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Comment Re:fvwm (Score 1) 818

Completely agree re: geometrically placed desktops. Gnome2's implementation was just good enough for my needs (my other required feature is the ability to 'raise/lower' a window, mapped to a key). The one reason I can't accept XFCE as a gnome2 alternative is that it seems to insist on arranging desktops linearly. I want my two dimensions, dammit.

The only thing that makes me reluctant to go back to fvwm is that configuring it was always rather unpleasant.

PC Games (Games)

King's Quest Fan Project The Silver Lining Is Back 61

LoTonah writes "After eight years of development and a Cease & Desist from Vivendi, King's Quest fan project The Silver Lining is back in action. From the website: 'We are extremely happy to announce that our project, The Silver Lining, will definitely see the light of day! In a wonderful turn of events, Activision reached out to the Phoenix Online team a few months ago with a desire to revisit their decision regarding The Silver Lining. After negotiations, the C&D has been officially rescinded, and Phoenix Online has been granted a non-commercial license to release The Silver Lining! Our team is ecstatic about this, and as hard as we've worked for eight years, it's the tireless belief and support of you, our fans, that has made this possible.' The first episode of the project is due to be released on July 10."

Comment snippets might be useful for better diffs (Score 1) 198

This reminds me of an idea I had some time ago, which might be an application for something like that (I've not read the article yet, so maybe they;re doing something different; but this might be interesting anyway :)

When refactoring code, it's not atypical to move whole snippets of code around. Reviewing the results of such a change (i.e., doing a diff between the versions) is usually nightmarish, since every diff tool I've ever seen is inherently line- or block-of-lines-oriented, and cannot recognize the simple (for a human) case of "I moved this function above that other function".

If the diff tool (and/or the related version control tool?) could be sufficiently language-aware, it might be able to recognize certain semantic units (functions, scope blocks, etc), and try to keep track of them. If this could be done, a diff output could actually be much more meaningful than what we get these days.

Comment Re:It's still natural selection (Score 1) 313

Not quite. It's a different way of thinking about the same thing.
As best as I remember "The Selfish Gene", it does present the gene as the unit of selection. The organism is discussed more as a just a useful vehicle (which exists due to multiple genes working to a common effect, but only because there's an advantage on the individual gene's level). I'm simplifying, but that's the gist of it.
If you didn't get a chance to read the book yet, try it. Interesting stuff.

Comment Re:Here's A Tip, Folks (Score 1) 313

some organisms are more suited to their environment than others; better ones survive and reproduce - their traits survive.

Just wanted to point out that the most important part is not so much survival as the ability to reproduce.
A more accurate way to phrase this is that the "better" organisms get more opportunities to reproduce (e.g., by surviving longer, but perhaps for other reasons, such as being more attractive or more capable, etc.), and the "worse" ones get fewer opportunities to do so (for any of a multitude of reasons). All else being equal, over time, the "better" organism's offspring are going to outnumber those of the "worse" organism, eventually significantly so.

I think this is a more enlightening description of natural selection, as it explains why it works a little better. I think I read this in one of Dawkins's books (either "Selfish Gene" or "Ancestor's Tale". Both are highly recommended, BTW; the latter isn't as well known, but is quite fascinating).

Comment Re:Those questions seem more like trivial pursuit (Score 2, Interesting) 1038

Understanding what a "year" is is pretty basic (how else can one interpret the fact that people don't know how long it takes the earth to go around the sun?). I wouldn't put that in the 'trivia' category.
Knowing the land to water ratio is marginally more trivia-like; I think the range they accepted as 'reasonably right' is a tad too narrow--but not by much. Anyone who's ever seen a map should be able to know it's well over 50%, but that there's still quite a lot of land -- at which point 70% would be pretty easy to guesstimate. Of course this reqiures (1) having seen (and understood to some extent) the map of the world, and (2) knowing what "percent" means. Sadly, too many people in the US would have trouble with at least one of these.

Media

Submission + - An iTunes for Music Licensing?

kimberlyholmes113 writes: "There's an interesting analysis of the EMI shift to DRM-free music, posted on Media 3.0. It's written by Shelly Palmer (a composer and media analyst), so it offers a somewhat unique perspective. He doesn't think DRM-free will give the industry any boost, since DRM-free already exists (via CD and file-sharing). What the industry needs, according to Palmer, is to find a new business model that embraces current (and future) user activity. This includes a new, easy-to-use licensing system that will allow users to pay a small licensing fee for using music in user-generated videos. The industry needs an iTunes for licensing: DRM-Free iTunes — Did We Miss the Memo?"
Power

Journal Journal: Georgia Tech Unveils Prototype Nanogenerator 208

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have created a working prototype nanogenerator capable of generating as much as 4 watts per cubic centimeter of continuous direct current. The generators are green (to use), drawing power from natural motion in the surrounding environment. They are based on non-toxic chemicals and should be safe for use in biomechanical implants, but that's not their only potential use. From the artic

"Is it really you, Fuzz, or is it Memorex, or is it radiation sickness?" -- Sonic Disruptors comics

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