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Comment: Dogfight by Gibson and Swanwick (Score 3, Interesting) 1365

The short story "Dogfight" from the Burning Chrome collection has a young street criminal discover that he has a talent that could bring him a legitimate source of income and friends.

Since it's my answer to the title question, you can guess that it doesn't end well. The whole story's online here and a couple of other places.

Comment: Online Class Requirement (Score 3, Insightful) 311

by Pantero Blanco (#38591326) Attached to: Teachers Resist High-tech Push In Idaho Schools

The plan requires high school students to take online courses for two of their 47 graduation credits.

This sounds like a cost-cutting measure. Online classes are for times when the alternative is not having the class. They're "better than nothing", not "better".

If a school wanted to offer students a course in programming but didn't have anyone capable, then it might make sense to arrange for them to take an online course offered by a third party (preferably a tech school or college in the same area). It doesn't sound like this is anything close to what they're doing.

Comment: Re:Only as "free" as your ability to defend it (Score 1) 692

by Pantero Blanco (#37117052) Attached to: Paypal Founder Helping Build Artificial Island Nations

This idea has been tried several times and it always ends the same way (with fail []).

Its neighbor could conquer it if the neighbor so desired, but that's true for many small nations.
It accepted aid offered by a neighbor during a disaster (the fire), but nations do that all the time.

It defeated an armed invasion by a group of mercenaries, and it has existed in a state of self-rule since 1967 (ignoring British firearm laws).

What would you consider a "success"?

Comment: Re:You underestimate the value (Score 1) 913

by Pantero Blanco (#36570728) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: CS Degree Without Gen-Ed Requirements?

I'm not trying to be confrontational -- I'm genuinely curious. Both B.Sc. and B.A. have breadth requirements, partly to encourage inquiry outside of the student's chosen discipline. If you strip those away, you're no longer talking about a university education but a trade-school-style training.

No, trade school-style training would be learning how to perform the basic tasks expected in an industry, with little if any of the theory.

Taking a good school's CS or mathematics program, stripping out the requirements for intro-level soft-science classes, and replacing them with more relevant classes wouldn't turn it into a trade school program. It would just be a more specialized university degree.

Comment: Visible and Optional v Invisible and On-By-Default (Score 3, Informative) 408

by Pantero Blanco (#36137488) Attached to: The Rise of Filter Bubbles

Having these filters as an option is a good thing; that's just a tool you can use to refine a search.

Having them on by default and invisible (or obfuscated) is not. In this case, information is being hidden from searchers who may not even realize that filtering is taking place.

The TED page for the speech has a transcript for those who don't have sound, or just don't want to sit through a nine-minute video.

Comment: Re:Fail at physics? (Score 1) 124

by Pantero Blanco (#35724368) Attached to: Creating the Software Art In <em>Tron Legacy</em>

The more I think about it, the more likely it seems that you're right, seeing as he just wanted the illusion of fireworks and not a detailed (physics-wise) simulation. Applying an actual force and then calculating the velocity would have been a waste of time for him, so he probably just assigned a velocity at birth and (erroneously) called it a force in the article.


+ - Microsoft to file antitrust complaint against Goog->

Submitted by suraj.sun
suraj.sun (1348507) writes "Microsoft to file antitrust complaint against Google with European Commission:

In a somewhat ironic turn of events, Microsoft said this evening it will file a formal complaint against Google tomorrow with European antitrust regulators.

Microsoft, which itself has been the subject of several antitrust probes in the United States and abroad, is argues Google is engaging in anticompetitive behavior in search, online advertising, and smartphone software, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith wrote in a blog explaining the action ( ).

"Google has done much to advance its laudable mission to 'organize the world's information,' but we're concerned by their broadening pattern of conduct--including walling off access to content and data--that is aimed at stopping anyone else from creating a competitive alternative," Smith said in a statement to CNET.

CNET News:"

Link to Original Source

+ - Paul Allen: Yeah, Gates and Ballmer Were A-Holes

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Ever wonder if those rumors of a cancer-stricken Paul Allen overhearing Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer conspiring to take advantage of him financially could possibly be true? Well, wonder no more. Here are the heartwarming details, according to Microsoft's Odd Couple, an excerpt drawn from Paul Allen's forthcoming memoir, Idea Man: 'One evening in late December 1982, I heard Bill and Steve speaking heatedly in Bill's office and paused outside to listen in. It was easy to get the gist of the conversation. They were bemoaning my recent lack of production and discussing how they might dilute my Microsoft equity by issuing options to themselves and other shareholders. It was clear that they'd been thinking about this for some time. Unable to stand it any longer, I burst in on them and shouted, 'This is unbelievable! It shows your true character, once and for all.' I was speaking to both of them, but staring straight at Bill. Caught red-handed, they were struck dumb.' There's some speculation that Allen penned the book to set the record straight about his role in creating Microsoft and his place in tech history. Welcome to the Gary Kildall Club, Paul!"

Comment: Re:Opinion != Fact (Score 1) 362

by Pantero Blanco (#35649488) Attached to: China To Overtake US In Science In Two Years

His reading comprehension isn't at fault here.

the offensive attack the US had planned if they didn't use the bomb would have been far worse. And that is historical fact.

"That" refers to the preceding statement. The quote claims that a hypothetical outcome is a historical fact.

the offensive attack the US had planned (and that is historical fact) if they didn't use the bomb would have been far worse.

This is what you meant (and yes, it is most likely true).

Comment: Re:Did some digging (Score 3, Informative) 252

by Pantero Blanco (#35649034) Attached to: ISP's War On BitTorrent Hits <em>World of Warcraft</em>

We have determined that the problem occurs only when our customers are simultaneously using peer-to-peer file sharing applications and running the game. Therefore we recommend turning off the peer-to-peer setting in the World of Warcraft game and ensuring that no peer-to-peer applications are running on any connected computer. Rogers will engage our customers to ensure they are aware of these recommendations, while continuing to work on a longer term solution.

Are they missing the point or just playing dumb?

For one, their "advice" isn't going to accomplish anything. That's like fixing a broken limb by amputating it.

Secondly, Rogers is the one that's breaking things, so it's their responsibility, not the responsibility of their users. Whether a workaround exists is irrelevant, because they shouldn't be breaking things in the first place.

A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming is not worth knowing.