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


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:If you or something you did was noteworthy: (Score 1) 126

Some choice, eh? Sheesh. Long way off, natch, but I still have to wonder a bit about who or what might yet be around - some disembodied intelligence losing itself to entropy, becoming enfeebled, dim, with enough fading wit to know it's dying.

Oddly enough, Bucky Fuller in (I'm going by really faded memory here) volume one of Synergy around where he gave his hierarchy of concept, mused that maybe the purpose of intelligence in Universe was to counter entropy. I have no idea, other than it's something interesting to be going on with.

Some hold that Life is an organizing force. A far-fetched extrapolation would be for Life to influence or alter the eventual thermodynamic outcome.

One would be curious to see how things turn out.

Comment Re:Macs, not just for product placement (Score 1) 165

Now that is one fine story.

Closest I ever got (and a long, shallow distance from you, to be sure) was helping some friends with the Altair we got in '78, I think it was. That spring we got a surplus teletype from the college and bread-boarded an interface so's we could do I/O with the paper punch tape. Still, fun - except for the part about getting the teletype down the basement stairs.

Comment Re:Depends (Score 1) 126

I'd like to have some of the stuff from GEnie - there was some good discussion, some stuff that would now be Internet or computer history as told by the people who were there. Ditto a few things from CompuServe and Delphi. Not to mention the files libes for use with an old OS or two running in emulators (there are a few apps, for instance, for which I've found no modern examples with the same capability - or ease of use for that capability.)

Your last paragraph: amen. Lot of good info now lost - or at the least not readily found. A newer example, maybe, is that pages, information, even whole sites went missing after 9/11. Items in public domain, gone. At least, to my casual searching, looking for some things I'd read and wanted to get back to.

The whole preservation idea gets weird; why preserve old Victorian romances, for instance. Maybe somebody finds use for them for a thesis. Who knows? Is it worth hanging on to... how much? And what? How do we predict what a mind yet unborn will find of interest or use? I'm guessing that with increasing storage density, better search and data mining, a lot will get saved; and yet, as with every generation, a lot will be lost. Do we need to know how to make button-hook shoes? In a hundred years will we need to know how to change a spark plug? But yeah, that weird face you made at that frat party will live on....


Comment Re:I, for one, do **NOT** want to be remembered (Score 1) 126

In older days people had a family Bible with entries for births and so forth; scrapbooks; photo albums. "That was your great-grandmother's rocking chair." "Your old uncle Charlie got these drafting tools when he went to work for Glenn Martin." And so on.

Nowadays, families and friends are scattered - and much in the way of family mementos as well. Is it worth anything to be remembered? And how will that be done?

I've built a few things that ought to last for a while, tho I doubt anyone will remember the builder - my satisfaction there is the knowing of what I've done. If along the way I manage to say/write something interesting or witty or even just a funny story about an experience, I wouldn't mind if it's recalled down the road. But on the Internet at large? I dunno. I guess if something got left behind that another found useful or amusing I'd be happy with that - and I likely wouldn't care if I got credit for it. Now, it might be different if I wrote the next Great American novel or something, but that's a whole 'nother category. Even then I have to figure the idea is more important than the thinker; bodies go to worms, ideas can stick around a while.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 236

Two questions: what is capital? Where did it come from?

You use the term "productive wealth" - which I've met before, and have often found it to be a code phrase; then you use "confiscate" as, I'm guessing, a euphemism for tax. So I'm also curious - how would you go about rationalizing the existing way of doing things? I suppose I have a third question, first: what is the purpose of wealth? Or perhaps, what is the proper use of wealth?

(Some clarification, I guess, seeking some common definition. Likely my bad, but I tend to use this long-held definition for starters - a rich person has money; a wealthy person own things whereby people get rich.)

Comment Re:The Solution is Obvious (Score 1) 829

That's good to know about the XP vm hardware and drivers - makes it an even more compelling solution.

I can dig it about the graphics - the laptop I'm using is an late '09 Toshiba Satellite with a Turion II 520m. It's not bad for what it is (and onboard Radeon 4250, I think). It's running Ubuntu 12.04.3 (drat, 'cuz that broke my Crossover install of Steam/Civ V, with the shift in labeling 386 libraries) but when I still had Win7 64-bit on it it did manage to run Civ with DX11, albeit not all that quickly. But I got it on sale for more general use anyway, not expecting to run anything too demanding. Works fine for an older machine.

If I can get out from under some of my medical-related costs this coming year so's to be able to get components, I'm gonna have to dig into the Bobcat; I keep running across folks using old machines, and not all of them because they can't afford to upgrade a bit. But I tell you now, after an initial setup and security guide*, if they're going to stay with XP I will _not_ do Windows washing for them. I had enough of that when I helped out at my buddy's store a few years ago. (In the rush to profit, the computer industry did 'most everyone a great disservice by marketing PCs in the manner of appliances, IMHFO, even if it did give the AV biz a huge boost, spawn the help-desk end of things, and created some jobs for those with the stomach and patience to clean a dirty system. After a while, one could well understand the "reformat and re-install" answer to most any problem - it was often the simplest and least time-consuming solution.)

*Although, on reflection, if I found an easy way of setting XP up as a vm on either Win7 or a basic Linux host and then giving folks a "reset" button on their desktop to wipe the vm and re-start from a clean snapshot, that'd mean mostly no maintenance - just a short list of tasks for the user to do for themselves on a par with checking the oil level and tire pressure (if you're asked to update, then click yes kind of thing for the host OS.)

One thing I do miss about helping at the store - I like fixing stuff, and I really like being able to help folks out - when they come in to pick up their restored system and you watch their eyes light up 'cuz it works, and it's faster, and I could give 'em a price they could afford... kinda makes one's day.

Comment Re: Install Classic Shell (Score 1) 829

"....worrying too much about petty stuff like how an OS looks or feel...."

Excuse me, but, no. The 'look and feel' were mostly developed at Xerox PARC and continued at DRI with GEM. The windowing GUI was entirely fact-based upon years of careful research done at universities around the country, from basic psychology/human factors outward, and often using grants from DoD and DoE (AEC, I think, at the time); it started with the fundamentals of perception, of visual- cortex shape and color acquisition (icon development), of hand-eye coordination (mouse, light-pen, etc.; menu style and list length, conceptual grouping), control - click, scroll, drag, and the whole shebang analyzed to a fair-thee-well for real, live, measured usability, all feeding into a synthesis that gave us the desktop metaphor with the then-standard classes of icons (file cabinets, etc.) in the computer space.

Much of the original research was done in search of more effective display and control presentations for operators at nuclear power plants and for pilots, as some examples (and along the way the "seven digits for seven steps can be remembered" was validated). For a while Navy and Air Force were largest customers - split roughly twixt HUD/glass cockpit and engineering (nuke ops and missile control; the HUD for sensor integration, target acquisition and fire control for Abrams came out of this as well.) [I don't know how much of the background on all this is still out there, I haven't looked for any of it in almost fifteen years.] All told, nigh twenty years of various pieces of research from myriad sources coalesced to give us, among other things, a basic useful way of handling user-facing chores at the computer.

Current GUI - excuse me, UX design - is willy-nilly throwing much of this hard-won knowledge and fact-based, carefully-crafted interface design parameter set overboard based on.... well, I really don't know what it's based on, but it's not done for greater ease of use by the end user.

Look and feel is precisely the issue for those who spend the workaday in front of a computer working with it. Do whatever it is that needs doing under the hood; the focus ought always be the easiest and most pleasantly effective experience by the person using the software on the machine - and this includes being able to readily and comfortably see and use those parts of the OS they interface - larger window borders for easier re-sizing, scalable fonts, easily-apprehended icons, what have you, for just the simpler elements to start with.

I've watched for forty years and more the widening disconnect between those who spec, design, and build stuff and those who have to use the crap that's churned out - from the location of a drain plug in an oil pan to menu selection of a popular word mangling program.

If somebody is gonna design something new and useful and good, go out in the world and use what's already there, until your knuckles are bloody or you've got eyestrain - then go make better. Please do not gift me with the aftermath of what you pull out of your nethermost because "oooh, shiny."

Comment Re:The Solution is Obvious (Score 1) 829

Nifty solution; thanks for the tip. Alone or with the case, it's a sweet deal.

This approach seems as though it could help out a bunch of people who regard themselves as stuck. Unless they're using some very intensive graphics stuff, I'm gonna guess that the emulated display might could work just fine for them. XP in a vm wouldn't need to ever connect to the Internet. Files could be handled via a shared folder and if needed could be scanned by local or online AV. Use of image copy and snapshot would let one always have a clean sys if anything went wonky anyway.

Comment Re:Legality vs Enforceability (Score 1) 183

"continue distributing the material"

Unless you already have a copy of said DoD archive, how will you distribute what you can't get? Unless you're able to pay the as-yet-unknown fees, or be patient enough to wait ten years, minimum, for unknown future terms and conditions, the public that paid for all this is screwed.

Comment Re:Wrong Focus (Score 2) 37

Good band-wagon PR move, costs little to make and issue the report, and the convenient smoke-screen of openness on the easy stuff while, as you point out, doing nothing on the more substantive intrusions. They got it made in the shade - consumer lock-in for their market share, bulk of business exempt from public utility oversight (we're entertainment, not communications....), exorbitant rates across the board for services and products, and comfortably in bed with both Hollywood and Washington. With a bit of care they're also too large to be bought. Nice work.

Slashdot Top Deals

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry