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Comment You have to pick an area and focus (Score 2) 206

There is so much innovation these days that it has transcended the separation-by-OS that used to handily signal where and what kind of changes you could expect. As an example, if you're looking for an experimental graphical terminal emulator it turns out you can use it in Windows and OS X, but not in Linux. But the point is, it's not available on one OS in particular and it's even a virtue now to be cross-platform. There's so much new tech out there and it all happens on a huge variety of platforms. So trying out new tech is just a matter of focusing (for example: system software, graphics software, hardware support, kernel-level new stuff, software in embedded systems, hardware sensors, etc.) and then deciding what the required resources are to dive in on that specific level. What OS or OSes would be best, what packages should you install, and so on.

Going back to your examples, 3D/VR desktop work has been going on since the 80s at least, and AI before that, and "drastically better performance" has always been on peoples' minds. The GUI mashups even ring a bell, though everything is so scriptable these days that anyone who's doing a GUI mashup would probably be less frustrated just typing it into a reusable script. These aren't new topics, they change over time incrementally, and the only advice I can give is to make sure you are _really_ looking at the high-end tech that you think you are. If you are frustrated with a slow system, did it cost less than $10K? Because that's commodity-level pricing. If you are frustrated with the 3D effects you just enabled on your desktop, did you really research the state of the art? And so on.

Also, just to nitpick--you say Ubuntu is dumbed-down in "default configuration" but Windows and OS X are dumbed down by default too, aren't they? That's why you have package managers, Ninite, the App Store, etc. Restore your purchases or download a set of things and you're out of the dumbzone.

Comment Re:I prefer to browse the local library. (Score 1) 83

I do the same with gifts (usually because it's a last-minute thing), but lately I've been looking at AbeBooks before Amazon. In most cases I'm looking for books that have been out for longer than a year and it's amazing how many almost-recently-published books are available for the cost of shipping (around $3.50 USD). I make sure I'm buying from a bookseller that's relatively close to my location and things arrive quickly, too. We did a lot of Christmas book shopping that way last year and I have zero complaints about the book quality. Amazon holds my main wish list and I still buy a bunch of stuff there, but if I can support a smaller bookseller and reduce waste, that's a bonus. Plus the recent Amazon Smile thing kind of upset me with its de facto stinginess WRT Amazon's resources vs. Amazon's claims of great social contributions.

Comment Named after my favorite Styx song (Score 1) 33

From what I understand, the existing theory of UV dust excitement is pretty solid...sometimes I wish people would keep their own spoiler theories to themselves, especially when we send up a multi-million dollar spacecraft and the conclusion is "yep, it's like we always thought." KEEP IT TO YOURSELF IT WAS A SURPRISE TO ME UNTIL NOW.

Comment OS X Upgrade Fear (Score 3, Insightful) 362

I'm still on Lion. I have a 2011 MBP and I'm thinking I might stay on Lion. I'll be handing it down to my wife and would consider the big version upgrade, but my recent experience with iOS upgrades was that the new OS was way more resource-intensive than the old, even though people told me it'd be so great and Apple doesn't do upgrades that slow your machine down, etc. Thoughts? Should I think about an upgrade to Mavericks?

Comment How it works and what it is (Score 1) 17

I had to search around. Here's a bit that's kind of buried on the Kickstarter site:

Through our web-interface you can then upload your code to our exact replica of the satellite on the ground and make sure that it works as intended. Once youâ(TM)ve worked out any bugs in your experiment (not that you would ever have any...) we will run a final test before it is uploaded into space to ArduSat. Now your code is running in space, steering the satellite and gathering data! Once the time you have booked on ArduSat is expired, we will send back the data to you via the internet.

That seems pretty cool. No wonder so many people are signing up to participate (just looking at their participation page).

Comment How are they going to do this? (Score 1) 55

With ~30% of the month over, they've raised less than a quarter of what they need. I don't see how this will succeed in getting funding, but I hope it works out. Although something about the way they talk about the goal tells me that it's not a serious roadblock if they don't make the $32M. Just a hunch though. Also I didn't realize until I watched the video that you can bring your own phone if you want, so probably lots more people will benefit from the software work they're doing than will benefit from the hardware work. And regarding the hardware, Jono did say, "it's got this...this angle at the top," which was the funniest comment on the hardware design I've heard so far ;-) (And come on, IBM--that commercial was torture. Liven it up a little.)

Comment Great for morale (Score 1) 90

"One day this robot came floating through, Sam, and I realized he was missing an arm. He says, "konnichiwa" and we just chuckled and were like, "little dude, where's your arm??" And then about two weeks later...Mike and Yuriy were trying to sort out an engineering mess, and it was getting kind of tense, and this little robot head...comes floating by, kind of tumbling...""...we all just lost it. I have no idea who it was but MAN it just summed up our feelings perfectly..."

Comment Put lots of mice (Score 4, Funny) 55 your A/C ducts. Also make the openings in the ducts hard for people to get through. And always, ALWAYS check every firefighter or SWAT guy who comes through the building, even if he is ordering you around.

Now if this is a 100% software-based cyber-attack, just put "LATEST SYSTEM (TM)" somewhere on your screen so the enemy IT guys can just tell their boss, "I can't do this, it's the LATEST SYSTEM." That way they are forced to go "STRAIGHT IN" which, see firefighter advice above.

Comment Crazy that it's still around (Score 3, Insightful) 53

I remember using Knoppix for the first time in 2004. I was super excited about finally finding a Linux distro that would work out of the box on one of my PCs. Almost 10 years later, it's impressive that Knoppix still occupies its niche--a portable desktop environment for use in emergencies or when you need such a thing without leaving a footprint.

Comment Re:Not enough screen pixels (Score 0) 463

Uh...the new iPad has a 2048x1536 display. How is that not enough screen pixels? I know artists who are doing paid illustration work on their iPads. I think the bigger concern is ergonomics...typing on glass, things like that. Still, I have a software engineer friend who thinks I should get one, and he does more coding than I do by far.

Use the Force, Luke.