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Comment Re:"Expert" ? (Score 1) 187

It would make a lot more sense to deploy, say, ice-capable military ships

These kinds of criticisms seem to assume that Canada is doing this because it plans to base its entire defense on fleets of stealth snowmobiles. Canada is still acquiring new ships, attack aircraft, AFVs and the like. In fact it's spending billions of dollars on such programs. The question is whether spending a few million mre to investigate the potential of a stealth snowmobile makes sense given the marginal contributions such a weapon might make toward the nation's defense.

The Canadian Army already uses snowmobiles, presumably because it finds them practical for the missions they must prepare for and the conditions they must operate in. A few million dollars to test the potential of a quiet snowmobile seems very reasonable to me, and I'm a left-winger with little tolerance for corporate welfare for defense contractors.

A unit cost of $620,000 for a custom-designed, hand-built engineering prototype just doesn't seem all that extravagant to me. That might be too high for a production vehicle, but when you add up the cost of a team of engineers, mechanics and artisans it'd be very easy to spend a million dollars apiece if you're only building two or three.

Comment Re:So basically surfing net while taking notes (Score 2) 313

Hah! Me! I said as much when my uni instituted a mandatory laptop policy in 1997 or 1998.

I do get your sarcasm, it just irritated me when they did it. Just yet another example of not having any concrete ideas of how to improve education, so let's throw technology/money at it, made worse because they weren't even throwing their own money. They just blanket made everyone buy a laptop they specified, whether or not they actually needed it, whether or not it actually improved the educational experience.

And of course, the latest silver bullet is tablets.

Submission + - Practical mathematics for programmers? 1

Dimwit writes: The best part about programming is that I can decide that I want a new text editor or a new video game or a new multiprotocol router, and I can write it, and when I'm done, I have a new text editor or video game or multiprotocol router. Mathematics has never been that way for me — I never sit and think "I sure would like to find the area under a curve!" and then come up with a way to do it. So what's a good path for the practical programmer to take towards mathematics? One with goals and problems to solve that aren't the same old boring word problems?

Comment KDE, GNOME, XFCE, and Unity (Score 3, Interesting) 99

I've tried for years to like KDE, and I just can't. It's too *busy*. It's the first desktop I've ever sat down at that I couldn't just use right away - I clicked on a button, and up popped "Activities". Creating a new activity left me with a blank screen and nothing to do. Everything is animated and glowing, with huge distracting icons and drop-shadows.

GNOME is all right. GNOME 3 might be weird, but at least it's trying to do something other than emulate Windows or Mac OS X. It's just too buggy for my tastes.

XFCE is all right too, but I was turned off by how haphazard and...unprofessional Xubuntu was. I didn't like having to explain to my eight year old nephew's mother why he was asking what "Gigolo" did, for example.

Unity, despite its many faults, comes with Ubuntu. Despite *its* many faults, Ubuntu is the only open source OS I've used that actually seems like an integrated product. With Unity on Ubuntu, you don't get things like "Gigolo" which is just stupid or "lxrandr" which is inscruitable. You don't get a million different ways to customize things down to where you can make your desktop look like an angry fruit salad. That may or may not be a good thing.

Also, say what you will about Mir but Ubuntu is at least trying to make an integrated system. The other desktops are really poorly integrated with the rest of the system, resulting in my having to explain to my father "No, you're using Debian" "I thought I was using Linux" "You are, it's the Debian distribution" "Why is this called GNOME Terminal then?" "That's the desktop environment" "This says I'm using X windows" "That's the underlying display architecture..." Users of Windows don't know what GDI is unless they're looking for it. Same with Quartz and Mac OS X.

I hate to say it, but the non-baseline-Ubuntu distributions are not really doing a great job of making a desktop operating system. Like was said the recent thread on Fedora Core's newly-proposed model: they're just a bunch of products from different people thrown together into one mass. I appreciate the amount of effort the distributors go to, but Ubuntu has gone just a little bit farther and made something that feels like a modern, unified operating system. Some people don't like that, but a lot do.

Comment Re:Really? Political correctness? (Score 2) 772

If you're concerned about political correctness making it's way onto Doctor Who, that tardis has long since sailed. It's not only gay-friendly to a fault, it's eco-friendly and anti-militarist. UNIT doesn't count -- our brave boys in berets represent a military reduced to its proper scope: gamely attempting to repulse cheesy alien invaders while someone with more brains figures out what to do about them.

In Dr. Who the military isn't some kind of awesome war machine, it's more like occupational therapy for the incurably dunderheaded.

Comment Re:Yawn ... (Score 1) 205

Yeah, I'm with on this, sadly.

The gadget geek in me really wants this tablet. But the truth is that my year-old tablet, though not nearly as performant as this new toy, is perfectly fine for the only thing I actually use it for: reading e-books. The processor and memory don't make any difference. The screen is kind of tempting, but would mean more to me if I did real work on my tablet (I care a lot about my laptop screen resolution).

Tablet makers are going to have to come up with something pretty innovative to get me to bother upgrading.

Comment Re:This is also the case on Firefox (Score 1) 482

There are no valid technical reasons why this can't be made secure, other than either having no interest in doing it, or pandering to users who just want convenience.

Sure there is. It's hard. Or perhaps it's better to say, it has enough moving parts that it gets screwed up pretty frequently. For example, it's secure until your boss sends you AnnualReport.docx, which happens to contain a virus (and actually wasn't sent by your boss).

This is just a piss-poor implementation of security, and it's why I don't trust a browser to retain passwords for me, and never have.

I agree, I just extend that to pretty much all computer products. I hope that someday the plague of insecure software will end, but we're nowhere near that now.

Comment Cyber-terror attacks? (Score 2) 413

Oh, give me a break.

Not every attack is "terrorism". Not every crime is terrorism.

IF this materializes, which who knows, it might, it will most likely be cyber-annoyance. You'll try to buy something on amazon and it'll be slow, so you'll do it later. Some web sites may be DDOSed off the net for a day or three. Life will go on.

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