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Book Review: A Practical Guide To Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming

VoyagerRadio This book should be up-to-date for a few years (81 comments)

Thanks for reviewing this book, which appears to have been published in early Fall of last year. Since it's a book on the commands, editors, and shell programming, it'll probably be valid for years to come. (I've had college instructors require students to purchase texts that were "only" four years old, but already severely outdated by that point.)

about a year and a half ago
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What Belongs In a High School Sci-Fi/Fantasy Lit Class?

VoyagerRadio Re:I had this class... (1021 comments)

I'm with you on these. Fahrenheit 451 was a remarkably compelling read for me as a kid. Real page-burner -- uh, turner. What caught my eye about your post, however, is Ursula K. Le Guin. Though I'm only recently familiar with LeGuin's work, and haven't yet read the Earthsea books, I'd definitely recommend the works I've read, Left Hand of Darkness or the short story I read last week, The Matter of Seggri. Both are gender and genre-bending stories that are both representative of traditional sci-fi and yet defy convention. As an alternative, LeGuin's essays on the topic of sci-fi -- since she challenged the existing notions about the genre -- would be excellent additions to the curriculum.

more than 5 years ago
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What Belongs In a High School Sci-Fi/Fantasy Lit Class?

VoyagerRadio The Music of Chance by Paul Auster (1021 comments)

Paul Auster's The Music of Chance immediately springs to mind. You really should consider books that aren't full of the usual genre material -- not only to provide a wider survey of these genre but also to help youth in understanding that science fiction/fantasy isn't all Battlestar Galactica and Lord of the Rings. The Music of Chance is that Twilight Zone-ish strange tale that is at once terrifying and impossible. It's an easy, relatively short read (perfect for high schoolers). Great introduction to "the strange tale" for those who might be turned off by all the space aliens and/or orcs and elves. Anyone up for a game of cards?

more than 5 years ago
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Review: Champions Online

VoyagerRadio Re:Quality vs Appeal (203 comments)

MMO player *and* getting married: How is that possible?

more than 5 years ago
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Wired Writer Disappears, Find Him and Make $5k

VoyagerRadio Re:Is this an ad? (135 comments)

I guess I jumped all over that one, but I'm not totally opposed to contests. (Unfortunately, most contests are simply dressed-up advertisements for the service/website, and hardly dressed-up at that.) Scavenger hunts can be fun, but it sure wastes our time when there's no actual possibility of reaching the goal. Perhaps in this case there is; I would hope Wired wouldn't resort to phony ad/spam scams, but -- except the Wired editors themselves -- who knows?

more than 5 years ago
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Is Typing Ruining Your Ability To Spell?

VoyagerRadio Re:I don't know, but... (494 comments)

I'm going to follow you on Twitter just because of this post. I'm not kidding, either -- I'm also one of "those people".

more than 5 years ago
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Is Typing Ruining Your Ability To Spell?

VoyagerRadio Re:I don't know, but... (494 comments)

Yes, that's pretty much how it's worked out for me, too. I even have difficulty signing my name sometimes, but that's mostly because cursive is my most unpracticed form. (I really admire some of the cursive scripts some folks are able to produce. My parents have wonderful cursive handwriting, so it boggles my mind that mine is so illegible!) One reasons I've maintained proper punctuation (and grammar and capitalization) -- or attempted to, anyway -- is because I fancy myself a writer, even if the vast majority of my writing is actually done through forum posts. Someday I'll get it together and write a novel, and when that day comes I want to be well-practice in my typing skills (so as not to detract from the narrative). I don't want to get into the habit of "sloppy" writing.

more than 5 years ago
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Wired Writer Disappears, Find Him and Make $5k

VoyagerRadio Is this an ad? (135 comments)

I can't figure out if this is an ad, spam, or something else altogether. Someone want to help me out? Does Slashdot post links to contests?

more than 5 years ago
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Is Typing Ruining Your Ability To Spell?

VoyagerRadio Re:I don't know, but... (494 comments)

That's why I've always maintained correct/proper capitalization and grammar and compete sentences, even in IMs and IRC chats. In fact, it actually slows me down when I have to purposely corrupt a text message in order to reduce its size (such as on Twitter or SMS).

more than 5 years ago
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Open Textbooks Win Over Publishers In CA

VoyagerRadio Re:Common Sense (216 comments)

Wow, I must be getting tired. I really botched my grammar in that last message I posted. Apologies! The general idea probably got through, but I'll add this: thank goodness for online used (and new) vendors. They've allowed me to be able to afford continuing my education; I could not do it if I had to spend $150 on a book or a bundle for every course I wanted to take. The only headache is differentiating between domestic and International editions -- there's some kind of scam going on there, and as a result the transaction can be just as detrimental to the financial well-being of the less wary student. (As far as I know, I've never purchased an illegal text -- that is, an International edition of a U.S. text -- but it's kind of a pain sorting through used book listings trying to determine between U.S. and International editions of textbooks.)

more than 5 years ago
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Open Textbooks Win Over Publishers In CA

VoyagerRadio Re:Common Sense (216 comments)

I believe it. I recall spending a small fortune through the university's buying textbooks and other texts -- such as the paperback versions classic works of literature that you can now purchase for a couple of dollars through various online bookstores. Back then, online used/new book vendors had yet to emerge. These days I'm a wiser student, opting to purchase my books though online used book vendors (most of the time, anyway).

more than 5 years ago
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Open Textbooks Win Over Publishers In CA

VoyagerRadio Re:Common Sense (216 comments)

Particularly when it is important for the students to have the newest editions -- as in this introductory computer course I took, which was apparently supposed to be introducing students to the latest and greatest computing technologies. The 2007 edition of the book hardly mentioned Firefox, Vista and (as would be expected from a book probably published in 2006), no mention of the iPhone or its operating system and the issues surrounding its development. Now, setting aside (for the moment) some of the views we find here on Slashdot, it would be important for an introductory computer course in 2009 to place less focus on the Netscape browser and perhaps even preview (or at least mention) Windows 7 and Leopard (or Snow Leopard) and Ubuntu and other such technocurrents. I felt like I was reading outdated information (and I was, of course). Thank goodness I was only taking this course as a requirement in order to fulfill a certificate; had I truly been taking this course to introduce myself to computers, I would seriously have been lacking in the latest information.

more than 5 years ago
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20 Years of MS Word and Why It Should Die a Swift Death

VoyagerRadio Re:Word sucks, but it doesn't (843 comments)

Do you ever used the Mac version of Word? I first purchased the '98 version, then upgraded to the next Mac version but haven't used it since. Is it still a decent product?

more than 5 years ago
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Open Textbooks Win Over Publishers In CA

VoyagerRadio Re:Common Sense (216 comments)

I usually buy my textbooks used through Amazon or Half.com or eBay but recently moved out of state and found the textbooks listed on my distance education course confusing -- it appeared to be some kind of bundle of books but didn't list the individual editions. So I opted to order the bundle directly through my college's textbook store and have them mail it out to me. First, they sent me a noticed stating that because they were out of used copies of one of the textbooks in the bundle, they would have to send me a "new" copy and charge the additional cost for it. This bundle of books came out to nearly $150 -- and it turned out the "new" textbook was the 2007 edition of a book that already had a 2010 edition available. I really felt burned -- not only had they shipped me a 2007 version of a book that had had 2008, 2009, and 2010 edition available, but they charged me full price for the book -- and I've discovered that the book is often available (used) on Amazon for less than ONE DOLLAR (plus shipping; search for "Discovering Computers", the Shelly Cashman series). The textbook industry and their relationships with colleges are due to die a slow (well, okay, make it quick) painful death. I'm all for making open and/or digital textbooks acceptable for the classroom.

more than 5 years ago
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Wikipedia Approaches Its Limits

VoyagerRadio It's all about compromise. (564 comments)

Compromise, however, is difficult to achieve because everyone has a different perspective of what's a good point of compromise. Wikipedia works that way -- as does my U.S. of A. -- but there's always going to be times when that compromise is being made in favor of one perspective over another for a long enough period of time to alarm the peeps. Hopefully, "balance" will be restored (though nothing is ever truly and completely balanced) to a point that is generally acceptable to the most interested parties.

more than 5 years ago
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20 Years of MS Word and Why It Should Die a Swift Death

VoyagerRadio Re:Word sucks, but it doesn't (843 comments)

Sounds like friends (or associates, or whatever) aren't backing up their documents often enough to recover them. Perhaps they need to step up their backup procedure; that way the corrupted docs won't be a problem.

more than 5 years ago
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Microsoft, Nokia Team To Add Mobile Office Apps To Phones

VoyagerRadio So should I upgrade? (154 comments)

Should I buy the new phone? I need a new mobile device, to make my life complete. I feel like an outsider: my smartphone fell apart after years of un-gentleness and now I'm back to using my old T9. This phone doesn't have the mobile Office apps I never use -- so should I upgrade? I guess I should wait for the Microsoft/Nokia arrangement to manifest itself in the stores first. I guess I'll spend my time worrying about how far behind the Hiptop generation I'm falling...Oh, woe is I!

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Should I learn me some Erlang?

VoyagerRadio VoyagerRadio writes  |  about a year and a half ago

VoyagerRadio (669156) writes "Last week I attended a local technology user group's monthly meeting to learn about a programming language I'm not familiar with, Erlang. Wikipedia currently describes Erlang as "concurrent, garbage-collected programming language", a fact that seemed supported by speaker Bryan Hunter's presentation at the event I attended. Mr. Hunter described the language's strengths in concurrency (specifically, shared memory and message passing), in garbage collection (each process has its own garbage collector), in reductions (which provide you with "crazy performance"), and in distribution (which is built-in). He demonstrated how the language is used to create computing clusters, setting up and connecting nodes and then demonstrating some of their unique communication protocols.

The demo impressed upon me the value of functional programming languages (of which Erlang is a member), but I'm still wondering if I should first master one of the more "popular" languages I've been exploring (such as C) or object-oriented languages (such as C++) before trying to fully wrap my mind around Erlang. One thing I picked up from the presentation is that once you learn Erlang, it may be difficult to wrap your mind around OOP once you've gotten used to programming with Erlang.

Should I, as one of the the more well-known resources on the language (http://learnyousomeerlang.com/) suggests, learn me some Erlang?"

Link to Original Source
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Nintendo cuts into YouTube revenue. Will other publishers follow suit?

VoyagerRadio VoyagerRadio writes  |  about a year and a half ago

VoyagerRadio (669156) writes "With news that Nintendo will now be collecting revenue from YouTube whenever the console developer's intellectual property (IP) appears in videos uploaded to the Google-owned video distributor, will other game publishers want a piece of the pie? Mario and Luigi may be popular characters in fan-generated YouTube videos, but IP from other game publishers are just as popular, including Blizzard's World of Warcraft and LucasArts' Star Wars universe. Will game publishers such as Activision and even Microsoft pressure Google to make the same kind of deal Nintendo now has with YouTube?"
Link to Original Source
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Is paying for expensive cellular service a symbol of status?

VoyagerRadio VoyagerRadio writes  |  about a year and a half ago

VoyagerRadio (669156) writes "Prepaid cellular carriers have long been perceived as providing lesser services than expensive contract carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, which tend to offer the "best" (and most expensive) smartphones and cellular services, leaving the cheapest prepaid carriers with bargain-bin devices and services. This is no longer the case, however, with services such as SIMPLE Mobile enabling consumers to use their unlocked devices over the same cellular networks as the contract carriers — and at lesser expense.

With services such as SIMPLE Mobile available, why do people continue renewing their expensive contracts? Why don't more people get their phones and other devices unlocked and migrate to a less expensive but equivalent prepaid carrier? Is the real reason because they're more afraid of losing their status than losing their service, since going with prepaid services isn't considered as "sexy" as the contract carriers' big-budgeted marketing departments make their own services out to be?"

Link to Original Source
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iOS Consumers Tend to Put Their Money Where Their Mouths Are

VoyagerRadio VoyagerRadio writes  |  about 2 years ago

VoyagerRadio writes "I've encountered Android users complaining when apps are introduced exclusively for iPhones and iPads. Yet once developers do turn their attention to their platform of choice, Android users seem reluctant to put their money where their mouths are and purchase the app(s).

There seems to be a general reluctance within the Android community to financially support the efforts of app developers, while iOS users tend to recognize the value of paying apps and services for their devices.

Is this simply because Apple consumers tend to have more disposable income than Android consumers?"

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iConji's Pictorial Language Enables Cross-Culturnal Communication

VoyagerRadio VoyagerRadio writes  |  about 2 years ago

VoyagerRadio writes "Kai Staats, known for his work with Yellow Dog Linux, the PowerPC-based distro of Linux, has been developing a new system of communication called iConji. The pictorial language is intended for people to be able to communicate across cultural divides in a potentially more efficient way than the text messaging systems we've become accustomed to using. Though iConji is currently a digital form of communication, one can imagine it also extending beyond the web. iConji is also an open system, inviting anyone to compose their own symbols to share and use with others."
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How Real Are Internet Relationships?

VoyagerRadio VoyagerRadio writes  |  more than 2 years ago

VoyagerRadio writes "I have a more heightened awareness of a deliberate maintenance of relationships when I am online, and I often wonder how these "Internet relationships" are differentiated from face-to-face relationships. Certainly there are differences between the two, but are they significant enough differences to determine one of these two types of relationships as superior to the other? As for pre-existing, “in person” relationships: Does the quality of an engagement between people improve once certain aspects of communication are facilitated by the Internet? Or does the relationship degrade once it is online? Does it essentially remain the same?"
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When You Share Your World, the World Shares You

VoyagerRadio VoyagerRadio writes  |  more than 2 years ago

VoyagerRadio writes "Christopher Hills is a young man living with a physical disability that makes it impossible for him to walk, to use his hands, or to speak in a manner that is comprehensible to most. Fortunately, the use of assistive software and hardware has until now enabled Hills to use his Macintosh. (See video.) Unfortunately, the software he's been using is a Rosetta application developed by a company that will no longer be upgrading their Mac software. What software or hardware solutions exist for recent Apple products that Mr. Hills can use to continue communicating with the rest of the world through his computer?"
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Why Linux Can't "Sell" on the Desktop

VoyagerRadio VoyagerRadio writes  |  more than 2 years ago

VoyagerRadio writes "Recently I found myself struggling with a question I should easily have been able to answer: Why would anyone want to use Linux as their everyday desktop (or laptop) operating system? It’s a fair question, and asked often of Linux, but I'm finding it to be a question I can no longer answer with the conviction necessary to “sell” the platform. In fact, I kind of feel like a car salesman who realizes he no longer believes in the product he’s been pitching. It's not that I don't find Linux worthy; I simply don't understand how it's every going to succeed on the desktop with voluntary marketing efforts. What do Linux users need to do to replicate the marketing efforts of Apple and Microsoft and other corporate operating system vendors? To me, it seems you don’t sell Linux at all because there isn’t supposed to be one dominant distribution that stands out from the rest. Without a specific product to put on the shelf to sell, what in the world do you focus your efforts on selling? An idea?"
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