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Comment: Re:I like this idea. (Score 3, Informative) 351

by Flavio (#43490849) Attached to: Google Gets Consumer Service Ultimatum From German Consumer Groups

Google never had customer service for non-paying users. And they've been a privacy nightmare for as long as I remember. Do you think a company that hires so many PhDs hasn't thought through the implications of their decisions? The "don't be evil" ship sailed a long time ago.

Comment: Re:WAAAAAAAAAY too little, too late. (Score 1) 175

by Flavio (#42653579) Attached to: PayPal Preparing To Address Frozen Funds Policy

I agree with him. Paypal has a terrible track record, and if a moderately successful fundraiser can cause them to seize funds. Since the shelter isn't a business with a track record of sales, it could take significant effort to get access to those funds. And since Paypal isn't a regulated bank, there's no recourse other than taking them to court.

Paypal is convenient, and is only worth the risk if you can afford to lose the transaction.

Comment: Re:"Choose the best answer" (Score 1) 663

To understand many policies related to education, you have to think like a lawyer. A huge number of decisions don't take under consideration what's best for the students or society, but what reduces their liability.

Many questions are poorly designed, since they're the work of mediocre professionals. The bureaucrats know and expect this. Thus, they require the test-taker to choose the "best" answer (often a subjective concept), thus relieving themselves from having to cancel questions or admit the existence of flaws in exams.

Comment: Re:Wrong - Slam the ABS Brakes (Score 1) 756

by Flavio (#39470301) Attached to: You're Driving All Wrong, Says NHTSA

Modern ABS responds fantastically fast. (...) Slam on the brakes and steer. That's what ABS are for. They almost always lead to shorter stopping distances than cars without ABS, and you can avoid the deer on the road.

Not true.

I was once driving a 2010 Dodge Avenger (rental) in moderate rain, and decided to turn right into a gas station. I saw there was no one behind me and hit the brakes harder than usual, under the illusion that the ABS would react properly. Note that I was not turning at this point. That car simply refused to properly actuate the brakes until I did what the OP called threshold braking. This came to me as second nature, because my car back home doesn't have ABS brakes. But I was surprised at the absolutely horrible braking performance on the 2010 Avenger. For a while, it felt like the brakes had malfunctioned and I was not braking at all. If I actually had to stop suddenly, I would've been screwed.

So in effect, it doesn't matter if your ABS firmware is modern or not. Performance is very dependent on the make and model.

Comment: Re:Parking tickets (Score 1) 209

by Flavio (#38901505) Attached to: Sensor Networks In San Francisco Finds Parking Spots

Like we have nowadays with people who can't buy gas with credit because the pumps are now putting holds of $200 or more.

Except that the process of parking takes hours, and the machine can incrementally bill someone. The ticket can be applied if and only if the person doesn't pay for whatever reason.

Comment: The N9 is absolutely fantastic (Score 5, Interesting) 435

by Flavio (#38870593) Attached to: Nokia CEO Blames Salesmen For Windows Phone Struggles

I bought one for myself, another as a gift and I'm thinking of buying two for my parents.

It has seamless Skype and SIP integration, so you can type in a number and choose which service to use from a drop-down box, all from the standard interface. Messaging is all integrated, with SMS, Google Talk, Skype, Twitter, Facebook, etc. The UI looks great and is very smooth. The phone runs Linux on a 1 GHz processor, with 1 GB of RAM, so you can do a lot with it, with true multitasking and a lot of features. Application development is really nice, since it's all based on Qt. And you can imagine how neat it is to run Linux on a phone, and use apt-get to install stuff.

I have no problem with Nokia making Windows phones. It's nice OS, even if it's lacking apps (in particular, no Skype and no SIP stack). But cancelling Meego was madness from a business perspective. Elop killed an amazing product, and what is in my opinion the best mobile OS out there, for both consumers and developers.

Comment: It depends who you know and where you're applying (Score 1) 173

by Flavio (#38138444) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which Ph.D For Work In Applied Statistics / C.S.?

1) Is a Ph.D in Biological Sciences frowned upon by technology companies, or is it out-weighed by the Ivy League tag?

If you're applying for a job at a company where you don't know anyone, your CV will end up in the hands on an HR person. I'm not in your field, but I think there's a considerable chance this person won't be able to see how a PhD in biological sciences connects to a CS/applied math job. The Ivy League tag will (on average) give you an edge, I suspect that to the uninformed eye, it might still look like you're applying for a job out of your field. Note that this doesn't make things impossible. They just make things more complicated, and you'll have to do some explaining on your cover letter.

If you use your connections to refer you to a hiring manager, then you'll skip HR and things will be easier in every respect. This is what you should always try to do, even if you get a PhD in CS.

2) How big of a role does the type of Ph.D play in the hiring process in the U.S., compared to what you actually did (thesis focus, publication record, software)?"

For a pure research position, your publication record is what matters (and people publish more in the US than in Europe). For an industry job, your work experience weighs in and people want to know what you can do (your publication record is important to show you can produce innovative ideas, but the industry generally requires a strong component of practical, hands-on experience).

Comment: Re:Had to be asked. (Score 2) 134

by Flavio (#37999292) Attached to: Faster Algorithm for Sphere Packing Discovered

Mercy me the Slashdot audience is getting dumber.

While the Slashdot audience isn't as geeky as it was 10 years ago, this is a perfectly legitimate question that everyone (even you, the Great Ball Packer) has asked upon first seeing this problem.

Also, while fast sphere packing algorithms are of practical interest, I think your involvement with this problem makes you overestimate their importance.

Comment: Re:In other words, we should give up. (Score 1) 2247

by Flavio (#37778618) Attached to: Ron Paul Suggests Axing 5 U.S. Federal Departments (and Budgets)

The Department of Education was created in 1979. Are you seriously suggesting that we wouldn't have public education anymore if it were removed?

Most people refuse to think quantitatively. The general population doesn't even realise that Ron Paul's "radical" $1 trillion in budget cuts are actually insufficient.

Comment: Re:Americans have a lot of discretionary income (Score 1) 911

by Flavio (#32114550) Attached to: iPad Is Destroying Netbook Sales

Now you might say that such a device is still a toy and you might convince me that your right. But that also means that my new HDTV is really nothing but a toy ( a more expensive, less versatile toy at that!).

Indeed, your HDTV is also a toy. In my mind, if it's designed for entertainment, then it's essentially a toy.

I might buy that... but then a whole lot of people are buying these toys. Maybe we shouldn't use 'toy' as a pejorative term.

I completely agree. I have no problem with Apple selling iPads, or with the people who buy them.

"The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy." -- Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards