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Comment: Re:F-Droid, FTW (Score 1) 131

by NightWhistler (#45470583) Attached to: 1.2% of Apps On Google Play Are Repackaged To Deliver Ads, Collect Info

F-Droid is pretty awesome... they audit every app in there to make sure it doesn't contain any malware, etc... it's the best example I know of the "have someone you trust check the software for you" principle of Open Source.

The downside is that they tend to lag behind... I've had angry users asking why the version of my app on F-droid didn't have the same features as the one on Google Play, thinking I'd crippled it for commercial purposes when in fact they were simply lagging a couple of versions behind.

Comment: Re:Citation, please. (Score 1) 291

by NightWhistler (#45034473) Attached to: My favorite brand of snake oil is ...

OK, I call straw-man...

OK, protocols... let's see:

  - Select a random group of people in the street, ask them about their most recent dream. You may select the people to prove they are not in on the trick.
  - Hook up a brain-scan and monitor my brain-activity while sleeping... then wake me at random moments, and ask me if I was dreaming. If I can offer better-than-random correlation between moments of enhanced activity in the visual areas of my brain and moments I claimed to be dreaming that's a strong indicator.

Dreams are measurable, both in brain actitity and by other scientifically rigourous methods... no scientific experiment is 100% accurate, but most psychics aren't ever able to get better-than-random results.

Comment: This is scary as hell (Score 1) 145

As the developer of an open-source e-reader app, I have to say this scares the crap out of me... our current dev version has the same type of functionality, though I've always made sure to not include any site in the settings that is not 100% legit.

I hope Moon+ will be back in ther Market soon and that Google thinks twice before removing another app based on complaints from LitRes.

Comment: Re:I wonder what happens with volume licenses? (Score 1) 385

by NightWhistler (#40528885) Attached to: Used Software Can Be Sold, Says EU Court of Justice

As I understand it, the whole point of the law is that those licenses will now need to be changed for the product to be sold in the EU in the first place.

Dutch coverage mentioned that a lot of companies that sell software in the EU will have to change their licensing models to comply with the new rules.

Comment: Re:Seriously (Score 1) 341

Replying to myself to add one important detail: the source code to the synchronization server is also freely available, so anybody that wanted to can just pop it on a Tomcat server somewhere, change the URL in the source code and be up and running for Free.

And yes, this is a tax on non-technical users but I don't see that as a problem. If you know how to change the oil in your car you can do it yourself... if you'd rather pay someone to do it, you go to the garage. Same principle applies here. It's about freedom of choice.

Comment: Re:Seriously (Score 2) 341

This is exactly my experience: people will generally pay for convenience or simply because they like what you're doing.

I develop a GPL'd e-reader app for Android (obligatory self-promotion link), and at first I considered the model described in the article... I finally went a slightly different route. I have 3 versions:

  1. The classic OSS version, which is a straight Maven build from the sources at Github. You can get this from the downloads page on the site and from the FDroid Market. FDroid actually build the binaries they distribute from source themselves.
  2. An ad-supported version in the Google Play Market
  3. A 'pro' version in the Google Play market, which is paid.

The difference between the 3 versions is access to our synchronization servers. You need an access key to use this service, and the classic version has a preference field where you can enter that key. I give out keys to people that contribute translations or help the project in any other way and you can buy them for the same price as the Pro version.

The 2 versions in the Android market have a key built-in, and lack the Preference field to enter one. That's the only difference though.

All versions are GPL'ed with the sources for the classic version directly available from Github, and the patches to create Pro and Ad-supported available on request by e-mail.

So far this model actually worked pretty well... I'm nowhere near being able to quit my day-job, but I make in enough in donations / sales to pay for the hosting and maybe an occasional test-device.

Comment: Re:How DARE they! (Score 1) 515

by NightWhistler (#40164405) Attached to: The Poor Waste More Time On Digital Entertainment

I'm going to follow your reasoning here for a bit.

Say, one of your private police forces messes up badly... they shoot an innocent person and are found liable for it. How will you ensure they pay up or punish the guilty party? You have this big well-armed group which will most likely defend their own... so how can you enforce liability? Send another police force after them? That's a really quick short-cut to a small-scale civil war.

Arbitration is a good mechanism, but ultimately you'll always need some form of safe-guard to make sure both parties actually abide by it...

Comment: Re:No, Thank You, Dear Government (Score 1) 291

by NightWhistler (#37814294) Attached to: UK Government Pushing For 'Trusted Computing'

If you can include your own certificate to be trusted, a lot of the problems would disappear but it would still be a huge step backwards from where we are now: instead of being able to just download a Linux image you'd be back to compiling everything yourself.

There's also the problem of small software companies or invidivuals that write software for a living. Software developers would need to become licenced to receive a key-pair that allows them to sign software so it will actually run. I can see how it would be attractive to governments to be able to trace back any piece of software to the author by means of the key with which it was signed, but it would be a huge blow to personal freedom.

This defintely sounds like yet another attempt to force both the internet and computing in general back into a 20th century world-view with tighter government control. I know I'll be keeping an eye out with my next hardware purchase to make sure my hardware is still mine.

Comment: Re:Sounds interesting (Score 2) 320

by NightWhistler (#37687222) Attached to: Opera Proposes Switching Browser Scrolling For 'Pages'

I was a surprised to see this article, since I also dislike page flipping.

I read a lot of books on my tablet, but one of the first things I looked for was an e-book reader that would allow me to just seamlessly scroll through the book instead of emulating page-turns.

To me having to turn pages was an artifact of paper books... a useful one because it allowed for fast indexing, but since e-books are searchable and support links it's no longer needed. I find it's less straining to my eyes if I don't have to keep jumping from the bottom of the page back to the top, but can just move the text into the 'sweet spot'.

Comment: Re:Nook Color handles 99% of my PDFs (Score 1) 254

by NightWhistler (#37139632) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Ebook Reader for Scientific Papers?

I second this... working on my MSc thesis, and figured I'd give my 2c since it took me some time to find a setup that worked for me. Right now I use: Archos 10 inch tablet with repligo for reading and an Ubuntu netbook with LyX for actual writing.

Repligo handles 2-column document really well: tap the column to bring it up to full screen size, drag your finger over text to colour it... it's like having a virtual bag of magic markers. You can also add annotation text to marked sections.

I sync between my tablet and my netbook through dropbox. It automatically notices when I changed a PDF and uploads the changes. All annotations and markings show up in the PDF reader on my netbook and I can copy-paste the marked sections for easy quoting.

The last tool in my chest is Referencer which I use to save short summaries, thoughts, etc about the papers I've read so I can quickly find a paper again.

Comment: Re:Archos 101 (Score 1) 451

by NightWhistler (#35983760) Attached to: Figuring Out Why Android Wins On Phones, But Not Tablets

OK, can't resist chiming in here...

I'm a very happy owner of an Archos 101... it's a great device, if you're a geek. :)

I'll agree that the built-in browser is only so-so, but Dolphin HD has made browsing a complete pleasure. And of course you need to spend a few minutes hunting around for the Market installer. It also really pays off to set the performance setting to 'overdrive' AKA to disable the normal underclocking.

Archos has been doing a great job in bringing out new firmware versions, and each one has been consistently better than the last.

So, I wouldn't give one to my grandmother, but for all my geek friends I've been warmly recommending it... it's only 300 euros, and you get a huge amount of functionality in exchange.

Comment: Re:what a stupid article (Score 1) 539

by NightWhistler (#35367076) Attached to: Reminiscing Old School Linux

Well, you've made it very clear that you're one of the people that came along later after Linux became more accessible, and prefer it that way. That's completely fine, we're glad to have you on board. But please respect the fact that some people DO like to tinker with things, and DO like a challenge.

In fact, the fact that these people were there at the start is what makes it possible to be where we are now.

I'm also an Ubuntu user these days since I can no longer afford to spend long evenings tinkering on my machine. But I remember the time that I was compiling kernels on Slackware rather fondly. I watched an OS grow up, and I wouldn't have liked to miss that.

Comment: Re:Old School Linux (Score 1) 539

by NightWhistler (#35366832) Attached to: Reminiscing Old School Linux

It was just a basic shell, blinking cursor, and the DOS commands I knew, besides "DIR" did not work. It was a proud moment to get the damned thing, installed and booted up. Even if you didn't know what the hell to do with it, once you got to that point.

I so remember that moment... a flatmate had helped me set up my first Linux box (I think RH5.1), and I was looking at that blinking cursor.

I very vividly remember thinking "OK, now what? Guess I'll have learn to use computers all over again."

I still benefit daily from that moment though, and from the time I invested in learning how things work.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI

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