* Posts by simon_brooke

23 posts • joined 26 Apr 2012

First peek at the next Ubuntu 15.04 nester line-up

simon_brooke

Each is one meta package, and doesn't require a separate distribution. I have Unity (which I never use), KDE (which I rarely use) and Gnome (which I mostly use) on my home desktop. But for beginners that's quite complex and there are quite a lot of decisions to make, so I do see the advantage of different flavours. After all, especially with KDE vs Gnome, changing window manager implies also changing a whole slew of essentially unrelated packages.

simon_brooke

Re: Nope

Does anyone use Unity? I use Ubuntu on my machines both at work and home, and like it - but I use Gnome, not Unity. I've not (yet) seen any compelling benefits to Unity. Am I missing something?

Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook

simon_brooke

Re: Newton?

They did have a PDA back in the 80s. Guess what? So did Psion (and others). The difference was that Psion's worked well and were commercially successful.

simon_brooke

Uhhmmm.... no they weren't

I was around in the '70s, and you've been drinking Kool Ade.

The Apple 1, while a fine machine for its day, was not spectacularly innovative - there were several other similar microcomputers around before it. There wasn't anything special about its software, either. Nor was there anything specially interesting about Apple II. Lisa, and Macintosh after it, popularised concepts developed by Xerox PARC.

Is that a 64-bit ARM Warrior in your pocket? No, it's MIPS64

simon_brooke

384 cores in one memory pool?

So, am I counting this right? 64 clusters of six cores each per node, adding up to 384 cores sharing an address space? That has the potential to massively parallel, array processing stuff easy to do on relatively low cost hardware.

Nice.

Piketty thinks the 1% should cough up 80%. Discuss

simon_brooke

It all depends on whether you'd prefer to pay 80% tax or be hung from a lamppost

It's worth remembering what happened to the European country which allowed the inequalities of the nineteenth century to go furthest. Lenin happened, and then Stalin. The same story happened at the end of the eighteenth century in France. Too much inequality leads to bloody revolutions in which very large numbers of people (including many or most of the formerly-very-rich, and their families and children) die.

If that's a future you look forward to, I suggest that's your problem. I don't look forward to it at all, and think 80% income tax and 100% death duty is a vastly preferable solution.

Google's driverless car: It'll just block our roads. It's the worst

simon_brooke

Re: Real issues

I think the real question you have to think about is, once insurance companies have comparative data on the safety of autonomous vs human driven cars, will anybody be able to afford not to have a Google car?

simon_brooke

Re: It's eyeballs, not safety

It's neither of these things. It's money. Morgan Stanley calculate that driverless cars will save 8% of GDP. This is a very disruptive technology and first movers are going to profit to an eye-watering degree. It's not unlikely that in ten years time Google's search engine business will be just a sideline to their automated transport business.

Bye bye, white van man. Farewell, taxi driver. It was nice knowing you, HGV driver. We won't miss you at all, motor insurance companies.

All these, and many more, are on borrowed time. They're obsolete, like horse buggies and hand-cranked tabulator machines.

simon_brooke

Re: Middle Laners Anyone?

That would discriminate against drivers of German cars, because they aren't fitted with indicators.

simon_brooke

Re: Platooooooon - HALT!

Guess what? Human sensors don't work in fog either, and are significantly impaired in falling rain and snow. It's very hard to believe that the sensors on the Google car can actually be worse than the mark one human eyeball.

Top tip, power users – upgrading Ubuntu may knacker your Linux PC

simon_brooke

Re: top tip: ubuntu is full of crap

Top tips:

(a) use the configuration, Luke

(b) use of Unity is in any case optional.

simon_brooke

Crisis? What crisis?

Yeah, yeah, this happened to mine. It's a bore, but it takes five minutes to fix, and if you're a 'power user' you'll know precisely how to do it.

Boot from a USB stick, mount your hard drive, symlink your (real) boot directory to /boot, dpkg-reconfigure grub-pc

Done.

In three hours, Microsoft gave the Windows-verse everything it needed

simon_brooke

Re: Too little too late? don't be preposterous!

Just as it was absurd to say that the IBM PC was 'too little, too late' in 1982. But it was - Compaq ate their lunch. Now Compaq, too, are gone. Or that Alta Vista was 'too little, too late' in 2000. But it was - Google ate their lunch, and DEC is gone. AOL is gone. Netscape is gone. Silicon Graphics and Sun are gone.

All these companies were dominant within their areas of the computer industry in their day. This industry changes fast. Microsoft will go - it may not be in the next five years, but they'll go.

Facebook: We want a solar sky cruiser comms net that DARPA couldn't build

simon_brooke

It shouldn't actually need batteries

If it can ascend under solar power during daylight - and in Africa, near the equator, above the clouds, there's lots of daylight - it can then maintain airspeed by gliding down at night. What it can't do at night without batteries is relay telecoms signals, but having working internet connectivity during daylight only would be a heck of a lot better than not having it at all.

So I guess the batteries are mainly for hours-of-darkness communications, but when they die, the thing won't be useless.

Oh, and, the idea that all of Africa is a basket case is just nonsense. Africa already has more mobile phone users than either the US or the EU (648 million in 2011 and rising sharply). OK, there may not be many of the latest smartphones... but 1.03 billion people is still a big market, even if most of them are poor.

New Development. Where do we go?

simon_brooke

A lot of these suggestions are Microsoft-only...

And the original poster explicitly said he didn't want Microsoft-specific solutions. There's good reason for that; whatever you personally think of their competence, many of their key products - Vista, Windows 8, WinPhone - have not been well received in the market. Betting your company on Microsoft's continued market success is a gamble.

As regards the database, provided you stick to vanilla flavour ANSI 92 SQL, you can treat the database engine as pretty much a commodity. The cost of porting from one RDBMS to another will be low. I personally prefer Postgres, which is well established, reliable, feature rich, reasonably performant and free, and which runs on Windows, Linux, OS X and any other server side platform you're likely to use.

Java is not a bad programming environment. It's portable and reasonably performant, and skilled Java programmers are available. If you use the Eclipse SWT, client-side applications written in Java look like native applications of the client-side OS. However, using the Web to deliver client side functionality, through HTML5 and JavaScript makes more and more sense these days.

Google's Glasses: The tech with specs appeal?

simon_brooke

Oh, for heaven's sake!

I was at the opticians yesterday, having my eyes tested. I didn't order new frames. Instead, I ordered new lenses to my prescription both for my existing titanium 'frameless' frames and for the Oakley M-Frames I wear when cycling. Next year, if I do the same thing (and I probably will), I'll order new lenses to my prescription for my Google Glass frames.

Nobody (except the sort of mindless, blinkered hack who writes for el Reg) imagines that you will wear Google Glass on top of, or as well as, or interchangeably with your prescription spectacles. Your Google Glass spectacles will be your prescription glasses, and you'll wear them all the time. Anything else would be simply stupid, and whatever Google are, they're not stupid...

... unlike all too many el Reg journalists, these days. Met any climate change deniers lately?

Ten Linux apps you must install

simon_brooke

Re: Normal people don't use Linux

If you can't use it when many other people do, is it Linux that's broken, or you?

simon_brooke

Re: Only 2: GParted and Libre Office

I used emacs for more than twenty years. Now I use kate for preference. No, it doesn't do all the things that emacs can do, but I can remember how to get it to do the things I want it to do better than I ever could with emacs.

Try it. You might like it.

simon_brooke

Re: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).

No, it's a popular culture reference - to what I consider the very best dreadful book you will ever read (and one which everyone should read, at least once). But then, as one who looks down on us geeks, I don't imagine you're very up with popular culture.

simon_brooke

Re: I've been using Linux since mid-late 1993 (Slackware).

I've been using Linux more or less as long (started on SLS, so probably slightly longer than you), and there were two on the list I definitely endorse - synaptic and kate - and two I shall try (lucky backup and smplayer). The command line is a key tool and I use it a great deal, but when you're exploring something new a point-and-drool interface really helps.

For example, this morning I needed something to convert HTML to docx from the command line. I started synaptic and typed in 'convert html to docx', and the package I needed - pandoc - was one of four options. Yes, I could have grepped the same information out of something - that is, after all, all synaptic was doing - but it's easier to launch synaptic than to remember which file it is one should grep.

Apple must apologise for its surly apology on its website on Saturday

simon_brooke

So, 24 hours have clearly elapsed....

Because the old link to the disputed page has vanished from Apple's UK home page. But the new text does not yet appear.

If I were Apple I wouldn't tweak the judges tails so much. They're looking at serious contempt of court here.

Microsoft's XML 0-day fix expected in July Patch Tuesday

simon_brooke
FAIL

That's not an XML bug...

That's a Microsoft bug. Get your headlines right!

Twelve... classic 1980s 8-bit micros

simon_brooke

How sad am I? I own all those...

...except the Spectrum and the two Commodores. But on the other hand I have both a BBC model A and a model B, and also a 6502 second processor; a QL, a Z88, and some earlier Sinclair calculators; bits of LEO Mk2, bits of LEO Mk3, assorted Archimedes, R140 and R260s, a Tadpole RS/6000....

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