0743: "Infrastructures"

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jacog
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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby jacog » Mon May 24, 2010 7:51 am UTC

NeoTechni wrote:Except they are different entirely. It's like saying since he bought a DS instead of a Pandora, it's his fault that Ford's had to be recalled.


It's more about attitudes than specific instances. Think of docformat guy as the group who are happy to have their data and data formats entirely dictated by a single vendor. Docformat guy represents people like those in this thread who are calling the openformat people smug and "being a dick" etc. etc. This complacence will eventually bite people in the ass, is what this comic is saying.

It reminds me of an episode of The Twilight Zone I saw. A woman finds a pendant that can freeze time, and then starts to use it in all kinds of ways during her day to day life. Then one day some anti-nuclear activists come by her house to try to get her family to sign a petition or somesuch thing to try and get rid of nuclear weapons. She uses the time freeze thingy to get rid of them because she finds them annoying. Days later, a nuclear war breaks out. Amidst the ensuing chaos, she freezes time. Above her head, a lovely soviet ICBM is frozen in mid-descent towards her city. She also learns that it would have taken just a few more signatures on that document, in order to prevent this act. The end.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby sabik » Mon May 24, 2010 8:54 am UTC

NeoTechni wrote:
sabik wrote:
NeoTechni wrote:I really dont see the relation between someone supporting Office, then being burned by Facebook.


In both cases, we're handing over a part of our infrastructure (document format, social network) to a single company (Microsoft, Facebook).


Except they are different entirely. It's like saying since he bought a DS instead of a Pandora, it's his fault that Ford's had to be recalled.


The point is that if you buy a DS, use the .doc format and join Facebook, you are setting yourself up in the same way each time. Bearded guy is shown complaining about .doc, but he'll quite happily talk to you about the dangers of Facebook (and cloud computing generally [1]) or the DS.

Bearded guy has not, in general, complained about cars, except perhaps to the extent that software is being used in them. Occasionally there are arguments about the degree to which, for instance, DRM might be used to exclude independent repair shops from repairing those cars, but for the most part bearded guy has no opinion on cars. Certainly a recall is quite a different beast; the hypothetical analogy with cars would be if they were set up by Ford so that only the manufacturer's authorised repair shops could repair them (for instance, only authorised shops would be able to interface with the onboard computer to diagnose faults, run tests and reset warning lights).

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/20 ... d.stallman

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby sarrel » Mon May 24, 2010 10:21 am UTC

I've never found openoffice to be that troubling. If you have to write a highschool paper, it's rather nice. I find the interface simple and easy to use, compared to MS Word which is always telling me what to do. It's not so much the fact that I'm to lazy to turn these features off, it's just that there's so many of them, most of which I evenetually have to look up to turn off, after a short period of telling myself I can live with them, when I can just use open office, get the same result, maybe even better, and have it be easier on me.
As far as the format goes, you should not be sending things in formats that the person giving you a grade may or may not be able to open. .doc is always a safe bet, and if you're really worried about the way you have the page formatted and how it looks and all, go for a .pdf. Don't mess around with sending .odt files. The classes I go to, you send a file your teacher can't open, you get a zero.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby Steax » Mon May 24, 2010 11:05 am UTC

Biskit333 wrote:
hujackus wrote:
If you dislike the feature so much, turn it off. In fact, word provides tons of options for controlling exactly what is corrected automatically, and you can even turn off all automatic corrections. I'm not saying that MS Office is perfect, but a lot of the "flaws" that people are pointing out are easily fixed with a little effort.


Yes but then i'd have to deal with another feature; a green squiggly line telling me that word should be capitalized. Yeah there is an option to turn off all grammar checking too, but where does it end? The problem is that you can't change the domain of these options to anything other than all documents. You can't specify that one document should be checked while another document be checked. What about specifying different options for different sections of a document. All you end up doing it turning options on and off.

I really don't see how the grammar checking is a problem, after all under most circumstances you would want to know when a word beginning a line was left uncapitalized. It is true that the settings are global across all documents, which could be good or bad depending on what you are changing at the time. My point still stands that the stories of people bringing in improperly capitalized documents are not so much because of a shortcoming of MS Office, and more that the user was too lazy to select an option from a dropdown when they knew that they would want to leave several things uncorrected. I'm really not trying to pick a fight about which is better or anything, just saying that you can solve the problem of having to go back and fix the same thing several times, which was referenced in the thread more than once. The issue of whether MS Office provides the best options for corrections is a completely different argument than saying that it is like fighting with the computer.


It is perfectly valid for a user to complain about a problem in an application, even if the solution for it exists as a feature. The point of an application is not for it have all the nifty amazing features it can pack; it's about making them usable. If the users can't find how to deactivate a feature, it's a problem. You can't blame them for not looking hard enough; the developer must find a way so they don't have to 'look' for it.

Just a quick argument to this matter, because as a usability analyst it annoys me when software developers brush off a problem with their software as 'the fix is already available'.
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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Mon May 24, 2010 3:47 pm UTC

sarrel wrote:As far as the format goes, you should not be sending things in formats that the person giving you a grade may or may not be able to open. .doc is always a safe bet, and if you're really worried about the way you have the page formatted and how it looks and all, go for a .pdf. Don't mess around with sending .odt files. The classes I go to, you send a file your teacher can't open, you get a zero.


It is likely that your teachers can open .odt files but don't want to or know how. If they are not allowed to install software, Microsoft Office not opening the documents may be a problem. According to Wikipedia, "Microsoft Office 2010 (and) Office 2007 SP2" support ODF: Microsoft Press release.

In any case, the RTF format mentioned earlier probably does everything you want.
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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby ManaUser » Mon May 24, 2010 4:40 pm UTC

phillipsjk wrote:
sarrel wrote:It is likely that your teachers can open .odt files but don't want to or know how. If they are not allowed to install software, Microsoft Office not opening the documents may be a problem. According to Wikipedia, "Microsoft Office 2010 (and) Office 2007 SP2" support ODF: Microsoft Press release.

Likely maybe, but by no means certain. Lots of people (myself included) still use copies of Word that are more than three years old.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby lukesneeringer » Mon May 24, 2010 5:29 pm UTC

Callista wrote:
Manial wrote:While I agree with everything else in this post, the high IQ thing really bothers me.

The only major difference between Asperger syndrome and autism is problems with cognitive development and language - traits that are likely to reduce IQ. So basically a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome excludes those with a lower IQs, thus statistically inflating the average IQ score.

It's a bit like excluding anyone with an IQ of under 70 from joining a group, and then claiming that the group is smarter because the average IQ is higher than the total population.
Exactly. Asperger's is not associated with high IQ intrinsically; it's associated with high IQ because all the <70 people (and a lot of the <100 ones) are shunted off into PDD-NOS or Autistic Disorder. Actually, a lot of the people who should be diagnosed Asperger's end up diagnosed Autistic Disorder or PDD-NOS because they don't fit the "smart nerd" Asperger's stereotype. And, for that matter, some speech-delayed people are diagnosed Asperger's, when they shouldn't be, because they *do* fit that stereotype.


Basically your point (slightly oversimplified) is that Asperger's people have IQ by tautology, because Asperger's is loosely defined as "autistic with a high IQ". I tend to agree with this assessment.

However, I don't see how that makes Karilyn's statement incorrect, since her point was that as an Asperger's diagnos-ee (despite being an Aspie I have no idea what the proper term is there), her high IQ is fun, but the other challenges are quite non-trivial. If anything, the high IQ point was an aside. More to the point, though: I guess I don't see why her statement is bothersome. You correctly identify that it's a trivial truth, but that doesn't make it less true.

We're also starting to get into the area where we remember that there's a lot about autism (and Asperger's) that we don't really know yet. We know that autistics' brains tend to work differently than those of neurotypicals (and that's not a slam on either "group"), but we don't really understand how -- at least not very well. But now I'm going off on a bunny trail.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby sarrel » Mon May 24, 2010 6:05 pm UTC

phillipsjk wrote:
sarrel wrote:As far as the format goes, you should not be sending things in formats that the person giving you a grade may or may not be able to open. .doc is always a safe bet, and if you're really worried about the way you have the page formatted and how it looks and all, go for a .pdf. Don't mess around with sending .odt files. The classes I go to, you send a file your teacher can't open, you get a zero.


It is likely that your teachers can open .odt files but don't want to or know how. If they are not allowed to install software, Microsoft Office not opening the documents may be a problem. According to Wikipedia, "Microsoft Office 2010 (and) Office 2007 SP2" support ODF: Microsoft Press release.

In any case, the RTF format mentioned earlier probably does everything you want.


Some of them have open office, some of them don't. It's better for me to just send all of them .docs, rather than try and remember who can open what. Most of the teachers aren't allowed to install software on the school computers at all. (Some of the ones in the really advanced classes with their own computer systems can.) And no one has office later than 2007, and the version we has will not open .odt files.

Also, I think the school system where I live was considering switching at one point, then whoever was supplying office to them clung on for dear life and gave them a better price, so they installed it on some of the computers to test it out, but didn't get around to switching all the way. Still, my open office saves everything in .doc by default.

I will say that presentations are weird. Open office present can't seem to convert to MS formats all that well, so I've had a little trouble with them, but overall, I still prefer Open office, especially since I run Ubuntu, and I am not going to go back to Windows just to run their presentation program.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby Natty » Mon May 24, 2010 7:43 pm UTC

Just to pipe in on the subject: I happen to be an Aspie and there was, in my opinion, nothing offensive about this comic. A couple of douches being douches to each other and one of them calling the other Autistic? Not offensive.

On a totally different note:

I wouldn't ever want to think like you wack-job neurotypicals! You guys are all messed up! I think it is high time that calling someone autistic is a compliment and calling someone a neurotypical is the insult.

So, really go reread the comic with this mindset and maybe realize that the reference to the bearded dude as autistic is the first guy hearing bearded guy say that his essay was good, and then he responded to that by complimenting bearded dude on his dedication to open-source. Then, the bearded dude wanted to play some sweet music to the first guy as a thank you, but all he happened to have handy was the tiny open-source violin that he always carries around with him.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby Sly Si » Tue May 25, 2010 3:23 am UTC

I was, I guess "put off" is the word, by the autism reference. (I'm not autistic, but a family member has Asperger's.) I really wasn't sure what to think at first, so I decided to chalk it up to Randall probably not knowing any autistic people and being unintentionally insensitive. Makes me feel a bit better, though, that autistic forum members don't seem offended.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby Poppy Appletree » Tue May 25, 2010 10:26 am UTC

Sly Si wrote:Makes me feel a bit better, though, that autistic forum members don't seem offended.


...Did you actually read this thread?

Also, for the record, I am autistic, and found this comic offensive.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby jacog » Tue May 25, 2010 12:03 pm UTC

I'm confused. Why would anyone be offended seeing a character who is portrayed as a dick, say something that one totally expects to come from such a person?

Spoiler:
No, not attempting to invoke Godwin's Law, honest!


Is it in our future to see a biographical film about Hitler where he does nothing worse than pet kittens, since everyone was too offended about anything else he might be portrayed as doing in such a story?

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby BioTube » Tue May 25, 2010 12:24 pm UTC

To everybody offended by the reference:
Stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.
If it really bugs you that much, just pretend it isn't there; I had to look closely to see it in the first place.
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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby PM 2Ring » Tue May 25, 2010 12:28 pm UTC

jacog wrote:I'm confused. Why would anyone be offended seeing a character who is portrayed as a dick, say something that one totally expects to come from such a person?

Spoiler:
No, not attempting to invoke Godwin's Law, honest!

Is it in our future to see a biographical film about Hitler where he does nothing worse than pet kittens, since everyone was too offended about anything else he might be portrayed as doing in such a story?

Spooky, jacog! I was just about to make the same points, but in my version Hitler's solution to the Jewish Problem was free blintzes to everybody. :)

Docformat guy's supposed to be seen as the bad guy in this comic. Making him use an unPC insult should make that obvious.

If Randall was intending to insult anyone in this comic, his target was the kind of people who use "autistic" as an insult.* Most geeks / programmers get used to being teased about lack of social skills & being obsessive, etc, even those who aren't on the autism spectrum. As mentioned earlier in this thread, it's pretty clear that Randall is on the side of the bearded Stallman character, not Docformat guy. But I don't think Randall's being nasty towards all fans of Facebook or the .doc format; just the ones that retaliate with nastiness when others try to point out the pitfalls in such proprietary formats, and then have the temerity to complain further down the track when they have to deal with those pitfalls.


*I certainly don't. FWIW, I suspect I'm on the spectrum myself. Also, I have an autistic cousin, and her boyfriend is Aspie.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby Poppy Appletree » Tue May 25, 2010 2:55 pm UTC

BioTube wrote:To everybody offended by the reference:
Stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.
If it really bugs you that much, just pretend it isn't there; I had to look closely to see it in the first place.


You know, you'd think after seeing significant advances in psychology people would finally realise just how obtuse that saying is.

jacog wrote:I'm confused. Why would anyone be offended seeing a character who is portrayed as a dick, say something that one totally expects to come from such a person?


The reason that it is offensive is that it is entirely unnecessary and irrelevant to establishing the character as a dick, and is inserted in such a way as to appear as an off-hand jab at autistics. For comparison, there was an uproar in Britain due to a similar feature in this article.

Furthermore, .Docguy using "autistic" as an insult doesn't make proper sense, especially as a decent understanding of autistic traits now, let alone in 2003, is only just starting to become something akin to common knowledge - as such, there is no apparent reason why .Docguy would associate such traits with autism, let alone specifically describe Opensourcedude as autistic opposed to another, more appropriate insult. This gives the impression of a poorly disguised attack upon autistics by the writer (though I doubt that's what it is, or at least not entirely).

These two points provide the major crux of why it is inappropriate: Entirely insufficient context. In the case of Hitler, we have common knowledge of his general views and actions as a major historical figure; in the case of this xkcd strip, we are given two characters who are presented to us freshly, with almost no information about them, and then provided a slur that can be construed as immensely offensive without the context to justify its use.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby SirMustapha » Tue May 25, 2010 3:08 pm UTC

Poppy Appletree wrote:Furthermore, .Docguy using "autistic" as an insult doesn't make proper sense, especially as a decent understanding of autistic traits now, let alone in 2003, is only just starting to become something akin to common knowledge - as such, there is no apparent reason why .Docguy would associate such traits with autism, let alone specifically describe Opensourcedude as autistic opposed to another, more appropriate insult. This gives the impression of a poorly disguised attack upon autistics by the writer (though I doubt that's what it is, or at least not entirely).


You know what is odd, though? I've seen, in several places, detractors of xkcd pointing out that Randall seems to show signs of autism through his comics (strong obsessions with random things, bizarrely awkward dialogues and personal relationships, etc.). Regardless of whether that makes any sense or not, it seems like those comments are really getting through to him

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby Taco » Tue May 25, 2010 7:33 pm UTC

Ah, here we go, xkcd sucks finally got around to talking about this comic, and honestly: Nearly everything he says I agree with.
xkcd sucks wrote:Oh man. This comic - so terrible. So very terrible. So bad that a single weekend is not enough to document its problems. In fact, I'm having trouble contemplating the idea of even ripping it apart now. I guess I'll have to just take it panel by panel.

PANEL 1.
So far so good. The comic appears to be taking a stand that, while perhaps not explicitly opposed to free software in favor of working software, is at least opposed to annoying advocates of free software. It's nice because xkcd usually takes the opposite stance, advocating against proprietary stuff and making jokes for users of open source operating systems or other programs.

As an added piece of evidence that the facial hair character is meant to be the non-sympathetic one, his dialog is much less natural than the regular stick dude. Regular stick dude's speech is probably the most realistic dialog Randall has written in months. This comic is looking good!

(of note for later: the relationship between the two characters is that of a student and a teacher, with the student e-mailing an essay to his teacher. This is not definite, but the fact that one is portrayed as older, with facial hair, suggests it).

PANEL 2:

Oh man, this comic is turning out great! That guy totally stuck it to that nerd! This is so weird, but enjoyable. And what is awesome is that people are always using those same complaints against Randall and xkcd. I mean, I am not going to accuse anyone of being autistic because that's dumb if it's false and completely obnoxious if it's true, but the "you are only saying X nerdy thing to feel smugly superior" thing could have been taken from the the comments here. Or the blog posts, for that matter. Dang, this comic is full of promise!

but wait - you can use openoffice to both create and read .doc files. So is it really not "open" ? I mean, you can go a whole lifetime making only .doc files (not odf or whatever) and never buy, steal, or use a Microsoft product. So...philosophically, what is wrong with .doc?

Oh, I know, this will probably turn into a joke about .docx, those are annoying. I mean, Openoffice can read them, sure, but it can't make them I don't think, and yeah, that is annoying, along with all the other changes we all hate about word 2007.

PANEL 3:
wait, what? How is facebook even involved in this? What is going on here? Why is this person being dumb? Why is Facial Hair acting like this vindicates him? Let me list some issues I am having with the flow of this story:

--Facebook may be closed source, but that is hardly relevant to the argument in panels 1 and 2. The problem is stupid people who say "You want all this information? OK!" and then get annoyed when facebook - a for-profit company! - uses that information for profit! amazing. But how is this a problem of open vs closed source?

--Is this comic really trying to say that using .odf in 2003 would have somehow prevent the rise and/or evil-ification of facebook? How does that make sense? I know plenty of open source folks who still have a huge facebook presence. There's no connection there!

--Why did the person who was talking so naturally in panels 1 and 2, the guy who actually sounded like a real person suddenly switch to a particularly terrible strawman? "We handed control of our social world to facebook and they're doing evil stuff" is clearly not something a real person would say.

Sometimes people get annoyed at the argument that dialog is "unrealistic" so I'll spell it out more than usual this time. The guy is mad at facebook, right? So in real life, he would just complain, and the other person would mock him and say "well that's what you get for giving them control of your social world." In other words, he's clearly admitting that he caused the problem in the first half of the sentence, and then complaining (in a simplistic, almost childlike way) about the problem in the second half. It's the kind of thing that only really would make sense in, say, an elementary school play: "I am the King of England, and I think it would be bad for the Americans to be independent because I want all their money for myself!" or "I am the sugary food group. I want to break all your teeth, and I hate it when you eat healthy vegetables!" You know what I mean? It's usually used in strawman arguments like the one here.

--Where the heck was I. OK so here's a thing: Why are the two people acting basically unchanged over 7 years? They are acting like they just are continuing their conversation with nothing having filled in in 7 years. I certainly never went back to my teachers 7 years after I turned in an essay and mocked them for something they said at the time, but then again, I also never called my teachers autistic, so who knows. I'd like to say that maybe they were just friends, but what kind of friends talk like that? No one. This comic wasn't thought out at all, and I'd like a defender of it to explain what the relationship between the characters is for me. I don't think there's one that makes sense.

--Facebook has been doing evil stuff since forever. Remember the uproar over the newsfeed? that was way the heck back in 2006 and people got real mad and then stopped caring. Is it evil? That is hard to say. But is the panic justified? I'd say not. All we are left with, then, is the Beard Dude taking joy in his astounding vindication when really he has no reason to be vindicated. In a month this guy is going to forget he was ever mad at facebook.

--"This is the world's tiniest open-source violin" ?? Is this the single lamest retort in all of xkcd? All that tells me is that the violin is probably not going to work right. Now granted, the concept of telling a person that you are playing a sad song on the world's smallest violin has never actually made much sense to me. Urban Dictionary sort of helped me out but it doesn't really make sense in this context. Why should the metaphorical tiny violin be open-source? Just because the dude was complaining about open-source stuff seven years earlier? What does it even mean for a violin to be open-source? Did a lot of people help build it? Can anyone edit it? And what is the tiny violin playing? That's the way the joke usually ends, no? And isn't it a little dumb to be making your punchline a slight variant of a joke at least 30 years old?

And after all that, the character I liked is shown to be an idiot, and the nerd who was just trying to be smug is shown to be the wisest of them all. Well hot damn. So much for having hope anymore.

relatedly, new member of the xkcd forum for the win. The forums in general on this one are refreshingly honest about the fact that this comic makes no sense. Some folks are trying to defend it, it is MOST amusing.


I would have just linked, but in my experience nobody actually takes the link and just ignores me.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby bmonk » Tue May 25, 2010 10:05 pm UTC

sarrel wrote:I've never found openoffice to be that troubling. If you have to write a highschool paper, it's rather nice. I find the interface simple and easy to use, compared to MS Word which is always telling me what to do. It's not so much the fact that I'm to lazy to turn these features off, it's just that there's so many of them, most of which I evenetually have to look up to turn off, after a short period of telling myself I can live with them, when I can just use open office, get the same result, maybe even better, and have it be easier on me.
As far as the format goes, you should not be sending things in formats that the person giving you a grade may or may not be able to open. .doc is always a safe bet, and if you're really worried about the way you have the page formatted and how it looks and all, go for a .pdf. Don't mess around with sending .odt files. The classes I go to, you send a file your teacher can't open, you get a zero.

I would hope that, if the teacher has that policy, he or she also has a published list of permissible formats (what's the syllabus for?), or else you can ask and find out what they can use. Or, if all else fails, you can resubmit in another suitable format.
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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Wed May 26, 2010 12:05 am UTC

Taco wrote:Ah, here we go, xkcd sucks finally got around to talking about this comic, and honestly: Nearly everything he says I agree with.
xkcd sucks wrote:


I would have just linked, but in my experience nobody actually takes the link and just ignores me.


So XKCD sucks over-analyses the three panels, while ignoring the the "title" text that directly addresses some of the concerns. For example, the "open-source" violin is a work-in-progress. I suppose the advantage of Proprietary software over FOSS software is the it does not suffer from DNF syndrome (pun/troll intended).

I disagree with xkcd sucks' interpretation that the relationship is a student-teacher relationship. I gather that the two characters are acquaintances rather than close friends. It is entirely possible that bearded guy cautioned .doc guy against using FacebookTM (wait FBTM claims 32665 as a trademark? (phone number 'FBOOK' apparently)) between panels 2-3. .Doc guy running in, in a panic, in panel 3 may be hoping bearded guy can help him. Of course, any alternatives are not well developed because people like .doc guy prefer to be "pragmatic."
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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby StClair » Wed May 26, 2010 4:12 am UTC

jacog wrote:It reminds me of an episode of The Twilight Zone I saw. A woman finds a pendant that can freeze time, and then starts to use it in all kinds of ways during her day to day life. Then one day some anti-nuclear activists come by her house to try to get her family to sign a petition or somesuch thing to try and get rid of nuclear weapons. She uses the time freeze thingy to get rid of them because she finds them annoying. Days later, a nuclear war breaks out. Amidst the ensuing chaos, she freezes time. Above her head, a lovely soviet ICBM is frozen in mid-descent towards her city. She also learns that it would have taken just a few more signatures on that document, in order to prevent this act. The end.

In that situation, whether she'd signed a petition or not would have had no actual effect on the top-level policy decisions and geopolitical events, other than to allow some people to feel smugly self-righteous - much like this comic.

What you all seem to be missing is that even if the second guy happens to be right (this time), he's still a ****.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby jacog » Wed May 26, 2010 8:56 am UTC

StClair wrote:In that situation, whether she'd signed a petition or not would have had no actual effect on the top-level policy decisions and geopolitical events, other than to allow some people to feel smugly self-righteous - much like this comic.


Wrong, that episode was, like many other TZ episodes, a straight-up morality tale, and in the story it is implied that her family's signatures WOULD have made a difference. Whether real-world legislation works that way is irrelivant.

And again, that word comes up: "smug". I think bearded guy has a right to be smug. People are generally just too complacent and willing to let things slide, and then later on they complain when it goes to pot. I live in a country where our government kept a section of the populace in poverty and "under control" for years. I used to be upset when these people resorted to car bombs and other terrorist activities. Eventually though, I grew up, and now it's pretty apparent to me - if you you have a caged bear who wants to be free, set him free, don't poke him with a sharp stick and then be surprised when he rips your arm off.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby Andrusi » Wed May 26, 2010 12:17 pm UTC

I think bearded guy has every right to be smug.

If he wants to make sure that non-bearded guy never, ever listens to him about anything.
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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby Technicalfool » Wed May 26, 2010 2:00 pm UTC

I see a few people hating on OpenOffice who obviously have never used OpenOffice.

Can open .doc files anyway? Have you tried to open any reasonably complex .doc file in OpenOffice? Be prepared to spend the next hour re-jigging certain elements that don't display right.

Can't do page breaks "properly"? You hit alt+i together, then hit enter. Use the arrow keys to select between line break, column break or page break. Go ahead, give it a try since you clearly haven't yet. What more do you want from a page break function other than inserting a new page break? Talking paperclips?

These people could have mentioned the OpenOffice word processor's somewhat finicky table functionality, or maybe Calc's less than polished (though still useful) graphing functions. But no, apparently OpenOffice perfectly understands Word files (a feat no other non-Microsoft word processor seems to manage), and can't do page breaks.

1995 called. They want your everything back.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby jakez » Wed May 26, 2010 3:36 pm UTC

infrastructures.jpg


My version of this well written comic!

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby SirMustapha » Wed May 26, 2010 7:02 pm UTC

phillipsjk wrote:So XKCD sucks over-analyses the three panels, while ignoring the the "title" text that directly addresses some of the concerns. For example, the "open-source" violin is a work-in-progress.


Wait, what?

xkcd wrote:The heartfelt tune it plays is CC licensed, and you can get it from my seed on JoinDiaspora.com whenever that project gets going.


The title text implies that BOTH the violin and the song are finished and working, and only makes a passing reference to Diaspora and its work-in-progress state. I think you COMPLETELY misinterpreted the thing, which in my opinion is a bigger crime than "over-analysing" it.

I gather that the two characters are acquaintances rather than close friends. It is entirely possible that bearded guy cautioned .doc guy against using FacebookTM (wait FBTM claims 32665 as a trademark? (phone number 'FBOOK' apparently)) between panels 2-3.


If that "entirely possible" event happened and is so relevant to the comic, then it should be presented -- otherwise it's just an excuse for a rabid (and probably inaccurate) defense. As it is, the comic implies that there's a direct correlation between using MS Word and giving every little bit of personal information away on Facebook, as if people who use MS Word couldn't possibly be smart enough not to open up their privacy on a website which already had many, many problems with privacy. Isn't it possible that a person prefers to use software that works (whether MS Word fits or not), yet is aware of the problems with proprietary software? I say yes, it is, and that's why the xkcd comic has the strawman problem and is so awful. The comic nothing but cheap propaganda, and I think Randall ought to know that better.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby Stay_Puft_marshmallows » Wed May 26, 2010 8:38 pm UTC

The thing is, even if doc guy is insufficiently concerned about format issues, at least 9 out of 10 beard guys have latched onto the whole open-source movement for no reasons more sincere than the following:

1) some elder-geek or celebri-geek they idolize espouses it

2) it appeals to the "I have a secret" and "you are all sheeple" pleasure centers in the brain.
text goes where?

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby styrofoam » Wed May 26, 2010 10:31 pm UTC

Actually, I think the title says it all. "Infrastructures." .Doc guy clearly doesn't care about avoiding proprietary infrastructures...... until he actually sees the type of scary things they allow (apparently not noticing that, by locking people into MS-Office, MS can charge ridiculously high prices).
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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby lsdigit » Thu May 27, 2010 4:13 am UTC

...bearded guy seems a little arrogant and naive, and even a little silly, as after 7 years .doc guy has come around to bearded guys way of thinking, and instead of accepting .doc guy he does the classic arrogant nerd manouvre, this is fairly typical and brings to the fore the real reason bearded guy is in the (anti)buisiness of open source, its to be superior to people who are able to manage hygene. (and also able to garner fb friends)(also he has regrets that his own social networking software keeps getting clugged with beard hair and wierd page breaks)(doc guy just wants to be loved, but doesnt want to be advertised to for it, but will happilly watch LOST, paid for by the network sales his brains advertising space, all without seeing any irony or even getting the tiny os violin joke(but he would friend beard guy on fb, if only to get the numbers up))(i could parenthesize for pretty much ever)(and ever)
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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby BioTube » Thu May 27, 2010 12:08 pm UTC

lsdigit wrote:the (anti)buisiness of open source
Red Hat would like a word with you.
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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby SirT » Thu May 27, 2010 4:46 pm UTC

Someone using a Mac has no business making this comic.

jakez wrote:
infrastructures.jpg


QFT

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Thu May 27, 2010 5:12 pm UTC

Mac OS X does include open source software, and Apple does release patches.

"Open Source" does not always imply "freedom to modify."
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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby wigglyworm91 » Thu May 27, 2010 5:38 pm UTC

phillipsjk wrote:"Open Source" does not always imply "freedom to modify."


Actually,
Wikipedia wrote:3. Derived Works

The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.


Reference: Wikipedia's Open Source Definition.
Need more help or clarification? Feel free to PM me.
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I have never seen anyone on any website get a virtual beating for lack of proper grammar and capitalization.
I like it here.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Thu May 27, 2010 6:23 pm UTC

You are correct, I was being careless. I think I was thinking of Microsoft's Shared source initiative. Didn't check if that "loophole" was closed or even existed in the first place.

I think I was also thinking of Tivoization. I think the iphone EULA is similar to tivoization, in that the restrictive EULA does not directly conflict with the GPL because the GPL is not an EULA. However, the FSF feels that the app store violates sections 6 of the GPL (v2) because Apple is a distributor that refuses to offer source code.
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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby Taco » Thu May 27, 2010 8:44 pm UTC

New rule to the xkcd drinking game: take a drink every time someone uses more than one acronym in a single sentence.

Also, something interesting I noticed: take a drink every time someone either partially or totally ignores an xkcd hater's argument.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby SirT » Thu May 27, 2010 11:07 pm UTC

phillipsjk wrote:Mac OS X does include open source software, and Apple does release patches.

"Open Source" does not always imply "freedom to modify."


Apple is notorious (even more so than Microsoft, for Pete's Sake) for being anti-open source and using DRM to the utmost of its abilities. The iPhone/iPod/iPad is pretty much the antithesis of open source; it is locked down tighter than a duck's ass. It's desktop record (not even including iTunes!) isn't much better. Apple's history is much much worse than Microsoft's, and intentionally ignoring and/or praising them is pretty stupid.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby lsdigit » Thu May 27, 2010 11:11 pm UTC

BioTube wrote:
lsdigit wrote:the (anti)buisiness of open source
Red Hat would like a word with you.


sweet. i'll bring the biscuits if they bring the coffee.

It did occur to me that perhaps one of my throw-a-way comments might not be %100 accurate, but what are they chances anyone would care :P.

An interesting thing about the xkcd forum is the number of people who seem to believe that the comic fails if it doesn't produce a rolicking 'guffaw', without noticing the 5 pages of dicussion the 'unfunny' cartoon has raised, I dont know about anyone else here, but i never 'guffawed' at one charlie brown, i have never 'guffawed' at doonesbury, but they kept/keep people coming back, why? becuase a comic need not always tickle the humour mechanism to be entertaining, and for me xkcd's strength lies in its fairly broad field of math/science/engineering and nerd sniping. if it does make me soil my britches with laughter than its a bonus, Randall rarely fails to make his readers think.
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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Fri May 28, 2010 2:50 am UTC

Taco wrote:New rule to the xkcd drinking game: take a drink every time someone uses more than one acronym in a single sentence.

Also, something interesting I noticed: take a drink every time someone either partially or totally ignores an xkcd hater's argument.

Are you looking to vomit or something!?
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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby scarletmanuka » Fri May 28, 2010 8:56 am UTC

Karilyn wrote:My complaint isn't a single one, but rather the ten million things that Microsoft Office does which are not what I told it to do. I do not like it when a programmer thinks it's funny to be deliberately obstinate. Someone else a few posts up gave another excellent example; the fact that Microsoft Office insists on capitalizing the first letter of every line. Yes, because pressing the shift key is so hard that I obviously must have made a "mistake". Just like I made a "mistake" the last 10 times I did it, you corrected me, and I went back and had to manually edit it to undo it. Drastically increasing the time it takes to complete my task, reducing 90 words a minute to what? Maybe 15-20? After you count in all the manual un-formating.

It seems a reasonable default to me; in most cases you do want the first letter of a sentence to be capitalised. If you don't like this, go to Options, Proofing, AutoCorrect Options and uncheck "Capitalize first letter of sentences". Furthermore, every time you correct it (at least in v2007) you have a drop down menu right there at the change with the three choices: undo this change only, stop auto-capitalising, or open the AutoCorrect settings. So it's not hard at all to stop this being a problem.

Or maybe the whole automatically formating web addresses into HTML links. Yeah, last I checked, blue text and underlines for web addresses are not MLA format.

Again, go to the AutoCorrect options, "AutoFormat As You Type" tab, in the "Replace as you type" section uncheck "Internet and network paths with hyperlinks". And again, when you go to undo the change you have the three options of undoing this change only, stop making this change, or open the settings dialog.

Or maybe the fact that it aggressively refuses to let you highlight/underline/bold/whatever anything other than whole words. Maybe I only want to modify a portion of a word. That's probably why I'm aggressively trying to pixel perfectly select only a portion of the word like I would in any other program.

Any other program? Really? Perhaps you should try a few other programs more carefully. And examine the behaviour in Word more carefully. But before I get into that, I should point out: Options, Advanced, "When editing, automatically select entire word".

The default behaviour in Word is in fact to allow selections from the middle of a word, unless you go into another word; then it switches to whole-word selection mode. And even then, if you go back into the original word it reverts to letter-based selection and stays that way until you finish selecting. So if you want to select from the middle of a word through to halfway into the next paragraph, all you have to do is start selecting where you want, drag to the next word, drag back to the first word, drag to the end of your desired selection. It might not be completely intuitive, but it's not a bad way to allow letter-based selection when the default is word-based selection. Of course, if you usually don't want to use word-based selection, you should just turn it off in the options.

I am not, despite this post, an MS Office fanboy. I have posted rants in other fora about how horrible the Office 2007 interface is. (Fun fact for those of you with Word 2007: If you turn up your mouse double-click speed to the highest setting, and try to get a new document with "New" and then double-clicking on the template image, you have to double-click far faster than the system double-click speed for it to register - it's virtually impossible to get it to work, at least for me. Slower double-click settings work OK.) But if you're going to complain about the program, complain about behaviour that you can't easily alter with a few clicks in the Options dialog.

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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Fri May 28, 2010 7:21 pm UTC

scarletmanuka wrote:
Or maybe the whole automatically formating web addresses into HTML links. Yeah, last I checked, blue text and underlines for web addresses are not MLA format.

Again, go to the AutoCorrect options, "AutoFormat As You Type" tab, in the "Replace as you type" section uncheck "Internet and network paths with hyperlinks". And again, when you go to undo the change you have the three options of undoing this change only, stop making this change, or open the settings dialog./quote]
Who uses MLA anyway? APA is where it's at.
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Re: "Infrastructures" discussion

Postby uiri » Fri May 28, 2010 9:03 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:If that "entirely possible" event happened and is so relevant to the comic, then it should be presented -- otherwise it's just an excuse for a rabid (and probably inaccurate) defense. As it is, the comic implies that there's a direct correlation between using MS Word and giving every little bit of personal information away on Facebook, as if people who use MS Word couldn't possibly be smart enough not to open up their privacy on a website which already had many, many problems with privacy. Isn't it possible that a person prefers to use software that works (whether MS Word fits or not), yet is aware of the problems with proprietary software? I say yes, it is, and that's why the xkcd comic has the strawman problem and is so awful. The comic nothing but cheap propaganda, and I think Randall ought to know that better.


OK, so let me draw the parallel, because you clearly don't see it.

The Docguy decides, "OK, everyone is using this software. I should use it too." He saves all his stuff in a format which Microsoft can change on a whim (and it did change to .docx in Word 2007). This is giving all his data to Microsoft in a sense because he is hoping that they keep supporting the formats he's saving in. Yes, they are supporting the Word 2003 .doc format for the time being. But it isn't long before support for it is dropped altogether. I am fairly certain that in either Word 2010 or the version after that the format which is 7 years old will no longer be supported. Now people have to re-save all their data in a version which supports both in order to open their data with the newest versions of the software. The whole point of using Microsoft Office is mostly compatibility, if the roles were reversed, let's say, I'm sure enough people would donate to Open Office so that they would have the money to give the features OO "lacks".

Now, we have a similar thing with facebook. The .docguy thinks "OK, everyone is using this, I should use it too." He sets his profile up, fiddles around with privacy settings so that they are acceptable to him. Facebook is trying to make money off of his information though. I can't be sure but this is the most objectionable thing I have heard about them( I bothered with my privacy settings). So he is realizing that facebook is selling his information. Facebook now has control of his data and he can't get it back.

Sure, facebook is a lot more extreme, but where do you draw the line? Wouldn't it be best to draw the line such that you can save it and keep it forever and keep using it with the latest versions of the software and not worry about other entities gaining control of it or using their power over you as a locked in customer to their advantage?
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