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Comment: My four year old phone is slow, news at 11 (Score 1) 263

My iPhone 4 is slow. That's not ACTUALLY a surprise. There was a time where I was on an upgrade treadmill with my PC. A new video card here, a new processor there. Then a full MB swap, more RAM...every year, something else would get replaced. Progress marches forward.

PCs eventually reached a bit of a plateau. Unless you're playing really intense games, you're not going to notice that your machine is old and slow. A four year old PC does most of the basic tasks asked of it, because those tasks aren't terribly hard anymore, and you've already got a lot of RAM and a 2GHz CPU.

But mobile devices are just starting to reach that plateau. Putting more RAM in a phone makes a difference, but they haven't been loaded up from the start because of size and power restraints. Every year sees a small advance in battery tech and low-power computing. So my old iPhone 4 is well behind that curve. That's how things go.

A four year old Android phone is going to have the same issues, assuming we can put aside the question of whether it's getting updates at all.

This is one of those cases where I don't think the manufacturers have a particularly malicious intent. My iPhone 4 is slower compared to the day I first got it, but it does SO much more, and it does those things a lot better than it used to. My experience is richer, even if I have to wait an extra second or two for certain tasks to complete.

Comment: Re:Why not? (Score 1) 118

by the phantom (#47540901) Attached to: AP Computer Science Test Takers Up 8,000; Pass Rate Down 6.8%

People who are not passionate tend to be mediocre or worse.

Bullshit. People who do well regardless of their passions are called professionals. I had a LOT of passion about programming and tech but the industry killed it. The last nail in the coffin was when I trained a "more qualified" H1-b about "what those asterisks mean in C programming".

This doesn't negate the OP's point. He was talking about tendencies (as in statistical trends), not specifics. Neither you nor he provided any data at all, but it is certainly plausible that people who aren't passionate about something will, on average, perform less well than people who are passionate. Your anecdote neither convinces me that you are better than mediocre (you may very well be amazing; or maybe you were at some point but now suffer from burnout; or maybe you are mediocre and always have been---I have no clue), nor convinces me that passion and skill are entirely uncorrelated (though the causal relation could go either way---I could easily be convinced that people are passionate about the things they are good at, rather than the other way around).

Comment: Re:One small way I try to help. (Score 1) 309

Not to be a pedant, but that article does nothing to contradict my earlier post. Of course, my original post may have been a bit pedantic, but the fact remains: the statement "earthworms are not native to America" is false. There are invasive species which are a serious problem, but that is a different statement.

Comment: Re:Rubbish (Score 1) 289

Revenue Neutral Carbon Taxes seem to be working in British Columbia.

People are using less fossil fuels because, yes, they're more expensive. That's the point. They've found other ways to get things done.

To me it makes sense to use taxes to discourage things you don't like, like excessive carbon usage (and we all have to pay for it down the road; not charging the tax is just kicking the can down the road to the people that are children today). Use tax breaks to encourage things that are good. So don't tax income as much. It's good if you're out making money. You can make estimates and balance the two. People will naturally tend to not spend as much on the things that cost more, even if they'd be even if they kept their usage levels static.

Comment: Re:One small way I try to help. (Score 2) 309

[citation please]

There are earthworm species that are native to North America (see, for instance, Hendrix's Earthworm Ecology and Biogeography in North America). There are also exotic / invasive species. These species (as well as one or two native species with expanding ranges) are definitely a problem, but that is a different statement from "earthworms are not native to America."

Comment: Re:obvious (Score 0) 172

You are making an argument that I did not make. Your claim is that an American and foreign worker, by virtue of living in the same city, should be able to subsist on identical incomes and that Americans who refuse to take such jobs are simply demanding too much. I merely pointed out that there are variables that you are missing---for example, a foreign worker may be able support a family on an income that will not support an American worker and his or her family. You are comparing apples and oranges.

Comment: Re:obvious (Score 1) 172

by the phantom (#47525119) Attached to: For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs
They may not have the same expenses as an American. Let us suppose two hypothetical workers with very similar qualifications: one an American (A), and one from some place like India or Bangladesh (B). Assuming that A and B are both single, then you are correct---they have similar expenses. Now suppose that both workers have families to support. Worker A has to support their family in the United States at the going rate here, whereas Worker B may send remittences back to their family in their country of origin, where the cost of living may be significantly less. Hence it is quite possible that a foreign worker and the American worker both want to be paid well enough to support their families. The foreign worker has the advantage of needing much less in order to do so.

Comment: Re:Incomplete data (Score 1) 172

by the phantom (#47524455) Attached to: For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs
CS should not be considered engineering. Programming, which might be considered "applied computer science" might qualify as an engineering exercise, but a decent computer science program is going to be about formal logic, discrete mathematics, and algorithms (among other things). CS is about the theory of computation, not the hands-on of programming. As such, CS should be considered a branch of mathematics (in fact, until the 90s, most CS degrees were awarded by mathematics departments).

Comment: Re: Your Results Will Vary (Score 1) 241

by the phantom (#47517453) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

I am honestly very confused about what your point is. In response to another poster, Coryoth rebutted that the college was supposed to be about education, not vocational training. You incorrectly assumed that s/he was arguing that college was about creating well-rounded people. I responded that creating well-rounded people was not the point and that requiring students to take classes outside of their major was perhaps a historical anachronism (among other reasons, which are highlighted in, for instance, the article I linked above). You are the only person in the entire thread to have brought up the "well-rounded person" trope, and that was only to dismiss it. The only reason I replied was to point out that the well-rounded person argument isn't one that anyone with a clue seriously makes.

Comment: Re:How thrilling... (Score 2) 58

by Dixie_Flatline (#47516133) Attached to: Amazon Fire Phone Reviews: Solid But Overly Ambitious

I think the specs race is basically over. Apple's specs allow them to make a fast phone in a small body with relatively good battery life. Android phones are generally made with the same 'generic' parts, and have comparable battery life by virtue of having a bigger case to cram a battery in. But all told, the phones are pretty close together, no matter what tricks each company is playing. (And I would argue that battery life is becoming a more dominant spec request as time goes on. I'd much rather have a longer lasting battery than a bigger screen, for instance.)

At this point, it comes down to being able to differentiate on things other than specs. The Android space is crowded. At the flagship level, everything is pretty close to everything else. Samsung is being reined in a bit on its Android modifications, so what we're looking at now is a bit of a race to the bottom on price.

So the specs for the Fire may be 'tepid', but they're probably not actually bad in any relevant way. The phone will hold up for at least a couple years. Amazon's only chance for their phone is to provide a compelling ecosystem, and they don't actually need to be the leader of the pack on specs to do that.

I don't disagree that this phone isn't actually that compelling, but it's not the specs that are sinking it. It could have top-of-the-market parts in there and you'd still shrug at it because the OS and Amazon integration just aren't good enough. The device just has too few merits to warrant much attention, in my opinion.

Comment: Re: Your Results Will Vary (Score 1) 241

by the phantom (#47511843) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Who, specifically, is making that argument? I don't think I have ever seen anyone argue that the primary goal of a college education was to create well-rounded people. Not even Coryoth, the person to whom you originally replied, made that argument. I often see it as a justification for requiring non-major classes, but I have never seen anyone claim that this is the primary goal. See, for instance, the The Chronicle of Higher Education's compilation of answers to the question. Most of the respondents argue that higher education is about learning critical thinking skills, building a foundation of knowledge for future work, and providing students with the necessary information to choose a career-path that is of interest to them.

My original point still stands: universities were first established to foster research. Students went to college to become academics and to make contributions to human knowledge. Over time, the emphasis has shifted towards more vocational or professional training though much of the curriculum remains the same (possibly due to institutional inertia). At no time was the primary goal of a college education to become a "well-rounded" person.

To be clear, I am not arguing that there is no merit to the observation that a liberal education produces well-rounded people, and I am not arguing that this is a bad (or good) thing. I am merely attempting to point out that the primary goal of higher education is not simply to produce such people, nor has it ever been.

Comment: Re: Your Results Will Vary (Score 1) 241

by the phantom (#47503557) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Yes, goals have changed, but I maintain that the goal of the higher education system has never been to create well-rounded people. In the early days, it was about training academics. Even today, many faculty and administrators at universities will claim that this is the goal of a university education. As I noted above, the university curriculum is still structured around the 400+ year old ideal of scholarship. In large part, students are required to take classes outside of their majors because that is the way it has always been done and because this system has produced pretty good results for a fairly long time.

Moreover, if you want to argue that there has been some period in time that people went to universities in order to become well-rounded people, I would invite you to describe that period. My understanding of the history of such institutions is that they emphasized training academics until the mid-20th century. In the post-War period during the coldest parts of the Cold War, a great deal of funding was put towards training engineers and physicists to design weapons and such, and as time passed people in industry began to realize that trained academics made pretty good employees, which is how we get to the modern idea that higher education should be a kind of vocational training. Do you dispute this history, or do you feel that I am missing something? When was the goal of higher education ever to produce well-rounded people?

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.