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Comment Re:The real strengths of the NES Classic (Score 1) 72

Actually they can be taught about sudo, apt-get etc. That's part of 'helping' open source along too. The opposite is part of a contempt culture meme, illustrated here about PHP vs other languages:

So decide that people can learn command line stuff and find ways to teach them. I usually explain super-user as a wizard, great powers but capacity for destruction too and therefore how sudo is usually 'safer'. In the same vein, apt-get is just an install and often it's more trouble free than an MSI, too.

Comment Re:Linux Mint, Anecdotal Evidence (Score 1) 132

Can't help very much, I'm afraid. My main problem (and I haven't tried recently) has been a) drivers for Avid M-Box which have improved now b) specific plugins that I use with Pro-Tools c) Laziness, since I have a lot of hardware hooked up in one place.

I use Audacity on both now, but that's a lot simpler than Ardour.

Incidentally, off-topic, I always enjoy riffling through this:

Comment Linux Mint, Anecdotal Evidence (Score 2) 132

I've used Linux Mint as a desktop for about four years. I still have one Windows 7 system because of Pro Tools, waiting for the day when I can swap to Linux for 'music'. Recently I've introduced my ex (in another country, support more difficult) and a local friend to Mint. There was a little spike in support in the first couple of weeks and now nothing. I used to get several calls per week when they used Windows, so my 'upgrade' was somewhat self-interested.

At the start of this, I needed convincing, quite happy now, not missing Windows at all. I think my desktop 'tank' is about 7/8 years old too. My feeling is, just try, create an extra guest login on one of your machines to show people, show don't tell.

Comment Re:Perl5 will always hold a special place in my he (Score 2) 37

Agree. I'm semi-retired now but still do a little freelance. A while ago, I worked for BBC, UK Amazon offshoot etc. all of whom were big Perl shops. It's 'unusual' probably because of Larry Wall's background but natural (Do what I mean) and concise but readable (unlike APL, for example). Those that complain that it's 'line noise' need to write comments (remember those?) use use perltidy more often. Meanwhile CPAN, if one is selective, gives a lot of extra productivity.

I went to the London Perl Workshop yesterday: great day out, good community and, as usual I learnt a lot. Will try Perl 6 for something small this year too. I understand that it looks alien and takes some getting used to, but it's a great language.

Comment Binary buying (Score 1) 106

Not as in 0s and 1s, but as in razors, if you buy Gillette, you have to buy specific blades, until you are tired of the razor. Or as in ink cartridges, especially HP, and Tassimmo drink capsules etc. etc. I've also been supplied with a TV remote that has a specific button for the cable supplier's 'store' so I can easily get more digital stuff.

Of course, usually there's some kind of intellectual property lock that prevents others entering the supply market. I use non-HP in my printer but it complains that they are 'counterfeit', something that's fine by me but may scare non-tech consumers.

Comment Re:And us too - soon (Score 1) 394

Actually this goes as far back as Hobbes, you give up your freedom to a sovereign in return for 'protection'. I'm a Brit, old, and reasonably fed up with this shit. Whilst I know that I can't shut Theresa May's (now being called the Pry Minister on Twitter) government out, I can create (and encourage others to create) a great deal of friction dropping gmail for a German privacy-enhanced mail service, starting to use VPN, and being more active with my public key (not that people use it much, but it's symbolic protest as well).

I'd encourage others to do the same, though it means spending a little more. I haven't anything much to hide, but as the famous placard in the doctors strike said I am really rather fed up with this. Here, these are fighting words.

Comment Ever since the 1970s (Score 1) 332

I started in the industry in about 1976, can't remember exactly, too old.

However, ever since my entry (and probably before) the whole industry has been trend and hype driven. Death of goto and spaghetti (haha alive and well), thin clients (no alternative when there were just VT100s), then thick clients (PC), then thinnish clients (PCs without a lot of power), HIPO (instead of flowcharts), various design methods (Jackson, structured etc), waterfall , spiral, pair, agile, peer, client-server, objects-bad (things that modelled data and code in the same 'space' considered bad), objects-good, object-Stalinism (everything is an object, if you really push on it), functional and we're about up to 'now'.

Then, of course, succession of languages, Cobol, PL/1, Filetab, C, C++, Python, Perl, Ruby, Javascript and now frameworks, Ruby on Rails being the frothiest in living memory. Not forgetting Codasyl, Relational, NoSQL and Graph (Neo4j etc.) until the next thing.

An optimistic view would be that all this is 'progress', but (call me old and cynical, I am) one can make a mess with any methodology, architecture, framework, and language, however ancient, however modern. That said, I'm against most of the agile school because I constantly see quickly added, ill-considered, unnecessary, architecture challenging, and undocumented features being added because "we're in a sprint", this is the current version of 'make a mess faster'.

Comment Re:Education is either profitable, or it isn't. (Score 2) 89

Well, is that you Milton Friedman, when we all believed (hoped) you were dead? Actually education is a 'public good' and that is the 'profit' from it. It's the benefit (or potential benefit) to a society so that it is not full of near-cave-people with ill-considered opinions and semi-automatic weapons. Oh, wait...

Comment Re:Actually, this is worrying (Score 1) 69

Agree somewhat. But you probably only have a sample of all the possible datasets, extreme events will upset the apple cart. That and the lack of explanatory power are both a worry. To some extent, I hope we don't have to find out the hard way. Incidentally, it's worth watching the depiction (human factors in) a control room emergency in this: old film, but still rather relevant.

Comment Actually, this is worrying (Score 1) 69

I'm old, spent 40 years sweating over a hot computer. That said, this is worrying. As other commentators on this thread have said, this is predictable and useful in many ways. In the 1980s I worked with SYSTRAN: which worked (works?) on pairs and the EU Commission, which has a huge translation burden was looking for pivots, even then.

However, consider this, a neural net that takes care of business in an oil refinery (or worse, nuclear installation) 'decides' that it can knock up a much more efficient control language. That's rational and perhaps beneficial, but, at that stage, there's also a creeping loss of control/comprehension in a system that controls actuators: Also from 1983, a much cited paper that is also is debated in the fly-by-wire community (pdf alert!):

So, long story short, I'm not at all sure about surrendering control, somewhat unconsciously as a by-product of optimisation, itself (perhaps) a by-product of economics and 'cost effectiveness'. Also, when we deal with neural nets, we deal with the sub-symbolic, a system that is not going to 'explain', just say I did that because of 42. Don't mistake me, I'm not a Luddite, I love a good computer and have plenty at home, but this 'gives pause'.

Comment To do it properly, let's dump Android (Score 3, Interesting) 39

As far as I'm concerned Android is a sticky layer of ugliness, spyiness, syrupiness and general insecurity attached with sticky tape onto the top of a Linux kernel. Most of this shit is written in Java, the COBOL of the 1990s with it's murky license and endless lines of code, to do one little thing.

Secondly as I've said here: I hate apps, now a more influential commentator has followed this line of thought, this week: They break the philosophy and freedom of the web, as if Facebook etc. hadn't done that already (as a friend said, I used to surf but now I visit 'sites').

All in all, my old friend William of Ockham: is spinning in his grave right now and dreaming of a non-Android, non 'apps', non-commercially tied future. Like John Lennon, I'm probably dreaming, but just 'imagine'...

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