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Comments

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How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

Fotis Georgatos Re:It's not that difficult (202 comments)

nope; that's wrong; 50 tonne pieces are known to be possible to carry around, in fact it was a regular service in antiquity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D...

Given that Egyptians were providing for "negative incentives" on their population, as opposed to "positive incentives", it was a pretty cheap theater overall, too...

Carrying 1500 tons would not be out of reach with means of the time, if techniques were adequately developed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B...
If you are into sailing, you can well understand that flotation, ballast, ropes, levers and forces of nature can do really much for you!

about a week ago
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Fotis Georgatos Re:OpenRC (811 comments)

Oops, I hadn't realized before where OpenRC fits in the ecosystem, thanks for that comment!
People need to check this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O... -> Features

In fact, what is fundamentally incomplete (broken?) in the current init mechanism is the inability to handle startup dependencies gracefully (hey computer scientists, we call that stuff DAGs: Directed Acyclic Graphs) and it is a prerequisite if we really want to see fast startup times in complex systems with complex services - service startup should be a like a tree, not like a chain.

Now, that being said, systemd seems to bring on top of the previous the ability to dynamically reconfigure the system upon changing hardware. That is indeed a feature that some people may have, yet not necessarily all. Forcing the baggage of that upon the whole linux population, is the major point of contention, IMHO.

Before anyone accuses me of jumping ship, let me make it clear that I'm old-style Linux pro (20+ yrs), probably on the conservative side which favors the widely tested init processes. However, being given choice would be appropriate and, at least allowing for DAG process startup is well desired.

about a week ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Fotis Georgatos Re:My experiences (191 comments)

Knowing the skills of the people around you is indeed a very smart and correct strategy. For you and for others.

about a week ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Fotis Georgatos Re:Things (191 comments)

> 1. Don't be there.

I think this requires a bit more of explanation, since it may be possible or, it may be not;

If you are located in a place that has an advance warning for potential natural disaster or adverse weather, it is very wise to take yourself out of the affected pool of people, in ordered and non-panic mode, since that releases relief resources for others who perhaps may end up in a major need.

I happen to come from an island in Greece, whereby a 7+ Richter scale EQ may occur twice per century; jumping out of the island is not always an option, however, the same argument still applies: - make sure you don't drain relief resources from the people that may be in higher need

Sometimes people don't grasp fully that action or non-action _can_ influence other citizen lives.

Finally, in a recent quake episode in Kefalonia, cars proved to be a good emergency handling measure, for both transport and sleep needs:
keep the family together => reduce movements => increase safety
http://www.noonsite.com/Countr...
This proved to be crucial during a period of the year that tents were made very unfavorable due to weather patterns and quickly ended up abandoned, after many days of aftershocks.

Conclusion? if you have a car keep some emergency stock in it - in worst case you'll help somebody else!

about a week ago
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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Fotis Georgatos Re:Expert?? (442 comments)

bah. Engineering is about being able to tell somebody that, say, a bridge can be built in X days, bearing Y load of such and such type, endure for Z years at a cost $$$ AND be able to explain that we actually don't have analytical equations for all the physics that relate to it. Engineering is about taking responsibility in delivering the collected knowledge about technical systems of the past, for addressing current and future needs. As an engineer, it is nowhere written that you grasp the whole physics about a technical system, although you are still held accountable for its performance - as a minimum, to explain observed behavior.

about two weeks ago
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Giant Greek Tomb Discovered

Fotis Georgatos Re: meh (164 comments)

eleven years in hex? is that marriageable age over there?!

about three weeks ago
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Giant Greek Tomb Discovered

Fotis Georgatos Re:Only Major Site Not Stolen From (164 comments)

True: ancient tombs have been looted and re-looted, long before the concept of archaeology really took off. There is a good probability this tomb will be like taking a 2000-year-old 3D photo, all along with connecting it with historical figures & events. It's pretty much on track to be a spectacular finding, of the type that re-writes history books (or at bare minimum, amend them).

about three weeks ago
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Giant Greek Tomb Discovered

Fotis Georgatos Re:meh (164 comments)

he he... great answer! let's go figure the dozen definitions of a mile now!

about three weeks ago
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Giant Greek Tomb Discovered

Fotis Georgatos Re:The tomb of Geryon! (164 comments)

the real news are that the site is now protected by police 24/7, and the tomb will be opened anytime within this month.

about three weeks ago
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Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

Fotis Georgatos oh, OMG, BBC... (113 comments)

... the eternal source of truth!

about three weeks ago
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How Facebook Is Saving Power By 10-15% Through Better Load Balancing

Fotis Georgatos Only two... (54 comments)

... comments threads after 24 hours, on slashdot? Now we know which keyword turns off the slashdot crowd! :-P

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?

Fotis Georgatos Re:Yeah! Why would anyone want it maintained? (132 comments)

+1. Yeap. You are on track, guys! The whole point is, that even if when we are involved commercially in a project, it's optimal to promote the usage of open source software anyhow, as a matter of enhancing community effort and investing time in a manner that you can benefit from it many times more in the future. Kudos.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?

Fotis Georgatos Re:Why? (132 comments)

OP here. Your concern is very valid and you are not alone, I have the same concerns. However, at the moment we know of no other standard that actually renders alike among zillions of Desktops, smartphones, automated processing agents etc. Can you really replace .pdf format with something of similar functionality AND not ask the majority of users to install X, Y, Z?

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?

Fotis Georgatos Re:Why? (132 comments)

btw. have you ever heard of LRD? Language Restraint Disorder... I've spotted some examples over here: http://slashdot.org/~znrt

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?

Fotis Georgatos Re:Why? (132 comments)

OP here. Somebody is listening ;-) Nope. It's not how you described it. But thanks to your nice language I need not explain you either :-P

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?

Fotis Georgatos Re:IText (132 comments)

Hi mark-t, OP here.

itext appears to miss two-three major targets:

  • software architecture/api may not be too tidy; this is word of others, I cannot verify it since I've never used it
  • unclear licensing scheme, not free of commercial clashes
  • due to the above, community has been fragmented in 3 (?) big fragments :-(

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Fotis Georgatos Re:memory management circa 2014 (637 comments)

Sorry to be cynical, but here it goes: Next time your smartphone slows down horribly or plainly crashes, remember the above words of you. It's how this game is played by you guys, yet all systems people frown upon the concept of "wrap around software deficiencies by buying more hardware"...

about a month ago
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Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

Fotis Georgatos Re:Political Agenda (213 comments)

Hm, that rang a bell...

I also find inappropriate a similar recent evolvement within IEEE politics; in this case it relates to LGBT rights, see for yourself: http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/... To be sure, LGBT rights are important and it is good that laws protect them - and more could and should be done about it. The same applies for Human Rights, overall; no person in his secular humanist mind would ever object to that.

It is doubtful, though, that LGBT groups would ever add banners in their statutes in relation to engineers' rights and ethics, so it is questionable why the reverse should ever be true. There is really no point in adding pompous statements in relation to sex, sexual orientation, skin color, disabilities etc. Making such a list is itself a kind of discrimination (!), since you hand-pick which kind of discrimination is bad, as if similar non-professional conduct is any more tolerable. Sorry, that's not correct and, it's even not fair for those who really cherish a generic concept of citizenship and may get discriminated for a reason not declared in the list.

Please, guys from the US, let's keep the focus on what the original subject is and, avoid making professional bodies appear as vehicles for (valid) political ideals, which distract from the original cause and warrant conflicting agendas! And if somebody goes against constitutional mandates, the juries are there to put things in order.

about a month ago
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Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

Fotis Georgatos Value for money (213 comments)

ACM carries a historic name, but subscriptions cannot justify buying just that. IMHO, most techie people do try it out and then have their memberships lapse.

about a month ago
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Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Fotis Georgatos Re: Nuke those terrorists (868 comments)

A small step for a person, a giant leap for mankind. In god we trust, etc etc

about a month ago

Submissions

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Best PDF handling library, for our own definition of "best" ;-)

Fotis Georgatos Fotis Georgatos writes  |  about a month ago

Fotis Georgatos (3006465) writes "I got recently engaged in a conversation about handling PDF texts for a range of needs, such as creation, manipulation, merging, text extraction and searching, digital signing etc etc. A couple of potential picks popped up (PDFBox, itext), given some Java experience of the other fellows. And then comes the reality of choosing software as a long term knowledge investment! ideally, we would like to combine these features:
  • open source, with a community following ; the kind of stuff slashdotters would prefer
  • tidy software architecture; simple things should remain simple
  • allow open API allowing usage across many languages (say: Python & Java)
  • clear licensing status, not estranging future commercial use
  • serious multilingual & font support
  • PDF-handling rich features, not limiting usage for invoicing, e-commerce, reports & data mining
  • digital signing should not go against other features

I'd like to poll the collective slashdot crowd wisdom about if/which PDF related libraries, they have written software with, keeps them happy for *all* the above reasons. And if not happy with that all, what do they thing is the best bet for learning one piece of software in the area, with great reusability across different circumstances and little need for extra hacks?

ROTG is not at all a good answer; I'd really like to hear the smoked out war stories. It is easy to obtain a list of such libraries, yet tricky to understand how many obtained success with them!"

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