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Comment: Re:They lost me when they mentioned making a table (Score 1) 114

by centuren (#41952639) Attached to: Project To Build Dual-Booting Linux, Android Tablet For $100

This is putting the cart before the horse. Make something that runs well on _existing_ tablets. _Then_ talk about building a special tablet to run it on. There are a lot of fine candidates out there—there's no reason to waste effort building another one that will deliver half the performance at the same price. A Nexus 7 or a Nexus 10 would be a great platform for prototyping this.

I can't imagine that this isn't being done, at least internally. Can't we already go buy a Nexus 10 (or similar) and dual-boot Android and Linux w/Plasma-Active ourselves? Isn't the price the point of the project?

Actually, taking a second look at the specs in the article, I'm surprised anyone is behind this. The "vertical" resolutions are 480 pixels (7") and 600 pixels (10"). That is ridiculous. With the Nexus line so competitively priced, who would ever touch one of these?

Comment: Re:They lost me when they mentioned making a table (Score 1) 114

by centuren (#41952617) Attached to: Project To Build Dual-Booting Linux, Android Tablet For $100

This is putting the cart before the horse. Make something that runs well on _existing_ tablets. _Then_ talk about building a special tablet to run it on. There are a lot of fine candidates out there—there's no reason to waste effort building another one that will deliver half the performance at the same price. A Nexus 7 or a Nexus 10 would be a great platform for prototyping this.

I can't imagine that this isn't being done, at least internally. Can't we already go buy a Nexus 10 (or similar) and dual-boot Android and Linux w/Plasma-Active ourselves? Isn't the price the point of the project?

Comment: Re:Teach him (Score 1) 379

by centuren (#41928387) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Would You Convince Someone To Give Up an Old System?

I think I may try this approach, Bob likes talking about his system so he may be willing to try and explain it to me from a professional to professional standpoint. I can also point out that he may not want to maintain the system forever so having someone available to take over would keep his "baby" alive. Learning to use his system could prove useful in that if it is a crap system it'll be hard from him to explain how and why he did something. Maybe if he finds himself stuttering and searching for reasons and explications a lot it would be a good time to point out other systems that could supplemented the incomplete or sketchy parts of his system.

If Bob has the gatekeeper syndrome, then putting him in charge of the transition, will simply make him the gatekeeper of a new and improved system. Which if he can see the benefits of the transition, would make him feel even more appreciated.

In my view: The important part is to not criticise his system, but let him do it himself. He KNOWS the flaws of the old system. Getting him to admit them will make it easier for him to see why the system needs to be updated.

I support the idea of involving him in the transition in more direct ways than subterfuge. I understand the need for being tactful in a delicate situation, but that never gives one the excuse to use patronizing and disingenuous methods to 'handle' another person. It's worth a little risk to be respectful and not underhanded, and if there is a bad response after all, you're still able to upgrade the NPO to a more efficient system, sans Bob.

Comment: Re:Steam Programs (Score 1) 363

by centuren (#41899145) Attached to: Nvidia Doubles Linux Driver Performance, Slips Steam Release Date

Not a bad idea, actually, so long as it's only an option for those who want it (and not a requirement for either the drivers or steam).

I think I'd rather have driver updates integrated with my software repositories than with any particular application, however gaming specific it is (which I'd also like to have integrated with my software repositories). Steam coming to Linux, and any effort around it, is a big deal, absolutely. Big because Steam has a serious user base (many of whom think of it as synonymous to PC gaming enough to suggest it distribute drivers), but also because of the source engine.

I am a Steam user, and have bought tons of games through it. Still, it's primarily just a distribution point. The important thing are the game engines (unreal, crytek, etc). These are what's important, because what the popular game engines support heavily determine what the games can support. A game studio might want to release for Linux, but that often ends up meaning a decision between using a top-of-the-line engine and one that supports OpenGL. Chris Roberts brought this up regarding a possible Star Citizen Linux release, saying:

We would be happy to support it and the CryEngine srever can run on Linux. The problem is the client side as that relies on DirectX (which obviously doesn't work on Unix). If Crytek can add OpenGL support then I would say, we will do it.

I look forward to Steam's debut on Linux, and recognise it's significance. I just wish there were more Valve/Source games I liked. Aside from the Portals, nothing comes to mind.

Comment: A series of tubes. (Score 1) 242

by centuren (#41897781) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Extreme Cable Management?

Have you looked into using cable tubes or wraps (this sort of thing)? They can help a lot when you have multiple cables converging on the same point over space. There are also ties, mounts, and any number of cable management accessories for "under the desk" cables.

All in all, I've found the most useful practice to be labelling each cable or cord on both ends using masking tape and a marker. The tape provides a 'tab' I can write on, so if I need to unplug device X, I can just look for the cable with the X label and then pull it free from the other end.

I've also found the biggest culprit when my cables get messy is always my laziness, especially not removing devices, cables, and power cords that I am not currently using and packing them up until I need them again.

Comment: Re:This is too simple to fix (Score 1) 487

by centuren (#40052033) Attached to: Your Passwords Don't Suck — It's Your Policies

I have 3 different bank accounts, 3 different credit cards, a HSA, a Roth IRA, and a 401k that I should probably make sure have secure passwords. (And I am sure there are a couple more non-financial ones that should also be secure). In an ideal world, that would be 9 different 6-8 digit random character passwords. That is assuming that all of the other accounts (like /.) have less secure passwords. That doesn't even take into account changing the password semi-regularly. Even if you feel it is unnecessary, some websites enforce it on you. I am a pretty smart guy, but I might have a little trouble keeping them straight. How many different 6-8 digit random character strings do you have memorized? And how often do you change passwords on your account? Do you change them all at once (and memorize all new passwords), or do you spread it out?

It only doesn't seem hard if you are not doing it right.

Reminds me of a quote I saw in a Slashdot signature about a decade ago (paraphrased here):

My password is my dog's name. My dog's name is "d^7O_JnT$2g-0p" and I change it every 30 days.

8 character passwords feels so 10 years ago. Using a password vault with a long key phrase, I keep about 4 random passwords, and 6 not random but extremely strong mixed character passwords memorised at any point in time (around 10, anyway). These are ones that stick in my mind, or I have to remember. With the advent of usable password vaults, there are upwards of a hundred random passwords much longer than 8 characters to keep track of. I change them in transition periods, where I introduce new passwords, shift old passwords, and generally have both old and new sets in play for different purposes at a time. I suppose it's staggered in tiers.

I have several financial online accounts, and I was shocked as the restrictions I found placed on many of them. I understand requiring users the use an uppercase letter and a number. I don't understand a bank of credit company rejecting passwords that have a hyphen or underscore, or are over 10 characters. Last time I changed my passwords there, the ones I had pre-generated were all rejected: I ended up having to create a new, much weaker password to guard over my finances. It was sufficiently annoying to use their customer feedback form, complaining about the seemingly unnecessary limitations on passwords. Their response thanked me for my interest in their security and informed me that my suggested to allow at least hyphens and underscores was forwarded to the appropriate department (which I suppose I'm satisfied with).

Comment: Re:Not smart Enough? (Score 1) 1276

by centuren (#39249749) Attached to: Scientists Say People Aren't Smart Enough For Democracy To Flourish

In this case, it means "everyone else". Like when people think about their driving skill -- everyone else sucks.

What came to mind more for me was a little more... dramatic:

"Scientists Point to People's Stupidity as Reason to Form Vanguard to Lead Revolution!"

*chuckles*

I really can't take claims that there is some reason to cause democracy to wane and die, although usually that's directed at capitalism. History has taken us in one direction, and while people can argue about what democracy means and the variations it may take, the active hypothesis is that it's the most flexible and resilient form of government.

Comment: Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (Score 5, Insightful) 418

by centuren (#39249455) Attached to: The eBook Backlash

The Slashdot headline & summary is a little misleading. The article isn't about an ebook backlash, it's about people reading ebooks on tablets and the ease of distraction. It's no surprise people are getting distracted trying to read a book using ebook reader software running on a tablet that's meant for checking Facebook, email, watching videos and the like. Ebooks can be read on computers, tablets, and smart phones. I read ebooks using Aldiko on my Android phone for a couple years before I finally bought a Kindle Touch, and my Kindle is approximately as likely to distract me from my reading as a paperback. The phone has always been a successful platform on which to read ebooks, but I never expected the notifications, messages, etc that are a big part of the reason I own a smart phone to go away (and let my level of distraction be on my own head).

Comment: Re:No, there's no need (Score 5, Insightful) 671

by centuren (#39240617) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Using Company Laptop For Personal Use

I can make an image of the drive, then wipe the machine, and restore it back to its former state if I ever have to return it.

Is your new job worth it? Not saying you'll automatically lose your job over that, but I can't imagine it'll go over well. Especially as you'd be using your (non-work prepared) laptop for doing work and might inadvertantly put them at risk (the kind of risk they hope to eliminate by issuing you the laptop in the first place).

The simple solution is get yourself a USB / livecd type distro. Don't touch the hard drive.. and if it's encrypted, you shouldn't be putting your company at risk (assuming you don't use the same key for anything else). Personally I'd ask your IT guys if they are ok with this before doing it. Sometimes they can actually be reasonable about this kind of stuff.

The real solution here is to leave your work laptop alone completely and get your own laptop for personal use.

The parent correctly points out that you can use a live distro and avoid having to touch the company's hard drive.

Maybe, maybe not. There may be key-loggers installed which still grab your keystrokes.
Further, you can set up machines to prevent booting from anything other than the hard drive, then lock the bios.

Just to be clear, OP is saying he is "not the type of person who can't look at pornography" right? In this work-related scenario, if that's the case, get your own laptop, tablet, or smart phone.

If that's not the case and he is worried any personal use will get you in trouble, that's probably something he should clarify. I know plenty of unreasonable work places are around, but it is unreasonable to expect no personal use from a company laptop in constant possession of an employee (especially outside of work hours).

If neither is the primary case and you are expecting the laptop to be so locked out that you can't run anything but an office suite and the company-modded IE-engine software, then, as was pointed out, run a separate OS off a thumb drive. If the hardware is completely locked-down, back to the tablet/smartphone concept. Look up the policy, talk to the IT guys, but, essentially, DON'T do something that can mess up IT's carefully locked down security, and DON'T do things that are illegal or NSFW.

If the issue isn't "I want to look at pornography on my work laptop", why would the company care if he reads an ebook or watches a movie, if it's done responsibly (and somewhat out in the open, so all that's monitored is a lot of "unknown activity")? It kind of sounds like it's a porn thing, though. Maybe it's the inferred metaphorical air quotes.

Comment: Re:Yes! (Score 2) 470

by centuren (#38652360) Attached to: Are Programmers Ruining the Design of eBooks?

The real issue *is* a programming one, most books are typeset by non-programmers and non-artists - Just like normal books, and normal newspapers so they need tools that will allow them to produce book that look as good as possible with no effort or time ...these are seemingly non-existent ...

Calibre *really* shows that it was created by programmers (yes, I know, duh). It's such a versatile program for editing (things like content flow and structure), converting between formats, and getting your new version on whatever device it's needed. It has an effective but obtuse UI itself, and shows little to no effort put into beautifying eBooks. I am always satisfied that my converted eBooks are easy to read on my android phone, but also always a little disappointed in their lack of aesthetic.

Comment: Re:No (Score 4, Insightful) 470

by centuren (#38652306) Attached to: Are Programmers Ruining the Design of eBooks?

The problem is that the design work is being done by someone who doesn't care about typography and usability, not because it is done by someone who is skilled in programming.

If you don't know about about structure, algorithms and logic, it is hard to give an application design that is novel, implementable and will actually work out the way it is envisioned. But to effectively design you need skills in design as well as actually caring about the usecases. Code is the medium to express design, just like paint and stone can be used to express visual art, but an interface designer who can't code is as useless as an artist who cannot use a paintbrush or chisel. Coding isn't that hard if you can structure your thoughts clearly enough to explain your design to others anyway, there's nothing arcane to it.

So the crux is, two things, equally important, the code and what you are coding.

I was getting ready to proclaim this the most off-topic Slashdot discussion ever, then I finally saw mention this mention of typography. Yes, there are more further down, but I'm already burnt out on all this UI and usability talk. The article is about eBooks, not readers or tablets and especially not desktop environments or word processors. When reading a book, UI and usability don't come into it -- those things are already fixed into the platform on which I'm reading the book.

Comment: Re:He's probably right. (Score 1) 352

by centuren (#38652166) Attached to: Michael Dell Dismisses Tablet Threat To the PC Market

Trying to do much REAL WORK(tm) on a tablet is an exercise in frustration. By the time you add a keyboard and mouse so that you can be even marginally productive you might as well get the tablet so that you can work even where/when there isn't a wireless network.

The tablet's niche is on the couch or the train or the bus.

I definitely agree that tablets are presently only handy at a few things. I can easily imagine a way that might change, though. Mr. Dell points to the college student as why tablets are no threat to PCs, but peripherals can change. It's hard to envision an exact form, but as computers get smaller and faster (laptops, tablets, and phones included), it makes a sort of sense to have one device at the centre of it all. A smartphone or tablet powering what amounts to a desktop computer once you dock it, or a laptop computer once you slide it in.

In any case, certainly tablets are no immediate threat to the pc market, just denting laptop and especially e-reader sales.

Comment: Re:Sucks to be you! (Score 1) 516

by centuren (#38007430) Attached to: How Do I Get Back a Passion For Programming?

The last thing I want to do after a long hard day's work of coding is to go home and do another N hours of coding. Not interesting. Now on the other hand, if your work having a slow period, I can see the interest in doing programming after office hours. Speaking of slow, I spent 8 months in my last job begging for work to do and they couldn't come up with anything, so when I went home at night, I worked on writing an open source library to exercise my brain instead of spending it on work work.

PS: In the end, I wasn't fired laid off; the company was just that dysfunctional.

Coding within an established body of legacy code in the office can be a mentally separate activity from branching out into a new area in which one doesn't yet have any experience. I might spend all day at work trying to figure out where another programmer's bug is using a 3rd party API, and find I can spend time a few days a week learning about developing for a platform I haven't worked in professionally. It's never a guarantee, though, I'm definitely inclined to agree with your main point. It's worth mentioning and then emphasizing, because if it works, it works.

Comment: Re:Sucks to be you! (Score 1) 516

by centuren (#38007388) Attached to: How Do I Get Back a Passion For Programming?

Second: Start a project on your own that is fun. (in my case: Make games!).

This can be a good suggestion. But before that happens, he needs the inspiration to actually go through with it. Wanting to do some programming, but not having a single idea of what to do is an awful feeling.

I find myself in much of the same situation as the submitter, and when feeling burned out inspiration is the single hardest thing to find. My suggestion, and also what I've been exploring myself, is finding other people in my local area that are interested in collaborating on a fun project. I'm in something of a college town, so younger, less-experienced programmers rife with enthusiasm (and eager to work with someone with 10 years on them) are about, making it really more about finding a project and time we can all get together.

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