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Comment: Why assume schools can teach this? (Score 1) 504

by Tony Isaac (#48227713) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking may well require talent, as well as skill.

Some people are naturally athletic, while others are not. All can be taught to improve their athletic skills, but training will only move the needle a little bit, in most cases. Most of us will never have what it takes to play in the NFL.

In the same way, critical thinking skills can be taught to a degree, but if you have more than one child, you know that each one has a very different ability to think critically, even with the very same parents.

Comment: What do we value? (Score 1) 838

by Tony Isaac (#48166153) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Are 8 hours of work per day more valuable than 4? If so, shouldn't the person who works 8 hours a day have a higher income than the person who works 4, for the same type of work?

What about management? Which is harder for a landscaping business to find: a worker who can mow lawns, or someone who can successfully supervise them? Why wouldn't we reward the more difficult skill with more pay?

What about skill? Which is harder for a hospital to find: a doctor who can perform brain surgery, or a nurse's aide who can bandage wounds? Why wouldn't we pay the doctor more?

The idea that income inequality is bad, is often rooted in envy. There are reasons some people earn more than others, and that is the way it should be.

Comment: Patents vs. trade secrets (Score 1) 224

by Tony Isaac (#48156671) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

Since you didn't list your actual patent numbers, and you seem concerned about your employer using your patented IP, I have to assume that you see your patented inventions as trade secrets. In other words, you are worried that your employer might use your patented invention without your permission. If so, then you're doing it wrong.

The idea of a patent is to make the details of the invention totally public. In other words, a good patent application essentially gives any person "skilled in the art" the necessary information to recreate your invention. The IP itself is protected through licensing, and if someone violates the licensing terms, through litigation. Once the patent expires, it goes to the public domain, so that the entire world can benefit from recreating the invention.

If you want your invention kept secret, then for goodness' sake don't patent it! Keep it secret!

This is what many "inventors" don't understand. It's up to you to legally protect your patented invention. There is no patent police to enforce your patent protection for you, you have to go to court to enforce it. For us "little guys," a more effective tool is secrecy...use your ideas to create something useful, and don't disclose how you did it. If you can't make something useful with your invention, it probably isn't worth what you think it is.

Selling your invention to only one licensee (your employer) is not a money-making proposition. You need to sell your invention to many customers for it to come close to paying the costs of getting your patent through the USPTO. If you become an employee, and withhold your best work from them because you have a patent, the employer will see you as having divided loyalties. You will be LESS valuable to them, not more. So if you are patenting your ideas in order to look good to an employer, then list them on your resume and be done with it.

Comment: Too much credit (Score 1) 249

by Tony Isaac (#48088713) Attached to: Why Do Contextual Ads Fail?

This article gives advertisers way too much credit. When we hear "advertiser," we think of the big corporations with big ad budgets, who might actually care about relefant ads. Lots of Internet advertisers are just a guy with a computer, mucking around trying to make a quick buck. They put together bots that generate ads for every imaginable keyword, spraying them all over the Internet indiscriminately. The framework for placing ads in a relevant way might be there, but these guys work really hard to find loopholes, to game the system. Much of the time, they don't even care if you buy something, they just want clicks, because that's what they get paid for.

Comment: Intelligent because they can secrete ink? (Score 1) 481

by Tony Isaac (#48066491) Attached to: Is an Octopus Too Smart For Us To Eat?

I don't get it. How does that capability make them "smart"? Mosquitoes secrete a deadening agent into your skin to give them a few seconds to eat. Maybe we don't eat mosquitoes because of their intelligence.

Many creatures, such as fish, can camouflage themselves. But fish are really, really stupid.

Apparently the author hasn't heard of wild pigs, which don't require human intervention to live. They are pretty good at opening containers or other enclosures, when there is something they want inside.

Comment: White list? Really? (Score 1, Redundant) 85

by Tony Isaac (#47924053) Attached to: Why Is It Taking So Long To Secure Internet Routing?

There are more than 600 million Web sites, according to NetCraft. Who is going to maintain a list like that? It's going to cost a lot of money...who is going to pay for it? Who is going to have the power to decide who gets in, and who doesn't? What about appeals, for those who feel they have been unjustly removed from the list? What about opposing points of view? Does the US get to decide which Chinese sites get to be on the list, or vice versa?

Comment: It IS possible to compete against "free" (Score 2) 275

by Tony Isaac (#47745343) Attached to: Dropbox Caught Between Warring Giants Amazon and Google

This article actually points it out: When the big players drop the prices to below cost, it is possible to still compete, by offering add-ons specific to certain types of customers, or better customer service, or in some other way differentiating yourselves from the big players. This applies both when the big guys are Amazon and Google, or when they are Walmart and Home Depot.

Comment: All software is full of bugs (Score 4, Insightful) 150

It doesn't matter if it is Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, or Linux, all software is full of bugs.

For that matter, all of everything constructed by human beings...is full of defects, or potential defects, or security vulnerabilities. Your house, for example. You have a lock on your front door, but it takes a thief just a few seconds to kick the door in. Or your car...a thief can break into it in seconds, even if you have electronic theft protection. I'd call those "security vulnerabilities."

It's the nature of all human creations, software or hardware, electronic or mechanical.

So what do we do? We improve security until it becomes "just secure enough" that we can live with the risks, and move on.

Comment: Re:You make it... (Score 1) 519

by Tony Isaac (#47211857) Attached to: Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

Job insecurity is a good thing. It has a way of motivating people to do what they have to do, to keep their job. Sure, some schools will have stupid expectations of teachers, and will fire them for the wrong reasons. But there are SOME schools with leadership that is insightful and wants the best for their children. These schools will try hard to keep good teachers, and let bad ones go. The old system tied the hands of administration at these schools, meaning they had to keep the bad teachers. Tenure rules made sure that ALL schools would have to keep bad teachers, even the ones that do have good leadership. The schools that have bad leadership...the children at those schools are screwed regardless of tenure.

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