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Comment The power users are (were) the evangelists (Score 1) 798

Like a lot of /.ers, I'm the person my friends and family call when they have computer issues. I got tired of troubleshooting Windows (Another reinstall? There goes my Wednesday afternoon!) so a few years ago I started pushing people over to Ubuntu. After a quick sit-down and walk-through, people could pick it up, and the number of support calls I got started dropping off as things worked more reliably for grandma et al.

When Natty came out last April, I made sure everyone was still on "Ubuntu Classic" to avoid Unity, which was very clearly Not Ready for Prime Time. I crossed my fingers and hoped Canonical would clue in or make some incredible improvements to Unity by October. That didn't happen. Now people are clicking to update, finding their desktops have changed, and getting weird glitches, bugs, and crashes. The number of calls I've been getting in the last few weeks has skyrocketed.

Mark, when your power users leave you behind, they're going to bring their friends and families... aka your entire user base.

Comment Re:Nice.... (Score 1) 105

Mod parent up! The Black Death had no discernable target of rich or poor. It also spread differently in the past: back then it seems to have been airborne, and there are no reports (that's NONE) about mass die-off of rats like we saw in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The kicker is that diseases and their hosts co-evolve. We evolve immunities and tolerances, they evolve new tricks and less of a tendency to kill off their food supply (read: us). The DNA may be remarkably similar between the old and current versions, but that doesn't mean there aren't some key, albeit tiny, differences--just like between humans, chimpanzees, and bonobos.

Oh, and yes, IAAEH (I am an environmental historian).

Comment Re:Amsterdam did that (Score 1) 136

Hey, I'm not trying to tell anyone what they must or must not do. I'm just amazed that people will take on a reasonably high risk of being involved in a collision with a car while wearing no protection whatsoever, even for the single most important organ in their body.

I think smoking is stupid too, but I don't advocate criminalizing it.

Comment Re:HD resolution film doesn't mean it was shot as (Score 1) 267

However, just because film can resolve that much detail, doesn't mean the show was made with that in mind. In particular, it's likely they shot it for SD transmission and TV sets. Even a well-budgeted TV show like TNG would have had to allocate its budget wisely, and I doubt they would have wasted valuable money on (e.g.) set detailing that their audience would never see. It only had to look good in SD.

Now, if you watch the footage in high definition, chances are we may see that the set looks a little shoddy, with visible joins if you look closely. Picard's set makeup might look a bit "cakey" and obvious. And (as others mentioned) any illegible in-jokes on the button text could suddenly become readable.

I recently visited the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle, and was amazed by how clunky and cheap most of the Star Trek and Star Wars props looked. In SD, I had never noticed. In HD, I think the tricorders are liable to look ridiculous.

That said, I wouldn't want them to change it. Once you start messing around with that stuff, you're tempted to go down George Lucas's path to the dark side, and I would really hate to see that happen to Star Trek, too. (Riker shot first, anyone?) Part of the beauty of these old shows and movies is in how they managed to create meaningful and engrossing worlds without high-end CGI, often on low budgets. Hiding that--let alone gussying it up--would be a sin.

Comment End of an era, but... (Score 1) 80

Yes, this is the end of an era. It is worth noting, and we should have serious discussions about the future and direction of American space travel. But this is the last space shuttle spacewalk, not the last NASA spacewalk. Who approves these headlines, anyway?

(NB: the headline comes from TFA, so don't blame /. completely.)

Comment Re:Information, please! (Score 4, Informative) 114

No, that's the name of the malware, not the apps. FTFA:

"The malware is embedded in a seemingly legitimate application in the market, and once users download and install that app, the fun begins."

It goes on to talk about "the host app" which the malware "piggybacks". Which app? They don't tell you. They'd rather tell you that "The Apple iPhone may still be the gold standard when it comes to smartphones".

Comment Information, please! (Score 5, Informative) 114

Why don't these articles ever tell you WHICH markets and apps are affected? Oh, that's right, they're too busy trying to generate page hits through scare-mongering to care about information.

(I'm not trying to say these aren't legitimate threats: quite the opposite. But, good reporting would help mitigate these threats by publicly shaming and informing.)

Comment Re:G+ requires Picasa album permission changes (Score 1) 164

Look, nobody's saying this was a good idea on Google's part. It's dumb, and it's worth noting and fixing. But, there was nothing stopping your friends from copying your pictures and sending them to your boss/mother/ex-wife before, and that hasn't changed. If you're willing to chance that and use a social network, Google+ has better control and protection than Facebook, so give that a go. If you aren't, that's fine. But no privacy setting is going to save you from your friends or yourself.

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I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman