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Comment: Re:In other news: Are 4K displays worth getting ye (Score 1) 204

by swilly (#47839027) Attached to: Dell Demos 5K Display

Most Linux desktop environments are DPI independent for fonts and toolkit controls, but it can be a bit hard to change as such things are often tied to your system theme. Of course, that doesn't help with scaling things like images. For many years now you could get desktop scaling using Compiz, but that requires hardware with good OpenGL support so few distributions use it. The current standard for things like 4K monitors is HiDPI (which Apple is calling Retina for marketing reasons).

The only Linux distribution I know with good support for HiDPI is Linux Mint Cinnamon. It even selects it automatically if it detects that your monitor exceeds a certain number of pixels per inch. The setting is in Settings -> General -> Desktop Scaling. I find that with HiDPI and a some tweaks to the default fonts, only web browsers don't display how I want them to (I prefer a 110% zoom for my web browser). Fortunately, changing the default zoom in Chrome works very well, it can even scale Flash content properly.

Other desktop environments that use Gnome libraries like Unity and Gnome Shell should have HiDPI working soon (if they don't already). It looks like KDE has HiDPI support, but they still have some issues to resolve. I'd expect the new KDE 5 desktop to work well.

Comment: Re:First World Problems (Score 4, Informative) 154

by swilly (#47681773) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Recliner For a Software Developer?

The definition of First, Second, and Third World are not based on wealth, but on ideology. Second World countries are those that are industrialized and socialist (though in practice it referred only to communist governments).

You don't hear much about them because back in the early 90's there was this series of events that resulted in the collapse of most of the Second World. The independence of the Baltic states and the Ukraine, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. You may have heard of some of these, as they were a big deal at the time.

The major Second World country to survive these events is China, but North Korea would also be considered a Second World nation. I've heard of a proposal that we repurpose the term Second World to refer to developing nations, which works well since it's the natural term for nations moving from Third to First World status, but this hasn't been adopted yet (probably because developing countries don't want to be associated with the old Soviet Union).

Comment: Re:Um.... (Score 2) 120

by swilly (#47412841) Attached to: A Box of Forgotten Smallpox Vials Was Just Found In an FDA Closet

According to Wikipedia, this is not quite true. Chinese did discover the practice in the 10th century, and reports on the practice were given to the Royal Society in 1700, but no action was taken.

The Ottomans learned it before the early 18th century, but we don't know for certain how or when it got there. They also reported on it to the Royal Society in 1714 and 1716, but nobody paid much attention until the wife of the British Ambassador to the Ottomans witnessed it and introduced it to Europe's ruling elite. It was introduced to America in 1721 by the Puritan minister Cotton Mather (of the Salem Witch Trials fame). He had heard of it from a Sudanese slave, but he was also familiar with the Royal Society reports and had been trying to get physicians to attempt the procedure.

We don't know when the procedure was introduced to Africa, but it was introduced via the Muslim world. We also don't know when it was introduced to India, who may have discovered it independently (but probably not).

What did we do before Wikipedia?

Comment: Re:you can't judge a theory by its quacks (Score 1) 339

by swilly (#47113609) Attached to: The Singularity Is Sci-Fi's Faith-Based Initiative

Jules Verne wrote Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea in 1870. Submarines had been under development since the 17th century. The first military sub is usually credited to an American sub that failed to attach explosives to British ships during the American Revolutionary War. The first sub to sink another ship was a Confederate sub during the American Civil War, which was apparently too close to the explosion, causing it to sink as well.

The Confederate sub had ballast tanks, screw propulsion, and used a "torpedo" that was towed behind it. Everything was human powered, but very much recognizable as a precursor to modern submersibles.

I don't want to take away from Verne's accomplishments, but he didn't invent the sub, all he did was extrapolate and determine what a futuristic model might look like.

Comment: Re:If you haven't read The Myythical Man-Month... (Score 1) 352

by swilly (#47005605) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Should Every Programmer Read?

If you you do is write code, then you aren't a Software Engineer, you are a Programmer. An engineer is involved in requirements, specifications, design, and testing. On a good team, the experienced Software Engineers should also be consulted for process improvement, QA, and DevOps.

Comment: Re:Situation is a Shambles (Score 1) 239

by swilly (#46711313) Attached to: Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability: A Technical Remediation

This has little to do with any C-specific. If you were re-using a buffer in some managed runtime, you would still see the same problem.

Most managed runtimes perform bounds checks, C does not. As a result, the same bug couldn't happen in Java or C#. Of course, bounds checks come with a cost, and one that most people wouldn't want from low level code, which means that C/C++ developers must be extra vigilant.

Comment: Re:I found they were for me (Score 1) 161

by swilly (#46318325) Attached to: The Neuroscience of Computer Programming

The problem is probably with lexical analysis, when you break the stream of sounds or letters into words. When a language is fluently spoken there are few if any pauses between words, your brain adds those. It's possible to be familiar enough with a languages grammar and vocabulary to read without difficulty, but not yet familiar enough for your brain to subconsciously break sounds into words.

Comment: Re:In the name of "Allah" ... (Score 5, Interesting) 79

by swilly (#45592543) Attached to: 1.5 Million Pages of Ancient Manuscripts Online

The Library of Alexandria caught fire several times.

The first may have been when the Romans conquered Egypt. The Romans burned their own ships and much of the city caught fire, and the library may have been partially destroyed at this time.

A branch of the library may have been burned with the destruction of pagan temples when the Roman Empire outlawed paganism, but nobody knows how many (if any) books were lost. The main building was apparently not affected. And by the time paganism was made illegal in the Roman Empire, a concerted effort had been made to have copies of important documents in other libraries, including the worlds largest library at Constantinople. These other libraries were not burned (though it's entirely possible that some books in them were destroyed).

And it was finally destroyed by the Muslim army. There is a story that the Caliph ordered the burning of books stating that if they contradicted the Quran they are heretical, and if they did not then they are redundant. There are no contemporary sources for this story, so most historians doubt it. Whether or not this burning was deliberate, the destruction was complete and library was lost to history.

Comment: Re: Historically inefficient OS is Inefficient (Score 1) 558

by swilly (#45195341) Attached to: Why Does Windows Have Terrible Battery Life?

What model Zenbook do you have? I have a UX31A, and Linux gets about the same battery life as vanilla Windows 7, which is much worse than Windows 7 after installing all the ASUS drivers. I suspect that ASUS is doing something proprietary in regards to power savings, and I would love to get Linux Mint to have similar battery life.

Comment: Re:2013 Year of the Linux Network (Score 4, Informative) 192

by swilly (#45185181) Attached to: Your Next Network Operating System Is Linux

sudo rm -rf / won't delete anything.

POSIX rules state that you cannot remove any parent of the current directory. The GNU rm command doesn't fully check this, but it does make sure that you don't remove / or .. (but if you give the path to any other parent directory, it will let you remove that). Try it for yourself and see (in a VM of course).

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir