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Comment How does KDE compare to Cinnamon? (Score 1) 89

After years of threats, I finally managed to eliminate all the apps that were tying me to a Windows 7 desktop or a Macbook workstation. I've used Linux heavily for years, but never as my desktop OS. It was always my app, web, or build server, and I'd interact with the machine via bash over SSH.

Now that I'm on a Linux desktop, I'm fairly comfortable with Mint's 'Cinnamon' UI, which I understand is a forked version of Gnome 2.

Normally, if I wanted to experiment with a new UI, I'd just dive in, but I'm still in the phase of building my expectations and lists of needs. (Do I really need Sublime or will Gedit suffice? How do I change that default icon for Firefox to one I'm more likely to recognize?)

Does KDE offer me any great advantages over Cinnamon or Gnome? Any of you more experienced desktop aficionados have an opinion you'd care to share with a relative novice?

Comment Re:Nobody expects the Email Inquisition (Score 1) 497

The problem here is that normal people don't threaten to kill other people. They certainly don't challenge another person's bodyguards in public.

Threats of violence are usually actionable (by arrest or civil lawsuit), no matter who you are or who you threaten.

There is certainly a case for making jokes about the death of a sitting President, but actually lashing out with a punch-line-less threat about killing ANYONE is simply not acceptable in our society.

It's not really even a freedom of speech issue. Freedom of speech would be saying something like: 'This person has committed serious crimes. They should be put on trial and executed'.

Threats, however, are a kind of attack-- a verbal attack, certainly, but one that promises, however vaguely, a physical attack to follow.

I like to be VERY liberal when it comes to freedom of speech and allow even the most extreme speech. I feel that if you can't stomach the extremes, you don't really deserve the middle ground.

This guy wasn't stating an extreme opinion, though. He was making a declaration of intent.

Comment Re:Godwin (Score 1) 735

Happily, we don't have nearly the financial problems Germany immediately before Hitler's rise to power that made him seem like such a good idea to many Germans. The Weimar Republic had suffered balloon inflation after WW1 and mass poverty covered a lot of what's now Germany. The Deutsch Mark was worthless and women and children were often forced to prostitute themselves in order to eat.

In comparison, we've had a relatively minor recession, and are recovering nicely, and have had one of the strongest currencies in the world the entire time. We also had and still have the world's financial markets by the balls the entire time, since EVERYBODY on the planet treats U.S. debt as an investment of choice. (That's a pretty neat trick for a country going through even a minor recession.)

We're not nearly desperate enough to elect a 'Hitler'.

History will tell if we were stupid enough, but I suspect we won't.

Shame Bernie's not getting nearly as much mindshare as Hillary.

Comment Re:Alright, time to pirate it! (Score 4, Insightful) 134

The GIMP *wishes*.

Inkscape is one of those 'Best of Breed' open source apps where it's pretty much all you need to do the task you're downloading it for. It beats the ever-living SNOT out of Illustrator on simplicity, ease-of-use, and, of course, price. You're not locked into Adobe's new SasS model or a huge license fee, yet can create great looking vector art with fantastic compatibility.

Compare to, say, PuTTY, or VLC Media Player. They do a single job, and they do it REALLY freakin' well.

GIMP does not. GIMP's UI is STILL a cluster@#$@ after years and years of development and user feedback, and the last time I checked, it still lacked the support for color matching that would make it viable for creating images that were print-ready.

Frankly, if you're working on Windows, you are far more behooved to use Paint.Net than you are The GIMP.

Comment Re:Of Course It Was (Score 1) 355

I'm an intelligent guy. I identify as Native American, but if you looked at me, you'd probably see me as just another white computer programmer with dark hair and an unusually sloped nose. That said, I've met people so much smarter than myself that they made my head spin.

The two most intelligent people I've ever met were black and hispanic.

When I was a teenager, I had the distinct honor of meeting the reknowned Jaime Escalante in person.

I also recently had a coworker in my field, who was a young black man recently out of university, whom I will not name because he not a celebrity. (He certainly has the potential to be one if he so chooses.)

There was a striking similarity between the two that caught my attention. Jaime Escalante's struggle to engage young hispanics in math has been immortalized by Hollywood. The major theme of Escalante's work was convincing young hispanics that, despite their culture, they were capable of great things.

My coworker was very deeply depressed about the same situation as it applies to black Americans. He told me that he felt stunned and disappointed that so many of the black people he met had so little ambition for higher education. He even stated the problem outright. The culture encourages blacks to avoid higher education.

It's VERY easy to form racist stereotypes when you see a pattern imposed by culture. Watson reminds me of any number of people I've met who's 'met enough of' a certain race to close his mind on the subject. Despite his own intelligence, he chooses to ignore science and go with stereotype rather than go looking for cause and effect relationships like scientists *ought* to.

Incidentally, the third most intelligent person I've met is also probably one of the most humble people I've ever met. You'll probably never know his name, but his research will probably benefit humanity for millennia to come.

Comment Re:Newsflash: mobile doesn't actually matter. (Score 2) 142

I wish I had upvotes for you.

I am a power user. I'm currently surrounded by two very powerful PCs... rather a high-end 'docked' mac laptop dedicated to development work and a frankenstein's monster BYOC dedicated to gaming, Watching and converting video (-- Anime junkie) and artwork.

I also own a little Samsung Android tablet. Despite the mobile development workstation, I use the ever-loving snot out of that tablet. I use it to watch video I've converted for it, read books and magazines, browse web while seated in my nice club chair in the living room, have a reference site up while console gaming, and art. Turns out that Autodesk has a VERY nice painting app for $6. Works beautifully with cheapy capacitive styluses.

I consume the vast majority of my Crunchyroll subscription on it (more anime and manga).

However, I don't use it at ALL for email.

So yeah, mobile matters.

Comment Re:You don't. (Score 4, Insightful) 169

An important caveat to this line of thought is that GOOD education DOES work to prevent risk behaviors.

A blanket 'Just Say No' campaign like the one ran by Nancy Reagan in the 1980s did more harm that good because, when a lot of the kids had it force-fed to them for a decade grew up and discovered that marijuana didn't immediately kill your or turn you into a junkie, many of them threw out the entirety of 'Drugs are bad, m'kay?' and went on their merry way destroying their bodies with harsher and harsher drugs.

However, kids who had explained to them what drugs really did to a person's body and which drugs were more addictive and which drugs were less were, and are, less likely to actually do those drugs.

The same is true of sex education. It's been shown with frequently tragic consequences that 'Abstinence Only' education usually makes the teen pregnancy and STD situation worse in places where it's taught. However, more complete sex education that explains pregnancy, STDs, and all the other associated risks that go along with sex causes a notable decline in teen pregancy, STDs, and an actual increase in the average age at which teens start having sex.

I have found the same line of logic to be true with IT security. If you make a point of explaining the whys and wherefores, perhaps going so far as to make an interesting, engaging education program, the people who are your 'risk vectors' decrease, as do the number of security incidents you have to deal with.

No, you never can completely eliminate the problem. However, by offering education that is interesting, complete, and that doesn't treat the recipient as an idiot, you can dramatically reduce the problem.

Comment How big are we calling 'Macroscopic'? (Score 2) 199

My understanding is that we have some pretty good examples of 'larger than just a few elementary particles' superposition and observer effects that have been demonstrated.

For example, birds' touted ability to navigate by way of feeling the Earth's magnetic field is apparently enhanced by the observer effect.

Now... cellular level effects are still pretty small, but it's an example of a living organism we can hold in our hands (and pet, if you're a bird person.) learning to use quantum effects in its everyday life.

For an example of superposition in living organisms, one needs to look no further than our abundant flora, where superposition apparently increases the efficiency of photosynthesis, without which our current biosphere would pretty much collapse and we'd all die.

So, I think we're looking at a bell-curve like thing here. The bigger the 'observability' of a phenomenon, the less likely we are to experience it in our lifetimes. My guess is that huge, say, planetary-scale, examples of superposition are quite possible... just so very unlikely that one hasn't happened observably in human history (and probably the history of the universe.)

Comment V-V-V-Virtual Box! (Score 2) 860

So 'Desktop Linux' is just not cutting it for me yet. Almost, but not quite. (Seriously, get USB keyboards working with yer full disk encryption, Debian.)

That said, I'm not going to Windows 8 or even 8.1. Evar. In the rare event that I need to run something that only runs on Win 8, I've got a company supplied Virtual box VM image with a legit corporate licensed copy. (I've booted up to run the latest version of MS Dev Studio less times than I can count on one hand.)

In the slightly more common event that I need to run something that ran fine on WinXP, but won't run on Win7, I have a WinXP Virtual Box image. This has saved my older, but perfectly working USB scanner.

In the much more frequent event that I want to run in a Linux desktop environment for, say, development work, working with iptables, or the like, I've got a couple different Mint Linux Virtual Box images.

About the only thing I don't have an image for is a Hackintosh... but I've got a company-supplied Macbook which also has an array of Virtual Box images hanging around.

Mint is about || yay close to being usable as my main desktop OS, but has a few standout problems. I DO use it as my laptop OS.

Win 8 will NEVER be an issue for me.

Comment Native American Hearing and a Loud PC (Score 5, Interesting) 371

I'm partially descended from Cherokee on one side and Choktaw on the other. However, as a computer nerd with a florescent-light tan, I am the WHITEST Native American you will ever meet. (Oddly enough, there are *blonde* native Americans less white than I am.)

I've also been blessed to keep my hearing despite working in or near various data centers and around heavy machinery. I've always been very careful about hearing protection.

I can hear the capacitors in my CRT TVs cycling. I can hear the constant whine of AC power in the walls. If I'm lucky enough to be around older electronics with real vacuum tubes, I can hear them sing or hum, depending on size.

At night, I can hear the nails squeaking in their holes as my house settles. I can hear that damn squirrel scurrying across my roof in the wee hours. Yes, stomach, I know that squirrel is edible, but I am an well-(over)-fed computer programmer and not a nomadic hunter-gatherer. Would you and my ears *please* quit waking me up for that kind of thing?

Accordingly, I'm one of those individuals who can gauge the load on their PC components simply by listening to them. This has become more true as newer motherborards tend to have throttle-able fans. I can still distinguish when my CPU decides to page out to disk even *with* the fans droning out the hard drives, though.

It can be bloody unpleasant at times. For example, I've paged 3 times while writing this post. Why? I'm running VM and a ton of RAM-hungry apps, including Firefox. I twitch every time it happens.

However, it's also saved me countless hours of frustration and lots of cash as I can often identify hardware problems by sound.

I really pissed off my neighbor once doing this. He had an AC mechanic out because his air conditioner kept quitting. Mine was as well... but I could HEAR the transformers humming oddly on the poles. (And not the good kind, where the Autobots defeat the Decepticons)

"This isn't an AC issue. It's a power issue. I've called the power company."

Made the mistake of saying that after he'd just paid for the AC service call.

Comment If the machine's in good condition... (Score 1) 283

I'd play pinball. If the machine is broken, which is sadly the case the majority of the time in my experience, I'd go home.

Because MAME.

The only machine that would keep me in an arcade would be a Galaga upright... simply because I could show off mah skills.

Seriously. Bar, restauraunt, arcade managers? If you're not willing to put in the extra effort it takes to maintain a pinball machine, DO NOT BUY ONE. And for God's sake, unplug and put an 'out of order' sign on the ones that *are* broken, but you are willing to fix.

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