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Comment: Debian - all of it. (Score 1) 223

by jma05 (#48389775) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Programming Education Resources For a Year Offline?

Download all the Debian DVDs. The full repo has nearly everything you might conceivably need in terms of software and dev tools. Make sure you take two copies of the data. The last thing you want is a disk dying unexpectedly. It is safer to have one copy as optical disks. I actually did this when I left for a rural location.

I'd download some Coursera courses and fill my ereader as well.

Of course, the best thing to do there would be to enjoy the scenary and practice mindfulness. I am sure you will be doing that as well.

Comment: Re:No, but schools will take a second look (Score 1) 232

by jma05 (#48344489) Attached to: Will HP's $200 Stream 11 Make People Forget About Chromebooks?

I used Lyx initially for the same reasons and exported to PDFs. Soon it became apparent that it was much easier to just pass Word files since I could just click to accept or reject suggestions (I know Lyx can do that as well... if the people on the other side also use it) from my advisor who used Word. So I exported to Word and stayed there. Plus using Zotero with Word was much easier than with Lyx. I also liked the grammar checker in Word, flawed as it may be (it is popular to criticize it, but I liked it). There is LanguageTool integration for Lyx, which can be more comprehensive, but is also weakly integrated. I do hope to furrther use Lyx in the future though.

Comment: Re:No, but schools will take a second look (Score 1) 232

by jma05 (#48294629) Attached to: Will HP's $200 Stream 11 Make People Forget About Chromebooks?

> Students can write their reports and essays using LaTex

Good luck getting anyone outside CS to do that. Even if the student learns LaTeX, he/she won't likely be able to collaborate with other students/advisers easily. Exporting and importing into/from PDFs is not really a solution when edits are involved.

> I cannot think of a valid reason students should be learning a proprietary application.

The most common and valid reason is when other people you work with want to use a proprietary application and you are not in a position to make them do otherwise.

Comment: Re:too expensive (Score 2) 136

by jma05 (#48290547) Attached to: A Smart Electric Bike: Taking the Copenhagen Wheel Out For a Spin

Indeed. I wonder how much the Bill of Materials is. The innovation premium appears to be too high on this one.

Cars are quite reasonably priced in US. Why are motorcycles so expensive though? (lack of a mass market making them special interest products?) For the price of an $800 electric wheel, one can buy an entire motorcycle from a recognized brand in Asia (starting from $500), where cars cost about the same as in US.

Comment: Re:Open Source == Free Labor (Score 1) 284

by jma05 (#48263175) Attached to: Skilled Foreign Workers Treated as Indentured Servants

Unpaid, hobby work can produce Dillo. It cannot produce Firefox or WebKit. A Dillo does not diminish the value of the paid programmers at Mozilla.

Open Source allows money making vendors to collaborate. For instance, the Apache project produces open source code from many profitable vendors. Each project may not be viable when executed by any single vendor. But together, it makes the work lighter and the individual vendors can focus and compete on their core strengths while sharing the common load. Note that everyone is making money in the process.

> even though about 99% make zero money

Where are you drawing these numbers from? Most of the quality open source code is from paid people working on the clock. Are there many small projects done off the clock? Sure. But a very large chunk of critical and widely adopted code is created and maintained by paid people, with occasional exceptions leading to bugs like Heartbleed.

There are projects that are meant to be open source projects (especially common infrastructure bits that we can all agree on) and there are projects that make economic sense only as proprietary projects and there is stuff in between. Open source is adding value, not diminishing it. You are seeing software value as a closed system when it isn't. Many of the traditional ideas of material markets don't exactly translate to software markets. Given the vibrancy and growth of software markets, it is that the other [markets and human enterprises] should take lessons from software markets when valid, not that the software markets should learn from classical markets.

Comment: Re:Open Source == Free Labor (Score 1) 284

by jma05 (#48260913) Attached to: Skilled Foreign Workers Treated as Indentured Servants

You don't understand open source at all. There is nothing that says you cannot have a business model on top of open source. Most of the open source software I use is written by paid programmers.

Also, not every creative activity needs to be an economic activity. Many of the cherished human accomplishments through history were not driven by economic motives. Only a subset of activities which can be predictably modeled with cost-benefit analyses lend themselves to be cast as economic activities. If you entirely stick to such things, you will have more in common with ants and bees than with being human.

When I do work for an economic motive, I have expectations of fairness, transparency and justice. I do not surrender these expectations by merely engaging in non-economic activity.

Comment: Re:Snowden (Score 1) 221

by jma05 (#48233121) Attached to: When Snowden Speaks, Future Lawyers (and Judges) Listen

> Russia thinks so. China does too.

The Russians and the Chinese think he is an *American* Patriot.

> Can you be a patriot to more than one country?

Sure. People have dual citizenships and they can act in the better interests of both countries. Most first generation Americans have dual loyalties that are not in conflict.

Comment: Mobile OS (Score 1) 180

by jma05 (#48167283) Attached to: The Guardian Reveals That Whisper App Tracks "Anonymous" Users

I blame the mobile OS vendors for this, especially in case of Android. A modern mobile OS must give full control for the user to understand and control which apps are accessing which data services. The user should be able to have a log of all these requests. The user should be able to wire fake data sources to these apps. There are very few apps that I would trust with my contacts list, account names and location information. Cyanogen Mod is working towards this and Google's attempts to acquire it do not engender any trust. The last company with legitimate use for Cyanogen Mod would be Google.

Comment: Re:So, now HP sells a tablet (Score 1) 182

by jma05 (#48035577) Attached to: HP Introduces Sub-$100 Windows Tablet

Baloney. I learnt it that way and it was a waste of time. Math should be about learning the splendor of numbers, shapes, change etc... not about learning to be a clerk in a pre-digital age. I recommend you to read "A Mathematician’s Lament" by Paul Lockhart. Don't argue with me. Argue against his arguments.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton