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Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?

sgrover FOP? (132 comments)

Not sure how current it is, but when I was looking for the same a few years back all that was really available for PHP was HTML->PDF libraries which were not sufficient for anything but the most basic forms. A decent invoice form was hard to get right with these tools. Then I came across FOP. Or more specifically XML-FOP. Combine that with a little XSL and the output was amazing, and could do more than the HTML converters. The only problem is that the FOP tool was a Java based program so PHP would need to execute a shell command to call it. With tight control of what info was passed to that shell command, it seemed an appropriate trade-off for the job at hand. You can still get FOP in the ubuntu repos - apt-get install fop. The learning curve for FOP is a little steep to begin, but no more than any other XML dialect. And being XML, you have a lot of options in building the required FOP file. I opted to put my data into my own XML file, then utilize an XSL file to convert it if/when needed. More details here:

about a month and a half ago

Slashdot PT Cruiser Spotted In the Wild

sgrover Re:At least it wasn't an Aztek (94 comments)

I was told something similar about Ford/Mercury Sables a few years back. I think it has a lot to do with how many of the cars were sold in a given year, and how long that model can expect before a break down. If there were a LOT of PT Cruisers sold in a given year, and we could expect a 5 year average (for example) before a significant malfunction, then in that 5th year tow truck drivers would see a significant number of PT Cruisers on their hoists - regardless of the quality of the vehicle.

about 8 months ago

Blowing Up a Pointless Job Interview

sgrover What kind of tree? (692 comments)

Back when location services were just ramping up, I was interviewed for a position on a team building such services. By the WHOLE 15 person team (warning #1). After a few rapid fire questions they hit me out of the blue with "What kind of tree would you be, if you could be a tree?". My response was "Who'd the fuck want to be a TREE!!??!!" Needless to say I didn't get the job. Been thankful ever since - that company was not there less than a year later.

about 8 months ago

Open Source In the Datacenter: It Was Never About Innovation

sgrover Partly BS (100 comments)

Some of your premise is correct - charging for "copyrighted works" is perfectly fine, and even supported by the idea of Open Source. But, your GPL Violations list and general dis'ing of GPL is BS, IMO.

1. GPL does not prohibit commercial use of software. GPL simply states "respect the applicable licenses".
2. Making use of a GPL library does NOT automatically make my code assume a GPL license. If I use libraryX that is GPL'd, then yes, I need to respect the license for that library and ensure I include the source code for that library with my package. Any changes I may feel I need to make to that library fall under the license for the library and needs to be included in the source code. However, the rest of MY code get's whatever license I want to give it - I just can't override the license for the library itself.
3. Given point 2, then your point three is utterly wrong. If I can set the license for my app as I choose, while respecting the licenses of any sub-systems I may use, I can still charge what I want for my app.
4. Apply your point 4 to Microsoft. After all, you can't say they don't keep the license gun to your head and they clearly benefit nicely. But then apply the same to Red Hat, who is a billion dollar company built using GPL based software. Nobody benefits - yeah right.

You need to understand the licensing quagmire better rather than just spewing out someone else's story. Yes, that is someone else's story - I've heard this one too many times over the past 20 years and every instance has proven to be crappy propaganda put out by those whose bottom line is threatened by Open Source and Free software.

about 10 months ago

Apple and Nokia Outraged That Samsung Lawyers Leaked Patent License Terms

sgrover Re:PR Spin (201 comments)

That's a pretty one sided summary. Where's the comments that the auto-deleting emails was done by apple as well? Where's the comments that apple was investigated for price fixing wrt ebooks? Or the details that the jury that awarded billions to Apple is under scrutiny for improprieties. This response is so one sided it has to be an Apple fanboi (at best) or an outright shill that wrote that article. BTW, if it is Florian Muller, then yes a known and outright shill for the anti-open source agenda. The truth is not found at the extremes of a topic like this.

about a year ago

Apple and Nokia Outraged That Samsung Lawyers Leaked Patent License Terms

sgrover PR Spin (201 comments)

Why does this read like a PR document written by Apple to sway public opinion? Both parties have come close or outright crossed the ethical lines in their various legal battles. Finger waving or sanctioning a lawyer here or there does not change the core issues. Rather is distracts from the core issues and gains sentiment (or attempts to).

about a year ago

Temporal Cloak Erases Data From History

sgrover Breakthrough? (102 comments)

So, if a laser is used to send pulses of light that represents data, and they have developed a method to create "periods of zero light intensity" that hides data and *may* help prevent noise corruption... Does that mean they have figured out how to turn the laser off? Maybe I should go RTFA...

about a year ago

What's Holding Back 3-D Printing

sgrover Re:Nonsense (348 comments)

If you follow that logic, then simple milling machines would be outlawed too. After all, with a milling machine one could make a gun from plastic just as easily as metal. The genie is out of the bottle and there is no way to put it back in with regards to 3D Printing, and even printing a gun. But, personal responsibility still applies - if you actually print a gun and then use it illicitly, you are still subject to all the laws involved. While you are doing that, 99.9% of the others who own 3D Printers will continue their lives and likely never have a need to print a gun.

about a year ago

COBOL Will Outlive Us All

sgrover Every 3 to 5 years. (318 comments)

Every 3 to 5 years this topic comes up. It's almost like some new batch of CompSci graduates start to evaluate the state of the industry, and share their "discoveries" with the world. Except it is the same old discoveries couched in modern terms.

about a year and a half ago

3D Printer Round-Up: Cube 3D, Up! Mini, and Solidoodle

sgrover Re:Nice, but incremental (91 comments)

So close yet so far. Your two complaints would seem to be a reflection of your own limited experiences. A properly tuned Replicator 1 prints ABS with little or no smell. Or just slapping on side panels and a hood does wonders to minimize that particular effect (not to mention it keeps the chamber air more stable and minimizes peeling). As for overhangs, I've seen up to 2cm with only a little issue, 1cm is about as smooth as you'd get with 2mm - depending on the model and tuning.

PLA is starch based, not corn based. In the US it just happens that corn is a cheap/easy source for starch. In New Zealand they use goats milk. So in a sense you are only partially correct about the corn. MBI has not abandoned ABS - the Rep2 removed the elements of the Rep1 that was most troublesome - i.e. a heated platform that has had electrical issues and levelling it properly (for both extruders at once) has proven to be a stumbling block for more novice users, getting rid of the second extruder also removes a bunch of headaches - some again related to levelling. Moving to PLA means they could get rid of the troublesome platform and operate at lower temperatures. But the Rep2X has already been announced which restores the heated platform and second extruder. ABS is not going away anytime soon.

about 2 years ago

Ubuntu Asks Users To Pay What They Want

sgrover Re:ubunutu is for noobs and lamers (280 comments)

noobs and lamers, sure. But also businesses, non-profits, and other organizations looking for a low cost solution to their computing needs - including the maintenance side of the equation.

Go back a year or two, and anyone who wanted a low maintenance system was considering Ubuntu, if not outright installing/using it. Now-a-days though, that "low maintenance" target is slowly disappearing. KDE/Gnome do wonders for the low maintenance thing (maybe not Gnome so much these days), but the underlying system is starting to need more effort than I'd care to spend. My day job is to write code - not maintain systems. So the less time I can spend doing system maintenance, or learning yet another distro in the hopes of finding the low maintenance nirvana, the more time I have to actually be making money for the work I get paid for (i.e. writing code). In that context Ubuntu is still a valid option. But only considering that I immediately ditch unity and install Kubuntu desktop environment (mixed luck installing Kubuntu directly over the years) and have semi-scripted setting up my dev environment. But with the push for cash - amazon and now the "show us some love/cash" efforts, I'm fairly certain that I'm looking at Red Hat/Fedora for my next install. Or maybe Debian, though it seems to need more effort to set up right...)

about 2 years ago

Air Force Sets First Post In Ambitious Space Fence Project

sgrover Felon? (65 comments)

Guess they have discovered that crime DOES pay.
"A fence is an individual who knowingly buys stolen property for later resale, sometimes in a legitimate market."

about 2 years ago

New Java Vulnerability Found Affecting Java 5, 6, and 7 SE

sgrover Re:Java runtime vs. .NET runtime (121 comments)

Dude!!! You almost made pop come out my nose! I laughed so hard!

about 2 years ago

Social Robots May Gain Legal Rights, Says MIT Researcher

sgrover Re:Do beef cows have rights? (288 comments)

children, mentally/physically impaired people, etc. inherit the rights that we "humans" have fought for. They are after all human as well. "Pets" have collectively found some rights - mostly via compassion (that's a Good Thing!) and some by the fact that they fight to avoid doing things they don't want to do.

As for whether society agrees with this, ask women's rights activists, gay rights activists, the slaves, etc. In the end, they all had to stand up and fight for their rights in one way or another (physically or legally) before society recognized those rights. (that's a bit of a broad brush I know, but the point still stands, I think.)

For me, if a robot fights for it's rights - physically or legally - and is not just exercising a finite program (i.e. was not specifically programmed to do so, but rather makes generalizations), then I have no problem granting robots rights. The tricky part is the same divide between simulated intelligence and actual intelligence.

about 2 years ago

Social Robots May Gain Legal Rights, Says MIT Researcher

sgrover Re:Do beef cows have rights? (288 comments)

Only those who fight for their rights have rights. Ever try to put a cat in a cage it didn't want to go into? That cat has rights. Robots that are not programmed to know about rights, and therefore cannot fight to protect them, do not. If cows were to start fighting for their rights, then we'd need to find another food source. :)

about 2 years ago

Doctorow on the War on General Purpose Computing

sgrover Re:Oh shit! (360 comments)

I fail to see why stating in a public forum that being a woman is a problem is pertinent to anything. Regardless of the attempt at humor. (I contend that being a man is just as much of a problem, so the two points cancel each other out, and we are left with "being is a problem"...) But this is slashdot, so mod me down and/or ignore my observation.

about 2 years ago

Hackers Dump Millions of Records From Banks, Politicians

sgrover Re:Something like this was bound to happen... (310 comments)

I'm all for exposing the rampant abuses of our privacy and collection of our personal information. BUT, this sort of thing only hurts the public. It does not hurt the people who commissioned the system to collect this data. All that is being exposed here is that some systems that happen to collect information have some security holes that need to be fixed. This fact in itself may be damaging, but only to those who use and/or maintain the system.

The fact that the system exists, and that it can tied with other similar systems to paint a very broad description of a person is the part that should be worrying to the public. Why do we need such a system? Why does it have to talk with other systems? Is the data it is collecting really secret? Or even ours to control? These are the questions I think need to be highlighted. Unfortunately these data dumps, while possibly altruistic in intent, do little to address the real questions. IMO.

about 2 years ago

Apple Asks Court To Sanction Samsung; Samsung Fires Back; More iPhone Prototypes

sgrover Re:The judge;'s job isn't to get livid. (404 comments)

Your argument doesn't make sense. If the Jury isn't supposed talk about the trial outside the courtroom, or even look up any news about the trial or the participants, then what does it matter what was said to the media? The Jury won't see that information until AFTER the trial. Therefore the Samsung's comments to the press have no bearing on the case.

Additionally, the only reason the subject evidence has been "surpressed" is because it was not revealed within the discovery phase of the trial. Either Samsung messed up on that, or Apple shifted their reasoning late in the process which made this evidence relevant, but late. So the evidence did not go through the proper procedure of counter examination. THIS is what the judge's position is - Samsung should not be allowed to reveal evidence that Apple has not had the opportunity to examine. HOWEVER, the evidence seems to clearly show that Samsung was designing iPhone like cases for their phones before the iPhone was released. Contrary to what Apple is saying.

The real issue is that Apple is trying hard to drag Samsung's name/reputation through the mud, and Samsung is trying to counter the assertions. Apple is doing this in the courtroom AND in the court of public opinion. So Samsung is only playing the game that Apple started, according to some.

more than 2 years ago

Meet the Robisons and Their Low-Cost RepRap Kit (Video)

sgrover Re:This is really dire. (67 comments)

3D Printer parts falls under both categories. Or collectively as "cool practical trinkets".

more than 2 years ago



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