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Comment: Re:I don't see the problem at all! Am I just dumb? (Score 4, Insightful) 186

by MikeURL (#38660662) Attached to: Twitter Comes Out Swinging Against Google's Personalized Search

Twitter is trying to play its "look how we facilitate things like the Arab Spring" card. So they are not-so-subtly suggesting that fragmenting the world of short form text messages would destroy freedom. After all, how can the twitterverse stand as a bulwark against a totalitarian state when google+ is breaking news too?

I imagine their ultimate fear is that the next step is text message aggregators and the loss of their "brand".

All of it makes me want to send them an email suggesting they get off my lawn.

Comment: Re:Not optimistic. (Score 4, Interesting) 294

by MikeURL (#38635042) Attached to: Do Online Educational Badges Threaten Conventional Education Models?

I think it would be helpful if courses with a research paper have that as their only requirement. The amount of time, effort and skill to do it properly can easily eat up 3 credits worth of effort. The problem, as I see it, is that professors will casually assign a research paper, a presentation, a midterm and a final all in the same course. Further, the research paper will often wind up as only a small fraction of the grade with the midterm and final as the primary determinant of the grade. So the research paper becomes a pro forma exercise where anything reasonably intelligible can pass.

I always thought that was ridiculous because reading and synthesizing a textbook is pretty easy next to the effort needed to write a decent paper on a real world topic and all the complexities attached thereto. If I had my magic wand I'd put one research paper course right at the front of every curriculum and then another required to capstone the curriculum. It would give both the student and the institution the opportunity to see the improvement of the student as someone who can truly use and synthesize information in a useful way.

Comment: Re:Not optimistic. (Score 2) 294

by MikeURL (#38634918) Attached to: Do Online Educational Badges Threaten Conventional Education Models?

Personally I think the problem is that trade policies have offshored US jobs faster than they could be created. So people flooded into Higher Ed out of desperation in the hopes that education would uniformly preserve the American middle class.

It helped. But the hole is just too deep. Too many jobs left America forever and not all of those displaced workers belonged in a college. Many belonged in a textile mill, or stamping plastic toys in an assembly line. Now they are kinda forced into college and the government is there with the money because it seems better to educate people than stem the offshoring phenomenon that has made the top 1% even 1 percentier.

So those same people who sent the jobs overseas now start to complain about the lack of bang for the educational buck. Why aren't these people all the next Steve Jobs. And then for-profit schools come along and rape the people who not even the most desperate traditional school would accept. And then I guess the end game is everyone throws up their hands and says "fuck it, there is nothing we can do, here is a URL, best of luck".

Comment: Re:The private sector won't wait for 100 years (Score 1) 180

by MikeURL (#38623100) Attached to: DARPA Chooses Leader For 100-Year Starship Project

Well, if we're doing manned space travel purely for the opportunity to feel good about our species then it makes a lot more sense to go to Mars or to the moons of Jupiter. We would not have to wait nearly as long and it would have a similar impact on the human psyche.

This notion of building a giant ship to go to another solar system is extraordinarily impractical. The time lag for communications alone would make it very easy to ignore or forget about or just get kinda jaded over the whole thing (oh, this really happened 4 years ago?)

I can't see the case for exploring outside the solar system we are in when so much of it is unexplored and when the next nearest solar system is extremely far away. It would have been like Columbus sailing for the New World when only 6% of Spain had been explored.

NASA

DARPA Chooses Leader For 100-Year Starship Project 180

Posted by timothy
from the make-it-so dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "With Nasa scaling back its manned space programs, the idea of a manned trip to the stars may sound audacious, but the 100 Year Starship (100YSS) study is an effort seeded by DARPA to develop a viable and sustainable model for persistent, long-term, private-sector investment into the myriad of disciplines needed to make long-distance space travel practicable and feasible. The goal is not to have the government fund the actual building of spacecraft destined for the stars, but rather to create a foundation that can last 100 years in order to help foster the research needed for interstellar travel. Now DARPA has provided $500,000 in seed money to help jumpstart the effort and chosen Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to go into space, to lead 100YSS. Jemison, who is also a physician and engineer, left NASA in 1993 after a six-year stint in which she served as science mission specialist aboard space shuttle Endeavour, becoming the first black woman to fly in space. Since leaving the space agency, she has been involved in education and outreach efforts and technology development. Rounding out her resume, Jemison also served as a medical officer for the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone and Liberia, is a professionally trained dancer, speaks Russian, Swahili and Japanese, and was the first real astronaut to make a cameo in an episode of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation.' Jemison won the contract with her proposal titled 'An Inclusive Audacious Journey Transforms Life Here on Earth & Beyond.'"

Comment: Why would an SoC design even need this? (Score 1) 441

by MikeURL (#38612698) Attached to: Windows 8 To Include Built-in Reset, Refresh

I'm sure I'm missing something but the whole beauty of an SoC design is its simplicity. It seems to me there should not ever be a need to "reinstall" when the operating system is baked into the hardware. The only thing that should need to be reset is the settings.

So if you just reset all settings it would be essentially the same as a clean install. I know it doesn't work that way. I don't know why it doesn't. It should.

Comment: They only check the signals (Score 3, Informative) 235

by MikeURL (#38557310) Attached to: The 'Cable Guy' Now a Network Specialist

I've had cable installers come and go for years and years. All they ever do is use their meter to check the signals coming through the line. If the signals are good that is all they are interested in.

Frankly it is not all that hard to train someone to hook a cable up to a meter and check to see if the numbers are in acceptable ranges. In rare cases where the signals are off they start to replace splitters working backward from the cable modem. If that doesn't work they give up and blame neighborhood saturation.

So i don't know why you'd want to pay these guys a lot of money. They aren't doing highly skilled work. Now, if you're talking about the network engineers who have to design and fix the grid that is an entirely different story. Those are obviously highly skilled people who have to know their stuff. The guys plugging in modems? Not so much.

Comment: Re:That's pretty much what they did (Score 1) 576

by MikeURL (#38529482) Attached to: World's Worst PR Guy Gives His Side

Maybe I'm a cynic but I see everything as a marketing plot. As soon as I read that this was an outsourced PR guy that set my marketing BS radar on high alert.

Could this just be some douche and all of this happen randomly? It is possible. In fact that is starting to look like it is the case. But you're right--if we see sales of the controller go through the roof you can bet there will be companies all over the world looking to repeat this model. Look for someone to cause an internet uproar but make sure it is someone you can cut loose and bad mouth as soon as the viral load hits.

I guess I always will be suspicious of people who seem to fall very neatly into a pre-defined stereotype (particularly a negative one) without even the slightest hint of cognitive dissonance. I don't like to think such people exist.

Comment: Where is your attention? (Score 1) 433

by MikeURL (#38437046) Attached to: Denver Must Prove Red-Light Cameras Improve Safety

Every time I'm looking for a red light camera I'm not looking for crossing pedestrians.

Every time I'm looking for a speedtrap I'm not watching the road.

Every time I'm watching for a cruiser sneaking up behind me (marked and unmarked) I'm not looking forward.

I'd love to see more hard research on whether these measures make us more safe or less safe overall. If I were less concerned about getting a goddamed ticket I'd probably be a safer driver overall (even if it means I speed more or run more red lights).

Comment: soak tester (Score 4, Informative) 226

by MikeURL (#38318398) Attached to: Why Android Upgrades Take So Long

I'm in a soak test group for one of the big carriers.

A couple of times it has turned into a very large clusterfuck. Stuff breaks that seems like it should not break for any reason ever. But there you are with 50 people saying that 911 won't work. So these updates break stuff. They break important stuff and every piece of hardware (even within the same hardware line) reacts a little bit differently.

It is one of the glaring weaknesses of a diversified culture (as compared to the locked down monoculture of Apple).

Comment: It depends (Score 1) 425

by MikeURL (#38062998) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's a Good Tablet/App Combination For Note-Taking?

For heavy note taking nothing is going to beat a pen and paper.

For light note taking where you only need to have a few highlights, draw some things, add notations..Supernote is awesome. I'm able to take perfectly acceptable electronic notes on my eee pad slider. It can handle my finger writing words as fast as I can write them. It does NOT convert what I write with my finger into text, it just accepts the input as a "picture" and places it as a word on the line.

Anyway, you can watch a video here http://www.androidauthority.com/supernote-for-asus-tablets-is-a-good-reason-to-make-your-parents-buy-you-a-tablet-for-school-29001/

Comment: Re:Google has a major problem (Score 1) 220

by MikeURL (#38039642) Attached to: Google Music Downloads To Go Ahead Without Sony Or Warner

Google has a search funnel. As long as everything they do leads people to google searches--they're good.

They don't have to release the very best and most polished stuff. They aren't Apple. It isn't like they will be shipping a physical product that people will either love or hate for months, or years (GoogleTV is an exception..a bad exception). So they throw a lot of stuff up into the cloud, make it free, let people futz around with it and then sometimes they cease support. When they do, it is because the product isn't driving traffic to search. Please always remember search and adwords are still 90+% of Google's revenue. From a company wide standpoint it is 'all that matters'.

You may look at google and think they want to be in the Music business. You'd be wrong. They want you to think of Google when you need to search for something. If having a music service bolted on makes you more likely to search using Google, then they win. Period. Full stop.

Comment: Re:The United States of China (Score 1) 412

by MikeURL (#37976630) Attached to: One Tenth of China's Farmland Polluted With Heavy Metals

That is risky. It is more challenging than you might think to just turn trade off.

America, however, is completely within its right to ramp up inspections of imported items to look for unsafe levels of contaminants. If enough lots get rejected then China will have the appropriate incentive to make changes over time. But that would require hiring ZOMG more government job killing bureaucrats.

Let's try to focus the blame where it makes the most sense. We have a government in the US that is inspecting only a tiny fraction of imports and even what they do inspect is mostly subject to only a cursory glance.

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