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Comment: Wrong Sales Pitch (Score 1) 179

by Snowdog (#43414349) Attached to: Crazy Eric Schmidt, His Yacht Prices Are Insaaane!

They're using the wrong sales pitch. It should be all about capabilities/adventure -- "the Lone Ranger can safely take you places other superyachts would not dream of going" -- not durability and "low key luxury". Yacht buyers are not usually seeking "low key" in their luxury, especially when it translates to "looks like a big fishing trawler".

Biotech

+ - US court sides with gene patents-> 2

Submitted by
ananyo
ananyo writes "Gene patents have been upheld in a landmark case over two genes associated with hereditary forms of breast and ovarian cancer.
The lawsuit against Myriad Genetics, a diagnostic company, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, that holds patents on the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, has bounced from court to court since 2010. In a 2-1 decision today, a federal appeals court reaffirmed their latest decision that genes represent patent-eligible matter. As noted before on slashdot, the case will have major implications for cancer researchers, patients and drug makers."

Link to Original Source

Comment: The Wrong Question (Score 1) 511

by Snowdog (#37310900) Attached to: Laptops In the Classroom Don't Increase Grades

They're asking the wrong questions, focusing on short-term test score results. The right questions are: For teachers, does the technology increase the adoption rates for new materials? And for students, do the laptops increase information and computer literacy rates? Improving either or both of those rates will have significant impacts further down the line.

Assessing the effectiveness of these measures by looking at immediate test scores is akin to judging a new company mission statement by the next quarterlies -- it's foolish and short-sighted.

Security

+ - Information Leakage Overtakes XSS->

Submitted by wiredmikey
wiredmikey (1824622) writes "After examining critical vulnerabilities from more than 3,000 websites from 400 organizations during the 2010 calendar year, WhiteHat researchers claim that Information Leakage (just barely, by a few tenths of a percent!) overtook Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) as the most common website vulnerability, with 64 percent of Web sites having at least one Information Leakage vulnerability in 2010.

Information Leakage describes a vulnerability in which a website reveals sensitive data, such as technical details of the Web application, environment, or user-specific data.

In addition, the report shows that during 2010, the average Web site researchers examined had 230 serious vulnerabilities. Also,the report notes that the average Web site fell into the "always" and "frequently" vulnerable categories and was exposed more than 270 days of the year."

Link to Original Source
Hardware

+ - Go for it on fourth down? Ask Coach Watson->

Submitted by
jbrodkin
jbrodkin writes "If humans can't beat a computer at "Jeopardy!" why should we trust them to make the right call on fourth down in the Super Bowl? That was the fundamental question asked by some researchers at the recent MITSloan Sports Analytics Conference. With thousands of variables to consider on the basketball court or other fields of play, it only makes sense to let computers handle questions of strategy, says Tarek Kamil, whose company built a chip-containing basketball which takes 6,000 measurements per second. "Fifty years from now, we're going to laugh about how we used to give coaches this much responsibility," he says. The conference also saw the debut of a new sports stock exchange called StarStreet that lets “investors” buy shares in LeBron James and Tom Brady, rather than Microsoft or Google. While previous attempts to build a Wall Street-like sports stock market have failed, StarStreet believes it has hit upon the right model to enable sound investments without causing a market “crash.”"
Link to Original Source
Facebook

+ - Facebook may bust up the SMS profit cartel-> 3

Submitted by
AndyAndyAndyAndy
AndyAndyAndyAndy writes " Fortune has a very interesting article today about wireless providers and their exorbitant profit margins for SMS handling, especially when looking at modern data plans.

'Under the cell phone industry's peculiar pricing system, downloading data to your smartphone is amazingly cheap — unless the data in question happens to be a text message. In that case the price of a download jumps roughly 50,000-fold, from just a few pennies per megabyte of data to a whopping $1000 or so per megabyte.'

A young little application called Beluga caught the attention of Facebook, which purchased the company yesterday.

The app aims to bring messaging under the umbrella of data plans, and features group messaging, picture and video messaging, and integration with other apps.

The author argues that, if successful, Beluga (or whatever Facebook ends up calling it) could potentially be the Skype/Vonage or Netflix-type competitor to the old-school cellular carriers and their steep pricing plans."

Link to Original Source
Education

+ - Software Engineering Teaching - Best Practices

Submitted by
solutiontech
solutiontech writes "As an instructor at a community college, teaching Software Engineering Technology (SET) to mostly recent graduates from high school (with some adult learners in the mix). We have the traditional 2 semester per academic year, with 4 month (15 week) semesters, where students typically take 4 or 5 courses pertaining to SET, with 1 to 4 hours per week for a given course. There are exams, and assignments/projects with due dates. There are always those students who can easily master material in under 15 weeks, but there is a growing subset of students who need more time (distracted, disinterested, poor work habits, work outside of school, or simply they need more time to digest topics, etc.), and thus, end up doing a poor to mediocre job of proving their understanding in 15 weeks of time. Can the slashdot community (educators, students) offer their opinions on how to solve this situation? Is it right to give these students D's or F's after 15 weeks, or can these students get A's or B's by simply allowing more time to learn? Is it even possible to run a "Montessori" style approach where students learn and advance at their own pace, within the rigid confines of a traditional college 2 semester per year environment?"
Technology

Apple Creating Cloud-Based Mac? 204

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the how-many-fps-doom dept.
hostedftp writes "In speculation news making the rounds — Apple's recent activities in the Cloud has been leading to conclusions of the what the innovative giant plans to unleash in 2011. The most recent news of Apple applying and securing a patent for a network-boosted OS has made speculators believe Apple is going to launch a Cloud-based operating system for the Mac."
Piracy

UK ISPs Profit From Coughing Up Customer Data 59

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-call-it-monetization-of-assets dept.
nk497 writes "ISPs in the UK are charging as much as £120 to hand customer data over to rightsholders looking for proof of piracy, according to the Federation Against Software Theft. While ISPs have to hand over log details for free in criminal cases, they are free to charge in civil cases — and can set the price. 'In 2006, we ran Operation Tracker in which we identified about 130 users who were sharing copies of a security program over the web,' said John Lovelock, chief executive of FAST. 'In the end we got about 100 names out of them, but that cost us £12,000, and that was on top of the investigative costs and the legal fees.'"
Businesses

Copying Trumps Creating For FarmVille Creator Zynga 319

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-they're-honest dept.
theodp writes "The good news for Zynga is that it scored the cover of SF Weekly. The bad news is that the FarmVillains cover story starts out by describing the secret to the toast-of-Silicon-Valley company's success thusly: 'Steal someone else's game. Change its name. Make millions. Repeat.' SF Weekly says interviews conducted with several former Zynga workers indicate that the practice of stealing other companies' game ideas — and then using Zynga's market clout to crowd out the games' originators — was business as usual. 'I don't ****ing want innovation,' one ex-employee recalled Pincus saying. 'You're not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers.' Another quipped that 'Zynga's motto is "Do Evil."' Valleywag piles on with an item on the existence of Zynga's underground 'Platinum Purchase Program,' reportedly geared towards making players known as 'whales' part with a minimum of $500 at a time for imaginary credits."
Wireless Networking

FCC To Open Up Vacant TV Airwaves For Broadband 187

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the why-the-heck-not dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "Get ready for 'super Wi-Fi.' If the FCC works out the last details of new spectrum rules, they'll open up the so-called 'white spaces'... the vacant airwaves between broadcast TV channels ... for wireless broadband connections. If the plan goes through, it will lead to Wi-Fi with longer range and stronger power. The stumbling blocks have included concerns about interference with TV signals and wireless microphones, but the FCC plans to vote next week on rules meant to resolve those issues."
Google

How Good Software Makes Us Stupid 385

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-are-not-dum dept.
siliconbits writes "The BBC has an interesting article about how ever improving software damages our ability to think innovatively. 'Search engines' function of providing us with information almost instantly means people are losing their intellectual capacity to store information, Nicolas Carr said.' This sadly convinced some journos to come up with wildfire titles such as 'Google damages users' brains, author claims.'"

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