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Comment: This video shows exactly why Linux is not ready... (Score 1) 72

...for the desktop. Why? Because on a six hour old install of the latest version of Linux Mint, Shockwave crashed rendering video unwatchable.

On topic, I really wish these guys well. Been listening to their podcasts for a while (back when they were TuxRadar) and they are knowledgable and fun to listen to.

Liked their work on LXF and look forward to getting my hands on a copy of LV - still hasn't hit newsstands here in New Zealand.

Comment: Would work for some... (Score 3, Interesting) 273

by NonFerrousBueller (#46108149) Attached to: UK Government May Switch from MS Office to Open Source
My wife is a corporate accountant for a large city in New Zealand. I've asked her about this as she uses Excel every day and has used OO/LO at home on occasion (a while back). She says they use so many third-party reporting plugins that work with Excel that a switch to a FS option would be nearly impossible. Word may be crap but Excel will rule the bean-counter world for the time being.

The main bit of software councils need to wean themselves off of is SAP. My jaw nearly hit the floor when I found out the seat license cost for that (I've forgotten the exact amount and am not waking her to find out), and any individual of a company that runs it who enters their own timesheets must hold a seat license, even if that's the only thing they use a computer for in the firm. We're talking thousands of dollars per seat here, not dozens.

Comment: Re:time to stop buying Panasonic TV's I guess. (Score 2) 55

by NonFerrousBueller (#45884531) Attached to: Mozilla Partners With Panasonic To Bring Firefox OS To the TV
No kidding - as if my Panasonic "Smart" TV didn't suck enough already. Twice now we've sat down as a family to Skype with my mother on the other side of the world only to have the telly decide it needed to do an update NOW. Twenty minutes later, the 3 year old is in no mood to sit and talk to grandma, who is already tech-challenged and doesn't understand the hold-up. The inbuilt "OS" is slow and buggy and the UI is atrocious. The YouTube browser tries to do a full search for each letter you enter, so by the time I've laboriously typed "Winnie The Pooh" it's tried to do 15 searches. The matching DVD player is even worse. There are right ways and wrong ways to implement this, I hope Firefox does more right than wrong.

Yeah, this is Slashdot so I should be whipping up some sort of MythTV thingie but I've seen the agony my friend has gone through doing that and seriously, I've got better things to do with my time (see three year old).

Comment: Re:It's probably necessary (Score 1) 521

I remember my Dad's first Datsun pickup (77? 79?) rusted through the bed in a little over a year. Road salt (VT) and non-galvanised steel. He's since bought three more ;)

I'm curious what road salt will do to aluminium. Your john-boat can handle oak leaves, but has it been in salt water?

Repair is the other big issue. Body shops (panel beaters here in NZ) will require new tools and techniques, and the learning curve will be steep with inevitable poor quality work at first. The big pushback here may be from the insurance industry.

Comment: Won't work (Score 1) 1216

Trying to regulate this, as others have pointed out, won't work. There will always be those who can and will find a way around it. I remember Ben and Jerry's attempt at a 5:1 ratio - they had to give it up after they couldn't find/retain high level staff to work for them. Better would be a "name and shame" campaign, offering consumers a chance to take their business to companies who were closer to 20:1 than 400:1. If consumers don't care enough to make that decision in numbers great enough to have an effect, than they are effectively endorsing the high salaries. Not to mention the fact that something like this could NEVER get passed in the US, with the 1% having such a tight control on the way things run.

Comment: Re: WTF ? (Score 1) 72

Only on Slashdot, where people value their privacy, does a question about someone's personal life get modded plus 2.

I was making living arrangements so I could leave my wife. I'll make no apologies as it turned out to be the single best choice I've made in my life in years. Anyone who's lived through a bad marriage could probably sympathise.

Comment: Re:WTF ? (Score 5, Insightful) 72

You're missing the point. These locations already exist, have leases, power, data, and a visual presence. Hopefully paid data will help subsidise these dinosaurs. I haven't used one in almost a decade; it was before I had a cell phone and wanted to call someone that did have a cell phone without my (then) wife knowing about it. Even then the phone didn't take coins, so I had to go into the adjoining dairy (convenience store) to buy card, which I never used up. I sympathise a bit - just a bit - with Telecom as in our neighbourhood these phone boxes are routinely etched or the glass smashed. I have no idea how they've been making money for the last few years.

They did set this network up as free to use for all in the Canterbury area after the quakes, which I thought was nice.

Three-Mile-High Supercomputer Poses Unique Challenges 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the hamsters-have-trouble-at-that-altitude dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Building and operating a supercomputer at more than three miles above sea level poses some unique problems, the designers of the recently installed Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Correlator discovered. The ALMA computer serves as the brains behind the ALMA astronomical telescope, a partnership between Europe, North American, and South American agencies. It's the largest such project in existence. Based high in the Andes mountains in northern Chile, the telescope includes an array of 66 dish-shaped antennas in two groups. The telescope correlator's 134 million processors continually combine and compare faint celestial signals received by the antennas in the ALMA array, which are separated by up to 16 kilometers, enabling the antennas to work together as a single, enormous telescope, according to Space Daily. The extreme high altitude makes it nearly impossible to maintain on-site support staff for significant lengths of time, with ALMA reporting that human intervention will be kept to an absolute minimum. Data acquired via the array is archived at a lower-altitude support site. The altitude also limited the construction crew's ability to actually build the thing, requiring 20 weeks of human effort just to unpack and install it."

Comment: Re:Beats sitting in front of a computer? (Score 2) 201

by NonFerrousBueller (#42466437) Attached to: Google Engineer Shows How To Forge Swords and Knives
I'll have to agree with geekoid. I moved to NZ in 2002. Not having any computer qualifications I decided to pursue an adult apprenticeship as a machinist (Fitter/Turner to those of us in the Commonwealth). Two years of night school and two more years of dealing with the adage of "those that can't, teach". While I enjoy working with my hands and the equipment I get to play with is great, it's hard work with the constant danger of losing fingers or worse. It's hard on 40+ year-old bodies, and the pay is not that great. I'm taking time out to raise our daughter, while my well-paid accountant wife earns the money. I decided to learn a hobby as a profession, and that was a mistake. Should have gone back to school to learn programming or systems administration but getting late for that now.

If you really want a trade, do your market research first. I also suggest a trade where you can fit all your tools in a van; this means you can work for yourself (plumber, sparky). Machinists need rooms full of expensive gear and are forever tied to an employer.

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"