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Comment: Re:Complex question. Simple answer (Score 1) 363

by DingerX (#47840971) Attached to: Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?
Uhh... Europe? I know quite a few humanities Ph.D.s who are teaching in high schools out here.

Seriously, when I was in a public HS, we had high school teachers with Ph.D.s, in the STEM classes (well, okay, not the TE part). In the humanities, we had people with M.S. in education, and no clue what's going on. You want to know why history sucks in High School? The teachers were those students who got straight Cs in history at the university and an education degree.

Comment: Complex question. Simple answer (Score 2) 363

by DingerX (#47840547) Attached to: Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?
If you made computer science a mandatory subject, and then required that the students be taught to type in, line-by-line, the source code for libreoffice, then what was taught in the course would not be incorrect. It wouldn't be computer science either.

The counterargument here is that "Big HIstory" focuses on a grand narrative without approaching the methodologies used to construct such narratives. Historians try to teach methods, and specifically ways to approach texts and to construct arguments from them about the past; they try to get students to look at histories not as "correct" or "incorrect" (although they can also be that), but rather as someone's attempt at interpreting the data in a way relevant to us.

The fact that most High School history classes suck and feature some nutcase rattling on about pet theories and spewing lists of crap for students to memorize has nothing to do with what history teachers want, and everything to do with the fact that "Coach of a High School Sports Team" is not a full-time job, and most schools have more coaches than gym teachers. So they gotta teach something, and that education degree means they can teach whatever they want; a Ph.D. in history is not so flexible, and (thanks to union rules) costs cash-strapped schools more money to hire.

Comment: Re:Wait until SP1/SP2 before buying ? (Score 1) 304

They don't do SPs any more. Calling them "Mandatory Updates" allows them to get around any promises they made regarding SPs. Oh yeah, and this update? I'm not affected, since my machine is still unable to install the mandatory update.
WTG Microsoft. You should be glad that platforms are not part of your core mission.

Comment: Re:Wha? (Score 1) 204

by DingerX (#47437909) Attached to: New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture
Yeah, "Flatten the structure" means, at some level, have fewer bosses responsible for more employees. "Increasing communication" means having more bosses responsible for fewer employees. Doing both together means firing the people the CEO's entourage doesn't like.

reduce time it takes to get things done by having fewer people involved in each decision; = fire people.

quantify outcomes for products and use that data to predict future trends; =If it doesn't sell in the first quarter, kill it. Predict the market by abandoning lethargic products and jumping on the winner. You know, like how the massive Kinect 1.0 sales led to the dominance of the XBone. On the other side, when PlaysForSure fails, replace it with the Zune Store, when that fails, replace it with the next. Then fire the whole team, except for the useless ones. Put them on the next iteration of Windows Phone.

and increasing investment for employee training and development. =hire more of the consultants who write buzzkill press releases. Note it didn't say "increase our emphasis on employee training and development" or "find new ways to enrich our employees' skills and competencies", but rather "increasing investment for" -- "buy new things with this ostensible goal".

Comment: Re:It true !!!! (Score 1) 711

by DingerX (#47159165) Attached to: Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'
Context? Nobody watches in context. If he makes two "light digs" at Android, that's your story. Apple just went from the "industry leader", telling people what they want, to the "industry reactor", telling them what they don't want. It doesn't matter whether it's only a few seconds of a keynote, or whether it's true or not, it fits the narrative.

Master your own narrative or be a victim of other's. Isn't that the lesson here?

I know, you can't hear me over the thumping base of your Beats headphones.

Comment: If by "middle of the pack" you mean "back" (Score 1) 390

by DingerX (#46118789) Attached to: IE Drops To Single-Digit Market Share
You know, if you look at their performance numbers, as well as those for reliability, standards compliance and memory footprint, they come in second-to-last, with Opera last; of course, when you compare IE to the chromium-based Opera Next, and not plain Opera, then IE still is 2x worse than the others.

Comment: Interface also sucks on a touch screen (Score 2) 513

by DingerX (#46026941) Attached to: HP Brings Back Windows 7 'By Popular Demand' As Buyers Shun Windows 8
Here's what I don't get: When I work with a phone or a tablet, I usually hold the screen at a certain distance, so that all the information displayed therein is on a fixed arc of vision. When I work on a PC, I sit in front of a screen. That screen may be big and far, or small and close, but, generally, it occupies more of my vision than a mobile screen does. It is therefore more tiring to scan items displayed all over the screen, which is why interface design (before Windows 8 screwed things up) put list-information and menus in part of the screen. To spray it across the whole screen is fatiguing. But Microsoft never understood that people have screens that are physical sizes and not fixed arrays of pixels. Hell, Windows 8.1 gives me a great choice on my 13.3" full-HD touchscreen: either have Windows do a crappy scaling job to make the screen look like a blurry 720p screen, or render everything properly, but at a resolution where the interface's touch points are smaller than the accuracy of anyone's fingers.

Windows 8.1 has some great things: it's really fast, for one. But Metro sucks, the touch-screen implementation sucks, and all that useless corporate "change for change's sake" sucks. Building software is different from selling clothes (or building hardware). Interfaces don't have "fashions", and retraining operators every three years makes your product less relevant than having them be dependent on your idiom since forever. Just ask Adobe.

Comment: Re:Have you seen the PCs they're selling these day (Score 1) 564

by DingerX (#45921785) Attached to: PC Shipments In 2013 See the Worst Yearly Decline In History
Speaking as someone who just bought a Haswell convertible, the only problem is Windows 8. I've got a touchscreen convertible with an SSD and eight hours of battery life, and I don't want that horrible abortion of an OS.

Okay, it turns out that you're right. I don't understand the convertibles thing either. Why would you want to do that with Windows? The best, by far coolest, reason I've found is that I can have a laptop where the keyboard isn't attached to the screen, so I don't kill my back, and the screen can be put in profile mode, so I can work on full pages. Good grief, this fad is the sorriest excuse for something hip since the baby boomers started the SUV craze ("Finally, a car I don't have to lean down to enter").

Yes, for a Tablet, I use a Tablet (and with a 7.7" AMOLED screen, like they used to make back in the old days); for a desktop, I use a desktop (with a Model -May God Continue to Bless America- M keyboard, and an embarassment of screens. But for something portable, I've got this convertible monstrosity.


Well, a low-velocity body-computer bag-ground impact wiped out my Windows 7 netbook. That's why I buy 'em cheap. And, Windows 8 wiped out any cheap Windows 7 netbooks. That's why the drop off. Sure, I HAD to buy a portable computer. Otherwise, why the hell would I spend money on that abomination unto the Lord known as Windows 8 (or 8.1 -- "8+ iterations and we still haven't figured out that pixels don't correspond directly to use visibility").

Comment: Re:The really strange thing about this: (Score 2) 194

by DingerX (#45562735) Attached to: Bitcoin Miners Bundled With PUPs In Legitimate Applications Backed By EULA
Who cares? If your freebie gets 100k installs, and only 1000 of them still work, you can probably count on $500/day, recoup your dev costs and make some money faster than you can say "Unconscionable".

Yeah, there is that. A EULA that crypto-tries to say "in exchange, you agree for us to take over your computer and use it to crank out money" is no good.

Comment: Re:Wikimedia != Wikipedia (Score 1) 63

by DingerX (#45383449) Attached to: Could We "Wikify" Scholarly Canons?
SEP is great, and it has the advantage that, as a freely-accessible encyclopedia, it's where everyone goes first.

But TFA formulates the problem conflating encyclopedic work with scholarly research and open access:

When academics have been asked why they do not contribute to Wikipedia, or why they do not make their data more easily available, or why they continue to avoid new âoeopen accessâ publication venues, one of the most common explanations is âoenot enough timeâ [7,8]. Academic hiring, tenure, and grant review boards preference most strongly the publication of scholarly results in prestigious outlets. In the sciences these are journals such as Nature and Science, and in the humanities a book published by a selective university publisher [7]. By communicating through such media, an academic can be sure that his or her peers will see (or at least, should have seen) the researcherâ(TM)s contribution. By contrast, contributions to Wikipedia, or to writing popular blog posts, generally accord no academic recognition to a contributor. This may help to explain why, for those without access to institutional journal subscriptions, the claims of todayâ(TM)s academics may at times appear as trustworthy as those of the pre-Enlightenment alchemists.

The "researcher's contribution" is not generally an encyclopedia chapter. Academic recognition distinguishes between advancing the field and serving society by communicating the current state of the field. Both are necessary and rewarded activities, but they are evaluated separately. "Open Access" journals are fair game because they form part of the problem TFA formulates as solvable via Scholarpedia.

Comment: Re:Wait a Generation (Score 3, Informative) 63

by DingerX (#45381963) Attached to: Could We "Wikify" Scholarly Canons?
Well, I don't know what part of history you're in, but such a group of neanderthals sound like nineteenth-century Americans. Then again, by your beery name, you could be classical or heaven forfend, 'Renaissance'. No matter. I'd put the matter a little differently: most humanities professors stop studying broadly about the time they get a job. I mean, hell, I'm too busy publishing and running a journal that I don't have time to dedicate to most other things. So that means that, on the whole, their image of the field is fossilized at that moment (and maybe updated by a few fancy theoretical buzzwords).

I'm co-editing a (mostly) closed-access journal that's fairly highly rated in my little field. In many places, scholars are scored according to where they publish, so an article with us is worth (for performance review) four articles elsewhere. That's obscene, and the huge part of the problem is a systemic belief in the "quantification of academic outcomes"; you can't easily answer the question "Is this person good?", so you answer the question "How many articles in INT1-ranked journals did she publish?". The predictable results are: bloating of INT1-ranked journals, increase in number of INT1-ranked journals, and reorientation of scholarship aimed at what those journals are interested in. You can see the same argument, mutatis mutandis with impact factors: if you select from intelligent agents based on a measurement that has some correlation with performance, those agents will perform to the measurement, weakening the future correlation.

While professors may not care about which way the wind is blowing, academic publishers do. So our publisher recognizes that the winds are blowing open access (indeed, many European funding bodies require OA publication when possible), and offers an open-access option. They see the writing on the wall, and the copies of their works on the Russian websites, and the people at conferences with removable hard drives. As academics, scholarly work is the very air we breathe, it is a necessity, and as a group we find an inequality in access to such work more unjust than people making questionably-authorized copies of copyrighted works for their own research. Open Access, like Open Source, is a great idea, and one that can lead to great riches. The challenge lies in transferring the costs of the work: it is in the interests of academic institutions to support OA publications with material and labor, but there aren't many institutions that are willing to hire people to work exclusively on the heavy lifting behind such publications.

Finally, TFA is a scholarly-sounding advertisement for Scholarpedia. As an historian, I don't see how a wiki can function for scholarly work. Put another way, the wiki model is built on assumptions concerning human knowledge that makes it inappropriate for the humanities; TFA furthers these assumptions. The major assumption is that, since we base our knowledge on the field on the work of predecessors, we build upon that knowledge incrementally. One of the major traits of the Social Sciences and Humanities, however, is that we constantly reflect upon the nature of our discipline and, in building upon knowledge, restructure the foundations of the discipline. That means that our criteria for meaningfulness and even truth are constantly changing. So, even when I set out to do something that lends itself to an encyclopedia-style article (which happens occasionally, but not most of the time), I review as much historical data as I can and work through the reconstructions of my predecessors. Inevitably, I can't build on them so much as rewrite them, and I can't rewrite them in a series of edits, but I have to make a single narrative that is my own. Most of the time, however, I'm not writing encyclopedia entries. Encyclopedia entries are not for producing historical arguments, but for guiding readers to those arguments. There isn't a single vision of the discipline, and there isn't even a privileged voice that would express a consensus of the various approaches and interpretations.

Comment: And the follow-up article (Score 4, Informative) 373

by DingerX (#44641469) Attached to: German Government Warns Windows 8 Is an Unacceptable Security Risk
Where the BSI takes issue with their reporting.

Of course, with the extent now clear of the US government's use of US IT companies to maintain American political and economic advantages, if you were running a non-US-based company or a non-US-governmental organization, you'd want to do as much critical business with non-American hardware, software and services as possible.

Comment: Re:MUD, PLATO and the dawn of MMORPGs (Score 3, Interesting) 99

by DingerX (#43947487) Attached to: Gaming Roots: MUD and the Birth of MMOs
Obviously, the dude has never played Moria either. Maybe the thing was obvious, but it was also present. It's like saying multiplayer flight sims didn't have their origin in PLATO's Airfight. Yes, the concept was obvious, but every implementation was inspired by the predecessors. And before 1978, the only implementations out there were server-and-terminal. MP was easy(ish).

"It is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try, but the result's the same." - Mike Dennison