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Justin Stressman


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Open Office is dead. LibreOffice has long since proved that it is carrying that torch forward. Keeping OO around is only harming support for an open source alternative to office, as new users (not Linux gurus etc) are almost surely going to hear about Open Office, not LibreOffice, and find a poorly supported and out of date application suite that is practically abandonware today, rather than the much more well maintained and up to date LibreOffice.

Why not retire OO for the sake of security and support for an open office suite alternative, and join forces again?

I think Open Office rolls off the tongue much better than LibreOffice personally, and have never liked the Libre* monikers... but either way, the underlying issue remains pretty firmly settled. Open Office is long dead. Let it go. It's time to rejoin forces and move forward.
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Some thoughts on Nautilus 3.20.3.

I decided to upgrade from Ubuntu Gnome 16.04 to 16.10 to get the latest and greatest... but I'm having very mixed feelings, mostly negative, about Nautilus.

I don't mind them having moved the file copy/move dialogs etc into a modal one tied to a button in the upper right of the window.

A MAJOR irritation for me is them introducing the "Other locations" section in the places sidebar... something I cannot find a way to disable.

Since I always have 16 partitions mounted that I access very regularly, this is a huge irritation, not only because it forces me to have to click through extra useless nonsense to get where I'm going... but because it totally breaks the feel of the rest of my file navigation. So you go from a folders view, to a list view, back to a folders view... and jump between single click and double click activation. It's just bad. :(

Further, there's now an irritating "undo" dialog that pops up over the top row of my folders when you delete files etc... again, something I don't see a way to disable... as though I'm too stupid to be able to restore something from the Trash myself if I want to. Better to get in the way of what I'm doing with visual clutter.

Also, they've now decided that directly editing a file name was too obvious and intuitive, and decided to throw in a jarring dialog box to rename your files instead.

It makes me want to facepalm each time I do an upgrade to a new release and find out what bone headed changes they've decided to make. I still tend to find the desktop over-all to be pretty usable, but I feel more and more like I'm in Windows... having to learn to work around and live with the poor design choices accumulating with each release.

I undo the ones I can (like overlay scrollbars), but for others... like forcing you to use "recent folders" (which are basically random from a usability standpoint) in file selection dialogs with no option to use the sane and predictable option of a set location, or even simply the last folder you used as the actual folder... and not some absurd virtual folder collection of random other places you might have used... or how some apps have now decided that putting dialog box confirmation text in titlebars was a sound design idea.... (wtf!?)

Argh. Let's no go over all that again. I've touched on it before.

I even tried installing Nemo, but it has a few things that bug me as well. The theming wasn't quite right, even with disabling some extra things I didn't need there was still a bit of extra visual clutter... and the show stopper was it not showing my shared folders, and not showing video files as little video files to differentiate them from the image files etc.

And considering that Ubuntu Gnome installs the desktop as a meta-package, I can't even uninstall Nautilus, just like I can't uninstall all the infuriatingly stupid and hugely counter-productive "tracker" garbage (because who doesn't want their hard drives churning all the time, pegging their CPU, killing performance and wasting power, right?) without nuking my whole desktop... so I end up having to "deal with it."

But what I'm considering doing now is uninstalling the meta-package and installing the various components myself. I'm not sure how well that would actually work... but it's getting bad enough that I feel like I'm going to have to be more proactive in undoing the regressive UI design fails that are being pushed into my desktop environment.
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Regarding the fall of 23andMe...

I've been very displeased with 23andMe's platform since their big "upgrade" to their site coinciding with the return of some of the health reports. Today in the U106 Haplogroup Project on Yahoo Groups I saw two comments that summed up my current position on 23andMe very well.

These were in response to a link that Dan, one of our other members, posted regarding a conference talk by Anne Wojcicki, the CEO of 23andMe.

You can read the original thread here:

You can read about Anne Wojcicki's talk here:

While the talk was interesting from the standpoint of what it says about the users of 23andMe, the following comments put the company itself and its recent changes into important context that really needs to be understood today when considering where to invest your time and energy in DNA testing for genealogical purposes.

First, from Belinda:
"Thanks for posting that Dan but it is rubbish. 23andMe’s community DOES want to help but the company no longer gives them any incentive to do so. 23andMe is a disaster area at the moment. Wojicki makes it all sound lovely and forward looking but the problem is the way the company is run at present. Its health results for the “New Experience” (new site approved by the FDA) are woeful, the support for ancestry customers is almost invisible and complaints get you nowhere. This is very sad, from the company that presented useful and innovative health reports (now discontinued) and invented the modern Relative Finder test, but its hotshot scientists and consultants from the 2009-2013 era have moved on and the present lot are either invisible or incompetent or forbidden to do anything useful."

And next, from Mike Maddi, one of the admins of U106:
"I agree 100% with what Belinda has written [above], especially that what Anne Wojcicki told this conference was self-serving rubbish.

For anyone interested in genealogy/ancestry, 23andMe is now clearly last on the list of the three commercial companies. The company's management is obsessed with the idea of providing health results to its customers and using their customers' health results in research studies.

While it's laudable that 23andMe is trying to empower people with access to the health implications of their DNA results and advance basic research, 23andMe regards its customers who are genealogists or adoptees as second class customers, little more than lab rats. This attitude has only gotten worse in the last 3-4 years, such that it's very difficult to connect with matches in the database, mainly because 23andMe has made sharing rules very difficult to understand and doesn't do much to encourage its customers to participate in genealogy-oriented features. Basically, 23andMe hopes to hook genealogists and adoptees into testing with them, but for the company's benefit, not for genealogists and adoptees. The more people who test with them, the more people in their database, which makes it more valuable to sell anonymous data to health researchers.

Since November, they've taken away a very useful genealogy/ancestry feature (Countries of Ancestry) and designed a dysfunctional website for new customers that makes it even more difficult to compare shared segments with matches or communicate with customers still on the old website. And, on top of all that, they've doubled the price, from $99 to $199, while AncestryDNA and FTDNA's Family Finder are still $99.

The only way I would recommend someone starting out on autsomal testing to test at 23andMe is if they can afford to test at all three companies and hope to find close family, basically adoptees. Looking for close living family members is optimized by testing at all three companies. Even then, they will experience a great deal of frustration with how difficult it is to connect with matches at 23andMe. If you can't afford to test at all three companies, then you probably should forget about 23andMe."

Again, this is exactly my position today. I'm just glad I got most of my family tested back when it was only $99 at 23andMe.

My current advice remains to test at AncestryDNA for $99, then import your raw data from those results into FamilyTreeDNA for $39 to get into both family matching databases while saving $60.


You should probably then order another test from FTDNA in order to get an actual sample of DNA with them as well, so this can be stored for later tests. For women this should probably be the "mtDNA full sequence" ($199) that can be used for tracing deep ancestry going back from hundreds to thousands of years. Mine currently goes from a 2nd cousin all the way back to 25,000 years ago and beyond.

For men you want to look into Y DNA testing; 67 or 111 marker STR testing, followed by SNP testing to find which specific branches of the tree you fall in. This allows us to trace our male line ancestry back the same way as the mtDNA testing, but this is also often more useful because it's linked to the family name in the past few centuries.

Men might want to also get the mtDNA full sequence as well, as it will come from their mother, and won't be passed on to their kids (it only comes from the mother.) I plan on testing my father for this reason, since he has a different mtDNA haplogroup than I do.
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The bad decisions of the various Gnome related design teams never cease to amaze me.

"Useless Chrome"?

How about enjoying having a visible and consistently sized target so that you know where to click and can aim for it from the start, rather than having to wonder where it is, then having it not show up when/where you want it to, leading to a frustrating extra few moments of trying to get your mouse positioned just right to get it to actually show up.

I have absolutely hated this change from the first time I saw it. I usually end up having to figure out some way to disable it in order to get actual usefulness back.

Some other incredibly stupid changes are the "recent files" type file save dialog that cannot be disabled at all, being hard coded into several apps. Because of this I never have any idea what's actually going to show up on my save dialog, and just end up having to ignore it, and manually go back to my home folder and then navigate back to where I want to be anyway.

I have 3 1920x1200 monitors (for a 5760x1200 effective desktop resolution). I have *plenty* of screen real estate and would rather you stop treating me like I'm on a smart phone or some garbage and stop butchering my desktop functionality for features you think are cool, like moving dialog interaction buttons up into the title-bar (have you lost your mind?) so that I end up having to wonder where the hell I'm going to need to click in this sadistic game of "find the way to interact with this dialog!", or hiding my scroll bars (or making them change their behavior in the middle of me actually scrolling the damned thing by having it suddenly slow way down when I was doing that myself, so then I have to let go, click again, and move it quickly for a second to make sure it doesn't screw me over again and then go back to what I was trying to do in the first place.)

I generally like Gnome 3, but sometimes the incredibly stupid design decisions made by the devs make me wonder if any of them actually have a clue about interface design.

This idea of trying to "save screen real estate" has gotten under my skin from the start because it basically just presumes that everyone is on tiny mobile devices or something. So all these stupid changes have been made for the sake of people on tiny useless devices at the expense of power users on real desktop computers with high resolution huge displays where they'd much prefer to actually be able to *see* a consistent interface.

Randomly moving buttons all over your windows (and into the title-bar of all places!? Are you mad!? That's for moving the window within the window manager paradigm, not interacting with the application contained within the window), hiding scroll bars, changing behavior mid action, oh... and another favorite of mine... not showing icons in the file navigator at all until it does some background parsing of some sort... so any time you navigate into a folder, either none, or only *some* of the files and folders will be displayed... so any action you might want to take, or make the mistake of actually taking before all the items are displayed ends up landing you somewhere other than you wanted to be, or simply left twiddling your thumbs.

It should simply load a basic list of files and folders that you can interact with *instantly* while it then works on whatever other *actually less important* parsing it needs to do to display thumbnails or file-types etc.

This constant nagging design stupidity has been always just enough to keep the thought of trying another desktop environment in the back of my mind. It hasn't been enough to make me take the leap yet... but man... for an otherwise great desktop experience I'm just sometimes left absolutely amazed not only that anyone found these decisions a good idea in the first place, but that the rest of the actually competent interface design community didn't scorn them into oblivion the moment they learned about them.

(And they'll probably whine that me being verbally abusive isn't conducive to getting these things changed. But I know that since they really don't care about the users anyway, getting their jollies on their "oh so clever" changes, I don't really care at this point and just feel like venting some of my frustration as I feel it, without candy coating it. This is how you morons make me feel every day I use this UI with its constant death by a thousand cuts torture of little stupid design decisions.)


It should NEVER make me guess where a button is going to be, and especially not break the entire paradigm of WM/Window. It should never be using a random selection of different file dialogs. It should never be making me wait to interact with my files so that it can parse for and display secondary metadata of some sort. It should never change the way a UI widget works *in the middle of using it.* It should never hide the most basic UI elements unless you make the choice yourself to do so (eg; going full screen).

I understand toying with ideas when working on designs, but many of these brain-dead and counterproductive UI design failures should have *never* made it into an actual release.

And like I said, it's even more frustrating that while some can be disabled by using some arcane command line commands or obscure settings changes that you need special tools to access... others simply cannot be changed at all without literally rewriting the programs or toolkits themselves, thus requiring you to not only have the coding ability in the first place, but also effectively removing you entirely from the ability to automatically keep your system up to date.
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Not a fan of Prison Planet or Info Wars... but seriously... the popular discussion on these issues today is so completely stupid and biased and wrongheaded... that sadly we seem to only find some more honest discussion of these issues in the more extreme fringes.

This isn't fringe media making the claim that black people can't be racist... it has saturated popular media. This is what is demanded of all people who claim to care about "social justice", be opposed to racism, etc. If you claim to care about these things, social justice warriors demand that you believe that only white people can be racist.

(This extends to sexism as well, where women claim that only men can be sexist.)
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