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Comment: Re:I use (Score 1) 204

by elijahu (#45185983) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Do You Use Markdown and Pandoc?

I am surprised that reStructuredText hasn't been mentioned more in this conversation. I use vim in iTerm2 [not sure what the draw is for people to use MacVim versus just running vim in a terminal]. I write in LaTeX sometimes, but often will draft up whatever I'm writing in reStructuredText, convert to LaTeX with rst2latex.py, and then tweak as need in LaTeX. I've used Markdown some, but I'm not sure why it seems to be more popular than ReST. Granted, the latter is far from perfect, and sometimes costs me more time than it should. I'd be interested to see if anyone in this thread delves into the pro's and con's of one of the more frequently used markup languages than the other -- besides LaTeX. I mean one that focuses on human readability, yet still gives the ability to easily convey contextual meaning into LaTeX, or HTML, etc.

As for other styles of editing, I dabbled with LyX recently, but then realized that I really have no desire to do any textual work outside of vim. Besides the fact that I leave too many j's and k's scattered around forgetting that I'm not in normal mode, I give up too much and gain too little outside of vim. And I don't mean to start a religious war. I have great respect for anyone willing to risk the serious muscular damage necessary to do anything in emacs. I just think that it's hard to beat doing your grunt work in the plaintext editor of your choice and then converting at your whim to the format of your choice. As far as needing to see quick feedback on what you are doing, it usually only takes me a few keystrokes to render to pdf, and if I've already been looking at it in Preview, just changing window focus back to it usually auto updates to the new changes.

Comment: Re:Well, that's cool and all, but.... (Score 3, Interesting) 252

by elijahu (#42921657) Attached to: Evil, Almost Full Vim Implementation In Emacs, Reaches 1.0

I started to agree with you, but then you went a bogus direction.

"Intelligent people" do understand that it's meaningless (though occasionally amusing) to argue whether vi/m or emacs is better, but that's because they understand that if you've invested the effort to truly learn and use either, that your text editing capability will be far superior to what can be done in any other text editing tool.

Yes, it's just text editing. While there are some new features that crop up from time to time as new tools or formats come along, the basic complexities of text manipulation have been pretty well figured out and solutions implemented for a long time. This is the reason why emacs and vi/m remain so successful, because they remain a collective memory of decades worth of solutions to text manipulation challenges (just as Linux is a collective memory of solutions to computing challenges). There's a whole world "in" there, it just takes a bit of devotion to explore it.

There have not been "superior" alternatives to both. There have been attempts to try to because emacs and vi have steep learning curves. The alternatives have invariably fallen short, however, because while you can dumb down an interface, you lose that ability to effectively tap into that vast pool of solutions emacs and vi offer. You also loose the efficiency gain from their ui philosophy, which may have originated in the 70's low-bandwidth terminal mentality, but guess what, it's still just text on the screen and those old mentalities still have more relevance than you may understand.

The alternatives also all tend to fail to capture the full scope of the capabilities that emacs and vi offer. Someone further up the thread called them 'esoteric'. If your job is to manipulate text all day long, those 'esoteric' factors can have a tremendous impact on your effectiveness.

Muscle memory is, indeed part of it, but not the full story. Its about effective use of my time. It's not that people that use emacs or vi are "thinking to hard", its that people who aren't are working too hard and maybe haven't though enough. While you're scratching your head and waving your mouse pointer around trying to find the right menu to do open to reveal some set of options from which you have to choose which one might or might not fully do the text manipulation task you need it to do, I've already done exactly what I wanted to do with a few keystrokes. The next time it needs to be done, you'll still be wandering through your menus, and it will still just be a few keystroke for me (possibly fewer if I've made a macro). Its about investing the time to learn from the folks that already figured it out, and having a system that makes future repetition of that process as streamlined as possible.

Oh, and universality... you may think Unix is niche, but there sure seems to be a lot of it around. It's pretty hard to find one that doesn't have vi, emacs, or both on it. Macs are also niche, I guess, but there again you'll find vi and emacs just a terminal prompt away. Maybe your world is Windows-centric. I'm sorry, but even there you can easily download either. The investment made in learning the capabilities of either are useable on any system you might encounter. There are few (if any) alternatives that can make the same claim and offer the same features.

Comment: ...profit? (Score 1) 1880

by elijahu (#38026116) Attached to: What's Keeping You On Windows?
I find it surprising that someone doesn't see this as an opportunity. Many of the respondents in this thread have indicated they use Macs now at home. Those that don't seem to do so more out of a political/religious dislike for the company rather than an actual preference for the functionality of Windows over OSX in all areas but gaming. To me, though, a solid financial management tool really stands out as a missing piece of Mac software. That and a Visio-type tool, which someone mentioned further up the thread, seem to be open doors for someone to come in and make a good product and profit.

Comment: Dumbed-down indeed. (Score 1) 302

by elijahu (#37426292) Attached to: Ballmer Hints At 'Metro-ization' of Office
Readers of Slashdot use WYSIWYG word processors? I thought we gave only grief and ridicule to anyone who wasn't still using ed to write TeX for all of their office documents. The idea of using various too-brightly colored squares to interface with text does strike me a ludicrous, but then I've been criticized before for using LaTeX (a real geek wouldn't rely on someone else's macros, but would have rolled their own).

Comment: Re:@cmdrtaco has only 250 followers? (Score 2) 105

by elijahu (#36690558) Attached to: CmdrTaco at Kennedy Space Center

Maybe in Twitter, but just casually glancing around a bit I see /. user numbers in the >1.7 mil range. When you get that many people signed up to read your tweets, then come back and talk smack.

BTW, nice score on the press creds, Taco. Have a great time. Hope the weather clears and they get that thing off the ground.

Comment: Re:three points (Score 1) 901

by elijahu (#35279530) Attached to: German Foreign Office Going Back To Windows

...

I have long discounted Free/Open Source software for productivity tools.

...

I don't completely discount them, as there are some (Firefox and Chrome, for example) that surpass their non-FOSS counterparts. Of course I'm being generous in considering browsers "productivity" tools, but they can be in a work environment where the applications are heavily web-based. Sadly, none of the FOSS attempts at spreadsheets has been able to truly match Excel, and even non-FOSS competitors (Numbers, which I have made honest attempts to switch to) fall short. In many office environments, spreadsheets are too much of a core component to overlook, and seemingly minor issues of missing functionality, when encountered regularly in a "why won't this do what I know the other program will" kind of way adds up quickly to equal major user dissatisfaction.

...Usability is not something you can do as an afterthought. Either you have it designed in from the start, or it won't be there.

I very much agree. While I've been impressed with the strides made by Ubuntu, it still lacks a lot of the intuitive usability you get from OS X or even Windows. Its hard for many /.'ers to set aside their experienced view, put themselves in the mindset of a person with limited computer experience, and really understand how baffling a new OS can be if not built for an intuitive user experience.

and poor interoperability."

While many in this thread have scoffed at the idea of drivers remaining an issue, and perhaps they are for printing, I have had several generations of great scanners now that never did and never will work with Linux. It is very frustrating in an office environment to have the need to do something trivial, like scan a document, and be told that it isn't possible because the correct drivers don't exist. Could you please wait a few months for someone in your IT department to try their hand at coding a driver and then try to scan again? Maybe they could have simply gone out and purchased the right scanner hardware. I'm guessing there are some pieces of software out there for Linux that make document capturing easy to use, but I've never seen them because I've never managed to get that far before the need to get the job done overcame my stubbornness for doing it in Linux.

The .xslx point was a good one. There are many times where a document in a Microsoft format "can" be opened in a FOSS tool, but in which the formatting is off by enough to make it a big mess. Calls for going back to MS only takes an one upper management type getting badly embarrassed in an important meeting when the fancy PowerPoint presentation he made at home in Microsoft chokes and dies in the FOSS software that his IT shop told him was compatible.

Image

Volvo Safety Demo Goes Poorly 34

Posted by samzenpus
from the that-wasn't-supposed-to-happen dept.
Lanxon writes "At a demonstration of Volvo's new collision warning system in Sweden this week, Wired got first-hand experience (and video) of what happens when it goes badly wrong. The new Volvo S60, due for release later this year, was fired out of Volvo's testing tunnel at around 30MPH, and the collision detection system should have kicked in, bringing the car automatically to a halt before hitting the truck in its path. It didn't. Instead, the brand new car ploughed into the back of the truck in front of us, and indeed the world's press who had gathered in Sweden to see the collision detection system in action."

Comment: MS "fuzzing" Pwn2Own results? (Score 2, Insightful) 522

by elijahu (#31696334) Attached to: Microsoft Claims Google Chrome Steals Your Privacy

How is Microsoft's response here not them trying desperately to spin their way past the latest Pwn2Own results from CanSecWest? Safari, Firefox and IE8 all went down pretty quickly. Chrome wasn't even attempted. Nobody there had a way to take it down. Money was left on the table.
( http://dvlabs.tippingpoint.com/blog/2010/02/15/pwn2own-2010 )

Microsoft's response?

First claim that Windows 7 isn't really meant to prevent you from hacking into it.
( http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9174309/Microsoft_defends_Windows_7_security_after_Pwn2Own_hacks )

Then try to convince people Chrome is somehow worse.

Seem's like that makes your choice to either accept that a company like Google knows what information you're looking for [turn off the option, heck even use a different browser. I'm sure they can figure it out anyway.] or letting random anyhacker access ALL the data on your system.

I'll take option A thanks.

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