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Comment Re:Global menu not the problem as much as MMN (Score 1) 1040

It makes sense on a mac because the operating system decouples applications and windows. In other words, you can still manipulate an application even if it has no visible windows. Close and Quit are distinct functions.

I quite like this method as well as it provides a (relatively) consistent place to aim the mouse and the expectation that all programs will behave the same way. Windows confuses me these days. Some applications have no menu bar, others have lots of icons and so on. On a mac, you can click "Help" and type what you want to do and it's there - for every application.

Comment Happy Birthday! (Score 1) 271

'd not heard of this vim before, so thought I'd give it a go on its birthday - I'm even using it to write this message!

Happy birthday!


Comment Lousy reinforcement model (Score 1) 413

I quit about 4 months ago after about 4 years of playing the same class/role (warrior tank). The driving factor for me was that the game had massively shifted from being huge and exciting, with a real sense of achievement, to inevitable victories and reinforcement pellets.

I used to love playing with my girlfriend, levelling and exploring the new content. We felt skillful completing raids with a group of people. We were never the best, but we worked hard and achieved our goals. Even when Wrath of the Lich King came out, it still felt epic and there was a lot of new content to explore and play.

However, now it's just a Skinner box. See here and here for great articles on this.

So, no new content, a lazy achievements system and uninspired story telling made me quit. This time, I don't think I'll ever go back.

Comment Mileage may vary (Score 1) 258

I have the Virgin 50/5 cable service and am very happy with it.

OK, I pay well over the standard rate (£44.99 a month - ~$70 USD) but I get a genuine 48Mbit/s down and 4.5Mbit/s up. I've found their technical support to be excellent and when I used to play WoW I'd have a consistent 30-40ms latency. I run my home office via a Cisco IPSec VPN tunnel and use HD video and voice all the time with almost no issues.

When I contrast this to my BT DSL service in my old place, I was lucky to sync in at 1Mbit/s down and 500Kbit/s up. Whole weekends of sparse connectivity weren't a surprise and I got used to having to go in to the office to work on my regular "no internet" days. All over a "super fast ADSL2+ line". My experience isn't unique, anyone living in an area with ancient cables far from the exchange is stuck in this situation.

So for me at least, Virgin can take my money. It works great, I have had almost no issues and when they say 50Mbit/s I'm pretty much getting it. I'm looking at moving house next year and a genuine criteria is decent internet. Virgin cable will be a good sign for me.

Comment Impact Level 3 (Score 1) 44

It's worth noting that IL3 isn't exactly top secret - patient records (such as xray scans) are also classified as IL3.

Really top secret stuff is IL6 which has a very different set of security requirements. Whether this makes it more secure is a different matter, but don't expect diplomatic cables, submarine designs and MI6 café menus on this system.

Comment Re:They can't kill FM any time soon (Score 5, Interesting) 108

Exactly this. I have a DAB (Digital) Radio in my car. However, I find myself using FM (or even AM) about 20-30% of the time just to get a good signal.

Problems I've had:

  • No graceful degradation of quality. There are three modes - good, awful and "no signal". By 'awful' think a poorly encoded MP3 from a scratched CD downloaded in ASCII mode.
  • Semi-frequent drop-outs. I read that most people listen to the radio in their cars these days. However, even sticking to the UK Motorway system, I end up with "No Signal" quite frequently, even along major routes.
  • Time lag - DAB lags more than a couple of seconds behind FM, so when I'm using the 'pips' to set my watch it's off by a long way (minor grudge I guess)

In short, I'm someone who went and bought in to the DAB idea and I like some features (e.g. having 5 live and Absolute Radio available in most places not counting the above). However, I think DAB needs some serious re-thinks before it can fully replace FM. Unless you can drive the length of the country and experience the same reception and quality as FM then it shouldn't be replaced.

Comment Why do we even bother commuting? (Score 1) 317

We place too much emphasis on getting places in society. What is the actual benefit of so many people travelling to work every day? A better fix is to give tax incentives for home working and focus on technologies like better broadband, telepresence and so on. Sure, face-to-face contact will never go away and some segments of society will always have to travel to work, but I bet half the commuters on the roads in the mornings could be equally as productive at home.

Comment Computer Science != Programming (Score 4, Insightful) 663

I think the common interpretation of Computer Science is extremely misleading. It's not about programming stuff, that's more of an IT application of computers. Instead, it's about understanding the science behind computers, for example to understand the mathematical principals of computing, operational effeciency and move it on as a tool for scientific endevour.

To this end, the choice of programming language really doesn't matter - it's a tool that the subject uses either as a proof of concept or a learning point. C is fairly good for this as it exposes a lot of the inner workings of a computer, whilst being high enough level to be more or less consistent across platforms at a university level. However, that doesn't mean that knocking up a quick proof of concept in python or perl is less valid - or even visual basic if it helps understand the science behind the problem.

In other words, I see no real worry here. If they stopped putting mathematics in a CS course or made it in to a programming degree I'd be concerned. If it's about using various tools for the job then I'm all for it. Hell, I wrote a pascal compiler in pascal as part of my degree - it wasn't about the programming language, it was about understanding the fundamentals of compiler design and implementation.

Comment Time to get an Always-On VPN Service (Score 2, Interesting) 384

My employer offers a home VPN service whereby I am always connected to our VPN and egress at various points around Europe. They don't particularly monitor this traffic and even provide on-net mirrors to most GNU/Linux distributions and run internal bittorrent trackers for legitimate internal filesharing.

I think I'm going to use that.

It's becoming quite sad when I'll trust my employer more than I will my ISP to keep me safe. Years gone by the idea of letting my connection filter through the corporation was horrifying. Now it's almost liberating.

It's a sad day for the UK.

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