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Microsoft Announces Office 2016 and Office For Windows 10 Coming Later This Year

mcswell Track changes in Powerpoint? (148 comments)

Where I work, the most requested feature for Powerpoint is Track changes (like Word has had for years). I realize the form factor is a bit different, but it should be possible.

yesterday
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Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

mcswell Re:Terrible names (376 comments)

I was replying to the comment that asked why I didn't mouse over the ribbon to explore commands. As for "help", it seems to have gotten much more nebulous than it used to be. I suppose I could google what I want, but that sort of demonstrates how inscrutable the ribbon is; I never had to google to figure out where Word's menu commands were.

yesterday
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Microsoft Announces Office 2016 and Office For Windows 10 Coming Later This Year

mcswell Re:No, its a bad design (148 comments)

Agreed, I virtually never guess from the icon what it will do. I liken them to hieroglyphs. And there's a reason that we went 1500 years without being able to read Egyptian hieroglyphics--in fact, until we found an alphabetic representation of what the hieroglyphics meant. Likewise, with the ribbon I have to look at the label, which is written in alphabetic characters. Since I (and most other people I know) have to read the label anyway, why not do away with the useless hieroglyphs, and give us a ribbon with just the labels? Labels could be nested hierarchically, and...well, you get the picture.

yesterday
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Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

mcswell Re:Terrible names (376 comments)

I did that, I didn't find what I was looking for. (Lots of stuff I have no use for, though: Mailings? How 1980s!)

yesterday
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Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

mcswell Re:Terrible names (376 comments)

I can't find features in the ribbon that I used to use when there were menus, and I could more effectively explore the command space. So if anything, I use fewer features, and less effectively, with the ribbon. I count myself blessed when I get home and can use LibreOffice.

2 days ago
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Astronomers Record Mystery Radio Signals From 5.5 Billion Light Years Away

mcswell Re:This has been know for a while... (121 comments)

"The rest of the message can only be guessed at."

Well, I'll guess. It's 42.

about two weeks ago
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Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others

mcswell Re:Really? Theory of Mind (219 comments)

I don't know whether empathy was a precise concept--maybe some psychologist tried to define it, but IANAPs.

Sometimes it seems like my dog, and maybe my cat, have empathy. But I would never think of them as having a theory of my mind. I realize I may be anthropomorphizing, but I think the picture--whether or not it's true--provides some insight into what the difference would be between empathy and theory of mind. The fact that we can distinguish them, however, does not of course mean that the distinction is useful in reality; that's an empirical--not definitional--question.

about two weeks ago
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NSA Hack of N. Korea Convinced Obama NK Was Behind Sony Hack

mcswell Stands to non-reason (181 comments)

Spying on another country does not constitute an attack; bringing down its systems would be an attack. Like bringing down a company's computer systems would be an attack. (Spying on US companies by network infiltration has been going on for decades, including defense contractors; to my knowledge, while that spying was frowned on, it hasn't been labeled an attack.)

It's also the case that North Korea is technically still at war with South Korea, which is an ally of ours. And it has attacked boats in international waters. And it has nukes, which it has threatened to use on other countries, including Japan (another US ally) and the US. And it has rockets capable of achieving orbit, which could in principle be used to deliver those nukes. I don't say that any of these are plausible imminent threats, but it would be foolish of the US not to use all means it can--short of attacks--to keep track of the reality behind the threats.

Whereas Sony is an entertainment company.

about two weeks ago
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NSA Hack of N. Korea Convinced Obama NK Was Behind Sony Hack

mcswell Re:Bullshit (181 comments)

What are you smoking?

about two weeks ago
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Is Kitkat Killing Lollipop Uptake?

mcswell Re:Lollipop = Windows Vista (437 comments)

"...they must have forgotten the user-testing." Actually, I think they used the same testers that tested certain operating system "up"grades. And yes, that does test users. Severely.

about two weeks ago
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Is Kitkat Killing Lollipop Uptake?

mcswell Re:There is no Lollipop update (437 comments)

I came to this article thinking maybe I had missed s.t., maybe it was possible to upgrade my phone's OS after all. Of course it isn't (at least not easily). But I have to wonder why. Why is it I can upgrade the OS on my PC (or change it to an entirely different OS), but not my cell phone or tablet?

about two weeks ago
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The 5 Cases That Could Pit the Supreme Court Against the NSA

mcswell Re: A wish from an American (114 comments)

"Spying on another nation is an act of war." How did you make that up?

about two weeks ago
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Better Learning Through Expensive Software? One Principal Thinks Not

mcswell Re:Chicago schools (169 comments)

I went to my son's grade school PTA meeting, determined to become an involved parent. (This was about 20 years ago.) The Principal told us that he couldn't tell us where the new school was being built, but if we'd heard the rumors we probably knew. I had not heard any rumors, so I was unenlightened by this. They then gave the salesman who had sold the school its yearly fund raiser 3 minutes to talk. He talked for 2 minutes 57 seconds (yes, I timed him) about how the cheeses were wrapped that the students would sell. I suppose some other things came up in the PTA meeting, but those are the two that stand out in my memory (the others must have been even less memorable).

I lost my determination to be involved, at least through the PTA. I'd be interested to hear if all PTAs are this ineffective, or if my experience is typical.

about two weeks ago
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Better Learning Through Expensive Software? One Principal Thinks Not

mcswell Re:Chicago schools (169 comments)

...and before that (50+ years ago), it was called the New Math. It put me and everyone in my junior high school a year behind in High School math compared with the students coming to that same High School from a junior high that resisted the New Math. (Fortunately, I had a High School math teacher my junior year who let me read the trig textbook and work the exercises at the same time I took his Algebra II class. I caught up, but I think I was the only student who did so.)

about two weeks ago
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What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

mcswell Re:something new. (578 comments)

"By then English shall have fragmented into a bunch of different dialects". What's this "by then"? Allow me to introduce you to Professor Henry Higgins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

about two weeks ago
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Ars Reviews Skype Translator

mcswell Re:solved problems (71 comments)

Not sure exactly what you're saying, and in fact I said I was NOT disagreeing.

To be more specific, I'm sure there is no Skype translator (nor any other speech-to-speech translator) between Navajo and Yup'ik, both of which are relatively low density languages (i.e. few computational resources). And no one has (afaik) made even a text-based MT system between either of these languages and English (or some other interlingua), much less between the two of them. (Might be easier between Navajo and Gwich'in, I suppose, both being Athabaskan languages and therefore more structurally similar; but still not done.) Nor are there, afaik, any S2T systems for either of these languages (probably not any T2S systems either). Nor for most of the other 7000 or so languages on this planet.

Well-resourced languages are like English, French, Mandarin, (Modern Standard) Arabic, etc.

about a month ago
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Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

mcswell Re:Information density (150 comments)

Ah, thanks--I'll have to look up the original article in Language on my shelves when I get back to my office, I'd forgotten about that one.

I guess I was thinking of information density as measured by time (dI/dt), whereas these measurements are by syllable count (dI/dS). They make the point that the time-based measure is virtually the same for all languages. I do wonder what the density as measured by phonemes would be, since Spanish tends to have more open syllables than English. Maybe they looked at this.

about a month ago
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Ars Reviews Skype Translator

mcswell Re:Yeah but . . . (71 comments)

Huh? Someone said that, or what?

about a month ago

Submissions

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unwinding vertebra

mcswell mcswell writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mcswell writes "Daniël Noordermeer and Denis Duboule, two researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the University of Geneva claim to have discovered how vertebrae get build in sequence in embryos (and by extension, how ribs, arms and so forth wind up in the right place). The story is that the DNA strands contain a linear series of HOX genes, and that the strands slowly unwind over a period of two days, successively exposing each HOX gene, thereby allowing it to be transcribed to form the segments of the vertebra.

Snakes, it seems, have a defect that causes the system not to shut down; eventually it "runs out of steam."

The same process is said to apply in many invertebrates, including worms (presumably segmented worms) and insects.

The report is coming out in the journal Science (behind a paywall)."

Link to Original Source

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