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Slashback: Gnoogle, PlayStation, Assault 193

Grab a cuppa joe, or whatever you drink at this time of day, and read on for this edition of Slashback, with updates and additional information on the strange (but statistically iffy) dangers of microbiology, Google's contest winner, and Sony's Linux kit for the PS2.

Location, location, location. A lot of people were interested in the Google contest whose winner was announced last week; Dan Egnor creator of that entry, writes "FYI, I've released the code for the winning Google contest entry under the GPL."

You mean they weren't just saying Hi? Anonymous Goodfella writes: "In an update to the Dangers of Being a Microbiologist, the AP [] is reporting an attack on a Tennessee state medical examiner who gave evidence to an inquiry into the death of infectious diseases researcher Don Wiley. Coroner O.C. Smith was left tied with barbed wire to an apparent explosive."

Jakob Nielsen says Flash No Longer Evil Allen Varney writes "Given that Flash MX now supports the back button, Unicode, and accessibility, and has introduced p$user interface components, usability guru Jakob Nielsen today updated his famous 'Flash: 99% Bad' rant from October 2000. (Scroll down to see the update, stirringly titled 'Flash Now Improved.') His Nielsen Norman Group has formed a strategic alliance with Macromedia to start educating one million Flash designers in the fundamentals of good design. You did know that Flash .SWF is now an open format, right?"

Step 47: remove blindfold, scream. For those anxiously awaiting (or judiciously pondering) the Linux upgrade kit for the PS2, some words to consider from reader silvaran, who writes: "I just received my Playstation 2 Linux kit in the mail. I was disappointed to find that none of the monitors (3) that I had function properly with it. So I took to following the instructions on a blind install. It's not the most elegant of solutions, but it works. You need a blank memory card to install, but everything else is included in the kit. I'm on my way to a full Linux installation, complete with 100mbit networking, 40-gig HD and a USB keyboard and mouse; also included are full documentation on taking advantage of the PS2 hardware under Linux."

That blind install looks not for the faint of heart -- still, it would be nice if every distro included a simple walk through like that for when a monitor just isn't handy :)

Reader microwerx adds some a few more words of advice and caution: "[T]he PS2 Linux Kit will not read CDRs, so you'll have to use the supplied 10/100 Ethernet Adapter to get stuff in and out of the machine. One very good thing about the PS2 Linux Kit was the documentation regarding the Emotion Engine chip, etc. There's at least 2000+ pages of information regarding how it all works in glorious PDF format. There is also a OpenGL-like library (ps2gl) that supports the hardware. I also understand that SDL also works. Another is the amount of equipment you receive. You get a USB mouse and keyboard, a 10/100MBPS Ethernet Adaptor, A VGA convertor, and a 40Gb Hard drive. And all of this stuff appears to have some future use (you may have to remove Linux to use them nonetheless). So, once again, unless you just want the novelty of having a PS2 Workstation, developing console games, or setting up a small home server, I don't believe that you'll gain too much additional functionality. An overall rating of 3 1/2 stars out of 5 is certainly in order (because after all, it is for game development)."

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Slashback: Gnoogle, PlayStation, Assault

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  • IIRC, the PS2 linux kit was around $150 US? I didn't know you got the 40GB hard drive, Ethernet adapter, VGA connector, etc.

    Is there some kind of catch? The whole thing seems like a pretty good deal. Maybe Sony isn't a bunch of bastards after all?
    • Tis $199 plus shippin
    • by fwitness ( 195565 ) on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:52PM (#3642292)
      Yep it is. I got my kit last Wednesday. However, it is only available from the sony website for $200 plus shipping. To be official, what you get is

      2 PS2 Linux DVDs
      1 40GB Hard Drive
      1 10/100 Ethernet Adaptor
      1 Sony Black USB Keyboard with 1 USB Port
      1 Sony Black USB 3 Button Mouse
      1 VGA Cable only for use with SYNC-ON-GREEN capable monitors

      1400 pgs of manuals in PDF form. These are assembly language manuals for the EE (emotion engine) core of the playstation. You get no printed versions of these, only install documentation)

      Remember, you have to add $25 to the cost for an extra memory card, as it will be formatted to contain your linux kernel.

      And I used the 'Blind-Install' with absolutely no problems. You simply must be a little careful. Hope this helps.
  • by thelinuxking ( 574760 ) on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:06PM (#3642051)
    Its a free search engine which follows the GNU Free Software guidelines. However, that's spelled GNUgle, so either way, it's a typo.
  • Typo (Score:4, Funny)

    by BreakWindows ( 442819 ) on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:07PM (#3642054) Homepage
    It's GNU/gle, not gnoogle.

    Now you've done've made the Debian team cry!
  • Flash (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:08PM (#3642065)
    Yes, Flash supporting the back button is a GOOD thing. Yes, it supporting Unicode is a GOOD thing, too.

    But someone who spends a measurable amount of time evangelizing (sp) Flash's ability to use the Back button and loses sleep over people creating custom scrollbars needs to either a) go outside, b) get laid, or c) both.
    • by armb ( 5151 )
      > either a) go outside, b) get laid, or c) both.

      But be careful if you're doing both at once.
  • it's not misspelled, it's an anectdote
  • Gnougle? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Google yeilds this for a search for gnoogle: tm
  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Telecommando ( 513768 ) on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:14PM (#3642101)
    That blind install still looks easier than the last time I installed Slackware.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:30PM (#3642174)
      Although the blind install looks tough its actually quite straight forward.
      I just took it very slowly (One keypress at a time)and ticked off the boxes, It worked first time (Only because I managed to keep the cats off the keyboard)

      I was dissappointed to find that the kit did not work with any of my monitors either (I'm waiting on a 2nd Hand 17" Sony to arrive as I can't hog the TV all night). Its a good sales ploy by Sony, apparently a lot of people are buying new and used Sony monitors for their kits as they are the most likely monitors to work.

      It didn't take long before I had X up and running and little while latter had KDE installed. Its not very usable through the TV (Even at 80cms) some of the fonts are quite hard to read, also getting a little frustrated with having to ALT and move windows all the time in X.
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by leiz ( 35205 )
      actually slackware is quite easy to install, surely you can figure it out... I mean, I did as a 13 year old.
      • FINALLY someone who doesnt whine about how hard slack is to install. I found it quite simple. It looks scary at first cause its not all pretty and graphical, but its basically self explanatory.
  • .swf is a small part (Score:1, Interesting)

    by tps12 ( 105590 )
    Who cares about the .swf format? The key is in .fla files, which is still closed AFAIK.

    Anyway, I don't care. I don't have a flash plugin on any of my boxen, and I couldn't be happier. Have yet to see a site I want to read that requires flash. Until Pokey is published as .swf files, I'm cool.
  • I'd like to know if the PS2 modchip [] alleviates the cd-r/dvd-r problem. If so, is there enough to this $350 system to make a decent little home system to play with? Is anyone working on something for the ps2 similar to the XBox Linux Project []?

    Geez... 15 posts and they all have to do with 'gnoogle.' *sigh*
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'd like to know if the PS2 modchip alleviates the cd-r/dvd-r problem

      No, it doesn't. So how "Interesting" is that post now?
    • ummmm. You obviously don't read /. everyday :). FYI, the PS2 costs $200, not $350.
      • PS2 + Linux kit = $350

        I searched and found this [] article, so I guess that answers about 1/3 of my own question, although it seemed like a fair question after looking at the modchip webpage:

        Works Perfect with all PS2 CD-R and DVD-R Backups!
    • In most cases, DVD players and most likely the Playstation 2 can't read CD-R's because of the physical limitation of the laser optics, not a software thing. A standard DVD laser optic can read DVD's, CD-ROMs and usually CD-RW's but not CD-R's due to the wave length of the laser. Most newer DVD players can read CD-R's too, but many of Sony's older models could not and the Playstation 2 probably falls into this catagory for the same reasons.

    • if your really want a console to read cd-r buy a dreamcast... here is ow much one costs:

      dreamcast - $50
      wait is that it?... YES...
      you can buy a keyboard and mouse if you want but to get linux on you need no kit... just downlaod a dreamcast distro and burn it onto a rgular cd-r

      not only is it easy but its better than the ps2... the ps2 has 4 megabytes of video ram which have an insame amount of bandwidth... although it can equal the dreamcasts 8 meg opengl (w/full screen antialiasing of course :)) the ps2 is more difficult to prgram for because you must constanly squeez the video bandwidth with swapping textures and that is a bitch to code into your programs...

      so if you want a hackers toy get a dreamcast... you can get a 10/100 mb network card for it jsut like the ps2 and its FAR easier to program for
    • I'm pretty sure that it's a physical issue with the laser -- however it has been confirmed that several brands of CD-RW media will work with the console.
  • by BroadbandBradley ( 237267 ) on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:21PM (#3642129) Homepage
    anybody know if it compiles/runs on the PS2?

    I think it's a good deal just to get a web appliance in the livingroom, but, I want my Mozilla. I thought about using it as an Xterminal to run my regular broswer but that leaves it depending on my pc.

    anyone here tried either approach?
    • You don't want to use it as a web browser... not trying to discourage buying the kit, I have it, but it's mostly a learning tool. X runs at like 620 x 215 on an NTSC display... which = way zoomed in. As for the Mozilla, I believe some people have been tryin to get it workin, isn't workin smoothly just yet
    • There's a thread on this over on the PS2-Linux community forum [], although it looks like it ain't working yet. If anyone can help out, please do! I've been using Dillo on my PS2Linux, and it works fine, but isn't really an industrial-strength browser.
    • netfront is your best bet. The PS2 has 32MB of memory after all. Look at for the x86 linux demo if you don't have the kit.

      I installed netfront from the Japanese PS2 on the US kit. It runs just fine with SSL, JS, etc. =)

      Look on google and you can find a copy easy, but you might have to register your email/etc in Japanese to download. Also don't listen to those guys in #ps2linux on OPN, since most of them are Qt trolls. ;)
  • by xenoweeno ( 246136 ) on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:28PM (#3642158)
    ...happened in Memphis. Local news, including video (in which you can read the psychotic, rambling letters if you pause at the right point) is here [].
  • Dead researchers. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by phriedom ( 561200 )
    Did you notice at the end of the article about the medical examiner the writer offered up a couple of enemies that could be responsible. Pure speculation. Conspiracy theorists mad had him for ruling the suspicious death of a researcher to be natural medical causes? But its the backround story that is interesting to me. Allegedly, 12 to 20 of the top researchers in communicable diseases have died under suspicious circumstances over the past few months??? Has anyone heard anything about this before? Google found nothing for me.
    • by Angry Toad ( 314562 ) on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:43PM (#3642244)

      It's all pretty X-files, and while quite a few "microbiologists" (defined loosely, as some of the people have not really been true microbiologists) have died under mysterious circumstances lately I can't shake the feeling that the story is being "shaped" into this whole conspiracy dogma format.

      Anyway, here's [] a link to one of the nutball sites (this is Mike Vreeland's "The Government Made 9-11 Happen" site) which has some writeups on it.

      Proceed with caution. You're reading heavy spin here...

      • Re:Dead researchers. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Angry Toad ( 314562 ) on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:57PM (#3642320)

        Sorry everyone, I don't normally reply to my own posts, but after thinking about it for a bit I realized it would be irresponsible to have included a link to a crazy site like Vreeland's without also including a link to a sane analysis of why he is in fact a nutter.

        Here is a careful, balanced, and thoughtful examination of The 9-11 X-Files []

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Say, this is a really great technique for increasing one's karma. Split up your insightful post into nice little chunks, and get mod points for each one separately!
        • A couple things:

          1) It's Mike Ruppert, not Vreeland. Delmart "Mike" Vreeland is either a former Navy officer with a thing for identify theft and credit card fraud, or a Navy intelligence officer with some scary info, depending who you ask on which day. Ruppert loved the guy at first, but some of his more erratic behaviour and dodging is making him a bit wary.

          Ruppert is a former LA cop who was supposedly fired in 1978 while trying to expose CIA involvement in LA drug dealing activities. Journalist Gary Webb saw his career torn to shreds for reporting similar happenings a few years ago in the San Jose Mercury.

          2) Corn and Ruppert have an ongoing, somewhat nasty rivalry. The article you link elicited this response [] from Ruppert.
    • Prepare for the terrorists to unleash a biological agent that will sweep the U.S. like a brushfire. All of the scientists who can stop it will soon be dead.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:35PM (#3642199)
    On a completely serious note, has anyone given any thought to a "real" blind install procedure for Linux -- i.e., a tool/procedure targetted at visually-impaired users wishing to use Linux?

    In the same way that modern distros "do enough" to get X windows installing and running, and then switch to a graphical installer, I can imagine a "blind" installer doing what's required to install a sound driver and speech synthesizer, and then talking the user through the rest of the installation (questions about partitions, etc.).

    As someone else alluded too, this could also be useful for a sighted person doing an install on a headless machine.

    Does anything like this exist currently?
  • by cpeterso ( 19082 ) on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:35PM (#3642202) Homepage

    The Jakob Neilsen story was on [] (a Flash news blog) yesterday. Here is a list of the HORRIBLE USABILITY BUGS on the Nielsen Norman Group []'s own web site. Fortunately (unfortunately for my karma? ;-) these problems were fixed last night.

    1) broken graphic at bottom of page
    2) click on People, you go to Services
    3) click on Services, you go to Publications
    4) click on Publications, you go to Events
    5) click on Events, you go to About
    6) click on Jakob Nielsen, you go to Don Norman's web site
    7) click on Donald A. Norman, you go to Ask Tog
    8) click on Nielsen Norman Group Members, you go to Events
    9) click on User Experience 2001/2002, you go to Services
    10) click on Usability Testing and Reviews, you go to Process and Strategy
    11) click on Process and Strategy, you go to Seminars
    12) click on Contacting, you go to the MM/JN press release on Yahoo

  • step 48: (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by tps12 ( 105590 )
  • by jensend ( 71114 ) on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:43PM (#3642245)
    One very useful tool for generating .swf is the ming library [], which can be used in conjunction with AutoTrace [] and ImageMagick [] to convert just about anything to .swf.
  • On PS2 Blind Install (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:43PM (#3642246)
    [DISCLAIMER : I work for sony and anything I say here is just personal stuff for hobbiests and please be warned about any damage to your hardware etc...]

    The blind install given above would work, but this is not necessary, if you call us up we'd help you through the setup. The current PS2 installation should work on the majority of the monitors out there, I know the sync is fixed at 60mhz and that was probably the oversight one of us made. But this would work on 95% of all the monitors out there and if your monitor was purchased after 95, this would work perfectly.

    For the rest, instead of following the blind install, please e-mail our support or call us, we'd fedex our to those who need it. Please understand that following the directions given on the link on this story might cause damage to your monitor, since all monitors are not alike. (But I've rarely come across such things in recent times).

    Also, we have a simple 3d wrapper for Quake that you can download from Bryan's page. Please see his weblog for more details. This wrapper would allow you to patch the existing _SDL_ version of the quake source to make it run on PS2. Enjoy hacking Q1 and PS2.

    On the issue of mouse droppings, you need to edit the video configuration and set XV_BUG_PS2FIX on in the Xconfig file. This was an oversight too and is fixed in the lastest pack we have. If your installing a custom distribution you need to do this as well.

    On debian, we tried to get their installer to work, but the maintaniners have been very rude to our questions and that's the reason why we don't have an intro to debian installation. If there are any debian power users who installs base fine, please send us an e-mail with the steps taken.

    Appercate your patience and goodwill.

    Linux for ever ;)
    • If I had a kit I could probally get it going, but my Wife would kill me. *KILL ME*, so I cant go out and just buy a psx2 linux kit to figure out debian for it, sorry. :|
    • I understand where the patch is for Q1 to make it work under SDL, but... Where's this 3d wrapper? Dunno who Brian is!

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Please address further questions on our forum [] we'd be able to help faster. Thank you. Brian the EE guy who did a quick patch for sdlquake. Also please look in there to see if the current pack would work with your monitor or not, we have got a lot of comments from users and therse are updated live on our monitor DB page.
    • uh. well, my Sony HMD-A400 19 inch monitor doesn't work with the kit. I understand why sync on green is necessary, and Sony has done a very good job making sure we know this. However, it's a bit more than "anything after 95 works fine"
  • Linux kit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zenyu ( 248067 ) on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:46PM (#3642264)
    It's wierd every monitor I've tried had sync-on-green. Once I installed x2x It's just become a seemless part of my desktop. I have two monitors for the workstation and one for the playstation, and I just move the mouse across to the playstation and I can type there. It's not quite fast enough to run KDE or Gnome, but it's been pretty painless so far, things just compile and run. I'm still poring over the docs, but I expect to be able to make some speedy ps2GL apps once I'm up on the peculiarities.

    It drives the monitor at 1280x1024 @ 75Hz which is better than I expected. The boot DVD lets you boot any kernel you like, there's already a BSD port. You need the disk to boot so unless you can press silver DVD's you can't distribute the games very far. As stated before they don't document the BIOS calls for accessing the DVD drive without a 'is this a Sony disk' check. But if you walked their drivers in a debugger you could probably figure it out, though all that would give you is a DVD/CD player, you still couldn't boot without their DVD or a harware modification.

    The biggest problem with it as a general purpose machine is probably the measly 32 Megs of RAM. I might look into this, but it probably requires more than just installing new chips. But it isn't a general purpose machine, one of the memory transfer rates is 38 GB/s... just try that on a PC....
    • by Anonymous Coward

      But it isn't a general purpose machine, one of the memory transfer rates is 38 GB/s... just try that on a PC....

      huh? Almost all new computers (even at CompUSA) have 20-30 GB hard disks. These are full-featured PCs, not game machines.

  • come be and check out the site.
    if you would like to help leave a message on the board or drop me an email

    thank you,
  • by crisco ( 4669 ) on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @08:52PM (#3642295) Homepage
    The blind linux install looks no more complicated than some of the cheat codes [] for PS2 games.
  • Use a real OS! (Score:5, Informative)

    by SIGFPE ( 97527 ) on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @09:09PM (#3642370) Homepage

    it would be nice if every distro included a simple walk through like that for when a monitor just isn't handy :)

    Actually, OpenBSD has one on the CD liner with a printout of what you would be able to see if you had a monitor attached!
  • I also found out that alas -- my monitors did not support sync on green, so I was stuck in the same boat as many other folk: I was desperate to get Linux set up, but unable to use my monitor. The blind install was a god send.

    If you happen to have to run through the blind install, make sure that you select the appropriate display setting near the end. Without thinking, I put in display=pal, which naturally didn't work for me in the states. (Fortunately, they've ammended the doc to tell you to choose pal or ntsc; when I ran through it, it only listed pal.)

    The 320x240 resolution you get with a standard TV isn't flattering, making me long for an HTDV. *sigh* One can always dream.

    Was I the only one who, upon checking the forums at the Playstation 2 Linux site [], found that a lot of the wrong types of people are getting this kit? I'm talking about the ones wondering why this is better than installing Linux on a PC, or who have never used Linux before. If you're a complete Linux newbie, the PS2 kit will be...frustrating.
    • Agreed. I'm amazed by the sheer number of people who bought the kit without understanding what they were getting. Not so amazed by the number of people who simply refuse to read the FAQ or peruse the forums - that's par for the course, right? Where would we be without dozens of newbies asking exactly the same question about X configuration for their NTSC sets? :)

      Still, it's been a kick compiling packages for the mipsel. So far it makes for a great MP3 client for my server, XMAME will be good for yuks once a bug is sorted out, and I still have all that graphics demo code to crack open. It's not for everyone, but I'm having fun.
    • I don't know that I agree that the "wrong sort" of people are getting it. We are all newbies at one point or another. If the kit lets people who otherwise would've never touch Linux to learn/use, and maybe even enjoy Linux, then it's already worth it.
  • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @09:22PM (#3642430) Journal
    Flash's major shortcoming/abuse still exists: it takes control away from the user and places it in the hands of a "designer" who may not have any experience in building user interfaces.

    So Nielsen's partnering with Macromedia to educate people on proper Flash design. It's a PR gesture on Macromedia's part to silence one of Flash's most vocal critics, but it's not going to accomplish much in the real world. The real Flash offenders are not going to attend a Macromedia seminar on usability or study Nielsen's guidelines. That would restrain their "creativity" -- most of them use Flash specifically because they want to be different, which is the antithesis of Nielsen's usability mantra.

    My browser filters out all swf files, so if you use Flash and you don't provide an HTML alternative (most sites don't), I'll never see your content. That's a good thing. I don't want to play "chase the links as they fly across the screen" or listen to your music blended with the mp3 I'm playing.

    Fireworks are exciting, pretty toys too, but each July 4 police scour the streets for people who set them off because they're dangerous in the hands of most people.

    • by Watts Martin ( 3616 ) <layotl@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @10:35PM (#3642787) Homepage

      [Flash] takes control away from the user and places it in the hands of a "designer" who may not have any experience in building user interfaces.

      So does HTML. More abstractly, so does any user interface kit. The user isn't in charge of the way an application--or a web page--presents information to him; the designer is. It may indeed be better to put "designer" in quotes, but that doesn't change who has the power.

      Flash has lent itself to a lot of abuse, and Flash MX no doubt does, too. The difference is that Flash MX adds components for consistent user interface widgets if designers choose to use them, and it offers a lot more ability to pull data back from the server--in other words, to behave more like a real client application, as opposed to the broken model for HTML "applications" we currently have.

      Sure, if you give people multimedia design tools, a lot of people will design horrendous multimedia--for a while. Desktop publishing software enabled more people to quickly make absolutely horrendous typeset documents than ever before. Would you argue that it'd have been better if we'd stayed with lead type?

      • [Flash] takes control away from the user and places it in the hands of a "designer" who may not have any experience in building user interfaces.
        So does HTML. More abstractly, so does any user interface kit.

        Completely wrong. You're pretending not to understand the separation between presentation and content that HTML/SGML/CSS/etc tries to encourage.

        When I inserted a <P> between these two paragraphcs, I didn't say "insert a blank line" or "indent the next line one-half inch." I said "this is a logically new paragraph; please display it accordingly." The point is that some people might like paragraphs displayed as in books, with an indentation on the new paragraph, and some people like paragraphs displayed as is usual in web browsers and email - with a blank line between paragraphs. The point is, it's their choice.

        If I want to, I can write a style sheet which over-rides the crap set in web pages. I know that red on black is difficult to read, but angst-ridden teens don't know this. I see this trend among "web designers" (and those quote marks are intentional, BTW) that they like to make links look like regular text, eg, not underlined (text-decoration: none). I like to scan documents looking for links (eg, some guy's useless rant about some problem which finally links to the technical specification which prompted the rant) and I want my links underlined. CSS lets me do this; flash doesn't.

        The whole point behind CSS is to separate presentation and content. An important part of that is allowing alternate modes of presentation. If you use green and blue to separate two completely different parts of a page, colorblind people won't be able to tell the difference between the two. I want all my text to appear large, as I want to preserve my 20/14 vision and I can damned well scroll when I want to (but with 20/14 vision, I can discern extremely small features when I try). I seriously doubt most "web designers" have considered issues such as this.

        Your analogy with typesetters and web designers doesn't work. Typesetters have hundreds of years of experience behind them. Professional typesetters know that humans can maximize their reading speed when lines contain an average of sixty-five characters per line (open any decent book, and do the math if you don't believe me - and then compare that to Microsoft Word's default layout policies and you'll be enlighted as to the problem). Professional typesetters use serif fonts for body text because it aids reading speed and decreases eye fatigue, yet many "web designers" prefer sans-serif fonts for body text because it looks "cleaner" to them.

        The quality of desktop publishing improved when professional typesetters starting using the same electronic typesetting tools as the desktop publishers instead of using manual and photographic processes. The current generation of "web designers" don't know jack, and I don't see any improvement on the horizon as there is very little crossover between the true artistry of typesetting and the wiggling, squirming, float-over, abstract guess-what-this-does to hold your interest crap which is Flash.

        • I generally agree with you, but had to comment on this one:
          Professional typesetters use serif fonts for body text because it aids reading speed and decreases eye fatigue, yet many "web designers" prefer sans-serif fonts for body text

          Professional typesetters do use sans serif fonts on-screen, because here the resolution is not good enough for the serifs, and so they act as noise rather than reading cues.

          Unfortunately I cannot find the article ATM, but somewhere on the web is an interview with the person who designed the free Microsoft fonts (who is a professional type-face designer), and he explains what he did to ensure optimal readability on-screen -- an interesting read...

  • by CMiYC ( 6473 ) on Tuesday June 04, 2002 @09:37PM (#3642475) Homepage
    So far I have to say I am probably on the disappointed side of the scale. First of all, there is a lack of quaility help with the kit. Why? Because, for example, has been overrun by people who can't read. When purchasing the kit they failed to notice the pre-req's which said "SOG Monitor Required" and "a basic understanding of the Linux operating system." While this wouldn't be a large problem, it is making it hard to get support when you have a real issue. It seems everyday someone posts "I can't believe my montior doesn't work" or "Can I run Windows games on the PS2?" or someone posts "Why don't CDRs work?" Apparently none of these people know what a FAQ is.

    Right now I am sitting without a kit, but I'll get to that in a second.

    I pre-ordered my kit on March 7th. I received an email which I assumed to be the confirmation. In my email header it said: " Your Order #711699 has been d." I even took a cursory look at the message and it looked just like a receipt from any other online store. What I failed to do was read the actual message. It was in fact telling me my credit card (for no apparent reason) was declined. I admit I should have read the message more closely, but it would have been nice if an actual confirmation didn't look exactly the same. I realized this error on May 25th.

    After finally receiving my kit I eagerly ripped everything open and got my PS2 hooked up. Having done my homework, I was very happy to see it talk nicely to my SOG compatible monitor. I even commented "wow, this is a really nice quality keyboard." So I threw in my Linux Disc 2 DVD since, again, I failed to read. This time it was pure excitement to blame. Disc 2 had placed in the disc holder on top, with Disc 1 below it. This was highly intitive.

    The install was going normally. After the RTE loads it looks just like a RedHat install. I got all the way up to the point of partitioning my hard drive. Being that I've been using Linux for longer than I can remember, I defaulted by selecting fdisk. After I was done I hit 'w' to write my table, and nothing happened. In fact the PS2 locked up. I couldn't believe it. So I rebooted. I very quickly found that the keyboard had failed, as it would no longer respond. Neither my Desktop (Mandrake) or my laptop (Win2k) would recognize it as a USB device. Of course this happened at 8:55pm. 5 minutes before all of the electronic stores in town closed.

    So the next morning I went to Fry's and bought a $20 USB keyboard. I came home and got Linux installed. Again this concept of reading got to me. The final dialog says something that reads like: "Press Enter, Put Disc 1 in, and reboot." So I did. I was greated to a hard drive FSCKing itself, a corrupted modules.conf, and an ethernet adapter that wouldn't init. So I re-installed. This time I read the screen more carefully. Apparently it is intiutively obvious that you are to wait 2-3 minutes while the system shuts down. It would have been nice if they let you see the shutdown progress (or told you to wait.) (I know I ragged people for not reading when they bought the kit, but I am willing to admit I should have read all of the above more carefully.)

    Finally my machine is up and running. I even have XMMS complied and installed. So I hook it up to my stereo, connect to it remotely, and mount a NFS share. I'm ready to listen to MP3s on my surround sound system for the first time ever. I launch XMMS and my PS2, again, freezes. After rebooting I am told I can't login because the system has lost power and is rebooting. Uh huh. So I login at the console and do a proper reboot. This time XMMS loaded without a hitch. It played exactly 1 mp3 and locked up again. This time I realized that it was not the PS2 locking up, but the network adapter. This is becoming a known problem at the aforementioned website.

    Finally, my last woe in this whole story. In order to replace my USB keyboard (BTW, all of the components come in their own retail boxes) I must return the entire kit. Yes, is incapable of only replacing 1 component. They instead, insisit, I ship back the entire kit (at my cost) to get a keyboard replaced. How nice.

    If the network adapter issue isn't solved in the next 30 days, then I am going to sadly return the kit, as so far, it hasn't been worth $200.
    • RTFM (Score:4, Informative)

      by achurch ( 201270 ) on Wednesday June 05, 2002 @02:13AM (#3643579) Homepage

      I find it odd that someone who even admits they have reading problems still insists on dumping all of the blame on Sony. I had no trouble at all setting up Linux on my PS2 (though admittedly I have the Japanese version; maybe somebody screwed something up for the US release).

      As far as the network adapter goes, I've had zero problems, even while doing a raw disk dump over the network. I do, on the other hand, recall splay locking up on me once or twice. Try setting the playback rate to 48000 Hz, since the PS2 Linux driver can't handle anything else natively, and see if that helps. This is also mentioned in the manual, by the way (at least the Japanese one).

      Also, when I had a keyboard problem—which just turned out to be me typing too fast for the keyboard's specs—I was able to send just the keyboard back to Sony and use the PS2 via Ethernet in the meantime. Maybe you didn't communicate clearly that it was just the keyboard that was defective?

      • Now slow down there professor. I did not say I placed all of the blame on Sony. My intention was to show how those issues were mounting to my dissatisfaction. The only thing I blame on Sony is the final installation dialog. It is extremely vauge and does not provide the user any feedback to what its doing. In fact the manual (which I did read) says 20) "The "Complete" messages appears. Select "OK" to quit the install program. That, in conjunction with a dialog that tells you to reset the machine now, is confusing.

        As for the network adapter. Now you are just trying to make it look like I'm whining for no reason. You are offering vauge suggestions to show me I'm being zealous. The issue has nothing to do with mp3s. It is not related to the sound system, it is not related to splay, and it has nothing to do with the playback rate. There is nothing in the paper manual about changing the playback rate. I say that only because I haven't had a chance to read the electronic versions. The issue with the network adapter is soley based on network traffic. It just so happened (as I found out) that streaming mp3s caused the issue to initially occur. Perhaps if you RTFM (message) then you would see that transfering large files caused the problem as well.

        Do you really think I did not express my concern about not sending the entire kit back? I asked the woman several times if she was sure about it. She came back and said "Yes, my manager says we can not accept the invdividual components. We must receive the entire kit so that we can send you an entirely new one. Please note on the return sheet that only the keyboard is defective." So, as you can see, she fully understood that only 1 component needed to be returned. Furthermore if you had, again, RTFM, you would see that using it remotely was causing problems. Therefore your suggestion, again, would not have done any good.

        The next time you want to disagree with someone and try to discredit them, please take the time to actually read their message. It would also be helpful to provide actual suggestions. (Not suggestions that show you thumbing your nose at the orginal poster.)
  • I really like the feature. Is Google planning on implementing the code at all?
  • If you visit the Link mentioned above to, I noticed they have a contest going similar to HTML and Perl contests in the past.

    Design the best flash presentation within 25 lines of code. Looking forward to the results!
  • First off let me say that the Linux for playstation is very cool i do have one and i have had some pretty intresting fun using my ps2 as a web server, and as far as a first revision of trying something like this, I would give it a 3 out of 5 for the following reasons
    however good start i await the updates :)

    On the note of the header i was slightly disappointed that the linux kit lacked alot of modern software that i feel should have been included.

    For instance it includes KDE however it is version 1x now this seems odd that at least version 2 could have snuck in ?
    Same thing with gnome it does include gnome however the version of gnome is very old, i can't recall the actual version at the top of my head.

    Another small detail i found odd that it was missing was a mp3 player i had to install the SDL library to have plaympeg available to me i would think they could have at least included mp3blaster or mpg123 at the most ?

    And to top it off it lacked any kind of real web browser, and for some reason w3m wanted to be displayed in kanji all the time and i still haven't quite figured that out yet.

    Lastly i did happen to be fortunate enough to have a compliant montior so the install was fairly easy it is obivious that sony is in deals with red hat on this. However once installed configuring it to display on my television was a major pain and it wasn't even mentioned in the manual on how to do it, it only hinted that it could be done but not exactly how.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday June 05, 2002 @12:00AM (#3643148) Homepage
    Flash should be viewed as an alternative to writing code for Windows, not as an alternative to HTML. It's not a good way to express documents, but it's a halfway reasonable way to write some GUIs.

    A fair number of game GUIs (the 2D parts used for setup and such) are written in Flash and executed with a non-Macromedia Flash engine. This is done so that the Flash authoring tools can be used. This approach could be applied to other applications.

    It's probably more suitable for things like a music player than a system administration program, but it's an option. Most importantly, it lets you separate the GUI part from the programming part, which means the GUI designer can get some real work done.

  • "The winner is Daniel Egnor, a former Microsoft employee [] ."
    "My code is available to the public under the terms of the GNU Public License []."

    No wonder he got fired!

  • However, it still should not replace HTML.

    Flash will be better than HTML for writing online applications, because you can get immediate feedback, and also don't have to deal with the statelessness of HTML. One place where this has stuck out is the spell checker that is included with IMP. It can't really be interactive (as with a word processor), and so it's a lot less usable. Perhaps an optional Flash spell checker would be helpful.

    A big problem with Flash that still (AFAIK) hasn't been fixed is that when people use it to create entire sites (replacing HTML), their site is essentially invisible to search engines. Maybe Google will solve this problem, but for now, I think that the best course of action is to use HTML whenever possible, and to use Flash when it would provide better functionality (and not just because it will look cool). Or, you could provide a non-Flash alternative, and that will be indexed.

    There's also the problem that Flash isn't usable by everyone; people who browse non-visually, use a text-mode browser, or who simply haven't installed the plugin will not be able to use whatever portion of your site is in Flash. Just something to keep in mind.

Put no trust in cryptic comments.