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Comment Re:python sucks (Score 1) 432

It would probably have been less work to just change the default interpreter back to python 2.5, and edit only the 'one piece of software' that required python 3 to /usr/bin/python3

The second bit wouldn't even be necessary - as far as I'm aware, the only distro that made python3 the default was Arch. Because python2 is still the default on most systems and incompatible with python3, most programmers working in Python 3 explicitly specify python3 in the shebang. (Using /usr/bin/python only is considered poor practice for this exact reason.)

Comment Re:Efficiency. (Score 1) 937

Even if a computer can't predict that as far ahead as a human, it can react much faster. Human reaction time is about 200 ms, but a computer could easily react within about 30 ms. That should be enough to compensate for the intelligence described in the vast majority of situations.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 361

What'r the chances of getting stuck in ice in Antarctica during the summer months of 2013-2014, when global warming is at it's peak (tongue in cheek) - not once, but TWICE?

Not great.

However, if you asked "what are the chances of getting stuck in ice in Antarctica during the summer, given that it just happened to another ship nearby?", I'd say reasonably high. Conditional probability in action.

Comment Anecdote (Score 1) 252

I'm in my early 20s, and very much grew up with GUIs and Windows. Despite this, I now use Vim (cue flame war) as my text editor after seeing how fast proficient users could be with it. I have a friend who uses Emacs as his desktop environment - no KDE or Gnome, just Emacs.
Both are powerful text editors with niche uses. e.g. programming. While fewer people are learning them now that they are no longer the default text editors on most distros, they're hardly dying.

Comment Re:Great topic (Score 1) 383

tar -axf - automatically chooses compression algorithm based on extension
zsh - the autocomplete alone is worth it compared to bash (use oh-my-zsh to simplify setup). Right-hand prompts are pretty nice once you get used to them.
pv - pipe streams through it for a graphical progress bar
nice/ionice - lower the priority of background processes
ack - faster alternative to grep with better output formatting
lsblk/lscpu/lshw/lspci/lsusb - view attached hardware. lshw is great for a comprehensive list, and lsblk recognizes raid, encrypted volumes, etc.
pwgen - useful for generating passwords
apt-file/dpkg/$YOUR_PACKAGE_MANAGER - read the man pages - commands for determining which package a file belongs to (esp. if that package isn't installed) are particularly useful
Yakuake - not a CLI tool, but being able to pull up a terminal with a single keypress is pretty handy

Comment KDE Kolab (Score 2) 133

I'm currently in the process of setting up something like this.
Kolab is a FOSS groupware server that can synchronize emails, to do lists, calenders, notes, etc. across multiple devices. You can access it from the included web interface (roundcube), the recommended client (Kontact), or via Outlook with the connector installed. Android support is available via ActiveSync, and I believe Kontact Touch will be ported to Android now that Qt 5 supports it.)

If you're not interested in running your own server, there're also sites like this which sell accounts.

Here are some notes on my experiences setting it up, for anyone interested:

  • Make sure you read the documentation first, because Kolab is too complex to just jump right in and hit the ground running. In particular, make sure you have a FQDN
  • Kolab pulls in a bunch of different daemons, including apache2, cyrus, mysql, postfix, slapd, clamav. It's a fairly heavy-weight solution, since it was developed with enterprise users in mind.
  • Multiple users can use a single installation. Users can be added/removed from a web interface.
  • By default, nothing uses SSL. This is undesirable if you're planning on connecting to it over the internet. The LDAP server uses a different SSL stack to the rest of the daemons (NSS), and you'll definitely want to run it over SSL because it sends passwords in plaintext. The easiest solution I found was to create a CA cert with certutil, use that to create the certificate for use with LDAP, then export that certificate to PEM format and use it for everything else. LDAP needs to be configured online, but all the other daemons just have configuration files with entries for the path to the certificates.
  • On some distros, Kontact may not be compiled with Kolab support. (e.g. Sabayon)
  • RSS syncing is currently the only feature in Kontact that doesn't sync with Kolab (AFAIK), although you can embed tt-rss in the web interface.

Comment Re:Is it a competitor? (Score 1) 166

How does Octave or any other open source tool hold up against something with so many resources behind it?

Background: I'm an ECSE student who has used both throughout my course.

Octave is very much like LibreOffice - it's usually good enough to use instead of MATLAB, but it's not perfect. Most of the functions are there, though some which are commonly used but not strictly necessary (e.g. importdata) are not. Octave's syntax is also looser than MATLAB's (you can use ! instead of ~ for logical negation), which means that you still need to test a program in MATLAB if that's what the recipient is going to be running it in.

Its main advantages are its cost and size - Octave is free and a full installation is 42 MB, whereas MATLAB costs tens of thousands and takes up about 5 GB. MATLAB also has rather cumbersome DRM that can cause issues.

The main disadvantage is speed. Running a SVD on a largish matrix (e.g. 350x350) is one or two orders of magnitude slower under Octave compared to MATLAB. i.e. it takes 10 min instead of 10 seconds. That's a pretty niche use though - most of the computations people use MATLAB for aren't particularly intensive.

Comment Re:A paranoid setup (Score 1) 321

Hardware RAID is a bad idea for backups, as the card is a single point of failure, and anything not from the exact same batch may use a different (proprietary) RAID format. At least with Linux softraid (either mdadm or btrfs/ZFS), you can always download a copy of the source and checkout the old version, if necessary.

Comment Re:Excellent question (Score 1) 321

Which version of the kernel and btrfs-progs are you using? Some distros are still shipping ancient versions of the userspace tools, like 0.19 or 0.20. The latest is 3.12 (they recently started using the kernel version instead), so you may want to try compiling it from the source.
The two most helpful commands I've found are 'mount -o recovery', which can restore the superblock if it's missing/corrupted, and 'btrfs check --repair' (formerly btrfsck). Note that check doesn't actually fix the errors it finds without that flag, unlike fsck. If you have a multi-device file system, trying to mount one of the other drives can help, since copies of the metadata are stored on all of them (RAID1 style).
If that doesn't work, you can often get the data off by mounting it as readonly, or by using 'btrfs restore'.

Btrfs used to be quite buggy, but these days I've found it to be pretty stable and reliable. That only applies if you're using the latest packages though - otherwise, you might as well be using it back in the early days.

Comment Re:Going to change everything (Score 1) 162

It's called a guaranteed minimum income.
What you are saying is minimum wage. The fancy term you have latched onto is 'minimum income' because 'minimum wage' has started to 'sound bad' and is 'demeaning'. As an aside I would ask you where did you pick up this term?

Minimum income is not the same as minimum wage. Minimum wage is the min. amount you can be paid (per hour) if you have a job. (Guaranteed) minimum income is the minimum amount each person receives each year, regardless of whether they have a job or not.

In the absence of min wage (which you seem to advocate), as robotic labour replaces human labour the supply will exceed demand, and wages will approach zero asymptotically. Below a certain point, people with jobs will not be able to sustain themselves, let alone those who are unemployed. GMI is one proposed solution to ensure that their basic requirements (food, water, shelter, etc.) are met.

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