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Comment Re:fvwm (Score 1) 818

Completely agree re: geometrically placed desktops. Gnome2's implementation was just good enough for my needs (my other required feature is the ability to 'raise/lower' a window, mapped to a key). The one reason I can't accept XFCE as a gnome2 alternative is that it seems to insist on arranging desktops linearly. I want my two dimensions, dammit.

The only thing that makes me reluctant to go back to fvwm is that configuring it was always rather unpleasant.


Hijacked Fox News Twitter Account Falsely Claims Obama Shot Dead 290

Frankie70 writes with word of a Twitter-account hijacking that's raised eyebrows today, supplying a link to the account in question. From the Telegraph's account: "'The Twitter account of the American Fox News Politics team was compromised and used to falsely announce the death of the U.S. president. Hackers, who identified themselves as 'The Script Kiddies' and said they shared the spirit of prominent hacking group Anonymous, used the account to write: 'BREAKING NEWS: President @BarackObama assassinated, 2 gunshot wounds have proved too much. It's a sad 4th for #america. #obamadead RIP.'"

Submission + - Debian, openSUSE, Arch, Gentoo and Grml merge (opensuse.org) 2

tomhudson writes: "debian, arch linux, opensuse, grml, and gentoo are merging to create a new distro:

We are pleased to announce the birth of the Canterbury distribution. Canterbury is a merge of the efforts of the community distributions formerly known as Debian, Gentoo, Grml, openSUSE and Arch Linux to produce a really unified effort and be able to stand up in a combined effort against proprietary operating systems, to show off that the Free Software community is actually able to work together for a common goal instead of creating more diversity.

Canterbury will be as technologically simple as Arch, as stable as Debian, malleable as Gentoo, have a solid Live framework as Grml, and be as open minded as openSUSE..

Arch Linux developer Pierre Schmitz explained:

Arch Linux has always been about keeping its technology as simple as possible. Combining efforts into one single distribution will dramatically reduce complexity for developers, users and of course upstream projects. Canterbury will be the next evolutionary step of Linux distributions.

This will without a doubt put pressure on Ubuntu."


Free E-Books, With a Catch — Advertising 194

Velcroman1 writes "Barnes & Noble may kick off a fresh price war today for digital book readers, with its new Nook news. But the real news in digital publishing is a novel approach to the e-books themselves: Free books — with advertising. The basic idea is to offer publishers another way to reach readers and to give readers the chance to try more books — books that perhaps they wouldn't normally peruse if they had to pay more for them. Initially, Wowio specialized in offering digital versions of comic books and graphic novels, usually formatted as Adobe PDFs. So it was a natural step for the company to offer graphic ads that are inserted in e-books. 'We think we're creating a broader audience for some of these titles,' Wowio's CEO Brian Altounian told me. 'I think folks are going to download more books because they're saving the costs' of having to drive to the store or pay more for them. Would ads stop you from reading?" The new color Nook goes for $249, and comes with a browser, games, Quickoffice, streaming music via Pandora, and an SDK; reader itwbennett links to an analysis of how well it stacks up as a tablet.
PC Games (Games)

King's Quest Fan Project The Silver Lining Is Back 61

LoTonah writes "After eight years of development and a Cease & Desist from Vivendi, King's Quest fan project The Silver Lining is back in action. From the website: 'We are extremely happy to announce that our project, The Silver Lining, will definitely see the light of day! In a wonderful turn of events, Activision reached out to the Phoenix Online team a few months ago with a desire to revisit their decision regarding The Silver Lining. After negotiations, the C&D has been officially rescinded, and Phoenix Online has been granted a non-commercial license to release The Silver Lining! Our team is ecstatic about this, and as hard as we've worked for eight years, it's the tireless belief and support of you, our fans, that has made this possible.' The first episode of the project is due to be released on July 10."

Bio-Detector Scans For 3,000 Viruses and Bacteria 103

separsons writes "Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recently unveiled a three-inch-long bio-detector than can scan for 3,000 different types of viruses and bacteria in just 24 hours. The device, dubbed the Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array (LLMDA), boasts significant advantages over traditional bio-detectors, which can only identify a maximum of 50 pathogens. The three-inch-long glass slide is packed with 388,000 probes that can detect more than 2,000 viruses and 900 bacteria. The device may have huge implications in identifying agents released during biological and chemical attacks. Plus, in more everyday uses, LLMDA can ensure food, drug and vaccine safety and help diagnose medical problems. Scientists' next version of LLMDA is even more impressive: A new bio-detector will be lined with 2.1 million probes that can scan for 5,700 viruses and thousands of bacteria as well as fungi and protozoa."

Comment snippets might be useful for better diffs (Score 1) 198

This reminds me of an idea I had some time ago, which might be an application for something like that (I've not read the article yet, so maybe they;re doing something different; but this might be interesting anyway :)

When refactoring code, it's not atypical to move whole snippets of code around. Reviewing the results of such a change (i.e., doing a diff between the versions) is usually nightmarish, since every diff tool I've ever seen is inherently line- or block-of-lines-oriented, and cannot recognize the simple (for a human) case of "I moved this function above that other function".

If the diff tool (and/or the related version control tool?) could be sufficiently language-aware, it might be able to recognize certain semantic units (functions, scope blocks, etc), and try to keep track of them. If this could be done, a diff output could actually be much more meaningful than what we get these days.

Comment Re:It's still natural selection (Score 1) 313

Not quite. It's a different way of thinking about the same thing.
As best as I remember "The Selfish Gene", it does present the gene as the unit of selection. The organism is discussed more as a just a useful vehicle (which exists due to multiple genes working to a common effect, but only because there's an advantage on the individual gene's level). I'm simplifying, but that's the gist of it.
If you didn't get a chance to read the book yet, try it. Interesting stuff.

Comment Re:Here's A Tip, Folks (Score 1) 313

some organisms are more suited to their environment than others; better ones survive and reproduce - their traits survive.

Just wanted to point out that the most important part is not so much survival as the ability to reproduce.
A more accurate way to phrase this is that the "better" organisms get more opportunities to reproduce (e.g., by surviving longer, but perhaps for other reasons, such as being more attractive or more capable, etc.), and the "worse" ones get fewer opportunities to do so (for any of a multitude of reasons). All else being equal, over time, the "better" organism's offspring are going to outnumber those of the "worse" organism, eventually significantly so.

I think this is a more enlightening description of natural selection, as it explains why it works a little better. I think I read this in one of Dawkins's books (either "Selfish Gene" or "Ancestor's Tale". Both are highly recommended, BTW; the latter isn't as well known, but is quite fascinating).

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