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Comment Re:IBM FireFox? (Score 4, Interesting) 200

The major Linux distributions, like Red Hat, would probably chip in. Part of the reason that Linux has any desktop market share at all is because Firefox runs on it, and many major sites support it. If people couldn't access their banking sites, YouTube, etc. with their Linux browser, they would replace their Linux desktop with Windows. Or, in the case of netbooks, buy the Windows version instead of the Linux one.


IWF Backs Down On Wiki Censorship 226

jonbryce writes "The Internet Watch Foundation, guardians of the Great Firewall of Britain, have stopped censoring Wikipedia for hosting what they considered to be a child porn image. They had previously threatened to block Amazon for hosting the same image." Here is the IWF's statement, which credits the Streisand Effect for opening their eyes: "...in light of the length of time the image has existed and its wide availability, the decision has been taken to remove this webpage from our list. Any further reported instances of this image which are hosted abroad, will not be added to the list. ... IWF's overriding objective is to minimize the availability of indecent images of children on the internet, however, on this occasion our efforts have had the opposite effect."

Comment Re:Stop calling Apple products intuitive (Score 5, Insightful) 454

A better term might be "discoverable". If you can play with it and figure out what it does without consulting the manual or asking someone else, then it has high "discover-ability". Combine that with "consistent": knowledge of one part of the system helps you to use other parts of the system that you haven't tried yet. Those terms together get at what many people mean when they say "intuitive"

From the time I've spent playing with demo iPhones and Touches the interface was pretty easy to understand. When you turn the phone sideways, it goes into landscape mode and it pretty much does that everywhere, so it is consistent. It is also consistent with what I would expect in the real world; if I'm orienting the screen sideways, I probably want to use it so the long edge is the top now. You can also learn that pretty easily just by trying it, so it is also discoverable. When the iPhone breaks consistency, like the lack of a landscape keyboard in some apps, people complain, which indicates that consistent behavior is part of what we think of as "intuitive".

Zooming in and out works by pinching and pulling, which isn't very discoverable, but it makes sense a certain amount of real-world logical sense ( I'm stretching a photo to make it bigger, squishing it to make it smaller). Once you learn it, you can try that same action in other places and it will do pretty much what you expect (discoverable and consistent). Of course, you can get away with some of those things on a media player because many operations aren't really destructive; you can play with the device to see how it works. If stretching a word processing document ripped it in half and deleted it, that would probably be a different story.

I've tried the Android emulator a bit, so I have some familiarity with the interface. I think I could pretty much figure out how to do most things I'd want to do with it, but it definitely has the feeling of a computer interface shrunk to fit a phone. I think it is discoverable, but from playing with it and reading the reviews, it isn't consistent, so it ultimately isn't as discoverable as the iPhone is.

The iPhone software, on the other hand, feels more like it is purpose-built for the phone; like a part of the device as opposed to running on it. Even the main screen evokes a keypad layout like a touch tone phone rather than the desktop metaphor that Android shoehorns in.

Ultimately, I think that is Android's major challenge. It can't easily become part of a device out of the box because it could run on a range of hardware, while the iPhone software only has to support the iPhone and can blend smoothly with the hardware experience. This is in some ways more important than the relationship of Windows and OS X to their various hardware since we have certain expectations about how a phone should perform that PC's don't have. There is potential for Android to become more discoverable and consistent; personally I'm going to wait for the next Android phone to see if it has improved.

Monitor a Linux Box With Machine Generated Music 114

mcappel writes "Linux and Unix admins are familiar with vmstat and top, which are visual tools displaying the health of a computer. chordStats adds a new interface to a system monitoring setup — information passed through tone, timbre, and harmony. IBM's Nathan Harrington, who wrote Knock Some Commands Into Your Laptop, created a simple Perl script to send note events to FluidSynth that forces various system events to be interpreted as a part of a harmonious interval, and looks at options for enhancing a musical system monitor."

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev