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Comment: Re:Now I am _really_ panicked (Score -1) 370

by arminw (#36212082) Attached to: Why You Shouldn't Panic Over Mac Malware

It's amazing how many prophets we have here on Slashdot! However, I don't think they are any better at prophesying than Harold Camping was in foretelling the end of the world. Of course Apple will greatly encourage the use of their App Store because they make money from it. That does not mean however they will prohibit Slashdot nerds from installing whatever software they wish. They will just make it harder, but not impossible for the ordinary user to do that.

Comment: Re:Going out on a limb here... (Score -1) 673

by arminw (#36205424) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do When the Rapture Comes?

The end of the world happens for you when you draw your last breath and your body releases your soul. For a lot of people on this earth the world ended on this day, May 21. So for these people the prophecy did come true, but for the rest of us this prophecy will also come true in due time. Harold Camping correctly prophesied to the fate of every human being, but he got the timing wrong for those of us who are still here breathing.

Comment: Re:If it means less bloat, then YAY! (Score -1) 429

by arminw (#34768694) Attached to: For Mac Developers, Armageddon Comes Tomorrow

.....small, simple apps that do one thing. Do it exceedingly well, and do it quickly is a huge thing....

How about the idea of small modular apps that can be added to as needed. For example, a simple photo edit application that does most of the common things that people need to do most often. Anybody who needs to do more than the basics, can buy an additional module doing various specialized functions that are integrated with the main application. Sell the main application for five dollars and also each add-on module. If the application has say 10 modules, that together do most or all of what Photoshop does, it should be a big seller. That way, people can buy whatever functionality is needed at any time.

Comment: A world without secrets -- paradise or hell? (Score -1) 833

by arminw (#34384102) Attached to: Compiling the WikiLeaks Fallout

If someone discovered a simple technology whereby all secrets, no matter by whom they are held, could become known by anyone, would that be a good thing or would it be terrible? If all the thoughts and intentions of people could be read like an open book, some sort of universal mind scan technology, who would benefit more from this, those intent on doing evil or those intent on doing good?

Comment: Dead Fish always float only downstream (Score 0, Interesting) 178

by arminw (#34170382) Attached to: Mob-Sourcing — the Prejudice of Crowds

That is precisely why an my karma is in the cellar. Anyone who disagrees with the crowd anywhere, even on Slashdot, will get moderated into oblivion. I really think they ought to have a disagree option in the moderation system.

Nowhere ever, even once, has a crowd of people ever come up with anything great or outstanding. Progress in almost every human endeavor is made by people who are willing to swim against the current carrying all the dead fish that are floating downstream.

Comment: Re:energy density (Score -1, Troll) 570

by arminw (#34098256) Attached to: Looking To Better Engines Instead of Electric Vehicles

How will the police officer know that the electrons in your battery came from an untaxed source? Wouldn't it be simpler to have some sort of a weight-mileage-based tax? Every time you get a new sticker for your license plate, the DMV would read the odometer and charge you the appropriate tax. Even with the tax, electricity would be vastly cheaper than current gas prices.

Another advantage is that we would not be subsidizing terrorism from certain oil-rich countries.

Comment: Re:Would it be less tedious to have 10,000+ keys? (Score -1, Redundant) 728

by arminw (#34096986) Attached to: Mr. Pike, Tear Down This ASCII Wall!

I was thinking more in terms of a computer that you could talk to in order to tell it verbally to do a trend analysis on the million data points and possibly where to find those data points. The computer that would have a vocabulary of a two-year-old along with the ability to understand commands wouldn't be bad now would it?

Programming a computer is almost as tedious as it was when computers had a set of binary switches on the front panel. Speech to text programs, if they are trained to a particular speaker, are not bad, but they are still making a lot of mistakes. Computers are still a long ways off that will understand any human spoken language spoken by anyone. The dream of a telephone, where a person can speak English into at one end and flawless Chinese or French comes out at the other, is still a distant dream.

Comment: Re:Would it be less tedious to have 10,000+ keys? (Score -1, Flamebait) 728

by arminw (#34084672) Attached to: Mr. Pike, Tear Down This ASCII Wall!

It is too bad that we still need keys at all. Even the most powerful computer is still incredibly dumb compared to my 17-month-old grandson. Last weekend we were in the kitchen and I asked him to show me his toy box with the new truck he just got. He had no trouble toddling all the way down the hall, into the living room straight to the toybox, and with a big smile on his face hold up and show me his new toy.

It seems to me that by now we should be able to talk to our computers at least as well as to a two-year-old. I wonder how far we are away from that.

Comment: Re:Can we travel to it... (Score -1) 662

by arminw (#33799058) Attached to: Can We Travel To That Exciting New Exoplanet?

---So even if you could travel at 92% light speed, you'd still die before you got there.---

So then we would have to conquer death first it seems to me. It turns out that someone on this earth did that already. His name is Jesus Christ. He made the seemingly preposterous claim to be God himself come to earth in human form. As such he made the promise that anyone who believes him will also permanently escape death and be resurrected in a body that transcends time and space, just as he was.

Anyone who carefully studies what his body was like after the resurrection, will realize that it was recognizable as human, but also had powers and abilities which we deem supernatural. He was able to transcend the limits of time and space. He had a body of flesh and bone, no blood. In our earthbound natural thinking, we cannot see how this can be.

Of course most of /.ers don't believe in anything supernatural. What we call supernatural is obviously beyond the reach of our science right now, but that does not mean it's not real. Jesus Christ demonstrated a technology so far beyond our own, all most people do is label it myth and fiction.

When Jesus finally left the Earth for "heaven" wherever that is, he did not need a huge rocket or spaceship. There was no searing flame, no earthshaking thunder or anything else that we have come to associate with space travel. His technology was even far beyond the imaginations of Star Trek.

Someday, those who trust and believe God, will be able to explore the ENTIRE universe God has created. Traveling to a planet 20 light years away will be easier for the resurrected, transcendent, eternal human beings, than it is today for a person to go from the kitchen to the living room.

Comment: Re:Improvised/Kitchen chemistry for the win (Score 0, Insightful) 446

by arminw (#33752068) Attached to: Safety Commission To Rule On Safety of Rulers In Science Kits

...When I was a kid....

I was able to buy those things at the corner drugstore and use them to make gunpowder with those ingredients. My parents got me a Gilbert chemistry set, which would be required by the EPA to be disposed of by men in hazmat suits today. Any parents that did such a thing today (if they even could) would be hauled off to jail for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. I had a glass bottle containing 5 pounds of mercury. Now and then I would enjoy the feel of it, pouring some of it from one hand to the other, before putting it back into the bottle one squiggly little silvery drop at a time.

It is my generation that survived going to the moon and other dangerous stuff. I feel sorry for the kids growing up nowadays. What can they do to learn by doing? Can they enjoy riding around town in the back of their dad's pickup truck on a warm summer day? Can they feel the warm breeze ruffling their hair as they ride a motorcycle or even their bicycle down the road without a suffocating helmet?

Highschoolers can do simulated chemistry and physics experiments on sophisticated computers, but they don't actually get to smell that hydrogen sulfide or burning sugar and jump out of the way as the heavy steel ball rolls down the inclined plane missing its container and falls to the floor.

Oh yes, they can now walk down the street yakking on their cell phones and play video games all night instead of reading a book. Fun!

Comment: Re:Nothing else going on, apparently (Score -1) 264

by arminw (#33718840) Attached to: Other Tech the Senate Would Have Banned

---In November, many of those unemployed folks are going to be at the polls. We shall see ......

I hope that all incumbents will be thrown out of office and we get some new blood in there. In the long run, the new politicians may not be any better, but at least it will take them a while to reestablish all their bribery connections. If this happens, at least it will send a message that the people are fed up with business as usual and with the people of both parties currently in office. Maybe after that shakeup, politicians everywhere will listen just a little tiny bit better to those they are supposed to represent, the voters, not the corporate fat cats with their huge bankrolls.

Comment: Re:meh (Score -1) 437

by arminw (#33683440) Attached to: E-Books Are Only 6% of Printed Book Sales

E-books have many advantages, but they also have at least two big disadvantages. The first is that you can't sell a used e-book. This is not as important for cheaper paperback products but a significant disadvantage for more expensive books like textbooks. The second disadvantage is that you cannot lend an e-book to a friend.

If all books become only e-books, libraries will go extinct eventually. Also normal printed books don't require any additional equipment. Everybody's got a pair of eyes. All e-book readers have ever seen so far are rather fragile, but printed books are incredibly rugged. They can take abuse that will kill an e-book reader many times over.

Many people have shelves full of decades-old print books. I cannot imagine that there will ever be decades old e-books because electronic devices don't last very long and become obsolete almost by the time you walk out the shop door with one

For me the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages, especially for ever buying a dedicated e-book reader device. At least an iPad can be used for all sorts of other purposes that are often accomplished by a computer.

Only paperless books and the paperless office will happen sometime after we have paperless toilets.

Comment: Re:disallow all devices (Score -1) 870

by arminw (#33569934) Attached to: Preventing Networked Gizmo Use During Exams?

---I simply disallow any electronic devices during exams---

When your students get out into industry, having a real job in the real world, will they not be allowed to use every tool that exists for their work? All electronic devices are tools are they not? Is the entire Internet really not much more than a huge sophisticated library that can be used to get the needed information to help solve problems? Why do colleges and universities artificially limit the tools that the students will use routinely after they graduate? Is a college education not designed to teach people how to solve problems using whatever tools are applicable and available?

It is of course a lot more work to structure your tests and assignments in such a way that the student who has truly learned to solve problems can demonstrate to you that this is true. Multiple guess and true false tests are easy to develop and grade, but rarely if ever test anyone's ability to really solve a problem. Testing for rote knowledge that anyone can look up when they actually need the information is easy. Testing for real knowledge and problem solving ability, independent of the tools used, is difficult. It is your job to teach your students how to think and solve problems. It is also your job to determine if you are really successful at this. That is a lot of hard work for you, the professor.

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