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Comment: I love my Viera and was hoping to upsize.... (Score 3, Interesting) 202

by myvirtualid (#45293923) Attached to: Panasonic Announces an End To Plasma TVs In March

We have a c.2003 52" Viera and love it.

The brightness is not an issue: it's on the North wall of the living room, facing a large window, and if it is "too sunny", I close the drapes. Done.

The viewing angle is amazing. Sunday night suppers are often prepared standing at the counter "just this side" of the family room, watching football.

I've stayed away from L[CE]D TVs because plasma just seemed like a better solution.

And now they will go the way of Betamax.

Silly consumers, believing hype and myth, buying poorer tech, and not saving a whole lot doing it....

Comment: It's free. Why does App Store need a credit card? (Score 0) 222

by myvirtualid (#45209335) Attached to: OS X 10.9 Mavericks Review
I don't use iTunes or iBooks or any other Apple media apps. I've only had my Air for a few months, and I do love it so, but.... If Mavericks is free, why does the App Store need a credit card in order for me to download it?

I do not plan on purchasing anything through iTunes. Never say never, sure, but I don't. Ever.

Guess I can't have Mavericks.

Even though it's free.

Kudos, Apple, you've given me my first reason to feel less than happy about a hardware purchase I reveled in.

(Originally posted in wrong discussion, mea culpa; since then, I've discovered one can bootstrap iTunes/AppStore integration without a CC, but it requires attempting to download a free app and entering tombstone info - still too much for a free OS update, IMHO, but better in a kludgey, hackish way.)

Comment: It's free. Why does the App Store need a CC? (Score -1, Offtopic) 166

by myvirtualid (#45208115) Attached to: Wikipedia Actively Battling PR Sockpuppets

I don't use iTunes or iBooks or any other Apple media apps. I've only had my Air for a few months, and I do love it so, but....

If Mavericks is free, why does the App Store need a credit card in order for me to download it?

I do not plan on purchasing anything through iTunes. Never say never, sure, but I don't. Ever.

Guess I can't have Mavericks.

Even though it's free.

Kudos, Apple, you've given me my first reason to feel less than happy about a hardware purchase I reveled in.

Comment: ...teleports the douchii to random places.... (Score 1) 443

by myvirtualid (#45208079) Attached to: I wish my car could...

Well, not quite random - to the polar opposite of current weather conditions.

It's winter (I live in Ottawa - think Minnesota with Chicago's wind and Houston's humidity).

Dude cuts me off.

I press the button

Dude finds himself in Kandahar.

It's summer (think Kandahar temperatures with Houston's humidity - detect a theme yet?).

Dude cuts me off.

I press the button

Dude finds himself in McMurdo.

I used to think I wanted photon torpedoes, but those would create debris, which might damage my vehicle. Or me.

Then I thought phasers. But that would still take life and teach nothing.

So semi-random, climactic-coupled teleportation. That's the ticket.

And the car should fly. Of course. VTOL.

Comment: Investigate Center for Open Science, framework (Score 1) 465

by myvirtualid (#45156401) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Language To Learn For Scientific Computing?

In addition to the excellent comments previously made, consider investigating the Center for Open Science, specifically their information for developers, and the associated Open Science Framework (note: will display only if cookies are enabled; I've no idea what value they provide in this context and will be contacting them about that).

They may not have anything that can help you. Or they might. Or you might be able to help them. Or not. YMMV, etc.

Worth taking a peek, anyway.

Comment: Re:Community and OS declined, I switched to OSX. (Score 1) 631

by myvirtualid (#44991593) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are We Witnessing the Decline of Ubuntu?

main power-use for me would be occasional command line stuff to automate things... cron jobs... should work similar on OS-X

In general, yes, all the command line goodness is there. However! The OSX version of many utility functions has obviously suffered from lack of care and feeding. For example, grep under Linux will quite happily deal with pathnames with embedded dashes and spaces; OSX grep interprets these as additional, unrecognized switches. Sigh.

Comment: Re:Community and OS declined, I switched to OSX. (Score 1) 631

by myvirtualid (#44991565) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are We Witnessing the Decline of Ubuntu?

what about the incomplete keyboard on the Macs... page down, home, etc....

I was concerned about this as well, but it turned out to be a non-issue: fn-arrow, command-arrow, etc., provide these functions. It took a little while to learn, but not as long as I expected.

Comment: Re:Decline? (Score 1) 631

by myvirtualid (#44947291) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are We Witnessing the Decline of Ubuntu?

Case point 4. Desktop computing, while not dead, is not what it was just a few years ago. Does Ubuntu's trying to compete in mobile markets, while still maintaining desktop support mean that they are lost or that they are trying to stay current?

Far from dead! The working world is still largely/mostly/all desktop! Sure, we have mobile and BYOD, but for the moment these are side-stories. Case 4 is becoming correct for home users but you'd need a Case 5 to be complete: "Case 5, Ubuntu has had sporadic and isolated success in the working world". Your Case 4 would then be more on-point .

Comment: Community and OS declined, I switched to OSX. (Score 5, Insightful) 631

by myvirtualid (#44946513) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are We Witnessing the Decline of Ubuntu?

I switched from WIndows to Ubuntu years ago after evaluating many distro communities and distro directions. At the time, Ubuntu appeared to have a good vision, and good balance between "it just works" (my computer is vital to my professional life and MUST work with minimal effort) and "power users will be at home" (my first jobs were on UNIX systems decades ago, this was very important to me).

From a technical perspective, Ubuntu was just a little ways ahead of others, IMHO.

From a community perspective, it was miles ahead! Fewer trolls, easy to participate, easy to grow, good tools and sites for the community. Most other distro sites and fora were, well, slapdash, poorly conceived, for the cognocenti, and full of the usual Linux aggressive bullshit ("well, just do cmd-alt-bang-fork-shift-nano-vim, you stupid goof, it's obvious!").

That made the switch easy, and I recommended Ubuntu many times and used it for years.

Then Shuttleworth slowly became less benevolent, community tools became harder to use, information that had been easily available began to disappear, and the distro itself became muddled. There was just no way to be a comfortable power user anymore, at least not without major effort.

And if I'm going to spend major effort, why use a system I don't like? So I started switching.

I tried Mint, I tried pure Debian, I made mistakes and learned a lot. Great. But.

I enjoy being able to configure as desired and be a power user occasionally, but I don't want to have to be one all the frikkin' time. And Mint and Debian required way too much hand-holding. Eventually, because too many things didn't just work, I went back to Ubuntu. But it was nasty and ugly and difficult to use and didn't support my 4 year old laptop as well as it used to and just wasn't fun.

I caved. I bought a Mac a few weeks ago, a 13" Air. Wow. What a beast! It's fun to use, easy to use, I can get work done without pain. LibreOffice on this thing screams!

Sure, I don't power use much anymore, but you know what? That fun is gone. Life is too short to spend so much time tweaking config files, and too short to use ugly, obtuse, opaque systems like Unity. I never thought I'd ever say this, but I love OSX.

All the philosophical and principled reasons for using Linux have largely been abandoned by Ubuntu, other distros are way behind, and if I'm going to use a commercial OS - which Ubuntu clearly wants to be - I might as well use a nice one that works well on insane kick-ass hardware. I'll be on OSX on this Air for years. Goodbye Ubuntu.

Comment: Where's the humour? The irreverence? The sarcasm? (Score 3, Funny) 40

by myvirtualid (#43583863) Attached to: Online Hitchhiker's Guide Thriving

The Guide is sprinkled liberally with editorial license, and, if sprinkled with pepper and Altarian rhino snot, can be used as a survival bar, indefinitely. There are also side helpings of sarcasm, off the wall humour, black humour, mauve humour, and the humour of a hyperintelligent yet bilious shade of blue.

Whatever h2g2.com is, it isn't the guide, lacks license, and, much like this post, lacks humour of any description, and wouldn't sustain you if served on toast.

Comment: I'm casual, want more, no DVD, no deal, too little (Score 1) 132

by myvirtualid (#41348455) Attached to: Can Nintendo Court the Casuals Again?

We're a family of casual gamers. We don't game a lot, and when we do they tend to be games many can play together (Rock Band, Glee, etc.). We also play more traditional head-to-head games, but all gaming comes in spurts, days/weeks where we do it a lot followed by months where we don't. The Wii worked for us.

But that was then.

Since then, we've slowly gotten tired of more and more remotes, more and more devices, and we've slowly discovered more and more on-line distractions. Hey, we just finally signed up for Netflix a few weeks ago, partly because we didn't have a decent device for it - we don't enjoy being our own tech support anymore. What changed is that we got Apple TV to make it easier to show pictures to friends, and Apple TV is a bit of a gateway device....

Which brings us to the Wii U. I want something more than the Wii, something more than Apple TV, and I want fewer remotes and few devices in my living room. Recent announcements of the Wii U having universal remote capabilities and integrated media streaming capabilities made me very excited!

But guess what? The lack of DVD and Blue Ray capabilities is a deal-breaker.

My living room is cluttered. The tech is good enough that one device can do it all. So I ain't buying a device that doesn't. If I add one device (a U) I want to remove two (the old Wii and my DVD player).

People are calling the Wii U the first eighth generation console. Nope. It's the last seventh. Or the only 7.5. To be next-gen, you have to raise the bar, and the Wii U doesn't: it has some cool features, but it doesn't come close to being truly new, a true replacement for what we have, a new way of doing anything.

Universal remote? Been there, done that.

Touch screen? Ditto. Game transfer? Yup. Networking? Social? DVD? Streaming? Motion control? Yup, yup, yup, yup.

You want to get "the casual gamer", the folks like us and many like us? You give us one device that does all of the above, and more, without being intrusive, without binding us to you (like Apple does - hey, we've already got iTunes, like Google wants to, etc.). I'd buy that. And if you can throw in something really mind blowing, many more would buy it.

But the U is just "meh" enough for me to wait to see what's next.

I'm probably not the only one.

Comment: S'il vous plait, ecrivez son nom comme il le faut! (Score 1) 100

by myvirtualid (#37490120) Attached to: New Images of Tumbling US Satellite From Theirry Legaullt

The gentleman's name is Thierry, not Theirry. Bad enough to get it wrong in the article, but in the headline?

It matters not that others have misspelled his name. Is that our standard for quality? Fourth-graders pointing at each other saying "well that's how BEEB did it!"?

Oi.

Comment: Re:Easier way to learn it (Score 1) 358

by myvirtualid (#37244818) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Math Curriculum To Understand General Relativity?

I have to agree with all of that: If you are working in the field, studying in the field, then you absolutely must master the math to get ahead, to understand the details and find the exceptions, and to make contributions.

But that's not the question I took the OP to be asking. If the OP had asked "What maths must I learn to advance the state of the art in GR?" I would have agreed with others who posted a standard undergraduate-followed-by-graduate program of study (because you ain't advancin' anythin' with undergrad calc and algebra, unless you are a physics/math major and your undergrad includes advanced PDs, complex analysis, advanced stats, and advanced analytic geometry).

I took the question as "What do I need to understand to be able to get more out of the more advanced physics articles found here on /. and other interesting places?" - hence my agreement that you don't need math, Jack.

In fact, I would go so far as to assert that for most of us, trying to understand some of the more esoteric stuff outside our fields, math only gets in the way: A quantitative and precise understanding of most of today's hard science requires considerable specialized mathematics, and unless already has quite some specialized mathematics in one's own field, one will be unable to jump easily to and get anything out of the specialized mathematics of another field.

So this leaves the curious seeking high-quality, qualitative, non-mathematical articles and explanations.

(With the caveat that at some relatively simple math is a really good idea, since it can so encapsulate the physics. E=mc**2 is beautiful in its simplicity, beautiful in the equivalence it expresses.** As is the Lorentz transformation when applied to the relationship between t and c.)

(** Re the post commenting how muddy things get when you set c==1 in E=mc**2: I disagree completely. The physical point is that E=m; mathematically, E is proportional, of course, but the physics is that they are the same thing - that was radically new. That's the first beautiful point of the statement. The second, far more subtly beautifully point, is that the constant required to make the proportion an equality is the speed of light squared. OMG ponies! Why on earth should that be? Investigating that leads to some really interesting physics.

"The most important thing in a man is not what he knows, but what he is." -- Narciso Yepes

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