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Comment: What does it mean to us? (Score 2) 347

by Tifer (#46335357) Attached to: NSA and GHCQ Employing Shills To Poison Web Forum Discourse
It means we can't trust people on the internet. This should come as no surprise. Experienced internet users already know not to take things at face value, not to feed trolls, and not to take anyone's "word for it". In civil, learned communities (like Slashdot, for example) a "shill" is fighting an uphill battle when trying to spread disinformation--anything that's posted here will be carefully examined. Even in volatile, less-learned sites (4chan's /b/, for example), they'll still have to trudge through a hundred miles of skepticism and snark to convince any sizable demographic of any one thing. I'm not saying "shills" can't be effective on the internet. I'm just saying I'm glad I don't have their job.

Comment: Merriam-Webster (Score 1) 488

by Tifer (#45203679) Attached to: Call Yourself a Hacker, Lose Your 4th Amendment Rights
The problem is that the court uses the dictionary definition of hacker: "computers : a person who secretly gets access to a computer system in order to get information, cause damage, etc. : a person who hacks into a computer system". Online (or at least in sites like Slashdot) we use the informal definition; "Someone who is good at programming." Apparently, this second definition does not appear in a Merriam-Webster dictionary. Dictionaries do, however, offer a secondary definition of the word: ": a person who plays a sport badly" To escape legal persecution, everyone on Slashdot should be prepared to testify that they're really bad at baseball.

Comment: Re:highest point of the series (Score 1) 77

by Tifer (#45145889) Attached to: Under the Hood With <em>Battlefield 4</em>
True, most players usually don't get the very best guns. It can be frustrating trying to unlock anything when you're at a disadvantage to begin with, but (though this doesn't validate the system completely) there's a certain charm to holding your own against superior firepower, and if you stick around long enough, you'll see that there's charm in HAVING superior firepower, too. Sorta like a yin yang, but with tea-bagging.

Comment: Re:As a student in Guilford County.. (Score 1) 177

I agree wholeheartedly with your take on the internet as a source of information. I wouldn't be the man I am today if I didn't occasionally get lost in a string of delirious wikipedia browsing sessions. Frankly, teaching people how to use the internet is very important in our society. But there's a giant, pulsating asterisk attached to this issue. The internet is also a source of unparalleled distraction in a classroom setting. Lots of people don't use (or even THINK about using) the internet as a family encyclopedia. In middle school with personal computers, for every one student who benefited from having his or her own screen with which to follow along with the teacher's lesson, there were two or three students who missed days worth of material because they were dicking around online. Even in high school, teachers fight an uphill battle in prying students away from their keyboards during boring subjects or lectures. I have dysgraphia, so any work I produce on my laptop will be finished twice as thoroughly and three times faster than anything I hand write, so I couldn't tell you if laptops definitively improve students' education--I wouldn't know. I benefit in a different way than other students.

Comment: Re:As a student in Guilford County.. (Score 1) 177

I never tried to apply anything to all members of a "class" I have never seen a student at my school deliberately mistreat one of their laptops. They all have to be the same make and model anyway, so even if some sociopath wanted a better laptop, they're not going to get it from breaking their poor old computer. The point I was trying to make is that my peers, despite relying so heavily on their computers and supposedly being educated on their proper use and maintenance, are still often unable to avoid dropping, spilling on, or otherwise mauling them. These damages are frequent and costly. Assuming these tablets are as or more fragile than one of our laptops, I cannot believe that any other group of students would fare much better than we do in handling them. And in a private school it's fine. Say what you want about snobbery but in general students can afford to get their computers fixed. It is expected that you can afford that. We can't extend such expectations to a public school setting--those damages are paid for by the school, which is funded with tax dollars.

Comment: As a student in Guilford County.. (Score 4, Interesting) 177

Well, a high school student in Guilford County, I thought this program would fail from the very beginning. I go to a private school that issues laptops to students starting in 6th grade (except WE buy them and own them individually, not, say, the state) and continuing through 12th grade. Students at my school break their laptops all the time--screens crack, keys pop out, power cords explode, etc. Most damages are covered by the laptops' warranties. We took classes for a year on properly maintaining electronics and we STILL end up with cases of powderized hard drives every year. It was hard for me to believe that MY state would pay such huge sums of money for thousands of dubiously-effective devices that are known to shatter when dropped. There's no way not to sound like a snob saying this, but I can't see many public school students being particularly careful with these tablets. The students at my school took classes in handling our laptops, paid for them with our own money, and STILL pay out the ass fixing the things every year because so many of them do not respect computers. I haven't read the literature on tablets in education, but I didn't think this was a cost-effective program and I predicted that 50% of the tablets would be MIA or KIA by the end of the first school year. I'm glad I won't get to a chance to prove myself right, but it's a shame that nobody at any point in the process of rolling out these tablets questioned the feasibility of it all.

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