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Comment Justices and uproar (Score 1) 321

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the SCOTUS judges are absolutely immune from uproar. The only thing that can affect them is bribes, favors and power distributed sub rosa among them, their families, and their co-conspirators (here, I'm giving them credit for the intelligence they claim, in that I do not believe for a moment that they know not what they do.)

To put it another way, nothing they do WRT liberty will affect their income, social standing, property ownership, freedom, or cocktail party invitation stream.

The problem is the constitution is toothless: There is no penalty or other mechanism for punishing those who violate what is supposedly the highest laws in the land.

Comment Incompetent (Score 3, Informative) 310

Really? So if your company SysAdmin is secretly spying on your email, it's the CEO's fault? Even though the SysAdmin is the one with the technical knowledge to both implement and hide the spying?
Not saying that Obama is innocent, but not knowing doesn't make him incompetent. It might just mean that the NSA are good at covering up.

If you want to fault him for something, fault him stepping on those who blow the whistle on these sort of activities, instead of commending them like he should.

Comment Nouveau (Score 1) 304

Yeah, I've had plenty of issues with the "nouveau" driver not playing nice with various nVidia cards. Using the binary driver works fine, but when you're booting a liveCD and/or doing an install, you may be stuck with the sometimes-flakey nouveau driver.

The problem is that your LiveCD is also trying to both be a usable environment (with all the acceleration etc) as well as an installation environment accessible via the desktop icon.

To be noob-friendly, a better way might be to have the "installation mode" accessible via the boot menu, and have it go directly to the installer in a basic X with something like just VESA video, as most non-power-users aren't going to know to add "nouveau.modeset=0" into the boot params.

Comment Re:Help us Google Fiber! You're our only hope. (Score 5, Insightful) 568

I'd say the monopolies need to end. They were granted at the time to encourage investment (ha!) and a return on for the rolling out of services. We are a decade past this in much of the urban landscape, but they actually want caps on these pokey little connections they have deigned to give us. Fibre Optic is nearing doorsteps, finally, in my neighborhood and all they have to offer is 24Mbs... Really. That's the best you can do AT&T? This doesn't sound like investment, it stinks like milking a geriatric cow.

Comment Re:Release Date??? (Score 2) 95

If there's no release date and price what is the purpose.

The purpose is science, so we know how things work and what we can do. Technology you can personally leverage comes later. ALWAYS. You think the transistors on the ICs, and the ICs themselves, sprung into being in the first microprocessor systems? No, they were lab critters and no more than that, well prior to the 4004 and successors. Crude, hacky looking things of no direct use to anyone. But now look at them.

I agree it's tantalizing to see and hear about such tech and not be able to use it, but this is the process, and there is no alternative that's obvious to me, nor apparently, anyone else.

Comment No meh here (Score 4, Interesting) 95

Call me when a supercap has anything like the energy density - by any measure of cubic or weight - as a battery. Till then, they have only niche uses.

The thing is, there are many applications where space and weight aren't an issue, but lifetime and power sourcing are. For instance, I have lots of room -- going ten X on the space involved isn't a problem for me in any way, but it'd be awesome to have a reliable, high-power capable storage system to replace the batteries I'm using now, which (a) aren't going to last very long and (b) are severely limited by comparison in terms of the maximum current that can be drawn from them.

The real problem is just an engineering one: we need some standard systems to give us usable energy in standard ranges (12vdc and/or 120/240vac) from ultracap stacks. There's nothing hard about that, it's a market and demand issue, no more. Given the demand, designing the hardware is a doddle.

And of course it's worth noting that UC size is going down while power is going up. Most likely, at some point they will cross the battery line, and that's the time to buy stock in whatever UC company pulls it off.

Plus, instead of poisoning the environment with a dead battery, you can will your UCs to your kids. :)

Comment Re:Enough already! (Score 1) 222

The problem with skeuomorphism is that the familiarity is often misleading or at best limiting

"often" is not "always", and that destroys the argument against skeuomorphism without even requiring you to prove your assertion of "often." Sorry, but it's BS and it's been BS all along. Familiarity can be a great thing, a significant assist into the how and why of something. Radio dials. The play, pause, rewind, record, FF, and dub interface of tape machines. The phase display of a radio-teletype scope. The hands and dial of a clock. The zoom, focus and objective controls of a microscope. The doors and windows of a home in the context of an alarm system. And so on, for a *really* long time. Even switches, buttons, knobs, meters and indicators fall into this cleanly.

The answer to "when is skeuomorphism not appropriate" is "when it isn't, otherwise, it is." It's not "never."

For example a skeuomorphic address book would look like an actual book, but not really work like one. You can fold the corners of real pages down to act as bookmarks, then turn the book sideways to find them.

Both of those could easily be software features. Pfft.

You can't search a real book by entering search terms, so there has to be a non-skeuomorphic text entry box with a magnifying glass, a symbol that represents searching even though it is rarely used for that purpose.

A magnifying glass represents looking closer for details otherwise not visible, something it is always used for and a very nice symbol for searching. "Find a specific word in all these words"... now with a magnifying glass, "find a detail in all these details."

It's just a mess.

No. It's not a mess. Your objections, full of holes and very weak, remind me of an interior decorator holding his hands to his cheeks while complaining that the coffee pot doesn't match the drapes. You have shown you are not qualified to judge these things; users can manage just fine. Also, it's REALLY annoying to have all this time spent on an absolute non functional set of changes when actual UI fails persist like lack of nested folders, inability for one app to work with another apps files, etc. The former is a flat out stupidity, the latter a UI design error putting security over functionality at the user's deep expense. THAT is a mess. Flat objects instead of the UI we already knew? That was just dysfunctional and stupid. Also, the new UI is ugly. Which I suppose we should have seen coming, given the bewilderment that led to the whole design change.

Comment Re:Particularly the Mac Pro (Score 1) 471

Optimally designed? They went from a machine that could run eight monitors to one that can, as near as we can tell from the marketing materials, do three; one where all your hardware was safe in a strong case to one that's going to require desk-turds all over the place; one where the basic system is barely functional due to minimal storage on board, as compared to the previous incarnation which could carry multiple terabytes in various formats.

I waited a LONG time for a new Mac Pro, and now it looks like the previous generation was by far the best. Near as I can tell, the engineers were drunk when they came up with this weird new design. The idea of scattering more hardware all over my desk is a complete non-starter for several reasons, and the machine can't even do what the previous generation could. Pffft.

Comment Make your own Kool Aid (Score 1) 222

I'm not saying Apple's alone in this (that was someone else), I'm just pointing out how Objective C can relate to lock-in.

Certainly using any OS's unique APIs can bind you tightly to that specific OS.

However, there are also lots of APIs that are the same, or so similar that dealing with them generally doesn't lock you to anything. The standard C library, for instance, contains lots of useful stuff, most of which works as designed on all major platforms (Windows, OSX, linux), and you can often leverage that without any significant lock-in with the exercise of a little care. Some things -- like fork() -- you need to know where and how the differences affect you, but mostly there's a uniform set of tools.

In my case, I've found it absolutely worth my while to avoid vendor specific APIs as much as possible, and write my own stuff. Not only because then I can move it around (which I do... I write for multiple OS's, often within the context of a single project), but because unlike an OS vendor, when I find a bug, I fix it instead of sitting on it for months or years. So I have lots of graphics stuff, list handing code, memory allocation code, threading code, etc. that I use.

For instance, one recent project was a library that contained a suite of live, non-destructive image processing code for DSLRs. It was designed to leverage multiple cores and give the user control over various aspects of that. I leveraged POSIX threads instead of the OSX API for threading; works great, and runs on multiple platforms, which it would not have if I had stuck with the OSX Objective C API.

Then there's QT, which provides a uniform (if somewhat busted) API that hides the OS underneath, and gives you a pretty good degree of platform independence in doing so. Sadly, QT is just as prone to leaving serious bugs in versions and blundering forward without fixing them (ever) as are the major OS vendors. So again, building your own code instead of using the provided APIs can save you.

It's a matter of time on the one hand, and of craftsmanship on the other.

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Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"