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:Word limit not helping (Score 1) 160

It's also that fact that everything has to be a hedge. You can't simply say, "My original research results show that stimulus A causes response B with p<0.5, and this is what I did". The first problem with that sentence is that you have to be both original (work not done before) and not original (work based closely on work someone else has already published, or else it's too much of a leap). The second problem with that sentence is that you have to hedge, saying instead "seems to indicate", or "possibly blah blah". Also you are forced to spend more time explaining what other people have done with references, than explaining your own work. If it takes you more than a paragraph to explain your own work (which shouldn't have references, because it has to original right?) then you "don't have enough references" because every statement you make must be supported by a reference, never mind that the interesting statements are the stuff you shouldn't be able to to reference because it's new stuff.

Regarding word limits: instead of having a strict word limit of 2500 (for example), instead have a hard limit of 5000, and discounts for every hundred words below that, assuming the publishers are taking money to publish... sorry, silly me, of course they are

Comment TL;DR GitLab/Git (Score 1) 325

As far as your basic requirements are concerned, pretty much any major (git, svn, mercurial) open source version control system will cater for them, with some third party (mostly) free tools. Local server, well established, open source, email notification via hooks, extensive (if not easy to read) documentation ... all of these would be covered by the VCS itself. Single sign on integration with Active Directory (AD) can probably be set up using an LDAP extension. Many windows clients exist, most catering to several VCSs at once; which are good and which are bad, I often find is a matter of personal taste. Tortoise* and sourcetree seem to be the most popular at the moment. Tests are generally a matter for the project itself, i.e. part of the code, and automating testing based on source control activity (e.g. test on new commits) can also be done using scripting hooks, although you might prefer some kind of continuous integration system like jenkins.

For your 'nice-to-haves'; you would be looking at a third party stack. I personally would recommend gitlab. It comes with baked in issue tracking, project wikis for documentation/planning, email notifications without you having to script hooks, LDAP/AD integration (iirc, never used it myself), merge/pull requests (i.e. a form of code review). You can attach/upload files of any type to issues/comments/wiki pages, not sure if that's what you are looking for. Alternatively, you could look at gitstack, which just fits into your price range and covers most of the maintenance/admin headaches by the looks of it. I've never used, found it by googling.

Finally, git (and possibly mercurial and svn) has a way to sign off commits using a GPG key. This work flow is also accessible through gitlab. Basically, a change is made and committed to branch which is then pushed to the gitlab server. This generates a pull request to some pre-designated branch (e.g. trunk/development/whatever). When the pull request is approved, it can be signed using the approver's GPG key. I'm not sure is this covers your specific use case; I'm afraid I'm not sure exactly what you want from the signing part of your requirements

DISCLAIMER: This advice is based exclusively on personal experience, does not constitute legal advice, makes no guarantee of merchantability or fitness to a particular purpose implied or otherwise, did not harm any kittens in the making thereof, and may cause the reader distress by making them learn something.

Comment Re:I can't say I fully agree (Score 1) 637

It's not about our cognitive ability to predict the the future. It's about our evaluation of the importance long term threats, meaning not days or weeks into the future, but decades. What we suck at is assigning importance to it. In this sense, yes we choose to ignore the problem, because there are more pressing problems of the day, and we do know better. Of course, part of the problem is that we rationalise the choice. We come up with arguments against the acting in mitigation of the predicted risk based on various well known psychological shortcomings, e.g. confirmation bias (we support counter arguments that are false), framing (over simplifying the problem), etc ...

Submission + - Carnegie Mellon Reeling After Uber Poaches Top Robotics Researchers (wsj.com)

ideonexus writes: In February, Carnegie Mellon and Uber announced a partnership to develop driverless-car technology. After raising $5 billion from investors, Uber used the money to poach 40 of the university's researchers and scientists, offering them bonuses of hundreds of thousands of dollars and doubling their salaries. This has left the world's top robotics research institution in a crisis.

Submission + - How the DEA harasses and robs train passengers (theatlantic.com)

schwit1 writes: Evidence suggests that the Drug Enforcement agency routinely detains, searches, and then steals from train passengers under the guise of searching for drugs.

This story isn't from some a libertarian website, but from the Atlantic. It describes the routine abuse of power by agents, often resulting in the theft of cash.

Submission + - After A Year of Secret Field-Testing, Brain-Controlled Bionic Legs Are Here (popsci.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Today, an Icelandic prosthetic-maker announced that two amputees have been testing brain-controlled bionic legs for over a year. The devices respond to impulses in the subjects' residual limbs, via sensors that took were implanted in simple, 15-minute-long procedures. This is a huge step forward (sorry) for this class of bionics, which may like a solved problem based on reports and videos from laboratories, but that has never been exposed to real world use and everyday wear and tear. Here's my story for Popular Science, including insight from one of the two testers.

Submission + - Operation Tropic Trooper targets Taiwan and Philippines to unearth state secrets (thestack.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Taiwan and the Philippines have been revealed as the latest targets in the ongoing campaign ‘Operation Tropic Trooper’ – a three year-old cyberattack employing old hacking tactics to target government bodies and leading businesses. According to research by security experts Trend Micro, Tropic Trooper hackers had been exploiting Windows vulnerabilities, social engineering and standard steganography to infiltrate the IT systems of Taiwanese and Philippine government agencies, military institutions, as well as national companies involved in heavy industry. The research report also highlighted that the successful hacks using traditional techniques could have been easily prevented or at least better dealt with had the victims implemented proactive antimalware detection technologies and security training processes.

Comment Re:Ownership and Appreciation (Score 1) 142

As nice as communism sounds, there's an inherent problem with rentals.

Yes, but I'd argue that most those problems are introduced by capitalist renting out in the first place

Anyone who's been a landlord knows that people don't take care stuff they don't own. Rental cars are abused, apartments are damaged and left uncleaned, taxis are smelly, public toilets are filthy and broken down.

Rental cars are abused because generally because as the renter you know you are already paying overheads and they are built into your rental fee. Rental cars are often cleaner than privately owned cars because they are cleaned between every rental, i.e. every few days. The insurance on rental cars is expensive compared to insurance I can get privately, so yeah, I'll happily leave fast food wrappers in the car and not hassle about a scratch, because it's covered. I've already paid for the repairs and the cleaning anyway.

Then let's look at taxis. They get used roughly 8x more than privately owned cars hour for hour. They also are generally not a cheap form transport. It's the taxi owner/driver's responsibility to keep it clean, and they generally charge appropriately. Whether they actually clean or not, different story. To be fair though, 8x usage does mean cleaning gets difficult, and there's a reasonable expectation on the driver/owner's side that people are going to treat the taxi with some respect and not puke or litter casually. However, in the course of a day, scrunched up till slips, gum wrappers, etc accumulate no matter how much care is taken.

Public toilets, covers a wide variety of installations. Some have cleaning tools available for users to clean u after themselves, so can brush out the bowl if necessary. But those get stolen (god knows who'd want to steal a toilet brush from a public toilet though) and broken. Again, they are generally cheap plastic tools that are used far more than they were ever designed to be used. Then you get toilets where there are no tools, but cleaning staff. Those tend to be clean, and you either pay for those directly, or they're subsidized like mall toilets. From personal experience, toilets get filthy through use. Night clubs and bars are the worst because they probably see the most usage with the least cleaning. Free public toilets on the street would be next, but I wouldn't call either of those rentals.

And now housing. This is the first case where usage between the average rental and the average privately owned property is generally the same. Except, if as the owner of a house, I scratch or scuff the wall, I can use crack filler and paint carefully over it to my own satisfaction. As a renter, the same offence means I have to repaint an entire wall, which is the owner taking a chance in my opinion. I suppose it comes down to expectations. If you owns your own place, you're happy to put with minor cosmetic issues, but if you rent, you expect perfection. So in the case, the owner is perhaps justified. The non-cosmetic differences are generally the owner's responsibility to take care of, and here you are absolutely right. Rental apartments are never taken of by their owners as if they were their own. If my toilet/geyser/plumbing breaks, I call get it repaired within 24 hours. If I'm renting, especially through an agency, it can takes days, often nearly a week. Then there's cleanliness. Where I live, if you're renting, when you move in the place is supposed to be clean (it often isn't very) and empty (assuming unfurnished rental). When you leave, you must leave it clean, and agencies administering rentals will call in a cleaning service, prior to inspection, to clean the place, and deduct the costs from your deposit. Since that happened to me the first time, I asked the rental agency every time if this was they're MO, and if it was, well since I'd already paid for the cleaning service regardless, I'd happily leave the place as a wreck.

I can't think of any rental system off the top that consistently presents clean and well-maintained equipment without enormous amounts of time and effort.

There's a thing in economics called "unequal knowledge" which explains why used cars have little value. The seller knows whether the vehicle is robust, but the buyer has no realistic way to tell. You can't tell whether the transmission needs replacing or the engine oil was ever changed or if other expensive repairs are needed. Because the buyer can't verify whether the vehicle is good, he will only pay "average" price. Because buyers will only pay average price, sellers won't sell vehicles which have above-average value.

Construction equipment costs upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars. I can't see someone renting out a bulldozer and taking a chance that the renter didn't run it without oil for a weekend.

There are plenty of rental systems that are consistently clean, but yes, they do take lots of time and effort. Hotels, upmarket car rentals, expensive apartment blocks... to name a few. The key is that where the rental usage is much higher than privately owned, you have to clean/service/maintain/replace the consumer grade equipment far more often than if it were privately owned and sitting on a shelf for 90% of it's life span. Private cars are designed to be driven maybe 2 hours a day, and to have a fifteen year lifespan on average. Rental cars are probably driven twice as much if not more, so why would you expect the lifespan to stay the same. Also, when it comes to short term rentals, the "unequal knowledge" argument doesn't apply, because as a renter, if the item I'm renting is defective, I can return it, and either get my money back, or get a replacement item. I don't care whether it has latent defects, because it's not my problem.

Comment Re:Why we use office (Score 2) 178

I'm aware of the difference between Calc and gnumeric, but I was trying to answer the question of "what is considered a basic task?" which isn't exactly dependent on a specific piece of software. I have more experience with gnumeric, as I pointed out. And yes, once you hit large spreadsheets, you should use a database, but often I have to deal with large datasets that are stored in databases and *exported* as .csv files for analysis, or with .csv files dumped directly from sensors or other devices. Whilst I'm writing the programs that either produce or consume these, it's often easier to view them in a spreadsheet, rather than a text file layout, because the visual distinction of column is preserved. I admit, that this is probably not a common use case though, and hence not a "basic task", but databases aren't great at data analysis, which is why this stuff often gets loaded into a spreadsheet, this is where statistics applications come in. Good luck getting Bossman McMBA to use something like that. So I'd say this is probably somewhere between "basic" and "advanced". I would like to throw one more thing into the hat though, and that is the MS Word is appalling at handling large documents (40 pages plus, depending on the machine). LO/OO writer is much better in this regard, and I do regard this as a "basic task"; There are many business documents (quarterly reports, impact assessments, white papers, blah) and even personal documents (academic dissertations, and student projects, home authorship of books) that can get this large.

Comment Re:Why we use office (Score 2) 178

Okay, God forbid, I'm actually going to try and treat this fairly. Firstly, recent incarnations of MS Word work using semantic styling, but don't force you to use it. This is much the same as in OO/LO. In general MS tools load files a LOT faster, and are more visually appealing (granted, eye of the beholder and all that), however they don't handle large files. Try opening a 400Mb .csv file in Excel vs in Gnumeric. As far as user friendly interfaces are concerned, I'd say they are both about equally klunky. The ribbon is a menu, really, just looks a little different. Some people prefer it, some people don't.

Now, the "basic tasks" concept. Basic tasks for word processing to me include: writing a letter, writing business document (contract, memo, invoice, quote, waybill, meeting minutes), creating/using templates for those standard documents, designing home flyers (lost dogs, bake sales etc) . These generally require the following 'features' from the software: text manipulation, text formatting, image insertion and basic manipulation (resizing, placement, possibly cropping), tables, tab stops, template editing, headers, footers, page numbering, and text->image conversions (e.g. for banner headings). Both OO/LO and MS Word do all these about equally well imho.

Advanced features: Mail Merge, Mathematical equation editing, Track changes/revision control, cross referencing (index, citations, bibliography, table of contents, list of images etc)

As far as the spreadsheets go, excel and gnumeric are very similar in features as far as I've used them. Never used OO/LO Calc, so I can't say. I suppose charts might be a distinguishing factor, but again, I rarely use charts generated from spreadsheets.

Presentation software (Powerpoint, Impress) seems to be where things really start to differentiate. More transitions, and more bling, in general, is available to PowerPoint users, and compatibility is HORRIBLE even between between powerpoint versions, let alone PP and OO/LO.

In summary: as far basic word processing goes, I don't see a marked difference apart from aesthetics. For Maths, they're both pretty horrible. Track changes they're both about the same (revision control in word processing sucks generally), and I'm not sure about mail merge

Slashdot Top Deals

If a thing's worth having, it's worth cheating for. -- W.C. Fields