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Comment: Re:I'd expect lots of cross-over branding crap (Score 1) 208

by AceJohnny (#49176045) Attached to: What Would Minecraft 2 Look Like Under Microsoft?

LEGO faced a decision whether they would keep their mediocre sales figures

Actually, LEGO faced a decision whether they would go bankrupt or do tie-ins. The BI BI linked in another comment is excellent in showing what happened to Lego and their comeback.

All the crying about crappy tie-in Lego sets is hysterical hand-wringing. Yes, those occupy the majority of retail store shelf-space, but that only reflects the reteail store's decision. The key thing is that those tie-ins have not replaced other "pure" Lego sets in Lego's catalog. It's 2015, search online: there are many online shops and alternatives. Even better, there's Brickset, an amazing database of sets, which not only will show you the wide variety of still-in-production sets but also useful tools to help you find the cheapest set for cost-per-brick.

Comment: Sounds like something out of Rucker's sci-fi (Score 1) 82

by AceJohnny (#48907291) Attached to: Modular Smartphones Could Be Reused As Computer Clusters

Rudy Rucker has some pretty crazy stories that always a blast to read (even though, or because you wonder what he was smoking when he wrote them).

One of those stories, Hormiga Canyon, has his protagonist build a computer cluster out of old cell phones, even using the phone's built-in voice recognition to control the cluster.

Does that count as Prior Art? :)

Comment: Re:Comparing LAN to WAN Speeds (Score 2, Interesting) 124

Actually, while they indeed compared two computers on the same LAN, they also included a computer on the internet. Furthermore, One of Dropbox's touted features is that it's able to detect and use peers on a LAN to avoid the unneecssary round trip through the cloud. I don't know about Google Drive, but judging by the results I suspect they can do the same.

And, more importantly, they compared the other clients on the same setup.

How you got modded "+4 insightful" is beyond me.

Comment: Awesome (Score 5, Interesting) 611

by AceJohnny (#47103901) Attached to: Which desktop environment do you like the best?

I used the SEO-deoptimized Awesome window manager. It is a tiling window-manager in the tradition of XMonad and Ion.

Since I started using it, I discovered how moronic is the concept of traditional window manager that allows overlapping windows: Either I want an app displayed, or I don't, and I certainly want an app to use as much screen space available automatically. I understand though that the traditional windowing approach is simpler to understand and see its point for the plebes ;)

I love its concept of "tags" instead of desktops, which gives me a powerful interface to mix and match which windows I want to display. I like that its "configuration" is actually a Lua program that allows me to precisely control how it behaves. I love that I can control it entirely through the keyboard. But I hate its stupid default keybindings: what's wrong with alt-tab nowadays?

Comment: Creator != Teacher (Score 2) 74

by AceJohnny (#47061597) Attached to: The Linux Foundation and edX Team Up for Intoduction to Linux Class

Being a good teacher requires a particular set of skills I'm not sure Linus has, such as talking nice to idiots. (I kid! Treating (by definition ignorant) students like idiots is a fatal mistake). But seriously, being an expert in a field doesn't make you a good teacher, see: almost any college professor..

While this course will definitely get some name-brand recognition, I doubt it'll be better than a myriad other courses that exist already.


One Week With GNOME 3 Classic 169

Posted by timothy
from the we-think-we-can-save-the-foot dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Stephen Gallagher, Security Software Engineer at Red Hat, has completed his week-long experiment running GNOME 3 Classic. Stephen writes: 'While I was never as much in love with GNOME 2 as I was with KDE 3, I found it to be a good fit for my workflow. It was clean and largely uncluttered and generally got out of my way. Now that Fedora 19 is in beta and GNOME Classic mode is basically ready, I decided that it was my duty to the open-source community to explore this new variant, give it a complete investigation and document my experiences each day.' I'll leave Stephen's opinion on the new Classic Mode to the Slashdot reader to discover, but I will say that it does touch on the much debated GNOME Shell Activities Overview, and the gnome-2-like Classic mode's Windows List on the taskbar."

Comment: Re:Many classes of non-human (Score 1) 115

by AceJohnny (#43855595) Attached to: Book Review: The Human Division

It isn't useful on such a trivial example, but add in pointers...

int * func(char* a, char* b);
int *
func (char *a,
      char *b);

(or better elaborate examples I can't be assed to come up with for a /. comment) ... and the milliseconds and frustration saved in parsing function declarations starts to add up

Comment: defected to Awesome (Score 1) 818

by AceJohnny (#40287179) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Aren't You Running KDE?

I've long been a KDE user, switched to it in the KDE 4.1 days and never understood why people were so unhappy about it. I found it to be slick and useful, despite the regular problems with the NetworkManager applet in Debian Unstable. I just used the Gnome applet instead, which fit without a hitch.

Last year, finally frustrated enough with juggling between the windows of my various terminals and editors, I chose to give a tiling window manager a good try, and spent some effort on the ill-named Awesome (seriously, how do you SEO that?).

Though it's certainly not aimed at Joe Six-Pack in that you actually have to edit the Lua-based config file to configure it yourself, I found it extremely powerful and perfectly suited to my needs. The "tag" system to organize your window is supreme in allowing me precise control over which windows to display.

I discovered that I didn't have a use for all the frills of Gnome and KDE, except for USB-key and Wifi network management which are both accessible from the CLI anyhow (see udisks and nmcli). ... does this mean I've turned into a greybeard?

Comment: Re:Good Idea (Score 1) 127

by AceJohnny (#40073607) Attached to: Emacsy: An Embeddable Toolkit of Emacs-like Functionality

I've been using CScope in Emacs for about a year (in fact, I added the entry to ascope.el on that wiki page you linked to), and I've recently switched to Semantic from CEDET and GNU Global.

Sadly, the Emacs Code Browser (ECB) linked to from the CEDET page seems to be broken for recent versions of Emacs and CEDET and unmaintained.

While I dislike Eclipse for bloat and difficult extensibility, I have yet to decide whether Emacs has caught up with it for code browsing.

Comment: Strong Magnets! (but only transient) (Score 1) 166

by AceJohnny (#39456759) Attached to: Record-Setting 100+ T Magnetic Field Achieved At Los Alamos

I used to work next to the french Laboratoire National des Champs Magnétiques Intenses (Powerful Magnetic Field National Laboratory) and was lucky enough to visit it once during the yearly Science Day (why don't we have this in the US?).

They claimed they had the second most powerful magnets in the world, IIRC behind the Fermilab, at about 32T (again, IIRC). Note that this is a sustained magnetic field, not transient as the OP's record. (still, hitting 100T without destroying the magnet is one hell of a feat! Now if only we could find a source of power to sustain such a field...).

32T is extremely high, more powerful than any natural magnetic field on Earth (according to WP, the Earth's field is about 25uT at the equator to 65uT at the poles). The most powerful permanent magnets (rare-earth) can achieve a little under 1T, and good luck getting that magnet off a piece of steel. 32T is achieved only in a space about the size of 2 coke-cans at the center of a large cylindrical apparatus that is the concentric electromagnets. But even at such a strength, the fields we make are dwarfed by stellar and interstellar magnetic fields, that have been calculated to reach hundreds or thousands of Teslas.

Fun facts: they run the magnets at night, when power is significantly cheaper. They have big banks of capacitors and batteries for spare surge power. The (classical) electromagnets aren't built by spooling wire on a tube, because wire isn't thick enough the sustain the kind of current that goes through. Instead they take a thick copper tube that they slice in a spiral and insert an isolator in the spacing.

Their most powerful magnets were formed of a core superconducting electromagnet surrounded by standard electromagnets. The cost of superconducting materials is what prevent them from making more powerful stuff.

But despite all that, I'm still not sure what kind of experiments require such powerful magnetic fields. Such awesome engineering, so few applications...

Any given program will expand to fill available memory.