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5876  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: A Siri challenger emerges. Meet Evi. on: February 01, 2012, 10:27:17 PM
Someone please come up with Ask Jenny  cheesy

Sounds good.

Better than what some government types may be hoping for instead:


5877  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid. on: February 01, 2012, 10:19:03 PM
If you're interested in Maslow (and ready to move beyond Wikipedia)...

That could seem to be a rather cheap shot smacking of intellectual snobbery, and as such would do the author no credit.

@IainB -Perhaps a certain sort of person might take my words as a "cheap shot." But my mind doesn't work like that. All I was suggesting was that if someone were interested enough in Maslow to move beyond the mostly descriptive articles found in Wikipedia, the suggested article could provide a more in-depth treatment of Maslow's ideas.

That's all it meant as far as I was concerned. Feel free, however, to interpret it as you will.

As far as an accusation of intellectual snobbery...well, that's the first time anyone's ever suggested I was guilty of that. But there's a first time for being called anything I suppose.

Regarding the notion of buzzword as it applies to self-actualization, all I can suggest is that it may have become a buzzword with the passing of time and it's passing into common parlance. But in Maslow's case it was anything but. He was groping for a term. And as terms go, within the context in which he used it, it was a very evocative and apt choice of words.

As for the rest...what can I say? I lack the patience for infinite hair-splitting and other debating tactics. Being an intensely noncompetitive sort of person, I also lack the appetite for that sort of thing. If you've tracked down a more reliably documented origin for the term self-actualization, please accept my "bravos" and collect full points for it. I hardly think it has much real bearing on the discussion.

Whether Maslow ultimately coined the term, or merely popularized it, he meant it in a rather specific sense. Which I think is not the case with what most people think of as a buzzword. (And I'm sure you'll be able to find a source to contradict me on that point as well.  mrgreen)

Either way, this discussion has gotten rather tiring.

So I'll leave it to you and others to carry on.

Best! smiley Thmbsup
5878  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid. on: February 01, 2012, 04:57:54 PM
If you're interested in Maslow (and ready to move beyond Wikipedia), go here to read a very good essay on Maslow's theories and ideas.

Note: self-actualization isn't properly a "buzz word" since Maslow coined and used that term in his writings.  tongue
5879 Software / Screenshot Captor / Re: how to add a image to email body ( not as attachment) on: February 01, 2012, 01:54:23 PM
Don't know if this would work for the person asking. But what I do is save the screenshot to the desktop or someplace else I can easily find it, double click to open it first, then do a right-click copy on what appears in PhotoViewer. That image can then be pasted into a standard e-mail as a visible graphic embedded in the body of the message.

In most e-mail clients I'm familiar with, just doing a right-click copy without opening it first, will load the screenshot into your email message as an attachment. Same goes for using the copy to clipboard button in SSC.
5880  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Ubuntu's Latest Interface "Brainstorm" - HUD on: February 01, 2012, 01:33:06 PM
It actually looks pretty cool to me. It's not just an app launcher. It allows you to search and "launch" all the things from the menus in multiple applications. Sweet!

It certainly is - IF - you're primarily interested in coming up with an interface for tablet PCs.

I disagree. Typing your search terms would be more of a hassle on a tablet PC's virtual keyboard than navigating the menus with touch. On the other hand, pressing a hotkey to bring up the HUD and speedily typing away to get access to the things you want would be so much better on your desktop/laptop PC with a physical keyboard.

Might want to mention that to Mark Shuttleworth then.  Grin

Although there are plans for implementing voice control for it too.

From ZDNet:

Although Shuttleworth doesn’t say so, part of the reason why Ubuntu is making these changes is to make Ubuntu a more attractive option to smart TVs and smartphones and tablets. On these systems, the WIMP interface doesn’t work that well. If HUD is successful, users will ultimately be able to use the same interface on any device from PC to smartphone with voice commands.

Ubuntu is retooling to to focus on tablet format computing as fast as they can manage it. Shuttleworth's convinced the future lies with tablets.

5881  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: A Siri challenger emerges. Meet Evi. on: February 01, 2012, 01:26:53 PM
^William Gibson called them "ghosts" (indulging in a little wordplay on 'ghost in the machine') in his book Mona Lisa Overdrive.

A ghost was a personal assistant visible only to the person it belonged to. It was the ultimate personal info assistant. It could look things up, find things out, remind you of appointments, make excuses for you...basically the personal secretary every busy person could have ever hoped for.

Evi ain't that by a long shot.  Grin

My personal dream is getting something like the Librarian in Neal Stephenson's sci-fi masterpiece Snow Crash. If you haven't read this book yet - do so!

Stephenson posited a world where knowledge workers "goggle-in" to a computer generated 3D world called the Metaverse. (After you read this book you'll swear this was where Second Life got its inspiration from.) The Metaverse is a mashup of everything you'd ever do online. It's the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, Steam, online shopping, web-enabled remote access and control, YouTube, NetFlix, Google, and several other things that haven't been engineered yet. And you interact with it by putting on goggles and using a 3D avatar instead of a keyboard and mouse. No brain implants required. This technology uses eye-tracking and other kinesthetic cues picked up by a camera mounted in every laptop which allows you to control your online avatar. After you get used to it, it becomes almost subconscious and automatic. Like walking or swimming or riding a bike.

Very cool. And very doable - even with today's technology.

Note: Google has the whole book up online. To get a sample of what the Librarian is, go here, navigate back to page 106 and start reading from where it says: He is no longer connected to the network by a fiber optic cable... and start reading.

5882  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: SOPA: Alt view - You need to be Shakespeare or Picasso to Avoid Content Scraping on: February 01, 2012, 10:14:15 AM
I saw that you are a good person and on a good intellectual level. And i believe you can understand me.

I like to think I am. And I like to think I can.

It's also interesting to see a non-US, non-Euro take on copyright from someone coming in from outside the usual circle of Western understandings.

Look forward to your comments going forward. Thmbsup

5883  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: SOPA: Alt view - You need to be Shakespeare or Picasso to Avoid Content Scraping on: February 01, 2012, 10:04:05 AM
I can submit your copyrighted article to 200.000 forum, 200.000 blog, 10.000 article website, and thousands of guestbooks etc... only in 48 hours. Then you will have to send DMCA complaint everyday in the rest of your life smiley

Sounds like a perfect strategy for the XXAA Mafia to pursue.

Let's save things like that for when the battle finally goes nuclear shall we? Grin

Of course the only thing that will do (short term) is give governments the excuse to pull their backbone kill switches (Hello FIDOnet? We have a situation!) ; and (long term) see the Internet be reopened as a completely licensed, regulated, and controlled environment - just like radio and telecommunications presently is.

And care to guess who will be put in charge and running it once it is allowed to reopen? (Hint: Cablevision, BBC, Comcast, AT&T, Verizon,...)
5884  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: SOPA: Alt view - You need to be Shakespeare or Picasso to Avoid Content Scraping on: February 01, 2012, 09:57:20 AM

But i see some people threaten him. I can tell he's got high programming skills. And he's well experienced on all internet stuff. So if someone want to make a war with him he should have been well prepared for that. He's a nice guy anyway. If i was him and someone show me such aggressive reaction i would carry the website out of usa. Then i would send all those articles to the other websites with mass submiting bots. I can submit your copyrighted article to 200.000 forum, 200.000 blog, 10.000 article website, and thousands of guestbooks etc... only in 48 hours. Then you will have to send DMCA complaint everyday in the rest of your life smiley

Sounds a bit like a threat...

I'm not sure how you could reconcile being a "nice guy" with doing something along the lines of what you're suggesting however.

It would also be a vastly out of proportion response to what happened. He was asked to remove content that had been copied word for word from someone else's site. He sent back a letter which basically said: Go to hell. I'm not in the US so there's nothing you can do to stop me.  It was only after a person-to-person and unofficial attempt to resolve the situation failed that a more official set of actions took place. So if anybody is responsible for what happened, it was you acquaintance's editor - first by borrowing the content without permission - and then by insulting and mocking the content creator when she asked for the article to be removed form his website.

But either way he was not "attacked" by the content creator. He simply suffered the consequences of his own personal decision to refuse to remove content he had no legal or moral right to post on his website. It only went the way it did in response to his actions. And it could have gone a totally different way if he had handled it in a less arrogant and defiant manner. But no matter how yo wish to characterize it, it was not a "attack" against him.

Behaving like this editor has the unfortunate effecy of also adding further fuel to the arguments for bills such as ACTA, SOPA, and PIPA - all which have justified their necessity by pointing out how someone in a country outside the US could do as you've suggested with impunity.

By behaving the way he did, he played into the hands of those screaming for further constraints and censorship up on the web. And by doing so, he increases the risk of increased hurt  - not only himself - but to the rest of us as well. Because those draconian laws being proposed will hurt all of us.

So thanks for your input. (And welcome to DonationCoder BTW!  smiley) But it doesn't help your 'acquaintance' (or those of us who are attempting to stop, or rein in, things like SOPA and ACTA) by suggesting hypothetical(?) threats like using mass submitting bots to further compound the wrongful act of scraping someone's web content without permission. And that's something which remains morally wrong regardless of what the law may say wherever the scraper happens to live.

It's a global community. People need to start acting like it is before the hands of authority descend upon us and turn what was once 'our web' into a global and governmentally operated panopticon.

Take a look around you. The transition has already started. Sad

Just my 2¢
5885  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid. on: February 01, 2012, 09:17:17 AM
So I haven't seen the proof/"proof" that claims Maslow is "debunked". After all, people are "sorta wonderful", so if the "proof" is flawed, then everything spirals down into Alice's Wonderland when you have to decide if the mistake was honest or deliberate.

The only problem with Maslow's pyramid is the very top where you find the 'self-actualizing' needs being proposed. It's a problem because even Maslow admitted there was no real proof they actually existed other than casual observations and anecdotal evidence that seems to indicate they do.

But that's a far cry from rigorous scientific proof. And Maslow could very well be making a seriously wrong assumption. Something he himself was painfully aware of.

Anecdotal evidence and observation shows the sun orbits the earth rather than the other way around. But to say earth orbits the sun is also not completely true since the sun also moves within the galaxy. So the visual orbits are more a matter of where you're observing from than any underlying physics. A better argument would be to look at it from the perspective of who's gravitational field is more pulling whom. But that's not even completely cut and dried.

And that's the rub. There's no proof people actually do self-actualize. (Skinner would argue they didn't.) Because self-actualization argues for some higher order of existence or awareness (i.e. a soul) which amounts to a version of 'pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps.'

It was something Maslow was never able to satisfactorily explain, although he did remark how horrible a world it would be if some form of self-actualization didn't really exist.

In the end, you have to take the existence of self-actualization on faith.

I do.  smiley
5886  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Recommended website: on: February 01, 2012, 08:52:08 AM

paidContent. It's been mentioned in a few forum posts by fellow DCers Josh and zrinding some time back.

But this is a website well worth checking out if you haven't yet done so. And also worth loading into your RSS reader to stay up on what they're reporting. (Feed URL link here.)

Refreshingly intelligent and rational discussion and reporting on "The economics of digital content."

Some especially good recent articles:

Barnes & Noble: We Will Not Carry Amazon Publishing Titles In Our Stores

What Broadcast And Cable Executives Still Don’t Understand About YouTube

What The Pundits Are Missing In The Megaupload Case This article is a must read because it addresses issues of criminal law and enforcement that have ramifications far beyond the Megauploads case (emphasis added):

The US charges against Dotcom, who was nabbed in a panic room clutching a sawed-off shotgun, are based on an indictment unsealed last week that accuses him and six others of criminal copyright and three other charges.

Contrary to many reports, those other charges are not about money-laundering and racketeering but instead about conspiracy to commit those crimes. The distinction is important because conspiracy charges are a key law enforcement tool for the federal government that, critically, do not require proving the underlying crime.

“It’s a huge engine for the government and one of its bread and butter statutes,” says Miriam Baer, a criminal law specialist at Brooklyn Law School.

Under federal law, a person is guilty of conspiracy if they agree with another person to commit an illegal act and then any person in the conspiracy does something to move the plan forward. This means that the conspiracy doesn’t have to be successful—only that someone performs an “overt act.”

Baer says this can be “particularly easy” to show because an overt act can be anything from a phone call to an email message. “There’s usually plenty of overt acts to choose from.”

The Likely Winners And Losers In The Over-The-Top TV Market

Great site all around. Make sure to pay it a visit, along with its two sister sites:

mocoNews -Unheathily Obsessed with Mobile Content


paidContent:UK - Covering UK's Digital Economy - and not only of interest to UK readers. Some very good stuff to be found there was well.

 Cool Thmbsup

5887  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / A Siri challenger emerges. Meet Evi. on: February 01, 2012, 07:29:08 AM
Interetsting news from MIT's Technology Review (Link to full article here.)


New Virtual Helper Challenges Siri

An app named Evi uses semantic data to provide a wider range of answers.

Friday, January 27, 2012  By Rachel Metz


The market for sweetly named smart-phone assistants is heating up, as Siri, Apple's iPhone-based virtual helper, just got a new "frenemy" named Evi.

Created by True Knowledge, a Cambridge, U.K.-based semantic technology startup, Evi, like Siri, can answer questions posed aloud in a conversational manner. But unlike Siri, which is only loaded on the latest iPhone, Evi is available as an app for the iPhone and phones running Google's Android software.

Siri and other personal assistants are still fairly limited. As they become more popular, established companies and startups will need to expand the range of tasks they can perform. True Knowledge is hoping the semantic database it has built up over the past few years could provide this edge.

Evi's availability and promise as an artificial intelligence app, coupled with its low price (99 cents on the iPhone and free on Android phones), caused its popularity to skyrocket following its Monday release, and made it difficult for those downloading it to try it out.  Evi isn't the only Siri competitor—and in fact its capabilities are somewhat different from Siri's offerings—but plenty of smart-phone users, it seems, are eager for Evi's help in particular.


Seemed cool enough to drop a dollar to get it on my iPhone just to see. (It's free for Android. Are we surprised?)

I asked it: what is donationcoder?

It answered:, the website hosting a community of programmers and software fanatics.

Not bad! Dunno if I'd completely agree with that characterization since DC is so much more than that. But close enough. And correct as far as it goes.

A few quick questions yielded up mostly correct and useful answers along with some spectacular failures. Trick questions sometimes produced unexpected and very funny answers. But only about a third of the time. It is easy to deliberately confuse Evi. But considering how this type of search technology is in its earliest adolescence, that's hardly surprising. Straightforward technical and academic questions were either correctly answered or redirected to site(s) hosting the correct answers more often than not.

It's somewhat flawed overall. Your Google/Bing/DDG search skills aren't obsolete yet. But for what and where it currently is, Evi is quite impressive.

Right now it's more of a cool toy to play with rather than a serious tool. But with luck it won't remain so forever.

Fun! I'm gonna have to play with this some more... smiley

5888  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Ubuntu's Latest Interface "Brainstorm" - HUD on: February 01, 2012, 06:16:15 AM
It actually looks pretty cool to me. It's not just an app launcher. It allows you to search and "launch" all the things from the menus in multiple applications. Sweet!

It certainly is - IF - you're primarily interested in coming up with an interface for tablet PCs.

Which is where Canonical and Ubuntu are obviously going despite their being so coy about it.

I keep waiting for an Ubuntu branded tablet to be introduced. After which I expect Canonical to attempt to do the same thing with Linux that Apple did with Mach - wrap a proprietary interface and userland around an ostensibly 'open' platform, with the goal of getting away from GNU and that pesky GPL most of it is licensed under.
5889  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts? on: January 31, 2012, 10:02:49 PM
The other is the Roku box for your TV set.
Roku has been in my backup plans for a while.  But...superboyac is going to overengineer hisself a home theater system in 2012 that has been in the works for 3 years.   Thmbsup


In my case, I think I'd keep my current modest home theater system, add a Roku to the mix, and then plow any money saved into the biggest, highest quality screen I could comfortably view. And maybe buy a real theater popcorn maker if there was anything left over!
Because those are two things I likely wouldn't be able to build for myself.Grin

5890  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Ubuntu's Latest Interface "Brainstorm" - HUD on: January 31, 2012, 09:50:56 PM
What do you get when you cross something like Launchy and Mouser's FARR and wrap it in something that looks like an Adobe Air interface? You get Ubuntu's HUD (Heads Up Display) - Mark Shuttleworth's latest foray into 'original'  undecided interface design for his adopted wonder-child.

Check out the following video. Does any of this look familiar?

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

It's a bit much to go into in a post. So the logical starting place is Mssr. Shuttleworth's own blog where he speaks rapturously about his latest brainstorm:

Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu.
Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

The desktop remains central to our everyday work and play, despite all the excitement around tablets, TV’s and phones. So it’s exciting for us to innovate in the desktop too, especially when we find ways to enhance the experience of both heavy “power” users and casual users at the same time. The desktop will be with us for a long time, and for those of us who spend hours every day using a wide diversity of applications, here is some very good news: 12.04 LTS will include the first step in a major new approach to application interfaces.

This work grows out of observations of new and established / sophisticated users making extensive use of the broader set of capabilities in their applications. We noticed that both groups of users spent a lot of time, relatively speaking, navigating the menus of their applications, either to learn about the capabilities of the app, or to take a specific action. We were also conscious of the broader theme in Unity design of leading from user intent. And that set us on a course which lead to today’s first public milestone on what we expect will  be a long, fruitful and exciting journey.

The menu has been a central part of the GUI since Xerox PARC invented ‘em in the 70′s. It’s the M in WIMP and has been there, essentially unchanged, for 30 years.

What I find quite interesting in this blog post is the first image that follows the above text. It's this:


Yes. It's an original Apple desktop. Do you begin to suspect where Mr. Shuttleworth is going with this now that the 'Son of Zeus,' Steven Jobs has quit this mortal clay? Apparently there's a perceived vacuum in the computing universe. And Mark Shuttleworth abhors that vacuum.

Unfortunately, I think Mr. Shuttleworth fails to appreciate that the current desktop metaphor (WIMP) has been in place for 30 years because it works. It's a proven design that admittedly has its faults and shortcomings. But it works. And people get a lot of things done using it.

And despite the flowery prose, as it stands from its given description, there is nothing new in HUD. It's a mashup of adaptive interface ideas and launchers that have been around for years. And there are numerous realizations of them available for download on all the major software sites.

Hmm...Maybe, if Mr. Shuttleworth knew a little more about software and interface design, he'd know that?

What is it about non-coders and non-engineers that they feel the need to try to carve out a place for themselves in computing history without mastering any of the skill set required to earn such a name? When did "design" and "vision" replace engineering, programming skills, and computer science as requisites for true innovation?

Oh...that's right! It happened when Steve Jobs decided to ride into town on the coattails of people like Steve Wozniac, Jef Raskin, Andy Herzfeld, Burrell Smith, and a host of others. Failing to master any technical skill, Jobs called himself a "designer," and then unilaterally put himself in charge of the people who did have real skills.

And now it looks like Mark Shuttleworth is heading down the same road. And dragging Ubuntu along with him.

There's a couple of articles over at ZD's website that might be worth reading. The first is a quick intro to HUD. The second, is another one of ZD's usual cautious don't-rock-the-boat follow-ups.

Beyond the desktop: Ubuntu Linux's new Head-Up Display

By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | January 24, 2012, 8:13am PST

Summary: Following on the heels of changing its interface from the GNOME 3.x shell to Unity, Ubuntu is proposing a new, radical change to the desktop Linux interface: Head-Up Display.

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical Ubuntu Linux’s parent company, has announced that Ubuntu will be adopting a radical new change to the interface that will do away with the “menu” in the Windows, Icons, Menus, Pointer (WIMP) interface, which has defined the desktop for the last thirty years.

Shuttleworth states, “The menu has been a central part of the GUI since Xerox PARC invented ‘em in the 70?s. It’s the M in WIMP and has been there, essentially unchanged, for 30 years. We can do much better!” This new interface, which will first appear as a beta in April’s Ubuntu 12.04 release, is called Head-Up Display.

Link to above article here.

Linux users cautiously optimistic about Ubuntu's Head-Up Display desktop

By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | January 26, 2012, 8:55am PST

Summary: Most users seem willing to give Ubuntu Linux’s Head-Up Display interface the benefit of the doubt.

When Ubuntu announced that it was going to switch to Unity for its primary Linux desktop, some users were outraged by Ubuntu’s shift to a new interface. Many turned to Linux Mint in place of Ubuntu. So, when Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu would be moving from Unity to Head-Up Display (HUD), I expected Linux users to be even more annoyed. I was wrong. Instead, they are taking a wait-and-see attitude to HUD.

Link to above article here.

The thing that really makes something like this a problem for me is Canonical's plan to offer HUD as a replacement - not an add-on or an accessory - to the standard menu and mouse interface. As was the case with Unity, Canonical is deliberately walking away from the larger Linux community with interface decisions that will end up becoming the equivalent of a proprietary interface since it's doubtful any other distros will follow them down the path they're taking.

And all because somebody decided to do something different purely for the sake of doing anything different - just so long as he can put his own name on it.



5891  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: When you make your 100'th Post on: January 31, 2012, 05:17:08 PM
congrats deo smiley

we'll have to get on to mouser - there was a tradition to get a mug @ 5,000 posts.
I made a pre-5000'th-post request to get one of those lovely new ceramic Cody shot glasses, to which he agreed, but I never followed up on it when I actually made it to 5000 (too busy around new year).


I kept expecting to receive a bill after my 5000th for using so much storage and chewing up so much bandwidth.  Grin
5892  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts? on: January 31, 2012, 03:46:14 PM
Nice find 40!!  yes, that is exactly the thing we want to have.  

The other is the Roku box for your TV set. My GF picked up one (from $59 -$99) about a month ago. Combined with a vanilla wifi router and her $7.99/mo NetFlix streaming account, she's all set. She dropped DirectTV and now gets better picture quality and all the movies she wants to see when she wants to see them. She was contemplating buying a HuluPlus* account (also $7.99/mo) to get network channels and shows, but hasn't so far. She's since discovered independent web TV and liked it so much she's scaled back on her NetFlix watching.

She'll be saving herself well over a thousand dollars this year by buying her entertainment this way.

Roku even threw in a free copy of Angry Birds as part of the deal. Awesome! Thmbsup


*Note: due to legal restrictions by the TV networks, Roku and other set top boxes (i.e. XBox, Wii, Sony, etc.) are only allowed to carry HuluPlus - not the free Hulu offering you can still watch on your PC.

5893  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid. on: January 31, 2012, 02:40:19 PM
re: Berkun and Orwell above...

Excellent articles. And quite valid in many respects. But it's interesting that both writers, who are/were professional journalists seem blissfully blind to their own writing biases and prejudices, which seem to presume a journalistic news reporting style is not only better, but more honest, and intellectually rigorous as well.

I disagree. Journalism is just one more tool to help us covey information and express opinion. It's neither a one-size-fits-all nor ideal tool for all forms of, or reasons for, writing. A short-word, active-tense, and "no metaphors please' style is frequently bland and tiring to read. And it removes much of the individualism and 'voice' from a piece of writing.

But Orwell was also a socialist - so he probably wouldn't have considered that a bad thing. Wink

5894  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: When you make your 100'th Post on: January 31, 2012, 02:22:27 PM
Congratulations Deozaan! greenclp

This calls for your very own Rave - complete with mosh pit up front!



5895  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts? on: January 31, 2012, 02:10:43 PM
When it comes to tablets, I'm holding out for something that ships with a pure OS and no jailbreaking required. Not some locked-down version of Linux with a half a ton of BS Java 'pretty face' sitting on top of it.

Enter the Spark tablet running Plasma Active. (If you don't know what Plasma Active is, look here for full info.)

If this puppy ever actually sees the light of day (and I've been disappointed with announcements such as this before) I may finally make my first tablet PC purchase (link to full article here):


The Reveal

As I noted earlier in the week, my recent blog posts have been slowly leading up to something, and here's what that something is:

The first tablet computer that comes with Plasma Active pre-installed.

It's name is "Spark", in recognition of it being the start to an even bigger flame.

It sports an open Linux stack on unlocked hardware and comes with an open content and services market. The user experience is, of course, Plasma Active and it will be available to the general public.

The hardware is modest but compelling: 1GHz AMLogic ARM processor, Mali-400 GPU, 512 MB RAM, 4GB internal storage plus SD card slot, a 7" capacitive multi-touch screen and wifi connectivity.

I'm sure some of you are already wondering what the retail price will be. The answer: a mere €200.

A Bit of the Bigger Picture

This is more than just another piece of hardware on the market, though. This is a unique opportunity for Free software. Finally we have a device coming to market on our terms. It has been designed by and is usable by us on our terms. We are not waiting for some big company to give us what we desire, we're going out there and making it happen together. Just as important: the proceeds will be helping fuel the efforts that make this all possible.

It's also more meaningful than "just" Free software: The people who get to use these tablets will have in their hands a device that is more than an application bucket that sees them as a consumer. They will have a device that places value on who they are and what they are doing. This lies at the heart of Activities in Plasma Active and the open software stack will drive that trend further. Perhaps best of all: there's no walled garden to get locked into or which can be taken away.

This also will provide opportunities to the wider Free software ecosystem. Partnerships are being forged to provide things as diverse as OwnCloud hosting services, Kolab and Kontact Touch deployment support and exciting Qt/QML add-on apps for download.

The content store will offer great Free Culture artifacts such as digital books from Project Gutenberg as well as contents and apps for purchase. It will provide a conduit to users for those who love writing great software, Free and otherwise, using the typical Linux tools.

In case it wasn't painfully clear already: this epitomizes what I've been writing about for the last few days. It is a product made with and out of a commitment to the philosophy of making, playing and living. In fact, that's the brand under which this tablet, and those that follow it, is being brought to market under: Make·Play·Live.

.. but that's not all! Wink

I'll be sharing more information as to when the tablet will be available to be shipped directly to you (soon!), how you can place orders for them as well as more details on the hardware and software provided.

It will still never be able to replace a keyboard equipped laptop for me or many people. Even the Plasma Active developers acknowledge the fundamental difference between today's tablet users and the rest of the computing community in their note to app developers:

App developers

Small ultraportables favor consumption over creation. Active users generally read reports rather than write them. Touch interfaces are good for selecting; not so good for high volume typing. People want an ongoing supply of good games. Plasma Active offers a rewarding opportunity for developers. Creativity and innovation thrive in KDE's open, collaborative development environment.

Would that Apple (and everybody else who is positioning tablet PCs as the replacement for desktops) had the same degree of insight, or  - to be more blunt about it - the same honesty and candor.

But even so, with it's unlocked OS (and LGPL license), it will afford people like me the opportunity to better take it where I want to go than any other alternative currently out there.

Let's hope it actually ships! Grin

5896  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: As a counter-point to the SOPA/PIPA demonstration on: January 31, 2012, 01:28:05 PM
Think 'avoidance conditioning' and it all becomes clear.

Just the fact that you knew the name of it - off the top of your head presumably - makes me a bit uneasy...  Sad

Just 'so ya knows,' I did pull that term off the top of my head.  Cool

Helped my GF study when she was getting her Master's in cognitive psych.  Grin

I'm also a lifelong student of strategies and tactics - especially the 'neuro' variety.

Good thing I'm a basically nice person huh? tongue


But the "head on a stake" bit is truly an accurate description of the feds motive.

Times change. Regimes come and go. Laws keep being written and rewritten. Badges are sometimes displayed, and sometimes not. But tactics of coercion and intimidation remain the same no matter what.  

Mostly because they work.  Cry
5897  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: As a counter-point to the SOPA/PIPA demonstration on: January 31, 2012, 09:42:05 AM
Well, looks like the government there is looking to delete the evidence...

You have to wonder... Why would you delete the evidence? Hmmm...

Hmmm, I say...

Think 'avoidance conditioning' and it all becomes clear.

Here, I think you're just seeing another example of abusing forfeiture laws to send a message to people.

The message is : Be very careful who you host things with. Because if you don't, and your host runs afoul of the law, your content may be destroyed - even though you had nothing to do with it. So if you see anything that looks even the slightes bit 'iffy' - you better walk away from it pronto lest you suffer the consequences.

Private schools use a similar tactic. In my old high school, three students got expelled - two for smoking marijuana, and one for having the bad luck to walk in on them doing it just before the Dean of Students (acting on a tip) did.

Rule was, if you were there - you're screwed. Even if you were not involved.

It's arbitrary, illogical, fundamentally unfair, and spiteful. And it's scary. But that's because it's intended to be. Fear is a powerful motivator.  

In the case of Megauploads, it's the Feds showing everybody what a badass posse they are in the hopes of further isolating sharing sites and ideally cutting into their revenue streams by scaring off legitimate would-be customers.

The RICO act gets used in a similar fashion. A favorite tactic is seizing things that clearly belong to parents, friends, and other innocent parties in order that their pain can be used for leverage in compelling "cooperation" from the person they're really interested in.

It's one more example of law enforcement terror tactics. Just like every other form of 'group punishment' or abuse of legal statute.

Megauploads is the proverbial "head on a stake" over the gate leading into the city. It says: You have been warned. Better watch you step, and mind your tongue, around here!
5898  News and Reviews / Official Announcements / Re: DC going offline to protest SOPA on Jan 18 on: January 31, 2012, 08:44:10 AM
It's always darkest before the dawn.

And the last act of a dying institution is to publish a bigger and more comprehensive rule book.

But there's nothing so big and unstoppable that you can't knock it flat on its ass.

It's only become a bigger chore, not an impossible one. And this is far from over.   smiley Cool

5899  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: A call to all game design afficionados. Framework for making simple games? on: January 30, 2012, 06:34:40 PM
Take a look at Bryan Lunduke's Illumination Software Creator available from Radical Breeze.

They don't offer a trial version per se. It runs about $50 - but they offer a full no-questions money-back guarantee.

You can also download a free Linux live CD full version (it's multi-platform) if you'd like to give it a workout. Download here.

You can see Bryan doing a long discussion/presentation about it on YouTube:

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

This might be what you're looking for. smiley

5900  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: How I fought Firefox and won on: January 30, 2012, 06:14:38 PM
I won't post my code here, because I'm not even sure if QuoteText license would permit that, but if anyone wants my modifications, just PM me.

It should be cool to do that. It's released under the Mozilla Public License V1.1:

2.2. Contributor Grant.

Subject to third party intellectual property claims, each Contributor hereby grants You a world-wide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license

 A)   under intellectual property rights (other than patent or trademark) Licensable by Contributor, to use, reproduce, modify, display, perform, sublicense and distribute the Modifications created by such Contributor (or portions thereof) either on an unmodified basis, with other Modifications, as Covered Code and/or as part of a Larger Work; and

If you distribute a packaged version of the modified add-on, the distribution obligations in section 3 may also apply. But it's mostly about requiring you make your source code available. If you're just posting source code hacks, then you should be covered even though the obligation doesn't really apply.


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