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Comment Re:Sorry, but Apple still deserves most of the cre (Score 2) 213

Eject a disk by moving it from my desktop to the trash with all the files I want to delete? Makes sense.

Well, to understand this, you have to recall that early Macs had to be able to run off of a single floppy drive. Users might buy a hard drive or a second floppy drive (or if they had a dual-floppy SE, a third floppy drive for some reason) but it couldn't be relied on. Yet they still had to be able to tolerate having the OS disc ejected at times.

So there was a distinction between physically ejecting a disc while keeping it mounted (which was represented onscreen by a greyed out disc icon) so that you could copy to it, and both physically ejecting _and_ dismounting a disc.

The formal way that you were supposed to do this was by using menu commands. The Eject command was for eject-but-keep-mounted while the generally ignored Put Away command was for eject-and-dismount. It was also possible to use Put Away on an already greyed out, ejected-but-mounted disc icon.

User testing showed that this was inconvenient, and one of the OS developers eventually created a shortcut for the Put Away command, which was to drag a disc icon to the trash. It wound up being so popular that it shipped.

Apparently there had been some thought at the time about changing the Trash icon into some sort of Eject icon in the case of ejecting a disc, but apparently this was felt to be confusing or too difficult, so it wasn't done. In OS X the idea was revisited, and now the Trash icon does turn into a standard Eject icon when you're dragging a disc.

In any case, in real life, whatever confusion dragging disc icons to the trash might have caused, everyone got over it basically immediately.

Switching tiled applications makes the one menu bar change? Sure. It's not like moving the cursor half the screen for each click is a waste of time.

It's not; since there's nothing above the menubar, you can just slam the mouse up. It turns out to be faster and easier than having multiple menu bars. The Mac and Lisa groups did consider per-window menubars, but having tested the idea, it was rejected. For example, here's some polaroids of a screen from 1980 showing a Lisa with a menu attached to the bottom of a window: http://www.folklore.org/images... Later that year, the menu had moved to the top of the windows: http://www.folklore.org/images... And early the next year, it finally settled at the top of the screen: http://www.folklore.org/images...


World's Most Powerful Digital Camera Sees Construction Green Light 44

An anonymous reader writes: The Department of Energy has approved the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telecscope's 3.2-gigapixel digital camera, which will be the most advanced in the world. When complete the camera will weigh more than three tons and take such high resolution pictures that it would take 1,500 high-definition televisions to display one of them. According to SLAC: "Starting in 2022, LSST will take digital images of the entire visible southern sky every few nights from atop a mountain called Cerro Pachón in Chile. It will produce a wide, deep and fast survey of the night sky, cataloging by far the largest number of stars and galaxies ever observed. During a 10-year time frame, LSST will detect tens of billions of objects—the first time a telescope will observe more galaxies than there are people on Earth – and will create movies of the sky with unprecedented details. Funding for the camera comes from the DOE, while financial support for the telescope and site facilities, the data management system, and the education and public outreach infrastructure of LSST comes primarily from the National Science Foundation (NSF)."

3 Category 4 Hurricanes Develop In the Pacific At Once For the First Time 201

Kristine Lofgren writes: For the first time in recorded history, three Category 4 hurricanes were seen in the Pacific Ocean at the same time. Climatologists have been warning that climate change may produce more extreme weather situations, and this may be a peek at the future to come. Eric Blake, a specialist with the National Hurricane Center summed it up with a tweet: "Historic central/eastern Pacific outbreak- 3 major hurricanes at once for the first time on record!"

Comment Re:give $100 million each to best friends & fa (Score 1) 621

This is the best answer right here, and it would cure his loneliness, too. Not only do the people who have stuck by you during the hard times deserve the reward, but they're the ones who have proven who you can trust.

I think even the best of friendships might end up weird if sucking up to you might mean another drop of many millions of dollars. And many people will feel quite obliged by something like that, even if it's a gift. And some feel unnaturally compelled to match spending habits even though they clearly can't afford it, though I suppose not with a billionaire. Sure, some people are welfare queens and will take what they can get but many also don't want your charity. It's always easier to peer with your peers, which is why rich people tend to lump together.


The Most Important Obscure Languages? 283

Nerval's Lobster writes: If you're a programmer, you're knowledgeable about "big" languages such as Java and C++. But what about those little-known languages you only hear about occasionally? Which ones have an impact on the world that belies their obscurity? Erlang (used in high-performance, parallel systems) springs immediately to mind, as does R, which is relied upon my mathematicians and analysts to crunch all sorts of data. But surely there are a handful of others, used only by a subset of people, that nonetheless inform large and important platforms that lots of people rely upon... without realizing what they owe to a language that few have ever heard of.

Comment Re:Not all that uncommon in reality (Score 1) 154

Someday Steam will go away, and then all those discs which are now coasters which install Steam and maybe some game resources will just be coasters.

Yes, and someday the universe will end in heat death and everything that ever existed will be useless. That doesn't mean we shouldn't enjoy it up until that point.

The point wasn't "don't use Steam", the point was "if you have decent internet access, the disc is a complete waste of time." It's worth noting however that if you don't have a halfway decent connection, it may still be a complete waste of time.

Comment Re:Fat Cats in the Countryside (Score 1) 196

Why? Why is it "even greater?" You really think getting people living in the middle of nowhere is one of the best places the government can spend our money? I don't.

Do you really want there to only be one lifestyle available in the country? Don't you want there to be infrastructure available in remote regions of the nation so that you can enjoy it if you should have to go there? By the way, I'm literally walking distance from actual civilization, there's just artificial monopoly boundaries in the way of someone other than AT&T bringing fiber into my county, and thus some competition. It's a short hop.

Because despite the views of the slashdot demographic, not having high speed internet is not the end of the world.

It's part of modern society... in developed nations, anyhow.

I think transportation infrastructure should be paid for ONLY through gasoline taxes, which means those big trucks doing the most damage are paying the most for the use of the roads.

If you think that would make the trucks pay for their fair share of the damage, thinking is precisely what you aren't doing. They only consume five to ten times as much fuel as cars, but they do far more than five to ten times as much of the road damage. Basing all road maintenance on gas taxes would place the most unfair burden squarely on the people who damage the roads the least — motorcyclists. That would be followed up in unfairness by people who drive lightweight cars without low rolling resistance tires, who also do basically no road damage whatsoever in the course of normal road use.

And make no mistake - I probably drive a lot more than you (I'm at 200k with my 10 year old car, the average is supposedly around 12k/year, not 20k).

Unless it's a serious land yacht with cookie-cutter tires, you'd be getting absolutely robbed if all the road maintenance came from fuel taxes.

Comment Re:Not all that uncommon in reality (Score 1) 154

I've still never played Half-Life 2.

I was on a ~26.4 dialup connection that was flaky. My disc actually did contain game content, so once I was able to get Steam installed, I could play the game. I actually highly recommend it, especially if you've already paid for it. It is a gem among single-player FPSes. But my problem was that the initial Steam install required (or requires?) a Steam update as part of the installation process, and the download for this update did (does?) not resume when it fails. This was enough to keep me from being able to install the game for several days, until I finally got a long enough uninterrupted download to get Steam installed. The actual game updates download relatively gracefully, in that they can be paused and resumed at will. There is even a scheduler, which works sometimes.

I have got a whole wad of Steam games via Humble Bundles, and a couple of Steam games via deliberate purchases — games I expect to be bored with after playing through them once, or which I bought only to get access to their data files for use with other game engines. Some of these games have no DRM, so the fact that they were delivered via Steam is of no consequence. It's also a fine delivery platform for free-to-pay games, since they're momentary things and you have to download all the content for them anyhow. Otherwise, I prefer to avoid the Steam logo.

This is a frustrating time to be a gamer, unless you're into retrogaming. Anyone still playing Mech IV? I miss that game.

What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expect generally happens. -- Bengamin Disraeli