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Comment Re:FlightGear (Score 1) 294

I'm sure others have noticed that these rip-offs, whether it's software or books or what have you, are very formulaic in their presentation. You can practically look at the copy layout and tell what they're up to. And the confirming proof is a fake series of markdowns and a promise that the price will be raised after the initial sale is over.

Comment Consider an Alternative Reality (Score 2) 465

Envision an alternative reality in which development of FOS software, let's say Linux, OpenOffice, etc., predated Microsoft's rise to power. In that alternate universe, the FOS tools got widespread adoption. Services sprung up to support them, in line with the idea that you can make money from open source by providing quality support and services for a fee. Because of its widespread adoption, documents are exchanged as a norm in OpenOffice format.

Now, along comes a commercial entity that says, "Our $500 office software and $350 operating system is the way to go."

They would get nowhere, for reasons like lack of widespread support, lack of de facto standardization, etc. And of course cost would argue against them.

But in our universe, the commercial software got traction first and, in a sort of positive feedback loop, as they made more money they wielded more power and increased their influence and made more money.

So FOS fights an uphill battle and much of that battle isn't really based on cost so much as power and influence, especially in high government and corporate places. When the IT shop suggests open source, MS doesn't drop in to visit with the programmers; they go right to the top, suits talking to suits, and before you know it we have things like Australia mandating MS "standards" for government.

As an individual, I use Linux, OpenOffice, etc., exclusively. As an individual, proprietary software suits have no interest in buying me off. I can provide my own support and to me up-front cost is all the cost, and makes a big difference. But the corporate and government worlds are hardly the same. I sincerely hope FOS will make more and more corporate inroads. But it's a tough battle against powerful foes.

Comment Re:Meh. (Score 1) 244

I still use RCS because it does what I need, which is merely tracking single-developer projects and single-writer authoring. It works, it's simple, so what more do I need. And syncing an RCS directory from desktop to laptop with an online sync tool is more than good enough. I should set up GIT repositories *why*? No thanks.

Comment Re:Science or Religion? (Score 1) 1136

Finally, an idea that passes the test of reason --- independent of the question of the reality of AGW. Going green, cutting our carbon footprint, etc., all make sense either way, and there is just no reason not to do so, and every reason *to* do so. It even makes long-term economic sense (if perhaps in the short term there will be some dislocation). I'm not qualified to say that AGW is or isn't real, though it is hard to see how our actions can be totally without consequence. What I dislike is the politicizing of the issue (yes, I know, that was inevitable). What I dislike even more is the attitude of some (certainly not all) AGW activists who use AGW to "prove" that we are "bad" people or that the US is a "bad" nation. Let's (1) act reasonably, which means taking full precautionary measures as we cannot afford to be wrong, and (2) stick with science and not politics (fat chance, but at least I can say it).

Comment Re:Smashing my keyboard! (Score 1) 460

A sensible sentiment. Use what you're comfortable with and does the job for you. If other people use something different, that's not your call, any more than your choice is their call. I've used Linux for a very long time. Yes, it takes a little more effort to install and configure than Windows, although I would argue that the "average" user can't successfully install either one. But in the end I'm willing to put in the effort because (1) I'm able to do so and (2) I appreciate the results. And I like what I've paid out for my O/S and all the tools and applications: nothing. I am easily a few thousand dollars ahead on each and every machine that I fully configure. (Think about the cost of proprietary office tools, project management tools, graphics tools, etc., and my estimate is not exaggerated.)

Comment Re:Incorrect premise (Score 1) 945

"Use what you are happy with, everything else is an illusion." This is by far the most sensible statement in the whole discussion. I happen to prefer Linux on either a home-built Intel-based machine, or a less expensive laptop such as Acer. So what. That's what I like, you don't have to like it, it's my business. Neither do I have to like what you use, it's your business.

Comment Re:White Noise (Score 2, Interesting) 1019

During a recent stint in cube-land, I did the same. I ran an actual white noise generator (your choice of freeware is available) into headphones, and made it just loud enough to wash out the noise the idiots around me made all day long, but not so loud as to cause hearing damage.

Comment Re:Thanks to Vista's crapiness (Score 1) 273

"It's also a renewable resource; you may use up your free time this week, don't worry, there will be free time next week to do what you want to do..." This is only true for a certain number of years. Free time that is gone, is gone forever. Yes, you will have more next week ... but one day, you won't have a next week.

Comment Re:Grand Central (Score 1) 199

Google Voice has worked fine for me also, with cellphone, Gizmo, and office number, with no cross interference from pre-emptive voicemail answering. Interestingly enough, I also have an incoming Skype number (a "regular" phone number also called "Skype-In"), and it does *not* play well with Google Voice. If I am not signed in to Skype, then Skype voicemail picks up immediately and kills ringing on the other phones. There seems to be no Skype option to tell it to wait a few rings, or for that matter, to even turn off voicemail.

Comment Re:Grand Central (Score 5, Interesting) 199

You don't need to pay for a Skype number; get a Gizmo account. That works perfectly in conjunction with Google Voice (formerly Grand Central). Google Voice will ring your cell phone and your Gizmo SIP number simultaneously. This makes for a completely free solution (but people will have to learn to call your Google Voice number). You can also make free domestic calls from Google Voice, via Gizmo. Google Voice will ring your Gizmo SIP number and then connect your call. Of course, the other option, as many here have stated, is to put your phone in your pocket and be done with it.

Comment Dropping XDrive as well (Score 2, Informative) 296

I see XDrive goes away as well on Jan. 12, 2009. Makes you wonder why AOL bought it out in the first place. While I don't claim I have rights in a free service for which the TOS state clearly that it can be ended at any time without nice, it is still a pain and raises in my mind the question others have: how much should we rely on free online services? The obvious answer based on experience seems to be, not at all, but what about something really big like Gmail? I use POP3 to backup my Gmail correspondence locally, but free or not and rights or no rights, if a service such as Gmail shut down it would really rock a lot of boats.

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