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Comment: OLPC Bitfrost? (Score 1) 213

by listentoreason (#36659034) Attached to: The Most Dangerous Programming Mistakes
I think Bitfrost is supposed to do this? It was never clear to me how extensive or how granular it was, or how mature it has become. Or for that matter if it would be deemed "acceptable" by users or developers. The later should ideally suck it up and "do it right", but if the users walk away there's still a social problem that needs more engineering.

Comment: Or squelch used sales altogether (Score 1) 419

by listentoreason (#34020656) Attached to: Colleges May Start Forcing Switch To eTextbooks

I took two years of calculus in high school. I had to buy the same book twice. The publisher apparently was releasing a new version each year, and convincing teachers to use the new one. AFAICT high school calculus is not a rapidly changing field, and the identical chapters in the book bore this out. However, what did change were the numbered problems at the end of each chapter. Homework was along the lines of "Chapter 12, problems 1-4, 6 and 10-13". If you did not have that year's version of the book, you wouldn't do the right problems. $60 (20+ years ago), spent twice. I presume the school bookstore took a cut via normal markup.

Comment: Re:Ah, the Real Motivation is Drug War and Money (Score 1) 313

by listentoreason (#34020612) Attached to: Inside a Full-Body-Scanning X-Ray Van

The car is basically leaking drug particles all over the place, which is glaringly obvious if you have the wetware to detect it.

It would seem reasonable to consider the dog a "deployed detector", just as the X-ray machine is a "deployed detector". The dog is a living organism, but I presume (?) it's not considered an Officer of the Peace. If the officer had the "wetware" to see in the X-ray band (or other relevant part of the spectrum) he'd easily be able to see any contraband detectable by the van.

Comment: And then you try to upgrade... (Score 1) 514

by listentoreason (#34020524) Attached to: Ubuntu Moves Away From GNOME

I have Ubuntu running on three systems at home and as my primary platform at work. I am generally happy with it... except when it comes to upgrading. It seems incapable of managing even simple customizations. The lowest hanging fruit that needs to be plucked is network configuration. At both work and home I am using static IPs. The network management wizard (or whatever it's called) keeps trying to overwrite the interfaces file; I eventually remember how to suppress this via google but it's usually an hour wasted. Worse, during transition to a new version, Ubuntu thoughtfully notes that a variety of configuration files have changed (eg gtetris or some such) proffers a diff, and asks if I want to keep the old one or use a new one. Then it merrily runs off and overwrites all the network configuration information without so much as a how-do-you-do. I was upgrading from 9.04 to 10.04* this morning, and had to recover nameserver and gateway info from a colleague - all I had was loopback setup.

Video and audio always seems to be an issue, too. I had to do a fresh install at home because the system couldn't cope with a change from Nvidia to ATI video chipset, and stopped running anything with OpenGL. Tomorrow I'm wiping the work system with a fresh 10.10 because the Nvidia drivers (pick one of several) are now not being recognized, and even if I get X up with generic drivers the mouse and keyboard are no longer functional in an X session (such that I can't even get out to a shell with Ctrl-Alt-F1), even though the KB is fine prior to X. The last time I ran through an upgrade I had been able to get twinview working after spending a profanity filled day, but audio was somehow collateral damage, even though I didn't muck with anything obviously related to it. I could spend another day pasting bits of my logs into google but would rather spend half a day installing cleanly and restoring my home directory. Ironically I was feeling smug about my Linux platforms having just done this a month ago as a matter of routine Windows maintenance.

* My plan was to stick with 9.04 but I really need Thunderbird 3 to use a javascript filter plugin to compensate for the horror that is our corporate spam "filter", and the non-standard TB3 install suddenly got upset over an updated flash pluggin "shared" (??) with Firefox. I naively thought it would be easier to just bite the bullet and upgrade to a version where TB3 was part of the default install.

Comment: Re:From their Facebook page... (Score 1) 326

by listentoreason (#33633816) Attached to: DRM-Free Games Site GOG.com Gone
Don't you mean you hope this is a gimmick? If it's not a gimmick, then they're gone and you can't make your planned purchases. I hope it's a gimmick, though it will be irritating if it is. I will continue to buy product from them so long as they stand behind "100% DRM free", and so long as they provide full downloads (not downloads of downloaders, which cease to function once they issue such an announcement that is not a gimmick).

Comment: Re:From their Facebook page... (Score 1) 326

by listentoreason (#33633622) Attached to: DRM-Free Games Site GOG.com Gone
Don't you mean you hope it's a gimmick? If it's "for real", then you can't make any of your planned purchases. If it's a gimmick, then you'll be irritated, but can at least resume making purchases. I hope it's a gimmick, although it will irritate me. So long as they continue to be "100% DRM free" and allow full download of the product (not download of a downloader that will cease to function the day such a message is not a gimmick) I will continue to buy product from them.

Comment: Patent Pending (Score 1) 258

by listentoreason (#33462964) Attached to: A New Species of Patent Troll
eg "Pat.Pend. 4852294213". I haven't looked recently but used to see that terminology on all sorts of products. The implication was the company was confident of gaining the patent and began production while the filing was still processing. IANAL, but it seems the phrase does not claim patent protection, it claims they expect to get one. It warns a potential infringer to check the patent to see if the product is protected, but makes no claim as to its current protection. For all you know, they never got it in the first place, and it is clearly making a conditional statement in the future.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_pending#United_States
I don't know if it would be considered fraudulent to claim your patent was pending when you in fact already had it. Seems innocuous, but since it was technically not true may cause problems.

Comment: Bunnie Studios (Score 1) 327

I wish I had the link to one example: there's one consulting company whose founder methinks writes a blog, the latter often featuring a rather hot, real engineer babe who knows Mandarin, and kicks ass at troubleshooting SMT production issues. My browser history doesn't go that far, otherwise I'd dig it up.

Are you possibly referring to Bunnie's Blog? AFAIK she's an engineer that works for Chumby. She's posted some interesting stuff on manufacturing in Asia, including jaw-dropping videos of high-throughput circuit assembly (by humans, not robots).

Comment: Easy to defeat (Score 1) 192

by listentoreason (#32997744) Attached to: Micro Plane That Perches On Power Lines

It's going to be trivial to defeat these. Just fire up the Giant Flying Blade of Doom and rather than picking a flight path parallel to the lines, plot a perpendicular course. Jump to 3:58 to see how MicroPlane removal would ultimately be effected.

The other advantage is that once the power-line perching Cessna is developed, the system is equally effective

For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think!

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