* Posts by blah 5

19 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Jul 2009

Gwyneth Paltrow rouses Discovery crew

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As someone who loves all kinds of music...

...including yes, country, bluegrass, folk, Handel, Beethoven, Nazareth, Rainbow, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Cash Calloway, Chuck Berry, and many, many others: Paltrow's song is by no means the worst that I've ever heard. It's really not all that bad. She also has a much better voice than I would have expected from someone who started a professional singing career in her 40s.

Nope, bad is Leonard Nimoy's abortion of an album. Or for that matter, Shatner's. :-)

Library e-books to become too tatty to lend

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Thumb Up

They ought to talk to Baen Publishing...

...to find out how to do e-book lending right!


Boffins demand: Cull bogus A-Levels, hire brainier teachers

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A really confused Yank here

The U.S. educational system is different enough from the British one that I frequently have a hard time understanding some of what you Brits are talking about. However, the one underlying theme (besides what sounds like a truly messed up bureaucracy) that strikes me as really odd is the way that compulsory education seems to stop two years earlier than ours. In the U.S., graduation is after 12th grade at 18. Secondary school (grades 7th-12th) is typically broken down to 7-8 and 9-12. Only the latter are considered to be vocational or college prep.

To this Yank, terminating two years earlier sounds like it forces kids to specialise way too much way too early. I would argue that instead, what is really needed is a much, MUCH more rounded education that prepares kids for a broad range of careers.

Here, you need a minimum number of English, Math, Science, Art, and what we call Social Studies (civics, history, economics, etc.) to graduate. It's possible for a kid aiming at a job as, say, a diesel mechanic to get by with some pretty minimal classes if s/he wants to. Nothing prevents kids from mixing things up as much as they want to, though.

Take me as a somewhat extreme example. I went through high school 30 years ago. I packed on a pretty full load my last three years because I was bored and love learning new stuff. Minimum number of credits necessary to graduate was 15 per trimester. Each class was 3-5 credits, I think. I carried 16-18.

I took Honors English, Honors History, Honors Math, Honors Physics, Honors Chemistry. I also took Small Engine Repair, Fundamentals of Flight (satisfied the coursework necessary for a private pilot's license and we got to actually pilot a small plane twice ourselves), Woodworking I, Basic and Advanced Electronics, a year of Computer Programming, Debate, 3 years of Spanish (my dad taught that while another teacher taught German), Basic Typing (hey, it's where all the cute girls were!), Biology, Art, Physical Education, and some other odds and ends that I can't recall at the moment. Just about every vocational track available had enough classes to allow a high school student to step into a job like junior mechanic, carpenter's apprentice, or lumberjack.

My last two daughters are going through high school right now in the same state but a different school district. Yes, things have degraded some, but not as much as it sounds like they have in the UK. My kids have a choice of Advanced Placement or basic classes in English, Math, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry. For languages, they have a choice of Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. As I mentioned earlier, they are also required to take a few classes in Social Studies, Art, and Physical Education. Both of my daughters are participating in the school's string orchestra to meet the Art requirement. One of them is a all year athlete (cross country, cross country skiing, and track) so she doesn't need to attend the Phy Ed classes.

Among other things, this school also offers Woodworking, auto body repair, woodworking, and electronics. It's clearly still possible to get a really well rounded education if you wish to, or even just concentrate on preparing for a trade.

Now, here's the real kicker: Neither of the two example schools that I cite is all that unusual here. The first school is in a small town in northern Minnesota while the second is in a suburb of the Twin Cities. Reading the comments as well as the base article suggests that only the Scots have anything like this kind of school available. Is this really the case?

iPad media apps: Stealthed hobbits thwart Google's flaming Eye

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The 'Net was popular LONG before the Web

Take a look at the growth rate of the Internet before and after the introduction of Tim W-L's baby. It's nearly identical.

Nope, the Web launching was not the key to its popularity. Simply providing connectivity in an open and unrestricted fashion was.

The Internet is last century's version of the Gutenberg printing press. The Web? Linotype. A really, REALLY nice idea that expanded upon an already existing concept. :)

Pumpkin pie could prompt Thanksgiving sexual free-for-all

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I take it you never watched American Pie??

There's an absolutely classic scene in that movie. Worth the price of a rental all on its own.

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Only trouble is, the turkey puts us all to sleep!

Ever consume that much triptophan (sp?) at one sitting?

Ellison smacks lips over chips, NetApp

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So, Larry wants to be Thomas Watson, Jr?

Somebody should tell him to quit looking in his rear view mirror. While I do see some serious consolidation in the marketplace going on, I really doubt that we'll go back to the bad old days of the '50s through the '80s where we bought everything from a single vendor. That way leads to madness and despair. ;)

How do you copy 60m files?

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I second (third? fourth?) the vote for cygwin.

Rsync is your friend, especially when you've got the ssh tools loaded so you can use scp. :)

Come to the light, Trevor! :)

Dell Streak GPL snub enrages Android fans

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Let's not get too excited quite yet...

While I love a good flamefest as much as the next guy, I'm not 100% positive that one is warranted here.

Here's what the original complainant says:

"I've just spent few hours trying to build android-msm-2.6.32 Linux kernel for Dell Streak" says smokku on the MoDaCo forums, "It turns out that it is impossible, without device specific board files. These files are in the Linux kernel source tree Dell used to build kernel for Streak and Dell is obliged under the terms of GPL, to give this source to any owner of Streak requesting it."

So, we've got one guy making an assertion with no specifics behind it. Is it possible he hasn't done his homework? Or, is it possible that the 'device specific board files' are really drivers built the way that Nvidia builds theirs? A small GPL shim and a binary, closed source driver on top of that?

If the latter case, is this guy missing closed source binaries that Dell may not have rights to distribute, the GPLed shim, or both?

If the guy _has_ done his homework and there are Honest to Ghu missing GPLed files, it may simply be an oversight on Dell's part. In which case, a polite query would probably have gotten them released pretty quickly. After all, Dell's track record is pretty good. They are generally very careful about making sure that the GPL source for the devices that they sell is readily available.

How about we wait for Dell to take a public position before we go off the deep end, mmkay?

Want to use WD diagnostics? Buy Windows

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Google? Amazon? the NY stock exchange? NASA? DoD?

Yeah, those Linux loving freetards must be laughing all right as they buy drives built by someone who has a clue.

What? You think the IT world begins and ends at your desktop?

Czechs toast Bud-beating beer win

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MMMMmmmmMMMMmmmm beeeerr....

American microbreweries and smaller brewing companies have been going through a quiet transformation combined with incredible growth since the '70s. If you can't get a good local brew anywhere in the U.S. it's because you're not trying. I'm partial to James Page (Wisconsin), Summit (Minnesota), Fat Tire (Colorado), Bigamy (Utah. Motto is "Because one is not enough!"), Anchor Steam (San Francisco), Leinenkugel (Wisconsin again), and a couple from Michigan whose names escape me.

Mind you, all of the above, except for Anchor Steam, are breweries with many lines, not just a single brand. Summit, for example, puts out a stout that I'll stack up to any other. :-)

The Reg guide to Linux, part 3

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Physical problem?

Could be something as basic as a bad cable, or one that's not seated properly. Try reseating the cable at both ends and try again. If that doesn't work, try connecting a Windows PC or Mac using the same one. Does it come up OK?

The Linux Chronicles, Part 1

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Bwuh? PDFs are easy!

Since Adobe gave up control of the format, finding alternative apps to create PDFs has become trivial. Just fire up OpenOffice, Microsoft Office, or your favorite word processor of choice. Anything that is even a couple of years old has had this capability built in for years.

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One forum moderator soured you?

"Powerpoint is actually used by quite a few people. And the Open Office equivalent - Impress - is literally a joke. It does anything but impress me. I tuned into one of the developer forums for Impress, hoping to find out I'd installed it wrongly or something. But when I pointed out that animations were poorly implemented the forum moderator politely told me something like:

"We won't be fixing this. I never use animations."

After I'd finished laughing at the arrogance of this remark I promptly wiped the Linux installation and went back to Windows - with a greater sense of gratitude that, whatever Microsoft's faults, within Windows there are good quality office applications that actually do far more than the users need."

Agreed, many people rely heavily on PowerPoint, although it has been cogently argued that they're doing it wrong. (see Edward Tufte's essay on PowerPoint at http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/powerpoint for one of the best analyses around.)

OpenOffice has improved with every version, including Impress. I've been successfully using it for years as my primary office productivity tool in a company with thousands of employees on Microsoft Office. Yes, that includes Impress's animations. Version 3.x's are much easier to use than earlier ones. I'd have to say that your forum moderator must have been overruled at some point. :)

In my view, OO's biggest weakness today is the database component. The forms designer is missing features that were available in Paradox 20 years ago. OTOH, being better than Access isn't too tough, so I have hopes that the OO dev team will eventually get there.

BTW, if you're interested in keeping up with open source office productivity tools without going through a Linux install, keep in mind that many of the really good ones are cross platform. You don't need to load Linux to check out OpenOffice, Abiword, or others.

Stayin' alive: Ten years of Linux on the mainframe

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OLTP and availability

Mainframes still do both more efficiently than any other architecture out there. That's not to say that you HAVE to have a mainframe to do these things. Sometimes you need a one pound hammer, and sometimes you need something that'll drive 3 foot pilings through 60 feet of sand and rock. :)

BBC claims angry iPlayer plugin mob 'conflated' open source term

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"BBC online managing editor Ian Hunter claimed in a blog post today that the term "open source" had been "conflated" by users who had grumbled about third party RTMP plugins being locked out of the catch-up service."

Freaking moron doesn't know the difference between open _standards_ and open _source_ and blames the user community?? What's happening to the Beeb?

Apple yanks Wi-Fi detectors from iTunes

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Jobs Horns

This is why I'll never own an Apple product.

I'm just not their target market. ;)

IT admin charged in Xmas Eve rampage on charity

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I'm not 100% certain they've got the right guy.

Given that his old credentials were still active more than a year after he left, what are the odds that the current sysadmins did a good job of preserving the evidence for a really solid investigation?

Innocent until proven guilty and all that.

Marie Curie voted top female boffin

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No Grace Hopper, either?

Mind you, I'm biased because I spent 6 years in the US Navy. Still, the woman invented the first compiler for a computer language. That's gotta be worth at least an Honorable Mention.