Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment: Need to understand it's not a memory typewriter (Score 1) 298

by WillAdams (#49728633) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Skills Do HS Students Need To Know Now?

The problem for how most people use technology is that they accept the defaults, then laboriously, manually, at each necessary point, alter things by hand so as to achieve the desired effect.

Understanding how to set up:

  - style sheets (even in a basic word processor)
  - macros (yep, word processors have these too)
  - piping commands at the command line
  - semantic tagging

will go a long way towards making them more productive (and me much happier when I get book manuscripts which are properly set up).

Hint, if you find it necessary to turn off the viewing of special characters 'cause of the visual noise, you're doing it wrong.

Comment: Use pandoc on incoming files (Score 1) 200

by WillAdams (#49691331) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Open Document Format?

Convert to your choice of XML and store that

Use pandoc to convert to whatever format is requested. If a document is requested and edited, use pandoc to read in the edited version and store that.

Once you've trained everyone to accept the lowest common denominator, it'll work.

For bonus points you could go straight to MediaWiki markup and put everything into a wiki.

Comment: Tried hard w/ the Shapeoko 2 documentation (Score 1) 244

by WillAdams (#49689487) Attached to: RTFM? How To Write a Manual Worth Reading

Available here:

Some awkward aspects are imposed by the source being Markdown on Github, so lowest common denominator for special characters such as what should be em-dashes.

Interesting footnote to the project is that the note explaining how to use the interactive diagrams was deleted by a person who thought it was unnecessary --- less than half of the people who responded to a poll figured out the interactivity and almost all those who did find it were surprised by it.

Part of the reason it's hard to write good documentation is that it's hard to get people to make use of it --- similarly we've tried to get everything about this CNC router onto the wiki, but there are still an awful lot of forum posts which I answer w/:

``That's on the wiki:

Comment: Re:Are they actually dialing up... (Score 1) 153

by WillAdams (#49673423) Attached to: Closing This Summer: Verizon To Scoop Up AOL For $4.4 Billion

AOL will allow one to convert a paid account to a free one when one cancels --- one keeps all one's old e-mail addresses, and they've increased the number of free ones allowed per account so one doesn't have to delete any.

I had a paid dial-up for a long, long while and would probably still have it if they hadn't cancelled the webhosting --- if they'd charged for that separately and maintained it, I'd still have it.

Comment: How are they competent to train but not retain? (Score 1) 611

by WillAdams (#49663275) Attached to: To Laid-Off Southern California Edison Workers: Boo-Hoo

I don't get it. If they're so incompetent that they can't be kept as workers, how can they be competent enough to be training their replacements?

Why don't all the workers collectively agree to not impart their obviously flawed work skills and knowledge to their replacements?

If my boss came to me and said that he was replacing me, I'd say fine. Documentation is on the wiki, the source for everything is written up as literate programs, the only things out-of-date are and --- if you want me to up-date those, call me tomorrow and we'll work up rates.

Comment: Can we submit a poem? (Score 5, Funny) 109

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect in it’s weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

Comment: Re: Makerspace.... (Score 1) 167


That's why it's so important that people document this sort of thing w/ open licenses which can't be taken back.

I've been working on that sort of thing for the Shapeko:

Anyone know of any similar wikis / resources?

  - --- I've tried to help out on this, but simply didn't get any help when I expressed how mystifying I found the structure / hierarchy --- finally just did a link dump of 3D printing stuff here:
  - --- this subreddit has a single page, which addresses the big thing which the Shapeoko wiki can't have, a list / comparison of other machines

Makerspace == workshop for geeks who missed shop class and don't understand the basics of craftsmanship

Comment: Re:Tablets not as useful as expected (Score 1) 417

by WillAdams (#49544175) Attached to: We'll Be the Last PC Company Standing, Acer CEO Says

The thing is, I won't buy a desktop or laptop that doesn't have a stylus --- I find the stylus essential to my way of working / interacting w/ a computer. I need to be able to:

  - draw / paint / sketch
  - markup / annotate
  - use the machine as a reference device w/o a keyboard being in the way (this is esp. important when using it as a map reader when driving --- need a daylight viewable display for that though, and I can't replace my Fujitsu Stylistic ST-4121)

If I can fulfill my text input needs w/ a stylus, why do I need to schlep a keyboard around?

Comment: Re: Dell, HP, Panasonic (Score 1) 417

by WillAdams (#49544159) Attached to: We'll Be the Last PC Company Standing, Acer CEO Says

Unless your first experience was buying an Asus Vivotab Note 8, my first new machine since college and it dies in less than a month due to a widespread problem w/ the digitizer cables going out:

What does it say about your brand and QC when that's a top hit for one of your models.

Guess I'll try a Toshiba Encore 2 Write 10 next --- at least the T1200XE I had was a solid and reliable machine which lasted quite a while.

Comment: Lee Valley enforces a reasonable ratio top--bottom (Score 1) 482

by WillAdams (#49486575) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries

They have a strict limit set to their ``pay slope'':

They're a great company and I'm always pleased to buy stuff from them.

I wish more companies would pay attention to the studies which note that greater than 22--1 creates a lousy corporate culture.

How come financial advisors never seem to be as wealthy as they claim they'll make you?