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Comment: So? (Score 1) 264

by markdavis (#48943023) Attached to: VirtualBox Development At a Standstill

>"Phoronix notes how it has been a long time since last hearing of any major innovations or improvements to VirtualBox,Phoronix notes how it has been a long time since last hearing of any major innovations or improvements to VirtualBox"

And this surprises anyone? This is what happened with most everything Oracle acquired from Sun- they poisoned everything. It is what they do best. It is also why OpenOffice was forked.

Fortunately, VirtualBox still works very well... for now. And I, for one, like that it is stable.

Comment: Re:Native UI conventions...? (Score 1) 145

by markdavis (#48942943) Attached to: LibreOffice Gets a Streamlined Makeover With 4.4 Release

You may believe what you like. I have a computer degree (BS), am in charge of an I.T. department serving 500 employees, have been a computer professional for nearly 30 years, and have probably used more different types of machines and operating systems than you have even read about.

We support LO every single day, and it if looked different and acted differently on different machines, this would not help with support- it would hinder it. I am not saying this might be perfect for every organization, but saying that looking native makes support better is not necessarily true.

Comment: Re:Vast... Tracts of Land (Score 1) 199

by jfengel (#48942585) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

I'd be interested in reading the source to see what the argument is. Off the top of my head, the Irish Potato Famine strikes me as a pretty real famine. It was certainly exacerbated by political pressures, and they were growing monocultures in the first place because of the pressure for productivity. But it was a real crop failure, and they learned to reduce their dependence on a single crop.

Certainly it could have been handled better, and far fewer people would have died. But I still think the death toll would have counted as a famine, or at best a famine barely averted by aid. I'd put it in a different category from starvation caused by war or corruption. Even the Great Chinese Famine could be chalked up to politics without too much of a stretch, but there are still crop failures due to drought and disease.

Since the agricultural revolutions of the past few centuries and especially the last few decades, we're so awash in food that aid will always be stymied by people rather than lack of calories. But I'd put the tipping close closer to 40 years than 400.

Comment: Re:More ambiguous cruft (Score 1) 469

by jfengel (#48942065) Attached to: The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

The terminator gene solves the gene-spreading problem, but it introduces the problem of leaving farmers permanently at the hands of Monsanto. They are forced to buy new seeds every year.

They can, of course, opt out, but then they miss out on Monsanto's improvements. So we've got a conflict of expectations not entirely unlike Slashdot's frequent outrage about EULAs that effectively mean you don't own your own software, or even hardware.

As I understand it, most farmers buy seeds anyway, because the plants don't breed true to type. But there was particular worry about poor nations, where the farmers are closer to being completely broke, and this looked suspiciously like indentured servitude.

I'm not taking a position on the argument here, just clarifying what it's about.

Comment: Sigh.. (Score 1) 199

by LWATCDR (#48940123) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

" What is more, as costs for wind and solar power have plummeted over the past decade, and the new report points out that for a given amount of land, solar panels are at least 50 times more efficient than bio fuels at capturing the energy of sunlight in a useful form."

1. Wind and Solar do not complete with bio fuels. You can not run a truck, ship, or airliner on electricity effectively because of battery technology.. Even cars are limited today by cost. Now if you are talking about bio fuels to run generators then maybe, but for transportation not at all.

It is kind of like that big huge lie that people like to tell about wind and solar reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

Comment: Exactly! (Score 5, Insightful) 199

by RingDev (#48939449) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

The worst offender is the flex-fuel E85 crap. If you want to run ethanol, run ethanol, build up an engine that is designed to take advantage of it's anti-det properties and runs dramatically higher compression for waaaaay better efficiency. And we definitely shouldn't be doing it with corn (Corn requires nitrogen fertilizer, largely negating the total energy boon of ethanol). We should be looking at switch grass and other fast-growing high yield options that can generate vastly more ethanol per acre with dramatically less costs.

Bio Diesel I actually like, sulfur is all but forgotten, and the increased lubricity actually makes it easier on your engine. But the idea of trying to convert a soy crop to BD100 is going to be dumb. Recycling waste vegitable oil from the food processing industry on the other hand, reduces waste and taps into an existing supply.

Even looking at different sectors than just automotive. I have a couple of dairy farming buddies that use methane recovery from their manure processing system to power generators for electricity around the farm. Less raw methane escaping to the atmosphere, and again it's a by-product of the existing manure processing system.

The linked article sure reads like a shill for the oil industry, but it doesn't discount the point that we need to look at using the appropriate tool for the job. Sometimes that will be biofuels.


Comment: Re:It is an attempt to lock in customers (Score 1) 32

by Richard_at_work (#48938175) Attached to: UK Broadcaster Sky To Launch Mobile Service

If the "lock in" is worth it, why not?

I'm a Sky customer, I get my home phone package (unlimited calls, any time), internet (50Mbps fibre, no cap, no quota, no limit), and TV package (HD, movies, tonnes of entertainment channels, F1 etc) for roughly £75 a month - and my opinion is that its worth paying that for the service I get.

Skys video on demand service is brilliant, and I get access to it on my PC and mobile devices as well.

I've experienced Virgin Media (had it for a couple of years after I moved to this city) and Sky is simply better imho. When I wanted to move home, Virgin wanted a load of money to move the contract, and I had to sign up for a new contract at the new location. Sky however just said "yup, no issues, your phone and internet will be activated on this date, your TV will just work, no cost to move, and no new contract", which is great because Im only in the new place for 6 months until my property is built.

I'm currently on a business contract with EE for my mobile service, but I will be watching Skys offering with interest.

Comment: Re:Native UI conventions...? (Score 1, Troll) 145

by markdavis (#48937723) Attached to: LibreOffice Gets a Streamlined Makeover With 4.4 Release

Spoken like a MacOS user. I knew it reading just the first sentence.

It is more important to business that the UI look the same across platforms (I know, I am business, and we use LO) so I am not sure why you would use that as a reason for looking more native.

Comment: Re:Let me guess (Score 2) 145

by markdavis (#48936443) Attached to: LibreOffice Gets a Streamlined Makeover With 4.4 Release

> They added MS style ribbons, all in the name of UX

Thank God no. But they did add a somewhat strange "Sidebar" type thing a few versions ago and it has progressed enough that they turned it on by default. Unfortunately, it is riddled with lots of pretty major bugs (the sidebar; lots of unresolved bug reports but work is progressing).

At least you can turn it off... for now. I hope we can continue to do so....

Anyway, LO is a great program and there are lots of improvements with each release.

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981