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26  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting study comparing reading on paper vs tablets on: September 01, 2014, 09:08:41 PM
@IainB - Don't jump to conclusions too quickly regarding Ms. Mangen...

The lack of quotation marks around the statement [The study might still provide fodder for those who insist that reading a novel on a screen just isn’t the same.] leads me to believe that sentence may likely have been inserted by the reporter or editor rather than the researcher. Especially since the statements on either side of it do display quotation marks - and do not draw the semi-conclusion the non-quotation does. (Reporters like a conclusion or sound bite. They hate leaving it with a "this opens up several interesting areas for further investigation - but much more data and study is needed before any real conclusions can be drawn" ending.)

That's the problem with so much of what passes for science reporting. You never quite know what's a legitimate summary of something the researcher actually said, and what's an aside, misinterpretation, or editorial gloss by the reporter or the newspaper.

Remember the "God Particle" and all the fun the press and pulpit had with that - despite the fact the researchers never once called it that -  or made half the claims about it the press seemed to think they did?
 undecided
27  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Movie and Book Writing Thread on: September 01, 2014, 08:51:35 PM
@Ren - The Brain is one of those very cool looking apps I've played with but could never really find a good use for in the past.

I suppose if I were writing a mystery novel. or a thriller revolving around nested conspiracies over a long historic period - y'know, one of those "wheels within wheels" things that start back in 1776 and progress through Area-51 on the way to the official last Apollo moon mission with stops along the way for the Bavarian Illuminati, Majestic-12, and The New World Order...?

[attach]

To me it's almost like an electronic version of "the board" allegedly used by police and intelligence agencies when they're investigating something. Except without the need for thumbtacks and colored string 'jump connectors' since the software's 3-D rotation capability handles that much more elegantly. Easier to pack up and/or archive than the physical equivalent too!

If you figure out something interesting and non-trivial to use The Brain for, be sure to let me know?

28  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz on: September 01, 2014, 04:42:23 PM
Wiznotes is a sleeper, discovered here. Maybe the best, putting aside the China Syndrome.

Not exactly an inconsequential consideration these days. Having something written and hosted in Communist China is almost as dangerous as parking it in the USA.

Quote
Onenote, again dunno, how is the cloud implemenation.

I personally think OneNote is vastly overrated. But it's a paradigm thing with me. How a big sloppy freeform notebook helps people keep organized is beyond me. For creative use, brainstorming, a junk box for rough notes and snippets...possibly. But for keeping a complex project on track? Not my idea of how to do it.

That said, the web implementation actually isn't bad. OneNote is one of those things (like Outlook) that seems to make a lot more sense with a big web-enabled server standing behind it. I use OneNote (reluctantly) because some of my clients use it. They're real diehards who put the time in to master all it's little nuances and quirks. (Of which there are far too many AFAIC.) But these same people are pulling down solid 6 and 7-digit salaries most of 'em (they run a private hedge fund) ...so what do I know? mrgreen

Microsoft will give you a free 30 day on Office365 complete with all the fixin's. Best bet is to check it out and pound on it. For a certain class of business requirements, O365 is pretty hard to beat. If you don't fit the model of the user Microsoft went into it with, it's another story. (You really can't customize it easily. And some parts you just can't. Period)  But if you're one of the business cases Microsoft designed Office 365 for, rest assured it will serve you very well indeed. If you do subscribe, pay the extra to get the plan that lets you install the actual Office software on your PC. That way you have on and offline capabilities. And it really doesn't cost that much more. It's $12.50 a month with a 12-month subscription. You can pay up front or month-to-month . But month-to-month cost $15/user if you do.
29  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Movie and Book Writing Thread on: September 01, 2014, 01:57:14 PM
There's a new Suse Studio compilation called the Wallstone Creativity Desktop.

Quote
Description

Are you a writer? Do you do heavy blogging? Do you edit other people's works? Are you a (self-) publisher? Do you need the ability to write, edit, or publish works on-the-go? Are you sick of paying Microsoft hundreds of dollars for software that doesn't work right?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then the Wallstone Creativity Desktop was made for you. This (mostly) complete system, Powered by OpenSUSE, has plenty of tools for writing, editing, converting documents, scanning documents, handling images and photos, planning, and much more.

In addition, if you work on audio or video projects, we're working on making your lives better as well, with programs like OpenShot and Cinelrella, Mixxx, and Audacity. The Wallstone Creativity Desktop wants to be YOUR favorite Linux distribution, so tell us what you'd like to see!

This effort takes a kitchen sink approach by bundling all the wordsmithing tools the dev distro creator could find and putting them into one convenient collection.

I have mixed feelings about doing a distro like this. First, because this approach leads to a bloated installation that sometimes develops dependencies issues or experiences slowness down the road. Second, because there's a huge amount of functional overlap since so many similar apps are included. Seriously, do you really think you'll need over a dozen separate wordprocessors and text editors for your daily work?

That said, "kitchen sinking" can be a handy thing if you are new to Linux and don't have much experience with what software is available. This distro helps out with that by the simple expedient of taking a large amount of what’s out there and including it by default. (see below)


IMO the smart way to use a distro like this is to run it straight off the live DVD (it's 2.74Gb in the 64-bit version) and explore the various pieces of software included. When you find the apps you really like - make a list. Then get a more basic distro and use the package manager to grab and install the list of apps you made earlier. Or alternatively, install it to your hard disk and then let the package manager remove all the stuff you aren't using. You can always easily reinstall something if you find you need it.

[attach]

Anyway, there it is, the Wallstone Creativity Desktop. Get it here.

30  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz on: September 01, 2014, 11:42:40 AM
I don't know if Zoho would work for you. They have a very comprehensive collection of 25 apps that cover most business, productivity and collaboration requirements. I have two clients  heavily vested in it. The only problem is the completely à la carte pricing schedule. While one or two apps are generally affordable for small groups, the monthy per-user fee adds up pretty quickly if you're not careful. But you can add and drop products and users as needed. So if not everybody in the group needs something, there's money to be saved by only buying what you need for whoever needs it when it's needed. A good example is the Meetings app. Some of my client's customers like to web conference - so when they have a big project in from one of them, they add the meeting module for their employees and the client's reps that will be participating. When the project is finished, they drop it till next time they need it.

Zoho offers free trails (2 weeks if IIRC) of all their products. So it's easy to see if it will work for you. All said, it's a very nice suite of offerings.

I personally don't care for it. But my two clients love it. YMMV. smiley
31  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Beyond The Basement on: September 01, 2014, 11:17:49 AM
My feeling is that one good thing about publicly discussing "dangerous" ideas is it gets them out in the open where you can often see the clear difference between "bad dangerous" and "good dangerous." And it's not just dangerous ideas. Look how many "good" ideas turned out to be "not very" once we uncovered the hidden agendas behind them and suddenly realized just how ugly and batshit crazy their chief proponents really are. (ref: The Patriot Act, FISA, Libertarianism, etc.)

Everything benefits from a healthy dose of sunlight IMHO. And talk is cheap - so let's talk about everything. In public. And in a well-lighted forum.

Risk always needs to be assessed against the potential benefit(s) to be gained. Almost everything worth having comes at a price. The question is how much risk and how high a price you're willing to pay to attempt to gain something. That's where common sense, economic reality, and ethics come in. And those are much harder criteria to apply in a rational manner.

But we can save those for a separate discussion. The one where the word "let's" replaces the phrase "what if we..."
 
Thmbsup
32  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Beyond The Basement on: September 01, 2014, 09:51:00 AM
^The degree of "tameness" (is that an actual word?) varies from year to year. And it's not just confined to their big annual soirée. They have a year round program.

Not for everybody. But since I'm most comfortable, and my brain seems to function best whenever I'm outside my 'comfort' zone, I think FODI has a role in the world of ideas.
 Cool
33  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Beyond The Basement on: September 01, 2014, 07:07:45 AM
Think the Basement can get a little over the top at times?

Well...there's a festival, now in its 6th year that takes it (by design) to the absolute limit. The Atlantic recently did an article on the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) to be held in (no surprise) that strangest of all self-styled democracies: Australia. And at their iconic Sydney Opera House no less.


The article in The Atlantic says it all:

Quote

Can an Idea Be Dangerous?
An Australian festival aims to shock and provoke its audience. Does it go too far?

Kathy Gilsinan Aug 31 2014, 12:08 PM ET
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What does the notion that “cat videos will save journalism” have in common with the claim that “women are sexual predators?”

According to the organizers of this weekend's Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, these ideas are both dangerous. The festival, which just wrapped up its sixth installment, offers a roster of speakers on topics that could alternately be described as gently counterintuitive or, in the words of co-curator Simon Longstaff, “offensive, obnoxious, fearsome, [or] dangerously stupid.”

And while even journalists don't tend to seek shelter at the sight of a cat video, what makes all of these ideas “dangerous” to the festival’s organizers is their potential to challenge. “The original intention was to look at things that are difficult to discuss and are not discussed, that go against mainstream thought and opinion,” co-curator Ann Mossop tells me from Sydney. These can include big ideas about freedom, life, and death, or ideas that challenge everyday behavior by arguing, for example, that recycling is basically a waste of time. An idea could pose danger to any number of targets, be they a set of beliefs, an industry, or the very structure of society.

Interesting read. Find the full article here.

You can find the Festival of Dangerous Ideas webpage here.

And their YouTube channel called Ideas at the House here.

 Cool
34  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: collaborative software, note strong, for small biz on: August 31, 2014, 05:02:40 PM
@SA - Q: Just to clarify - the client piece wants to be running under Windows - but the backend not be a Microsoft solution?

[attach]
35  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Movie and Book Writing Thread on: August 31, 2014, 01:01:25 PM
@Stephen66515 - here's some food for thought courtesy of Raymond Chandler:

By the way, would you convey my compliments to the purist who reads your proofs and tell him or her that I write in a sort of broken-down patois which is something like the way a Swiss waiter talks, and that when I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will remain split, and when I interrupt the velvety smoothness of my more or less literate syntax with a few sudden words of barroom vernacular, this is done with the eyes wide open and the mind relaxed and attentive. The method may not be perfect, but it is all I have.

Raymond Chandler


 Cool Thmbsup

36  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: method of network drive-mapping regulated by location on: August 31, 2014, 12:17:33 PM
The real big technical differences are that the pro version allows you to configure Microsoft domain and proxy settings. That and store as many profiles as you want. If you're a roving tech, those are all 'must have' features. For home or small workgroup use, the free version should have everything you need.

Hopefully we're also all the decent type of downloader who abides by that "not for commercial use" clause in their license. Because this dev operates purely on the honor system. There's no "phone home" checks built into their software.
37  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Get ready to be unemployed - "Humans Need Not Apply" - CGP Grey on: August 31, 2014, 08:35:26 AM
^Chalk it up to someone who has set up many home aquariums.

You can easily increase the number of fish beyond what a natural body of water can support. But only up to a point. Push the number up too high and sooner or later you end up with a tank of dead or very ill and dying fish. Despite all the fancy water cleaning and oxygenating technology along with carefully selected food and preventative medications.

If our technology can't prevent a massive die off in 100 gallons of water and a relatively simple ecosystem we fully control, how is going to he possible with an entire planet we have so little control over?

Pessimistic? More like 'lacking in hubris' I think.  tongue

Pray for miracles if you must. But try not to put yourself in a position where you have to rely on one.
 Cool
38  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Get ready to be unemployed - "Humans Need Not Apply" - CGP Grey on: August 30, 2014, 11:11:00 PM
There are many critics of Malthus out there, and he's been pretty much laid to rest.

Not really.  smiley

Systems tend towards some kind of equilibrium. For AIs, robots, and human (un)employment, we'll likely see the same kind of thing.

Systems also tend towards extinction - extinction being the ultimate state of equilibrium. Cool

39  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ice Bucket Challenge...You all got nominated! on: August 30, 2014, 11:01:30 PM
(I find the complete absence of any provision for readers to comment back both telling and oddly familiar. Dialogue was never the extreme Left's strong point. They always preferred the soapbox or lecture rather than a discussion or debate conducted in good-faith.)

The discussions are on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/...mag/posts/931983790161656

Better than nothing I suppose. But IMHO a FB membership is a pretty high price to pay just to comment on something. undecided Wink
40  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Get ready to be unemployed - "Humans Need Not Apply" - CGP Grey on: August 30, 2014, 06:36:03 PM
You can't escape Malthus. There's only so far something can push a system before the ability of that something to survive in spite of itself is exhausted.

Unfortunately, with unchecked and geometrically expanding population growth, it isn't a matter of if. It's a matter of when.

But most people don't want to consider this. There's a feeling that the human race is somehow exempt from the ultimate limits of any closed system - as opposed to every other life form in this universe. We keep waiting for the arrival of a miracle. And that's gonna be "a long wait for a train that don't come" as Malcolm Reynolds said to Reverend Book.

 huh
41  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ice Bucket Challenge...You all got nominated! on: August 30, 2014, 02:29:52 PM
@App - interesting magazine this Jacobin. Refreshingly leftist for a change. But sometimes marred by that same old wilful blindsidedness we remember from the counterculture rhetoric of the 60-70s. (I find the complete absence of any provision for readers to comment back both telling and oddly familiar. Dialogue was never the extreme Left's strong point. They always preferred the soapbox or lecture rather than a discussion or debate conducted in good-faith.)

But still...talk about a blast from the past! Thx for finding and sharing that. smiley Thmbsup
42  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me! on: August 30, 2014, 01:12:35 PM
^@Mouser - what an enjoyable little group! That's how it all begins. Thx for sharing! Thmbsup
43  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ice Bucket Challenge...You all got nominated! on: August 29, 2014, 10:40:54 PM
UPDATE: the ALS Foundation has since withdrawn its trademark application.
44  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Did you know DonationCoder has a Facebook Page? on: August 29, 2014, 10:33:30 PM
DoCo on FB? huh

So much wickedness in the world! tongue Grin
45  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ice Bucket Challenge...You all got nominated! on: August 29, 2014, 08:04:40 PM
In fairness to the ALS Foundation, they do have a provision (according to their FAQ) where you can direct that 100% of your donation goes towards research with nothing taken out for administrative or other purposes.

That makes me much happier.
46  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Movie and Book Writing Thread on: August 29, 2014, 06:06:46 PM
^ never having laid claim to grammatical powers - I'm enjoying the slagging Ren is getting, but dont understand why...
Should we be saying 'our pets the peeves' maybe ? tellme
or what?

S/B - ...just how many of these pets do you have? There must be hundreds. Wink
47  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Mystery of Death Valley's Sliding Rocks Solved on: August 29, 2014, 02:39:51 PM
Ronald Reagan demanded harsher conditions, which caused some friction with the Russians, delaying the signing.

Well yeah....that and the fact he wanted to keep the those odd sigils seen on the experimental German WWII "Bell" device squarely in the hands of Majestic - even after the treaty was signed. The Sovs had a part of the inscription from old photos and previous espionage attempts. But they were missing several sigils on one side of the device that had never been recorded anywhere other than some MX-Ultra classified photos taken shortly after the device was shipped to the United States just before the end of WWII.

Apparently those sigils were absolutely critical for something as the "Kecksburg Acorn" incident in PA seemed to confirm about 20 years later.

 Cool Wink
48  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Movie and Book Writing Thread on: August 29, 2014, 01:25:01 PM
The Digital Reader blog has a nice little daily feature called The Morning Coffee which gathers a handful of interesting article links that should be interest to both actual and will-be authors and publishers. Perfect for...well...when you're drinking your morning coffee.

Add this URL to your favorite feed reader to get it:

http://www.the-digital-re...gory/morning-coffee/feed/

 Cool
49  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: My Stinking, Rotten ASUS Router Died Overnight! on: August 29, 2014, 10:07:33 AM
this one caught me by surprise.

I know the feeling. Especially after getting careless on the one occasion where I inadvertently bricked a WRT54G when I got careless flashing it for DD-WRT. (RTFM Dude! They updated the software since last time you did it.)  redface

 Wink
50  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Ice Bucket Challenge...You all got nominated! on: August 29, 2014, 09:55:44 AM
For a while, I was worried that I may have been unduly harsh towards the ALS Foundation with my previous comments. So I decided to do a little more research to see if an apology was due.

But now that I've looked at their IRS Form-990 filing and examined the information contained therein a bit more closely, I'm less convinced they're the best non-profit to be contributing to for ALS research.

(Those of you with a financial or accounting background might want to do a little analysis and read between the lines in a few places on that 990. Check out the salary and compensation section (p. 8 & 9); and the note on p.29 regarding the perpetual endowment whose earned income makes up part of the 28% going to research. Interesting huh?)

Their officially published numbers also paint a fairly dismal picture, with less than half of all funds making it to research (28%) or patient services (19%).

[attachthumb=#]

And while the public and professional education wedge seems to indicate a healthy 32% going to...um...education, I'm not sure how to interpret that since the government gives registered charities fairly broad leeway as to what to categorize as 'fundraising' or 'marketing' as opposed to 'educational' communications and publications. This is something which has been a source of controversy (in the US) over the years since much of what gets called 'educational' is often little more than a thinly disguised fundraising effort.

So...bottom line?

I think ALS is a serious health issue that needs research and deserves our dollars.

But...is the ALS Foundation the best way to contribute to the effort? Maybe. But I'd like to see a little more of what they get actually going to fix the problem. My rule of thumb for charitable giving is a distribution breakdown where 75% or better of all monies received goes directly to the cause, and administration expenses are held at or below 6%.

But that's me. Wink
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