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Comments

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Nature Publisher Requires Authors To Waive "Moral Rights" To Works

pmontra There are many journals (82 comments)

How bad it could be not writing for Nature or SciAm until they change their policy to something more moral?

about two weeks ago
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Linux 3.14 Kernel Released

pmontra Re:ZRAM (132 comments)

I have a 16 GB laptop and I don't have any swap. I never run out of memory. free -m tells me that it's using about 4 GB for programs and data and almost 10 GB for file system buffers. I understand that I could get some more buffers if it compressed in RAM those pages that would have been swapped out, but is that really important? If you have little RAM you don't want to swap into it, if you have plenty you don't swap.

about two weeks ago
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Brazil Blocks Foreign Mobile Phones

pmontra Re:Tourists (97 comments)

If it is so that blockade won't last long. There will be pressure from both international and Brazilian phone operators to relax it because they'll lose a fair amount of profits.

about a month ago
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Brazil Blocks Foreign Mobile Phones

pmontra Tourists (97 comments)

So you go on vacation in Brazil and you either pay international roaming fees or you buy a cheap dumb phone to make local calls. Lame but not too expensive. Furthermore a dump phone needs to be charged once per week or even less frequently.

Btw, are they going to confiscate tourists clothes on entry? They've not been not bought in Brazil, so no sales tax paid there!

about a month ago
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Ubuntu Gnome Seeking Long Term Support Status

pmontra Re:I want Ubuntu 8.04 back. (26 comments)

I admire both Canonical and the Gnome team because they made bold decisions and innovated the desktop. Unfortunately they moved into directions far away from how I like to use my desktop. At least I hope Canonical succeeds in giving us a device that can be both a phone and a computer. My dream is a 100 g (3.5 oz) device with the same computing power of a quad core i7. Many years to go.

Disclaimer: I'm using better and worse in a subjective way in this post. I'm not deluding myself by thinking that everybody must agree with me.

I started using Gnome as my primary DE in 2009 coming from XP (Vista being the alternative, ugh). Gnome 2 was vastly superior to XP. More beautiful and less clicks to perform any given task. So we might argue about what's better, Gnome or OSX, but in my experience both of them are better that XP and 7 (*). I won't even start talking about Windows 8. All my friends hate it but they decided they won't downgrade to Windows 7 (too complex to do) or switch to Linux, which is a know unknown to them even if most of them are using only Openoffice and Firefox/Chrome on Windows and very little else, no games.

(*) Actually I never liked Mac's top menu (since 1984) and the dock (it's distracting). I'd say that parts of Windows GUI are better than OSX (the windows and start menus) and parts are worse (pretty much everything else).

Given a choice I'd take a configurable OSX, to get rid of everything I don't like so you won't be surprised if I liked Gnome 2. I configured it with only a bottom panel and I added the Compiz cube to manage virtual desktops. The visual 3D effect while switching helps me remember where I am in desktop-land. I've been happy with that arrangement since then.

I occasionally had to use a Mac and I kept disliking the main ideas behind its GUI. I also occasionally had to use Win 7 and I didn't find it any better than XP. It has the same odd dynamics of waiting until a pendrive registers in the system (how can Linux make it happen instantaneously?), having to negotiate that maze the control panel became along the years, or having to install drivers to make hardware work (**)

(**) If the hardware is very new maybe there is no Linux driver, game over. But otherwise it's plug and play. My webcam, scanner, network printer, camera and smarphone (as USB drives) worked without me having to do anything. Why not on Windows?

I used Gnome 3 and KDE recently on a new PC because I run into some bugs with my Gnome Classic desktop (which - btw - is GTK3, not 2). I ruled out Unity because of the top panel and the launcher. Too bad because the HUD and lenses are useful but it's all or nothing. I tweaked the Gnome shell with extensions until it looked almost like my old desktop. It was not as good as that and before I even started to tweak the theme (the default is ugly black) it started freezing from time to time. So I gave a chance to KDE.

KDE was a good surprise at the beginning. It's very easy to make it behave like my old desktop, however it lacks polish and usability. All the DE have a Redmondian sense of aesthetics and interactions that makes me feel odd at using it. At least it seems that they tried to clone and perfect Windows 7, not 8, and they succeeded. However they perpetrated those same Windows's original sins of hiding external drives in the tray icon bars, too many clicks to do anything, etc. It's a good DE if you come from Windows but it tastes bad if you come from Gnome or (I think) OSX.

I eventually found fixes and workarounds for the bugs I was experiencing with Gnome Classic so I'm back to it. That's a clean and simple desktop and it suits my needs.

To recap, my hierarchy is Gnome 2 > Gnome 3 > OSX/Unity > KDE > Windows 7/XP > Windows 8 with the OSX/Unity not being usable by me because of insisting on the top menu and dock/launcher.

about a month ago
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Spectacular New Martian Impact Crater Spotted From Orbit

pmontra Re:ATTN: Screwed Up (99 comments)

In other news: Hypersonic Missile Digs Spectacular Martial Impact Crater. Sorry I can't post a link to that, it's Top Secret!

about 2 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

pmontra Re: Why? (2219 comments)

Of course, and of course I probably took jobs that ended up doing no good to anybody without me knowing it. The fault for that is always with the customer. I was only rationalizing why those UI designers blamed by GP are doing to /. what they are doing: customer asks, designer/developer acts. I don't think the designers made the requirements. This statement from Dice (italics mine)

We want to take our current content and all the stuff that matters to this community and deliver it on a site that still speaks to the interests and habits of our current audience, but that is, at the same time, more accessible and shareable by a wider audience.

hints at a very clear requirement from the customer and incremental changes won't make it. They want something like TechCrunch with that all gray design? See how they look similar. Lucky us Dice still doesn't require us to sign in with facebook, disqus, livefyre to comment (TC periodically changes the comment hosting provider).

about 2 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

pmontra Re:READY OR NOT IS NOT THE ISSUE!!! (2219 comments)

You're too kind. In a car analogy the beta is like the new car with no doors on the sides and one on the bottom. To get in you raise the car, you shift the seat, get in and... I leave the rest of it as an exercise of imagination.

about 2 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

pmontra Re:Why? (2219 comments)

The classic site is horrendously broken on mobile Firefox (tiny fonts, bad alignments) but it looks pretty good on every other browser. I think it's due part to webkit-optimized css and part to design choices made by the FF team (the default font doesn't look good on any modern site).

about 2 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

pmontra Re: Why? (2219 comments)

UI designers are paid to design. What gives them more money: working for one year on a complete redesign that pisses off everybody with the exception of their self-deluded customer or telling the customer "if it's not broke don't fix it"? Even if one designer gives the right anwer and moves on to another project sooner or later they'll find a designer that will accept to work on it. Way sooner than later, actually.

That logic applies to Slashdot, Unity, Gnome 3, Win 8, etc.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Do If You're Given a Broken Project?

pmontra Hand it over to your competitors (308 comments)

Seriously. Find your best competitors, get them into the project, let them burn themselved out, leave as soon as you can.
Probably this is very bad karma.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

pmontra Re:Classic Desktop (503 comments)

Experts... Very rarely those experts invent something that actually helps me instead of making me waste time to undo their work. They probably have in mind a very different user base with very different needs.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

pmontra Re:Classic Desktop (503 comments)

Exactly me too.
After a lot of tuning my Ubuntu desktop is down to this: a bottom bar with the names of the open windows; the Applications and Places menus; a very seldom used icon to minimize all windows; the Netspeed and the System Monitors applets; the generic applet that collects application icons for Skype, Shutter, Dropbox, keyboard layout switch, network manager, logout and the HH:MM clock.
I use ALT-F2 to run Firefox, Thunderbird and Emacs in the rare cases I have to close them. Basically they boot up with the computer and stay open until I have to shut it down for a kernel upgrade.
Last but not least I'm using compiz cube to organize my virtual desktops. I found that the tridimensional hint of rotating a cube (control-alt left/right arrow) is better than arranging the desktops in an abstract bidimensional way.
That's it. It is build on Ubuntu 12.04 fallback mode, or what they called it.
Now, somebody should explain me why those guys from Canonical or Gnome should know better than me how I'd like to work.

about 2 months ago
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FSF's Richard Stallman Calls LLVM a 'Terrible Setback'

pmontra Re:Sorry man, but not everyone agrees with you (1098 comments)

BSD is for people that are happy if somebody takes their code, improves on it and don't share the improvements when they distribute the improved code in binary format. For me that's working for free for somebody and that's not fair. Obviously corporations like BSD precisely for that reason and I don't understand why anybody would want to help them.

GPL mandates that if they distribute the improved binaries they have to share the improved source code. So I worked for free but I get the improvements back and that's a fair exchange. Obviously corporations are less happy with that because they also help their competitors (but their competitors would help them back).

That said, many developers are paid to work on BSD or GPL projects nowadays and they don't have a word in the choice of the OSS license.

about 3 months ago
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New Object Recognition Algorithm Learns On the Fly

pmontra Re:actual link to paper (100 comments)

This is the paper. Please mod it up.

about 3 months ago
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New Object Recognition Algorithm Learns On the Fly

pmontra Re:On the fly, but.... (100 comments)

I wonder... do they get paid to publish in those paywalled publications or they do it for free? Do they keep the copyright? If they do, why not publishing the article on the university site?

about 3 months ago
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Nobel Prize Winning Economist: Legalize Sale of Human Organs

pmontra Re:Yes. (518 comments)

Agreed, but we should not make things easier for them. Legal sales of organs open up too many exploitation scenarios. That's enough for me to keep it illegal without even starting to discuss about the ethics of the thing.

about 3 months ago
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Nobel Prize Winning Economist: Legalize Sale of Human Organs

pmontra Re:Yes. (518 comments)

It's a bad idea because it will make easier to exploit people. "Go to the ospital, sell a lung, come back, give me the money or several bad things will happen to your family." Suddenly people which were safe because they don't have anything to steal are not safe anymore.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Quietly Fixes Windows XP Resource Hog Problem

pmontra Re:Over a decade (246 comments)

Not volunteers but paid developers. This is a common misconception. Check this post for a quick summary of the contributors to the Linux kernel. Linux and many big open source projects started as volunteers's efforts and eventually turned into joint ventures between companies ruled by FOSS licenses instead of by thousands of pages of contracts. Shared development is a major money saver for all parties involved and is a very efficient way to invest resources.

The same applies to distributions, which are ofter owned or substantially backed by for profit companies (Canonical, Red Hat, etc).

/rant-mode Nevertheless even paid developers have schedules. I just wonder why nobody's schedule includes this 2007 Thunderbird bug. Well, maybe I'll have to wait for the 12th year or learn the relevant technologies and fix it myself (won't happen, i got other stuff to do.) /end-of-rant

What I appreciate with Linux and open source in general is that they have public bug trackers. I can open bugs, vote them up, contribute information, see how fixes progress. Bugs in closed source programs and OS are usually managed in a very opaque way. Those money you pay don't buy you any insight unless you pay really big money and get into some special support program.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Spanish Firm Wins Tablet Case Against Apple

pmontra pmontra writes  |  more than 2 years ago

pmontra (738736) writes "A Spanish company has won a legal case against Apple and will be able to sell an Android tablet that Apple had claimed infringes on the iPad patent. It is now seeking damages from Apple for a temporary seizure of its products by Spanish customs. Furthermore they are pursuing an antitrust complaint against Apple, alleging abusive anticompetitive behavior."
Link to Original Source
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Free Wi-Fi for the Residents of Venice, Italy

pmontra pmontra writes  |  more than 4 years ago

pmontra (738736) writes "The City of Venice, Italy, started to offer free Wi-Fi to residents (Google translation from the Italian source) on July 3 2009. Tourists and other visitors will pay 5 Euros a day for the service starting from September. The hot spots are connected to a ten thousand kilometers (6.250 miles) fiber optic LAN the City started deploying in the '90s. The first day of free Internet access has been celebrated with a digital treasure hunt in the channels of the lagoon city."

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