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Comment Re:Unity (Score 4, Informative) 277

He was asking what hardware is best suited, not which distro.

This is something I've been interested in for a while, but haven't found any reasonably-priced tablet (eg same price as a comparative netbook).

I mostly want mine for myth-frontend and a web browser - although like the OP I'd prefer to run debian/ubuntu, if I find a decent cheap android-only tablet, there is mythdroid:

It's not a one-click install, and requires MDD on the myth backend, but I'm using it on my android mobile at the moment, and seems to work pretty well (apart from the lack of a menu button when operating as a remote)

Comment Re:Dreamhost (Score 3, Insightful) 137

The obvious corollary is that it will take a month to upload all of the files to the server anyway.

Am I missing something here - how does uploading the 500GB contents of your hard drive to a web server qualify as an art project for an electronic writing class?

Frankly this sounds like an insane and poorly-conceived idea, but unless the OP is uploading 500GB of ripped films or porn, nobody is going to bother trying to download all of it, so if it's just to tick a box as part of a school project, I would have thought hosting it on the end of a 2Mbps connection will be a feature.

Comment Re:Designing FOSS is an unsolved problem. (Score 1) 1040

Interestingly, this is exactly what happens to me when I am using classic KDE or Gnome. At one point, the task bar is full of terminal windows that seem to be arbitrarily arranged (because i am supposed to remember the ORDER in which I have opened them) and suddenly they are all hidden behind one single button with the name "Terminal". The same with Windows, BTW. If that doesn't suck, then I don't know. :)

Mine doesn't group - maybe it's a distro thing, or an option? I know what you're saying about the order of windows, but I tend to shift windows on similar topics to different virtual desktops, and if I do find the order confusing, I can drag them around, at least in ubuntu's gnome 2. Which is great, because I get the flexibility of having effectively both fixed positions and time-based ordering.

Regardless, I'm used to working how I work, I like it, and a lot of other people clearly feel the same. However, now if I want to continue to benefit from Ubuntu's latest software repositories, I either have to give up a few days/weeks productivity while I get used to a new way of working (one which seems inferior to me at the moment - I've given them a good try and just can't get on), or switch to xubuntu/lubuntu, and still lose features I use frequently.

I have no problem with progress, as long as it doesn't feel like change for its own sake, and as long as it doesn't force such radical changes on you with no option to customise it even half-way back. It seems we're being forced off Gnome 2 well before Unity or Gnome 3 are really ready to take over - we're definitely losing flexibility in how we use our desktops, and that seems a real shame.

The designers of the interfaces everybody hates now are not idiots, and if you think they didn't test any of the design changes with users, you are wrong

I'm sure they did test with users, but given the complaint to praise ratio with Unity, either Canonical are ignoring over half their audience, or they don't care that they're losing them to xubuntu/lubuntu/mint etc.

In the case of Ubuntu, I think the users feel that have more of a stake in the project - they have switched from a mainstream os, given Ubuntu a try, often become evangelists for the distro, and now Canonical seems to have decided that they want a radically different interface to chase after the common user, screw the opinions of their loyal core users. This makes Ubuntu users even more frustrated when they are ignored, and I'm guessing that's in no small part why we're seeing such vitriol over the switch to Unity, and so many people moving to other distros.

But it's not only Canonical - Microsoft have also clearly made decisions based on their internal strategy, screw the users. Just look at the ribbon fiasco with office (I'm still getting complaints from my clients who can't find anything), and now they're infecting the rest of Win8 with it - you just need to read the recent articles about the changes to the filer to realise that even when they do test users, they make the results say what they want.

I have never met a developer who would not react positively to a well thought-out design or re-design concept, or would at least be willing to start a meaningful discussion on base of that.

While I like your suggestions, sadly I've met plenty of developers who take constructive criticism as a personal insult and refuse to hear it, or are just so arrogant that they ignore any suggestions. Particularly in open source, where they feel they're giving their free time to work on what they, want how they want to.

Comment Re:It's change for the sake of change (Score 1) 1040

And, "task bars", or "window lists" that everybody is loving so much, don't work well. They are okay if you have like 5 windows open

I have 4480px of horizontal screen space, and that's not counting virtual desktops. Task bars work just fine for me.

And that's the point - Unity/Gnome 3/Win8 all seem to be targeting the non-"power user" who just wants to browse the internet or write a letter, or spends all day in an IDE.

These new UIs may be lovely for those kind of users, but I need to get stuff done. If I've got 27 windows open at once, it's because I need them all open, and switching between them quickly is going to be important to me.

If your shiny new UI is going to make me click the terminal button on the task bar and scroll through a list of 14 different terminals to get to the one I want, we're not going to get on.

We should be happy that designers are taking on the Linux desktop and are trying to develop solutions.

But the designers are doing things which true UI experts - or even just someone who has taken a basic UI course - would know are plain wrong. Take Unity's mystery meat menus for example. You can't put people in charge of designing a UI when they clearly have no suitable qualifications or experience, and hope it to come out well.

As another poster said, if you are an open source developer, at least you are allowed to join in the conversation and contribute patches before you're shot down. Open source users are just getting left out in the cold.

Ultimately, millions of people are perfectly happy with task bars and menus working how they have been working for the past ~20 years, and it will be a cold day in hell before I let you turn my desktop into a bloody touch screen UI. Xubuntu for me.

Comment Re:"Devices" (Score 1) 374

No, I live in the UK, and the office in question can't change to a better provider because they have their e-mail address tied to their ISP and refuse to consider changing it. Although as it happens, the best they could expect in that area is approx 2mbit/sec. Besides, people in this office are not shifting around multimedia, just e-mails and a bit of web, so a 10mbit hub is fine *for them*. I haven't used a 10mbit hub since the 90s, but then I do shift multimedia, large files etc.

The point I was making is that there are many reasons why someone would not pull cables to a central central location, and although some people may baulk at the idea of dotting 100mbit switches around a house, for most practical purposes it would be fine.

Comment Re:"Devices" (Score 1) 374

It's not that simple for a lot of people. In my case it would mean digging a hole through two walls and a floor, plastering up again, painting etc. This is not girlfriend-acceptable. Hell, even in an office I support they were unwilling to have the work done.

And of course, if you're renting, drilling and cutting holes in walls is often not landlord-acceptable. Although you can trail a cable or two up a staircase, it gets pretty impractical and unsafe to do more.

Unless you're a business servicing hundreds of users, or regularly shifting hundreds of gigs of data around, you'll be fine with a few 100mbit switches. Hell, I run one office off an old 10mbit hub and nobody cares - the limiting factor for them is the 1mbit internet connection.

Comment Re:Humble Couch Bundle (Score 1) 197

Like I said, I doubt it would be viable for Valve to release a box before Apple did something to bring that sort of game to the living room. Valve simply wouldn't have the brand, back catalogue or guarantee of future products to make their product a good enough buy to make a dent in the market. Once Apple have launched and people have got their heads around paying pennies for reasonable indie games, Valve would have a chance with a cheaper open product.

Like I said, I would imagine an apple console would be running iOS, with all that implies. Some people like walled gardens, others don't. However, once Apple's brand has cracked the market open to cheap games, Valve could step through and hoover up those who don't want to buy into Apple's locked-down ecosystem.

And of course, it's free to get started on Steam development.

Comment Re:Moar liek 720p (Score 1) 197

So keyboard and mouse in front of a TV may be possible, but it's not practical and it wouldn't add anything to the experience. Unless you want to dance around in front of a camera looking like a twat, the only realistic option is something hand-held, like an xbox/ps3 controller, or a touch-screen device like an iphone or ipad. Like I said originally, this means Apple are about the only company in a position to break into the console market with any major innovation.

I doubt you can do the latest PS3 games at 1080p for the price of a PS3, but that was my point. It's not about what the PS3 or Xbox 360 are capable of at the moment. If you're Valve and launch a console now to compete with those you've already lost - you need to be launching a significantly better product, because its lifespan will overlap with whatever they come out with next, and it will need to remain competitive against those products.

So to answer the original question, Valve has an excellent catalogue and distribution mechanism for PC games, but those games are poorly suited for gaming from your couch. Given their background, their main option for innovation would be marketing themselves as an open platform, but that may not be enough - with much of their back catalogue knocked out because it's unplayable in a living room, facing an uncertain future for new mainstream releases, and carrying a price tag that would at least match that of the Xbox/PS3, it would be difficult for any gamer to justify buying such a device. I suspect that is why Valve doesn't release a Valve box - at least not in this market with such strong, entrenched competition.

If Apple do release a console, I'd expect them to play to their strengths - a pimped up apple tv running ios, locked down, tied into itunes, linked with your iphone/ipad which you could use as a controller for games which still sell for pocket change. That certainly would change the living room market, and give Valve the opportunity to release an open platform to compete with Apple rather than MS and Sony - but as it is at the moment, they simple don't have the brand awareness amongst the public to change the market themselves.

Comment Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (Score 1) 197

Keyboard and mouse on a tray table? You are obviously not an FPS player.

And Apple may cater best to indie developers, but I wasn't talking about Apple - I was replying to the gp about how Valve would be stupid to try to launch their own console. Most of valve's catalogue is either mouse-oriented and wouldn't be playable on a TV, or is available on the xbox/ps3 anyway.

Come to that though, I seriously doubt Apple would go for a keyboard and mouse either. Can you imagine their shiny adverts with a guy slouched on a sofa playing WoW on a tv tray? Not exactly their style.

And you try building a decent gaming PC that can do the latest games at 1080p for the price of a PS3. It's going to cost three times the price, at least.

Comment Re:Why don't Valve innovate then? (Score 1) 197

Because you can't use a keyboard and mouse while sitting on the sofa. And if you're not going to use a keyboard and mouse, why not just get an xbox or a ps3, who already have online distribution and large software libraries?

Because you couldn't build a gaming device and sell it cheap. Amazon's business model for the Kindle is to push themselves to the front of the ebook market, so they build cheap devices with no margins which could even make a loss, and they'd make all their money back selling ebooks. Valve would essentially have to build a gaming PC with Windows, which would be expensive. If they accepted a loss on the box and increased their prices to those of consoles to make it back afterwards, they'd lose their advantage.

Because Valve would have to make a massive amount of effort to just get to the point where the xbox/ps3 already are, and that's before they can start to innovate. The only way a new console could succeed is if it does something really different. I despise Apple and what their walled gardens are doing to the world of computing, but right now they do seem like the only people who could break into the console market, selling to their massive iphone/ipad user base who could re-use their devices as controllers for games, media etc.

Comment Re:Confusion (Score 1) 550

There is a downside to multi-compartment pill containers: it's not practical to determine what is in each compartment.

For example, when you go into hospital (in the UK, at least), you are expected to take your medicine with you. This helps the doctors and pharmacists get an accurate drug history - especially if you're not compliant with what your doctor has prescribed.

If all your pills are in a multi-compartment box, they can't be reliably identified, their quality can't be assured, and they have to be discarded - even if your prescription hasn't changed.

(It also assumes that you know which day of the week it is, and can figure out the time of day - probably not much of an issue for the slashdot crowd, but for those with aging parents, it's something to bear in mind)

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