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Comment Re:vote with your wallet (Score 1) 127

It's getting harder and harder to purchase a computer that doesn't come with Windows (unless you get a custom build from the corner computer store) and it's almost impossible to get a laptop.

I'd say its getting easier. Desktops are trivial from any decent small system builder.

Laptops are harder, but Dell has some limited options, but they are nice systems -- the xps 13 and the precision line are available with linux.

And there's a few dedicated linux laptop guys out there; system76, for example.

I would love to be able to zip into Staples and buy this week's on-sale laptop off the shelf and know that will work with Linux. But it can't be done.

Those are boat anchors at the best of times. And its not like its a conspiracy. Decent stuff is rarer. You want to buy a good router or wifiAP, same thing, its a crapshoot what's on sale on the shelves at staples etc; and you'll probably want to order something in.

Once you've accepted that you have to order it in, its easy to buy linux. (And honestly... I order in all my windows laptops and desktops too because the stuff they sell in stores even if you want windows is very hit and miss... mostly miss.

Comment Re:Great and all, but I think local email is dying (Score 1) 47

I am the only person I know who uses a local email client, rather than gmail, and I run with a reasonably tech savvy crowd.

Pretty much everyone I work with (ie clients) use outlook. The lowest people on the totem pole (e.g. retail store staff -- people who do not spend much time on the computer) are using gmail apps for work, or outlook online through office 365 -- but everyone in even routine admin positions on up through management is on outlook as part of office 365 or with the google apps connector.

Pretty much everyone i know 'socially' has email on their phone (ie via an app); and may use webmail or outlook depending if they have outlook. (Office Home edition doesn't come with it.)

Lots of people I know still use ISP mail as well via webmail, outlook, or their phone or some combination.

I personally have 2 mailboxes on outlook for office 365, and 2 more in IMAP on thunderbird (one ISP, and one hosted IMAP).

The issue as I see it, isn't so much that the 'local email client is dying' because its that POP/IMAP is dying. And that's not really a suprise... POP is outdated and inadequate in this connected world of devices and tablets and computers with everything in sync. And IMAP works... but is poor cousin to googleapps or outlook/exchange/activesync due to not handling contacts or calendars etc.

Meanwhile ISP mail is on the downtrend for a several reasons --
  - as people (intelligently) are realizing that being tied to an isp mailbox ties them to an ISP
  - 2nd because ISP mail frequently has irritating limits like nothing working but the webclient unless you were actually connected to their network, or receiving works but not sending etc etc;
  - 3rd it often has small mailbox sizes,
  - 4th its anti-spam capabilities tend to suck compared to the big providers.
  - 5th its harder to setup the client ... servers, ports, ssl? tls? imap or pop? where's the easy button?

I'd honestly be surprised if one person in a hundred was running their own email client rather than using a web interface to (most likely) gmail, or possibly some other similar web service

Maybe, but only if you only sampled home users AND didn't count using apps on their phones and tablets.

Decentralization is dying. Centralization is winning.

Yes..but that's a separate issue completely from clients vs web-based.

Centralization of servers is winning because google and microsoft have pretty compelling products --- for the business (office 365 and google apps for enterprises). And its compelling for the home user too ... for free. Hosting your own email server is a right PITA and more work than its probably worth and far beyond average joe... and not worth the trouble even to most techies (been there done that). And some little hosting company offering 10 x 500MB mailboxes that only support POP/IMAP ... for $60/year that's harder to setup, gets more spam, search doesn't work as well, and fills up too quickly... that's not terribly compelling either. (Although that is what I'm currently using for my personal domain...but i recognize its shortcomings and can't give many solid reasons to do it compared to using google or microsoft.)

And all that's left is the privacy-centric mail services, but those cost even more... $60/year per mailbox instead of $60 per year for 10 of them... and really only truly appeal to people who really prioritize privacy.

Comment Re:A damn good reason to learn security best pract (Score 1) 374

If you need a stronger microprocessor for a task use one. The notion that using buffer overflow or stack smashing or jumping into data segments with 'dynamic' code is something you should ever do is simply ridiculous.

Yeah... to get a 60Hz 1970s microprocessor to do something useful in 512 bytes of RAM you had to be creative... and it was expensive to go upmarket for a better CPU. But in the 21st century if you are using a buffer overflow to write code on purpose, the time you spend building and documenting and maintianing that... you should have just spent another nickle and got a more capable processor with more ram.

Comment Re:What brand of hammer? (Score 4, Insightful) 149

What brand of hammer do you use for your weekend carpentry projects?

I think that's the point. We try out and play with new tools on the weekend.

Programming languages do not matter.

They are all tools for essentially the same thing - banging, but they are not identical, and it makes difference what you use. And that's WHY we try new ones, to see if they make our lives easier or not.

Many of them are lousy, and many more are fine, but no better than what we already have, but some of them do make certain things easier in certain projects, and might transition to our regular toolboxes.

Programming languages are as interchangeable as hammers.

I have a regular old claw hammer from Sears for most things. I have a small finishing hammer for stuff like hanging pictures and building bird houses. My brother has a nailgun that I'd borrow if i were doing a big project like framing a basement. I've never had cause to use a ball peen hammer... but if i did any metalworking i'd probably quickly find my claw hammer ... inadequate. I don't have a rubber mallet either, but frequently find myself having to 'work around' not having one... enough that at some point I'll get one.

Comment Re:but but but (Score 4, Insightful) 557

Kindof unpleasant experiencing a total system lockup when you are presenting to 200 scientists. People in the audience actually said: "I can't believe you attempted this using Libre!", "Why are you using Linux for this?"

But the funny thing is I've also seen, MANY TIMES, someone try to present only to pull up their laptop...

"Windows is updating. 3 of 97. Please do not turn off your computer." ...

I've seen presentations rescheduled, the order juggled, or a presentation even outright cancelled because there was no other time, and there was nothing the presenter could do ... his 45 minute allotement was the only spot, and there was NOTHING he could do now but wait until Windows decided he could use his laptop again.

And the audience? They don't generally berate you for using Windows... they just groan in sympathetic empathy; because that's interrupted nearly all of our workflows at some point... although perhaps not so catastrophically.

Comment Re:BS detector went off and is overheating (Score 1) 309

The first being functions you expect people to know.

No. The first definition was 'common'. Granted the definition of 'common' is open to debate, but anything that appears on a $9 calculator at walmart is pretty common:

But if you want to restrict trig functions go for it. As far as I know they are fine though as they don't allow any trivial solution construction ... but if you can find one using infinite applications of sin or arctan, that would be a feather in your hat and a bit of fame.

As for your lamda solution...

Valid math. Everything is externally defined

You are defining a function on the spot. And more importantly you are missing the point -- generic solutions are inherently undesirable; and discovering them means eliminating them from the allowed set. You seem to be going out of your way to introduce mathematical functionality specifically to enable a trivial solution. The log / sqrt solution is at least interesting because it was not immediately obvious that allowing them trivialized the problem.

Finding another generic solution with the allowed operations is kind of interesting, but introducing math with a trivial and obvious application to a generic solution for the express purpose of the introducing that generic solution pretty much misses the entire point of the puzzle.

If you disallow that too, then I might try restating it using category theory. This continuing shows the distinction is arbitrary.

One part arbitrary, and two parts "anything that obviously renders the puzzle trivial is disallowed". Anyone playing with the puzzle today disallows log because a generic solution with it is known.

Comment Re:BS detector went off and is overheating (Score 1) 309

"pi is a standard function taking no arguments and always returning the same value."

"In mathematics, a function is a relation between a set of inputs and a set of permissible outputs with the property that each input is related to exactly one output. "

If it has no inputs, its not a function. The word you are looking for is 'constant'.

Comment Re:Um, no. (Score 1) 309

ugh. seriously? the point wasn't literally "how do you get to 3"; it was how do generically get further on.

The previous poster wrote
(4/4)+(4/4) "etc"

As if THAT "etc" suggested it was a general extensible solution. It is not. (4+4+4)/4 is a solution for 3, but doesn't tell us how to get to 4, 5, 99, 113, 8187, or 3.148x10^32

Comment Re:BS detector went off and is overheating (Score 1) 309

I think you overstate the distinction.

I can write arccos(n) without explaining what arccos is, or providing a definition. You couldn't even talk about your f(x) without first defining it...

I think there is a pretty clear distinction between standard functions you DON'T have to provide definitions for because they are standard, and arbitrary functions you made up on the spot, and had to define before using.

Comment Re:Um, no. (Score 1) 309

Where is my prize? (What a stupid video.)

Why would you get a prize for solving a completely different and much easier problem?

If you see SS0 in a math text book do you automatically know that its an increment? Because when I see a square root sign or a log function i don't need to look up how they have been defined in that chapter or book, because they are universally use common standard functions.

Your operation S that add's +1 is not a common mathematical operation or symbol; so its not a candidate operation for the solution.

Comment Re:Um, no. (Score 1) 309

(4/4)+(4/4) etc

What do you mean "etc" ??
(4/4)+(4/4) = 2; fine; that equals 2
But How do you get to 3 ?
(4/4)+(4/4)+(4/4) is 6 4s.

Slashdot trying to pretend it is something intellectually interesting is what is offensive.

You posted a non-solution to the problem. I think if you are going to denigrate the video as not being intellectually interesting, you should probably at least understand the puzzle being solved.

Its 'four fours'. Not six of them, not as many as you need. Just four them. Exactly 4 of them.

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