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Comment: Re:Completly Blindsided. (Score 1) 285

by Bacon Bits (#47506753) Attached to: How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

The school district wasn't blindsided. The county was.

I work at a school district, so let me tell you how public schools get their Internet. Obviously it's going to vary, but from what I've seen our situation is the most common.

Every building in a district runs fiber between their buildings to a central building where the district's servers are kept. It could be in the basement of the high school or some administrative building, but that's what happens. It's easy enough for the district to do capacity planning. Each school district may then connect to an intermediate school district, but ultimately then connects to the county's municipal network. This network is the ISP that connects every municipal office, such as city, village, police, fire, public works, etc. to the Internet. In my state, Michigan, the county connects to a statewide municipal network originally put in place to connect the public universities to the proto-Internet for research (our ISP, Merit, was founded in 1966).

In this story, the problem is at the county level, the middle man between the school and the state-wide network. This is not particularly surprising, since since in every case I've seen, the county is a) poorly funded, b) poorly staffed, and c) tends to be forgotten about. When a neighboring district went 1-to-1 at the high school level with lots of online classes, they did reasonable capacity planning for the district's small network and quadrupled the bandwidth from the high school to the district servers, and the district to the county (the district consists of 3 buildings on the same plot of land, so it was fairly simple). What they didn't do was consider that the county level needed upgrades as well. My district is about 8500 students across more than a dozen buildings, and this was about 200 students in just one building (grades 9 and 10). They were using about 90% of the bandwidth on our connection. That district got moved to a different connection pretty quickly, but until then nobody in our district could use the Internet during the school day.

Comment: Re:Any idea what's the motivation to remove START? (Score 1) 516

by Bacon Bits (#47149437) Attached to: Microsoft Won't Bring Back the Start Menu Until 2015

It's not for reasons known only to them. It's for a very good reason.

Learning a new interface to do the same tasks you already know how to do is really irritating. Even when the new interface is better, it's irritating as hell, and it takes a long time to get used to. Apple has had a huge amount of success making iPhones, iPads, and iPods all with the exact same interface. The exact same OS. There's even talk that Apple will abandon OS X on the Mac in favor of iOS.

"But," you say, "Apple products for most people are home consumer products. Business and office applications still run on Windows." Ah, true, but the hype is that the cloud is where it's at, and web applications will replace all thick applications just like they've replaced client/server applications. If iOS is the number one platform (it isn't now, but it was looking like it would be when Win8 was being developed) and everybody grows up knowing iOS and there are all these iOS apps and everything else is web-based... what's drawing people to Windows? What happens when iOS Safari has a larger market share than Windows Internet Explorer? And what if Google makes Android work on the PC?! Now you've got two major competitors and you're not even competing with them in the largest portion of the market (i.e., mobile).

"Oh, no!" Microsoft screams. "We need to unify Windows on the PC, smartphones, and tablets! What do you mean we don't have any tablets!? We need a Windows tablet! We need an App Store! We need a touch interface at all costs!"

So, that's what they did. They made a new OS built to run on tablets and smartphones, since those are the fastest growing market segments and those with the most mind share. They cut the Start Menu, which doesn't work that well on a phone or tablet at all, and created the tile menu in Win8. Unfortunately, they missed that you can't increase market share by abandoning your old market in favor of a new market. And just because a common interface is beneficial doesn't mean any common interface is sufficient to the task. You'll notice, for example, that iOS is 7 years old and currently on version 7... and still not on the desktop.

Comment: Re:Wait a sec (Score 5, Insightful) 772

by Bacon Bits (#47107617) Attached to: Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

No, you misunderstand.

Everything you think is true is something you believe. If someone says, "1+1=2," you say, "Yes, that is true." What you really mean is, "Yes, I believe that to be true." Certainly, things are true or false absent of any belief, but when we're asking about whether or not an individual thinks something is true or false, we're exactly talking about belief. We're not talking about accuracy of scientific or mathematic laws, theories, or models. We're talking about the nature of knowledge, perception, and human understanding.

Think of it this way. For thousands of years humans believed that when they saw a sunrise that the sun had revolved around the earth on a crystal sphere. That's what their knowledge of the universe told them was true, so that is what they believed, and that's what their knowledge told them they saw. That was as true to them as the truth you belive in when your knowledge tells you that the earth is held in orbit by gravity and rotates to bring the sun back into view. The fact that your knowledge might be more accurate or might have more evidence behind it is irrelevant. Your belief that it is true, or belief that it is false, or fundamental misunderstanding of what is truly going on doesn't change what's really going on. Nevertheless, knowing who agrees with your beliefs and therefore agree with what the common knowledge tells us about the universe can be valuable.

You can do the same thing with any scientific model. Consider big bang vs steady state theory. Did you know that, to this day, scientific papers are published in journals relating to the steady state model of the universe? Consider the model of the atom. We've gone from the plum pudding model, to the ring model, to the Bohr model, which is still the most commonly taught model, I believe. None of them really represnt the atom that well, of course, but people still imagine the Bohr model when you say "atom" to them. That's not what an atom actually is or looks like, but that is what people believe.

Comment: Re: Let's get this out of the way... (Score 2) 200

by Bacon Bits (#47101223) Attached to: Wikipedia Medical Articles Found To Have High Error Rate

Oh, I'm not disputing that. I'm just saying what my experience has been. Every time I've encountered the "osteopathy is bunk" rhetoric, it's invariably from someone outside the US where, I assume, you can't get a medical license as a DO.

Modern osteopathic physicians in the US practice evidence-based medicine and are trained essentially identically to any other medical doctor in the US. DOs and MDs have essentially converged. There are some minor philosophical differences, but that's it. Outside the US, though, I don't think they were ever accepted as practicing physicians.

Comment: Re: Let's get this out of the way... (Score 2) 200

by Bacon Bits (#47100181) Attached to: Wikipedia Medical Articles Found To Have High Error Rate

Part of the issue here is that osteopathy outside the US has much lower credibility. I'm not sure if there's regulations in the US about who can call themselves an osteopath or apply osteopathic treatment, or if osteopathy has a stronger tie to traditional medicine in the US, or exactly what the reason is for the difference.

Comment: Re:Wait... (Score 1) 255

by Bacon Bits (#47099425) Attached to: Chelsea Clinton At NCWIT: More PE, Less Zuckerberg

Because she works at NYU as an assistant vice provost recruiting students. One of her jobs is to go out and find academic talent and bring it to NYU. So her job is to determine what skills are most valuable in an academic sense, which is exactly what NCWIT is talking about with concerns about women in technology.

"Summit meetings tend to be like panda matings. The expectations are always high, and the results usually disappointing." -- Robert Orben

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