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Comment Re:Good luck ... (Score 2) 75

Hang on...

The data for the 100'000 genomes project is held securely as confidential data and is not available to companies. Not that I'm sure what they'd be patenting anyway.

Luckily this child lives in the UK, so there is no need to worry about being denied medical care for her condition.

Just understanding the mutation is a long step from being able to do something about, so yes, maybe sometime in the future there will be a patented and very expensive treatment available (or not available as the case may be). However, if someone else wants to develop that treatment and provide it cheaply no one is stopping them. This is not how I'd like the world of pharma to work, but unless a democracy are consciously happy to pay a lot of taxes into a high-risk world of pharmaceutical development, it isn't going to change soon.

Comment My setup (Score 1) 125

I find virtual desktops helpful when working on a large single project which requires many files, webpages and applications to contribute to the final result.

For example, if I'm creating a scientific document in Latex, this is what I do:

4 desktops
1: (far left) - my working directory is open, with webpages and pdf files used for referencing
-I can drag files from my working directory to other workspaces and drop them into the relevant application from here.
2: usually an application like a spreadsheet or R (statistics) which will be involved in creating content in the document
3: graphics software (I use gimp, but I find graphics software is a bit of a hog with your workspace, so it gets one all for itself) for finishing off or creating figures
4: (far right) Latex source, terminal and output PDF for my document.

I then use alt-1,2,3,4 to flick between them and alt-` to call up my application launcher and obviously alt-tab to switch windows. That way the alt key is used for window management, the keys are in a similar place, and, visually and mentally, 1,2,3,4 represent my extended desktop.

Switching virtual desktops like this also helps with any neck strain - my neck is always facing forward and I'm not spending any time with my head at an angle.

Your use case sounds quite particular - I don't tend to have multiple projects open at the same time. If I did, I'd probably create several users and switch when I wanted to change projects. Another way might be to create a 4x4 array of workspaces with each row for a given project (if I did that I'd need to do something clever with keyboard input so I could still use alt-1,2,3,4). Using VMs sounds a bit resource-inefficient.

I personally find virtual desktops a good way of organising and compartmentalising parts of my workflow, and it solves the problems inherent when you have too many windows open on a single desktop (i.e. finding a specific window, or representing your applications on a taskbar or overview). However, it does have a cost in that it requires an extra thought process to be made when switching applications - which is whether your app is on your current workspace or another. Gnome seems to have a neat way of dealing with this, but I find their task-switcher overview, and vertically-limited workspaces to be too much of a hindrance.

Comment Re:Well That About Wraps It Up For God (Score 1) 755

Nice thought experiment, but why is it that God?

Before we knew what was outside of our milkyway, was the universe God?

I suppose you mean by using the term 'figment of some higher being's imagination', you imply that we exist in the already-nebulous concept of consciousness of a brain in a physical universe that doesn't bare any relation to our physical universe.

But I'm still not sure why we need to call this God.

Comment It will be... (Score 1) 303


There's a reason ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10 were seen as high points of the ubuntu story. I've been using unity, gnome 3 and crunchbang since then, and was worried that returning to a gnome 2 style interface would be like trying to recreate a particularly great drunken night out when you were a student - best left as a good memory. My worries were unfounded. Ubuntu-mate is fast, effective, efficient and looks great. I don't find I miss the extra gimmicks unity and gnome 3 have, and I appreciate the well-developed window and workspace management, file manager, even the simple places menu and add launcher functionailty with kupfer.

Comment Re:Apple? (Score 1) 421

MS has done nothing to prevent a PC from being sold without an OS

They may have even said that they will raise the price if they don't make all their machines come with Windows

You can get away with this when you're not a monopoly.

Comment Re:Thankful for the FOSS drivers on older hardware (Score 1) 134

For me (a relative non-techie for this site) I find the more open-source I have on my computer, the easier it is to update the system without things breaking. I can just go to synaptic and check all updates and let it run. A lot of proprietary drivers don't play nicely with the package management, or require a manual install. Aside from that I also find them a bit glitchy, although there's no denying that if you need fps then there is no alternative.

So in summary, I find if you're not needing them for gaming/3D, then the open source drivers give a more consistent experience and mesh nicely with the rest of the system.

Comment What's the secret formula? (Score 1) 346

Why is it that the linux kernel, as an open source project, doesn't seem to receive this scorn, whereas so many other open-source projects do - i.e. gnome, kde, ubuntu ?

Is it because the linux kernel generally doesn't complete revamp things. Linus proudly announced that there would be nothing exciting in the 3.0 kernel.

Or is it because the linux kernel is more of a community thing? It sounds like Linus doesn't do much 'directing' - he simply agrees or disagrees with patches. The linux kernel is like a sandcastle built up very slowly by millions of ants, with no large interventions, such as a spade. Whereas other opensource projects seem to get razed and re-built on a regular basis.

On the other hand, when linus got frustrated with the version control system, he did entirely build his own one. But this isn't a fair comparison because the system they were using was not open-source.

If a desktop GUI took the kernel model of development - i.e. lots of very small incremental changes - would we want to use it? Is this xfce's development model?

On a slight red-herring, a lot of people here mention centos and red hat. What is Red Hat going to do for a desktop GUI? They can't seriously be thinking of going to gnome 3? MATE is probably not stable enough.


Comment Re:God of the Gaps (Score 1) 1293

From the Bible: "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the word was God." ( John 1:1 ). The Word in my understanding is the basic physical laws that runs this universe. The same stuff scientists study. It was science who convinced me that there is some sort of intelligence out there which resulted in the formation of me and everything I observe. The religious people call this God, Spirit, and all sorts of other names, but it seems to be a universal human observation that we are likely not the top in the chain of command in the Universe.

I enjoyed reading your post. I'm not completely clear on where you stand after coming to the end of it, but I get the sense you are a theist, but believe in a God which represents the abstract laws of the universe - something which is greater than what we understand at the moment. I don't know if you've read Dawkins' book, The God Delusion, but he has a whole chapter devoted to theists or agnostics of this sort. He has several arguments against these ideas of God - they mainly go along the line of - if you believe in a God which created the universe and it's laws, but doesn't bear any current interaction with the universe, then your reasoning requires a God-creator, ad infinitum - this isn't a satisfactory explanation for the universe. If your God _is_ the laws of the universe, then your definition of God is sketchy and almost impossible to differentiate between what we discover in Physics.

Personally, I was brought up Catholic. Like yourself, I never bought into the beliefs 100%, but I did see how particularly rules were beneficial to society and the individual, and generally followed them. My belief of God was, I think, similar to yours - something higher and deeper to the meaning of the universe as we understand it at present. Maybe external to our universe, not necessarily conscious, not necessarily a physical being.

In more recent years, I have changed my mind on both premises. Yes, the bible can be interpreted in ways that fit your ethical belief system, but why do this when you can think for yourself? Yes, there are aspects of the universe that we don't understand on a fundamental level, but why call it God?

Comment 100k miles of commuting has changed my mind (Score 3, Interesting) 732

on speed cameras. When I started out I didn't see the harm in speeding on our UK motorways (although I was vehemently against speeding in residential areas), and was largely opposed to the average speed cameras seen round the M25 and M42.

However, after so many miles of experiencing idiots driving erratically - speeding up/slowing down - some doing 90+ others doing 50mph, and having to continually be on the look out, overtaking, changing lanes just so I could drive with a consistent speed, I've decided average speed check cameras are the way to go. They stabilise the whole traffic, and generally everyone ends up driving almost exactly 70mph. There is a lot less stress, fuel economy is better than at 70, and there's much less slowing down and speeding up, which is also good for economy and safety.

If average speed cameras work - why use electronic limiters? There are very rare occasions when you need a bit of speed to do something safely, particularly at slower speeds (i.e. overtaking a cyclist or slower moving vehicle), and if there are any errors in the system, it could put people's lives at risk. Better to let the driver weigh up safety versus a speeding fine in those situations.

Comment Re:IP Rights (Score 4, Informative) 119

"In 2002-2003, I was the Chief Technology Officer for a Boston-based hardware research and development firm, Advanced Wireless Automation (AWA)."

"Based upon my equity ownership in the company and the fact that all AWA computing resources were conducted on my own personal equipment using my own datacenter and my Internet connection, it is well within my right to auction off the backups related to the now-defunct AWA."

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