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Comment Re:The other option - IBM Lotus symphony (Score 1) 247

No, this is merely pointing out that the other big manufacturers of shovels have versions which work, but also have sequins on them, and they outsell this brand by so many to one it's not even funny.

Some people might not care about market share, but to the extent we want big companies tosupport linux, we need them tosupport the office suites we use. For that we need market share, and for that we need a compelling product.

Comment Re:The other option - IBM Lotus symphony (Score 1) 247

In part yes, it's got the same underlying base anyway, so it's akin to saying that there is something "funny"about wanting a bedroom in a color you like- hey, all room do basicaly the same thing, right?

If I'm going to spend thousands of hours looking at it, you bet I want it to look good.this is what open source software designers need to understand if they want to compete in todays market

Comment Re:The other option - IBM Lotus symphony (Score 2) 247

What I like about it is the more modern UI. The tabbed look it has is a metaphor I think a lot of people would get. I also think that the subtle blue colour works well compared to the dated grey-brown that we have in Libre office. The icons also have a nicer look to them, though I don't know if this is just an effect of the generally higher level of polish.

But don't think that these are trivial things. They matter both for how many people will use it, but also for productivity. It's important to have something which works visually too.

Comment The other option - IBM Lotus symphony (Score 2) 247

While I think this is good news, I wanted to say, generally, that I think IBM Lotus symphony is far better than other OO.org variants. I'm quite amazed that people don't really seem to consider it. If you've not tried it, you really should. It was also recently donated to the Apache foundation. But the most important think, I think is that it's actually the first office suite I've used in a long time that feels like it offers a compelling alternative to MA office, not only that it is as good where it masters, but that it is actually better in some regards.

I wish they'd get it out as the default in big distros, actually.

Comment Books and data quality (Score 1) 20

To be fair, the corpus is much more rounded for the 1800-2000 English cloud, which is what they use in the science article.

Now, I'm not saying that all the data is perfect, I've found some issues - but if you actually look at the additionall materials for the science article they talk a fair bit about how theye made sure the data were good. And they spent a lot of time looking into it. I personality it. Data doesn't have to be perfect to be useful. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Comment Can doesn't mean should (Score 2) 98

Don't get me wrong, I like libraries. I use them fairly frequently too, actually. But the single biggest factor for me about a library is the number and quality of books. Wi-Fi is nice, though I have mobile internet with me most of the time anyway. Plasma screens usually just relay simple info that could be covered by a sign.

I don't want to disparage technology - but it's much less important than the books (and good chairs...).

Is it now time to get off your lawn?

Comment Re:0.87 (Score 1) 412

If you want the data off it I'd say use something like Magic Rescue, it works really well for scanning through devices at the low level and pulling out files (it saved me a few times). Then you could just try and write a new fs on it and hope for the best.

Of course, YMMV. Ask about it on something like fedoraforum or the ubuntu one and people there should be able to help you more, if you need it

Comment Re:Oss 4 in fedora? (Score 1) 427

I don't know, but I would just say congratulations on getting audio to work at all on fedora. I'm still on Fedora 10, but whilst sound used to work perfectly in Fedora Core 5 it seemed to just stop working sometime around fedora 9 and hasn't worked properly since.

Interestingly the only solutions to my audio problems I read from people online were hacks like "change the sound up and down in alsa and it might start to work...". It's hardly a ringing endorsement of the audio on Linux. The first priority should be to make audio work on all systems that physically have the capacity for it before worrying about the more esoteric configuration options.

Comment Re:Numismats (Score 1) 153

Reference-wise I'd say it might be worth having a look in the front of "Coins of England" (i.e. the standard catalogue) by Spink, the last copy I bought did have some fairly good advice about how to spot fakes, but ultimately I think that experience is really the best guide. I know I have seen some on ebay that I was sure were fake just from looking at a picture of because you have a general idea of what actual silver looks like (it turns out I was right and someone, inadvertently I think, got some negative feedback). The other info you have on ebay of course is you know the sort of things that the person whose selling it usually sells and so you can to some extent rely on them; if they have over 1000 coin sales and 100% positive feedback I think you can afford to be fairly trusting.

That's not to say that I'd hold myself up as an expert, it takes many years really to have a really good hit rate on well made fakes and I think that on a pretty decent fake my chances of getting it for sure would be about 50% - not bad but not great. Of course on the really well made fake my chance of knowing definitively would be about 0%... I suppose this is the reason that they spent about 6 months analysing the Coenwolf I gold penny before it went on auction; it can be just that hard to tell even for experts with all the devices you could ask for to aid in the investigation. And if they struggled to say definitively you can bet that we would have no idea.

With regards to archaeological findings it's important to remember that there are really two types of "fakes". The new ones which come up on ebay, not worth anything really, don't tell us anything useful about any time other than our own (but you're probably a lot less interested in that anyway). The old ones which were made at the time are more interesting even though they are often of worse quality (I've got a Henry VIII coin made of lead which, obviously, has been rubbed pretty badly) but are far more historically interesting because it tell us more about the people who were around. A large quantity of old fakes would be a really interesting finding which would be pretty important because it may be evidence of large scale forging in the past which may tell us more about law and order in the time period.

"Hard to explain" may make the findings more interesting, remember though that coins could have been dropped and pushed a little way into the ground and so might seem like they are in slightly odd places (but obviously a Henry III penny shouldn't be under a roman floor). If you suspect that the metal dectorists might be actively lying to you then I guess it makes the problem more difficult. I think that if they are bringing in things like gold anglo-saxon pennies then you'd need to contact real experts anyway - but given how rare they are I might be suspicious at first. If they are bringing in slightly poor looking (i.e. "about fine") Henry III pennies then I'd say they have no reason to lie about it - they're not worth that much (I bought one for £5) so I think it'd probably be easier just to get a real job.

Still, if they are posing a lot of challenges for your analysis then you might still want to get them checked out. If you took them to a local coin dealer in person and explained the situation (i.e. that you're part of a historical society and aren't in it for the money) they might be willing to help you out for free just to give you a general overview of what's real and what's fake. Failing that appraisers will do it thoroughly but at a cost (Spink in london will tell you everything you could ever want to know about a coin and give it a professional grade - this will increase the value but comes at a cost).

Comment Re:Numismats (Score 5, Informative) 153

as someone who owns a Roman coin I've looked into this (I've only got the one because my collection is primarily of hammered English silver coins). Silver which has been out of the ground and moulded for 2000 years or so takes on some certain characteristics which set it apart as being old, so you do actually need old coins to pull off convincing fakes. How they make money on it is in melting down (or at least heating up) the coins and then remoulding them into more expensive (i.e. rarer) coins. The roman coin I've got was a little over £20 (from a reputable dealer) because it is of an unpopular Emperor and was found with a lot of others - if you can re-hammer a £20 coin into a £200 coin you can see where the profit comes from

What really bothers me about all this though is less the ripping people off (which is annoying, but so far I don't think I've been got - hint: buying only relatively inexpensive coins and insisting on knowing providence on more expensive ones helps) but more that these people are destroying the world's history to turn some quick money now (for the same reason I don't support irresponsible metal detector users - you need to report any important find!)

Comment security as a continuum (Score 2, Insightful) 470

What I would try and convince the people of who you are working with is that security is a continuum running from almost totally secure to almost completely insecure (to the extent that there is such a thing), so in reality pretty much no OS will be completely secure. What is interesting, I think, is that usability is inversely related to security. If you imagine that an OS which wouldn't allow you to write to the disk and wouldn't allow you on the internet you can imagine that when security is that high you'll get almost no usability.

with that in mind I would advocate trading a lot of usability for security - you could have an encrypted disk and run a terminal with something like nano and lynx installed - this would be pretty damn secure especially if you were running it on fairly secure hardware (did Intel ever fix the security issue that theo de raat was talking about in the Core 2s?) with something like OpenBSD as the core. This, I think would allow you (after some modifications) to allow pretty robust security. A downside though is that I'm pretty sure you might be compelled to run in English as I'm not sure how good the language support is for this sort of thing (with no GUI I can't imagine it would be great). Even so, I think if your data security is important (and lets face it, in this situation it probably is) then the trade-off might be worth while.

Of course, perhaps the more gaping hole in security is the user themselves, who could always reveal all the information they had to anyone... XKCD said it better - http://xkcd.com/538/

Comment Re:Reference management software (Score 1) 211

My note taking system is based on standard word-processing which creates three copies.

I write the notes straight into, say, Word (its just what we have at the uni), then print them and then copy them into Jabref. This does probably create more copies than I need but I don't really need the space on my USB drive and I get free printing, so it's not too bad for me but it would work just as well with fewer copies.

I do keep the PDFs but I don't really go back to them after I've read through them. In terms of how I note I do something along the lines of putting the title of the article and the author and year at the top and then do something like:

"item 1 shares the largest pairwise coefficient with item 7"

Or I would do:

Notes the importance of item 7 on item 1...

This allows me to go back to the notes and then get usable quotes which I can use directly, or cite in the usual way (which is what you'd have to do in the second example anyway). This does create a lot of notes, but they don't really get unmanageable and because you've read the article it makes it a lot easier to go back through notes you've made.

Moreover in Jabref it searches through the whole lot, so it's really easy to search through it etc. (using regex no less). I'd definitely recommend this way of doing things to anyone who is hoping to stay in academia because it builds up a great library which is easily searchable and it shows you what you've read (as well as being easy to use with LaTeX). It would be better if I'd know about this at the start of my BA.

Comment Re:Reference management software (Score 2, Interesting) 211

I agree. I'm in the first year of my PhD and I've been making an effort to build an extensive bibtex database because it provides everything I need in terms of references and notes. What I do is read a paper, make pretty extensive notes on it and then put them in the abstract section of Jabref so that when you use the search function for terms it searches through all the relevant text in the article for what you work on. I've also tried to put down some keywords which are related just to make sure that they're linked with the article. Then if I want to know everything I've ever read on, say, political corruption it's just a search away.

If you wanted to add papers you've not digitized your notes for then you could put in the references and just a few quick keywords. Papers you don't have you can search through google scholar to find them. It works OK.

I've also been impressed with Papers for OSX, but Jabref can move systems really easily and is GPL.

Comment Re:No offense but sick of hearing this (Score 1) 229

but sometimes people who aren't programmers have good ideas which ought to be implemented but which don't occur to people working in the industry.

For example, why don't we have a root/user distinction on email? you could set it up so the user account could read the mail but not reply or delete it and the root account had full "regular" control - then if you wanted to view mail using an unsecured computer that would be fine; even if someone did steal your password they could at best be an annoyance to you (so long as you don't have loads of passwords stored there). It would make it so much easier to check email whilst you were staying with family who think an unsecured copy of XP is "good enough".

Or why can't we have some sort of news source linking system which can automatically pull stories which were posted after the one you are looking at and place links to them so that you get a better idea of the time-line of progression.

I'm sure the first would be easy to implement into a mail system... the second might be easy but I have no idea how you would do that. Anyway, the point is, if we keep on having the ideas someone who can implement them might do and everyone benefits. If nothing else it might provide prior art to stop some corporate hacks from patenting is
Linux Business

Submission + - Not so implemented: Ubuntu Dell costs $225 more

An anonymous reader writes: One week ago the post titled Ubuntu Dell $50 Cheaper Than Vista Dell was linked to the Dell IdeaStorm page with the suggestion "Ubuntu $50 less than Windows". The status was "implemented". Today the status has changed on the same pages to "Reneged: Ubuntu Dell is $225 More Than Windows Dell". The full price of a Ubuntu Inspiron 1420N is in fact $50 cheaper compared to the same identical hardware configuration with Vista, except that a $275 free upgrade to 2GB memory and 160 GB hard drive is available for Windows only. At the time of this post, the free disk and RAM promotions are still available for Vista and Vista only on the Dell web site.

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