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Comment: Re:I wonder how much damage... (Score 3, Insightful) 174

by fermion (#46779659) Attached to: Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?
Excel is about the only component in the MS Office suite that is still arguably superior. When it came out on the Mac almost 30 years ago it was revolutionary. And this is from someone who was quite adept at Visicalc and Quattro. OTOH, it is my wish that no one use MS Powerpoint anymore. It is dated and ugly. MS Word is truly useful in a few use cases, buy mostly it is just that people know how to use to get simple tasks done and teaching them how to complete those tasks differently is cost prohibitive.

Due to the way MS products are licensed, and the cost of training, and the fact that the average person gets confused easily with software, it is cheaper for large organizations to buy the MS products for use by the minority of users that actually need it.

Comment: Depends (Score 2) 201

by fermion (#46778741) Attached to: SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon
if you are talking about throw away worker drones or server machines, then no. There is no data on these machine, the costs to swap them out are minimal. I recall a place that had racks of a few hundred machines, a dedicated person to swap them out, and two died a day. Putting anything but the cheapest product in there would have been a waste of money. But the data machines, those were special. Probably cost more than the combined servers the fed to.

Likewise, worker bee machines that are pretty much dumb terminals are not going to use SSD. But other machines that people actually do and store work on, that may be something different.

Look, tape is on the order of penny per gigabyte. Hard disks are somewhere between 5-10 cents a gigabyte. SSD is about 50 cents a gigabyte. Many people still back up onto hard disk even though tape is more reliable. We are going to use SSD because there are benefits that justify the order of magnitude increase.

Comment: Re:Make Magazine (Score 1) 268

by fermion (#46776137) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?
One thing that surprises me is that every talks about Byte, but not the spin off of a great column in Byte, Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar. Circuit Cellar is a bit expensive, and very technical, but if you like really making hardware it is a must. Circuit Cellar is the part of byte that was hardware making. There was another part that review and broad industry connections, another part that was software, and of course the musings of Jerry Pournelle. If you are into reading international English fiction, Granta is also a must have.

Comment: Re:Spare Change (Score 3, Insightful) 301

And this brings up charity versus philanthropy.

Charity is something you do because you believe you are wealthy enough to give someone money with no strings attached. This is what the salvation army wants you to do during Christmas. Not thinking that your money is going to be used to promote hate, teach people that science is bad, and generally ruin the minds of children. But many people still give because charity is good.

Then there is philanthropy. That occurs when people with money want to control the world. They decide what is best for everyone, and use their funds to make it happen. It is no better or worse than charity, just different.

Comment: Re:The sad part here... (Score 1) 207

by fermion (#46773387) Attached to: Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago
This was not really an innovative product for the time. The Apple Newton had full network capability, for instance. I know I had it connected to the internet and think I had a basic web browser. When the internet was pushed to the public, there were a number of dedicated machines, or internet appliances, that were introduced to the market, most few have heard of because they were failures. WebTV was a big one, I only know how it worked because I had to visit a dealer to fix a bug on a website I was working on. there were others during the 2000 time frame, but mostly the technology was not there.

Comment: Re:All I can say to that is... (Score 2) 66

When I converted a family member from MS Office to Pages years ago it was a struggle. The expectation was that there was only one way for a such an application to work, and that was defined by MS Office. Everything that was different was wrong, everything that missing was a glare. I get that. Most people in the US at least were trained on MS Office and they don't know anything different. OTOH, I got through the struggles, and Pages did the job as well as anything.

I have seen a similar situations with open textbooks. I have seen lately several that have clearly used MS Word. The layout and formulas are awful. I do technical work in LaTex. Obviously, because these authors have never used anything else but MS Office, and when all one has it a hammer everything is a nail, they just assumed that MS Word is the best thing to in which to write a book.

As an aside, I did write a short, 60 pagish, book back in the late 90's. I specifically chose OO.org because it had some features at the time that made putting together such a thing very easy. Also, 10 years ago, OO.org was much better at open old MS Word files than MS Word. Ms Word is still the absolute best way to right a Memo. MS Excel is still the best spreadsheet, but it is no longer so good that it is the only choice for many projects. MS Powerpoint is the worst presentation creator that I have used. OO.org, Libreoffice is better, and Keynote used to be way better before Apple shoehorned it into the iPad and made that the official version.

MS Ofiice is the defacto format for file transfer though, and because MS is horrible at managing such a thing is becoming increasingly difficult to see such files with an MS tool.

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