Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Southern Apps

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  • Ian Dalziel,

    Fire blighted Core Processors...

    Until then, say after me "Apple is Evil, Apple is Evil" cos the Bibble, a poem by John Milton, says so.
    Would you Adam 'n' Eve it?.

    God told Adam that he was free to eat from every tree in the garden, except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God said that he would die if he ate the fruit. We don't know what kind of fruit this tree had. Milton introduced the idea that it was an apple.
    Later, Eve was deceived by Satan speaking through a serpent and ate the fruit. She then took the fruit to Adam and he ate it knowing he was doing the wrong thing. Because they disobeyed what God had explicitly told them and chose to believe Satan, they began to experience spiritual death, and soon physical death. God expelled them from the garden. Adam and Eve sinned by placing their desires above what God had told them and through this act sin entered the world. No longer would it be easy to harvest fruit. Thorns and weeds would make planting and harvesting hard labor.

    That Milton he's a caution...
    it is never stated in the Bible (or Koran) that the Fruit of the tree of knowledge is the apple...
    in fact the jury is still out...

    In the Talmud, Rabbi Meir says that the fruit was a grape. Another Talmudic tradition suggests that Eve made wine from the fruit, which she then drank. Rabbi Nechemia says that the fruit was a fig, while Rabbi Yehuda proposes that the fruit was wheat.

    In Western Christian art, the fruit of the tree is commonly depicted as the apple, which originated in central Asia. This depiction may have originated as a Latin pun: by eating the malum (apple), Eve contracted mālum (evil).

    Proponents of the theory that the Garden of Eden was located somewhere in what is known now as the Middle East suggest that the fruit was actually a pomegranate, partly because it was native in the region. This ties in with the Greek myth of Persephone, where her consumption of six pomegranate seeds leads to her having to spend time in Hades.
    and also some ...Jewish scholars believe that it was the pomegranate that was the forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden.

    so if any computer is to be associated with original sin it might be the Sinclair!
    (possibly a Scientological crossover - Sin / Clear?)

    and if the pomegranate connection is right
    we might have ended up with the persePhone rather than the iPhone!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5060 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I've seen too many people in the last few months of their PhD try to work out why Word is skipping footnotes or refusing to paginate their document properly; it's just not designed for long-form work.

    Word works really well for producing camera ready copy for manuscripts. We tend to do them out to 300 pages, about 12 - 20 sections with few problems. The styling actually works pretty well. Footnotes are OK, never had a problem with pagination.

    Where it really falls down is anything to do with images. I tell all our postgrads, if they're going to insert images into word documents, make that the absolute last thing they do, as you'll hate the software by the time you finish.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6205 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Word is what you have to use in general academia (or business) if you are sharing draft documents between people. If you are a lone wolf academic, you can use a better program.
    The things that, as someone who teaches academics how to make best use of Word, frustrate me about the program are:
    -Its instability when faced with more than a couple of embed additions.
    -No keyboard shortcut for returning from a footnote to the main document
    -Lack of configurability of Table of Contents.
    Because I have used less well known programs that do things better.
    My general rule of thumb for using Word well is you have to, have to understand styles, as they underlie everything from the Document Map (which Word has a basic version of) to Cross Referencing and Captioning.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Siu,

    I used WriteRoom for a while, it's great when I just want to focus on the content but migrating back and forwards with the Windows computers at uni is a pain the ass.

    LaTeX - I know a couple people in the labs who used it but had to transfer it back to Word during the final copy because he used graphs that are generated through Excel.

    OO - Not touching it.

    Word on a Mac is just, um, OK. But let's see what October brings.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 74 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    In my biz few people have windows machines, no one uses word - we only have to deal with it when marketing get involved - I haven't even owned a copy since word 6.0 came out and it stopped being easy and useful and started to become work

    what's all this 'camera ready' stuff when I finished my thesis I printed it out and took it down to the University binders - they were used to typed sheets rather than stuff with sprocket homes but a few minutes with a heavy duty paper slicer and all was good (rereading it is like dragging fingernails across a blackboard - it was the first piece of writing I'd done since 6th form english)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2176 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I set up my mother, who needs to write long manuscripts with relatively few non-text additions on the Macintosh, with Mellel. She uses Open Office for when she needs Word/Excel compatibility.
    For my job, I have to use Word, and so face things like the different line spacing depending on if the document was opened on a Mac or Windows machine (as frustrating as the 1904 quirk with Excel).
    On the Macintosh I have a personal fondness for iText Express, the unknown gem of free word processing programs (for all its homepage looks like a geocities one).

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I forgot to note that I use Windows Notepad for most writing, in the way that one would use paper. It has no features, and is thus almost perfect for scribling down several pages at a time without annoying formatting. Footnotes simply go to the bottom of the document. To use those infamous words, It Just Works.

    Any other simple text editors people would recommend?

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Lack of configurability of Table of Contents

    David, what do you want to do with it? May be some non-obvious ways as there often are with Word, a beast I've tangled with professionally since v1.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Any other simple text editors people would recommend?

    NoteTab.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    any interesting Android app
    developers in NZ

    I have an app due for release by end of year. I think it will attract some attention, but NZ
    isn't the target market due to the small number of extant handsets.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4463 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Russell, I am not angry, just disappointed.

    Let's get back on topic, Rodney Hide and the Super City. I think Hide's doing the right thing controlling all the CCO appointments and managing the roll out without input the useless local politicians and businbody citizens.

    Any other approach would lead to a degradation in user experience for Aucklanders, and that is to be avoided at all costs,

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Let's get back on topic, Rodney Hide and the Super City.

    LOL, that's actually an attempted threadjack, try here for that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Sacha- with TOC it is that you cannot be particular selective about how you use the headings levels to generate the table of contents- I create a lot of documents where I would, to match the style, like to be able to suppress the level 2 and lower heading page numbers but keep the level 1 heading page numbers. I have used a lot of programs that can do this, and with Word's field codes it is a pain to edit by hand (and because I use Word in a mixed platform environment Macros are out). Everything else with the TOC can be controlled by modifying the equivalent TOC style to the Heading style.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    We have mostly switched to OpenOrifice, but given the majority of our documents, including 100s of SOPs, were written in Word, the formatting is all shot to hell. And reformatting Word tabs or bullets onto a new system is like having a tooth pulled without anaesthetic.

    Perhaps this is STO, but the majority of problems come from shifting docs from one App to another. If you use them as god intended, mostly they're lovely little cherubs.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    You've mostly switched to what, Recordari?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    recordari- It isn't just shifting docs from one App to another, different versions of the same App can also completely screw up formatting if you are trying to use a word processor as a page layout program.
    The differences between same named fonts on different systems, and slightly different page and text handling defaults can completely throw out a document.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    I'm using Scrivener to draft my dissertation. It's designed for writing long pieces and makes it much easier to move back and forth between sections, because it organises chapters into folders with individual 'scrivenings' for each section. It also allows you to have two documents open and active at once, so you can read off a pdf or whatever while writing, rather than having to switch between documents/applications. It's only good for the first draft though -- second draft is done on Word.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Speaking of MS, is anyone else (apart from Ben Gracewood) at Tech Ed?

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 841 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Let's get back on topic, Rodney Hide and the Super City. I think Hide's doing the right thing controlling all the CCO appointments and managing the roll out without input the useless local politicians and businbody citizens.

    Any other approach would lead to a degradation in user experience for Aucklanders, and that is to be avoided at all costs,

    Don, I'm reviewing a product I purchased of my own free will, and finding things I like and things I don't. That's really not the same thing as electing a city council.

    As I noted above, we deliberately cripple functionality in PA System. People who feel very strongly about being able to use real HTML might wish to avoid these forums; others will have different priorities.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    It isn't just shifting docs from one App to another, different versions of the same App

    Yes, but if I open up the backwards compatibility argument I might get shot. I guess god intended us to buy one Word Processor and use it for the rest of our lives, but forgot to tell the marketing department.

    It's perhaps a key difference between the OpenSource and the proprietary model. One upgrades while the other replaces.

    [Light tab and stand clear]

    You've mostly switched to what

    Umm, OpenOffice. Sorry, must be Smart-arse Monday.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Hi recordari

    Would be interested in your case study...there are techniques for making the formatting issues easier to handle, though you probably know them all.

    Can you contact me off list?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    That's really not the same thing as electing a city council.

    This is true, hardly anyone is affected by Auckland's woes.

    But with the technology debate going on now and the way different companies would like to manipulate our Internet and communications usage, many 100s of millions are affected.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I guess one can always avoid ios products.

    But would people be as relaxed if Microsoft were to lock down windows? Technically it wouldn't be hard - installing an unsigned exe is already a warning, they would just need to promote that to an error.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4463 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I'm not sure the PAS comparison is very illuminating, but the microwave one is. The iPad is putting itself forward as an appliance, not a computer. And actually if you go back to read Negroponte's Being Digital, it's entirely consistent with his vision of smart machines designed to do certain tasks very well, and invisibly. Not to do all tasks that you could possibly get a computational device to do, and very opaquely, which is still what we expect of a computer.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'm not sure the PAS comparison is very illuminating

    Only in the sense that limiting functionality isn't inevitably evil.

    but the microwave one is. The iPad is putting itself forward as an appliance, not a computer.

    Yes. And while you can actually use the thing independent of an actual computer, the ecosystem is very much set up as one for a device that goes with a full-fledged computer.

    We already have similar devices in our homes: game consoles, MySky DVRs (or, indeed, any Freeview-approved DVR). WE expect those things to just work.

    Part of Apple's success in getting iTunes Store content was its the way it locked down the ability of the iPod to act as a transfer device. You could always use it as a hard drive for your own files, and while you can't buy porn at the App Store, you can use your iPad to view any amount of it online, or transfer your collection, if that's your thing.

    Meanwhile, from the other side of the lockdown debate:

    MOBILESPACE—As promising as open source products, platforms and markets may be, they also contain some weaknesses that are coming painfully clear to app developers. That, at least, is the result of a survey of 188 Android developers conducted by Open-First, according to an article in the Register.

    The results of the survey are expected to be published next week, but the paper got a sneak peek and passed the results along.

    “Nearly half [of the developers] aren't making the money they'd imagined they'd make off of Android, and the lack of decent search, filtering, and ratings have been blamed,” reported the Register, adding, “Google's laissez faire approach to gate keeping means the quality stuff's hidden by porn and inferior apps, while a lack of enforcement is allowing publishers' software to get ripped off by pirates.”

    Also of concern was the fact that there are no price controls in the Android market, which tends to charge less than Apple. Developers say they would like to see Google exert some control over the market, even if it seems contrary to the company’s laissez faire approach to business and life.

    More specifically, Open-First found that “49 per cent of publishers earned less than they had expected from the Android Market. Twenty seven per cent are making more and 24 per cent about what they'd expected.” Google’s lack of quality controls and marketing support got the major share of blame from those unhappy with their revenue.

    Google fared better when it came to the speed with which applications were approved, but the speed had the accompanying downside that fast approval meant lax enforcement.

    “Among the steps Google could take would be to better filter and help promote apps, improve the search and ratings system, improve payment options by permitting local currency and allowing in-application purchases, enforcement of patents and copyright and setting a minimum price for applications,” reported the Register.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

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