KDE's UI To Bend Toward Simplicity
I thought KDE was touted as being more "Windows-like" than Gnome, but maybe that's just my ignorance (I did use KDE once, many years ago, in the early releases of RH/Fedora). If it needs simplification, they have only themselves to blame. The problem with all GUI approaches to configuration is that they present what the designers believe are the options most people want, but I see no evidence that this has ever been tested or quantified. Usually the one key option you need fixed is absent, meaning you have to dig through the ludicrous syntax of dozens of config files. If a GUI is going to be presented as THE way to configure things, it has to be comprehensive (eg Evolution, although half of that seems to be broken still because it's immature, but a good start). Otherwise the designers need to get off their high horses and agree of one single common compulsory syntax and vocabulary for ALL config files, preferably in something obvious like key=value or XML.
Proposed Law Would Limit US Search Warrants For Data Stored Abroad
Whether or not they have implemented anything yet, "addresses concerns by the likes of Microsoft and other tech giants" should read "addresses concerns of non-US populations"...about the ability of the US Government to pry into the private affairs of non-US citizens.
Not that the US Government gives a flying fuck about the views of non-US citizens. If the US Government finally starts to behave decently and respect the views of non-US citizens (even for the most bogus of corporate-funded reasons), it's a start...
Drought Inspires a Boom In Pseudoscience, From Rain Machines To 'Water Witches'
It's very fashionable to decry things we don't understand. Dowsing clearly works; my father called the local dowser in for his house in a remote part of SW Ireland. I watched him walk back and forth across the land, rods twitching, and eventually he hacked his heel down and said to "drill here" and we'd get "water for a family of five and to spare". Drill he did, we dropped down a remote-control DanFoss pump, and sucked on an aquifer that never failed, even in the drought years.
OK, they guy knew all the land thereabouts: he lived locally. Maybe he just knew the exact path of every underground watercourse in the neighborhood, but I doubt it. As a scientist, I want replicability of the observation (no problem here: he and several others do this for a living: no charge unless the water flows), and I'd like an explanation of why (none yet)...but equally I refuse to dismiss a phenomenon simply because it has no explanation yet. If we did that we'd still be living in the dark because we couldn't explain sunlight.
A Thousand Kilobots Self-Assemble Into Complex Shapes
...and here we have a new replicator nanobot...oops
Scotland Could Become Home To Britain's First Spaceport
... they also have ground requirements much closer to 'airport with atypically long runway' ...
If that's what they need then the Irish government should look at creating a spaceport near Shannon, which has a gigantic runway,suitable both for the frequent US military stopovers to and from the Middle East, and (I was told) for the Shuttle, should an emergency ever have arisen requiring a landing in Europe if Edwards or elsewhere was unavailable. But that may just be local pride :-)
The FBI's Jargon List: Internet Acronyms Galore
And please feel free to add any useful ones to our Acronym Database.
Unicode 7.0 Released, Supporting 23 New Scripts
The lack (or not) of speakers isn't the reason. According to one of my moles, the official dead-pan response to the question why Klingon and Elvish aren't in Unicode is that they are not human languages :-)
Ask Slashdot: Do 4G World Phones Exist?
Don't bother. Buy a US phone to use in the US, and buy a prepay phone in Scotland (which will work all over Europe and most of the rest of the world as well).
Reading Rainbow Kickstarter Earns One Million Dollars In Less Than a Day
Presumably "everywhere" means "everywhere in the USA". Which is fair enough, seeing as the literacy rate needs improving. I've never heard of "Reading Rainbow" unless it refers to atmospheric conditions over Slough. But LeVar Burton is a dude, and if he supports it, it's OK by me.
Driverless Cars Could Cripple Law Enforcement Budgets
Here (Ireland; and in the UK, I believe) the person with ultimate responsibility is the registered keeper of the car (basically the name and address on the car registration document). If that person lends the car to someone else, who then gets a speeding ticket, it's the registered keeper who gets the fine.
Emory University SCCM Server Accidentally Reformats All Computers Campus-wide
Why wasn't the development of such a tool a graduate research project ?
Oh please goddess no. You'll end up with some arcane piece of experimental theology written in a private version of a language no-one has ever heard of, undocumented and unsupportable. Have it written by someone with a suitable track record, a suitable number of decades experience in whatever, and with proven implementations and documentation skills. It will be expensive, but it will cost far less in the long run.
Emory University SCCM Server Accidentally Reformats All Computers Campus-wide
Bad news most likely on this front. I have worked University IT, and I can guarantee they are going to have problems.
For one, no matter how many layers of backups you have, when you are working with a bunch of 90 year old academics, they will always find a way to miss every single one.
And more grievous, Universities tend to have important data that absolutely cannot be backed up in any normal way. Data that is legally obligated to stay on one specific computer in one specific room and never leave; under penalty of legal action.
That level of insanity is why I am laughing. The bold parts specifically. When you allow people who have no clue how a system works to legislate how it works, you get this.
You have no idea what you are talking about. Restrictions like these are usually imposed by the legal IT people in the funding agency that funds the research, and they do very much understand exactly what they are doing (there are plenty of people in these agencies who are clueless, but the legal IT people are usually pretty good). Or suppose the project was doing research for the cops into identifying the makers of child porn; believe me that stuff would be locked down REAL tight.
Data Mining Shows How Down-Voting Leads To Vicious Circle of Negative Feedback
On Usenet there is the killfile, so at least people who know what they're doing can trash the crap, and these would typically be the kind of people the negatively-rated posters would have been trying to impress. The problem remains that newcomers and those unaware of the 'k' button remain exposed to the idiocies of such posters.
Elsewhere, it's not clear whom the negatively-rated posters are trying to impress — if anyone. More likely they're just trying to get something, anything, out on the interwebs, so that their visibility increases.
The ones I'm most familiar with (from running lists and web forums) are like the loudmouths in bars, with an opinion on everything, and almost all of it wrong; but it's not clear if this is the type of poster the researchers were dealing with.
Did the Ignition Key Just Die?
A mechanical lock that wears out the tumblers due to age or use is acceptable: you use it, it wears, you replace it after x years.
A lock that randomly decides not to work because of unexpected component failure (read: shoddy quality) is unacceptable. What is also unacceptable is the ludicrous price of electronic lock/key replacement, and the reluctance of manufacturers to provide at least one (preferably) two spare keys with the new car, and their apparent inability to provide replacement keys (on their own) at all.
Cars need to have a mechanical-only standby door lock/key, if only to let you into the shelter of the interior in emergencies, whether or not you can then start the engine. If manufacturers move to keyless operation, it will probably take many deaths before they provide a mechanical fallback.
Boeing Unveils Cabin Design For Commercial Spaceliner
Looks scarily like the passenger facilities in the spaceliner in WALL-E to me...
Canonical (Nearly) Halts Development of Ubuntu For Android
Canonical is doing what Nokia did, and will pay the same penalty.
I wrote some years ago about how Nokia was missing the point, having developed a pocket computer before knowing what they had done. Their blinkers said "phone" on them, so they never saw the giant road sign that said "computer". As one veteran of a firm then free-falling out of the Fortune 500 put it in The Cluetrain Manifesto, "The clue train stopped there four times a day for ten years and they never took delivery."
Now Canonical have developed another Maemo/Meego: a life-size OS that runs on a pocket device. And Mark Shuttleworth seems to have inherited Nokia's set of blinkers that say "phone", and Lo! and behold! he too cannot see the sign that says "computer". As I said in that article, 'the current pox of "partnerships" is a particularly Good Clue, because it means management is spending more time schmoozing on the golf course than down on the shop floor making or selling.'
I truly hope this doesn't apply (mutatis mutandis) to Mark Shuttleworth, but if you have invested your money, time, or life in Canonical, you need to consider if your forecast of the future concides with theirs.
An MIT Dean's Defense of the Humanities
What other essential knowledge or skills should we add to this imaginary 'toolbox'?
One that sets many apart: learn to communicate in another language.
One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983
Twilight certainly. In 1983 I was working for United Information Services, a data-processing bureau service in London, subsidiary of United Telecom of Kansas. We did have a few machines that still ran punched cards, but my dev work was interactive database front-ends for engineering and finance applications, coded in Fortran on an A-J VDU attached to a DEC-10. We also had private network access to a couple of Crays and some IBMs in Kansas, and a basement full of DEC-10s somewhere in PA. We would occasionally get customers come in with a deck of cards, but the last time I had had to deal with them (the cards) in anger was when I dropped a box of them in college years earlier. However, I can well see that government computing would then have been a considerable way behind the curve.
GNU Mailman 3 Enters Beta
It is still missing LDAP support for list *owners*. AFAICS if you use LDAP for authentication, that means all list *members* must validate through LDAP, which is exactly the wrong way round. What I need is to enforce list *owners* to be members of my university (ie they appear in AD and can only login with their campus credentials), whereas list *members* (subscribers) can be from anywhere. Or have I missed something?
Finding the Next Generation of Teachers With "Innovative Microsoft Ads"
BS. 50k isn't even peanuts.
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