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Comment Not really, no... (Score 1) 445

The company I work for does hot desking / activity based working, and only a small percentage of the desks and all the meeting rooms have fixed phones.

Every single employee is issued with a mobile (cell) phone. At the office there's some kind of technology that will route any inbound "landline" calls to both your mobile phone, as well as any desk phone you happen to be logged into. There's also the option of using VOIP via a headset connected to your laptop, which seems to be the option most "phone heavy" people choose.

In reality: most people hardly use their work issued mobile phones at all, or even keep them charged. Most real time colloboration is done over instant messenging and the occasional conference call for meetings with people who are working from home or offshore.

Comment Backup and distributed photo management (Score 1) 680

You've really asked about two issues, how do I manage that many photos, and what do I do about backups?

Backups, IMO, is the easier one. What I do, get two identical hard drive enclosures, each with a suitably large drive in them (these days, look at 2Tb + each). Aim for a powered one (so you can use larger drives), preferably with eSata connectivity (for speed). Then mirror your photos and whatever else you want to back up regularly onto the drives. Then, every week or so swap drives, and take the now disconnected drive to somewhere off site (your work, parent's house, safety deposit box, etc). Doing the mirroring via an automatic scheduled task is better. Now you're covered for most risks, and if your house is on fire and you've got time to grab something on the way out, you grab the currently connected backup drive.

Now, how do you manage a large connection of photos, possibly stored across multiple machines? There's commercial solutions, with a pretty hefty price tag, but not much out there with distributed capabilities in the open source world. At least, not that I know of. For myself, I've kludged up something using f-spot as a base, and using Mercurial to track the photo database, but it's messy. And now, f-spot in Ubuntu 10.10 has become a pile of flaming crap, so I'm going to have to try the same approach in Shotwell.

Submission + - What is a good "Personal" Version Control system? 1

StonyCreekBare writes: I maintain a number of documents, spreadsheets, and some small programs for personal use. Years ago I used a version control software system to track such things in my professional world. Lately I have been itching to move to some sort of a version control system to keep the various files better organized and track my changes in my personal world. I started looking at various systems available such as Subversion, and while it would definitely do the job, it seems a bit like using an elephant gun to swat a fly. I want something simpler, with less of a learning curb, that is suited for a single user, with a small number of files, in various formats. I mainly mean Spreadsheets, Doc files, and text files. Do Slashdot users have a smaller simpler solution they recommend?

Comment Re:Limey (Score 5, Insightful) 302

The issue with facebook is really rather simple.

Facebook's value for its investors is that it's a gigantic comprehensive advertising database where the marks *cough* I mean customers input all the data on their own. People put information into Facebook that they'd never tell someone taking a survey and you don't even have to pay someone to ask them the questions. Achieving this goal is basically top on Facebook's list of long term priorities, just as it will be on any other free social networking site which doesn't want to operate at a massive loss.

The conflict is that the users of facebook didn't sign up for that. They want and quite rightfully expect a certain level of privacy for the content they post on the site. You might argue that telling everyone about your personal life is the antithesis of privacy, but privacy is about your ability to determine your own level of disclosure, not having some specific level of disclosure which the older generations find appropriate.

Essentially the end result of all of this is that every 6 months or so, facebook tries to turn all the information it has into cold hard cash and shortly thereafter their userbase throws a wobbly and they have to back out.

Comment Re:Maybe I'm missing something (Score 1) 663

And, well, that may be the case. However, if you look, there's been an ebb and flow to the quality of CompSci around the US over the last several years. I still do what I can to keep quality up. However, we do have folks who're more interested in making sure the kids are Microsoft compliant than in determining if they understand the Science part of Computer Science.

Comment Re:Similiar situation (Score 2, Informative) 97

We use (since rebranded as Common Ground), and I can answer most of these queries -- on tech backbone, it's the best you're going to get. It's all done in the cloud, and it's fairly robust commercial grade stuff. Exporting 50,000 records is just a question of downloading the CSV. If it's a really big job, they schedule it and ship it in an hour or so. Given that most NPOs can't or don't want to invest in their own hardware, putting it in the cloud is a really good idea. Likewise with data security concerns -- is much better than leaving it to the typical NPO tech guy.


Comment Re:Soooo, Adobe loves open markets? (Score 1) 731

Of the versions you showed, the US version is for Vista, and the EU version is for Mac. Of course the Mac version is more expensive. It's for Mac (which means people will pay a much higher price for the exact same product even if it doesn't work as well as on competitors hardware; also development costs are spread across a smaller marketbase thus raising price), and its in the EU (which means it has VAT). Meanwhile, the same product comparatively, when both version are for vista, shows

The Vista EU version is 1784 Euro, which is 2230 USD. Its cheaper in Europe for the same product.

This, by the way, is a fairly niche product that hasn't been released yet, and due to its price, will only be purchased by those who have a very real need for it. No one is buying this unless they already have a way to profit from it or they are super rich and spend their money on software instead of cars and vacation houses.

If you don't like European software laws, set up your company in the US (business registrations are along the lines of $250 a year, and if you can't afford that but for some reason need $2500 software packages, you might try another line of business, for example not having one) and set up a European subsidiary that has to follow the software of the parent company in order to gain work. File everything under US GAAP and make sure you have a residence. A US citizen in name owning the company probably wouldn't hurt (keeping you as either an employee or a [non-general] partner. At any rate, keep the liability in the US, and you can use US software no problem. On the other hand, unless you are a fairly large (publicly traded or on the cusp of doing so) company, hiring expats for the sake of saving money on software doesn't really make any sense. While you *can* do this, it definitely won't be worth the time or effort.


Lower Merion School's Report Says IT Dept. Did It, But Didn't Inhale 232

PSandusky writes "A report issued by the Lower Merion School District's chosen law firm blames the district's IT department for the laptop webcam spying scandal. In particular, the report mentions lax IT policies and record-keeping as major problems that enabled the spying. Despite thousands of e-mails and images to the contrary, the report also maintains that no proof exists that anyone in IT viewed images captured by the webcams."

The Murky Origins of Zork's Name 70

mjn writes "Computational media researcher Nick Montfort traces the murky origins of Zork's name. It's well known that the word was used in MIT hacker jargon around that time, but how did it get there? Candidates are the term 'zorch' from late 1950s DIY electronics slang, the use of the term as a placeholder in some early 1970s textbooks, the typo a QWERTY user would get if he typed 'work' on an AZERTY keyboard, and several uses in obscure sci-fi. No solid answers so far, though, as there are problems with many of the possible explanations that would have made MIT hackers unlikely to have run across them at the right time."

Submission + - Australia could finally get R18+ games (

angry tapir writes: "Australia might finally get an adults only, R18+ classification for computer games, with the federal government releasing a discussion paper summarising the key arguments for and against an R 18+ classification. Submissions are currently being sought from the community on whether the Australian National Classification Scheme should include an R18+ category for computer and video games. In the past the board responsible for classifying games and movies has banned some titles outright because of the lack of an adults only classification — Aliens Vs. Predator is just the most recent in a long line. The Attorney-General's report on the issue can be downloaded here."

Comment Re:I see it coming... (Score 1) 419

Seumas you have no idea how much I agree with you on this one.

Last time a similar story was posted (couldn't find the link), somebody brought up that autism/aspergers as being the new "chic" has everything a parents wants, an excuse to justify their child's behavioral issues as a manifestation of a disability which allows them to absolve themselves of any parenting failures with a label that's associated with high intelligence.

To the GP, as the parent of a severely autistic child this isn't at all reprehensible, providing autistic individuals with any kind of vocational/technical training is doing them, and their family/caregiver, a huge service. We just hope that Rachel will have an opportunity like this some day.

Comment UDF Infrared Lines (Score 1) 95

I took the extra large web image and decided to draw some lines to connect large (12 pixel or more), bright (50% luminous) objects together. The point was to try to find large regions of relatively dark sky in the image. Why? The original deep field images were taken upon "black" sky to see what really long exposures could find. Now with the ultra deep field images, it's plenty clear that most "black" sky has lots of galaxies visible. So, in the future, it'd probably be a good idea to take an ultra deep field image of a "black" part of the ultra deep field image just to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Besides, the images are pretty.

Hubble UDF Infrared with lines connecting large, bright objects

The same as above, but with the large, bright objects colored to better differentiate what counts as "large, bright objects"

PS - I used two slightly different, slowish python scripts to do the actual drawing. I'll post them as well, if anyone is interested.

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