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Comment: Re:The list of features is quite telling... (Score 2) 250

by olau (#47991505) Attached to: GNOME 3.14 Released

Things like "multitouch" are clearly not important to me, but all three users using Gnome on their tablets might care.

It's not really intended for tablets, AFAIK the primary target is the touch screens you can buy these days and which some laptops come equipped with. Without some help from the desktop environment and applets, the touch aspect of those screens is more or less completely useless. Maybe you don't care, but the people who buy those screens probably do.

Comment: Re:Already like that to an extent, but ... (Score 1) 120

by olau (#47654023) Attached to: Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

The French had this a few times and had to shut down all of their commercial nuclear power plants at once on occasion but it's not a nuclear thing, it's the drawback of a monoculture.

Actually, this is not entirely true. If the security concerns over nuclear weren't so high, you wouldn't have to shutdown everything, and vice versa even without monoculture, you may have to shutdown the whole industry if flaws in inspection rules are found (witness Japan for a recent example).

Comment: Re:Sometimes I wonder... (Score 1) 247

by olau (#47383505) Attached to: Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

Judging from his words and actions, it's seems unlikely to me that he'll exit as long as there is still potential to change the world. Once electric cars are common (and they will be if the current trends in battery tech and oil prices continue) then I could see him exit to pursue other things. But we're a long way from that happening.

Comment: Technology vs. market (Score 2) 583

by olau (#47106911) Attached to: Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

So the technology is now there, but is there really a market for a car that drives you without your input other than the destination?

I think the summary has this backwards. Of course there is a market for a vehicle (let's not call it a car for the moment) that drives you around without your input, think of buses, trains, planes, taxis. If the price is right, it will definitely be a success - it doesn't really need to compete with cars to be useful, although it seems likely that many of those who think of their car as an expensive annoyance they have to have to get around would be interested.

But the thing is that this is still a prototype. The technologi is in fact not there yet - it may be in a couple of years, but we don't know yet.

IMHO the prototype makes sense as a statement and as a challenge. With no steering wheel, there's no 99% self-driving non-sense - they have to have a plan for all corner cases, even if that's something like car stops and is remote-controlled around obstacle.

Comment: Re:Boring and repetitive? (Score 1) 394

by olau (#46935031) Attached to: Richard Stallman Answers Your Questions

The fact that you can't save a Netflix video to watch later is no different from the fact that you can't use a rental car after you have returned it.

Actually, as he points out in one of the answers, it isn't because in one case there's a practical reason (you can't have two people renting the same car), while in the other case if you had access to the source code, there would be no practical reason.

That's the crux of the argument - computers are general-purpose devices and (according to RMS) we should not accept restrictions to that. Period.

Comment: Re:Too Little, Too Late (Score 2) 165

by olau (#46868341) Attached to: Setback For Small Nuclear Reactors: B&W Cuts mPower Funding

Regarding capacity factors and storage, there's a study from University of Delaware that concludes:

Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030 at costs comparable to today’s electricity expenses, according to new research by the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College.

If you're basing your remarks on capacity factors numbers from older tech, keep in mind that these are improving, e.g. offshore wind can easily have capacity factors of 50-55%.

But it's true it requires investments, and it probably won't happen until old plants need to be scrapped anyway.

Comment: Well, thanks! (Score 1) 101

by olau (#46833461) Attached to: Microsoft, Google, Others Join To Fund Open Source Infrastructure Upgrades

People here are already complaining. The whole operation seems pretty straight-forward to me. Make a fund, get some people to administer it and ask some big corporations to donate a tiny percentage of their profits to help fund some infrastructure projects we are all relying on.

I can see some people being anxious their pet projects will not get funded, but come on! One free software project in need receiving funds is better than nothing.

Maybe the fund will be mismanaged or whatever, but in the worst case these corporations will have lost a small sum (to them). In all other cases, bugs will be fixed and the Internet will generally be better off. What's the problem?

Comment: Re:Can the writings be read? (Score 1) 431

by olau (#46747573) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

But I don't think we can simplify our languages any more without actually losing our ability to express clearly what we want to convey.

Of course we can. For instance, in English you still conjugate a few verbs, and you conjugate third person. And spelling is often pretty far away from pronounciation.

Contracts today are already way more wordy than they should need to be, simply because our language IS already at the point where it is no longer absolutely unambiguous.

It would nice to see some proof that it ever has been.

Contracts are getting simpler too, in least in my part of the world, because law makers and lawyers are beginning to understand that meaning is more important than long complicated sentences. IANAL but it seems to me that courts often have a de facto idea of what's a sensible default expectation of different agreements, which also helps.

Comment: Re:Work on the basics (Score 4, Insightful) 387

by olau (#46034355) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: It's 2014 -- Which New Technologies Should I Learn?

Python is a really nice language. For a Python backend, you could start with the Django tutorial. Go through that and a Python tutorial, and try to remember not to program Python as you would C, and you'll have a good start.

For the front end, you'll need to spend some time with HTML, and learn a bit of Javascript/jQuery for any dynamic parts. And if you want it to look any good (and you should care about this because people on the web are generally less forgiving of not caring about the looks), you'll also need to figure out how to mimic a graphical style from a designer with CSS. For hobby stuff, you can just mimic some existing designs, if you're doing it as a business you'd probably want to pay someone to come up with the design, or buy a pre-existing one.

It sounds like a lot of work, but Python + Django is actually lots of fun because you can get a lot done in little time (there's a video of someone doing a wiki site in 20 minutes), and the whole front-end thing is also quite fun because a browser is an interactive beast so you can quickly change things around and see things happen graphically.

Comment: Lundbeck (Score 4, Informative) 1038

by olau (#45992525) Attached to: Controversial Execution In Ohio Uses New Lethal Drug Combination

Here in Denmark, Lundbeck has been under fire for their drug being used to kill people. They've tried to defend themselves in various ways, e.g. by casting it as misuse as their drug. But in the end in Denmark the American executions are viewed upon in the same light as the stories you hear of amputations and stoning people to death in the middle east. So the reaction has been as if a company sold convenient stones to be used for said stonings.

It is sad to see that the outcome is more suffering.

You know that feeling when you're leaning back on a stool and it starts to tip over? Well, that's how I feel all the time. -- Steven Wright