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Comment: Perhaps, but I wouldn't hold my breath. (Score 1) 328

by Robert Frazier (#45724843) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can Digital Music Replace Most Instrumental Musicians?

Background music, perhaps, although my notion of background music is along the lines of chamber music. Foreground music, not any time soon.

The last concert I went to was Haydn's Creation played by a good symphony orchestra and sung by a good choir (with exceptional soloists). Before that it was Mahler's 6th (Tragic) played by an outstanding symphony orchestra. I suspect that I'll be long dead and buried (burnt or composted) before anything like those sounds can be produced electronically, or even reproduced electronically (recordings are still pale reflections). Given that, I don't see any reason why it won't eventually happen.

Best wishes,

Comment: Ah, this explains the increase in dependencies. (Score 2) 73

I was wondering why the last upgrade (Debian) on my server resulted (unhappily) in LibreOffice being installed.

Owncloud is very useful. I use it for file syncing, calendar, contacts, firefox (iceweasel) sync, etc. I've been using it for about 6 months, and, so far, it has been reliable.

Best wishes,

Comment: Re:A problem (Score 1) 152

by Robert Frazier (#45481957) Attached to: MATE To Make It Into Debian Repositories

One of the neat things about having relatively powerful computers is that we can have standards in infrastructure while being able to tailor the interface to reflect our preferences. So, for example, I can use imap for e-mail, but have a wide variety of interfaces available. I use a full feature interface on a desktop (could be icedove; could be mutt), but a lighter interface on an Android device (K-9 mail). So, standardization across users is very well in its place, but its place isn't across the user interface. Thanks, Debian folks, for providing lots and lots of alternatives. (I use awesome window manager + rxvt + gnuit/gitfm + ....)

Best wishes,

Comment: To install linux. (Score 1) 240

I have linux installed on my Asus Fonepad side by side with Android, allowing me to turn my phone/tablet into a nifty little netbook (using a bluetooth keybord). I like having a full LaTeX installation available, if I want to do some writing. It isn't clear to me that I could do this without root (especially if I want to run services on privileged ports). If I can't do this with Android 4.3, I will have to rethink upgrading to it, when it becomes available.

Best wishes,

Comment: Re:Misdirected problem (Score 1) 376

by Robert Frazier (#44369781) Attached to: The Last GUADEC?

I suspect that you are correct. That certainly describes my situation and my wife's. I built a desktop with an Intel i3 2100 and SSD storage when Sandybridge mini-itx boards became available. I've no desire or motivation to change it. It does what I want. I run a lightweight "roll your own" desktop, using the awesome window manager as the base.

However, I have bought a number of computers since then: An Intel DM2800MT motherboard to build a router/NAS/owncloud/music streamer/etc., 2 x Raspberry PI's for dedicated NTP servers, 2 x Nokia N800 devices (used) for streaming music, 2 x Allwinner A10 based Android tablets for streaming music, and an Asus Fonepad for phone, tablet, ereader and netbook. (In netbook mode, the Fonepad runs full-fat linux and I use a bluetooth keyboard).

In the near future, I can see myself buying more low power (both in energy use and CPU goodness) computers for specialized tasks.much more easily than seeing myself buying another full-fledged desktop.

Best wishes,

Comment: A hostage to fortune. (Score 1) 250

One of the things I've liked most about linux (and other *nix systems, such as FreeBSD) is that a system is build up of small programs that you can combine in various ways to get someone that pleases you, the user. That's the unix way. For example, my "desktop" is a combination of a number of programs, including a display manager, window manager, terminal, and file manager. It turns out that I can replace one part (for whatever reason) and get an overall desktop that works in the same way. And it has looked the same for some time. Some might think it reflects an unwillingness to change, others might think it reflects a desire for some consistency and predictability. Take your pick.

This consistency over time is difficult to maintain with the monolithic, graphically orientated programs such as firefox/iceweasel, thunderbird/icedove[1], and the Gimp. This is sad making. What would be nice is if firefox provided basic services, e.g., a first rate rendering engine/Gecko, while making most of the rest of it (e.g., interface) simply a set of addons. That would be the unix way.

[1] For a variety of reasons, I had to move from using mutt and remind to icedove and iceowl. This was over a year ago, and I'm still trying to recover from the shock.

Best wishes,

Comment: Re:Wide access, high standards and high completion (Score 1) 141

by Robert Frazier (#43786303) Attached to: What Professors Can Learn From "Hard Core" MOOC Students

Surely having high standards in teaching means making yourself a better teacher, naturally resulting in a high completion rate and pass rate? Low completion rate means there's gaps in your teaching. Yes, there's gaps in everybody's teaching, and it's our job to fill the gaps...

Many courses have prerequisites and/or require a certain ability or talent. Not everyone will have the require prerequisites, ability and talent. Even good teaching can't overcome a lack of all of these.

Having easy access means that people can have a go, even if it looks, on paper, that they aren't qualified for the particular course. What matters is that they think they can do the work, or, at least, they hope they can do the work. The hope educationally is that some will succeed who wouldn't meet standard admissions criteria, and that more people will take the chance who wouldn't if the costs in time (including fitting it in with other responsibilities) and money were much higher.

My view is that we want to lower the risks to the students and the folks offering the courses while retaining very high standards.

Best wishes,

Comment: Wide access, high standards and high completion .. (Score 1) 141

by Robert Frazier (#43777495) Attached to: What Professors Can Learn From "Hard Core" MOOC Students

Easy access, high standards and high completion rate. Pick any two.

Although, I teach at a place with high standards and a high completion rate, but with a very selective admissions policy, I think that another good strategy is to have easy access and high standards, even at the cost of a high completion rate. That's what these sort of courses might provide.

I'm not keen on dropping standards in favour of easy access and a high completion rate. However, there is always a pressure to improve the completion rate so that the money looks well spent. Completion rate is easier to measure than, say, how much the course helps the people taking it to flourish.

Best wishes,

Comment: I'm with you on this. (Score 2) 74

by Robert Frazier (#43711877) Attached to: Linux 3.10 Merge Windows Closes

I'm happy to see the story. I regularly look at 4 or 5 websites, only 2 of which have anything to do with computing technology, and this is one of them, which I've been following for quite a while. So, although it may not be ideal, I still get most of my technology updates on slashdot. (Other than ones in which I'm professionally interested, the site I spend most time on also deals with technology, but of a different sort: mechanical watches.)

Best wishes,

Comment: Re:Allwinner is a dog (Score 1) 121

Very kind of you. I would never turn up my nose at a medal.

That it is inexpensive is what makes it interesting. I can afford to dedicate an Allwinner A10 tablet as a glorified remote control/streamer for MPD, one with the ability to check my mail and browse. I also use it to shut down various computers when I leave the house. I can take one apart, without worrying too much about whether I can get it back together. I would be much less inclined to use it this way if it were more expensive.

As for the Raspberry PI, also inexpensive and relatively underpowered (although I've run webservers on computers that had less get up and go), I can dedicate one to experiments using a GPS time receiver with PPS to discipline the Raspberry's system clock in order to have my own stratum 1 timeserver.

These may not be things you are inclined to do, which is fair enough.

Best wishes,

Comment: Allwinner is a winner. (Score 4, Interesting) 121

I have a couple of tablets with Allwinner A10 SOC. Even better, there are development boards available with SOC, and some of them are Open Hardware, well documented boards. If you look at Wikipedia's list of Single Board Computers,
you will find the Allwinner on a number of development boards, such as the A13-OLinuXino, Cubieboard, Gooseberry, and Hackberry. In addition to Allwinner tablets, I have a couple of Raspberry PI SBCs. I'm hoping to get one of the Allwinner based development boards in order to see how it compares to the Raspberry.

Best wishes,

"Life sucks, but it's better than the alternative." -- Peter da Silva