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Elementary OS "Freya" Beta Released

WalrusSlayer Re:Usability is THE killer feature that Linux need (209 comments)

So you expect to be able to use a general purpose system that does accounting, astronomy, genomics, etc etc on everything from a modern mainframe to a pocket watch with NO learning whatsoever? Were you born knowing how to use Windows 7 or did you learn it?

Sigh... Read the GP again. He uses Linux as a primary OS for home and work. Learning curve is not the issue here.

That's what he was saying. It's not hard at all but we can't learn it for you.

In other words, "it's your fault for not learning it, not our fault for not making the user experience on par with commercial alternatives".

the simplest and most obvious 'user interfaces' of any tool we have today and yet I see people using them poorly all the time.

In other words, "it's your fault, you must be using it poorly". Or, "you're so incompetent you can't even use a hammer or a screwdriver".

I know I ramped up the flammage factor in my paraphrasing, but seriously, that's the type of worldview that has Linux desktop going nowhere fast.

about three weeks ago
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Elementary OS "Freya" Beta Released

WalrusSlayer Re:Usability is THE killer feature that Linux need (209 comments)

To be fair, you phrased it nicely. But it's still the same old mindset underneath that prevents Linux desktop from getting any traction.

No, it's really not. Familiarity is amazingly important. The thing is I use Linux more than anything else. If I go on a Windows or OSX machine, I'm presenetd with all sorts of weirdnesses and illogical things and things which plain old get in the way.

It's not a question of n00bishness but not working on the systems I work on day-in day-out every day.

Except the GP explained that he uses Linux as his primary OS at home and at work. Your response was to question whether he was familiar enough with it. Well yeah, it's safe to say that he's familiar with it.

You can make all of those disappear by making it *identical* to your OS of choice. That won't necessarily make it better, just more familiar.

If the cost is that in order for Linux to gain traction then it has to be like Windows or OSX, then there doesn't to be a whole lot of point.

Making it familiar and making it complete are different. Don't think that the GP (nor I) were arguing that Windows/OSX are perfect and should be verbatim copied.

about three weeks ago
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Elementary OS "Freya" Beta Released

WalrusSlayer Re:Usability is THE killer feature that Linux need (209 comments)

There are so many little things daily that cause the OS to be hard to use for regular people. And yes, that includes Ubuntu.

Such as? Are you sure it's not a question of familiarity, where someone who has used almost nothing but Linux might notice similar irritations about other OSs?

In other words: "Are you a complete noob and therefore it's your fault?" "Are you sure you're smart enough?"

To be fair, you phrased it nicely. But it's still the same old mindset underneath that prevents Linux desktop from getting any traction. As soon as the Linux community takes on are default mindset that any negative user experiences are the desktop's fault and not the user's fault, things might have a prayer of getting better. Sure, you're never going to make an OS that has zero learning curve, but apologizing for the learning curve rather than trying to lessen it doesn't help anybody.

about three weeks ago
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Supreme Court Rules Cell Phones Can't Be Searched Without a Warrant

WalrusSlayer "Privacy comes at a cost." (249 comments)

....or in other words: Freedom isn't Free.

about 2 months ago
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Become a Linux Kernel Hacker and Write Your Own Module

WalrusSlayer Re:Umm (143 comments)

Try this with windows and there's a good chance you'll find some incomplete example code from three API revisions ago that won't even compile with the latest libraries (BTDT)

Uhhhhh.... for the most part, the kernel API in Windows has been remarkably stable. I have an *extremely* non-trivial Windows driver that works from NT all the way through Win 8. The only major disruption in the 10+ years between NT4 and Vista was the TDI client debacle where they deprecated TDI and there were some workarounds that needed to be implemented to run on the new kernel.

That. Was. All.

I'm not a Linux kernel dev (though have lots of user-mode Linux/Unix experience), but my understanding of that world is "we'll change anything and everything if and whenever we feel like it, and it's up to the rest of the world to keep up with those changes". So your example, ironically, would apply much more to a Linux driver sample than it would a Windows driver sample.

about 3 months ago
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One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983

WalrusSlayer Re:ah, those were the daze;-) (230 comments)

Me too. But that was the 1970s, not the 80s. Using punch cards in 1983 was idiotic.

Idiotic yes, unheard of, no. When I started as a freshman undergrad I was enrolled in a music school that was part of a state liberal arts college. By that time I had done a ton of programming on my TRS-80 in both BASIC and Z-80 assembler on my own. I considered taking some comp sci classes, but they forced everyone to take a course that involved programming on punched cards on the mainframe.

Needless to say, my reaction was "screw that!", and I went on with my studies.

By the end of sophomore year it was clear that (a) I wasn't going to make a decent living as a musician, and (b) I know how to work a computer, may as well get a piece of paper that says so. By that time they had dropped the punched cards stupidity and I went on to earn a double-major in CS and Music.

about 4 months ago
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FCC Proposes $48,000 Fine To Man Jamming Cellphones On Florida Interstate

WalrusSlayer Re:Probably saved more lives with jamming (427 comments)

What about giving fellatio?

Well, if your partner is sufficiently well-endowed, then it should be no more distracting than taking the occasional sip from a Slurpie.

about 4 months ago
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Embedded Developers Prefer Linux, Love Android

WalrusSlayer Re:Low end, in house? (104 comments)

For some definitions of OS I suppose.

I can also make a working web server in an afternoon, if all it does is listen to port 80 and translate GET commands into the file system, and error out on everything else.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux Mountable Storage Pool For All the Cloud Systems?

WalrusSlayer Re:Why do you want to combine them? (165 comments)

Uh, methinks you haven't really used tool chains designed to maximize the value of RAW files. The camera's built-in processor does way the hell more stuff than just compress raw pixels into JPEG. White balance is a huge one, along with level curves, sharpening, and a bunch of other stuff. Much of it either one-way or very hard to unwind. And as others have pointed out, most RAW *is* compressed, just lossless.

So yeah, you can fix white-balance in a JPEG, but it's way simpler and more accurate to set the white balance if the pixels haven't already been misbalanced in the first place. Ditto for exposure. Most tools that deal with processed JPEG's don't even have an exposure adjustment---quite often the same tool that does both file types will have an exposure slide if it's RAW but not if it's JPEG. Sure, you can futz with brightness, contrast, levels, gamma, etc to correct an under-exposed shot. But sliding over to +2/3 for a slight underexposure is one click and you're done.

As a guy who has deep-drilled many a software engineering discipline in his 25 year career, and shot tens of thousands of frames as an amateur enthusiast, you can pull me out of the "photographers who don't understand the tools" pool thank you very much.

I have gone back and forth between JPEG and RAW over the years. There have been periods where, with two small children, I simply didn't have time to invest in RAW processing. And I was pleased the neutrality of the DSLR's processing anyway. Other times I knew I was shooting in challenging conditions, and set the camera to RAW+JPEG as a safety net. I've rescued many a shot that way. Recently I've been putting mileage on Lightroom and can extract an immense improvement out of the RAW's that would take me 4x the time to do if they were JPEG, and probably not end up with the same result. I now have more time to invest and the payoff is real and significant.

about a year and a half ago
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AT&T Microcell Disassembly; Security Flaws Exposed

WalrusSlayer Re:Improved Roaming (82 comments)

You obviously don't have one of these. There is in fact a GPS inside, and they specifically instruct you to put it near a window if the GPS LED doesn't go solid. There have been various complaints on other boards about this fact, with tips on where to find GPS antennas and connectors (yes, there is an antenna jack on the back of the unit) so that the MicroCell can be used in a more convenient place while still getting a GPS signal.

more than 2 years ago
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Insiders Call HP's WebOS Software Fatally Flawed

WalrusSlayer You mean there's a difference between engineers? (191 comments)

Another problem was the difficulty in finding programmers who had a keen understanding of WebKit as Apple and Google snatched up most of the top talent

But wait, I thought that engineers were just pluggable resources...

more than 2 years ago
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Reviews of Kindle Fire Are a Mixed Bag

WalrusSlayer Re:iPads suck as reading devices (381 comments)

The comparisons to the iPad are ridiculous. I do expect the Nook Tablet to be a better device and The Nook Color has the least reflective LCD display I have ever seen on a mobile device and the only LCD display I consider good enough to read on.

However the iPad is a horrible reading device. Anyone who thinks an iPad is a reading device doesn't read much.

Yeah, and despite all that, my Kindle Library pretty darned large thank-you-very-much. 90% of it read on an iPad, the other 10% on my 2nd-gen Kindle which was immediately given to the in-laws once I got the iPad. For my situation, reading on the iPad is a way better situation than the Kindle.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Touchscreen Device For the Elderly?

WalrusSlayer Re:Get an iPad (155 comments)

Exactly. Or the shorter version: Get an iPad. Duh.

And as others have pointed out, skipping out on Internet is silly---she will get a huge benefit by being connected. eBooks, video calls, multi-player games, news, etc. If the nursing home has Wifi, then there ya go. If not, get the 3G model and have the family chip in the measly $15/mo to keep it on a basic data plan.

more than 2 years ago
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Siri Envy? Iris Brings Some Voice-Assistant Features to Android

WalrusSlayer Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (402 comments)

Siri is ultimately at a disadvantage for taking that route, because ultimately it has to have much better comprehension of the spoken words as it can't count on matching just most of the command before worrying about what to do with the input.

And yet it is suprisingly good at figuring out the command and parameters. You seem to be saying that Siri is worse because it doesn't force the user to speak as if it were typing commands in /bin/sh. Which is precisely why it is better than traditional voice recognition. I've used Google Voice, and I was a very frequenct user of the much-more-limited iOS 4 voice commands. Both worked well for their intended use. But Siri is a whole 'nother thing.

more than 2 years ago
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Siri Envy? Iris Brings Some Voice-Assistant Features to Android

WalrusSlayer Re:Why not just wave your arm in the air... (402 comments)

Vlingo has been around awhile on iOS too, so it's not like that's a case of "Android had it first". And having installed Vlingo on my iPhone, and subsequently picked a 4S, I can definitely say that Siri != Vlingo.

more than 2 years ago
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Ballmer Slams Android As Cheap and Overcomplicated

WalrusSlayer Re:Android has it's flaws (645 comments)

So the fact that Apple has successfully beat the carriers with a stick and essentially said "no crapware", is somehow not an advantage an iPhone?

From the consumer's perspective, it doesn't matter where the crapware came from. If it's on the phone and it can't be removed, then you are stuck with a phone full of crapware, end of story.

And that simply doesn't happen with an iPhone. What's so hard to understand about that?

more than 2 years ago
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Microtouch: 8-bit Open Source Media Device

WalrusSlayer Re:Open-source alternative to the iPod Touch ? (115 comments)

...and at 10PM I shouldn't be doing math in my head. Make that roughly 200,000 times the RAM vs 100,000 times the RAM.

more than 2 years ago
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Microtouch: 8-bit Open Source Media Device

WalrusSlayer Re:Open-source alternative to the iPod Touch ? (115 comments)

But iPod touch alternative? Seriously?

2.5K RAM vs 512M RAM

From wikipedia, Apple has included only 256MB of RAM in even the latest model of the iPod Touch.

Uh, ok, so it's only 1,000 times the RAM versus 2,000 times the RAM. This invalidates the GP how again? While the device is impressive, there is only so much you can squeeze out of such a resource-constrained environment. There is a reason the iPod Touch's RAM spec has an "M" after the numbers instead of a "K". Or perhaps you thought the engineers picked that number for the hell of it.

Need a TCP/IP network stack? SSL? A modern GUI? Codecs? Good luck doing that in 2.5K.

Even if you could wave a magic-pixie-dust-wand and somehow make all that happen and more, you are going to spend an inordinate amount of resources writing code that has to do it's job with only 1 byte of RAM, since the rest of the code took up the other 2.499K already. So while you can beat your chest and show how you managed to squeeze a bunch of functionality into a small footprint, that still comes at a cost.

more than 2 years ago
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Sprint Bets Big On the iPhone

WalrusSlayer Re:Why would Apple do this? (366 comments)

Maybe I'm not in your category of "Apple zealot", but our household has seen every model of iPhone since the first one. But no way would I switch carriers just to get an early lead on the iPhone 5. I've been eligible for a discounted handset-upgrade since April, but have been holding out for the new iPhone. If Apple really does something as boneheaded as a Sprint exclusive, I will just wait a little longer.

more than 2 years ago

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