Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×

Comment Re:No surprise - same erorrs in finance & ops (Score 1) 319

In the year 2016, a disturbing amount of human activity is run through Excel instead of proper databases.

A similar study from 2009 tested for errors in various operational spreadsheets and concluded, "Our results confirm the general belief among those who have studied spreadsheets that errors are commonplace." The Financial Times commented on the prevalence of spreadsheet errors in business, saying it's probably a function of training and organizational culture.

I've heard from a few salespeople in the software industry that their biggest competitor in the SMB space isn't $BigCRMCorp, but Excel spreadsheets that have acreted over the years.

This absolutely doesn't surprise me. The concept of thinking about where one's data lives is nearly extinct outside of technical circles, and even Access is seen as "too complicated" by a lot of people. The utility of third normal form is obvious to us, but lots of people are perfectly served with pivot tables. How many people receive formal training in any form of database anymore? Even lots of web designers who use MySQL on the back end of their CMS software don't do a whole lot in PHPMyAdmin unless they have to.

Excel is very simple, ubiquitous, and has a low ceiling of functionality. It's the lowest common denominator, and unfortunately, it's "good enough" for lots of people.

Comment Re:25 years, still garbage for the mainstream (Score 1) 305

ImageMagick definitely has its place; it is invaluable as a backend to Piwigo, Coppermine, (presumably) Pixlr, and plenty of others. No hate against it at all. However, the benefit to using it on a CLI, by your own admission, is based upon its capacity to perform batch actions like resizing. Would you do one-off image processing using a CLI rather than using GIMP or Photoshop? What about things that aren't easily automated, like color correction? There are some things that still require human input, and the process/export/evaluate/repeat concept doesn't save anyone any time.

By contrast: http://www.faststone.org/FSRes.... GUI tool that will do virtually all of the same batch processing as ImageMagick, giving users a simple to use GUI that does not take nearly as long to use or operate.

Comment Re:25 years, still garbage for the mainstream (Score 1) 305

When will Windows get rid of the registry?

Windows has 'the registry'...which for all its hate and faults is, from an objective standpoint, about as difficult to work with as .conf files.

And what is it about this GUI obsession with you millennials?

The GUI changes the paradigm from 'fill in the blank' to 'multiple choice'. I can find what I want to do and figure it out pretty simply, between programs, even ones I haven't used before. The CLI is great when you know all the switches, but I personally can never remember if it's chmod 644 -R /dev/null, or chmod -R 644 /dev/null. CLIs don't scale down well - something like 'creating a mailbox in Exchange' requires a massively long command that takes far longer to type than to click through the GUI wizard, so while making 100 mailboxes is faster in a CLI because it can be scripted or copy/pasted, making 1 mailbox without copy/pasting will always be quicker in a GUI...and there are endless examples of this sort of thing.

A good terminal (like bash) lets you do stuff faster and easier than any GUI.

So...photo editing then? Or audio editing? Did you type this comment in Lynx, or Chrome/Firefox/Whatever? PC games? Again, it's only "faster and easier" if you already know the commands. If you don't know the commands, add in all the time it takes to discover the commands, read the man page to figure out what order the arguments go in, and then input it while substituting your own data properly. Also, how do commands deal with spaces and special characters? The command line absolutely has its place, but eschewing the GUI wholesale is just as ignorant as eschewing the CLI in its proper context.

It's also damn easier to give the advice to "open terminal, copy past these lines" than it is to have to create multiple screen shots of how to do the same thing in a GUI and then hope and pray that the end user is using the same language and version of OS as you do.

Yes. And in those cases where that is properly done, it most definitely is preferable. However, anything other than a perfect set of copy/paste lines gets very complicated, very quickly. I tried five times to get Rocket.Chat installed in a Linux VM, before I gave up and asked my friend to help. He did, and the server is up now, but when the copy/paste directions are incorrect, change between versions, make assumptions that aren't there, or are otherwise ineffective, now any advantage to a CLI over a GUI is completely gone.

Comment Re:Professional level audio experience (Score 5, Insightful) 305

Ardour is great, and so is Reaper. The existence of a solid DAW on Linux isn't the issue at this point.

First, one of the major issues is inertia - Logic Pro, Ableton, ProTools, Cubase, Sonar, and FL Studio are all respected names in the field, with lots of users, forums, and ecosystems around them. Audio engineering is very susceptible to a herd mentality, because anyone who uses something different will be told to join the herd, rather than getting actual support.

Next, audio engineering is much more hardware dependent than most CS/IT disciplines. For us, 'input' basically consists of keyboards and NICs, which are interchangeable. Pro audio involves audio interfaces from Tascam, Presonus, M-Audio, and FocusRite, with MIDI controllers ranging from Korg/Yamaha keyboards to guitar pedals and drum pads. We'll circle back to the interface problems in a moment, but the MIDI controllers are largely USB now, meaning there are abstraction layers that may require specialized drivers, mapping software, and plug-ins.

Back to the audio interface question, amongst the major things we have here is that Jack/Alsa are fine for desktops with Realtek chipsets, but when you're dealing with thousand dollar interfaces that can record sixteen channels of audio in real-time with 1ms latency, Jack and Alsa just don't cut it. OSX has CoreAudio and Windows has ASIO, both of which are industry standards that work with those interfaces. Linux would need something similar to it, but even if such a thing were to come into existence, support by the hardware OEMs is certainly not coming into place overnight. Meanwhile, those OEMs need to sell gear, which means that CoreAudio and ASIO handle over 99% of the market, and no one seems to be chomping at the bit to write yet another audio system for Linux to even provide a viable target. Reaper and Ardour could well start on that, but now you have DAW devs stuck writing middleware that already exists on Windows and OSX.

I look forward to it happening, but it's a pipe dream right now. Hardware OEMs are targeting ASIO and CoreAudio, plug-in writers are targeting Ableton, Protools, and VST hosts, industry standard DAWs are targeting Windows and OSX, and a soup-to-nuts Linux ecosystem would require cooperation from everyone at the same time for a market segment that's super picky at best.

Comment Re:How are they doing this? (Score 1) 57

Your questions is why this is a very sticky situation...

They 'detect' the streams in that streaming providers need to meet some sort of requirements to qualify. According to statements made, they're purely technical. Basically, if you can provide them a few IP addresses and the ability to respond to T-Mobile saying '480p please', you're in, I'm unaware of an instance where T-Mobile has discriminated against any provider that has met these purely technical requirements, nor am I aware of anyone coming forward to say that there was a hookers-and-blow requirement, including Google, which is notable because Youtube was last to the party of the majors.

Users are perfectly allowed to disable BingeOn, and CSRs are trained to help users disable it. Anyone running a streaming service can qualify. T-Mobile isn't 'prioritizing' internet traffic from one provider over another from a bandwidth standpoint, but they *are*, at some level, doing so from a billing standpoint, since my self-hosted MediaGoblin server uses more of my data plan than Netflix does (I have an unlimited data plan so I don't care, but the point remains).

So, we have a really sticky situation: Users who are okay with 480p streams can be okay with 480p streams and not have it count against their data plan. Companies who want to offer 480p streams can call up T-Mobile and be added without being prohibited from doing so. Is it *really* net neutrality, or is it the neutral zone?

Comment Re:Subsidy == No Sales (Score 2) 42

iPhones are manufactured in China, and so are plenty of Samsung's components. Xiaomi could well battle HTC and Huewei for a solid third place slot, and that slot really is up for grabs right now. "Chinese" tends to mean "flimsy", "poorly constructed", and/or "knockoff product" in context, but Xiaomi has had a few well-constructed handsets that indicate a potential for doing alright in the market. Honestly, what the bigger concern is for them is whether they'll be able to play the carrier game and not get screwed over by Verizon and AT&T in the quest for shelf space along with the premium handsets.

Comment Translated for Realists (Score 1, Insightful) 282

1. Self-Driving Cars: Someone Else's Car.
2. Clean Energy: Someone Else's Wealth.
3. Virtual and Augmented Reality: Someone Else's data, displayed.
4. Drones and Flying Cars: Someone Else's "paperless office" or "alternatively fueled car".
5. Artificial Intelligence: Someone Else's algorithm on Someone Else's CPU.
6. Pocket Supercomputers for Everyone: Someone Else's data collection.
7. Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains: Someone Else's wealth.
8. High-Quality Online Education: Someone Else's knowledge...that no employer will ever esteem as highly as a degree.
9. Better Food through Science: Someone Else's farm.
10. Computerized Medicine: Someone Else's algorithm.
11. A New Space Age: Someone Else's patent.

Comment Re:Is it real unlimited? (Score 3, Informative) 193

It's 'mostly unlimited'. It's fast-as-you-can-go up to 26GB. After that, they won't actually throttle you, but they'll deprioritize you - not "2G speed", just "other people get to cut the line, so if you're on a busy tower, you're the first to get slowed down, but if you're on a tower with plenty of unused bandwidth, you won't notice a difference". Also, I'm wagering their 14GB tethering limit is still in place.


Comment Re:Thinner / Lighter ... who cares (Score 1) 304

I concur that Linux is *starting* to become a viable platform for creative production. Reaper is excellent, as is DarkTable. Krita is an impressive 1.0 application, Blender is everywhere, and though Scribus seems to be stuck in that awkward valley between Publisher and InDesign, it's very much possible to get some nice print layouts out of it.

Linux's problems in becoming a de facto standard for multimedia production are still waiting for a solution, though. The Jack/Alsa debacle is mostly-stabilized for listening to tracks in Amarok, but when one needs multiple streams of low-latency audio I/O, they're not consistent. Moreover, there's no shortage of Tascam/Presonus/Rane/Focusrite audio interfaces for which drivers were not specifically written. Sure, they might work with some sort of class compliant driver set, but while I can get 2ms latency from my Rane SL3 in Windows via ASIO, I can't get that from Alsa. Even if I could, telling musicians that their Waves/iZotope/Maschine plugins won't work is a guaranteed way to get a door slammed in your face; akin to telling a secretary Outlook won't work or the accountant Quickbooks won't work - it's a flat out nonstarter for them. The video side is its own mess, because patent-encumbered codecs are still very much a thing in video world, and the ability to encode/decode in those formats is foundationally incompatible with Free Software. Once again, BorisFX, NewBlue, Pixelan, and GenArts plug-ins are frequently as critical as the applications themselves.

I very, very much look forward to being able to use Linux full time. I hate the amount of tweaking I have to do to beat Windows into submission, and I love using KDE. The problem is simply that the amount of functionality that one must give up to perform the same work on Linux is still higher than the benefits realized. This isn't true in every industry - plenty of server applications rightfully treat Windows Server as a second class citizen. Creative Development is nowhere near the same kettle of fish as software development, and years of inertia aren't going to go away just because Linux is "getting there". The gap is getting ever smaller as Adobe has long reached maturity with most of its applications, leaving plenty of room for catch-up. It'll happen. I'm waiting.

Comment Re:Thinner / Lighter ... who cares (Score 1) 304

Apparently, a few people here agree that converting to Windows, from OSX, for a specific demographic, isn't necessarily a bad thing. There's a certain amount of 'right tool for the job' that's in play here.

Hackint0sh options aren't exactly the most viable thing in the creative field. Legalities of using OSX on non-Apple hardware notwithstanding, I was speaking primarily of laptops, and the number of laptops that are sufficiently compatible with OSX to provide a stable alternative while also providing greater performance than an MBP are very, very few - and building such a laptop isn't terribly practical. It's a bit better in desktop world, but even that involves lots of trial and error. As a hardware tinkerer I'd have no problem building such a machine, but I'd be incredibly wary of running my business on one if I were a graphic designer or video editor who had to deal with deadlines on a regular basis. Any OSX updates would be terrifying, and OSX has gone to iOS levels of 'upgrade now' that make it difficult to avoid.

Comment The Eternal Struggle (Score 0) 308

Any public communication platform will, sooner or later, find itself at a crossroads where it must decide exactly how committed to free speech it is. A quick perusal over on Usenet or the Retroshare forums will yield plenty of generally-undesirable content, from bomb making instructions and targeted verbal abuse to racism and anti-semitism. A forum that allows truly free speech - as those networks do - will unfortunately attract those kinds of users. Twitter is stuck deciding whether it's better to start moving the line of acceptability as to limit speech 'for the greater good' (a case reasonably made for death threats and verbal abuse), but then be in charge of constantly deciding what falls on either side of that line, a task from which they will never be able to free themselves thereafter.

Users expect Twitter to filter undesirable speech. Twitter expects users to do their own filtering. Back in the Usenet and IRC days, only the latter was technologically possible, and today it is only technologically possible for Twitter to perform the filtering because they've opted to be the repository of the content - a model that can make them money, but in doing so leaves them stuck trying to decide who's being thin-skinned, who's being genuinely threatening, who's exercising their freedom of speech, and who's costing them the good will of their userbase.

This is how you deal with things you don't like on the internet. Twitter users have forgotten this.

Slashdot Top Deals

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam