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Comment: Guitarix (Score 5, Informative) 223

by DrNico (#45250345) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Cross-Platform (Linux-Only) Audio Software?
As everyone has noted, Ardour is great for recording. Another really useful tool is Guitarix which is a fantastic guitar amp and effects modelling piece of open source software. Plug your electric guitar directly into your computer via a USB interface (I use my Rocksmith connector) and you can amp/effect model in Guitarix and record as you play in Ardour. Add the Hydrogen and you've also got your drums playing and sync'ed as you record. As well recording, these make a great set of tools for guitar practice.

Comment: Granting bodies & short term thinking (Score 2) 299

by DrNico (#36313182) Attached to: Why We Have So Much "Duh" Science
The more likely explanation is granting bodies. To apply for substantial funding you need to have a project that has clearly defined outcomes that have a high probability for success. The kind of project that has these properties is "the obvious". The short term is very important too. You need to have something you can publish and report in the first year of publication to ensure the grant bodies stay happy and don't become concerned they have wasted their money, again "the obvious" is a good one. Long term or speculative research is strongly discouraged by the current system and interests of granting bodies world-wide. It is almost inevitable that this happen as the granting bodies want something to report to government (in the short term) to show what a good job they are doing. It's a shame as much better research could be done if it were not for having to think in such short and clearly defined time frames.

Comment: Improve at a faster pace? (Score 2, Interesting) 439

by DrNico (#33514374) Attached to: School Swaps Math Textbooks For iPads
Why on earth would they be expected to "improve at a faster pace than their peers"? Does reading off a screen somehow enter and remain in your brain better than a printed page? The only 'advantage' over the printed page in the project would appear that they get to watch videos on the iPads. But passively watching a video is unlikely to improve outcomes.
I predict they'll actually do worse than the other students. The iPad is an environment full of distractions and passive consumption of media. The students will spend most of their time mucking about with apps like the rest of us.

Comment: Nothing to do but program (Score 1) 426

by DrNico (#33377346) Attached to: 'Retro Programming' Teaches Using 1980s Machines
Having taught myself to program on a Sinclair ZX81 (1K RAM, Z80 chip) it's primary virtue was that there was nothing to do with it but program it. On startup you had a command prompt: there were no games, no internet,no facebook, nothing but an editor for BASIC programs which were then interpreted. So the first question was always, what am I going to make you do today? Programs written in BASIC were a little slow, so I then learnt Z80 machine code which speeded things up and forced me to learn about registers and memory and so on. 1K of memory wasn't a lot to use, so I then got a book which gave the line by line Z80 for the ROM so I could exploit the routines in ROM in my programs, so I learnt about a (very very simple) operating system. While I'd never give up my current linux laptop, I cant help but feel I wouldn't understand 1/10th of the little I do understand if it wasn't for that ZX81. Thanks Mr Sinclair!

Comment: Repeating experiment is bollocks (Score 1) 349

by DrNico (#28846027) Attached to: Should Copyright of Academic Works Be Abolished?
As someone who as published around 45 papers, the idea that you'd have to repeat an experiment rather than reference the original work is bollocks. This is a "I had a friend whose cousin heard that" type story. The point is that the journal may have copyright on the text of the article as it is published the journal, but that is about all. They do not own the results of the experiment, and they would not want to. For a journal today, the most important number is impact factor, the average number of times a journal is cited by other articles. They spend considerable amounts of their time working out how they improve impact factor. The last thing in the world they would do is introduce any mechanism that stop researchers citing their papers. While in some cases it would breach copyright to have the pdf of your article on your web site, there is no reason no to link to the pdf on the journal website. This might restrict access in that the person wishing to view the article may need to have a subscription (usually through their university library) to access the content. But many of the journals now are either open access, or just restrict access for 6 months then make it open. I personally believe that all articles should be open access and publishable without expensive page charges, particularly to allow access to researchers in less developed countries, but making wild claims about "someone" not being able to cite your own results is only going to damage the cause.

Comment: Once e-books are ubiquitous (Score 2, Insightful) 468

by DrNico (#27929235) Attached to: Copyright Infringement of Books
I'm sure Cory is right that, at the moment, electronic versions entice more readers. However, that's because currently there aren't so many electronic versions of popular recent books. So if you're reading e-books, you're quite likely to find Cory's work, and perhaps start reading more of his stuff. But what happens when the market is flooded with e-books? You read your favourite authors and Cory gets nothing if you haven't already found, liked and are prepared to pay for his writing.

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