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Comment: Nothing (Score 1) 427

by pmontra (#47322367) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

I didn't wear anything on my wrists in the last 25 years and I can't think about any feature that would me want to do it again. One of the good features of a phone is that you put it into a pocket and take it out only when you need it. Your hands and wrists are free. When I go cycling I've already got my bike computer, on the bike. About monitoring all those quantified self things, they don't matter to me.

Comment: Re:Apple Actually Cares About Privacy (Score 4, Informative) 323

by pmontra (#47201229) Attached to: iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

They don't connect the dots for everybody for free. Become a strategic partner (that is: find a way to bring them more money) and they'll be happy do connect the dots for you. So don't be naive: Apple cares about its customers only when it can turn that care into profit.

BTW, this app does the same on a rooted Android device.

Comment: F1 Active Suspensions (Score 2) 243

by pmontra (#47193393) Attached to: New Car Can Lean Into Curves, Literally

All Formula 1 cars had active suspensions in the early 90's. They were computer managed to keep the car flat in the curves and maximize aerodynamically generated downforce and also to absorb impact with kerbs in chicanes with almost no rebounds (more traction). Actually they were introduced by Lotus in the early '80s but didn't get mainstream because of weight and limitations in the electronics. Williams had a better version of them in their 1991 car (electronics got much better by then) and eventually all the team followed suit until FIA banned the technology starting from 1994 because of safety concerns (Zanardi barely survived a heavy crash due to an active suspensions failure). More details on F1 active suspensions here.

Production cars used them since the 80's.

What Mercedes is doing now is reminiscent of the early Italian high speed train Pendolino. "By tilting, the train could go around curves designed for slower trains at higher speeds without causing undue discomfort to passengers." See one of those trains tilting in a curve in the UK in 2012.

Comment: Re:Light pollution (Score 0) 193

by pmontra (#47006939) Attached to: Are Glowing, Solar Smart Roads the Future?
And cars have lights.
I wonder what will happen when an hex fails. Would the driver assume that an obstacle is on the road hiding the hex and needlessly (and maybe dangerously) brake?
I'm not saying that this technology doesn't have any advantages over standard lightning but maybe they are too far into the curve of diminishing returns.
By the way, how difficult would be stealing a hex and bringing it at home to turn it into a fancy table? I see plenty of opportunities for vandalism. Unfortunately this isn't a nice world.

Comment: Re:ZRAM (Score 1) 132

by pmontra (#46621189) Attached to: Linux 3.14 Kernel Released

I have a 16 GB laptop and I don't have any swap. I never run out of memory. free -m tells me that it's using about 4 GB for programs and data and almost 10 GB for file system buffers. I understand that I could get some more buffers if it compressed in RAM those pages that would have been swapped out, but is that really important? If you have little RAM you don't want to swap into it, if you have plenty you don't swap.

Comment: Tourists (Score 1) 97

by pmontra (#46516013) Attached to: Brazil Blocks Foreign Mobile Phones

So you go on vacation in Brazil and you either pay international roaming fees or you buy a cheap dumb phone to make local calls. Lame but not too expensive. Furthermore a dump phone needs to be charged once per week or even less frequently.

Btw, are they going to confiscate tourists clothes on entry? They've not been not bought in Brazil, so no sales tax paid there!

Comment: Re:I want Ubuntu 8.04 back. (Score 2) 26

by pmontra (#46433637) Attached to: Ubuntu Gnome Seeking Long Term Support Status

I admire both Canonical and the Gnome team because they made bold decisions and innovated the desktop. Unfortunately they moved into directions far away from how I like to use my desktop. At least I hope Canonical succeeds in giving us a device that can be both a phone and a computer. My dream is a 100 g (3.5 oz) device with the same computing power of a quad core i7. Many years to go.

Disclaimer: I'm using better and worse in a subjective way in this post. I'm not deluding myself by thinking that everybody must agree with me.

I started using Gnome as my primary DE in 2009 coming from XP (Vista being the alternative, ugh). Gnome 2 was vastly superior to XP. More beautiful and less clicks to perform any given task. So we might argue about what's better, Gnome or OSX, but in my experience both of them are better that XP and 7 (*). I won't even start talking about Windows 8. All my friends hate it but they decided they won't downgrade to Windows 7 (too complex to do) or switch to Linux, which is a know unknown to them even if most of them are using only Openoffice and Firefox/Chrome on Windows and very little else, no games.

(*) Actually I never liked Mac's top menu (since 1984) and the dock (it's distracting). I'd say that parts of Windows GUI are better than OSX (the windows and start menus) and parts are worse (pretty much everything else).

Given a choice I'd take a configurable OSX, to get rid of everything I don't like so you won't be surprised if I liked Gnome 2. I configured it with only a bottom panel and I added the Compiz cube to manage virtual desktops. The visual 3D effect while switching helps me remember where I am in desktop-land. I've been happy with that arrangement since then.

I occasionally had to use a Mac and I kept disliking the main ideas behind its GUI. I also occasionally had to use Win 7 and I didn't find it any better than XP. It has the same odd dynamics of waiting until a pendrive registers in the system (how can Linux make it happen instantaneously?), having to negotiate that maze the control panel became along the years, or having to install drivers to make hardware work (**)

(**) If the hardware is very new maybe there is no Linux driver, game over. But otherwise it's plug and play. My webcam, scanner, network printer, camera and smarphone (as USB drives) worked without me having to do anything. Why not on Windows?

I used Gnome 3 and KDE recently on a new PC because I run into some bugs with my Gnome Classic desktop (which - btw - is GTK3, not 2). I ruled out Unity because of the top panel and the launcher. Too bad because the HUD and lenses are useful but it's all or nothing. I tweaked the Gnome shell with extensions until it looked almost like my old desktop. It was not as good as that and before I even started to tweak the theme (the default is ugly black) it started freezing from time to time. So I gave a chance to KDE.

KDE was a good surprise at the beginning. It's very easy to make it behave like my old desktop, however it lacks polish and usability. All the DE have a Redmondian sense of aesthetics and interactions that makes me feel odd at using it. At least it seems that they tried to clone and perfect Windows 7, not 8, and they succeeded. However they perpetrated those same Windows's original sins of hiding external drives in the tray icon bars, too many clicks to do anything, etc. It's a good DE if you come from Windows but it tastes bad if you come from Gnome or (I think) OSX.

I eventually found fixes and workarounds for the bugs I was experiencing with Gnome Classic so I'm back to it. That's a clean and simple desktop and it suits my needs.

To recap, my hierarchy is Gnome 2 > Gnome 3 > OSX/Unity > KDE > Windows 7/XP > Windows 8 with the OSX/Unity not being usable by me because of insisting on the top menu and dock/launcher.

Memory fault -- brain fried