five years as chief executive officer of the recorded music division. David Munns, the unit's vice chairman, will also step down.

Key quote:

EMI's revenue has declined as downloads failed to make up for business lost to piracy.

Not that we beleived the crap before. But what's interesting - is the timing. The anouncement comes as follow up to another article discussed on Slashdot recently.

P.S.

Downloads accounted for 8.5 percent of EMI's revenue in the fiscal first half, up from 5.4 percent in the previous year. That wasn't enough to make up for losses to piracy.

Notice they quote percents - not raw money numbers. Nearly 60% rise of sales, what is not that bad. $0.70 from each song sold isn't making up for $10+ they made on every CD before. Does that surprise anyone?

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Re: MySQL Quietly Drops Support For Debian Linux

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

From MySQL Quietly Drops Support For Debian Linux:

MySQL now supports only two Linux distributions -- Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Read between lines: MySQL had given up on vanilla Linux kernel and all its pesky VM bugs.

Well, at least that was my experience of MySQL on vanilla kernel: trying to rebuild index for table of size several times bigger than RAM brings system completely down. Though miraculously it did worked ok when booted into RH shipped kernel. Go figure.

Edit1. Well Okay they clarified the issue. There is no problems of supporting MySQL on other Linux system. Mea culpa for not waiting for official news.

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Case GPL v. anti-trust regulations concluded.

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Interesting C|Net piece How GPL fits in with the future of antitrust regulation about case which wanted to challenge GPL on anti-trust grounds. Quotes:

The plaintiff in the case, Daniel Wallace, has wanted to compete with Linux by offering a derivative work or by writing an operating system from the ground up. He argued that he has been barred from doing so, while Linux and its derivatives can be obtained at no charge. He asserted that IBM, Red Hat and Novell have conspired to eliminate competition in the operating-system market by making Linux available at an "unbeatable" price: free.

The court found Wallace's theory to be "faulty substantively." The decision pointed out that "the goal of antitrust law is to use rivalry to keep prices low for consumers' benefit." Here, the court concluded that Wallace sought to employ "antitrust law to drive prices up," which would "turn (antitrust law) on its head."

Common sense prevailed.

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ODF Interoperability

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

OpenDocument Fellowship has done some interoperability testing. Sadly, no ODF suit/application has as of yet received "5 out of 5 stars" conformance/interoperability mark.

KOffice and OO.o are noted as having problems with each other documents - specifically images. Or to put it bluntly, goal of interoperability is more than just far away. But at moment it is clear that price is major driving force behind the office suits so interoperability apparently had been lowered to second priority.

I wonder how would OASIS.org handle interoperability of ODF suits in future. Apparently interoperability with M$Office is still higher in list of OO.o priorities - compared to fellow ODF suits / standalone applications.

P.S.

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OpenDocument Format - How portable it is?

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

I recently tried to make simple QuickRef document for GNU/Arch. QuickRef in theory is simple document which encompass list of often used commands of specific tool. I wanted to create such one in ODT using OpenOffice.org 2.0 under (sorry) Windows.

It's all started Okay. But after typing few lines, I got tired of OO.o2 bug: one-two minute freezE when opening fonts dialog (It happens sometime when you have several documents open in OO.o for long period of time.)

I bravely decided that KOffice 1.5 would do better job, so I fired up VMware Player (we are not allowed to have Linux in office - free VMware is Ok) with Debian. First problem appeared - fonts. Windows and Linux do not have same fonts. Document with Times New Roman and Courier New looked ugly, until I replaced M$Windows fonts with native Linux ones - Bitstream Serif/Sans/Mono.

Then second problem surfaced: KOffice 1.5 apparently doesn't support character styles, but only paragraph styles. I used such style in comments intermixed in meta-code I were adding to QuickRef.

Okay. KOffice is really more pleasant to work with, compared to OO.o1/2. And bit later job was done. Now I was going to enjoy the results. "Print" > "Print to PDF" ... Oops. That looks ugly. Apparently GhostScript didn't like fonts I have used and all labels in PDFed QuickRef were misrendered: readable, but ugly. Nevermind - let's try another fonts. No luck: the same ugly result.

Okay. Nevermind. Let's bring my QuickRef back to Windows and OO.o2 - if it's inconvenient to edit document, printing/exporting framework of OO.o is definitely more stable compared to KOffice one.

FTP, copy document, fire up OO.o2 ... Holy crap. Fonts - OO.o seems used some randomization algorithm picking font substitution. Font sizes - some paragraphs or parts of them displayed with font size two times (or so) smaller than standard (and no apparent problem is visible in paragraph style dialog - all sizes globally set to 11pt, reapplying style didn't help). Italic I have used for comments got partially removed... Needless to say that next-to-perfect PDF export function of OO.o have produced exact replica of the ugly mess I have had on screen.

No matter how raw and unstable KOffice 1.x, OO.o2 dumbly breaks on document created in alternative application. The only way I have come up to fix the observed in OO.o weirdnesses - reimport thru plain text file (select all, copy to notepad, reselect in notepad and then back from notepad into OO.o) what is bogus. Does anybody ever tested OO.o with ODF generated by other tools, me wonders.

I wonder if I am only one who is trying interoperability of ODF suits. Have anybody else tryed to move ODF documents around between ODF capable suits (OO.o and KOffice are the only I know and have) with positive results? Moving documents from Windows to Linux and back?

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Nintendo DS Lite

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Recently bought Nintendo DS Lite - just for fun and distraction from my usual heavy duty Unix programming. Two games we purchased: Tetris DS and Mario Carts DS.

I spent about 0.00 hours installing/updating Windows. I spent less than 0.00 hours installing fresh nVidia drivers. DS doesn't support (nor requires for proper functioning) apt-get, what was bit disappointing. ;)

And guess what? Regardless device is working great: plug cartridge, press 'A' key and here you go. I wish someday PeeCee software would reach that level of usability.

Games are fun. Tetris is real official Tetris (since that [bad guy] Pajitnov sold the Tetris game invented by his colleague to Nintendo) and well made. Carts are fun too: all tracks are made so that most of the races are about 3 minutes long - precisely time I need to make a break hacking sockets and pipes.

Overall, I'm impressed. It was hard to imagine that the appliance (which sadly doesn't run Linux) could be that well made and provide only good experience.

I think Nintendo might have sold much more of them, be they priced here in Europe more sanely. 140€ for DS Lite and 20-40€ per game is bit too much for something targeted at kids. Many games are rated "3+" - but I wonder how much parents would even think about spending that much for toy for their 3+ kids.

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Good quotes on West

ThePhilips ThePhilips writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion, rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science.

-- Gary Zukav

P.S.

Reporter: What do you think of western civilization?
Mahatma Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.

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