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Comment Stop Remaking My Desktop (Score 1) 729

An open message to the Gnome Devs: We don't want a new interface! We are happy with our crusty old UI! Don't change it to attract new users, or to imitate Apple or Microsoft's UI's. We use X-Windows and/or Gnome because it is not like either of those platforms. You've already lost the desktop war; don't lose your user base as well through stupid changes. P.S. You don't need to revamp the start menu with each release; we're happy with it as it is as well.

Comment Consider the Arduino (Score 1) 525

Rather than buying a book on programming for your son, you might want to start him with something real-world that he can make tangible changes with. At stores like Radio Shack and MicroCenter, they sell electronics kits featuring an Arduino microcontroller board. These things are *seriously* fun to play with because its so simple to write code for them. The language you program them in is actually C/C++, but the libraries provided make the C++ look more like javascript. There is a rather large community surrounding the platform, and a whole bunch of 3rd party add-on kits for making them do nifty things.

I think the most important thing at your son's age is for him to be able to write a small fragment of code & see its effect. Something as basic and accessible as an Arduino is perfect for this type of experimentation. To link you to a few resources, the main arduino site is You can find examples of some of the cool add-ons at

You might even have some fun with one of these things yourself!

Comment Interesting... (Score 1) 269

I find this kind of interesting... While I haven't yet played with Android yet (or for that matter Windows on a netbook), this does seem to be an interesting development. I would *really* like to see a performance comparison between Android and Windows on the same netbook; both from a speed and resource consumption standpoint.

Overall, I really like the idea of Android, but think the platform is still too new for anyone to really pay it any serious attention. What really needs to happen is for cell phone manufacturers to have a compelling reason to use it on their cell phones.

That being said, I think Android is going to slowly whither away as a technological footnote over the next several years.

Comment Mixed views... (Score 2, Insightful) 486

I'm a C++ developer, and I'm mixed on this decision... On one hand, memcpy is a function that you can really hurt yourself with. On the other, it maps to extremely fast assembly that most processors can perform very quickly. There is a time & a place for everything. I think that a memcpy inside a class' constructor or assignment functions is perfectly acceptable, yet doing a memcpy(&destclass, &fromclass, sizeof(destclass)) is fundamentally dumb for more reasons than I care to illucidate (read one of Stroudstrup's or Meyer's books on C++ if you want to know). Doing something like that *really* demonstrates that you don't know the language.

I guess Microsoft is trying to get people that don't understand C++ to program better in the language. IMHO, this will not solve fundamental problems with people programming C++, just cause them to learn the language slower by not having an experience working through a bastard of a bug. I think the world (and not just MS) needs to realize that writing a piece of complex software is difficult. Bugs like an errant memcpy of a subclass into a baseclass instance are *very* easy bugs to solve if you're looking for them. Memory overwrites are easy to detect if you are looking for them. Bad pointers are easy to detect if you're looking for them.

Such problems will always exist in software. I've found a fair number in my own code. What we *really* need to do is train a better caliber of programmer. OTOH, Microsoft seems hell-bent on trying to make writing software easy to do


Submission + - Astronauts Hooks Up Harmony in Lengthy Spacewalk (

Tech.Luver writes: "Astronauts spent seven hours in space to finish preparing the International Space Station for its next addition — Europe's first permanent space laboratory, the Columbus laboratory — which is sitting in the cargo bay of space shuttle Atlantis at Cape Canaveral, Florida launch pad — set to lift off on December 6. International Space Station Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Daniel Tani completed a 7-hour, 4 minute spacewalk at 11:54 a.m. EST Saturday, continuing the external outfitting of the Harmony node in its new position in front of the US laboratory Destiny. The spacewalkers completed all scheduled tasks, including another look at the starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joint, and did some get-ahead work as well. ( )"

Submission + - Microsoft Identifies IP in Linux

jschmerge writes: Fortune magazine is running a story, in which Steve Balmer is describing Linux as infringing upon 235 patents that it holds. No specificity (ala SCO) is mentioned in the article, but it looks like we might start to see the battle lines forming here... Then again, Steve Balmer might just be blowing some more smoke.
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - PC Games Bring Industry to $13.5 Billion in 2006

njkid1 writes: "The PC gaming industry had a decent year in 2006, bringing in revenue of almost $1 billion. Adding this in to the video game totals from last week, and total industry reached nearly $13.5 billion in the U.S. during 2006. The top PC game was World of Warcraft. /?id=14997&ncid=AOLGAM000500000000018"

Submission + - Nobel Prize Winners Live Longer

anthemaniac writes: A new study finds those who won Nobel Prizes between 1901 and 1950 lived about 2 years longer than nominees who didn't win. The researchers conclude that the instantly conferred social status leads to health benefits. From the story: 'The research rules out the possibility that intervening prize-related money itself adds the years through improved prosperity.' If you're thinking of aiming for the prize, pick the right field. Nobel laureates in physics lived nearly a year longer than winners in chemistry.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Army Establishes Psyops Branch 3

"Effective 16 October 2006, Psychological Operations was established as a basic branch of the Army, pursuant to the authority of Section 3063(a)(13), Title 10, United States Code."

That is the substance of General Order 30 (pdf) issued by Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey on January 12, 2007.

Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Hacking TiVo: 23 Tips to Turbocharge Your DVR

An anonymous reader writes: Learn to modify your Tivo or DVR to show Caller ID on your TV when you get a phone call, store over 5 times more recordings than a standard dvr, transfer files to and from your PC and more...

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The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.