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Comment: Re:can we have ONE non-dumbed down GUI please? (Score 1) 161

by CRCulver (#47953191) Attached to: KDE's UI To Bend Toward Simplicity

XFCE hasn't been ultralight in a few years now. It is no longer recommended for netbooks and other underpowered systems. I think it might be a decent replacement for GNOME for many disgruntled users.

Personally, I'd recommend at least considering replacing most of your Linux desktop needs with Emacs and the command line. As the years have gone by, I've done less and less of my work outside of Emacs, a terminal and a browser. Even supposedly UI-heavy things like simple image manipulation are done faster from the command line with an imagemagick one-liner than waiting for Gimp to launch, reaching for the mouse, and clicking through dialogues. Sure, that way of working isn't for everyone, but the sort of people who read Slashdot might want to give it a try.

Comment: Re:confused (Score 2) 340

by CRCulver (#47945401) Attached to: U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

The only way I can see something like that working is a robust audio watermark containing the purchasers iTunes information.

Apple also sells music in its lossless format, and there it's hard to get "robust" without annoying the listener. If the watermark is in the metadata, one can simply convert the file to WAV to strip the watermark out and re-encode. If it is in the audio itself, it can lead to complaints: when Universal began offering lossless tracks, it encoded a watermark in the audio that manifested as an annoying buzzing noise, and eventually after much complaint it thankfully stopped doing that.

Comment: Re:Expert. (Score 2, Informative) 340

by CRCulver (#47945341) Attached to: U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

Um, no, he's much, much less an expert than Dre is. As a respected producer at least Dre has some validity as a good ear, and he can evaluate the results of different parametric curves on tone signature

Dr Dre the "producer" is essentially just an older peer that new acts can ask for advice and a respected name to put advertising. Usually in cases like this where an over-the-hill artist "produces" a younger one, it is in fact the much less celebrated engineer who is doing all the fine-tuning of the sound. The "producer" can only say "I like that" or "I don't like that" to what the engineer presents.

Comment: Interesting what he chose not to answer (Score 0, Troll) 102

by CRCulver (#47928375) Attached to: Interviews: David Saltzberg Answers Your Questions About The Big Bang Theory

It's interesting that he chose not to answer (or Slashdot chose not to forward) the several highly moderated questions on whether the show truly makes geek culture mainstream ("laughing with the characters"), or if it just holds geeks up for ridicule to millions of ordinary Americans ("laughing at them"). From Saltzberg's answers, it's at least clear that he has no geek background and simply caught on a good business idea.

Comment: Everything old is new again (Score 1) 486

by CRCulver (#47867431) Attached to: To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars
Trolleybus networks were rolled out in a great many Eastern European cities decades ago, with liquid-fuel-consuming buses often serving a minority of routes (typically ones going beyond whatever the city limits were when the trolleybus lines were build). It's amusing to think that we are going back to this, though now battery technology should be advanced enough that cities no longer have to deploy unsightly wires down all the thoroughfares.

Comment: Re:In Theory (Score 2) 385

by CRCulver (#47864061) Attached to: Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

Anyone who is proficient in programming shouldn't have a problem picking up a book (or website) and learning a new langauge, API, etc. in a weekend or two.

This claim gets thrown around on Slashdot a lot, but it's simply not true. In a weekend one might learn enough of a language to bootstrap oneself to learning more through reading real-world code, and you might even be able to fix a bug in an open source program that has been annoying you, but you can forget about working professionally with that language right off.

Just look at the standard references for various languages to see authors admit this. Python is a nice, clear language, right? "executable pseudocode". And yet in O'Reilly's Learning Python Mark Lutz, who has many years of experience teaching skilled programmers, say that it will take readers months to get a complete view of just the core language, let alone the standard library and important third-party libraries.

Comment: Re:Finlandization is moral debasement (Score 1) 138

- the Tsar Ivan the Terrible executed during his reign of half a century less people than were executed during the St. Bartholomew's Day(!) massacre. Still he is called the Terrible, but not Catherine de' Medici or the King Charles IX.

"Ivan the Terrible" is a translation of the Russian epithet Ivan grozny, which has less a connotation of "cruel" or "bloody" and more one of "awesome" or "formidable". It's like how English subjects referred to James I as their "dread sovereign", such labels for royalty were common regardless of his use of violence or not.

Comment: Re:Nice timing (Score 1) 138

The Ruskies aren't going to be invading Finland again. Not after the embarrassment of the last time.

"The last time" was a straightforward Russian victory: the end of the Continuation War. If you meant the time before last, the Winter War, educated Finns would be the first to tell you that their country's resilence is half myth, and the country would not be able to hold out should Russia come again.

Why is that? For one, Stalin's army had suffered severe purges of qualified generals in the 1930s, and the Russian military forces striking Finland were undermined by the political commisars assigned to them. Had the purges not happened, that mythical Finnish intestinal fortitude alone would not have been enough to hold out. Then, one must consider that in the 70-odd years since the Winter War, Russia has developed massive air power, while Finland's arsenal anti-aircraft measures has always been very weak -- even optimistic Finnish strategists believe that the country would capitulate after only a few days of massive bombardment. Plus, Russia considers tactical nuclear weapons an option (Finland is not a NATO member, so no escalation to strategic nuclear weapons or MAD), and has already practiced drills for a nuclear strike on Finland. And finally, during the Winter War the male population were mainly hardy farmers, strong and used to cold, while it's quite common in our media for military brass to bemoan the quality of today's conscripts, who have led sedentary lives and are unfit for strenuous activity.

Comment: Re:Impact of foreigners on the education of Americ (Score 1) 161

by CRCulver (#47850659) Attached to: Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

Its racist to acknowledge language barriers?

No, but it is silly to claim that an foreign undergraduate's gradual pursuit of English proficiency is a disaster for university education nationwide.

ITs racist to expect that people attending an American university be able to speak English to participate in group assignments?

It's pretty common across the world for universities to accept that foreign students will take a couple of years to become proficient in the local language, and Americans benefit from that too. I did my university degrees first in Spain and then in Finland, and in both countries my lecturers and classmates understood that I needed some time to learn Spanish and Finnish respectively.

Or do you expect the American students to learn Arabic, Mandarin and Somali?

As someone who studied Chinese and tried to get as much exposure to the language as possible, I would have definitely enjoyed working with a Chinese student so that I could hit him up for free language practice, which normally costs a high hourly rate. Learning Somali may not bring many advantages for Americans (though interestingly enough, Somali skills are in high demand now in the Finnish state sector), but Mandarin and Arabic are major world languages, some knowledge of which can only help.

Comment: Re: Alibaba Is Useless (Score 2) 97

by CRCulver (#47840123) Attached to: Alibaba's US IPO Could Top $20 Billion

The correct Mandarin word for "foreigner" is "laowai", and it is not an insult. It is a polite term.

If one speaks of the modern standard language, the correct-est Mandarin word for 'foreigner' is waiguoren. While laowai is not a strong insult, it is restricted to the colloquial register and it has a slightly pejorative air.

Comment: Re:systemd adds to and supports the old model (Score 3, Interesting) 826

by CRCulver (#47750863) Attached to: Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

I think the ado about systemd is more about Linux people who think that Linux should be hard to use except for a small elite and do not want the OS to be useful to less technically adept users.

If by "less technically adept users" you mean ordinary PC users who are being encouraged to adopt the Linux desktop, there is no reason that the init process has to be changed to woo them, because such users won't ever touch the system internals anyway, whether they be sysvinit or systemd.

If by "less technically adept users" you mean people with some command-line skills but who are not yet Unix wizards, well, arguably systemd makes things more difficult for them. One of the biggest reasons systemd adoption has pissed people off is that for the systemd devs, documentation is at best an afterthought. The API has changed significantly over the last couple of years, but most documentation one can find on the internet is now out of date, and it has not been replaced with docs for the current state of systemd. sysvinit, on the other hand, is extremely well documented from a number of sources, and the technology remains accessible to anyone with some bash skills.

Comment: Re:Hardwoods and a broom (Score 1) 338

by CRCulver (#47736527) Attached to: New EU Rules Will Limit Vacuum Cleaners To 1600W
If you like in a separate house, then maybe you can do fine without the carpet. In a block of flats, however, parquet floors make life hell for the people below (and, depending on noise conduction, even above) you. My winter heating bill also went down significantly after increasing the carpeting of my flat.

Comment: Re:Couch Surfing at a Strangers / Letting one stay (Score 3, Interesting) 44

by CRCulver (#47722953) Attached to: Couchsurfing Hacked, Sends Airbnb Prank Spam

When you've pretty much agreed that everything he said was true (though you attempt to handwave it away

Fearmongering about risks that are statistically insignificant should be waved away. Otherwise one would hardly ever leave their own homes (or even move about in those homes).

and blame the victim...

Noting that the well-known cases of violence within Couchsurfing.com related to single females hosting single males is in no way blaming them. Rather, the point is that since the GP is presumably male and writing for a predominantly male audience (these being the sad demographics of Slashdot), his exortation to fear such violence is groundless.

The "years of experience" you cite are for more-or-less closed communities of like minded people, very likely known to each other or having common friends or acquaintances. The modern hospitality exchanges are between random people, complete strangers.

There has been no such transition overall in internet hospex from trustworthy closed communities to "random people, complete strangers" as you depict. Couchsurfing.com specifically has grown too large to have that feeling of being a closed community of like-minded people, though the result of this is vastly more likely to be simply meeting a person whose company one doesn't enjoy with than experiencing crime. However, internet hospex in general remains a series of overlapping circles of friends, which one can plainly see from Couchsurfing's two community-run alternatives.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

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