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Comment: Re:Why doesn't Moz acknowledge the market share is (Score 1) 128

by shutdown -p now (#49384375) Attached to: Firefox 37 Released

What they don't realize is that Firefox was created to "take back the web" from the stagnating Internet Explorer 6. It was never about replacing IE as some overbearing dominant beast.

The problem is that it still ended up with an overbearing dominant beast, just a different one - Chrome (or rather WebKit/Blink, but Chrome is the lion's share of that). The good part is that we're still in the stage where stagnation is not a thing yet. The bad part is that it could change literally overnight.

Comment: He's right, but the conclusion may require nuance. (Score 2) 55

by aussersterne (#49384039) Attached to: The End of College? Not So Fast

Here's the thing—we may not actually want every otherwise unmotivated late teen to be sitting dubiously through college courses just because it's either that or go back to their dorm and twiddle their thumbs. Some things:

- There is an oversupply of graduates these days in most fields and at most levels
- A dawdle-dawdle unmotivated student is not doing their highest quality learning
- Even students that will eventually use what they learn may not do so for years
- In the meantime, what they learned is getting very rusty between learning and use

So with these things said, *how about* a model in which:

- People are not motivated to learn something until they need to
- Once they need to, they are happy to blast through it intensely
- And they will put it to use right away
- And their motivation comes from needs (for a raise, to be competitive, etc.)

I would think this would help to mitigate some of the particular supply/demand problems on all sides (for an education/for students/for graduates as employees).

The one caveat, and it's an important one, is that we do of course want people to be generally mature, thoughtful, capable, and culturally literate if they are goint to be participating in society, and right now high schools are failing utterly at even touching these points.

So to address that need, let's just require a minimal level of "general" college-level education, say a one-year or two-year degree that as no "major" or "minor" selections and issues no grades, but certifies literacy about politics/citizenship, social science (particularly social problems), national culture, basic quantitative reasoning, and so on—enough to become a careful thinker and to better understand "how to learn stuff."

This general education certification would be required in order to:

- Vote
- Get a business license
- Sit on a corporate board

But would be disconnected from particular vocational or other subject-oriented learning issued via, say, MOOCS as well as face-to-face alternatives. And instead of a major in a single discpline, outcomes from MOOC courses could be used to calculate a nationally databased and relatively involved (many measures) "bar chart" for each student, that tallied their experience and competence with particular subject areas, expressed quantitatively as a figure without an upper bound, that is added to with each additional course, and perhaps incorporating quantitative feedback about their performance from employers as well:

So instead of wanting someone with 4-year degree and a "major" in computer science, employers could seek someone with their general education certification along with "at least a 1400 in OS design, a 650 in Java, and a 950 in medical organizations and systems" and so on.

Over the course of a lifetime, scores in any particular area could continue to increase, either by taking additional MOOCs to get more exposure, or by having employers report on accumulated skills and experience to the system.

So that someone that took only a few courses in X in school, but in the real world and on the job, became—over 20 years—the best X in the country, would have this gradually reflected in their national education/experience scores as the years of experience and successes mounted.

Meanwhile, we'd also no longer have the weird mismatches that come when an employee has a degree in Y but actually works in Z, and then has to explain this in various ways to various parties. First of all, at the level of the 1-or-2-year general education, they would no longer gret a "degree in" Y. That would be handed by MOOCs and represented in varous numbers that increased as the result of completing them.

But if someone did do an about-face and choose an entirely different subject or work area in life, this would also gradually be reflected in their education/experience scores. We'd know when someone who'd studied chemistry in their '20s finally became a "real biologist" because their scores in biological areas would begin to overtake their scores in chemical areas, and so on.

Of course none of this is plausible because social systems simply don't work this way. But (after a long digression) getting back to the point, it's not all that bad that a MOOC isn't the same as forcing someone in their late teens or early '20s to sit in a classroom and drag their feet through a BA/BS.

Comment: Re:Yes, it's free. Also, the patent system sucks (Score 1) 176

The room of litigation is always there, obviously. But how can the language be worse than the default, unless it somehow explicitly overrides and rescinds some provisions of the original license under which the code is released?

If true, the next obvious question: can the same be done to GPL(v2)?

Comment: Re:Yes, it's free. Also, the patent system sucks (Score 1) 176

Bruce, to clarify: are you saying that, since the code in question is released under the MIT license, which is OSI approved, there is an implicit patent grant there that renders the separate explicit one basically redundant, and this whole thing is a non-story?

Comment: Re:It is open source, it isn't free (Score 1) 176

Yes, there is a difference between open source and free. But you completely missed the point in that the authors are complaining that "Open Source" .NET does not comply with standard open source terms. The promise not to sue over patents is flimsy at best.

Given that the code in question is released under MIT license (which is considered open source by everyone, including officially by OSI), and the patent promise is on top of that, and only grants you additional rights on top of the license grants, aren't you basically saying that using an open source license alone is not sufficient, then? And that most software released under pretty much any open source license (including GPLv2) does not "comply with standard open source terms"? I mean, most of them don't come with any kind of patent promise at all, nor will anyone guarantee that there aren't any patents applicable to them.

Comment: Re:Just use Python. (Score 1) 176

You assume that someone, somewhere, isn't holding a patent that Python infringes upon. That's a pretty big assumption, given the sheer number of software patents issued.

That's kind of one of the obvious things that people are missing about all this... a patent promise, even a meager one, is better than no promise at all, which is what you get with most software these days.

Comment: Re:Senator Barack Obama voted for RFRA in Illinois (Score 1) 1079

You are missing the point entirely, which is that Apple should be apolitical. Their message should be about their product, not about their politics.

Why should Apple be apolitical? Apple, as any other privately held company, should be what its owners - i.e. its voting shareholders - want it to be. Shareholders express such desires by voting for the board, and the board places a guy in charge who is the spokesperson for the company. If the guy in charge voices a particular opinion in his role as a CEO, then he's speaking for the company, and ultimately, for the shareholders. Do you expect the shareholders to be utterly apolitical?

Furthermore, the political view that is voiced is not even necessarily matched by the shareholders, but they can expect the company to voice it for the sake of PR. Given the stereotypical Apple customer, this seems like a smart strategy. Then there are employees, who do expect a some degree of political alignment from the companies they work for - and, again, given the overall IT culture in US, and especially in the Silicon Valley, being firmly pro-gay-rights provides Apple with a good public image from hiring perspective.

If you don't like it, why, go ahead and voice your displeasure by selling your AAPL stock. If enough people will do it, the company will notice. You have the shares, right? If not, then why are you even bitching about this in the first place?

Because slandering an entire state is not a positive message.

It's a positive message insofar as it works toward reducing discrimination. Or at least most of Apple's customers will see it that way, which is what matters. And "slandering" is, of course, just your subjective politicized twist.

Comment: Re:WWJD? (Score 1) 1079

Obviously, that's just semantics - one could just as easily frame it as "the state is using it's power to make it more difficult for individuals to seek redress against corporations that discriminate against them." No matter how you look at it, the state is using its power to make discrimination easier.

Not at all. This is a crucial difference. Note that you can still seek redress against corporations if you want (e.g. by organizing boycotts and such), but it's a different ballpark if you want to seek such redress via courts and other means provided by the state - which meansusing state power to achieve redress. So, again, this isn't state using its power to make it more difficult - it's state withdrawing its power to make it more difficult (because otherwise that power is used to make it easier).

So what? So because the corporations can't round up people and execute them, that makes this law okay? Your argument boils down to "well, at least Indiana isn't making it legal for corporations to start KILLING gay people, so we should be happy that they're only making it easier to discriminate against gay people."

At no point did I say that it's okay. It's a bad law, and I think that state power should be used to combat discrimination like that. I just want us to be perfectly clear about what exactly we're doing here - which is using the power of the state to force people to do a certain thing, because the social value of that thing is higher than the negative of infringing on their freedom (of speech and association). I also want to make clear the difference between private discrimination (limited by the fundamental protections the law provides to everyone), and discrimination by the state (which basically has no limits as to how far it can go).

Comment: Re:We aready have this (Score 1) 32

by JanneM (#49377095) Attached to: Hand-Drawn and Inkjet Printed Circuits for the Masses (Video)

I solder SMT components by hand as well. Don't even need a microscope; just head-mounted magnifier glasses is plenty. Make sure you have good light and plenty of flux and you're good to go.

But the problem is the board. Sure, if you have a finished design already, and you intend to actually use it in the future, then sending off for a finished PCB is good. But if it's just a hobby, and you're prototyping or just playing around to better understand a particular circuit, then spending a good chunk of money and weeks of time for a board is simply not feasible. You really want to set something up, try it, then tear it down and try the next idea.

With that said, I don't know that this is the answer either. Hand-drawn does not sound precise enough to handle SMT, and a whole separate device just making prototype boards sounds like too much money and space for a hobbyist. Perhaps the answer is desktop mills that become cheap and precise enough that you can use them to cut out boards from copper blanks along with other building tasks. At least that would not be a single-purpose gadget.

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