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Comment: Re:Contact the Linux Foundation (Score 1) 266

by digitect (#46609353) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

"How to ask a question the smart way" is 23 pages long and starts with the presumption that the questioner do most of the work in solving the question prior to asking.

As long as we spend more effort on Slashdot explaining to a disabled, non-developer that he is wrong than it would take to fix the bug, it is will NOT be the year of Linux.

Comment: Architects use "additional services" for creep (Score 1) 221

by digitect (#44245313) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Development Requirements Change But Deadlines Do Not?

In our architectural practice, we use the term "additional services" to quantify scope creep, basically anything beyond the scope defined in our proposal/contract.

This reinforces the need for making that initial statement of expectations clear AND the implications for any deviation thereafter.

Comment: Why bother, XFCE is all you need (Score 5, Interesting) 56

by digitect (#42119915) Attached to: Fedora Adds MATE and Cinnamon Desktops to Main Repository, Releases Beta

After struggling to use Gnome 3 since Fedora officially released it, I recently tried XFCE again and was blown away with how fast and suitable it is. The defaults are good and there are tons of options to customize it back to the similar paradigm Gnome 2 was. I couldn't believe how much faster my machine felt after switching. Even moving Firefox tabs was better!

I gave G3 PLENTY of time and never could feel comfortable with it even after slowly adding extension after extension to get something workable. The visual component of a desktop is important, and the G3 simply hides too much that is necessary to use it. It's like having a car with no dashboard. The so-called "easy"methods to reveal open windows and find applications are hard to discover, require too much input and memory, and are too slow.

After this weekend's pleasurable re-discovery of the improved XFCE, I'm never going back. Gnome doesn't matter any more to me.

Comment: Re:Diamonds, like paper (Score 2) 243

by digitect (#41370227) Attached to: Huge Diamond Deposits Revealed In Russia

Gold is not any more intrinsically valuable than diamonds (or fiat currency!)

Not true. Gold is a fabulous conductor and does not corrode. That makes it extremely valuable in electrical components, particularly connectors. If we could assemble all electronics with gold plated connectors the world would have a lot less shorts, fires, computer failures, etc.

Two intrinsically interesting characteristics of diamonds are hardness and thermal conductivity.

Can't say the same for fiat currency.

Comment: nvidia same as adobe flash (Score 1) 581

by digitect (#40426221) Attached to: Nvidia Engineer Asks How the Company Can Improve Linux Support

Nvidia has the same problem Adobe has with Flash: Closed source equals instability.

Between Fedora 14 and 17, I have never experienced so much system instability in Linux, and I've been a user since RH 5.1. My X is now guaranteed to lock in 5 minutes either by watching a Flash video or doing a yum install kmod-nvidia.

The year of the desktop, yeah, right.

Comment: Re:Japan and Europe is where the industry is (Score 1) 599

by digitect (#39235183) Attached to: Chevy Volt Meets High Resistance, GM Suspends Sales

Any car from the "big three" built within the past 20 years that is worth buying these days can go 300,000 miles with basic maintenance. Cars were garbage in the 80's and I think a lot of the mentality around longevity in the US these days is still based on experiences with those cars.

Exactly why my father bought a 1979 Accord and never looked back. If you think American cars last a long time, try a Honda/Toyota and read what Consumer Reports has to say. (BTW, I'm betting on Korean being the next decade's value carmakers.)

Comment: Building Industry (Score 5, Informative) 2288

by digitect (#35888224) Attached to: Why Does the US Cling To Imperial Measurements?

I'm an architect, and I'll tell you that the building industry is so entrenched in imperial measurements I haven't used my metric scale in five years. Every single product is based on imperial dimensions, meaning design, coordination, and calculation require the same.

Some examples: joist spacing tables display span lengths for 16" and 24" on center spacings. These tables are everywhere and they've been around unchanged forever. All the plywood sub-flooring is in 48" x 96" sheets. Works great for either joist spacing and in either horizontal or vertical orientation. If you buy a house in the US, standard is an 8' ceiling, "up scale" is 9', exclusive is 10'. (Who would know the status of a 2600mm ceiling?!) Studs are already available and pre-cut to accomplish these heights. Drywall is sold in these lengths. Concrete and soil are measured in cubic yards, roofing by square, carpeting by yard, ceiling tiles in 24" squares, etc. The International Building Code (what most of us use) gives dimensions in Imperial dimensions, including sprinkler head spacing, floor loading requirements, floor-to-floor, allowable areas, etc. Think about it, every plumbing, gas, and sanitary drain system connecting your building to infrastructure is calculated in imperial from engineering tables more than fifty years old. Tape measures are all imperial as is surveying equipment. The entire commercial real estate market is in imperial, changing to metric would crush every agent and developer trying to calculate pro-forma for all real estate in the country. Lumber mills and woodworking equipment that has been around for years and that produce moldings, doors, boards, handrails, furniture, etc., are all imperial. Existing surveys, architectural drawings, engineering calculations, and every other kind of specification, calibration, documentation, regulation, etc. in the building industry is imperial, doing a simple renovation or addition (actually >50% of the building industry) would require the overhead of converting all existing information prior to proceeding.

I've worked on several metric buildings. It takes about two days to get into the swing of it. From an architect's view, scaling and plotting drawings is much simpler than imperial. Not having to deal with foot-inches is easier, too. (Although everybody seems to disagree about whether to use m, cm, or mm. We have native metric users that can't even agree on that.) But it doesn't take long before somebody starts discussing "hard" vs. "soft" metric and wondering if buying 900 mm doors will cost 50% more than 36" doors, if a wheelchair can still fit through it, and where they might come from in the local market if they can even be found. About a day later the whole endeavor goes down the tube when one party in the process gets nervous. We usually switch to "soft" metric for a few weeks (designing in imperial but also stating metric on the drawings) and then abandon the entire metric effort in favor of imperial. The only way a project will stay in true hard metric is if it is being built overseas.

We're going to have to go metric one system at a time. First was soda bottles. Then automobiles. Science is there, and a lot of SI units are becoming comfortable on food packaging. The building industry is going to have to do the same, I predict in places where highly manufactured components interface with imperial ones in a relatively unimportant way. (Think windows cut into a wall.) Commercially, roof membranes are specified in mm and many other components are manufactured in hard metric dimensions with proximal imperial values (like thicknesses of drywall and plywood). But things like bricks, lumber, and plumbing pipe may take a while.

Comment: Re:So don't. (Score 3, Interesting) 393

by digitect (#34549802) Attached to: Stallman Worried About Chrome OS

Easy does not always mean better. The goal of a capitalistic endeavor is to provide a product/service at a price point more convenient than doing it yourself. In exchange for the cost and convenience, we may sacrifice certain qualitative considerations that we would have built in had we done it ourselves. This applies to many things... architecture, automobiles, food, fashion, consumer electronics, TV signals, and software.

In the case of cloud computing, most customers appear willing to sacrifice their privacy in exchange for some software convenience or feature. We simply don't know how this will turn out in the long run. It is conceivable that a few high profile privacy or security violations by a cloud provider will change everyone's perspective in the future. Perhaps next year, or perhaps in 20. But it isn't quite accurate to relate customer behavior with what will ultimately be the best model. I prefer to think of consumerism as herd testing, and sometimes prefer to stand on the sideline watching to see if the herd goes over the cliff or not. Remember how blood letting turned out?

So I agree with RMS, cloud computing without ironclad legal protections do not currently safeguard individual's interests for personal privacy.

Comment: Architectural drawings (Score 2) 968

by digitect (#34486224) Attached to: Google Wants To Take Away Your Capslock Key

Good luck creating architectural drawings. (IMAA)

It has been convention since the beginning of time to write everything in CAPs. Not that conventions can't change, but there is a whole system of communication in the construction industry related to the assumption that instructions and notations are always capitalized. Similar reason to why US construction is still Imperial, there is too much embodied energy in the current method to risk confusing it with a change to another system.

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.

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