Ask Slashdot: Should You Invest In Documentation, Or UX?
"Do you know any complex software that succeeded in avoiding documentation by having significantly improved usability?"
"As a customer, how would you feel with a very simple product (much simpler than the competition but still a bit complex) that has no documentation?"
Fine, as long as it hand-holds the user right at the beginning with some simple (possibly animated) guides.
Ask Slashdot: How Do You Ensure Creative Commons Compliance At Your Company?
I'll mention right up front that most of the more than 10,000 photos I've published on Flickr were, and continue to be, under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike licence. Most of the people who have used my photos have done so quietly, without any fuss. Now and again, someone asks politely if they can use a photo even though it is clearly marked as to which licence applies, and my Flickr Profile also makes this clear and goes so far as to say how I prefer to be attributed. If I think that anyone wanting to use my photos might have problems with the Share-Alike part (e.g. commercial enterprises who want to keep their own licences on the content) I just generally quietly change the licence to Attribution only and let them get on with it. I may be unusual in this way as my intent is to provide a service to the community - and that's what I see CC as being all about. And as a result, many hundreds of web pages feature my photos. And this probably saves them a dollar or two. It looks like a win-win situation from here.
I do, however, reserve the right to change the licence on any of my photos, no matter when they were first published. I'm trying to build up a small fine art portfolio and intend to continue changing some photos to All Rights Reserved. And I've stated as such in my Flickr Profile. But that in no way affects the rights of anyone who has used any of my photos beforehand. As far as I'm concerned, the date of publication should settle the issue of who has which rights. If someone used my photo under CC BY-SA on the 31st of March, say, and I change the licence to ARR on the 1st of April, then that person's rights don't change as regards their use of the photo up to and including 31st March. They don't have to take the photo down, and I won't charge them for its use. If they reuse the photo after that then it's likely to be because they don't know about the licence change. If I find out they've reused it, I'll let them know about the licence but won't insist that they find another photo. After all, I might not know they've reused it until months afterwards. So I'll always err on the generous side. So that I can continue providing a service. At some point in the near future, I'll convert most of my photos to CC BY to make this easier.
Having said all this, I know that some other photographers are far less easy-going, even to the point of being litigious. My opinion is that the Creative Commons (i.e. whoever 'officially' represents it) needs to look at the wording on the CC website and especially any legalese therein, and rewrite it to include information and guidelines as to what should happen when a contributor intends to change their licence. If, as I believe is the case legally, the date of publication is primary in deciding who has what rights, then the website should make this clear to both contributors and users of creative work. Users should be clear that, if the licence on a work changes, their use up to that date is lawful and cannot be challenged; and that reuse of the same work after the date of change of the licence comes under the provisions of the new licence exclusively. Likewise, contributors should also abide by this and not attempt to charge fees in retrospect for lawful use of a work prior to the date of change of the licence.
For me, the spirit of the CC movement is most important, but the letter needs to be nailed down a lot tighter than it currently is.
Discrete Logarithm Problem Partly Solved -- Time To Drop Some Crypto Methods?
I am not tossing out all my crypto suit yet.
You might want to hold onto it. While not as cool as a cloak of invisibility, a crypto suit is still a pretty good disguise...
Ask Slashdot: Beginner To Intermediate Programming Projects?
"Intermediate" means whatever you think it means, but I'm assuming you know language constructs and data structures. For me, "intermediate" means "knows enough to do some real damage". So at this point I recommend that you learn those things that are common to all programming languages: software design patterns.
Many people would point you at the book "Head First Design Patterns" and that would be a good choice. But there's also a Dummies book that's written by someone who is an expert in that area. I don't have the details to hand but if you're interested you'll find them easily.
Once you know the name of a few patterns you'll find that you can do a lot of learning/research on Wikipedia, because they're pretty much all up there. To start you off, you could take a look at the Model View Controller pattern, implemented in Java and other high-level languages, and think about how you might refactor one of your existing projects to incorporate it. And MVC can easily lead you into the parallel study of frameworks.
A good knowledge of patterns and frameworks will not only keep you out of trouble but also increase your employability, should that be your intention.
Asteroid Impacts Bigger Risk Than Thought
I came here to say something very much like this. Thanks for saving me the need to log in and... Oh, wait...
Layoffs At Now-Private Dell May Hit Over 15,000 Staffers
numbers will be north of 15,000
Has the writer never seen an Australian map?
Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Misdirected Email?
I've had mail intended for someone whose name is the same as mine but who uses the firstname.lastname form. It may just be that his name is Gary rather than Garry and is a sloppy typist. But I'm concerned about few things:
1) How much of my email has he received that I haven't seen?
2) What has he unsubscribed me from?
3) If Gmail treats firstname.lastname the same as firstnamelastname then why do they allow both to sign up for separate accounts? Don't they check for existing name when you sign up?
This looks like yet another security blunder on Google's part.
Rise of the Super-High-Res Notebook Display
isn't 1080p enough?
Depends on what you're using it for.
I started out in the computer world programming home PCs with tiny resolutions, then coding in assembler for EGA then VGA, sometimes for 20 hours solid. That's what there was so that's what you used and your eyes got used to it. And now we're looking forward to 4K screens.
But as others are pointing out, the resolution you need depends to a large degree on what you're using it for. Not many people, as a percentage of the population, are creating 4K video. Most people simply need something that's comfortable to read.
As an amateur photographer I need a screen whose resolution is within a certain range. I need plenty of res to work with 14MB NEF files (photos of, say, 4000x3000) without having to squint. On the other hand, it's of no use to me if I zoom in to 1:1 and the image gets visibly smaller. A good fit would be something around 1920x1080 on a 22" monitor, which is what I currently have. I would imagine that a draughtsman would prefer something on the order of twice that in each dimension, or more.
I wouldn't be working on a laptop by choice but if I were, I'd still want around 1920x1080 on a 17" screen.
Standardized Laptop Charger Approved By IEC
"I wish they'd push a yank-resistant and positive-connecting plug"
How is it better making it harder for US citizens, even if they do make great friends? ;-)
Slashdot Asks: How Will You Replace Google Reader?
Apologies for multiple posts. Phone + Starbucks WiFi = grief.
Slashdot Asks: How Will You Replace Google Reader?
Switched over to feedly now but thought I'd go back to GR to save a list of feeds. I get a dialog reminding me that GR will close in July, but I can't close the dialog. Whatever I try, that dialog stays there. So, for me, GR is pretty much closed already.
CERN's LHC Powers Down For Two Years
"A concept which, in theory, occupies the entire universe" - an excellent example of mistaking the map for the territory.
Unusual New Species of Dinosaur Identified
"stabbing canines in its parrot-shaped beak"
Now that's got to be really unusual: a beak shaped like a parrot...
Facebook Releases Instagram Clone, Two Months After Acquisition
Email? I remember that. We had that back when I was alive...
Emperor Penguins Counted From Space
Damn! I came here to say that! :-)
France's Bold Drunk-Driving Legislation - Every Car To Carry a Breathalyzer
"It is a great irony that alcohol should be legislated into becoming man's most commonly used recreational drug, as it's the only drug that causes more harm to others than to the user."
Zothecula is showing his ignorance. Or he's using the verb 'causes' without adequate explanation. Nicotine causes more harm, more suffering, more illness, and more deaths than all of the other drugs put together because of its delivery method, the cigarette. In fact, even if you factor together deaths from the other drugs, from road accidents, and from wars, they still won't add up to the number of deaths from the use of nicotine. Tens of thousands of non-smokers are killed by nicotine addicts every year here in the UK, and the numbers of people who are not yet dead but seriously ill far outweighs that number. And worldwide the figure runs into the millions.
So what do the governments do about it? Well, the UK government taxes tobacco but rather than pump those taxes into the NHS to fund addiction treatment and treatment of the victims, it's currently in the process of trying to wreck the NHS. Until there is adequate treatment in the form of drug addiction withdrawal treatment and psychotherapy for the underlying mental health problems, millions of victims of nicotine addiction - both the addicts and those made victims by the addicts - will continue to die.
It's the world's worst drug addiction problem. And it won't be stopped until people stop lying about it.
Journal Article On Precognition Sparks Outrage
Not only did we all see that comment coming, we all knew it would be the first comment posted.
The Animal World Has Its Junkies, Too
Alex Belits> consciousness is by definition a kind of mental activity specific to humans.
fastest fascist> Care to provide a source for that claim, other than your ass?
Simply by being a source for that claim, his ass - assuming that he does, indeed, possess such an animal - would be contradicting itself, surely.
Hackable In-Car GPS Unit?
I've just written a hackable gnu/linux satnav program that runs on a USB stick. It's called 'Moon'.
Disclaimer: No I haven't.
How Do You Sync & Manage Your Home Directories?
I first got into syncing when I bought my now-departed Thinkpad. I looked at unison but didn't like the way it seemed to dump large amounts of configuration stuff in my home directory. So I wrote scripts using rsync - one set to sync stuff from the pc to the laptop, and one set to sync the other way.
When I got my EeePC then my Advent (MSI Wind clone) netbook I simply edited my sync scripts (and /etc/hosts) and carried on as usual. Then I discovered grsync which is a graphical front-end to rsync.
Rather than having a script for each directory branch, I just fill in the source and targets, then select which options I want, e.g. which perms to preserve, whether to compress the data (useful when syncing while away from home), whether to delete files that are missing on the target, etc. So instead of a set of scripts, I just have one config file in ~/.grsync which is, of course, pure text and can be hand-edited if necessary.
What's even better about grsync is that between the source and target directory fields is a double-headed arrow; click this and the source becomes the target and vice versa. So I sync to the netbook, do stuff while I'm out of the house, then click the double-headed arrow and sync back to the pc. Couldn't be simpler.
Grsync also has fields for commands to be executed before and after rsync is called, so you can copy, move, zip, write logfiles, etc, etc. It also has a field in which you can enter additional options to rsync, so you could, for example, enter --exclude '*~' if you wanted rsync to ignore certain backup files.
I suppose I should add the usual disclaimer that I'm no relation to the author or his dog. You can find grsync here: http://www.opbyte.it/grsync/
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