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Comment: Re:Home storage (Score 1) 488

by KalvinB (#48370009) Attached to: Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Batteries currently cost about as much as the solar panels needed to charge them. You have to be able to charge the batteries about 3 times faster than they are discharged since there is maybe 8 hours of daylight and 24 hours of usage with the AC running 24 hours to keep the house at a certain temp.

And the batteries will need to be replaced every 5-10 years as they wear out. Solar panels need to be replaced every 20-25 years.

A better goal is to have houses running everything but the AC on clean energy in the next 10 years.

The market will naturally gravitate towards cheaper alternatives. The environmentalists are using flawed economics 101 logic that says that costs go down as demand goes up. They don't realize or don't want to admit there is a limit to how low the prices can go. And we are no where near economical no matter how many people are forced to buy solar panels.

There's a reason ObamaCare didn't lower prices. Demand isn't a magic wand to lower high prices and high demand is perfectly capable of causing the prices to go up as well as lower it.

Comment: Re:Speaking for myself (Score 2) 320

by KalvinB (#48066593) Attached to: The Era of Saturday Morning Cartoons Is Dead

In the mid 1990's the government mandated that children's programming be educational.

That killed every good cartoon on network TV. Cable isn't subject to those laws. Corporate greed is killing those shows though for the reasons you listed. Also, cable just isn't a big money thing for the average show. They don't have the budgets that network shows have.

I buy box sets of the good shows so my daughter can watch them when she wants. And the best part is no ads and there are rarely still existing products so she's not being sold anything even passively.

Comment: "Smart" is a misnomer (Score 4, Interesting) 96

by KalvinB (#47955221) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Alternate Software For Use On Smartboards?

A "smart" board is just a touch sensitive surface that is recognized by the computer as pretty much a standard mouse. It plugs in through USB. The only thing "smart" about it is that there are a few extra sensors on the board that identify which color "marker" you're using (simple IR sensors in the holders) and a calibration button.

It's no smarter than the touch surface on your tablet or phone.

It's pretty much the worst investment a school can make, but the alternatives somewhat require a resident nerd willing to put in the effort to assembly them. I'm checking the price on Alibaba for a 48" x 96" infrared overlay. If I can get it for $300 a less I'll buy it and see how it goes with my own set up at my house.

Frankly, a $100 document camera and a simple whiteboard are perfectly sufficient for 90% of what a "smart"board is used for.

Comment: Re:Need more than a legal precedent (Score 1) 421

by KalvinB (#47892625) Attached to: Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

Why should people be required to work for free? And why do you get to dictate the time it will take?

All they have to do is remove the hard drive and put in a blank OEM drive and then destroy the license sticker if one is on it and report to MS that that license is no longer valid.

And then you can have your $10 back which is about what Windows amounts to costing you after factor in the discount MS gives them and the amount the advertisers spent putting 3rd party software on the thing.

Comment: Re:World's worst projector? (Score 1) 44

I picked up one of those cheap toy projectors. They great thing about them is that they use standard halogen bulbs. So I went to Home Depot and got the brightest version of the bulb I could find which was double the original lumens.

I found that the limiting factor was the heat. After a few minutes a black circle started to appear on the image. It was the bulb melting the LCD panel. I had to put a little desk fan next to it to keep the air moving sufficiently to keep it cool.

These little 75 lumen projectors with a low resolution are likely running into the same problem. Obviously much brighter LEDs exist but there's not enough space to properly cool them.

The resolution is good enough for a smart board which only can handle 480 vertical lines anyway. I opted to get a the $320 proper projector with a 1024x768 resolution. Smartboards are easily replaced with a much simpler HD document camera.

Comment: Re:Coded Racism (Score 1) 688

by KalvinB (#47067567) Attached to: Professors: US "In Denial" Over Poor Maths Standards

In New York, low SES / Minority students are doing very well in charter schools that the government is trying to shut down.

Like I said, you can make all the excuses you want but the simple fact is, Public Schools are awful. "White" flight happens because the racists in charge are trying to lock minorities into the plantation and anyone that gives them an exit strategy is fought against. That raises the bar for who can successfully escape the plantation.

The color of a student's skin has no impact on their learning potential. As charter schools prove over and over again.

Public schools can make excuses decade after decade or they can fix the problems.

Comment: Re:Coded Racism (Score 1) 688

by KalvinB (#47067483) Attached to: Professors: US "In Denial" Over Poor Maths Standards

Maybe you should look into charter schools that cater to low SES students and end up having a vast majority of success stories.

If the public education system wasn't hiding behind racism, they'd be looking at why low SES students excel in charter/private schools and either encourage low SES students to go to those schools, or figure out how to replicate that success themselves.

As it is, public schools are more interested in plugging their ears and making excuses.

As you perfectly demonstrated.

Studies have shown that the children most likely to get their homework done come from families with a single black mother.

Low SES and minority.

Comment: Coded Racism (Score 5, Interesting) 688

by KalvinB (#47063105) Attached to: Professors: US "In Denial" Over Poor Maths Standards

Morgan Spurlock made the idiotic comment about how Norway is "homogeneous" right before transitioning to his piece on a charter school with minority students who were excelling.

SES or "Socio-Economic Status" is the most common race bait thrown around in the education system. Anyone who has experience outside the public education system figures out real quick that you can't look at the skin color or bank account of a student to see how well they're doing.

Racism is the last excuse that our failed public education system still clings to. That and "we don't have enough money."

It's just one of the many reasons why despite being certified to teach high school math, I have no intention of ever teaching in a public school. I'm more interested in helping out at my daughter's small private school. My summer project is overhauling their library system. I've already fixed all the laptops as well as they can be. If possible I'd like to go into a part time teaching role to help out.

The school is filled with students from a variety of racial backgrounds and financial circumstances and oddly enough I can't judge their grades by any of that.

Comment: Quality Rarely Wins (Score 2) 477

by KalvinB (#46926051) Attached to: Sony Warns Demand For Blu-Ray Diminishing Faster Than Expected

With HD digital projectors getting below $700 and Blu-ray players getting well under $100 and tons of classic movies on Blu-ray for $15 or less, it should be doing fine.

I can't imagine being dependent on streaming to watch the movies I want to watch. A lot of kids these days only care that it looks good on their phone or tablet.

If I get Blu-ray, it's for high quality shows/movies and I prefer to get a DVD with them. It's rare that I'll buy a Blu-ray only movie. I know that I in theory can back it up, but it's going to cost a bunch of money to get the software and hardware to do it. It's going to be a long time before I have a blu-ray collection that justifies it.

That's really all they need to do, they need to package DVDs with Blu-ray discs at no extra cost. I get my digital backup and if I want to watch the movie in maximum quality, I can.

Comment: Missing the point (Score 1) 305

by KalvinB (#46826375) Attached to: 'The Door Problem' of Game Design

The parents point is that all doors need to behave the same way. If one door can be locked, they all can be locked. The question is not "can a door be locked" but "should this door be locked so the player has to find a key?" If a player can block one door, they all need to be blockable. There should not be two doors that look identical but one will swing through a player, and the other will be blocked by the player.

It's about consistency of behavior. If one door behaves differently than another door then it needs to look different. If a door cannot be locked, then it shouldn't have a key hole. Any door with a keyhole should have a key somewhere in the level and it should be able to be locked and unlocked with that key. The only question is the starting state of the door and how many copies of the key there are.

It's not really a hard concept. It's about consistency of behavior.

Comment: Re:Anybody know the plate# for each scotus? (Score 1) 461

by KalvinB (#46826231) Attached to: Supreme Court OKs Stop and Search Based On Anonymous 911 Tips

Go ahead.

The whole point of the ruling is recognizing that an "anonymous" tip isn't really anonymous to the police. They can track down who made the call. They have the call recorded. So if you decide to file false reports against people, there are laws for that.

This was a no-brainer ruling that police are allowed to act on anonymous information. And if in the process of acting on a tip they deem worth putting resources on they find other things you're doing wrong, they have every right to act on that as well.

The cops had no idea this guy was hauling drugs. They pursued the information because they thought the information was worth putting resources into.

It's up to the cops to decide if they're going to risk the cost and embarrassment of following up a tip without getting some identifying information about the tipster.

Comment: Stay away from my school please (Score 4, Insightful) 101

Chrome laptops are consumption devices. They are not creative devices.

Schools need computers that you can hook Arduinos up to or Raspberry Pis or install Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL, PHP, Ruby, Visual Studio Express, etc. on. Computers you can install Gimp or Photoshop on.

They do not need fancy TVs.

The iPad failed in LA, not because it was expensive, but because it was a very dumb idea.

We need to get people involved in schools that at least have some clue about technology and what would be most useful to kids.

And frankly, until we get that sorted out, you'd be better off buying the students $200-400 worth of notebook paper and pencils.

Comment: Re:Dangerous... (Score 4, Insightful) 399

by KalvinB (#46075719) Attached to: California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules

Because the average person doesn't have to suffer the consequences of the prison system?

The real problem is, you are right and the anti-union people are right. Last hired - first fired policies do nothing to protect quality teachers. And policy that doesn't consider the teacher is a policy that has no interest in the educational quality being provided by a school. The work environment that administrators continue to force teachers to work in with miserable pay do nothing to attract high quality educators. And the result is a miserable education system.

The unions fought for the 40 hour work week back in the day and the alleged teacher "unions" force teachers to work unreasonable hours for unreasonable pay.

Funny how businesses that attract competent talent don't require union protections to keep their employees around.

Some people carve careers, others chisel them.

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