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Comment: Wake me up when any flavor of OO has outline mode (Score 4, Insightful) 285

by tadas (#46780307) Attached to: Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?

I'd *love* to ditch MS Office for any version of Open Office, but none of them give me MS Word's Outline Mode, an integral part of Word since Word for Windows back in the '90s.

For you real old-timers, it's not KAMAS (a CP/M based outliner that I maintain has never been surpassed), but it's the only thing current that comes within shouting distance

Comment: I just shot a roll of Kodak Gold 100 today (Score 1) 70

by tadas (#42164627) Attached to: A Tale of Two Companies

.. and I bet there are plenty of Slashdot users who still shoot film instead of, or in addition to (me) digital. Actually, I was going "mass market" -- I normally shoot E6 transparencies ("slide film"). Now *that* is a business that's fast disappearing.

True black and white film, however, will be around forever, as an art medium. It is much, much easier to make (some can actually do it at home), and there are several small-scale manufacturers in Eastern Europe, England, India and China, as well as Fuji, the Japanese giant. It has qualities that are difficult or impossible to produce digitally.

Comment: Braudel (Score 1) 700

by tadas (#41654269) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Books Have Had a Significant Impact On Your Life?

The Mediterranean in the Age of Philip II, by Fernand Braudel.

Braudel's book is a truly stunning/awe-inspiring/breathtaking summary of the nature and history of the Mediterranean and the lands surrounding it. Two volumes, and I think he gets around to Philip II somewhere in the second volume.

Anything Braudel wrote will be worthwhile and entertaining reading, but make sure that the translator is Sian Reynolds - she did a superb job, and I had the illuminating experience of reading some essays by Braudel that she translated alongside the same essays translated by someone else -- it was night and day.

Comment: Where to get .mobi or .epub computer books? (Score 1) 242

Most free programming/systems administrator/etc. free books seem to be available only as PDF, which is pretty much unusable on a Kindle.

Does the Slashdot hive mind know of any sources for free computer books suitable for a Kindle or Nook (Calibre solves the epub to mobi problem)?

Comment: Pat Frank's "Alas, Babylon" (Score 1) 1244

by tadas (#39272573) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good, Forgotten Fantasy & Science Fiction Novels?

This is a post-atomic war novel, set in *and written in* the late '50's, recounting the experiences of a small town in pre-civil rights rural Florida after the bombs hit. Well written, well thought out, good characters, including good African-American characters who are not cartoons.

If I were teaching history to HS kids, I'd want to assign this to convey both the cold war and race relations of the period (just like I'd assign "The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club" by Dorothy Sayers to convey the effect of WW I on British society).

By putting all of this "good for you" freight on the book, I'm afraid that I'm distracting from the fact that this is one hell of an entertaining read. I first read it as a teen; I'm now in my 50's and have read it probably 20 times and it stands up.

Comment: Mack Reynolds (Score 1) 1244

by tadas (#39272449) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good, Forgotten Fantasy & Science Fiction Novels?

An amazing writer. His "Joe Mauser" series posits a world where MegaCorps strive with each other by hiring mercenaries to fight strictly-limited battles that are broadcast on TV.

Thoughtful (he'd have been all over "reality TV" if he'd lived past 1983) , but also hugely entertaining. He also comes from a different ideological angle than most Golden Age SF authors - his dad ran for US President twice as the candidate of the Socialist Labor party, and he himself was a lifetime member of the SLP.

From Wikipedia:

His novels predicted many things which have come to pass, including pocket computers and a worldwide computer network with information available at one's fingertips.

Much of his work is downloadable for free from Gutenberg or the other usual suspects.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers