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Valve Confirms Mac Versions of Steam, Valve Games

jrothwell97 Re:The first thing to come to my mind... (541 comments)

Trouble there is that you then have to deal with the shortcomings of the X Window system (just try talking to Jonathan Blow about that one) and then anticipating anything the user might have activated on the other end that might conflict with it. In theory, it's easy: in practice, it's highly complex to get it working on all Linux/BSD systems due to fragmented and variable configuration.

more than 4 years ago
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Microsoft VP Suggests 'Net Tax To Clean Computers

jrothwell97 Re:I totally agree (577 comments)

[citation needed]

more than 4 years ago
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Microsoft VP Suggests 'Net Tax To Clean Computers

jrothwell97 Re:Free anti-virus with Internet service purchase! (577 comments)

AFAIK, it doesn't work on pirated Windows, nor does it work on Win2K.

So it doesn't work if:

  • the software is stolen (yes, I know this definition of piracy is moot, but still)
  • the OS you're using is ten years old and will cease to be supported in July

So that's still the vast majority of users covered for free. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

more than 4 years ago
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Mentioning Android Is a No-No In iPhone App Store

jrothwell97 Did *anyone* actually RTFA? (441 comments)

True, the App Store model is monopolistic and overall has rather nasty side effects, but the rejected description stated that the app had been a finalist in Android's developer challenge.

This information was simply irrelevant, because the Android app is a completely different beast to the iPhone OS one. It's like Microsoft advertising Office 2007 by saying that Office 5.1a for the Mac won an award, somewhere. True, it was probably inadvertent, but if I was browsing the synaptic repositories and came across the Skype package, I wouldn't want to know about how well it runs on AmigaOS.

more than 4 years ago
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Is OpenOffice.org a Threat? Microsoft Thinks So

jrothwell97 Re:Your logic is flawed. (467 comments)

They'll try, but eventually their software will plateau and stabilize into an Office suite that has all of the features anybody would ever want.

This is a very flawed way of thinking, because it fails to take into account the fact that expectations change. User requirements will change, as will operating environments, user expectations, communications protocols, hardware standards, standard formats, user interface standards, etc. etc.

In essence, you're wrong because as far as software goes, anything that plateaus and stands still will stagnate—and Microsoft are smart enough not to let that happen.

more than 4 years ago
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Is OpenOffice.org a Threat? Microsoft Thinks So

jrothwell97 Re:No, "compete" will involve bringing prices down (467 comments)

In fact, OpenOffice.org, in its present form, is pretty poor tech (there are many reasons for this, which I shan't quote here for the sake of brevity.)

BorgOffice is superior in practically every technical aspect. However, as Microsoft knows all too well, if the price is right, the sheep will flock to it, even if it is complete and utter shite.

more than 4 years ago
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China Debuts the World's Fastest Train

jrothwell97 Re:Mod parent up (491 comments)

You definitely don't want grade crossings (or level crossings, or whatever you want to call them): then you get crashes like this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ufton_Nervet_rail_crash and hair-raisingly near misses like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nggx7yklaA.

As I understand it, it's not permitted to build new road/rail level crossings in the UK (and probably the rest of the EU, too) because they are simply too dangerous.

more than 4 years ago
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China Debuts the World's Fastest Train

jrothwell97 Re:China allready got worlds fastest train... (491 comments)

That doesn't really count: (a) Transrapid is a German company, and (b) these are maglev trains. These require specialised (and very expensive) rails, and "normal" wheel-on-rail rolling stock can't use maglev rails.

more than 4 years ago
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Carriers, Manufacturers Are Strangling Android

jrothwell97 Re:What a nightmare. (306 comments)

Of course they're going to push for replacement. But they're still good enough to maintain the old product, which gives the old product a longer lifespan, therefore another selling point. QED.

more than 4 years ago
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GIMP Dropped From Ubuntu 10.04

jrothwell97 Re:Don't forget Paint.NET (900 comments)

So not at all like the ~300mB hunk of Qt libraries I have to download if I want to get, say, LyX running on my Ubuntu system?

about 5 years ago
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UK Copyright Group Tells Cinemas to Ban Laptops

jrothwell97 Lockers? (438 comments)

Not taking sides on the actual case of not permitting laptops in the cinema, my local establishment (the Camberley Vue) has lockers, I believe, so that customers can dump their bags before entering. Maybe Cineworld would do well to implement a similar scheme, which would make the idea of not being permitted to take your notebook into the cinema far more palatable.

more than 5 years ago
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California Requests Stimulus Funding For Bullet Train

jrothwell97 Re:Here is how it will work (567 comments)

Ha ha ha.

I have no idea how inter-state rail works over there in the US (I'd imagine not very well, since public transport seems to be an alien concept to the majority of Americans and a simple journey from South to North usually requires a twelve-hour change at Chicago) but... it'll be just like a 'normal', commuter train.

As in:

  • Catch the bus (or heck, walk to the station) - no more than thirty minutes.
  • Buy ticket from the ticket office or from the self-service machine (don't even bother with this if you have a season ticket - instead concentrate on perfecting the art of waltzing through the ticket barrier in one fluid motion.) Note: no security checks apart from the ticket barrier.
  • Wait for the train (thirty minutes, tops).
  • Board train.
  • Wait for train to reach destination or station where you need to change.
  • Alight.
  • Walk or get bus to your destination.

Perhaps you don't understand this concept, but it works perfectly well in the UK. (And we generally consider our public transport system to be terrible - the French and the Spanish do it best of all.

Also, security checks at stations are practically non-existent - the most I've ever heard is a pre-recorded announcement over the station intercom saying "do try to keep all personal belongings with you and do not take photographs of the security equipment: if you see anything suspicious, please tell a member of staff or hit the Emergency button on the Help Point."

I speak as someone who commutes by train every single working day (albeit over a shorter route.)

more than 5 years ago
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Indie Game Dev On the Positive Side To DRM

jrothwell97 Re:"pay extra" (440 comments)

Exactly. Why should I be penalized for a game that not enough people want to buy.

That form of "penalisation" is what most of us refer to as... um... "paying".

If I go into a record store and find a dusty old LP that's been in the shop for years and has barely been touched, I still expect to have to pay for it, despite the fact I'm the only one who could give a rat's arse over it.

I do agree with most of your argument—however, the rationale at the beginning just smells strongly of trying to justify stealing. (Not piracy: pirates are people who make a living off selling stolen products.)

more than 5 years ago
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A Different Perspective On Snow Leopard's Exchange Support

jrothwell97 Re:Apple is already familiar with the other side.. (276 comments)

The Mac OS X version was also "crippled" until QuickTime X, which abolished the Player/Pro clusterfuck altogether. Presumably, that will end up being ported to Windows... eventually.

more than 5 years ago
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Twitter Offline Due To DDoS

jrothwell97 Re:Twitter website or API (398 comments)

um... no. Gwibber is also timing out when trying to connect to Twitter (or, if it does succeed, it's being painfully slow). As is Twitteriffic, Twitter Tools for WordPress and just about every other app which uses the Twitter API.

more than 5 years ago
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Twitter Offline Due To DDoS

jrothwell97 aha. (398 comments)

So THAT's what Conficker's for.

more than 5 years ago
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Preview the Office 2007 Ribbon-Like UI Floated For OpenOffice.Org

jrothwell97 Re:I'll say.. (617 comments)

And Publisher, Visio, InfoPath, Document Imaging and various others.

more than 5 years ago
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The Best First Language For a Young Programmer

jrothwell97 Teach him C (634 comments)

Buy him a copy of C for Dummies and have done with it. C is kind of like the Latin of programming, except it's easier to learn than Latin.

I would have suggested BASIC around a decade ago, but I can't think of a modern BASIC implementation that's neither horrendously complex for a new programmer or insanely outdated.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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US President Not Leader of the Free World

jrothwell97 jrothwell97 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Jonathan Rothwell writes "A petition has been created by blogger Will Patching asking that the present and all future presidents of the United States desist from calling themselves 'Leader of the Free World'. Says Patching, in an explanation on his blog:

Any petition has to be short and to the point. Mine is not a treatise on democracy, nor is it aimed at justifying one political system over any other. I wrote it because I cringe when Bush arrogantly uses the title The Leader of the Free World. Hearing these words repeated mantra-like by our docile western media — with no one ever bothering to question their validity — makes me angry. Why does this man, who was voted for by only a minority of US citizens, assume that he speaks for hundreds of millions of other people — Europeans, Japanese, Australians, Canadians, etc etc — who have never even had an opportunity to vote for him? Does Bush speak for you? If so, then be happy. If not, then please read and sign the petition here.
"

Link to Original Source
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jrothwell97 jrothwell97 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

jrothwell97 writes "BBC News is reporting that IAU members have voted in Prague to strip Pluto of its planetary status. Around 2500 members voted to demote Pluto to a trans-Neptunian object. This was after the discovery three years ago of 2003UB313, significantly larger than Pluto and at a further orbit from the Sun. From the article:

Astronomers rejected a proposal that would have retained Pluto as a planet and brought three other objects into the cosmic club. Pluto has been considered a planet since its discovery in 1930 by the American Clyde Tombaugh. The vote effectively means the ninth planet will now be airbrushed out of school and university textbooks.
"
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jrothwell97 jrothwell97 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

jrothwell97 writes "Yesterday Google released an update to its Google Talk client, the small app that sits on your desktop to work as an Email, IM and VOIP client for the Gmail service. I've been using it for a few days, and it looks like Google is finally catching up with the rest of the crowd on IM.

Google is now permitting voicemail messages to be left. These to people without Gmail or Google Talk appear as Emails with the voicemail attached as an MP3 file. With Gmail, they appear under the Voicemail label and open in the default MP3 music player. Under Google Talk, there is a special notifier widget next to the Email widget telling you how many voicemail messages you have. However, at present, you can't record your own "please leave your name and number after the beep".

File transfers are also new in this release. Files are saved under My Documents and there are no restrictions to what file types or sizes you send. While this may become an opportunity for viruses and trojans to creep in, you can expect Google to plug this soon.

Something else you can expect is a version for Mac OS and Linux. While at the moment it's only compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Server 2K3, other Google apps (like Picasa and Google Earth) have appeared in Mac and Linux variants. Prepare for world takeover."

Journals

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Pluto stripped of planetary status

jrothwell97 jrothwell97 writes  |  more than 8 years ago BBC News is reporting that IAU members have voted in Prague to strip Pluto of its planetary status. Around 2500 members voted to demote Pluto to a trans-Neptunian object. This was after the discovery three years ago of 2003UB313, significantly larger than Pluto and at a further orbit from the Sun. From the article:

Astronomers rejected a proposal that would have retained Pluto as a planet and brought three other objects into the cosmic club. Pluto has been considered a planet since its discovery in 1930 by the American Clyde Tombaugh. The vote effectively means the ninth planet will now be airbrushed out of school and university textbooks.

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Google catches up on IM client

jrothwell97 jrothwell97 writes  |  more than 8 years ago Yesterday Google released an update to its Google Talk client, the small app that sits on your desktop to work as an Email, IM and VOIP client for the Gmail service. I've been using it for a few days, and it looks like Google is finally catching up with the rest of the crowd on IM.

Google is now permitting voicemail messages to be left. These to people without Gmail or Google Talk appear as Emails with the voicemail attached as an MP3 file. With Gmail, they appear under the Voicemail label and open in the default MP3 music player. Under Google Talk, there is a special notifier widget next to the Email widget telling you how many voicemail messages you have. However, at present, you can't record your own "please leave your name and number after the beep".

File transfers are also new in this release. Files are saved under My Documents and there are no restrictions to what file types or sizes you send. While this may become an opportunity for viruses and trojans to creep in, you can expect Google to plug this soon.

Something else you can expect is a version for Mac OS and Linux. While at the moment it's only compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Server 2K3, other Google apps (like Picasa and Google Earth) have appeared in Mac and Linux variants. Prepare for world takeover.

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Abstract? Moi? Non. Je suis monseiur Gates.

jrothwell97 jrothwell97 writes  |  more than 8 years ago It seems that Microsoft is starting to talk in vague abstract language to advertise its products. The most profound example of this is on the Microsoft Design website at http://www.microsoft.com/resources/design. If you go to the Office section of this page you get:

People spend more time with Office than the love of their life. Since thats a big sacrifice, we want our customers to love using Office. That means we spend time listening, sharing, building relationships, generating innovative ideas, and designing with our customers. The end result is software that our customers want to wrap their arms around and kiss.

So Microsoft wants you to fall in love with Office. Well... how can you fall in love with a bunch of 0s and 1s that isn't even intelligent? Answers please on a postcard...

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jrothwell97 jrothwell97 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

So, Microsoft is facing a huge amount of stick for dumping its futuristic file system manipulation technology, WinFS. The system promised us faster searching, drawer-like file stores where everything is stored in one place, and repositories of files based on their file type, contents, colour and more.

However, I am not surprised that it has been dumped. WinFS was never even a file system - it was a component of Windows that would index all the files on the hard disk, apply the appropriate labels and organise them into a database. It was really quite simple - but MS were taking a long time over it.

So, can WinFS be rescued? Well, GNOME Storage is on the way, which is like WinFS - but works with Linux. And we could always write WinFS ourselves: write a VB program that would index all the files on the disk, organise and label them, and then put them into a viewer integrated into the Windows Explorer. See? Easy. We don't need ADO.NET or any other rubbish for that. A similar thing is already happening in Google's GMail - no folders, just labels and a fast index. So quit moaning, get coding...

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Office 2007, after its, erm... mutation

jrothwell97 jrothwell97 writes  |  more than 8 years ago So... some time ago, Microsoft released Beta II of Office 2007 (http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview. I downloaded it two days after, and I have a pretty good idea of what it's like to live with now.

First and foremost comes the new ribbon toolbar applied in Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Access. True, they do make life easier, but the procedure for deleting pages is ridiculously long in Word. However, now you get ready made title pages, updated Wordart in Powerpoint, and an improvement (if that were possible) over the soothing colours in Office 2003.

And it's quite fast, even on my Athlon 650mHz machine. True, it does hang every so often and the Wordart in Powerpoint takes quite a while to update itself, but apart from that, my machine can actually use the fading effects.

Then comes the next toy: corporate identity. You can use one of Office's inbuilt themes (or one of your own) system-wide, in every program.

Now for the bad news. The new file formats make them incompatible with previous versions of Office that haven't got filters installed for .docx, .pptx, etc files. You can convert them back, but I will just show you a sample of that one's downside.

I had to create a file for my schoolwork and then upload it to the school's servers. The length of the .pptx file was 1900kB. But, since the school's best computers only run Office 2002, I converted it to that format. This increased the file length to 20000kB. And then, since some machines only ran Office 2000, Office 2K2 ran another conversion. Guess how long the file was now. 27000kB? 31000kB? Nope. 80mB long. I actually had to edit the file name before depositing it on the server in the IT drop directory : "...FINAL WARNING - 80mB".

But the jewel in the crown of Office 2007 is the revision of OneNote. It now has prebuilt personal and work notebooks, with personal information stores, to do lists, recipe books, information about each section, and it looks as beautiful as the rest of the suite.

I can't afford a tablet or laptop computer. But I'm sure the suite would work perfectly on them. And you could use it like a real notebook.

There was no information about the prices at the time of writing, but estimated prices are about the same as Office 2003 (ridiculously expensive...)

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The long hardware lives of yesteryear - what happened?

jrothwell97 jrothwell97 writes  |  more than 8 years ago Around six months ago, my old HP Deskjet 500 printer died. I'd had it for 10 years, and someone else had it before me. So, all in all, the printer's probably two or three years older than me.
After the sad death of the printer, I got a very cheap Lexmark Z617 (£30, probably around US$50). It worked fine for around a week. After that, I started getting banding and bad print quality. Around five months down the line, the machine died just outside the 90-day warranty.
To replace it, last week I got a Canon Pixma MP150 for £65. This shows no sign of breaking down and is built sturdily. (The Lexmark machine was rather tacky.)
So what affected the printer? It was obviously made cheaply, and the manual was very short (and badly translated). The old HP machine and my new printer both have extensive manuals, are well made and good value for money. The Canon machine even had five sheets of photo paper bundled with it.
So, there is only one thing we can do about 'disposable' hardware, as it is becoming: stop buying it. I prefer to spend £200 on something that will last five years than £30 on something that will last three months.
And one word to the manufacturers: do it properly, or we're not interested.

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Einstein

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What are they trying to hide?

jrothwell97 jrothwell97 writes  |  more than 8 years ago I have used a Linksys Wireless-G USB adapter to connect to the Internet for around a year now. But then, when I installed Ubuntu Linux, it refused to work. There were no UNIX, GNU or Linux drivers on the Linksys site, and when I tried using NDISwrapper, the terminal just hung. Which makes me think - what are they trying to hide? Why do hardware manufacturers have this phobia of open-source software? Are they scared it might reveal trade secrets? They all use the same standards - it's an 802.11G adapter. Most adapters are 802.11G - it's not as if rivals will try and steal the source code or some vital technology. Finally, to complete this little rant, take a look at http://www.canon.com/ - as yet, I've only come across Linux drivers on Canon's site. At least they're trying. Next time: The mysterious breakdowns that affect all modern printers within the first six months.

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. Einstein

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