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Comment Re:Since we're talking about Linux Mint 12... (Score 1) 396

Funny, that! I switched away from Gnome in Mint 11 due to stability issues!

I installed Crunchbang-XFCE last week am in complete heaven! It is Debian stable well-configured and does precisely what I want it to and nothing more; it looks decent to my eyes and it does not crash nor lose its volume control; it remembers its dock apps when restarted and offers quicker access to apps and documents with a customizable menu function activated by the mouse or keyboard shortcuts.

It acts like blackbox with docks and panels and, like BB is fully customizable.

Did I mention it has not hiccupped in a week of thorough testing/normal use?

Comment Re:Since we're talking about Linux Mint 12... (Score 1) 396

I'm a Mint user, not a developer, so this is conjecture and uninformed opinion only --

The use of Synaptic is thought to be too hard for newbies to grasp, so other apps were developed, like the Mint Software Center, or whatever it's called and GDebi. These latter two are what the Mint team expect you to use, so the more comprehensive app is, while not hidden, not so easy to find.

If you use XFCE, you can make your own menu and put Synaptic at the top if you like.

Comment Menu on mouse (Score 1) 455

I prefer Blackbox's (and OpenBox and Fluxbox) use of a right mouse click to bring up the application menu and the scroll wheel to switch between desktops.

I prefer to open applications by clicking on the file I want to work on in a file manager window, but I like to use the mouse to open applications without an associated file, like a browser or mail client or a terminal window.

Comment Awaaay we go... (Score 1) 455

Although I now prefer Mint after having a great experience with Mint-10 (Ubuntu Maverick), Mint-11 seems to have dropped some features I had liked and is not nearly so rock-stable, so I am shopping for a new and STABLE -- meaning chromium won't go 'snap' and kill all my tabs and panel applets won't disappear and reappear on reboots. Mint-10 would have uptimes of weeks, and never really need to be rebooted; 11 is more quirky -- but, to be fair, is seems to have improved over time.

This doesn't seem to be Canonical's fault entirely; I had used and loved SimplyMEPIS in the past, based on my experience with 6,0 I tried SimplyMepis-11 and KDE-4 loses me entirely. I cannot grasp its concept of 'activities.' Isn't this what virtual desktops are for? And Kwin crashed regularly for me. I have been a KDE user since version 1.0 (Caldera Open Linux-1.3) and I wished I could find it stable or even usable, but I cannot. Perhaps I will upgrade to Mepis-8.5.

Or I may go back to Red Hat. I used their 6.2 version for almost five years as a desktop machine, upgrading libraries as needed to allow newer and newer versions of Netscape, Opera, Sylpheed, Pan, VLC and kernels to be installed until Linux's move to the 2.x series of kernels and glibc and GCC changes made upgrading impossible. So CentOS (RHEL-6.1) is looking pretty good to me about now.

Canonical seems to have decided their future lies in tablets and smart devices. Perhaps that's where the money will be. But a computer needs a more complete operating system than a device does. Dumbing down Linux is a poor idea; Excluding full desktop environments from distros solely because they need to fit on a CD-ROM when DVD drives are nearly ubiquitous in most of the world not smart.

So, I'll install Ocelot, I guess, and give it a try. Mebbe in virtualization on Ultimate Edition 2.6.3 (Lucid with all updates). Sure it's lurid, but it's stable -- I used it before Mint and it broke only through upgrading through Maverick to Natty.

Which seems to prove the point.

Comment Re:Not New, Nor Even Newish (Score 1) 377

Pellets of hydrides are not new, either. And I suspect the ninety pence (about $1.44 USD assuming 100 pence per pound) figure quoted is for the matrix; the cost of the hydrogen is doubtless not included, since it really can't be calculated realistically until the costs of producing hydrogen-laden hydrides is determined.

More PR fluff. Perhaps alternative fuels is in a funding bubble.....

Comment Re:Not New, Nor Even Newish (Score 4, Interesting) 377

I have a bit of experience with Wankel rotary motors, having been a crew chief for a racing team that ran one, a 13B Mazda peripheral port which reportedly developed more than 300 bhp at 8700 rpm. I dunno 'bout that, but it was geared for 173 mph at that rpm and it got there right quick. It got 1 lpg (lap per gallon -- about 2.5 miles).

The efficiency problem in ICEs is thermal loss. The rotaries had, of course, a rotating combustion chamber, meaning the much of the heat of combustion was lost heating the cases instead of driving the wheels. Otherwise, rotaries would be perfect for diesel-cycle use.

Which brings me to the motor in question. It seems to use shock waves to start combustion instead of spark or, in a diesel, compression itself. But it seems to have the same heat-loss problems the Wankel design has. To me anyway. And without "lubricant", what will keep it from packing up after a few minutes like steam engines did before Watt's improvements?

Color me skeptical, At best.


Comment Not New, Nor Even Newish (Score 4, Interesting) 377

The same video shown in the linked article is from UTube, uploaded Oct. 29, 2009.


The concept of a detonation-wave engine is not new either. I remember reading about one in Popular Mechanics or one of its clones in the fifties or early sixties of the past century.

Seems like PR fluff to me. And that's not new, either.

Comment Re:USB Drive, SAN/NAS, LTO ... (Score 1) 680

I would add one caviat to your great advice -- retain each, every and all shots except, perhaps, ones of your shoes. Do not ever delete anything for "boring" subject matter. Sometimes I go over shots I made years ago and find something I never saw before within these "junk" shots, even if the exposure were wrong, or the images slightly soft or composed badly. These defects can be fixed in modern software. You never know what you will wish you had kept in future.

Personally, I use redundancy, as you suggest. I have a OPAN (one-person area network) of three old machines that otherwise would be in landfill, and I keep all my old, too-small and filled-up hard disks in a storage area, after copying the data over to a new, larger hard disk for daily use.

As this technique means I have few backups of recent shots, so I have a half-dozen or so SDHC cards for my camera and rotate their use so I have the old ones as further backup after copying them to two locations on my NAS -- an old Duron 800, BTW. Waste not, want not.

Comment U.S. Government Policy... (Score 1) 613

has, is -- and will be in the foreseeable future -- not to provide services for free which are already provided by commercial ventures unless the citizen can prove very low income and inability to pay.

Some cynics may even say the entire tax code is a guarantee of lifetime employment for accountants, but that may be far-fetched.

Or not.

Comment Noam Chomsky... (Score 1) 86

once posited that humans are "hard-wired" for speech (quotation marks are around his words). This is still an open question but the data seem to show he was right, and more data over time has swung the pendulum toward this view. It appears as if the DNA leads us toward syntax in some yet unknown manner.

Perhaps we are also hard-wired to see. This seems very likely to me; likely enough that I am willing to put a huge bet on it, if there are any takers....

TFA just reinforces the view that human sensory abilities and culture itself in fundamental ways are dependent on genetic information.

Comment Article links (Score 3, Insightful) 433


This is very disappointing...both because of the hyped-up /. summary and the overreaction of some of the media to his statements, made as a response to a question in a telephone news conference largely about News Corps.' financial side.

A former journalism teacher of mine prohibited the use of adjectives and to the word "I" outside quotation marks in news stories. Taking the /. summary as an example, we are left with nothing but a (relatively) reasonable quotation from someone (Murdoch) who has already spoken about this.

This summary is *wrong* on so many levels. It has severely overhyped the event and set up a straw man in that Murdoch speculated about asking Amazon for his subscribers' info but has not yet done so.

And where is /.'s moderation? How in the world did this ever get published on /.? Has /. become Digg?

Comment Re:Music as a Product (Score 2, Informative) 749

This is the "music as a service" model

You might think so but Metalitz in TFA says otherwise:

"No one expects computers or other electronics devices to work properly in perpetuity, and there is no reason that any particular mode of distributing copyrighted works should be required to do so."

This not only muddies the (logical) waters, but is dead wrong: The first computer I bought new (in 1990), an Acer laptop, 386-20Hz, still works. It will not run Windows Vista, but it runs DOS just fine -- still. It does what it was intended to do when it was bought. I do not expect it to run a modern OS. But I DO expect it to be repairable (it hasn't needed any) and to work as long as I live.

Same for my music and movies, Mr. Metalitz.

Comment Followup Study Suggestion (Score 2, Insightful) 245

Find young criminals who *have not* been caught and find out over twenty years how many crimes they committed well enough not to be caught at. Perhaps, the data might suggest, the groups studied were taught by incompetent leaders. We might be better served by studying successful criminals, who might behave differently. Or who might have been taught better work habits and techniques.

Or mebbe the youths in the study got caught "in a game" at first, but found dealing with the police, courts, other inmates, and the jail system itself emotionally satisfying in some way. This is called "institutionalisation."

Every year we pay for more and more police, and we get more and more crime.

Let's try something else. But, please, not another study like this one.

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