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Slashback: India, Kartoo, Orbs 131

Slashback with corrections and updates on backyard coasters, the Associated Press' (not CNN's) interview with Steinhardt, Open Source and Free software in India, the Kartoo visual search engine, how you too can assemble some pulsating glassy spheres. Read on for those details and more.

Attribution where due. Frank Bajak, Technology Editor for The Associated Press, wrote with a correction to last week's post "CNN Talks WIth ACLU Tech Maven Barry Steinhardt," writing "CNN didn't speak to Steinhardt. We, The Associated Press, did. CNN merely posted our story." Thanks for pointing that out.

If it's an orb, it had better do some glowing! shakes writes "Since the recent outbreak of interest in the Ambient Orb, I took a moment to homebrew one using a PICchip. The source code is currently incomplete as it does not support serial communication, but that will come in the next day or so."

Please secure the locking safety mechanism, or call an attendant if you have trouble. BoomZilla writes "I was intrigued with the home made roller coaster report on Slashdot last year. Just the sort of thing I *need* for the kids. Problem was that I had neither the skill nor the time to build such a beast. I've recently become re-inspired by the Back Yard Roller Coaster site. It's short on details (just a few pictures and a video) - but long on firing up my enthusiasm. Straightforward design. Easy construction. Modest cost. All I need is a hill (check) and the patience and understanding of my wife (stand by for news on that...)"

Oooh, look at the pictures. The visually intriguing meta search engine Kartoo is now more accessable to flash-poor browsers (and lazy or stubborn flash-avoiding users). Alexandre Dos Santos writes "Kartoo now offers an alternative to the regular flash display. The html version is only in beta. It offers the same functionality as the flash version, i.e. you can add or subtract keywords. It's obviously an attempt at reaching out to users who are on machines without flash, or very slow connections.

The option to use html only had been there before, but now Kartoo seems to push this more to the front...and important point...Without sponsored links."

Keeping their options open, or closing doors? bigmase521 writes "LinuxWorld has an article with statements from the Minister of Information Technology and Communications of India stating that India is NOT going to support Open Source alternatives Government-Wide. However, different branches of the government are still considering open source as their primary computing solutions. So I guess unfortunately, it seems as if Mr. Gates' Bribe err 'heartfelt visit' may have worked after all."

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Slashback: India, Kartoo, Orbs

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  • with so many damn words to read in order to form a relevant witty comment! damn you ADD!
  • by ArsonPanda ( 647069 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @07:05PM (#5648887)
    (and lazy or stubborn flash-avoiding users).

    Good god man! don't you understand that Flash is the great evil that will destroy the internet?!? oh, don't worry my poor poor bandwith, everything will be all right.
    • Re:news "flash" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Ra5pu7in ( 603513 ) <ra5pu7in.gmail@com> on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @07:22PM (#5648983) Journal
      Flash is the second most evil application that adverstisers have discovered (second only to pop-unders).

      I am not averse to all Flash usages, but being unable to choose which run and which don't, my choice is to not run any. When the day comes that I can selectively turn on or off Flash options (without the maker deciding to limit my control), I may lose my stubbornness. Until then I'd rather avoid sites that think it is the be-all, end-all of web graphics.

      • I haven't had Flash installed for a long time. Advertisements are not its only annoying use; most of its uses are unnecessary crap: stupid intros, animated logos, and the like. I can't remember the last time I actually wanted to see something in Flash.

        I am considering ditching the Java plug-in as well, but it's used for good instead of evil in a few cases. (I'll keep AppletViewer handy if I do get rid of it.)

        • Re:news "flash" (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Com2Kid ( 142006 )
          • I can't remember the last time I actually wanted to see something in Flash.


          Newgrounds [newgrounds.com]

          JoeCartoon.com [joecartoon.com]

          TheRomp [theromp.com]
        • I can't remember the last time I actually wanted to see something in Flash.

          Every time my Mother sends me an online animated card for my birthday, Christmas, Easter, etc. I just don't open them, but call her up anyway and thank her for her thoughtfulness.
          • Every time my Mother sends me an online animated card for my birthday, Christmas, Easter, etc. I just don't open them, but call her up anyway and thank her for her thoughtfulness.

            What you should do is call her and explain why it actually was thoughtlessness. She just added your email to another list that could potentially be used for spam. Besides electronic isn't thoughtful, just easy, handwritten on a carefully selected (or better yet, selfmade) card is thoughtful.

            Oh dear, I just realized that I said

            • What you should do is call her and explain why it actually was thoughtlessness.

              I really don't have that much free time. But if you do, please go right ahead spending the next two weeks explaining to her why. Then be prepared for another two week follow up session a month after that.

              It's not that my mother is dumb, it's just that she doesn't have a frame of reference with which to understand the problem.
        • odd todd [oddtodd.com] is a really funny site. Quite a few of us have felt like this.
      • I like this solution [squarefree.com] for Mozilla-based browsers.
    • by jefu ( 53450 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @07:58PM (#5649162) Homepage Journal
      I'm seeing more and more flash and hearing more and more webmonsters, er, webmasters say that flash is their preferred platform.

      There seem to be a number of reasons for this - one is that flash is pretty standard - most versions of flash work alike - much more than can be said for html on internet exploder, netscape, opera, mozilla, phoenix and so on - all of which exist in various versions with various oddnesses.

      Another is that web developers put time into learning flash and thus have an intellectual investment in continuing to use it (and I'll refrain from commenting on how much of their intellectual capital they've used up in the process - for some people learning new technology seems to open new ways to think, for too many it seems to close them off).

      There's the notion that flash provides a spiffy keen looking interface full of motion, color and all kinds of "cleverness" That these are usually ugly does not seem to matter much. That the clever interactions are usually almost completely unfathomable by the users matters less. That the files can take forever to download and use up lots of processor is the users fault - not the developers. My favorite quote from a web developer came in response to a comment on my part about the download time needed for his idea website. He said "Well, if they can't download it or watch it, they don't deserve to see my website."

      Finally there is the notion that a web developer can determine more exactly what flash provides the user - things like eliminating the ability to save images, presenting exactly what the developer/marketroid wants the user to see in the order they choose. Don't want those users to mess all that up.

      For all these reasons, I suspect that we'll be seeing more and more flash and similar products. Indeed, I'm seeing many web sites that are flash only. And I'm wondering if the time that this could be effectively countered has already passed (but then I'm a cynical old fart - all grown up from the cynical young fart I used to be).

      • For all these reasons, I suspect that we'll be seeing more and more flash and similar products. Indeed, I'm seeing many web sites that are flash only. And I'm wondering if the time that this could be effectively countered has already passed

        Well, I don't have Flash installed (at home) because I don't feel like installing it in Linux (and from what I hear the Linux version is rather unstable). I don't miss a thing. Any serious web site will not be flash-only. As for those that are flash-only, I don't rea
      • in the meantime, the users (who greatly outnumber the developers) are the ones who decide whether or not to *use* flash content.

        i can hardly believe that you choose to extol flash for its built in DRM abilities, which (if you think about it) don't work.

        Anybody can take a screenshot of the window whenever they want to, and making surfing your website difficult is going to affect you, more than anybody else. It irritates your users, who decide to stop looking at it. This (obviously) means fewer banner imp
      • Phil and Alex's guide to web publishing makes a good point about flash - search engines won't index it (yet). So people are going to have a hard time trying to find your content online.

        (a copy of the relevant chapter can be found here [greenspun.com]. The whole book should be compulsory reading for any web developer)
        • Phil and Alex's guide to web publishing makes a good point about flash - search engines won't index it (yet). So people are going to have a hard time trying to find your content online.

          But your forgeting about "Spyder Food", redirecting spiders (based on user agents) to special pages that are full of keywords, etc. that are optimized to getting high rankings, and may or may not have anything to do with the site.

          • That's all well and good but the search engine won't be able to link directly into a particular page of content in the Flash movie. Sure the search engine got them to your site but if the user can't find the content they were looking for easily then they'll get frustrated and may well end up giving up on your site.
      • There are two reasons why Flash will never take over the web, relegating itself to the niche of spiffy sideshows:
        1. Search engines. AFAIK, Google doesn't index Flash yet (and I hope it never will).
        2. Accessibility. Blind users get squat from typical Flash stuff (apart from meaningless bleeps, that is). Designing Flash content accessible to the blind doubles effort and multiplies content size. A properly built HTML site has it for free, provided the users have got generic accessibility tech like voice readers,
    • I'm just going to have to go with the mob here and say that I really don't like flash. Like most of the world I'm stuck on dialup and flash take forever to download. I mean some sites will use it as an intro but have an nice little URL saying "Skip Intro". That I can live with. Its the ones that don't that annoy me and I will move on if I see that.

      One thing flash is good for however is for things like "Frog in a Blender" at Atomfilms [shockwave.com]. However only if people don't send it to you via email.

      Email is not for
    • Its okay guys, I don't want Luddites visiting my homepage anyway...

      --Slashdot Janitors are fascist demon children bent on destroying the world - CmdrTaco
    • As a user of a terrible terrible internet connection, and a user who doesn't have the choice of getting broadband, I think if satan was a program, he would be flash. Webmasters who don't have the brains to allow me to bypass are just begging me to leave.

      "Please, don't use my site, I don't want your traffic!!!" -Flash webmasters
  • by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @07:07PM (#5648895) Homepage
    I'm surprised... there was a new RFC released... big deal... something about a bit defining security ('evil bit', I think)... I don't have more details, but I'm sure someone can comment? I was hoping to see it on Slashback at least...
  • by univgeek ( 442857 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @07:08PM (#5648908)
    This guy didn't even read the article, or is simply flame-baiting, what the minister said isn't too bad.

    Mr.Shourie, the Minister for IT, said, "Do not expect a general decision from government on this," and said that each branch of the government would make a case-by-case decision on which software to use.

    Remember software is a tool, not a religion. There are some cases where closed-source may be more appropriate.

    For example - "If there is an important security software that we need urgently, for example, we are more likely to buy it, than spend time deciding whether we should develop it in India in open source," Shourie added.
    • Agreed (Score:3, Insightful)

      by einhverfr ( 238914 )
      The minister basically said that each department would have to determine how to handle each piece of software. And that they wanted to keep all options open for many types of software.

      IMO, this is a good thing. It will ensure that proprietary software can compete with open source (though in India, probably not too well ;)) and that we will see a more solid support for OSS in the future :^)
    • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @08:04PM (#5649193) Homepage
      > "If there is an important security software that
      > we need urgently, for example, we are more likely
      > to buy it, than spend time deciding whether we
      > should develop it in India in open source,"
      > Shourie added.

      It being completely inconceivable to him that he might be able to _buy_ Free Software...
    • by surprise_audit ( 575743 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @10:20PM (#5650017)
      Mr.Shourie, the Minister for IT, said, "Do not expect a general decision from government on this," and said that each branch of the government would make a case-by-case decision on which software to use.

      Sounds to me like he's saying Mr Gates will have to make a courtesy call on each and every different Ministry and/or Gov Dept in order to prevent the insidious spread of Open Source. A rather interesting twist on the "divide and conquer" strategy - "we've divided, so it'll take you longer to conquer us"...

      • It's been a standard Indian trick for absorbing enemies for millennia. Where do you think the caste system came from? Every new wave of would-be conquerors got absorbed as a new upper-tier caste, leaving the core system unchanged.

        This strategy also seems to work for operating systems.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    First posts tend to congregate towards the top due to the faster routing preference given by the evil bit being said.

    I say we write the IETF and tell them to make a first post bit that gets routed slower. It will end the problem once and for all!
  • glowing balls (Score:2, Interesting)

    by anotherone ( 132088 )
    Hooray, the glowing ball link is dead already. <sarcasm level="heavy">what a surprise.</sarcasm>

    I plan on trying to put one together when it comes back, if it's not too expensive (like, under $20... college student here)

  • Looking at those pics the kid seems to be going quite fast yet has little restraint. This would need to be resurrected on a larger coaster. He does get going quite fast as in the video but the bumper stops him. What I want to see is the video when that bumper finally breaks and he goes flying off the end into a tree.
  • Free software (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nettarzan ( 161548 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @07:12PM (#5648932)
    India had lots of brain power but no money. If proprietary software was allowed to take root in India would still be poor in computer knowledge.
    India booted out IBM and mainframes in favor of Unix some 30 years ago. It was kinda boon to fledgling Indian software engineers because Unix made it possible to hook up a dirt cheap terminal to a low cost server. This made computing available to lots of students in universities that had no money for proprietary software. And everybody learnt the computers on the Unix platform.

    I hope Linux other would do they same to poor countries. Many developing countries need something that they can use as a stepping stone to develop themeselves without being exploited by developed countries.

    Long live, open source and free software.
    • Sure (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Acidic_Diarrhea ( 641390 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @07:22PM (#5648982) Homepage Journal
      You say that developing countries need a stepping stone to "develop themselves without being exploited by developed countries" - which is a nice sentiment - but don't you think that the people who put in so much effort to develop all these technologies in the first place deserve a bit back?

      Basically, this depends on how you view computer technology. If you see the labor being primarily one of doing standard programming jobs (i.e. the same jobs are repeated over and over again) then this is much the same as "The Green Revolution", which was supposed to bring agricultural developments into Africa. While on the other hand, you can look at this technology as similar to the arms race. Once the US developed the neutron bomb, they did not just give it away to the Russians. I fall somewhere in between - the research that has gone into all this work needs to be rewarded (with more grants for more research) but third world countries can't be crippled with a buy-in price that's beyond their GDP.

      And just because a company makes a profit from a third world country does not mean that that country is being exploited.

      • Re:Sure (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cduffy ( 652 )
        You say that developing countries need a stepping stone to "develop themselves without being exploited by developed countries" - which is a nice sentiment - but don't you think that the people who put in so much effort to develop all these technologies in the first place deserve a bit back?

        It's bad business, if nothing else, to try to milk those who are cash-poor -- much better to subsidize them until they're cash-rich, and *then* make an attempt to mop up. Consider: 10% of $10 is much better than 50% of

  • I was hoping that my writeup [michael-forman.com] on the transliteration of numbers of arbitrary bases would be included in slashback to continue my avalance of visitors. This morning I was up to 36 unique visitors. Not bad for staying up to 3:00 am writing. :^)

    Hey, maybe this counts as making into a slashback!

    Michael.
  • Frank Bajak, Technology Editor for The Associated Press, wrote with a correction

    The AP reads /. ?
    Now, THAT'S news.
  • The track is built from 2" PVC pipe

    I'm not sure I would want to ride on anything that is on tracks made from PVC pipe. It does look fun though.

    On a side note, his web page seems to be holding up surprisingly well considering it is hosted on a Road Runner account, and has a 2MB video on the front page.
  • by TKinias ( 455818 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @07:18PM (#5648964)

    So I guess unfortunately, it seems as if Mr. Gates' Bribe err 'heartfelt visit' may have worked after all."

    His visit may have been unnecessary.

    I'm curious to hear from Indian IT folks on this, but I have some ideas about Free Software and India, based on my experience with IT in the Middle East.

    First, in an economy where there is no real fear of legal action for illegal copying, and where a Microsoft licence costs a month's wages or more, you can expect illegally copied MS products to be everywhere. In such an environment, there is little incentive to use free (as in beer) products, because all products cost nothing to procure.

    Second, in an economy where corruption is endemic down to the lowest clerical levels, decisions are often made on a, um, non-technical basis. (Bofors, anyone?) Free software may be at a disadvantage here, because there is not always a for-profit entity to ``encourage'' a product's adoption. I can't really see the Apache team buying anyone a villa.

    Given both of these, I would not expect Free software to be a major player in Indian IT. Indeed, in contrast with (for example) East and Central Europe, Latin America, or East Asia, South Asia doesn't seem to be making any major contributions to Free software, despite having large numbers of trained programmers.

    Am I on the right track here?

    • You've pretty much hit the nail right on the head. My parents are Indian, as is my girlfriend and we've often discussed the differences between the two societies. I was really surprised when I found out that they use mostly Microsoft over there. I figured that Linux would be a natural fit, because a windows license would cost about a month's wage. But over there, piracy is the way of life so windows lisences are as cheap as the media they come on. There's no need to suffer the learning curve since eve

      • scripsit Trejus:

        My parents are Indian, as is my girlfriend...

        (This is a bit OT, but national identity is a subject of professional interest for me...)

        I find this statement fascinating because it implies that you do not identify as Indian, although both your parents do. Yet you date ``in-group'' or endogamously. How do you identify yourself? As a hyphenate or as a ``simple'' Canadian/USian/Australian/whatever? Or does a working geek have no nation? ;)

    • But MS also pays Indian NG organizations to monitor and report piracy. There is severe lobbying by MS to the govt. of India to legally act against privacy!
    • As a IT professional from India, I can assure you that you're bang on target on all issues :-( Cost factor or source availability almost never counts at the individual and small business level because everyone gets all software for free. The only places where free software is making some headway are:
      • Government programmes, where they need to be on the right side of law and have little cash.
      • Hobbyists who try Linux because it's the 'in' thing.

    • I think you're right, but I see the same picture from a different angle....

      Linux is more free market than Microsoft is, because MS relies on an artificial construct called "intellectual property" that Linux doesn't.
      IP puts unnatural limits on knowledge distribution and information, and is more like a government regulation than a genuine free market property right.

      In that sense, it only makes sense that Linux would see it's greatest influence in the biggest free markets first - the USA. Not that other peo
      • scripsit argoff:

        Linux is more free market than Microsoft is, because MS relies on an artificial construct called "intellectual property" that Linux doesn't.

        I'm not sure I agree with the statement that Linux doesn't rely on IP law... Without copyright law, the GPL is meaningless.

        Imagine that there's no such thing as copyright. Now, Linus gives me a kernel image, as well as a source tarball. There's nothing to stop me from giving copies of either to all my friends; the same would be true of any Wind

    • by arvindn ( 542080 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @01:19AM (#5650795) Homepage Journal
      I'm curious to hear from Indian IT folks on this

      If Indian CS student is Ok, read on.

      First, in an economy where there is no real fear of legal action for illegal copying

      Used to be. It's changing rapidly. Today it would be rare to find businesses running unlicensed software. The IP thugs (the Indian arm of the BSA, I guess) have really stepped up their activity. It's helping. My guess is that running illegal software in government is almost out of the question. (Although home desktop users are probably not going to care for a few more years.)

      Second, in an economy where corruption is endemic down to the lowest clerical levels,

      Absolutely.

      Free software may be at a disadvantage here, because there is not always a for-profit entity to ``encourage'' a product's adoption.

      This is what the article said. Gates' bribes do have an effect. However, note that the more decentralized the decision making, the more difficult it becomes to give "encouragement".

      Indeed, in contrast with (for example) East and Central Europe, Latin America, or East Asia, South Asia doesn't seem to be making any major contributions to Free software, despite having large numbers of trained programmers.

      You're missing a lot of things here, at least with respect to India.

      • First, all the reports you hear about huge numbers of Indian programmers actually pertain to growth rates. The indian software segment is growing very fast, but the actual number of programmers is quite small, due to the miserably low level of penetration of computer use in India.
      • Second, the Indian software economy is mostly service oriented. A large number companies offer services on top of non-M$ platforms. They're not making "major contributions to free software", but nor are they making major contributions to properietary software either. The question to ask is if a sizeable fraction of the Indian software industry says no to Microsoft, and the answer is yes, it does.
      • People are going to hack on say gnome or the kernel only if they have lots of free time or if they are paid by some company to do so. The latter has not happened (though sun is showing some interest recently) and the former will probably never happen, at least as long as people's primary concern is to earn enough to stay alive. Summary: you are using the wrong metric.

      Back to the issue of government, I think the main reason they are interested in free software is because of their strong desire for self-reliance. You see, they're pretty pissed off by the US imposing sanctions when they tested nukes and telling them what to do every now and then. That's why you always find both "open source" and "in-house" mentioned together. That's why they developed supercomputing technology. They want to have the option of giving the US the finger.

    • First, in an economy where there is no real fear of legal action for illegal copying, and where a Microsoft licence costs a month's wages or more, you can expect illegally copied MS products to be everywhere. In such an environment, there is little incentive to use free (as in beer) products, because all products cost nothing to procure.

      Second, in an economy where corruption is endemic down to the lowest clerical levels, decisions are often made on a, um, non-technical basis. (Bofors, anyone?) Free softwa

      • scripsit deepestblue:

        I am an Indian studying Computer Science in the US, and I use OSS/FS products daily.

        Out of curiosity, did you get into free software after starting your degree in the States, or in India?

        there aren't that many East Asian OSS/FS programmers either, nor are there all that many Latin American ones

        I disagree, actually. Of course, we could get into a pointless debate about how many is ``many'' ... but here are some examples: Connectiva Linux (BR) and Red Flag Linux (CN); Gnome

        • Out of curiosity, did you get into free software after starting your degree in the States, or in India?

          While in India. Many universities in India use OSS/FS products exclusively, as universities cannot/don't pirate software. I hadn't used Windows at school during the 4 years of my UG, though I had to within a week of coming to the US.

          I think you may have hit on something here. I can imagine a South Asian peasant being shocked at the idea of a suburban American woman maintaining a vegetable garden ``for

  • by jmoriarty ( 179788 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @07:27PM (#5649016)
    If the poster really wants his own personal rollercoaster ride, I suggest an easier alternative would be to try getting a job in the IT industry right now.

    If those high-speed changes of direction and constant managerial G-forces don't result in whiplash and a strong desire to hurl, then you are a stronger man than I.
    • You know, I've heard about how dynamic this ride is, and all about the highs and lows, but I've been standing in line for months and don't seem to be moving.
    • Actually I do work in the High Tech industry - when I first saw the video it looked like just any other day at the office........
    • If the poster really wants his own personal rollercoaster ride, I suggest an easier alternative would be to try getting a job in the IT industry right now.

      Nah, see, a rollercoaster, at least you stop at the same height you start. IT's more like that death drop ride, where you work forever to climb to the top (ie, college), and then you drop all the way to where you were (ie, high-school-grad type jobs).

    • If the poster really wants his own personal rollercoaster ride, I suggest an easier alternative would be to try getting a job in the IT industry right now.

      It's supposed to be for your kids. Mine is too young to notice.

  • flash-poor browsers (and lazy or stubborn flash-avoiding users)

    Flash != web. Much as macromedia would like you to believe, it ain't; it is a highly proprietary, expensive-to-author format. The plugin's a pain in the ass even on Windows or Macintosh- you're always having to upgrade it, or you've got the wrong particular "flavor".

    I wish web designers would get it through their thick skulls- flash is okay if you want to do some southpark webtoon, but it should be a MINOR part of the site- never something

    • I refuse to install flash6. I'd say that more than half the popup/under ads I run into want to install Flash6. Click no: bye. No bandwidth-sucking, resource-slurping unwanted advertisements. Yet very few flash-enabled sites require v6. Many will serve a v5 swf.

      And I agree with the parent. How many flash-enabled sites have a 'skip_intro' link. Hello, if that many people want to get to the meat and ignore the gimcracks, why pay to author that junk ?
    • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @09:06PM (#5649609) Homepage Journal
      I was with you right up 'till
      "Flash gets you nothing- it's just for lazy designers who are too stupid to learn how to properly code HTML.",
      wich is flamebait.
      I have a moderator point I could burn you with, but I'll reply instead.

      First of all, most of your comment made sense. Yes, having a 100% flash site is a bad idea: it limits your site's availability. But generalization and insults are not helping you to drive your point home. Now if you'd be so kind as to learn proper etiquette and to start behaving in a polite civilised nature, we'd all appreciate it very much.

      Moving on to the constructive discussion and the sharing of ideas:
      The webheads and the boss at my old job were flash-happy. They redid the company's web site all in flash. I was pretty allright. But I kept telling them "make a simple HTML interface that lets people get to the content too", and they ignored me. Until the boss tried to show off the pretty new website to a client who's old laptop couldn't handle the flashiness. Then he realised I was right and had the webmonkeys do as I said.
      The moral is: Make your store wheelchair acessible and your company website html acessible. Its just good buisness sense.
      • perhaps he should have said:
        "I my expereience, Flash gets you nothing- it's just for lazy designers who are too stupid to learn how to properly code HTML."
        because thats my experience, and it wouold seem, it was your experience as well.

        OTOH my experience with web developers, meaning thats all they do, has been less then stellar. I would go as far as to say they do not understand the technology they're writing code for. They seem to understand it, but when quizzed in a manner that leaves them devoid of buzzw
    • Inform != impress (Score:2, Insightful)

      by HaveNoMouth ( 556104 )
      Most people visit websites because they want to be informed. Most clueless website designers, on the other hand, think their website exists to impress. And the ones that do have a clue are still forced to impress the VP of Marketing, who is beyond clueless but who signs their paychecks.

      Hence Flash. Hence most "official" sites for movies [thepianistmovie.com], cars [gm.com], etc. are useless without Flash and Javajunk.

    • it is a highly proprietary

      Well, it's publically documented and no patent concerns (or rather, no patents are being excised on it). There are multiple implementations of both flash renderers and flash authoring environments. It's not that proprietary.

      expensive-to-author format

      swish [swishzone.com] is pretty cheap, either $40 for the full thing or $20 for the "lite" version. And of course, nothing stops anybody from producing an open source version of Macromedia Flash.

      The plugin's a pain in the ass even on Window

  • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @08:09PM (#5649218)
    While those of us who have ideological sympathies with RMS may not be happy to hear the Indian decision, it is nonetheless worth pointing out that a significant economic goal of free software -- choice -- is very definitely being fostered by the widespread availability of free software.

    If Microsoft is forced to lower its prices, relax its licensing conditions, or make "donations" to state governments (in lieu of the taxes they don't pay), then this is all to the good. Microsoft is finally being forced to compete, which was a major and laudable goal of the ESR/Open Source half of the movement.

    It's not a total loss for the Free Software side, either. That Microsoft is being forced to compete is a concrete sign that we are making credible inroads -- that the software equivalent of the Republican Guard, as it were, is withdrawing into the streets of Redmond for a last stand. The outcome, however, is not in doubt.
    • "It's not a total loss for the Free Software side, either. That Microsoft is being forced to compete is a concrete sign that we are making credible inroads -- that the software equivalent of the Republican Guard, as it were, is withdrawing into the streets of Redmond for a last stand. The outcome, however, is not in doubt. "

      This would have to be somewhat premature. And if you really insist on tortuous analogies with the war it might be more accurate to say:

      Microsoft == the US army
      The ragtag, motley cre

    • ...that the software equivalent of the Republican Guard, as it were, is withdrawing into the streets of Redmond for a last stand.

      Sorry. I think nearly everywhere outside the U.S. of A. most people would be likening Microsoft to the U.S. imperial army and not the Iraqi freedom fighters.

      I'm an australian and I certainly do.

      Wouldn't have made this observation however, if you hadn't first brought in such an insensitive analogy.

      • Sorry. I think nearly everywhere outside the U.S. of A. most people would be likening Microsoft to the U.S. imperial army and not the Iraqi freedom fighters.

        Well yes, so would I - but I wouldn't call the Republican Guard "freedom fighters"...

    • >> If Microsoft is forced to ... or make "donations" to state governments

      That is a good thing? I am sorry, but where I come from the moment somebody makes donations I call it a bribe! Yes I detest lobby's

      When this sort of behavior occurs you get what you pay for and that usually is not what you wanted in the first place....
  • Anyone still have a _working_ mirror of the original Blue Flash coaster [0catch.com] pics? All the mirrors listed are broken.

    The pics of the Blue Flash are way more professional looking than this coaster. I'm working on convincing my S.O. to let me build one of these puppies with metal made from melted hard drive platters [eecue.com] in my home made forge [lindsaybks.com] so I'm gonna need something better than 2x4's and PVC.

  • In anticipation of RR not appreciating the opportunity to host another Slashdotting, here's a mirror:

    Coaster Mirror [cedarville.edu]

    enjoy
    (I'll put up an Orbs mirror too if I can get the files)
  • by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Wednesday April 02, 2003 @11:02PM (#5650195)
    All I need is a hill (check) and the patience and understanding of my wife (stand by for news on that...)

    I know, it takes us years (if not decades) longer than average folk, but someday every geek meets his one and only :)
  • I developed another solution, also using a PIC - it's wireless, accepts commands from a computer, and runs with a nifty brightness-holding circuit that allows asynchronous setting of colors. I'm almost done with it, too - just have to work out some problems with the serial timing (apparently wireless doesn't send a perfect signal through... I just hope the powers that be consider it a good enough story when it finally is finished, along with a pretty web page.
  • Egypt==India (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KingRamsis ( 595828 )
    Here in Egypt Microsoft donated a large amount of money to some law enforcement agency to make them crack on users with illegal copies of Microsoft Office, very small business which cannot afford to pay for the license were closed and all PCs were seized, but as the opensource movement gain momentum I personally started advising all my clients (l'm a developer) to switch to Open Office which supports Arabic nicely on it's Windows version, another dangerous tactic employed by the Borg was to literally giveaw

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