* Posts by Quxy

431 posts • joined 22 Oct 2009

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Torvalds asks 'Why do PC manufacturers even bother any more?'

Quxy
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Re: poor quality of FOSS?

I don't think that there's any objective evidence that open-source applications are of any poorer quality than the proprietary ones they replace. In my experience with Windows, for instance, I've been forced to use a lot of really terrible applications that someone actually paid money for. And the Linux kernel itself demonstrates the excellent quality of software that can be produced by non-corporate FOSS developers.

But don't get me started on documentation! I'm not sure why the online help provided with Windows and Mac applications is regarded as a benchmark for quality. It's almost invariably terrible, too shallow to explain anything more than the basic functionality of the menus. You nearly always have to Google to find out how to do something unusual or complicated in Word, for instance. Compare that to the exhaustive documentation, tips, examples, and configuration information provided with a cross-platform FOSS application like Lyx. Or the Linux kernel documentation. Yes, FOSS documentation is very inconsistent (the documentation for LibreOffice is as bad as MS Office), but IMO its average depth and completeness is as good as commodity commercial products.

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Quxy
Boffin

@Hagan

For Linus and many other FOSS developers, our "work" isn't something that we leave at the office at 5pm. We carry it around with us, debugging code in the office at home, writing documentation on the train or in the coffee shop, answering email everywhere. Our other machines serve specialised functions (servers, compile farms, test beds), but don't have a keyboard or monitor unless we're testing GUIs on them.

This is precisely why Linus makes such a big deal about his laptop! This is why he complains so vociferously about poor keyboards and low-resolution screens. His laptop *is* his primary computer, and once he gets it set up the way he wants, he intends to use it everywhere instead of wasting time setting up multiple machines.

Sure, since laptop resolution has been crap lately, I've got dual high-resolution monitors in my various offices. But if my laptop didn't have a great keyboard, I wouldn't have bought it in the first place.

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Quxy
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Except that...

..."business models" aren't what motivate Linus or most of the other brilliant Linux developers.

In 2000, Steve Jobs tried to hire Linus (away from Transmeta, at the time) into a rather senior role. Linus said no. At the time he clearly recognised the business sense in Steve's plans for OSX and was confident that it would be a success -- but it wasn't the sort of thing he wanted to be working on.

Marc Ewing's Linux distribution has turned into a successful business model -- but that's because of non-techies Bob Young and Jim Whitehurst.

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Quxy
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Re: When are you going to quote Torvalds properly?

If you read down the conversation thread, you'll find that he compares the Pixel to his Macbook Air (his current primary laptop, as world+dog knows), so even from that limited context, the article draws a reasonable conclusion. Knowing Linus, I can say with some certainty that whatever device he chooses as a laptop is going to become his almost exclusive work-related input device -- for a year or so, until something better comes along.

(Remember that he's working exclusively in Linux, so the idea of switching to another keyboard and monitor just to work on one of his other machines is a completely foreign concept to him. *NIX guys don't think that way. We use our favourite laptop as the input device for *everything*, and let X do what it was designed to do.)

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Gnome cofounder: Desktop Linux is a CHERNOBYL of FAIL

Quxy
Flame

"Fragmentation"?

No mention, of course, that Miguel was instrumental in an awful lot of that fragmentation! I don't believe that he's been a constructive force in FOSS for years, certainly long before he received a Microsoft MVP award three years ago.

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Review: Livin' in the cloud with Google's new Chromebook Pixel

Quxy
Facepalm

Re: MacBook Air Linuxed

I swear that there's some sort of cognitive disconnect going on here.

At LT's suggestion, I bought a new Macbook Air, for less than $1100. It has a 1.8GHz i5, 4GB DDR3, and 256GB SSD. It is thinner and weighs less than the Pixel, and (has been pointed out) has USB 3.0.

I immediately installed Linux, with no problems whatsoever. It cold boots to the desktop (not login, mind) in less than 15s, and has >6hr of usable battery life.

So... the Pixel has a gorgeous display -- but neither price nor technical specs going for it. What's the point, again? Maybe it'll be a fun toy when it drops below the price of a used MBA, but until then?

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Canonical announces Mir display server to replace X Windows

Quxy
Facepalm

Yep. Lennart Poettering put it best...

"Isn't Mir this thing that burnt and crashed into the South Pacific Ocean near Fiji on 23rd March, 2001, after some dudes in Russia flipped a switch after they gave it up? This must be a metaphor for something, haven't figured out for what yet, though, must be something deeper than 'This software includes a space toilet and Canonical will give it up one day, when it will burn and crash and then we'll be in a south pacific paradise setting.'"

(LP is the developer of systemd and PulseAudio, among other sensible core bits of modern Linux distributions.)

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BlackBerry juices Z10 handset with OTA software update

Quxy
Pint

Good luck to them...

I'm not trying to avoid Google or Apple -- I switched from iPhone to Android three years ago only because I couldn't deal with the IOS smartphone-as-a-computer-peripheral model -- but I do miss its battery life. (I tried a Lumia 822 but returned it when it became clear that WP8 is really not ready for prime time.) But if BB10 can really get power management under control -- it's certainly possible with QNX, as I've done it with that OS myself -- I'll be happy to dump my Googlerola mobile for a Z10.

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APT1, that scary cyber-Cold War gang: Not even China's best

Quxy
Coat

"Want"?

Dunno about you, but I'm teaching *my* children hacking skills!

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That Firefox OS mobe: The sorta phone left behind after a mugging

Quxy
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While I am inclined to agree about Firefox OS...

Isn't AC is the same chap who used the same arguments in 2010 to confidently predict the rapid demise of Android and the increased dominance of Apple and RIM? [Rummages through archives.] Yeah, I thought so.

Of course, at the time he did preface his predictions with the caveat that "I've been wrong about mobile more than I've been wrong about anything else - quite epically and unheroically wrong...", so we may not want to rule out mobile Linux yet.

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Nokia opens Maps to rivals, flogs uber-budget €15 phone

Quxy
Facepalm

Just to be clear...

The 109 runs S40, not WP8.

If you're part of the target market, you're probably more interested in the fact that it bounces when thrown against the wall (true!) than that it's as thick as two iPhone 5s.

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New blow for Microsoft Surface: Touch Chromebooks 'on sale in 2013'

Quxy
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"unemployable in IT"?

Naw... as el Reg forums show, IT is full of biased, closed minded morons. As long as you're biased toward the same technology as your PHB, you'll keep your job just fine.

Now I'm going back to upvote Eadon, just on principle ;-)

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Microsoft: You want Office for Mac, fanboi? You'll pay Windows prices

Quxy
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Outlook?

Well, I guess that it works well in comparison to any web-based solution, particularly (shudder) Microsoft's own OWA. But Mac's own mail and calendar applications now integrate seamlessly with corporate Exchange servers and Outlook 365, so it's hard to think of a reason for using Outlook on a Mac, unless you're a long-time Outlook user who doesn't want to switch.

Mail.app may not have as many features as Outlook, but filtering rules are easier to set up and (I would argue) more powerful; and best of all, it handles email formatting properly, properly implementing Internet (RFC 3676) quoting (which has been completely broken in Outlook since 2003) and avoiding the line wrapping errors that Outlook is so famous for.

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Quxy
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"iworks apps are actually not that good"

When was the last time you actually compared modern versions of iWork and MS Office for Mac?

My employer provided a licence for Office 2011, but for most jobs I end up using iWork's Pages and Keynote instead of Word and Powerpoint, simply because it's easier to produce professional results with iWork -- and because Microsoft decided to manage keybindings on their own, disabling standard Cocoa keybindings and forcing the Windows CUA on Mac users. So far everyone has been happy with the Word files I export from Pages.

(When it comes to academic writing, neither Pages nor Word are up to the task, so I (like most of my colleagues) use LaTeX. I suppose that the capabilities of Excel outstrip Numbers; but I'm a scientist, so I use Matlab, R, and Octave instead of spreadsheets.)

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Opera joins Google/Apple in-crowd with shift to WebKit and Chromium

Quxy
Linux

"proper Linux"?

What are you on about, mate? The Linux kernel by its very nature gets stuffed into servers, repackaged (within an inch of its life) into routers, and even distributed to desktops, in all sorts and shapes of distributions. Even my ¥6500 media server is running it. There is no "proper Linux" in the way that there might be a Windows 7 release.

Give it up. Nobody cares whether or not Linux won the desktop: those who prefer it (for many reasons) use it, those who don't, well... don't. Only Eadon gives a shit. The rest of us penguins are reassured by the observation that the Linux kernel is running on approximately 85% of the 32/64 bit MCUs in the world today.

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Surface RT now on sale in 13 more European markets

Quxy
Facepalm

"Wonderful PCs"?

LOL. What *is* hard to imagine is how consumers who buy the Surface RT "because it's Windows" won't be sorely disappointed when they discover that it can't run any of the programs they use on desktop Windows.

Scoff all you like at Apple, but at least they called their tablet an "iPad" instead of confusing their customers with a "MacBook Tablet".

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Android? Like Marvin the robot? Samsung eclipses Google OS - Gartner

Quxy
Pint

I've lived in the States for 20 years...

And as far as I can tell, English is not the native tongue of Americans, either.

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Samsung laptops can be NUKED by ANY OS – even Windows: new claim

Quxy
Facepalm

I'm not Eadon...

But I recall that any anti-Windows comment he may have posted on this particular topic was overwhelmed by a flood of 'AC's with such helpful suggestions as "Well if you will run freeware crap, you get what you pay for...".

No, Eadon may be a a rabid penguin-head, but at least he signs his own name! And after all, he's *our* rabid penguin-head...

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Can BlackBerry survive? Well, the woods are still full of bear poo

Quxy
Boffin

The problem...

...is that the iPhone (despite this FOSS developer's dislike for its other features) really does manage power consumption much better than Android.

I'm currently in New England, and just went through 72 hours without power. My wife's iPhone 4GS lasted the entire time, with frequent email and SMS, and occasional browsing; while my Razr (on the same carrier) was dead 18 hours in. Given that the iPhone battery is only 1.43mAh, compared to the Razr's 1.75mAh, the blame has to be laid squarely on the OS, not the smartphone hardware.

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Quxy
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Battery life

This is the only area in which us Android owners still look enviously at our mates' iPhones. Despite the laudable benefits of Android (staying out of Tim Cook's walled garden, easier to develop apps, a standalone mobile computer instead of the IOS computer peripheral model), power management still lags behind IOS. Experience shows that WP8 isn't any better. If Blackberry have been able to tweak BB10 to achieve something close to Blackberry's legendary battery life, I'll be happy to switch to a non-Android, non-IOS phone that I don't have to charge after 12 hours of normal (i.e. heavy email) use.

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Fanbois rejoice: iPhone 5, iPad Mini finally jailbroken

Quxy
Pint

Re: Android

As the owner of both an iPad Mini and a Nexus 7, I'll drink to that!

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Samsung mocks Apple lawsuit in SuperBowl teaser ad

Quxy
Pint

Anonymous astroturfing

Yeah, you gotta wonder about that, as you scroll past the dozens of ACs spouting shrill marketing-speak advocacy for Apple and Microsoft who inevitably comment on this sort of article. Now, we all know who the *Linux* evangelists are around here, and none of *them* are anonymous... ;-)

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Brit 2.5-tonne nuke calculator is World's Oldest Working Computer

Quxy
Pint

Yeah...

...but can it run Crysis?

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NASA snaps pics of China's 'Airpocalypse' pollution disaster

Quxy
Boffin

"Airpocalypse" in Chinese?

空气末日, naturally...

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White House rejects Death Star petition: '$850qn too pricey'

Quxy
Pint

@Steve Knox

Worth the price of admission, that one was. Go ahead, have a pint on me.

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Biz users, hard-up punters: Nobody loves Windows 8

Quxy
Linux

Why the MacBook hate?

I mostly use Linux, with Windows when customers or Microsoft Office require it -- but I run them both on a MacBook Air. I just haven't found anything else comparable in terms of size, build quality, and silent operation -- especially around the $1k price point -- so why should I cut off my nose to spite my face, simply because I don't like Steve Jobs?

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Girl gang targets Microsoft's Seattle stores for $5,000 theft spree

Quxy
Facepalm

Re: Marketing

Yes, I rather wonder if this is another of Microsoft's attempts at "viral" marketing for the Surface. The total cost will end up being $5,055,000 -- $5k for the tablets, $50k for the lawyers needed to disentangle the "gang" from the Seattle PD, and $5M for advertising duo Slain & Rivers.

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Brr, feeling cold? Galaxy is home to plenty of WARMER Earth twins

Quxy
Alien

Yes, global warming is a good thing.

Just not for humans.

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Japan Airlines to serve KFC on Christmas flights

Quxy
Facepalm

Too bad, really...

...as JAL's usual meals are a notch above what you find these days on US or European carriers. And while I agree that the chicken in the KFCs here is better than in the States, I've never understood the widespread popularity of ケンタッキー. But the article is right about Christmas time: already, the life-size statue of the Colonel outside every one of Japan's KFCs is dressed as Santa Claus, in a jolly red-and-white suit and hat.

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Torvalds: I want to be nice, and curse less, but it's just not in me

Quxy
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"A computer... is a tool"

That's hardly an argument against her point that she wants her computer to work the way she wants rather than simply run prepackaged applications! Of course her computer is a tool too.

But for many of us El Reg readers, our computers are more like entire toolboxes than those of people who quip that a "computer is just another tool". Ours are critical to our livelihood, and for us the ability to make them work for us, the way we want, is critical too. If all you need from your computer is the ability to perform a set of tasks developed and packaged by someone else, great. But don't dismiss as "techie purists" those users who are frustrated with the appliance model of computing because it makes it so difficult to develop and adapt new tools to address new problems that need to be solved on a daily basis, any more than you would scorn a machinist who fabricates his own fixtures and cutting bits instead of buying everything from the catalogue.

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Apple's poisonous Touch silently kills the GNOMEs of Linux Forest

Quxy
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What's wrong with wanting to keep Microsoft and Apple at arm's length?

That sounds like a perfectly rational reason for choosing Linux -- even if Windows or OSX would do the tasks at hand.

As a systems developer, I (along with the other developers in the company) use Linux because it's by far and away the most friendly, convenient, stable environment for designing, testing, and automating hardware and embedded software. But I stick with it for my personal computing as well, simply because I like the way that I can configure it to work the way *I* want it to work, on *my* hardware, something that both Apple and Microsoft are increasingly trying to prevent me from doing.

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Inside the iPad mini: Pray you never have to open one

Quxy

Re: Nice try with the Chinese but ...

Yeah, I think Google Translate short-changed Rik on the verb. I would think that something like 我不打算继续下去了! would make more sense for the second half.

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Apple patents shopping lists

Quxy
FAIL

Yes, this patent is not as broad as the headline suggests...

But that doesn't negate the truth of the first poster's incredulous assertion, that it is *ludicrous* that someone can be issued a patent for "constructing shopping lists from barcode scanning AND searching for best price deals AND organising the results to identify a minimal number of shops the user can visit to purchase the items AND where the user can specify the max number of stops he/she is prepared to put up with."

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Sony slides expose saucy Xperia slate

Quxy
Thumb Up

Disillusioned

I agree -- but it's nothing compared to the disillusionment from Apple. I've been buying computers from them since the Apple ][, but I think I've bought my last piece of kit from that consumer electronics company that has replaced innovation with litigiousness and product lock-in.

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Google adds handwriting to mobile search site

Quxy
FAIL

The Japanese binned this idea a decade ago

And while the kanji recognition on my smartphone is very good indeed, in the 21st century we realise that there are more efficient ways to enter text. Given that handwriting recognition is inefficient for languages that traditionally *rely* on script, why on earth anyone at Google thought this was a clever idea for *Latin* languages is beyond me.

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Gabe Newell: Windows 8 is a 'catastrophe' for PC biz

Quxy
Unhappy

Damn Newell and his common sense...

If Valve puts its games on Linux, I may turn to gaming and lose the rest of my free time. There are some cool games on Steam, but getting a dedicated Windows machine just for gaming was too high a barrier to bother with them.

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Nutter bans Apple purchases over environmental fudging

Quxy
Pint

"Nutter"?

I see what you did there -- have a pint on me, mate. And here I was expecting it to be a piece by Lewis...

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Dell seeks Linux fans to try cut-price Ubuntu Ultrabook

Quxy
Thumb Up

For that matter...

Try installing Windows 7 on *anything* that didn't ship with it. If it's more than a few years old, you'll *never* be able to find drivers for it; and even modern machines suffer from an array of compatibility problems, especially with 64-bit Win7.

If you run into driver problems when you're installing Linux, you've got a good shot at finding quick support and a patch. With Windows 7, you're SOL if it's a hardware device that the vendor doesn't intend to support for the 64-bit Windows 7 market.

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Quxy

"A viable GNU/Linux machine that works out of the box"

I'm not sure what Dell is on about, unless Dell laptops are full of nonstandard hardware that needs odd, proprietary drivers.

I supect that the "driver download safari" is mostly FUD (created after Linux became well-known) to frighten the average semi-technical bloke away from trying a non-Windows OS on their machine. I've been running Linux on Thinkpad laptops since 1996, and I must say that it's been many years since I encountered anything that didn't just "work out of the box". I have had far more problems getting 64-bit Win7 to play nicely with the hardware in new laptops than I do with mainstream Linux distributions.

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Google claims Chrome is the world's most popular browser

Quxy
FAIL

IE9 is good?

Hard to tell, as I can't get it to install on any of my machines. I've tried it on recent Fedora and Ubuntu distributions, my NetBSD server, several versions of OSX, my iPad and Asus Transformer, and even an XP VM, and all it'll say is "you need to be running Windows Vista or Windows 7".

But seriously, why should I even bother to look at a software application that runs on such a limited range of operating systems?

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Patent trolling cost the US $29 BILLION in 2011

Quxy
Facepalm

You would be on the "B" ship, then...

...along with telephone sanitizers, hairdressers, and the entire staff of Bain Capital.

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China makes human rights play ... but forgets the internet

Quxy
Pint

干杯

As another expat, I'll raise a glass to that!

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Thief open-sources Richard Stallman's laptop, passport, visa

Quxy
FAIL

I agree...

This is one of the rare cases where the juvenile level of the El Reg article itself manages to start out lower than the tone of the comments in the forum.

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iPhones, iPads to be FULL OF FACEBOOK and NOT GOOGLE

Quxy
Thumb Down

Only us geeks care about OS versions

Sorry, ordinary consumers buy a phone and use it without any notion of what version of Android it's running, or even notice very much when software upgrades are pushed to their phone. Ordinary users running 2-year-old Droids don't care that they're only on v2.2, they only notice that new apps are a bit slow compared to their mate's new phone, and the phone is getting banged up enough that it's time for an upgrade. Ordinary users simply do not "upgrade and improve their phone's software", even if it's possible and easy.

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Quxy
WTF?

What a silly argument!

Of course there are more versions of Android than iOS out there in the market. The Android ecosystem is much more diverse than the iPhone's, with many manufacturers serving many different global markets with very diverse feature requirements and price points. "Fragmentation" isn't a problem for consumers -- only for a company like Apple trying to control the entire "experience".

I have always bought specific Apple products when they best suited specific needs, but I'm really getting tired of fanbois' continual feigned surprise at discovering that consumers around the world generally seem to be more interested in buying a phone that does what they need at a price they consider reasonable than in buying into Apple's increasingly disturbing view of what mobile computing should look like and who should control it.

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Study fingers humans for ocean heat rise

Quxy
Coffee/keyboard

Mature enough?

Bwahahaha!

Or do you have mature, far-sighted politicians and a intelligent, scientifically-informed populace on _your_ side of the Atlantic?

If anthropogenic climate change _does_ pose a real risk to Earth's population, I'm not sure what's going to save us from it, but it certainly isn't going to be Western governments!

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Japan still in love with the fax

Quxy
Thumb Up

Re: Why the fax is still popular in Japan

In contrast to the muddled information in the article, Charles E and FatsBrannigan have hit the nail on the head in identifying the two primary reasons for the persistence of the fax machine in modern-day Japan -- faxing hand-drawn maps and signing documents. I use smartphone apps for those functions now, but still send plenty of "electronic faxes" from my phone.

The notion that entering Japanese on a computer is time-consuming or difficult and that people thus prefer to write by hand is quaint, but complete rubbish. Japanese is not my first language, but I can type a complete Japanese sentence on my smartphone or PC _faster_ than I can enter the equivalent sentence in English, as can any Japanese under the age of 50. In fact, old folks are fond of complaining that "young" people (i.e. anyone under 30) can no longer write by hand, as the smartphone and PC have nearly obsoleted those skills.

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Climate scientists see 'tipping point' ahead

Quxy
Pint

I like the sound of the homebrew...

...but not the dessert.

I take it you didn't bother to actually read the Nature article, which is pretty heavy on the facts, and pretty light on speculation.

For God's sakes, man, while there are plenty of perfectly valid controversies surrounding anthropogenic global warming, *none* of them are scientific: they all have to do with what political, societal, and ideological/religious responses are most appropriate in the face of human-caused climate change. Science does a pretty good job of telling us *what* is happening (and what is likely to happen if we do nothing), but certainly isn't the whole authority on *what* we should do about it.

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LinkedIn users buried in spam after database leak

Quxy
Boffin

I'm not sure the LinkedIn spam is connected with the database leak

I too have started to receive a large quantity of LinkedIn phishing spam -- but it's all directed to different email addresses than those I use on LinkedIn (which curiously is receiving NO phishing email). Both the targeted email addresses and originating hosts correlate with an upturn in similar phishing attempts for Twitter, Facebook, Verizon, big banks, etc., so I'm not convinced that it has anything to do with the database leak.

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