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Comment: Microsoft store (Score 1) 898

by El Cabri (#35633538) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Choose a Windows Laptop?

My advice would be to go to a Microsoft store, a brick and mortar one if there's such a thing around where you live, or http://store.microsoft.com otherwise. It's a one-stop display of the best models for each niche and market segment. The redundancy will be very reduced and all the non-competitive models will be filtered out. And when you buy from them, you get your laptop with a custom system install without the brand bloat/crapware, which enhances the out-of-the-box experience considerably.

Comment: It was basically free already. (Score 1) 241

by El Cabri (#32573392) Attached to: Starbucks Frees Wi-Fi

By registering a Starbucks card and buying with it once a month, customers already got 2 hrs/day of free wifi with the AT&T hotspots in Starbucks coffeeshops, and I'm pretty sure I occasionaly stayed longer than that without being disconnected. Also most of the Starbucks in my area are, for example, Verizon hotspots that could be used by Verizon customers, and I noticed that because I am one, it could also apply to other ISPs.

Comment: It's not Microsoft RESEARCH's offering... (Score 2, Interesting) 267

by El Cabri (#31051656) Attached to: An Interview With F# Creator Don Syme

...of a functional language, it is simply Microsoft's offering of a functional language. The former statement sounds like it's one of the dozens of functional languages fostered in academia, for academia to play with. The whole difference here is that, as of Visual Studio 2010, F# becomes a fully productized and supported language in the .NET world. That's really what's exciting for functional language geeks, because never before a real, modern functional language of the generation built in academia in the 90s, like OCaml and Haskell, had such a mainstream backing.

Comment: HTML5, SVG, etc = BS (Score 0, Flamebait) 675

by El Cabri (#30879014) Attached to: Mozilla's VP of Engineering On H.264

I really don't understand why Silicon Valley type geeks get so excited about the alleged advent of "free" and "standard" web technologies such as HTML5 and SVG. First, as this story illustrates, these are not "free". More importantly, these are not "standard". SVG for example has existed as a finalized, commitee underwritted standard for more than eleven years now, yet not a single browser supports more than a subset of it, and each a different subset. Even if it had been supported by IE from the beginning (Adobe doesn't even bother to support their plug-in btw), web developpers would have faced the pain of making their app working across browser, which is bad enough currently with the JS situtation.

Instead of having these commitee designed pseudo "standard" existing in abstract document and leaving it up to multiple browser and platforms to implement their own interpretation of it, I much prefer the model in which a few vendors develop mature plug-ins such as Flash or Silverlight that are guaranteeded to work the same whatever they're plugged into. Yes these are "proprietary" but so are your OS and drivers if you run Windows or MacOSX, so is the design of your CPU and GPU, etc.

Better having working platforms which empower a multitude of developpers to get working stuff out to the public than abstract, broken chimeras that burden developers with absurd compatibility and licensing issues.

Ponder over the original story and the paradox that the FOSSest browser out there might be actually better off loading a proprietary Flash or SL plug in than implement a "Free" HTML5 "standard"

Comment: Hardly improves on an old method (Score 3, Interesting) 225

by El Cabri (#28985391) Attached to: Playing a First-Person Shooter Using Real Guns

Reminds me of basic training in the army in the 70s. A projection screen is rolled around two rotating vertical cylinders, one on the left and one on the right, therefore forming a "double layer screen". A movie is projected on the front of the screen and light also shines from the back. The trainee shoots at the screen, where the movie representing the advancing enemy is running. At the "bang", the movie projector freezes the frame and we can see light shining from the back through the two aligned holes in the front and back screens. The instructor can determine whether it's a hit and then the cylinders are rotated so that the front and back holes are not aligned anymore and the impact disappears, and the exercise continues.

Comment: "The non-open and proprietary..." blah blah (Score 4, Insightful) 130

by El Cabri (#28127935) Attached to: Lightweight C++ Library For SVG On Windows?

That's just ideological drivel. The point is, SVG is a " standard " with a nice w3c.org - hosted spec and a nice diversified, academy-industry panel of contributors, but the fact remains, that in the 10 years since it became a standard, nobody really cares. Even browsers that support it officially only support subsets of it. The pragmatic reality is that it's a standard only in name, not in fact. If you want something with a clean, complete, consistent documentation describing a real, working, complete, multi-platform implementation, then what you call " proprietary" solutions are actually the way to go. Read the actual license terms for them and you'll see there's actually NOTHING that they prevent you to do, that you'll likely to have any interest in doing.

Comment: Why ? (Score 1) 1055

by El Cabri (#28108829) Attached to: What Free IDE Do You Use?

Why "don't you get much choice about using an IDE" on Windows ?
There's nothing you can do on Unix-style boxes that you cannot do on Windows.
Just download the Windows SDK for free from the Microsoft Download website, it comes with the command line VC++ compiler, and then install VIM or EMACS and ther you go, you can feel right at home.

Comment: The problem is... (Score 1) 60

by El Cabri (#27777611) Attached to: Cheap 3D Motion Sensing System Developed At MIT

That since most of the cost resides in doing something useful with the data (completely producing the images), the time and talent of the people that are _in_ the suits, etc, the producers really don't give a frak that their motion capture system costs $1000, $15000 or even $100000. What they want is something that is proved to work, that technicians are familiar with, and that you can readily rent by the hour along with the facility it's located in. So thank you Media Lab for another useless gadget.

Comment: Re:Missing option: (Score 1) 913

by El Cabri (#27614321) Attached to: To the extent there are taxes, I mostly favor ...

It's actually very difficult to really understand who's really affected by a tax. Very often it's not the person who writes the check. For example if you increase a tax on the business profits, to a certain extent the shareholders of the business will tend to react by increasing the pressure on the operating costs in order to preserve their net earning, which means the salaries will be lower. If the job market allows it, that is, which obviously is the case now.

Another example, is that of the progressive income tax. However steep the progression is, and how high the marginal rates are, the following assertion will always be true : if you earn more, you keep more. And a lot of what constitutes the way of life of the wealthy is not based on production costs, but on comparison : "My mansion by the lake is bigger than yours because I could offer more money than you to the person that was selling it than you could". So if you increase the rates, the actual effect on the standard of living will actually be small since the wealth hierarchy will stay the same.

What's really important to look at is how a _change_ in the tax code will affect people, trying to factor in all higher degree effects. And it's very difficult.

Comment: Re:Is LaTeX worth it for humanities/soc. sciences? (Score 1) 328

by El Cabri (#27219825) Attached to: Collaborative Academic Writing Software?

Word uses a paragraph composing algorithm that is at least as sophisticated as TeX's. Actually, Knuth's published papers ARE the basis of it. It's otherwise much more sophisticated in its supports of bidirectional, vertical and mixed vertical/horizontal text layouts, and even more so in table composition and mixing text with graphics.

The problem with TeX and LaTeX, beyond the fact that it they have never got a frontend that would put them within grasp of non-technical users, is that actually their typographical references are pretty old themselves and date back to an era dominated by the printed book. Even shoeing it in the constraints of the periodic scientific publications with its multi-column layouts and other constraints has, back in the days around 1990, involved significant overhead development and hacking of the platform. With the new dominance of on-screen reading, dynamic composition, rendering as slides, hyperlinking, mixing with graphics, it's getting less and less competitive.

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