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Comment Re:SolidWorks and Word (Score 1) 889

Many posts here talking about retraining time and familiarity. I have used SW for five years and PTC CREO/Wildfire/Pro-E for more than twenty. The simple fact is that while FreeCAD is a nice try and has some useful features for very simple work, it is not even in the same discussion group as "real" CAD software. A similar thing can be said regarding program for FEA and CFD analysis. The irony is that Pro-E was actually developed for Unix (OK, Solaris) and abandoned that field. A sign of hope is some of the newer programs, like Abacus, will run in a linux environment. But there is no indication that any of the full-feature CAD and analysis combination packages are even remotely thinking about running in linux. I manage better than most commenting here with LibreOffice replacing Word and exchanging documents with my Microsoft-laden friends. But there is a Win7 workstation under the desk to run SW and CREO that I would love to replace but cannot.

Comment Re:College Expenses != Tuitition (Score 3, Informative) 827

This is a very important point. And the current set of changes is not the first time there has been a cost shift because of a reduction in government support. This also occurred in the late sixties and early seventies when the DoD was forced to reduce their (rather large) support to university research programs. Since tuition is a fraction of actual cost, a shift in the external support produces a disproportionate impact on tuition. When I started teaching at a state school 20 years ago, tuition was ~25% of cost at our institution. It is now a bit more than a third because of the reduction of external support. That means that even if there were no change in costs and no inflation, tuition would go up by 32%. Add to that inflation (and that means real inflation of the goods and services that a university uses) and you can see a serious increase in student cost. But as they say, it is worse than that. Over the last 20 years there has been a steady stream of legislation at both the state and federal level that has introduced new tasks and concomitantly new expenses. This is over and above inflation and has little positive effect on actual instruction. I would also add clear increases in bureaucratic processes associated with accreditation. The bottom line is that student tuition and fees (don't forget fee escalation) has gone up scandalously. At the same time, I am teaching two to three times as many students (who accordingly get less of my time) than I did when I started. And it is similar for most of my colleagues. I will be the first to agree that we should be looking at different and more efficient modalities of instruction. But we also need to be thinking clearly about all of the factors influencing tuition. --- not that thoughtfulness is a hallmark of slashdot

Antarctic's First Plane, Found In Ice 110

Arvisp writes "In 1912 Australian explorer Douglas Mawson planned to fly over the southern pole. His lost plane has now been found. The plane – the first off the Vickers production line in Britain – was built in 1911, only eight years after the Wright brothers executed the first powered flight. For the past three years, a team of Australian explorers has been engaged in a fruitless search for the aircraft, last seen in 1975. Then on Friday, a carpenter with the team, Mark Farrell, struck gold: wandering along the icy shore near the team's camp, he noticed large fragments of metal sitting among the rocks, just a few inches beneath the water."

Canadian Blood Services Promotes Pseudoscience 219

trianglecat writes "The not-for-profit agency Canadian Blood Services has a section of their website based on the Japanese cultural belief of ketsueki-gata, which claims that a person's blood group determines or predicts their personality type. Disappointing for a self-proclaimed 'science-based' organization. The Ottawa Skeptics, based in the nation's capital, appear to be taking some action."

Artificial Brain '10 Years Away' 539

SpuriousLogic writes "A detailed, functional artificial human brain can be built within the next 10 years, a leading scientist has claimed. Henry Markram, director of the Blue Brain Project, has already built elements of a rat brain. He told the TED global conference in Oxford that a synthetic human brain would be of particular use finding treatments for mental illnesses. Around two billion people are thought to suffer some kind of brain impairment, he said. 'It is not impossible to build a human brain and we can do it in 10 years,' he said."

Comment Roller mouse is a different apprach (Score 1) 569

I use a Contour Roller Mouse and like it very much. It takes a bit of getting used to since its motion is somewhat different than a conventional mouse or trackball. This keeps my hands close to the keyboard at all times. The newer models have a number of buttons. I originally got it on the advice of an industrial ergonomist to address shoulder and neck pain from long hours at the computer (something that it has, indeed, improved significantly), but now find that I am more productive in all applications except CAD and graphics work. It is a bit expensive, but constitutes an interesting alternative.

Comment Re:The bigger problem is not OCR, it's which scann (Score 2, Informative) 211

I have been using an fi-6130 for several months now. It is quite simply the best scanner I have used. It is fast, highly reliable and very seldom misfeeds (1 per 500-800 pages in my experience). I use it for scanning archival financial records and also for technical papers. It includes a copy of Kofax Virtual ReScan, which does a great job of creating readable 1-bit monotone scans of originals with colored backgrounds. There are a number of possible target formats, and it has several automated ways of handling group separator sheets. I highly recommend it. I have seen no evidence of "marketing drone foolishness."

Comment Re:PDF rant. (Score 1) 352

While it is true that fonts may be embedded, it is also true that PDF provides the mechanism for proprietary fonts to decline embedding. This is general feature of some proprietary fonts. I run into this frequently with PDF documents that contain ancient Greek or Hebrew fonts. In about a third of these documents the PDF will not render correctly because they have used proprietary fonts that I do not have on my machine. In these cases, the document is completely unreadable since the Latin font equivalent chosen in no way reflects the underlying text.

Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man -- who has no gills. -- Ambrose Bierce