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Comment: Re:Who needs Gnome? (Score 1) 613

by akc (#47869815) Attached to: You Got Your Windows In My Linux

I have enabled control-alt-backspace. Don't need to reset the computer

I find the normal reason that there is a lockup is because virtual box whilst running windows in full screen mode, and windows has put up a dialog box or the alt key has put up the start button menu.

This seems to cause the hotspot or the alt key to stop responding in gnome3. This gets into a deadly embrace where you can't switch to the virtual box window.

Comment: Re:Who needs Gnome? (Score 1) 613

by akc (#47817965) Attached to: You Got Your Windows In My Linux

That might be your opinion, but for me its the opposite.

I have two monitors, and despite me trying to configure other Desktop Environments to behave in the same way, it has only been GNOME3 where I can have a fixed window in one workspace (generally mail), and other things going on on my main monitor each in their own workspace, whereby I can switch between them, and not also have the secondary monitor switch at the same time. I tried stuff like Linux Mint's Desktop, KDE and even XFCE, but I couldn't figure out how to make any of them work that way.

And now I am used to it, I love the lack of a taskbar panel. I just flick my mouse over to the corner to get an immediate views of the various windows I could switch to. I love the dock, with the apps I use 99% of the time immediately available, and a quite good incremental search for anything else I need

Of course there are some downsides/bugs - like some flakeyness around full screen apps (I use WIndows 7 inside virtual box a lot and Mythtv) where there occassional lockups. But I am running Debian Stable, so I presume I don't have the latest and greatest version.

Comment: Re:I would use Gnome 3 instead (Score 1) 247

by akc (#44130013) Attached to: Android On the Desktop

Gnome is aweful, they took away one of the biggest and most useful things for Desktop computing - minimizing. Until people stop kidding themselves that people don't need minimize Gnome 3's Shell will never gain true adoption.

I completely disagree with this. For me Gnome 3 is the ONLY desktop arrangement that makes any sense.

1) Gnome 3 seems to be the only environment that supports independant workspaces on each of my two monitors. If I change workspace on my primary monitor the other stays were it is. This is a huge gain in productivity for me and I wouldn't be without it. (The only other alternative seems to be the new OSX Mavericks from Apple - which, without having experienced it, seems to be slightly better in that the secondary monitor can have more than one workspace)
2) (courtesy of shell extensions) minimise is still there on my COMPLETELY STANDARD Debian Stable system. But I rarely use it. I have got into the habit of flicking my mouse at the top left corner, or hitting the "Windows" key on my keyboard, and finding the next app to work on. If that desktop overview screen gets too cluttered I just ...
3) ... dynamically create a new work space and move stuff into it. Again I find the creation of dynamic workspaces as needed much better that pre-allocating a set number which all the other desktops seem to require you to do

As part of my work I often run a MS Windows.virtual machine at full screen in one of the workspaces. I get very frustrated at having to use the taskbar at the bottom to switch applications. (Also with the Gnome3 workspace arrangement, I can have my linux based mail on the secondary monitor and ctrl+alt+up or down arrows switch me to and from windows and linux on the separate workspaces on my main monitor).

In the evening, I do the same thing - I have MythTV running fill screen on one of the workspaces and tend to do other background jobs in the other workspaces - an dthe only downside there is I can't seem to get the full screen of the playing TV program to go to the secondary screen.

Comment: Re:ALL HAIL! (Score 1) 134

by akc (#43762847) Attached to: Linux Mint 15 'Olivia' Release Candidate Is Out

I have been running Debian for about 10 years, and the only time I've had to re-install it was when I bought completely new hardware. I never got so botched that I need to start again. Most of the time I have run as SID, although over the last 6 months or so I migrated slowly to testing which became stable - since I seem to have everything I need at a suitably high enough version.

Because I run all my disks as raid 1, when I upgraded from 1 to 2 TB disks, I did that with the system in situ.

Comment: Re:it's at a dead end (Score 1) 314

by akc (#43686171) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Becoming a Programmer At 40?

The legit question is: will I be able to continue to learn faster than a programming robot will advance and eventually replace me? The truth is that the programming robot will learn at an exponential rate, so there will likely be little difference between having 2 years of experience or 20 by the time the robot surpasses your ability. Perhaps the 20-year-programmer will have an extra day or two to try and hack into the robot, and likely that extra experience will help with that goal. But all programmers will eventually be replaced by the robot. Then, at long last, the hardware engineers can again gloat.

The exact same statements were being made when I was programming in the 1970s - I think SQL was going to be one of the tools that meant we didn't need programmers anymore and end users could just produce what they wanted.

I am now in my 60s and have about 2 years ago returned to paid employment as a programmer instead of retiring (after having a career that eventually took me out of programming and into management) because I had continued as a hobby when I got too senior to do it at work, and it seemed like a good idea to earn some money doing what I regard as fun.

Some of the time I've had to learn new stuff (for instance .NET, C#, EntityFramework) and other times remember stuff I'd done before (Microsoft Access) but also much of the newer versions of techniques I had started deploying as a technical manager in the 1980s (version control, data modelling ) and stuff I picked up whilst persuing programming as a hobby (test driven development, Javascript).

I am continuing to be paid, and it doesn't seem like that will end anytime soon.

Comment: Re:Well the ultimate value of Bitcoin is (Score 1) 605

by akc (#43423647) Attached to: BitCoin Value Collapses, Possibly Due To DDoS

And this is ignoring the issue this article bring up, that with a newly-consructed pool of currency with much fewer users, it is much more prone to currency manipulation than dollars or euros.

That's huge to me. If DDoS attacks can be utilized to wildly manipulate the value of a currency, how can the currency have value?

It has value because some people are willing to buy bitcoins. DDoS attacks affect who, but it doesn't stop someone thinking that when the DDos attacks stop the market is going to rise, and therefore buying now is a good proposition. Its a gamble, but one with a reasonable probability of turning a profit. What the "thinness" of the market does is make the price volatile, and that is what we are seeing now

Comment: Re:Well the ultimate value of Bitcoin is (Score 1) 605

by akc (#43423599) Attached to: BitCoin Value Collapses, Possibly Due To DDoS

I think your argument is rather sound. At least it is more sound than the usual pro-Bitcoin claim that "there will only ever be 21,000,000 bitcoins, therefore deflation forever." However, there is a counterargument that I thought of. There are a couple of things that could cause bitcoin to retain its value in the long term: fame, and the network effect. Fame, because Bitcoin is the first of its kind and the most frequently discussed. It is like the Kleenex or Xerox of virtual currencies, the one that gives its name to all the rest, and that gives it enduring value. The second is the network effect. The more people use it, the more people want to use it. Thus, even with low barriers to entry, Bitcoin could eventually win a near-monopoly in the virtual currency market.

I agree the Parent of your post was making a good point. To counter your point however, as an investor I am being asked to gamble that Bitcoin could win the virtual currency battle - so it makes the investment risky.

If the gamble pays off the investment I make today could make be a lot of money. If it doesn't I could loose my entire investment.

I think this is similar (bit obviously different) to share in a company on the stock market. You hope its value goes up and it is still around in 10 years time, but it could go broke.

Comment: Re:My answer (Score 1) 525

by akc (#43335475) Attached to: Fighting TSA Harassment of Disabled Travelers

I am a British citizen.

Several years ago now, I travelled from Tokyo to Istanbul via London Heathrow airport. Despite the fact that the incoming flight was to terminal 3 (in the centre of the airport) and the outgoing flight was at terminal 4 (on the eastern edge of the airport) I remained in international territory the whole time. They had a special gate "airside" where we caught a bus to the other terminal (also "airside"). I never passed any passport control (other than the normal airline check of my passport at the boarding gate) whilst at the airport.

Comment: Re:Surprised? (Score 2) 403

by akc (#42144249) Attached to: Dell's Ubuntu Ultrabook Now On Sale; Costs $50 More Than Windows Version

I was subscribed to original blog announcing this for a while, and developer after developer asked for more virtical screen resolution. As far as I am aware the project brief was to use existing hardware so that option was never viable.

I gave up following it in the end, because the other ideas - to try and pre-configure software configurations for use seemed crazy in the face of the flexibility of the Ubuntu synaptic package which could acheive a more flexible goal with less work.

I came to the conclusion that this skunkworks was driven more by a marketing goal to seen to be doing something rather than any real desire to meet developers needs.

Comment: Re:vBulletin (Score 1) 259

by akc (#41960109) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Way To Add Forums To a Website?

I've run several SMF forums since I started my main one in 2007 (http://www.melindasbackups.com/forum/) This main also has applications that I have built (chat, airhockey and football) which use the SMF login as a single sign on, and themes which (sort of) match.

I've been into the guts of it, so we have flowplayer video and mp3 players embedded pretty seamlessly into posts (and youtube videos) as well.

We have had a massive number of spammers attempt to join, but we have some extra mods in place to keep them out and so far only one or two out of the several thousand who tried have managed to set up an account that could post. Manual moderation deals with this last few, but its a fairly painless job.

There is still a surrounding static site, with a completely different theme, but we don't really do much with that

Comment: You are wrong - its you who seem not to understand (Score 1) 580

by akc (#40819199) Attached to: How Will Steam on GNU/Linux Affect Software Freedom?

Let's say there's a piece of GPL code you'd want to use, instead of rolling your own. Now only way to use that piece is to make your entire software GPL

That is rubbish. Provided you don't distribute it outside your company then you don't have to make your own software GPL.

Of course if you do want to distribute it in a proprietary sense so you can make profit out of other peoples work then you can't.

Comment: I went some way towards this a couple of years ago (Score 1) 29

by akc (#40711177) Attached to: Report from HOPE: Cryptocat And Encryption in the Cloud

I wrote a chat program for fun that addresses the problems. See https://github.com/akc42/MBChat. The software originated as a non secure chat for a fan club (www.melindasbackups.com) that I an the IT director for, but I tried to add security to it as part of a proof of concept for use where people were trying to intercept the comms.

The assumption I made is that all communication between client and server needed to be secure and that there could always be a man in the middle trying to intercept your communication. Since the initial program is downloaded from the server, it is not possible to send the keys needed to encrypt things with the program.

My solution to this was to calculate a RSA key pair on the fly in the browser as the program starts up - and then send the public key to the server and ask it to encypt the key used for communication using this public key. The client then decrypts it using his private key.

Because RSA key pair generation is quite compute intensive - I had to develop a mechanism (which I borrowed from elsewhere) to allow the browser to perform long running calculations without timing out. It does this by breaking things down into small steps and returning to browser for a "tick".

I also spent some time trying to have the server also prove it was the correct server. I came to the conclusion that the only completely foolproof way required each human client to know the "Standard message of the day" and to be able to see it after its been decrypted for the server comms to be sure the server is who you think he is.

I open sourced it when I developed it about two years ago now - but I don't think anyone has cloned it or taken a look.

Comment: Re:Didn't really work as planned tho. (Score 1) 304

For a few seconds at exactly 6:am I had up a page at RS that let you order the pi - not express an interest but actually order. I already had an account with them, but by the time I had checked up what my account details were the whole site had gone done.

The press release by Farnell talks about 600 people trying to order a second. If they split the first batch 50/50 then in slightly under 10 seconds Farnell would have sold out. No doubt RS was the same.

So its not surprising that by 1 minute past 6, all you could do is be put in a queue for the next batch.

Comment: Fully Agree (Score 1) 470

by akc (#38664434) Attached to: Are Programmers Ruining the Design of eBooks?

I fully agree with you. I was the same, so I converted over to KDE4. Then I spent a long time working out how to use facilities like multiple desktops and multiple activities under KDE4. I work in different areas at different times of the day, and the KDE activities approach seemed ideal.

But the practical reality of it was that I just got in a mess.

What I did realise then - how good Gnome3 is. I've gone back to it and now I find the older interfaces limiting.

Things that are really good
1) I run with multiple screens - having my secondary screen remain in place when I switch workspaces is fabulous. I can put an important source document on display and then work in the different other documents each in its own workspace, surrounded by the support applications I need for that part of the work
2) Growing an shrinking Workspaces automatically. As I start getting too complicated (too many windows to work on comfortably in one workspace, I through some stuff to another workspace.
3) Minimising by flicking my wrist (and moving the mouse to the top left hand corner) - and getting a dynamically visual view of applications. I often work and watch MythTV in the evenings, and being able to here something important about to happen on the TV when I am working on an overlaid window, that flick allows me to immediately watch the action on the TV

I do have criticisms though. It was insane to make Suspend the default option closing down - I want power off (I know there is an extension that does this - these aren't yet just available as Debian packages). There seems to be bugs that can hang the closedown process if you cancel it half way through. I can't find my apps very easily - seems to be very particular about having .desktop files in the right place. Often I can install some thing in Debian and I can't find the app.

Comment: Re:Different types (Score 1) 582

by akc (#37296290) Attached to: Age Bias In IT: the Reality Behind the Rumors

I'm just turned 60 and wrote my first professional programme (ie I was paid to write it) in 1969. There have been several different themes in this whole article and this seems like a good place to summarise my thoughts on them all

Until about 1976 or so I was a programmer/designer - mostly in assembler language (mostly PDP 11, but lots of other stuff too). About that point in my career I drifted upwards into managerial roles with less of a programming input. Initially I was pretty lousy as a manager, I didn't understand people skills - particularly tending to treat people like robots. I got criticised badly for that in my performance reviews, but I learnt and got better. I think by the end of the 1980s I was considered a good manager. At least I can claim that many of the people I was responsible for in those days are still quite good friends and when we meet socially there is still discussions of team building activities that went on back then. I wasn't at all of them - I was a divisional manager and I had just authorised the expenditure for the project manager to take out his project and a completion of some milestone or other - but we also held occasional divisional level events and these are still remembered too. I had financial targets to meet as well - but I was convinced that such expenditures were trivial with respect to the benefits I got from improved productivity from good morale and from better communications because people knew each other better.

Two other elements of managing seems to me to be important and views that I don't often see expressed here.

1) I felt that to be a good manager I had to understand the technology. It wasn't just at the programming level either (although I did teach myself C and did write the odd bit of software in it), but in terms of frameworks, operating systems, databases, and the software engineering processes. My unit - with my managerial lead - developed an early version of distributed version control which as recently as 3 or 4 years ago I know was still being used on some projects in the company that were nothing to do with me (my junior protégées had grown into senior positions and were using it), and I remember spending a long time understanding the issues surrounding Object Orientation (the mind shift traditional programmers need to design a system round an object concept as opposed to a functional concept is significant and you have to put some quite strong controls in place to ensure a project is successful)

2) All this 80hour week stuff is rubbish and I tried to prevent it. I was convinced then and still am (although my view has modified with respect to those that are doing out of love rather than peer pressure) that if you push people much more than 40 hours per week, except in very short bursts to meet a deadline, then burnout gives you a negative productivity gain

At the beginning of the 1990's I stopped having such close contact with technology at work and continued my learning journey at home. I taught myself how to set up web sites and learnt (initially) Java to make dynamic web sites (using Tapestry), although these days I do most all of it with PHP and Javascript (also self taught), and vastly improved my SQL skills. Also got to learn about Drupal and Wordpress. About 2 years ago I got made redundant, but was in the fortunate financial position that I could pretty well retire if I wanted to. Given I programmed still as a hobby I decided to see what I could do about selling my programming skills again.

I want to tie that into a comment about value (ie cost of a programmer) v experience. Of course on a project you need balance between senior and junior guys. In one year in my career as a manager I hired 27 new graduates into a team of 70 (with a spread of experience). We strained and lost a bit of quality in our development. I think I went to far down the junior balance, but not a long way too far. My most senior guy still actively writing software on a regular basis had had (at that time) about 12 years experience. I think I was gaining little from him over the last 6 of those 12 years on the programming front (his most productive and innovative stuff had been at about 6 years of experience) but he was still immensely useful as a design authority. But I also had younger guys coming through who became gurus in (again at the time) Windows NT as a graphical workstation. About 6 years experience seemed to have been long enough to have gathered sufficient experience to be an expert. (The two have still technically oriented careers, but they are now being paid for skills related to the application of technology to the business rather than as programmers).

Back to me. I have achieved some income - but not a full time role but small projects. I have formed my own company and I sell my skills. I don't charge a vast rate - more applicable to the 6 years of experience rather than the 40 and I can only support myself because I have pension income as well. But I continue to learn and want to. In the past year or so I have become a Microsoft Access expert (including of course Visual Basic) and of the back of that have also learnt Transact SQL (sql server) and Classic .asp. I also developed software in Visual Basic .net. I have generally sold myself through personal contact - I haven't tried hard, but have had zero response to just sending off a CV and covering letter to possible roles - so far everything has come from existing contacts from before who are now in roles where they find my skills useful.

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