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Comment: Re:Can't Go Backwards (Score 1) 736

by alter-memo (#42881169) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is It So Hard To Make An Accurate Progress Bar?

And that is why the progress bar should represent progress of the task, not remaining time. The correct way is to show progress in the bar (as in percent of the total task), and a text label with the estimated time to completion below. The label can change in any direction. The progress bar (if the progress is measured properly) can only go forward.

PHP

+ - PHPDocX 3.1: more text and image insertion features in Word documents generated

Submitted by
Laura2mdc
Laura2mdc writes "PHPDocX’s development team just announced in their blog the release of version 3.1 of this PHP library for automated generation of reports in .docx format online from a web server. This latest release’s changes are aimed to expand the image and text insertion possibilities in Word documents generated with the library. PHPDocX already allowed programmers to generate Word documents from scratch importing data from sources such as databases, customize them with header, footers and export resulting docs into PDF, HTML and other formats. Besides PRO versions with advanced features, there is a fully functional LGPL version available at http:www.phpdocx.com/download"

Comment: Borland ObjectVision, IBM VisualAge (Score 2) 181

by alter-memo (#42796793) Attached to: The History of Visual Development Environments

I remember ObjectVision as an interesting example of visual programming by configuring blocks. Unfortunately it was very limited, and one reached the boundaries quite fast. IBM VisualAge is another story. I cannot remember a more complete, truer IDE than this. I used it mainly in Smalltalk and Java, but other versions for C/C++, Basic, and even COBOL existed. But it really shined in Smalltalk, it native environment. VisualAge allowed to put the pieces of a program together graphically, autogenerate code, switch to code and extend it programatically, keep version control of every time you push save, debug in place.... it was an amazing product. I am glad many features where migrated to Eclipse, but I miss the overall experience of putting a visual prototype together in one afternoon.

Comment: Consider your interests and your career choices (Score 1) 260

A PhD can help you reach some positions that otherwise will not be available for you. It is a common requisite for academia and research positions in the industry. Sometimes also helps with management tracks, but the argument for this is debatable.

In general, a PhD does not have a great career ROI, because you get a much better position/salary inside the industry by spending the same amount of time (3-6 years) specializing in industry-related topics. And this difference never catches up if you do a PhD. I am careful to point this out when I am interviewing PhD candidates, because if they are in for monetary reasons, they might have better alternatives. Also, a PhD sooner or later gets under your skin, and you need a strong motivation to finish it. You need to like it and be at least somewhat passsionate about it. If you are not sure of the reasons why you are doing it, you might drop out at that point.

If you want to do research, if you feel that, for personal reasons, you want a PhD, by all means go for it. If you want to improve your knowledge/resume/employment, I would suggest to consider other, more focused ways to achieve this goal.

Comment: Re:It is not open source, but the support is great (Score 1) 663

by alter-memo (#40351841) Attached to: Torvalds Slams NVIDIA's Linux Support

I never had a problem with NVIDIA support, but that might be just my experience. I personally have no issue with the drivers being closed sourced. Just my experience.

On the other hand.. I do experience the lack of support from AMD, both in the code and the people part. Drivers are full of bugs, get broken all the time, and get in the way of me doing my work.

In terms of open source, I do tip my hat to Intel: the official drivers are open source, and work really well.

Comment: It is not open source, but the support is great (Score 1) 663

by alter-memo (#40351669) Attached to: Torvalds Slams NVIDIA's Linux Support

NVIDIA's driver is not open source, but the support is great. The drivers work, the give few issues, 3D, CUDA and OpenCL are fully supported.

Try that with AMD drivers.

There is a quote (somewhere, I cannot remember who said it), that the NVIDIA drivers have more LOCs than the Windows OS. So it is a huge piece of software... not so easy to "just code it again".

Comment: First hand experience (Score 1) 1027

by alter-memo (#40330171) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's Your Beef With Windows Phone?

Hi all,

I decided to share, for those interested, my experience with WP7. As background: I am a programmer, I have developed for iOS, and I am a Linux, Mac and Windows user in a regular basis. I used an iPhone since the original version, and have used iPhones, Androids and, for the last year and a half, a WP7 (I have the feared Samsung Omnia 7). I work at an university and I am not related to M$ or Nokia or any other phone company in any way.

I would like to start with the positives: Windows Phone is a very fresh operating system. It is visually extremely attractive, fluid and comfortable to use. In terms of the design, it focuses in the information, giving text a central place when text is the focus (of course, images and videos when they are the focus). It succeeds in this most of the time. In addition, they data aggregation is the best of any platform (ok, maybe WebOS was better, but I have no experience there; ... and RIM X is not out yet). If you have contacts from multiple sources (Google, Windows Live, Facebook) you can aggregate them in the people hub, and link multiple accounts to the same person. Then you can also group the individuals and create feeds of this group, if that is your liking. Calendars are aggregated in a similar way into the Calendar Hub. This might not be appealing to most /. users (Facebook!? ugh!) but regular users do like it. The cloud usage is also excellent: most data is also available online from the M$ servers over a Live account (yeah, well.. that is a two edge sword), and they even include remote phone lock and wiping (which is a nice touch). The browser, IE, is actually quite good (hey, I was surprised too...), so are the email and calendar apps. The maps improved a lot with WP7.5, and the directions are EXCELLENT, I find them much more accurate than the ones I get in the iPhone (and those were quite good already). Voice recognition? if you use it (I don't), they had it before the iPhone. The lock screen is full of useful information, which I like, and the tiles provide a great overview of an app without opening it. The tiles home screen looks deceptively simple, but it can pack quite some information in one screen with the tile animations. The Office Mobile client is nice, including the One Note Mobile; all synchronize to the M$ cloud. The keyboard is one of the best I have used, and the support for multiple languages is fantastic (Android is very close here too when using additional keyboards). The Music player is surprisingly good. And if you are a developer, you will love the Touch Develop app from M$ that allows you to write scripts visually and explore the API of the OS.

Now to the not so nice things.. (and I have quite a list). The first one is this thing with text overflowing the screen to the right.. it a design decision that I cannot understand, but I have learnt to live with it (still don't like it). The aggregation sources are at the moment locked to what M$ offers: i.e. you cannot are your own sources. This means no CardDAV, no CalDAV, no LDAP.. which sucks for enterprise environments. You are also out of luck with VPNs, because they are not supported yet (sigh....). The email app is OK for normal users, but if you use folders heavily, or have thousands of emails in your inbox, it is not the best app (also, it only supports server-side search in M$ and Google accounts). Battery life is short (but is that the fault of the OS exclusively?), I have to carry 2 batteries when I am on the road. And then there is the lack of apps: it is improving, but it is nowhere near the level of the apps in iOS or Android. And finally... programming in WP7 can be really difficult, which I think is the biggest drawback.

For short, the platform is still not fully mature, and it is clearly a platform for everyday users. It covers the needs of a user that wants to stay in contact with his friends, uses Facebook, Xbox live, play games, checks email, tweets something, finds some directions in the map, etc. Power users and enterprise users will find the platform still lacks key functions like VPNs and Calendar servers (heck, it only supports multiple calendars in Live accounts, even Exchange servers are limited to one calendar). But I find it to be the most polished interface of all: it makes good use of visual elements, it focus in the information (displaying, consuming, sharing), and gets the job done.

So, from this point of view, I believe the next release of WP7 is going to be critical for its survival. The OS is great for everyday users. If it addresses the key issues to appeal to the wider audience of business folks, it will become a hit. In my opinion, M$ has to embrace openness in the platform, giving more choices in the software side, and providing a better development experience.

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