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Astronomers Discover Pair of Black Holes In Inactive Galaxy

xiox Scientists at XMM? (45 comments)

"Scientists at XMM-Newton" - who writes this rubbish? XMM is a European space X-ray observatory in elliptical orbit around the earth. Nobody is "at" XMM.

about 4 months ago
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How To Turn Your Pile of Code Into an Open Source Project

xiox Re:Windows and Mac binaries: difficult (176 comments)

It's not so difficult if it's pure Python and you're not compiling anything. The main problem was getting Qt to compile so I could compile my extensions. For your project, I'd make a virtual machine with something like WinXP (this makes it easier to make new releases if nothing changes), install Python and the associated PySide. Install any other modules you need. I used PyInstaller to make the runnable exe file. See e.g. here for my pyinstaller file. I then used NSIS to make an installer using this configuration file.

about a year ago
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How To Turn Your Pile of Code Into an Open Source Project

xiox Re:Windows and Mac binaries: difficult (176 comments)

Well, there's Visual Studio Express 2005, 2008, 2010, and 2012. That's not so hard. You will want to use 2012 since that is the latest.

In theory, though Python is compiled with a particular version of Visual Studio. It's rather hard to compile for yourself, as the latest versions aren't supported. Extensions have to be compiled with the same version as Python or you get cross-compatibility C library problems. This makes it tricky if you want to link a Python extension (an old Visual Studio version) against Qt (perhaps mingw when I looked at it). I ended up having to compile everything against the version of Visual Studio that Python was built with.

Don't use the registry. DLLs = .so, installers = installers. That's about it.

I try to avoid the registry, but you have to at least register file types there and Qt uses it to store settings be default. DLLs weren't too bad until I got to the stage of manifests and conflicting crt versions.

about a year ago
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How To Turn Your Pile of Code Into an Open Source Project

xiox Windows and Mac binaries: difficult (176 comments)

It can be very difficult. My scientific plotting package, veusz, was written using Python and Qt, so it should be easily portable. However setting up a sensible developer environment on Windows to compile the Python C extensions was a nightmare. Windows is pretty developer-hostile if you're used to Linux. Trying to find and install the correct version of Visual Studio Express was difficult. I had to learn far too many things about the registry, DLLs, building installers, etc. Mac OS X was rather more difficult, however. You have to download the massive Xcode and the non-standard way that Mac OS packages executables and libraries was very difficult to understand. It took a long time to get fat binaries working.

You do get a different class of user on Windows and Mac OS X, however. The Linux people are closer to being knowledgeable about development, whereas Windows and Mac OS people are primarily users, wanting more help and hand-holding.

about a year ago
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Interviews: Q&A With Guido van Rossum

xiox Re:BC Breaking changes in 3 (242 comments)

You know it is entirely possible to write 2.7 code that works with nothing more than a pass through 2to3. That does mean that any libraries you depend on are available for 3.x but the problem of lacking support from 3rd party libraries is beginning to diminish as more are ported over at an increasing rate.

It's also possible to write code for 2.6/2.7 which works fine with 3.3+. With the aid of the six module or similar ideas you can work around the differences. Many people think this is the best way to have joint compatibility with python 2 and 3. It also makes it possible to do the development with python3, which running 2to3 doesn't allow. As others have mentioned, there is no good 3to2.

1 year,13 days
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Fedora 19 Beta Released: Alive, Dead, or Neither?

xiox Re:Gnome3 (171 comments)

Did they upgrade away from Gnome3, network-manager and systemd? If not, why should we even look at it?

Fedora is actually a very good KDE distribution.

about a year ago
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Helium Depleted, Herschel Space Telescope Mission Ends

xiox Re:Worked for 4 years. (204 comments)

The minimum design lifetime isn't the actual lifetime of the mission. I believe there is enough helium for three years, but the multistage cooler is designed to be able to run in the event of coolant loss. ASTRO-H replaces ASTRO-E2 which suffered a catastrophic coolant loss. There are more details here, but it's behind a paywall.

about a year ago
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Helium Depleted, Herschel Space Telescope Mission Ends

xiox Re:Worked for 4 years. (204 comments)

The forthcoming ASTRO-H X-ray observatory mission will have a cooling system that will be able to run without coolent. The X-ray microcalorimeter detectors must be cooled down to 50 mK in temperature. ASTRO-H should be launched in 2014.

about a year ago
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Economists Argue Patent System Should Be Abolished

xiox Re:Been saying that...Wrong, Simply Wrong. (376 comments)

p>No CAT Scan, MRI or Cancer drugs would have been invented without patents to give the inventors time to make their years of investment back by a period of exclusivity.

Really? Most fundamental medical advances are created in academia, mostly with public money. Many companies just take the relatively small step to a commercial product. William H. Oldendorf would have done his pioneering work on the CAT scan, whether there was a patent system or not. Indeed, looking at his wikipedia biography, he worked in public institutions for most of his life.

about a year and a half ago
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Slashdot Asks: Beating the Summer Heat?

xiox Move to the UK? (421 comments)

It has been one of the wettest ever Junes here in the UK and it is still raining heavily. When it is not raining it's heavy cloud. Although that's stereotypical weather here, it's more like what you'd expect in the winter. I'm feeling like an extra in Waterworld and shall shortly be growing gills... The problems started when drought measures were brought in to combat falling water reserves.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Smart Meters Safe?

xiox Re:Radiation hazard? (684 comments)

the effect of radio frequency exposure upon living tissue (approximatly none) is well-studied and understood.

Oh really? I trust that you will now go home and put your head in a microwave oven for a few minutes. Of course some radio waves are harmless and some are harmful, it's just a question of where the boundary lies. Given that you're unlikely to have a smart meter sitting next to you all day, it's pretty unlikely to be harmful.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask The Bad Astronomer

xiox Re:Swirly flat pancake thing... (412 comments)

The dark matter in the universe started with a random fluctuation field - see the pictures of the cosmic background radiation. The random distribution gives a tidal torque on matter, giving it angular momentum. As the dark matter collapses into smaller and smaller regions, the angular momentum is conserved. When smaller sub-units of matter collide together the momentum will also build up. See Peebles 1969 for one of the first papers.

more than 2 years ago
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.NET Programmers In Demand, Despite MS Moves To Metro

xiox Re:Metro or .NET, why use any? (319 comments)

Or use Qt with C++, get the high productivity and the ability to run on multiple platforms.

more than 2 years ago
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Opera 11.50 Released

xiox Blurry mess (129 comments)

Seems like Opera ignores the anti-aliasing settings. I've switched anti aliasing off in both environments, but opera blurs ahead anyway.

more than 3 years ago
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Man Mines Facebook For Security Questions, Nabs Nude Photos From Email

xiox Re:Security question (257 comments)

Facebook is guilty as well - I have a choice of 4 questions - name of 1st grade teacher - can't remember - city or town mother was born in - too obvious - last 5 characters of driver's license - okay question probably - street you lived on when you were 8 - not appropriate for me. Why can't I choose something better than this?

more than 3 years ago
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Does the End of KOffice Mean the End of KDE?

xiox Re:Did anyone actually use KOffice? (233 comments)

Unfortunately you're correct. I tried KOffice as OpenOffice does suck in many ways, but when it couldn't render text properly on paper I had to give up.

more than 3 years ago
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Hiding Backdoors In Hardware

xiox Why not go USB? (206 comments)

If you're going to the trouble of messing with PCI hardware, I'm sure one of these tiny circuits, which can be hidden in a USB socket, could be used to take over a machine remotely much more easily. Adding radio remote access would be pretty easy.

more than 3 years ago
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UK Teen Banned From US Over Obscene Obama Email

xiox So can I get others banned from the US? (555 comments)

Dear Barack - You're a prick, Yours Tony Blair and David Cameron.

Forge an email and stop someone entering the US for life!

more than 3 years ago
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A $20 8-Bit Wikipedia Reader For Your TV

xiox Re:Noble but useless. (167 comments)

I might doubt the cost too, but 8 bit microcontrollers are very popular now, even with the widespread availability of 32 bit systems. Many consumer devices include Microchip and Atmel chips if they don't need more power. There's also a bit Arduino (Atmel) hobby crowd.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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ESA's long term plan to investigate the invisible universe

xiox xiox writes  |  about 9 months ago

xiox (66483) writes "The European Space Agency (ESA) have decided that its next two large astronomy missions (costing 2bn Euros) will be to study two aspects of the "invisible universe". The first will be a very large X-ray telescope to be launched in 2028. It will study the physics of the hottest and largest structures in the universe, investigating how they formed and evolved. It will also investigate how black holes grow and affect the universe. The second mission, launched in 2034, will be an observatory capable to measure gravitation waves, the stretches and compressions in space-time caused by massive moving systems, such as merging pairs of black holes. Although the final designs are not yet chosen, the two proposed observatories Athena and eLISA are likely choices. BBC News has more information."
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Danish firm actively employs autistic workers

xiox xiox writes  |  more than 5 years ago

xiox (66483) writes "A danish computer company, Specialisterne is actively employing autistic workers and now has 40 of them. The firm is planning to expand to the UK in Glasgow. The owner of the company was motivated to do this when one of his sons was diagnosed as autistic. The company provides a quiet environment and fixed routines. Given the right conditions, the staff are said to excel at technical tasks. In addition, robots and Lego models are used to test their skills."
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xiox xiox writes  |  more than 7 years ago

xiox writes "The BBC devote a 30 minute radio program to Free and Open Source Software, related projects such as Wikipedia, and community projects in Brazil. Interviewees include RMS, Alan Cox, Microsoft representatives, and Jimmy Wales."
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xiox xiox writes  |  more than 7 years ago

xiox writes "The UK government is planning to stop funding a study to understand obesity in children. The study fits children with accelerometers to measure how much energy each child uses in a day by moving. The results are very surprising. Those children who do sports at school do not burn more calories than those who don't. Furthermore there is no correlation between body mass index and the number of calories used! The results are very interesting, suggesting that genetics and diet are the main reasons for childhood obesity, not sport. The UK government is trying to increase the amount of sport in schools."
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xiox xiox writes  |  more than 7 years ago

xiox writes "Private Eye magazine contains a comprehensive report detailing the horrifying background to the wasting of £12.4 billion of public money on an unnecessary and useless central bureaucratic computer system for the UK's National Health Service. This could have paid for 26,000 doctors over 10 years. While the full report is not available online, NHS Blog Doctor details some of the findings.

Those of us working within the NHS have long been aware of the futility and waste of this IT system. The details that emerge from the Private Eye report reveal a tale of incompetence and greed that beggars belief. Incompetence on the part of the government, and greed on the part of some of the contractors, two of whom are named by the report. Both made personal profits of over £20 million on the back of inflated share sales and illusory profits generated by Enron style accounting.
"

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