Elementary OS "Freya" Beta Released
As the boss of a company playing in the UK enterprise Linux space I have two machines on my desk. One a MacBookPro and the other a Lenovo running Elementary Luna. I try to run open source software in both - Firefox, Thunderbird, Terminal, Emacs, Gimp, Inkscape and Scribus are my regular tools (did I mention Terminal - that's about 50% of my day?). As OS X develops I reject more and more of what it stands for. I can't stand the App Store and I refuse to install App Store only products. I hate being pandered and molly-coddled. If I want to do something then I want to be able to do it. The only reason I'm writing this on OS X is that the hardware is just better (come on, how hard is it to make a decent keyboard, trackpad and display?). Match Elementary with decent hardware and I'd relegate the Mac (after 30 years...) to legacy only use. Both OSes are equally good at managing a business, managing a stack of Linux servers and writing software.
Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?
PrinceXML is reliable, simple and produces the most beautiful PDFs ever. We've used it to replace InDesign as a tool for high end magazine page generation and have analysed the output of both - PrinceXML is significantly cleaner. However, it does help if you combine it with an image (re)sizing tool otherwise you end up with huge bloat with oversized images embedded in your PDF.
Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?
Visual representation of source code does not and will not work effectively. Equally, visual representation of the written word will not work effectively. Where images and text go together, either the text is used to explain the image or the image is just an illustration to go with the text, not a real representation.
This all changes when the code is visual, when the programmer programmes visually and there is no text involved other than for labels, names and attributes. This was what Phil Cox and colleagues realised when they produced Prograph, a visual, object orientated data flow language. Prograph was directly compiled into an executable - it was no pseudo coding system that merely generated C or Java, yet it could run interpreted (making it a dream to debug). In comparisons, clean Prograph code could be produced in about 20% of the time taken to produce the equivalent in C++ but ran only 5% slower. Isn't that what we are always looking for?
Sadly, the commercial exploitation of Prograph was not as successful (isn't it ever thus?) but the concept still lives on as Marten. http://www.andescotia.com/
Thank you Jack.
Can you recommend a book on English grammar for an 11 year old?
Wow. Must RTFM when I next get to Amazon. Many thanks for the tip.
The UK's New Minister For Magic
Actually there is lots of evidence that some homeopathy does actually work. Much of it is disguised as "normal" medicine and I bet you use it without knowing.
Interestingly there is equal evidence that idiots in charge really don't work very well. The number of British MPs with any sort of scientific or engineering background is paltry at best (check out the excellent Mark Henderson's "The Geek Manifesto" for more). Having said that, Boris was pretty damn hot at physics and maths as a teenager and should have gone into science so perhaps it doesn't help anyway.
Ask Slashdot: Finding an IT Job Without a Computer-Oriented Undergraduate Degree?
I've employed one psychology grad in an IT role and another in a development role. Nothing wrong with a psychology degree (providing you are naturally bright, hardworking and keen). I'm always interested in hearing from people with different backgrounds - those with fine & applied art degrees can be a good as a CS grad. Sorry, don't do any over-seas recruitment
4 UK Urban Explorers Face Orders Not To Talk With Each Other For 10 Years
Can Boris please have an ASBO as well?
Might as well give on to Ken at the same time (just in case).
Ask Slashdot: Why the Lack of Worry about Populati
Religion gets in the way. No one wants to say "you can't have children" unless you are an irreligious despot. David Attenborough has cited clear evidence that the alternative is education of women. But this too is stopped by religion. Men running so many religions have no incentive to let women be fully educated. You need evidence? Look at the issues around women bishops.
But when the US still has states hooked on the creation thing and the Pope still frowning on contraception, I can see no chance of global population coming under control for the foreseeable future.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer had it right - we need religion to help (some of) us understand what happens after we die. Sadly he never said that we need religion to control our numbers...
Samsung ad makes fun of iPhone fanboys
And some people are claiming to be offended by it. Am I rare is thinking that those queues outside gadget shops are just bizarre? Don't be dumb, you can get one tomorrow!
Tart cherry juice benefits
Last night a UK wide trial of using food to cure insomnia was launched on Channel 4's Food Hospital programme. Now we've blown the control - it won't be the warm milk that helps you sleep then...
Nokia and Microsoft Embrace in Smartphone Alliance
Mad though I think Nokia are to ditch three oses with loyal followers for one that many would run a mile from (open systems anyone?), no company in it's right mind would hold a big conference to announce such a tie-up and then release all the information in a press release several hours earlier. Nokia need to sack their press people after refreshing their board.
Best Phone For a Wi-Fi-Only Location?
Is Working For the Gambling Industry a Black Mark?
I'm not worried about recruiting people who may have experience working in the gambling industry - in fact that would probably be a good thing. I'm more worried that you are thinking of leaving the UK. We find it hard to recruit really good juniors in the UK (small firm, not well known but with some great work and based smack in the centre of London) so why do you want to leave? You must be better than most - you already read /.
Is Typing Ruining Your Ability To Spell?
Computers are also ruining people's ability to draw. First of all 2D CAD removed any manual drafting skills and now rather than reaching for paper and pencil for a quick sketch people waste hours on some 3D modeller. Even diagramming is becoming the domain of the computer. Is it really quicker to do that quick flow chart on a computer than to doodle it out by hand? Is it really so much better? I still believe that all engineers and technicians should be taught the basis of sketching.
HTML Tags For Academic Printing?
We searched for ages for a tool to produce high quality print output from HTML for exactly the same reasons before stumbling on Prince (http://www.princexml.com) and haven't regretted adopting it. We use it from wiki pages, for technical and sales documents, for theses. It is CSS3 aware but the underlieing documents still work in most browsers.
Parallels Desktop For Mac Vs. VMware
When our business doubled in size we switched to VirtualBox from Parallels 3. Not only is it quicker but it is more stable and its support of different network interfaces and USB devises is clearly superior. We run Eclipse, Apache and all sorts of other development tools on it to do special Windows only development. We also use it as a main support tool. Also don't overlook the fact that you can have multiple 32bit VMs running at the same time - something that Parallels can't do.
MacTech dropped a clanger by not including VirtualBox!
Computer For a Child?
When my 18 month daughter waned to press the keys on my laptop as I worked I pulled out an eMate and set it up for her. Hours of fun drawing and scribbling ensued and now, some 4 years later, she's up to writing letters and email and the like. Sadly the eMate isn't that good at visiting CBBC or CeeBeeBies because there's no colour and no flash but its still working brilliantly.
There are plenty of eMates on eBay: http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?from=R40&_trksid=m37.l1313&satitle=emate&category0=
Jobs really screwed up when he pulled the Newton programme.
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