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User Journal

Journal: Is the Touch UI irredeemable? 4

Journal by squiggleslash

Thoughts related to the Windows 10 "Desktop is a desktop, no "Start" screen" thing:

From 1984 to 1990, there was a serious debate as to which was better, the command line or the WIMP (Window/Icon/Mouse/Pointer) UI. Why? Well, because Mac OS's Systems 1-4 were user friendly in the sense people knew how to use them, but user unfriendly in the sense that they got in the way, were kludgy, awkward to use, and offered zero advantages - beyond a lack of training for users - over the command line. At best you could say some applications needed a mouse, but some, such as word processors, were actually harder to use in the prehistoric era of WIMP user interfaces than the keyboard based versions.

What changed? Microsoft Windows. From Windows 1.0 onwards, Microsoft offered a vision, initially a very, very, ugly vision, as to how a computer could be more, not less useful with a WIMP UI. The critical feature was multitasking. Windows offered a better way to multitask than command line based systems, because each Window, representing an application or document, could co-exist in the same "world", the desktop.

Windows wasn't anything like the best implementation, but it was the only implementation of the concept available on standard PCs.

When Microsoft pretty much forced manufacturers to provide Windows and a mouse with all MS DOS based computers, users had a straight choice of using one UI or the other, and they overwhelmingly chose Windows. By comparison, when GEM was bundled with many PCs in the late nineties, GEM was a nice to have that was ignored by most users (anecdotally, outside of stores, I never saw an Amstrad PC1512 running GEM in the wild, despite it becoming with it and being a major advertised feature.) GEM, a Mac OS UI clone, did not offer multitasking.

So: timeline:

1. Mac OS released around 1984. Causes schism between WIMP and command line users
2. Windows 1.0 released 1985ish. Most users recognize it's a very powerful system, but are put off by user interface and memory requirements.
3. DOS vs WIMP rages for next five years largely because Windows is crippled by other factors.
4. Finally PCs are forced to be powerful enough to run Windows in 1990, and Windows UI improved enough to be "good enough" compared to Mac OS. Everyone jumps to Windows. End of DOS vs WIMP debate.

Touch UIs? Where is the touch UI that is more powerful, as opposed to being easier to use, than the WIMP UI? It took Microsoft (and Commodore too) less than a year to come up with something that was actually an improvement on the command line having seen WIMP. It's been nearly a decade now, who has come up with a touch UI that is more versatile than a WIMP desktop?

User Journal

Journal: Classifications 1

Journal by squiggleslash

Apropos of nothing, just some thoughts in the shower this morning: I see people getting very upset when they hear Doom being described as "3D". "It's 2.5D!" they scream, pointing out that the maps are two dimensional albeit augmented with a height map.

The thing is while I kinda see their point, it essentially puts Doom in the same category as, say, Isometric games, while Quake is in the same category as numerous 1980s Flight Simulators. And then there's "First Person" vs "Third Person" where, again, the latter is so overly broad that it puts, uhm, a lot of isometric games in the same category as modern 3D games that are clearly "nearly" FPS but with a view of the protagonist.

Me, I'm kind of wondering if any of it is ever going to be anything but misleading anyway. 3D Monster Maze (for the ZX81), Hired Guns, the various flight simulators, Quake, Doom, Wolfenstein... all with slightly different takes on technologies that were ultimately trying to converge on the idea that you could see something broadly real, rather than an abstraction. The classifying makes it harder, not easier, to see the leaps forward each type of game engine made.

User Journal

Journal: Wikipedia is fucked 1

Journal by squiggleslash

GamerGate targeted the most active editors on the Gamergate Controversy article for abuse for several months. They also abused the article itself, inserting blatant violations of WP:BLP (the policy that stops the Wikimedia Foundation from being sued for libel every five minutes) During this time the trolls, in parallel, continually leveled complaints at the relevant Wikipedia admin authorities.

Finally, the combination of forum shopping and driving well meaning editors into the ground has paid off: the vast majority of editors in question are to be banned not just from editing the GamerGate Controversy article but from even discussing gender related issues on Wikipedia. Some token throwaway accounts on the GG side are being banned too.

What good faith editor in their right mind will want to touch any article covering an issue affected by well organized trolls after this?

Oh, and don't expect Jimbo to step in. He's actually been telling editors being harassed to step away from the article for several months now.

The backdoor password to the constitution is "terrorism". The backdoor password to Wikipedia is "Civility".

User Journal

Journal: Nuts vs Nuttiers 1

Journal by squiggleslash

It's kind of annoying that when there's an active hate campaign against a group of people you're largely sympathetic to, it becomes harder to call out abuse and extremism by individuals within that group lest you play into the agenda of the hate campaign.

Another way of saying the same thing: GamerGate and similar mobs make it hard to have rational discussions about anything.

(If you're after specifics, no, I won't give any directly, the nearest I'd mention is that I thought Pax Dickinson was treated abysmally back when he was essentially fired for alleged over-enthusiastic dudebroism.)

User Journal

Journal: Supporting extremism 6

Journal by squiggleslash

The legal right to be offensive aside (and likewise the right to be offensive without suffering death or severe violence), which is an entirely different issue and one I wholeheartedly support, I'm not going to promote punching down and re-enforcing hatred simply because terrorists brutally attack and murder some people who are doing that.

And the fact such an act has been perpetrated may mean condemnation from me, but it doesn't mean I'm going to lionize the victims or even worse promote their rotten cartoons.

You cannot attack extremism with extremism. It doesn't work that way.

Also as a former resident of Britain, which had plenty of Christian terrorism while I was living there, and which was subject to, albeit overseas, Jewish terrorism a mere 35ish years before I was born (interestingly by groups so nutty that they even, on occasion, sided with Nazi Germany seeing it as "less terrible" than the colonial British Empire), can we cut out the "Islam has a special problem" crap?

(Not that I'm saying religion can't be peaceful, Buddhist terrorists are fairly rare for example, though not non-existent, but Islam doesn't seem to be worse historically than any other Judao-Christian movement. It's just large right now, and over-represented in areas currently ruled by corrupt dictatorships propped up by the West and countries that are former examples thereof.)

User Journal

Journal: I logged in. 2

Journal by rdewald

I was doing some research for a project and happened back here. Hello slashdot.

Find me on Twitter, or put dot com after my user name.

User Journal

Journal: SELinux and Web development

Journal by stoolpigeon

I use my Fedora desktop to work on development of all kinds. I love that with a Linux machine I can have a machine that matches my production environment very nicely and all the tools I want are there and work pretty well together.

I appreciate SELinux since it is there to keep me safe.

But sometimes - it is a frigging pain. I'm messing about with Yii, a PHP framework and I kept running into problems with permissions. At first I thought it was regular permissions but quickly realized that wasn't it and google pointed me to SELinux. Apache can't write to stuff in /var/www/html.

I did lots of reading. I found one way to fix it, though that way quit working after I had to log out to get a change to a group setting to go into effect. And I read a lot more and it was hard to understand it all, confusing and finally I setenforce=0 and got to work.

I realize that this is a bad habit and I shouldn't do it - but I just need to finish stuff. I'd like a nice way to manage this. Any of you may feel free to make that happen.

User Journal

Journal: Je Suis Charlie 15

Journal by WillAffleckUW

One of the funny (tragic?) things is that my son and I traveled to Paris and bought tons of bandes desinnees including ones by some of the cartoonists that were murdered by terrorists today.

I stand with them.

Your right to claim blasphemy ends when you set foot outside the mosque.

User Journal

Journal: Moving Streams in Kmix 4

Journal by stoolpigeon

I am in the office today. I'm pretty sure I'm the only person in the building. So today I'm doing something I almost never do - I'm listening to music via my speakers rather than using my headphones.
 
When I kicked off Amarok I went to switch the audio from the headphones to the speakers and realized I hadn't installed pavucontrol. I pulled it up in apper and saw that it was a gtk program. Not a big deal in itself. I have other gtk stuff already installed. But it just made me think - KDE must have a way to do this itself. That got me looking at Kmix but I couldn't find anything that would let me switch the audio from one device to another. So I installed pavucontrol, started listening to my musics and thought, this is a situation that should be fixed.
 
It seems like if this were going to happen in KDE it should happen with Kmix. So I looked up the project and got ready to email the maintainer. Then I thought, "There must be a place to put feature requests." I ended up at the KDE bug database and that is when I decided to search and see if this was already something in work. Searching the database was a little tricky - but I did end up seeing a bug report for kmix crashing when a stream was moved to a different device.
 
So I went back to Kmix. Right clicking on a stream brings up a menu that includes "Move" and there it was. I'm glad it already does what I want. I just wish it was easier to know. The Kmix handbook doesn't mention it and opening the Mixer it still works the same way - there's no menu that does the same thing without right clicking on a stream. I have this fear of a future where I just go right clicking all over the ui of everything I use, looking for stuff I need.
 
I love KDE and appreciate all the work that goes into it. Shoot - maybe this is a chance for me to contribute something. This is the kind of easy thing I could probably figure out. Anyway this is a note to myself for when I forget later. Plus it might help someone else.
 
On an unrelated note - when I hear Lorde's Royals - I can't help but hear the Weird Al version. He really nailed that one.

User Journal

Journal: Fedora 21 Virtual Box Guest Additions and the Debug Kernel 1

Journal by stoolpigeon

I run a Vbox instance of Fedora on my mac. It was Fedora 20 but I used Fedup to upgrade it to Fedora 21.
 
When I did that and updated everything I ran into a problem where guest additions wasn't working. And I don't know about other situations but in this one when Guest Additions isn't working then the VM is pretty much unusable. So I was digging around trying to figure it out. The install would run and complain about not being able to find the kernel headers but they were installed. Along with all other necessary packages.
 
I found a note where someone realized that using a debug kernel was there issue. I'd seen that listed as a kernel option when I'd booted - I'd never noticed it before but I didn't really think about it. So when I rebooted I just chose the kernel that didn't list -debug and then everything worked. I'm not sure just what's going on and I need to look into getting it so that the right kernel is automatically chosen every time, rather than my having to manually choose it. But at least it works now.

User Journal

Journal: Windows 8.1 is a great tablet operating system and is better than Android 22

Journal by squiggleslash

Unfortunately third party support for it sucks. It's the AmigaOS of tablet operating systems, kinda sorta. Hey, Microsoft, have you heard of this new, 30 year old, technology called MVC? Developers love it, and it makes it relatively easy to produce frameworks that allow completely different user interfaces that use entirely different paradigms to be targeted by the same application. There's another company that makes both desktop and tablet operating systems (ironically, currently not merged though apparently from the same code base) that supports MVC quite heavily. Can't remember their name though...

It'd be nice for a FOSS equivalent of the "Tablet + Desktop" system Microsoft is doing, vs "Let's try to create a merged interface that sucks" approach of Ubuntu and GNOME. I would have been very happy with a Ubuntu for Android system, but Ubuntu and Google never seemed to go anywhere with that one.

User Journal

Journal: Controversy 8

Journal by squiggleslash

So...

systemd - think it's a good idea. init sucks. init scripts suck. I mean, have you ever written one? Something that uses cgroups to track and manage daemons seems an unbelievably great idea.

Slashdot Beta - For as long as I can remember, Slashdot's commenting system has been broken. Now they're trying to fix it. Not perfect, but seems in line with what others are doing successfully. If they can get it feature complete, it'll definitely be an improvement.

xfinitywifi - What a great idea! Comcast, you guys need to provide those of us who don't rent your routers with a free box that, without interrupting our networks, provides an xfinitywifi connection. Costs nothing, provides a huge amount of roaming Wifi coverage, it's a great idea.

Eich? He was a dick. People had concerns about his ability to work with a diverse group, his response was to insult everyone with concerns rather than address them. He was not CEO material.

Pax Dickinson? Honestly, I think he was stitched up and shouldn't have been fired/pushed/whatever. Buuuttt.... he's now associating himself with GG, so screw him.

Not trolling (mostly) but I do seem to be at odds with most of Slashdot these days.

All theoretical chemistry is really physics; and all theoretical chemists know it. -- Richard P. Feynman

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