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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

by Duncan J Murray (#45547541) Attached to: The Burning Bridges of Ubuntu

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.

D

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

by Duncan J Murray (#44902037) Attached to: Why Are Some Hell-Bent On Teaching Intelligent Design?

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

by Duncan J Murray (#44732883) Attached to: EU Proposes To Fit Cars With Speed Limiters

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."

Comment: Having been through medical school... (Score 1) 217

by Duncan J Murray (#44554855) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Med-School Note-Taking?

... I suggest you try to ensure you get handouts and then devote 100% of your concentration to listening and interpreting what you're being told.

If you write things down, you won't look at 90% of it. You will need it all in your memory at some point - either for the exams or when you're practising, so better commit it to memory in the first place. And, no, writing it down does not help with that.

My only warning is never to believe 100% anything anyone teaches you - no-one knows everything about everything, and the evidence and research is always changing.

Comment: So how would this work? (Score 1) 2

by Duncan J Murray (#44538257) Attached to: New Linux Trojan in the Wild

Might be a stupid question here - but, I currently run Ubuntu 10.04 and use Google Chrome. How would this exploit present itself to me? Could I get infected from simply visiting a page? Clicking on an email in gmail? I'm guessing checking my emails in Mutt wouldn't lead to an infection? Would it present a dialog box that is or isn't decorated in my window decoration?

Comment: Quite a lot of problems with the paper (Score 4, Insightful) 418

by Duncan J Murray (#44515011) Attached to: Talking On the Phone While Driving Not So Dangerous After All

Just to list a few:

For starters this is a retrospective, observational (being generous here) cohort study.
I'd like a bit more technical detail on how they ensured that they were measuring mobile calls from cars (they have assurance from the telecommunications company)
They note a 7% rise in what they believe to be car mobile phone calls at 9pm on Monday to Friday on a background of steadily decreasing phone calls from 8pm to 10pm, and they don't mention whether this spike is statistically significant.
The spike in the rise of mobile car use is of a maximum of 1/2 hour before the level reaches pre-9pm levels, and continues to decrease. This interval is short - to notice an effect the recording of the car accidents in their source would have to be pretty precise. Any errors in the reporting of car accidents is probably going to make a 30 min window period difficult to measure.
They haven't analysed the variation in traffic at different times in the evening, which makes comparison at different time periods difficult. If the traffic is less after 9pm, the rate of accidents per car could be higher.

But the main problem is:
To show 'no effect' you need to ensure that your study is powered to make this observation - which they have not done. A 7% rise in mobile usage over 30 minutes would need ?how many crashes to give a statistically significant result that rises above the noise.

To be fair, they mention some of these issues as caveats, but I'm not sure they had enough statistics input for this paper. I would like to see the confidence intervals, how they were calculated, what software was used and what the p-values are. There should be a statisticians name on the paper. Certainly, you can't conclude that mobile phones are not dangerous while driving - you can only say that they found no evidence to show this in this particular study.

Comment: Amiga desktop? (Score 1) 131

by Duncan J Murray (#44502519) Attached to: IBM Opens Up POWER Architecture For Licensing

Anyone want to surmise whether we'll get a desktop machine anytime soon?

Quite fancy a 5Ghz desktop beast running Amiga OS 4.

Just imagine - Full - motion - video. Less than 0 second shutdowns. Deluxe paint loading quicker than you can thumb a floppy in.

Or you could run ubuntu and have the dash load up in the time-frame your short-term memory works in.

D

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