Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

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.


Free E-Books, With a Catch — Advertising 194

Velcroman1 writes "Barnes & Noble may kick off a fresh price war today for digital book readers, with its new Nook news. But the real news in digital publishing is a novel approach to the e-books themselves: Free books — with advertising. The basic idea is to offer publishers another way to reach readers and to give readers the chance to try more books — books that perhaps they wouldn't normally peruse if they had to pay more for them. Initially, Wowio specialized in offering digital versions of comic books and graphic novels, usually formatted as Adobe PDFs. So it was a natural step for the company to offer graphic ads that are inserted in e-books. 'We think we're creating a broader audience for some of these titles,' Wowio's CEO Brian Altounian told me. 'I think folks are going to download more books because they're saving the costs' of having to drive to the store or pay more for them. Would ads stop you from reading?" The new color Nook goes for $249, and comes with a browser, games, Quickoffice, streaming music via Pandora, and an SDK; reader itwbennett links to an analysis of how well it stacks up as a tablet.
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 After negotiations, the C&D has been officially rescinded, and Phoenix Online has been granted a non-commercial license to release The Silver Lining!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).


GIMP Dropped From Ubuntu 10.04 900

kai_hiwatari writes "It looks like the Ubuntu developers consider GIMP to be too powerful for a normal desktop user. They are removing it from the upcoming Ubuntu 10.04. Among the reasons cited are that the UI is too complex, it takes up room on the disc, and 'desktop users just want to edit photos and they can do that in F-Spot.''"

US Relaxes Control Over ICANN 230

An anonymous reader tips news that the US Dept. of Commerce has signed an agreement with ICANN to end their current oversight responsibilities and allow more input from the global community. "The move comes after European regulators and other critics have said the US government could wield too much influence over a system used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Those critics have complained, among other things, about the slow rollout of Internet addresses entirely in languages other than English." The US will still be involved; every three years, ICANN's work will be evaluated by a committee, one member of which will be from the Dept. of Commerce.

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.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe