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Comment Re:Seems reasonable... (Score 1) 260

Nevertheless, rather than just whining about the big, bad, evil DMV (who are mainly enforcing laws passed by others), it would be more productive to work to get the bad/outdated laws changed. Yes, that may mean fighting an uphill battle against a powerful lobby (existing cab companies), but it there is already a lot of public support for this.

Comment Re:Surely (Score 5, Insightful) 215

That's not completely true, at least as the system works. If there is something sufficiently innovative that it is "not immediately obvious to someone trained in the field", then it essentially qualifies as an invention. Inventions can be small and limited in scope as well as large. The real problem is in determining what is innovative enough that it would not almost immediately occur to most people trained in the field as an obvious solution to the problem. It is a subjective test, and IMHO, too many patents are given for things that really shouldn't pass that test. Patents can always be contested, but, it is a long and expensive process, so bad patents have a way of sticking around.

Comment Re:Working on the right features, I see (Score 1) 403

True, and lets not forget to add:

Non-destructive editing.
a 10x increase in speed of the basic engine (which will be needed for non-destructive editing)
A macro recorder to easily record repetitive operations.
photo-shop like history operations

A single window mode is not the most important thing GIMP needs to compete with Photoshop

Comment Re:Why all the hate? (Score 2, Interesting) 1006

I agree. This obviously isn't the ultimate alternative fuel vehicle, but this process has to start somewhere. Yes, it's expensive, yes it's hard to justify on pure economics at the current gas price of $3/gallon here in the US. But $3 gasoline isn't going to last forever. Last summer, before the economy crashed, we had $4.50 gas, and once the economy cycles back and demand for oil goes back up in the face of flat or declining world oil production, prices will likely climb even higher than that and the economic balance point will change. This car may be coming out a little before its time, but someone has to take the first step in this direction; it just happens to be GM, who everyone loves to hate right now.

Of course GM could totally botch things up like they did with the EV1, only time will tell if they learned anything from that and their current bankruptcy.


College Police Think Using Linux Is Suspicious Behavior 1079

FutureDomain writes "The Boston College Campus Police have seized the electronics of a computer science student for allegedly sending an email outing another student. The probable cause? The search warrant application states that he is 'a computer science major' and he uses 'two different operating systems for hiding his illegal activity. One is the regular B.C. operating system and the other is a black screen with white font which he uses prompt commands on.' The EFF is currently representing him."

Comment Project idea (Score 1) 962

When I taught my son programming when he was around 11 or so, the project I picked was to have him write a stack calculator, including a simple GUI (like a simple version of the GNOME or KDE calculators). It taught most of the basic elements of a program, including a simple GUI, but unlike a really simple game who's novelty would wear off quickly, it was something he was able to use, improve, and be proud of for some time after finishing it.

As to what language to use, that's a hot topic and you'll hear lots of opinions. At the time, which was a long time ago, we used Tcl/Tk because it was simple, had a very easy-to-use fully integrated GUI toolkit (Tk), and was high level in that it avoided having to worry about complex issues like memory management and pointers, which could overwhelm some 11 year olds. OTOH, it taught programming concepts beyond what you could do with something really basic like LOGO. I'm not necessarily suggesting it now, however -- it might not be the right thing today, when there are other potentially better choices like Python, Java, etc.

Comment Could be OK if done carefully (Score 4, Insightful) 55

Although many patents (both software and hardware) are bogus, the basic concept of the patent system has some validity and there are conditions where patents serve the public interest by encouraging innovation and at the same time making knowledge available to the public which would otherwise be kept as tight trade secrets by companies. In the case of universities, they have been loosing other sources of public funding and so earning some money from patent licensing may not inherently be a bad thing, but there should be requirements for patents obtained based on publicly funded research that although licensing fees could be charged for use by private companies, other universities and other publicly funded research institutions should be allowed to use the technology royalty free.

Comment Re:Cool. (Score 2, Insightful) 326

It shouldn't be hard, as long as you have any kernel/motherboard combination where suspend or hibernate work reliably. Just create a shutdown level that actually does a reboot, then modify the startup scripts to immediately do a suspend or hibernate as soon as the machine is booted if that shutdown level was used. The effective shutdown time will be longer (because it's actually a reboot), but the effective "boot" time will be very quick.

While probably do-able, this actually seems like overkill. Why not just use normal suspend/resume?

Comment Mod parent up! (Score 5, Insightful) 303

I have many gigs of digital photos and I have also more-or-less moved away from optical media for backup and switched to HDD. As the original poster mentioned, most of the "information" you find on the net about archival longevity of optical media is personal anecdotes or pet theories, and good hard data on archival longevity of CD-R or DVD+-R is hard to find. My own personal experience is that name brand discs do have fewer problems than cheap "house brands", but it's hard to quantify or say much beyond that.

Backing up to hard drives has a number of advantages:

1. It's a heck of a lot easier - in most cases of personal data backup, a few 1TB HDDs will hold all the data you need to back up, so there's no need to manage boxes of 100's of discs. I usually back up the same data onto two HDDs, and store one of them in a firesafe. If you're really worried, you can store one of them offsite.

2. Since no media will last forever, you will *always* need to roll your data over to new media every so many years. With HDDs, its *much* easier to roll your data over to new media every 5 or 6 years. Think of transferring two or three HDD's to a new HDD (by the time you roll over the data, the new HDD will probably hold all the data from those two or three older HDDs), compared to re-organizing and re-burning hundreds (or more) of CDs or DVDs.

The bottom line is that if a few HDDs don't hold enough data for your needs, then backing up to optical media will be totally out of the question anyway, and you will probably need to use tape.


Submission + - Photo scaling affects content more than you think 4

An anonymous reader writes: Even the most sophisticated scaling algorithms share a common basic flaw that can have dramatic effects on picture details. This flaw can be used to create a completely vanishing image. When the picture is scaled to half its size using even expensive software, it becomes a gray rectangle! To learn more about that flaw, see the other examples and compare the differences between a correct resize tool and what you get in your favorite drawing program.

Submission + - Picture scaling error in graphical softwares (

Eric Brasseur writes: "Every picture scaling software I could test makes a gross error: the gamma of the picture being scaled is not taken into account. This makes that for example a pixel that should be at 50% brightness can get only 22% brightness. Depending on the kind of picture, the damage can be quite important. I wrote a page to explain the whole:"

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