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Comment: Re:Pipes was actually useful (Score 1) 176 176

I used to use iGoogle heavily with feeds from Pipes, then Marissa Mayer spearheaded a redesign to to cater to the "real" users (gadget creators) as part of a monetization strategy. I figured that with her move to Yahoo, she'd quit strangling projects I rely on. I guess it was only a matter of time.

Comment: Re:Entrapment is lazy policing (Score 1) 388 388

Stings like this have another utility--counter-intelligence. Let's say you are approached by someone asking you to commit espionage. If you feel obligated to report it because there's a chance this is a sting/loyalty test, the government's job is made much easier. Is it worth destroying lives to accomplish this objective? Hard to say without weighing the assets being protected.

Comment: Re:Entrapment is lazy policing (Score 5, Interesting) 388 388

The problem is not necessarily place of origin, but whether you can be turned. You can be the most patriotic person on the planet, but you'll be denied if there's a non-negligible chance your close relatives overseas can be imprisoned/tortured unless you agree to spy for the host country. I wouldn't take it personally.

Comment: Re:I miss the good ole' days (Score 1) 334 334

That's because so many people left Slashdot during Betageddon that it's mostly just raving lefties here now.

Nah, that's not it--it's a generational shift. Late 20s skew left, and they have the free time to post more. You'd think that group think would mold them to community norms, but here's the thing about AGW:

One one side, you have 97% of climate papers.
On the other, you have the oil industry and politicians.

The evidence is compelling and the opposing parties so distasteful that if you disagree, you're white noise. There is no discussion--either you are reasonably informed, or you're a nutter. The /. old guard just happens to be on the wrong side of the consensus.

Comment: Re:Impact of foreigners on the education of Americ (Score 4, Interesting) 161 161

I had a similar experience when I was in school a few years ago.

Group project with two German foreign exchange students--copy/pasted their part from another website. I caught it early and after some "clarification" from the professor, they redid it.

Another group project--with a white guy, white girl, African immigrant, and a Chinese exchange student. White girl didn't contribute anything at all, Chinese didn't contribute anything (informed us "I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do" two days before the report was due), and the African immigrant contributed one slide (the project was a slide and a paper). White guy and I ended up writing the entire paper, and we were not pleased.

I was the group leader for both projects. The lesson I learned wasn't that foreign students are worthless, but rather that people needed to be treated differently. For any project, I map out the pieces and dependencies that need to be completed in a shared spreadsheet, and let team members choose what they work on. This works out very well for motivated students, and functional procrastinators since the dependencies are also worked out. Unfortunately, simply telling everyone what needs to be done is not a one-size-fits-all solution. If I had assigned tasks to specific individuals early on and followed up regularly, I would have obtained better results. If output was poor or non-existent, we could have adjusted expectations ("you need to turn this in earlier so we can correct for ESL") or escalate to the professor if necessary.

If you are an "A" student, working with other "A" students is the easiest way to keep that A. Learning how to get the most of B and C students is likely more valuable than a slight downtick in your GPA.

Comment: Re:Netflix rating engine sucks (Score 2) 86 86

Crummy selection pretty much nails it. If there were an infinite number of movies, the algorithm would work well. Consider the following scenario: You are one of 3000 subscribers that likes 18th century historical dramas. A documentary on royal intrigues is highly regarded by the 30 or so subscribers in your group that have seen it. Unfortunately, it won't be recommended to you because other subscribers ran out of movies long ago and now watch whatever is on the main page. Many of those 3k subscribers watched Ip Man because it looked tolerable, not because it had an intersection with your interests, but it'll be recommended anyway. Hidden gems are drowned out because the algorithm can't tell the difference between a movie you want to see and a movie you saw because you wanted to see something, anything that night.

Comment: Re:What exactly am I suppose to replace it with? (Score 1) 329 329

I switched to Netvibes a few years ago, when Google added the unremoveable sidebar (which was added at the behest of gadget developers, apparently the only users of iGoogle that matter). It has served me pretty well, though I still miss having a Google search bar with full functionality.

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