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Government

Should California Have Banned Checking Smartphone Maps While Driving? 433

Posted by samzenpus
from the driving-in-circles dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "According to an appellate court in California, checking your smartphone while driving your Volkswagen (or any other vehicle) is officially verboten. In January 2012, one Steven R. Spriggs was pulled over and cited for checking a map on his smartphone while driving. In a trial held four months later, Spriggs disputed that his action violated California's Section 23123 subdivision (a), which states that a person can't use a phone while driving unless 'that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free driving and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.' In short, he argued that the statute was limited to those functions of listening and talking—things he insisted could have been followed to the letter of the law. But the judge ruled that operating a phone for GPS, calling, texting, or whatever else was still a distraction and allowed the conviction to stand. That leads to a big question: with everything from Google Glass to cars' own dashboard screens offering visual 'distractions' like dynamic maps, can (and should) courts take a more active role in defining what people are allowed to do with technology behind the wheel? Or are statutes like California's hopelessly outdated?"

Comment: What about an online IDE? (Score 3, Informative) 386

by Shimdaddy (#40423025) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: No-Install Programming At Work?
I don't know how much debugging type stuff you want to do, but you might enjoy using a web-based IDE like IDE One. You can use any language you want, and if I were you, I'd type my code in a text editor that allows for syntax highlighting, like Notepad++, which can be run without an install.

Comment: Re:Students Don't Always Know The Difference (Score 3, Interesting) 101

by Shimdaddy (#39634141) Attached to: US CompSci Enrollment Up For 4th Year Running

A university Computer Science degree should be an addendum to basic IT skills, not a replacement for them.

Nope. A computer science education should be a computer science education. If you don't want fresh college grads, don't hire them. You don't hire physicists and complain they can't do "IP networking" -- you shouldn't hire computer scientists to do non-science. You especially shouldn't then turn around and tell everyone who is a computer scientist how they should teach their classes.

Comment: Re:Great idea (Score 1) 508

by Shimdaddy (#37560630) Attached to: Outlining a World Where Software Makers Are Liable For Flaws
Actually, in a world where software can be a liability, testing isn't the answer -- the answer is formal methods. It's still under active research (as it's not immediately applicable to certain types of programs) but when used correctly, formality not only reduces errors, but reduces costs as well.
Google

Can Google Save Us From Slow Internet 240

Posted by samzenpus
from the quicken-my-pipes dept.
CoveredTrax writes "As part of the beta test of their new gigabit fiber network, Google has provided Stanford University with mouthwateringly high-speed Internet. Since the program was announced, the service, which is now being provided free to students and faculty in the Palo Alto area, has got a lot of people to asking (sometimes begging) that their city be next on Google's list for communication salvation. But can Google save us all from inferior web access? And more importantly, is it a good idea to let them?"

Comment: Re:Why not openoffice? (Score 1) 219

by Shimdaddy (#36674594) Attached to: Microsoft Pays University $250K To Use Office 365
OpenOffice is good, but it's not a full replacement for modern versions of Office. If all you're doing is authoring memos and papers (by yourself) it will suffice, though. What's with the random dig at Nebraska, though? The state has plenty of social conservatives and plenty of liberals (see: Omaha) -- there's no reason to slam a pretty respectable university over your stereotype.
Businesses

RadioShack Trying To Return To Its DIY Roots 413

Posted by timothy
from the ghost-of-christmas-past dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In what seems to be a desperate attempt to keep the company afloat, RadioShack has made a video appeal to the DIY community that helped the retail chain grow into what it is today. The days of amateur radio operators and tinkerers flocking to the store are long gone, but it seems that the company wants to issue a mea culpa and move forward."
Education

Professor Questions Sink-Or-Swim Intro To CS Courses 606

Posted by Soulskill
from the trial-by-mountain-dew dept.
theodp writes "After having taught introductory programming (CS 1) for the past six years,' writes GVSU's Zack Kurmas, 'and having watched many students struggle through this course and the subsequent course (CS 2), I have come to the conclusion that it is absurd to expect students who don't have any prior programming experience to be well prepared to study Computer Science after a single 15-week course (i.e., CS 1). I believe that expecting a student to learn to program well enough to study Computer Science in a single 15-week course is almost as absurd as expecting a student with no instrumental musical experience to be ready to join the university orchestra after 15 weeks.' Kurmas' frustrations are not unlike those voiced by Physics professor Dr. Yung Tae Kim, who argues the up-or-out, one-size-fits-all rigid pace approach to learning set by teachers and administrators is as absurd as telling a toddler, 'You have ten weeks to walk, and if you can't, you get an F and you're not allowed to try to walk anymore."

Comment: Re:Wow.... (Score 5, Insightful) 469

by Shimdaddy (#35783310) Attached to: Sony's Case Against Geohot Has Been Settled
I don't think it's Sony astroturfing. I think it's just gamers who see action like GeoHotz's as a gateway to piracy -- if they spend a good deal of their time in online games (which can be totally ruined by cheaters), I think their comments are understandable (though I still don't agree with them).
Security

IT Security Salaries Expected To Rise In 2011 60

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the who-doesn't-like-some-scratch dept.
wiredmikey writes "IT security professionals in the United States can expect starting salaries to increase in 2011, according to a new salary report released today. The guide suggests larger increases in base compensation expected in high-demand segments including information security related positions. According to the report, companies are hiring security professionals to help foil fraud, prevent network breaches and comply with new regulations, to keep confidential information safe and secure."

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