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Comment Re:a nice Linux trick (Score 1) 687 687

Swapping Caps and Escape has changed my life to the extent I would consider carrying little stickers around for all the keyboards I remap. Unsurprisingly, I'm a fairly heavy vim user, but I believe this is an increasing trend, especially on Mac.

As vi was written on an ADM-3A, which had Esc in the currently common Tab location, the notoriously heavy use of Esc in vim makes sense. However, swapping with Caps makes it reachable from the home position - initially skeptical, I only realised how much of a difference it makes when I tried to switch back...

On Gnome 3, I have recently switched from using xmodmap to setting org.desktop.gnome.input-sources.xkb-options to ['caps:swapescape'] in dconf-editor. Much easier.

Comment Re:my 2cents (Score 1) 302 302

Agreed - I find that with Laravel, I can practically sneeze a (development) mock-up. With a bit of practice, it can be kept clean, conceptually reproducing relationships described by the client, easy to unit (and acceptance) test and, for moderately simple websites, extended smoothly to what you ultimately want. With the foundations nailed down, you can spend your time drawing up your HTML/CSS layout in the views and enjoy concise snippets for dropping in object properties and looping over items. I admit, I am more of a developer, but I would say Laravel would be a great choice for a designer who wants to get power without spending all their time in PHP.

More importantly, from the OPs perspective, if you know some PHP and understand OOP, it is slimline enough to dip in and out of the libraries to see what's going on. But for anything fairly standard you don't need to, because there is adequate documentation and reference websites such as the excellent Laracasts or tutorial sites, such as, for the more adventurous, Culttt. No deep hidden binary blobs, as in some commercial libraries, or spaghetti bowl of indecipherable ramblings, as can happen organically in some PHP projects, but plenty of power and extensible neatly through (as the parent pointed out) composer.

Comment Self-diagnosis (Score 4, Insightful) 79 79

Surely hyperchondria will always find a way, the internet just makes it more efficient? In fairness to WebMD, what something is intended for and what people choose to use it for can be very different - I'd say, up to a reasonable point, if WebMD is fulfilling its primary purpose for which it was created, people need to take responsibility for the risks they take in depending on it while ignoring the advice to defer to a clinician, whether there's five of them or five hundred thousand. If they can't understand that responsibility, the problem is with the education system, not the internet.

Somebody recently pointed out that if you Google "chest pain" you could end up thinking it was harmless and you should just ignore it. They evidently hadn't tried Googling it. I continue to see ads on the TV saying, "please use your common sense if you have cold or flu symptoms to decide whether you have a serious risk, as going to your GP or A&E blocks services for others", and not "if you think you have a brain tumour, stay at home", so it seems internet self-diagnosis may not even be the primary issue. At what percentage do the few serious cases, who wouldn't have otherwise bothered going to a doctor, outweigh the number of Cyberchondriacs enabled by the same process?

Comment Better a horse in the race... (Score 4, Interesting) 437 437

At least Netflix push back - I gave up on LoveFilm entirely because they went the extra mile in preventing Linux access (at least back when I tried it). I am happy to keep paying for Netflix as long as they are happy to keep pushing, I can accept that they're going to have to meet studio demands part-way to keep getting content. As long as somebody's not busy breaking Pipelight, somebody's creating award-winning independent content from the ground up, somebody's doing simultaneous worldwide releases, somebody's trying to support Linux, somebody's open-sourcing parts of their core tech, I'd rather they cut the deals to keep them in the game, at least their chips are big enough to make a difference.

Maybe it's just because I (sometimes) can find more classic films I want on Amazon Instant Video, but I get HDCP errors or "device not supported" and think, I bet it's a noisier debate when the Netflix reps sit down with the various MPAA negotiators.

Comment Re:The problem with doxing (Score 4, Insightful) 171 171

I heard a story once about a PhD who was presenting their first year's progress. There were no problems, everything had gone to plan and on time, unlike the rest of their office mates, who had followed false leads, made mistakes with mixing chemicals and so forth. At the presentation, after all of the productive work was outlined and a few cursory questions addressed, one of the more senior staff put up their hand and asked "What unexpected problems did you come across?" The response was "Nothing - it all proceeded as planned." After some investigation, it turned out an experienced postdoc had actually done most of the work and coached the candidate through their first year.

Like many good murder mysteries, something can seem "too perfect" - then you can find the needle much faster than searching through a haystack of mistakes.

Comment Re:CLA (Score 1) 57 57

Just to contrast with Copyright Assignment, which is also a popular approach, there can be a substantial body of improvement that the upstream developers are unlikely to even be notified about, never mind receive, because requiring Copyright Assigment leaves it dead in the water. This may seem like a bit of paper for a lone developer, but when an institution or external agreements are involved, it takes one person somewhere in the chain, who may not know or care, to say, "Why are we signing away ownership of months of funded work? They want additional protection, you say? Then, by definition, we must be losing it. Anyway, it's easier to veto and ignore upstream submission - this is not our problem, our project's fine."

Signing over to the FSF may be fairly benign, but when you are talking about signing a document for a random upstream company, a CLA can be much more reasonable to explain.

Thorough blog article from Michael Meeks (of GNOME and other things) - https://people.gnome.org/~mich...

User Journal

Journal Journal: OpenVPN and Restarting

Every-so-often, I come across a bug with a simple workaround that seems likely to be fairly commonly experienced, and Google is very little help. A classic example : n-m-openvpn shuts down VPN when openvpn soft-restarts. Essentially, every minute or so, my VPN dies, without any fanfare or visible notice. As I connect to my web dev network via VPN, then SSH in, the end effect is that my SSH connection hangs, mid-typing. Permanently.

Comment Re:Wait, what? I'm a unicorn, arrest me? (Score 1) 488 488

So where does 'being a hacker' enter the picture?... The court used the 'we are hackers' statement as evidence that the defendant probably had the means and knowledge to destroy the evidence. Thus, the restraining order was granted.

I think the issue is that 'being a hacker' enters the picture most significantly here:

The tipping point for the Court comes from evidence that the defendants – in their own words – are hackers. By labeling themselves this way, they have essentially announced that they have the necessary computer skills and intent to simultaneously release the code publicly and conceal their role in that act.

That is, in the Court's view, that 'being a hacker' was both necessary ('tipping') and sufficient ('essentially announced..,', etc.) evidence that they had 'intent'. That's the scary bit - the misuse of a long-established technical term to pre-emptively trap someone, before they have any chance of input. This could very easily have been avoided by a basic level of technical background.

The other scary bit, as covered extensively already in the comments, is that this:

Battelle must show that the defendants have “a history of disposing of evidence or violating court orders or that persons similar to the adverse party have such a history.”

was essentially fulfilled by self-describing as a 'hacker' plus this:

Battelle asserts generally that defendants who have the technical ability to wipe out a hard drive will do precisely that when faced with allegations of wrongdoing.

This is the undelying point of all the analogies about capacity and intent above, whether they stack up for other reasons or not. So, I'd say there is a valid point that something went wrong. In terms of consequences, this is a public shaming for somebody trying to build a new business - whether intended as such or not and whether they are culpable or not, I can't imagine much from a business confidence survey on Southfork Security about now. The dubious logic allowed this to happen without any opportunity to protest in court. But, surely all publicity is good publicity... I guess I'd never heard of them til today.

There's a reason that the bar has to be so high: "a history of disposing of evidence or violating court orders or that persons similar to the adverse party have such a history.” Good thing they didn't notice the word 'fork' in the company name or they'd probably have the domain name too...

I don't know much about how such things work in the US, but is there any way that someone could be compensated if it was later shown that such action was negligent and (quantifiably) materially damaging?

Comment Re:Hardcore Gnome Shell fans, seriously? (Score 1) 175 175

Having enjoyed Ubuntu as a novel change from Slack and Debian, I was pretty unconvinced by Gnome Shell or Unity when they appeared, switched to Mint and, as Gnome 3 started to improve, switched to Fedora. Eventually, I released I missed the Ubuntu repos and familiarity of the Debian derivative structure, and returned to experimental Ubuntu Quantal.

The first thing I did was install Gnome Shell, as I still haven't warmed to Unity, and this has brought some interesting regressions. But I live with them (and have great, well-meaning intentions of delving into the code) because I now, for whatever reasons, really like Gnome Shell. In fact, having been introduced to Mac for the first time in the last few weeks, albeit a version a year or two out of date, I found the interface a wee bit clunky, not particularly intuitive and distinctly unslick for a moderately heavy terminal user. Nice enough, but knowing the alternatives, I wouldn't pay good money for it. That's fine, I'm not in the target demographic. Garage Band, however, I'm sold - those kind of experience applications I think Mac does fantastically, and I believe there are fantastic IDE/code versioning/project management GUIs, but that not the point here.

So I guess this article refers to me. I certainly don't remember jumping on any band wagons, in fact I'm pretty sure I ended up here by repeatedly jumping off them, and despite being decidedly unhardcore, I claim to be "excitingly different" on blind date forms, as the interwebs tell me preferring Gnome Shell to XFCE, Fluxbox or TTY makes me rarer than a unicorn in hen tooth pyjamas.

Comment UK? (Score 5, Interesting) 101 101

Unless I'm misunderstanding the Nature article and Google links, the title of this post is misleading: this is about England & Wales (which share their legal system) rather than the rest of the UK - there's an article here about the different implications that such a law would have on the Scottish legal system (English libel reform raises new Scottish question). I haven't seen any indication whether we'd adopt this in Northern Ireland.

Comment Re:I'm divided (Score 2) 139 139

I think there's a good point here about the impact of this kind of process on a business, whether Kim Dotcom's or anybody else's and regardless of the outcome.

"Innocent until proven guilty" only applies in a court of law. In a world where decisions are made on the basis of an opportune fortune cookie that fell out of a bag on the shelf where I spotted my subscription copy of "Advertiser's Guide to Large File Hosting Monthly", law enforcement storming an executive's private residence with a cornucopia of guns and officers has an impact. Given the vast sums of money that change hands over ephemeral and esoteric patents on a component of a specific product, this is another order of magnitude in competitive disadvantage.

My point isn't that this specific case is right or wrong, but that we trust government, not the judiciary, to ensure this catastrophe only happens to the bad guys, which may be necessary but is still incompatible with "innocent until proven guilty". If there's a mistake, commensurate restitution is simply infeasible. Which is one reason many court cases involve name suppression, but then that opens another can of worms.

Comment Personally (Score 5, Informative) 510 510

As someone simulating fluid-structure interaction with a number of constituent models and a lot of finite element (i.e. big matrix problems; using FEniCS - fenicsproject.org), using Python makes my overall quite-long algorithm much easier to flick through. Invaluable for debugging the theory as well as the implementation. FEniCS' Python interface ties into the standard C/C++ libraries using SWIG and, in simple cases, saves me working in C++. Very clear, well-written C++ is great for this application but I find it takes considerably longer to write than clear Python.

When I hit a more intricate problem, I realized I was going to have to solve a series of FE matrices by hand (with PETSc, written in C). It turned out to be pretty straightforward to pick up SWIG, write a short module in C and a Python interface. Done! Particularly useful as I believe getting FEniCS and petsc4py to play well is tricky.

So, I'd agree - having written a C++ version of my (simpler) problem and a Python/C version of the complicated one, the latter was definitely easier, and all the rate-limiting stuff is in C anyhow.

Doubt it would be true for every situation but +1 from an FE perspective.

"History is a tool used by politicians to justify their intentions." -- Ted Koppel