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Comment: Re:Private school (Score 1) 690

by brix (#42484307) Attached to: Why Girls Do Better At School

Boys appear to be failing behind girls in both public and private schools. It's good to hear that you are willing to sacrifice to ensure your child receives a quality education, but I caution against simply assuming that private schools don't have many of the same issues. While I'd agree, on the whole, that many private schools outclass their public equivalents, private schools often have their own set of issues.

I recommend a book that I just started reading myself, "Why Boys Fail: Saving Our Sons from an Educational System That's Leaving Them Behind", by Roger Whitmire. While I'm only two chapters in, it's already clear that he's done a lot of research in this area. Being armed with some real data behind this issue can help you choose a private school that understands how to educate both boys and girls.


+ - 10 years ago today - The original Firefly premier post on Slashdot->

Submitted by brix
brix (27642) writes "I still remember learning about the premier of Firefly from this Slashdot post, 10 years ago today. It's an interesting read, in retrospect.

It's hard to believe now that the Slashdot audience would have had anything but praise for the show, but the reality was much different. Within a few hours of the premier, it was clear that the initial Slashdot reaction was fairly negative. Some posters hated Firefly before it even aired (and especially after), simply because it replaced Dark Angel on the schedule.

Fox clearly misfired by holding back Whedon's original pilot, but I've always felt that the initial Slashdot reaction, fair or not, was the true indication that Firefly would be cancelled so tragically early."

Link to Original Source

+ - Apple's Secret Plan to Join iPhones with Airport Security

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Currently — as most of us know — TSA agents briefly examine government ID and boarding passes as each passenger presents their documents at a checkpoint at the end of a security line but Thom Patterson writes at CNN that under a 2008 Apple patent application that was approved in July and filed under the working title "iTravel," a traveler's phone would automatically send electronic identification to a TSA agent as soon as the traveler got in line and as each traveler waits in line, TSA agents would examine the electronic ID at an electronic viewing station. Next, at the X-ray stations, a traveler's phone would confirm to security agents that the traveler's ID had already been checked. Apple's patent calls for the placement of special kiosks (PDF) around the airport which will automatically exchange data with your phone via a close range wireless technology called near field communication (NFC). Throughout the process, the phone photo could be displayed on a screen for comparison with the traveler. Facial recognition software could be included in the process. Several experts say a key question that must be answered is: How would you prove that the phone is yours? To get around this problem, future phones or electronic ID may require some form of biometric security function including photo, fingerprint and photo retinal scan comparisons. Of course, there is still a ways to go. If consumers, airlines, airports and the TSA don't embrace the NFC kiosks, experts say it's unlikely Apple's vision would become reality. "First you would have to sell industry on Apple's idea. Then you'd have to sell it to travel consumers," says Neil Hughes of Apple Insider. "It's a chicken-and-egg problem.""

Comment: Re:Lame 3D tech is a once per generation fad. (Score 1) 261

by brix (#40650701) Attached to: Has the 3-D Hype Bubble Finally Popped?

Not trying to raise the whole "passive vs. active" debate here (although it's fine if it arises), but your comment really surprised me since passive 3D glasses do seem to be standardized, are typically lightweight and comfortable, and even come in clip-ons for those with existing glasses.

On the topic in general -- While I usually won't spend extra $$ to see 3D in the theatre, that's because I'd rather wait for the blu-ray reviews and grab the 3D version then.

Comment: Re:YAY the cracked the passwords (Score 2) 198

by brix (#40283361) Attached to: Lessons Learned From Cracking 2M LinkedIn Passwords

Who is "they"? The public at large has access to the password file but not the account names. However, there's really no telling what the original hacker has. For security purposes, we assume the worst, and that is that someone has both the account names and a password file for which almost a third of the passwords have proven easily cracked.

Comment: Re:In-App purchases (Score 1) 108

by brix (#36222006) Attached to: Apple Defends App Makers Against Lodsys

"The entire point of the patent system", as you put it, is to encourage the creation of inventions which are (a) New, (b) Useful, and (c) Non-obvious to someone with knowledge in the industry.

I haven't read the patent, but from reading the Apple letter, it doesn't exactly sound like it passes the "non-obvious test", at the least, and probably not even the "new" part. The problem is that, to fight this, you must either spend thousands of dollars in a lawsuit or pay the license fee.

I don't care how small the amount is, it IS unreasonable to ask for someone to pay for a patent which shouldn't be valid.

If the patent really was "new" and "non-obvious" at the time it was filed, then they are absolutely entitled to payment. I'm just typically skeptical when it comes to software patents.

Comment: My strategy (Score 1) 371

by brix (#36000860) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You File Paper Documents At Home?
  • Download anything that is available electronically and shred the dead-tree equivalent if it is mailed to me
  • Scan anything that isn't available for download
  • All files are named "yyyy-mm-dd name of document.pdf" (or jpg). This allows easy sorting and automatic folderization
  • File any account specific items to ../records/yyyy/accounts/accountname (e.g. ../records/2011/accounts/verizon)
  • Dump the rest into ../records and let Directory Opus autosort them into folders such as ../records/2011/2011-03
  • Keep any paper receipts which are still good for return until they expire and then trash them
  • Automatic backups locally and to the cloud. Cost per gigabyte for cloud storage is low enough now that it makes sense to keep essential records (and even some non-essentials) offsite.

Comment: Re:Oh Look There's My House.... (Score 1) 59

by brix (#35985794) Attached to: NASA Satellite Shows Southern Tornadoes From Space

Count yourself lucky or blessed, depending on your viewpoint. The tornado that hit Tuscaloosa and Birmingham continued at or near ground level for another 4 hours after Birmingham, crossing into Georgia on the ground in Cave Springs, heading into Tennessee another 90 minutes or so after that, and then (I believe - I was finally asleep at that point) into North Carolina from there. All told, the path of destruction from that one supercell raked at least 300 miles over the course of 7 hours or more. My eyes didn't leave the Weather Channel for most of that time, and while that supercell weakened a few times here and there, it regained strength and remained incredibly destructive for longer than I can ever recall seeing.

Comment: Re:Windows 7... (Score 1) 618

by brix (#31823064) Attached to: What Advice For a Single Parent As Server Admin?

Why you aren't getting modded up, I have no idea, except maybe it's Windows ...

But seriously, you're almost spot on. Why push this OP, admittedly computer handicapped, to a more complex solution? Windows Vista and 7 alone provide:

  • Parental Controls on/off per user
  • Allowed usage times, including forced log-off
  • Block/allow specific programs

Add Microsoft's Windows Live Family Safety (free) to get:

  • Web content filtering at the IP level (works with any browser), per user
  • Activity Reports for both website visits and application use, per user

and Microsoft Security Essentials (also free) for virus and malware scanning.

There's probably an easy and free solution for most of the other items on the list as well, but they seem more "wish-list" than essential.

Comment: Re:want NASA to foot the bill (Score 4, Insightful) 192

by rsgeek (#31822824) Attached to: Companies Skeptical of Commercial Space Market

This makes sense, though, from a business perspective. NASA isn't exactly a "reliable" customer, so if they want a new capability and won't guarantee future use of it, why shouldn't NASA be the one to pay for it?

Tell you what... Go to a car dealer, tell them you want a custom model built to your exact specifications from scratch and that you won't pay a dime until it's delivered. Tell me how far you get with that...

Comment: Re:The emperor has no clothes: the apps are poor (Score 2, Insightful) 194

by FooHentai (#31822794) Attached to: Google Rebuilds Docs Platform
Bullsh. He's talking about basic text formatting options that are buggy or in some cases, broken. He's dead right about that. Issues abound in Gmail, too... like how signature text and body text are treated differently when composing an email, and often that can bug out and leave you unable to edit the body text because GMail things it's all one big signature. Dumb.

Mind you, similar criticism can be applied to Word, too, it's less buggy than GDocs, but still has problems. Adding a page break then wondering why your new Heading 1 line is also changing the spacing on the previous page... or why you can't seem to move beyond the end of a table at the end of your document to start a new line. Stuff like that.

GDocs has some way to go in terms of usability, even for basic corporate documentation.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.