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Comment No Adblock for me (Score 1) 247

Using Adblock reeks of hypocrisy to me. "I like the content your site provides, and I like it enough to go to your site, but you choose to pay for your site through ads, which I don't like, so I'm going to block them."

I first thought of this when I used Adblock and I visited Distrowatch and a bunch of images were missing. It turned out that the site owner does things to deliberately mess with the folks who use Adblock with huge block lists. I thought about it and realized he is right. I like Distrowatch, it costs me nothing, yet I'm going to block the ads that support it? Not right.

Yeah a lot of sites have annoying ads. I don't visit them. I used to read the Denver Post's website. It has annoying pop unders. I stopped visiting. I have sent emails to other sites saying "I like your content, your ads are too annoying, so I stopped visiting."

I also pay for websites that have good content that is worth paying for.

Comment "accomplishing nothing" (Score 1) 980

Sometimes I like to dink around in Terminal, accomplishing nothing, but at least knowing that I'm engaging the computer on my own terms, with no buffer.

The strange thing is that in OS X you can actually accomplish things in the Terminal. I liked OS X for this reason: the power of old UNIX with prettiness on top when that's a nice thing. I've seen other OS X users who keep Terminal windows open. I guess what he really wants is a non-condescending GUI. Linux is your friend for that sort of thing.

Comment Procmail (Score 4, Funny) 167

Google for "procmail remove attachments":

That will get you started. You can do most anything with Procmail after you figure out the rather odd configuration file format.
Make sure you have it backed up first because it's also quite easy to destroy data with Procmail.
After you spend a lot of time futzing with Procmail scripts and sed and formail and the like, you'll wonder why you didn't go on Amazon or Newegg and buy a $10 flash drive that will hold all your mail several times over.

Comment More photos? (Score 5, Insightful) 112

Some more photos would have been good...you go all the way to New Jersey and you only took three pictures? That Pick to Light system sounded interesting, but a photo would have made it all clearer.

I thought that this story had already been done, and sure enough, it has. Of course I'm sure Newegg is happy to give a warehouse tour to any blogger who wants one. I'm not even sure the story I linked is the one I've seen before. Wait, maybe that was this one! Anyway, both of those had more photos.

Comment Jobs hagiography is beyond ridiculous (Score 1) 324

"most successful business leader of all time"? More successful than Rockefeller, who controlled a key commodity (oil) and who was worth over $600 billion in today's money? More successful than Gates whose company, no matter how unfashionable, still has an absolute hammerlock on computer desktop operating systems?

Jobs is a great business leader, but give me a break. He gets this fame because he knew how to give presentations in black turtlenecks. All these "Jobs came down from Mount Olympus to bless us with his awesome talent and leadership" stories are just ridiculous.

Comment Re:According to wunderground... (Score 1) 395

As someone who has lived in Washington for several years now after having grown up in Denver, I have to agree that, at least in DC, nearly any kind of natural event is blown grossly out of proportion.

Certainly earthquakes and hurricanes are not common in the DC area. But a few inches of snow is not an unusual occurrence. Some parts of the city handle it just fine--the Metro catches lots of hell but generally it handles a routine Washington snowfall with little difficulty. But seeing the panic that ensues after a minor snowfall is just ridiculous.

Part of that might be because transportation networks in DC are overloaded even when the weather is perfect. Even a minor rainstorm slows all the traffic to a crawl.

The hurricane will be at the level of a big rainstorm when it hits DC. It's something to watch out for, yes. Is it reason to clean out the supermarket shelves, or line up for gasoline (both of which were happening yesterday)? Not really.

If someone from NOLA is laughing at us in DC, it's because we deserve it. Things really do get blown out of proportion.

Comment The problem is not apps (Score 1) 312

This article makes the typical geek mistake of assuming that Android tablets are failing due to some technical reason such as "not enough apps". This assumes customers are making perfectly rational choices and are looking at things such as "app selection" when they "buy a tablet."

Right now there is not even a "tablet" market. There is an "iPad market." That is it. I was in the DFW airport with a friend. A bunch of non-Apple gizmos were on display in a locked case. One was a tablet. "What's that?" she asked. "It's a tablet." "What's that?" she asked. "It's like an iPad." "Oh."

People see tons of iPad commercials. They see iPads everywhere--in Starbucks, on the airplane, in the doctor's waiting room. The guy at work brings his in and talks about how great it is. All of them have that Apple logo on the back. No other tablet has this kind of dominance.

So people buy an iPad. They don't even know other models exist, and typically if you tell them there are alternatives, they don't care. The iPad is becoming synonymous with tablet, the same way iPod is the MP3 player and the Walkman was it back in its day.

Amazon may be able to overcome this with its marketing muscle. If they do, though, it won't be because they got some sort of "critical mass" behind Android to give it "more apps" and it certainly won't be due to geek crap like some sort of high-resolution screen or more gigahertz. A very low price would be a start.

Comment Re:OGG = MP3 (Score 1) 111

If I recall correctly, OGG and MP3 use very different (lossy) compression techniques. As a result, converting from one to the other will drop audio quality substantially.

What's the point of providing a feature that will, in all likelihood, make your music sound bad?

You will not be able to tell the difference on your cell phone earbuds, which seems to be the target use of Google Music.

You probably would not be able to tell the difference on a $5,000 home audio system either, but whatever.

Comment Re:rerip your CD collection (Score 1) 758

since disk is now cheap as hell.

Not on portable players or even on laptops it's not.

To make it portable you then need to keep the original FLAC and reencode it to an MP3. I have yet to see a GUI tool that does this reliably (Amarok was unstable.) I transcoded my FLACs in a huge batch. Now I don't buy CDs at all and I have no qualms about buying lossy MP3s, though I know some audiophile is going to say they are inferior. I don't care.

Comment Re:Finding specifics versus finding sets (Score 1) 254

(ie where was that paper by Doe et al from 2007 on the effects of foo in vivo)

Don't you have a medical librarian for that sort of thing?

I'm a lawyer and I never once have regretted tossing out any piece of paper that can easily be located in the library or on Westlaw. If you save all that stuff, you will spend more time saving it than you spend using it and, even then, it will be harder to find it when you need it than it would be if you just went back to the library.

The most important knowledge winds up in your head or can be found in a few important reference works. For everything else, there are professionals who organize it and make it easy to find through databases and catalogs.

To the extent that you DO need to keep things, do keep it very simple. Anything too complicated goes unused. In this vein, the filesystem works well. It's hard to forget how it works, it's easily backed up, and it doesn't get obsolete.

Comment Re:Maybe, but.. (Score 1) 666

when i go to the store for matte screens

It's pretty much impossible to come out of a store with a matte screen laptop. It seems most of the consumer models are glossy now. (A recent exception was the eeepc; I don't know if that's changed.)

I've bought five laptops for personal use. Four were matte. Only the oldest of those was marketed for consumers. The more recent three have been enterprise models because all the consumer models have been glossy.

The fifth laptop was a Macbook. I used it for a few months. OS X had its pluses and minuses, but the matte screen was such a failure from a usability standpoint that I sold the device on ebay. Last time I looked it seemed as though one has to pay $2000 to get a matte Macbook--that, or put on some aftermarket film. I'm thus priced out of Macs.

I noticed Lenovo is selling a new ultraportable Thinkpad, the X100e, and they're selling the matte screen as a feature. I laughed. Now it's a feature for a laptop to come with a screen that's actually usable.

Comment never (Score 1) 399

I'm sure most of us looking for an HDMI cable have been in a situation where a store clerk sidles up, offers to help and points to some of the most expensive HDMI cables

Nope, I haven't been in that situation a single time. I saw how ridiculously expensive those cables are in the store, so I went online and found them at Monoprice. You can pick your color and exact length and it's shipped fast at a great price.

Honestly I can't see any difference between HDMI and the old 3-piece analog component cable, even for HD. HDMI is worth it only because it's easier to plug in. That, and my motherboard integrated graphics has HDMI out.

Comment Re:Does it have user switching? (Score 3, Insightful) 236

Any display manager can do this on Linux. Using good ol' xdm on Debian, just edit /etc/X11/xdm/Xservers and have xdm start an X server on multiple virtual terminals. Typically :1 will be ctrl-alt-F8; :2 will be F9, etc. If you start an xdm on multiple terminals and just switch to a new one when someone new needs to log in, you'll be covered. (What I don't know offhand is if there is a way to arbitrarily start a new X server by hitting a key, rather than having to configure a set number of servers ahead of time.)

In your home, if you have, say, 4 users, you can agree that each user has a particular vt.

On my desktop I have ctrl-alt-F12 load up a "guest" account with xfce. Once the guest logs out, root removes the home directory and drops in a clean new one. The guest automatically loads up firefox. It's great for visitors who get rather confused when they saw my old xmonad desktop. (my current awesome is a bit less confusing, at least.)

Often it seems that newer programs implement newer functionality, when really the old Unix programs were doing the same thing twenty years ago.

Comment Re:Buy more ram (Score 1) 475

Don't do this. As illogical as uppity Slashdot "power users" think it is, IT departments hate it when people upgrade their machines without consulting them. Full-time employees, they'd probably be willing to let it slide after a stern talk, but for interns? No guarantees.

My IT department feels that way, but it does not stop with hardware upgrades. We are not to touch any of the software installed on the machine, period. We are warned that installing software or hooking up unauthorized equipment can subject us to disciplinary action.

Maybe the poster's IT department doesn't care if he installs stuff. If it does care, my advice is not to fiddle with the machine. My work computer has only IE 7. It's a piece of junk and makes it hard to do my job sometimes. That's not my problem. If my employer wants me to have a better browser, the IT people will install it. Otherwise, my productivity will suffer with IE 7. It's not my job to manage the computer, to install stuff on it, or to fix it when it breaks. Leave that to the computer people.

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