Saturday, July 28, 2012
In the late '80s I taught intro CS on Macs, and they were utter crap. Cooperative multitasking? One-button mice? Give me a break. A former colleague used to say that a computer user's intelligence is directly proportional to the number of buttons on his mouse. I realize, as did he (I think), that the generalization doesn't hold, but copying and pasting in Windows is really clumsy due to the 2-button mouse limitation, and it's hard to imagine a Mac being any better. Of course, Macs still use one-button mice, and my early-learned disdain for Macs survives, though without any actual Mac usage in the past couple decades.
I've been married more recently than I've spent more than 10 minutes using a Mac.
Is Solaris any better? The word on the street suggests not, especially since Sun got bought out. How about BSD? I want the system to be invisible and let me do my work. I guess I want SunOS 4, but not really...
The biggest albatrosses around Ubuntu/Mint's indistinguishable necks? Unity and Gnome Shell, and the notion that we're more interested in crippling desktop and laptop computers to look like smart phones than in, again, actually getting our work done.
Here is Chick-fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy's statement that sounded tremendously ignorant. From CBS News:
I will not be taking part in any Chick-fil-A boycotts; no need: I never go there anyhow. UMBC unfortunately opened one on campus, and it is unbelievably bad. They have nothing that tastes like chicken.
I might, OTOH, patronize a Chick-fil-A Wednesday as Santorum suggests: "Oh Chick-fil-A, you have such good chicken sandwiches." Of course, we would both know that's not true.
Finally, Steven Colbert weighed in on the issue:
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Different machines have different characteristics, so maybe I want different settings. Maybe I want different bookmarks, history, and apps at home and at work. Maybe I want to try out a setting or an app, but not spread it across all my systems until I decide I like it. Maybe an app is stealing data. Do I want it spread across all my machines quickly and automatically?
I think this is a feature that some people will want. But the way Google is going about it, nagging us to log in every time we start the browser, apparently with no setting to disable the request, feels coercive. And when a corporation attempts coercion, I worry about ulterior motives.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Why do people give shysters like this their money? Interestingly, they provide very little info online. That in itself should be a red flag.
Monday, July 9, 2012
Sunday, July 8, 2012
After a search (powerful idea, no?) of the Kindle help forums and learning there is no search, I sent Amazon customer service a query in case there really was, but no.
So how could a text-based application, like an e-reader, possibly be shipped without a search function? How could Amazon possibly make this omission? Really, how could they consider the Cloud Reader ready to ship without a convenient way of searching a book?
How can an organization that did such a great job on the Kindle do such a poor job on the web-based stand-in?
sudo aptitude purge liboverlay-scrollbar-0.1-0 liboverlay-scrollbar-0.2-0 liboverlay-scrollbar3-0.2-0 overlay-scrollbar
Clearly overlay-scrollbar is screwed up. Oddly, this was removed from Linux Mint 12, but somehow snuck back into Linux Mint 13.
Thanks to MartinVW and LewRockwellFAN at http://forums.mate-desktop.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=113&p=1422
As an aside, it appears that this scrollbar crap is intentional. The following is from a posting elsewhere on "Ayatana scrollbars":
Overlay Scrollbar – The overlay scrollbar, or the Ayatana Scrollbar, is a feature designed to solve a non-existent problem. According to the official description, it was designed to “improve the user’s ability to focus on content and applications” and to “ensure that scrollbars take up no active screen real-estate” thereby “reducing the waste of space and distracting clutter that a traditional scrollbar entails.” That is pure nonsense. It just creates more problems than it solves. In fact, it does not solve any problem, because as stated earlier, there is no problem to solve, as far the scrollbar is concerned.
Aside from making you “look” for the scrollbar before you can use it, it creates an inconsistency in the system because some applications, like Firefox, will have the traditional scrollbar, while native Ubuntu applications will have the overlay scrollbar.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Recently my 64b desktop developed a bad stutter. I originally thought it was a rhythmbox problem, but it turned out to be a PulseAudio problem. The fix is here--thanks to MRA2011!
In emacs or a lesser editor open /etc/pulse/default.pa, change this line:
load-module module-udev-detect tsched=0
Then restart PulseAudio,
- LED flashlights and lanterns are wonderful. In my 5 nights of blackout, none of my flashlights ran out of juice. Also, I have a Rayovac LED lantern which went strong through the whole thing.
- A battery-powered radio is a must. I have a Sangean PR-D7 with 6 NiMH AA cells. When plugged into the wall it keeps the batteries charged. Even at the end of the outage, after several hours of use, it was reporting a full charge.
- NiMH batteries are great. I'd hate to be one of those out searching for batteries during the outage. Searching for breakfast was enough trouble.
- Being able to keep my cell phone charged was a major plus. For the first day or so after the storm, the Sprint cellular network was having it's problems and at least one 911 service in northern Virginia was reportedly not accepting calls from cell phones, but having phone service is important. I have a Goal Zero 19006 Guide 10 solar charger, which provides plenty of power for my cell phone and my Kindle.
- Candles should be saved for more extreme situations. Last night out on a walk I noticed a house in the neighborhood burning candles. This seems dangerous to me, and with minor preparations entirely unnecessary for just a few days without power. Of course, with no way of charging batteries, eventually candles become a natural choice, but why mess with fire before you need to?
Monday, July 2, 2012
- The US is not maintaining current infrastructure: electricity, water, transit, sewer, etc.
- The US is moving much more slowly than, say, Germany, on modernizing the electrical grid.
- The fossil fuel industry lobby has a strong enough sway on politicians and Fox "News," especially now that there is no limit in this country to how much a corporation can give to a political cause, that a significant portion of the US public still hasn't figured out that global warming is happening and that we are largely to blame. This follows the patterns of the tobacco lobby, the evolution debate, and the Copernican revolution. Powerful forces repeatedly oppose science and the public interest.