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Comment: Re:Considering how few boys graduate at ALL (Score 1) 186

If you want to fix the imbalance in STEM, fix this one first. There was a study a few years ago that showed that female primary school teachers who were insecure about maths were the biggest reason that girls were put off mathematical subjects. Girls, on average, develop empathy at a younger age and if they have a maths teacher who is not confident, then they pick up on it. If it's a male teacher, it doesn't have any effect. If it's a female teacher, then they learn that maths is hard for girls. Boys at that age tend to be totally oblivious to whether the teacher is unsure of the subject.

There are two ways to fix this: more men, or more women with a decent education in maths, in primary education. Given the shortage of the latter, more men seems an easy solution. Shame that we've decided that any man who wants to be a primary school teacher is pedophile...

Comment: Re: Considering how few boys graduate at ALL (Score 1) 186

I've seen zero indication it's for any reason beyond a lack of interest on the part of females

That's certainly true by the time that you get to university level, but the important question is why? One of my hats is to be responsible for computer science admissions at an all-women Cambridge college. From what we see from international applicants, it's pretty clear that there are cultural factors putting off women in the UK and US from the subject. We're losing out on some of the top talent because something is putting them off even considering the subject by the time they're 14-16 years old (applications are at 17, but A-level selection is at 15-16 and that's strongly influenced by GCSE choices at 13-14).

Comment: Re:Shop elsewhere... (Score 2) 103

by TheRaven64 (#48685315) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Companies With Poor SSL Practices?
Depending on your locale, the purchase might be covered by distance selling regulations. In the UK, you have a few days in which you can cancel the order for any reason. Cancel the order citing their poor security practices as the reason, keep a copy of any correspondence, and forward it to your credit card company if they try to charge you anything.

Comment: Re:Do Not Track never meant anything (Score 1) 129

by TheRaven64 (#48683815) Attached to: Google and Apple Weaseling Out of "Do Not Track"

If you can agree to contractual terms by clicking through some agreement, you can agree to "waive" your DNT setting

In the US and UK, the requirement for a contract to be enforceable in court is that the side wishing to enforce it must demonstrate that a meeting of minds has occurred. It's far from a binary decision. Some things, such as witnessed signatures at the bottom with each page initialed, have large amounts of case law backing them up, so you need a very strong argument if you want to discount them. For click-through licenses, there's a lot less case law and everything on the opposing side helps. If you can demonstrate that you have actively opted out of tracking and then been presented with a click-through license that, buried somewhere in legalese, there is a permission to track, it's easier to argue that the contract is invalid.

Either way, I am not sure what court is going to protect you from malicious actors that would not follow DNT.

The various European data protection offices would be a good bet.

We should be working on stopping the ability to track, not about making statements of intent for possible future litigation in a court of law.

Making it impossible to track means making clients indistinguishable, which is very hard. Making tracking without consent illegal is much easier, because the companies that you really worry about doing the tracking are the ones with large and expensive data centres where they can process the data, and these are nice big targets.

Comment: Re:Bombs in the US? (Score 1) 263

by TheRaven64 (#48683635) Attached to: The Interview Bombs In US, Kills In China, Threatens N. Korea
It's not the Cold War anymore. You don't have to pretend that any country that you don't like is communist. The hereditary dictatorship in North Korea is about as far as you can get from communism and stopped pretending to be communist some time ago. It still claims to be democratic though, so if you're going to object to political philosophies based on the buzzwords that dictators use, you should probably be complaining about democracy, not communism...

Comment: Re:Great (Score 1) 42

by TheRaven64 (#48683621) Attached to: Phoronix Lauds AMD's Open Source Radeon Driver Progress For 2014

No. The nVidia drivers share around 90% of their code between all platforms (Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris) and the open source ones all use the Gallium framework, which is designed for portability from the ground up.

Modern GPU drivers require a set of services from the kernel, mostly related to memory management. They need to be able to get access to the device's I/O range in the physical address map and they need the kernel to grant access to texture memory in both main memory and the device. That's about all that they need from the kernel.

At the top, they need a state tracker that manages 3D API state (which is fairly minimal on modern APIs, as they aim to be stateless for performance reasons) and that translates the shader programs into some intermediate representation.

The majority of the device-specific driver code lives between these two layers, which are usually handled by abstraction layers so that they can be plugged into different APIs. You use the same Gallium driver with an OpenGL 2, OpenGL 3, OpenVG or Direct3D state tracker.

Comment: Re:People Are Such Babies (Score 1, Interesting) 207

by TheRaven64 (#48683603) Attached to: Facebook Apologizes For 'Year In Review' Photos

The only person who should be curating personal photos in Facebook is the profile owner.

You mean the person who clicked through the ToS that grant Facebook a perpetual, commercial, sublicenceable, license to use the photos however they wish? Including (as they've done in the last) licensing them to third parties to use in adverts?

Comment: Re:Do Not Track never meant anything (Score 1) 129

by TheRaven64 (#48683591) Attached to: Google and Apple Weaseling Out of "Do Not Track"
The purpose of DNT was to demonstrate, in a measurable way, that people did not wish to be tracked. It was not intended as an enforcement mechanism, but as a statement of intent. It makes it very hard to argue in court that your click-through ToS permits tracking (or constitutes a meeting of minds at all), when the user has explicitly requested not to be tracked.

Comment: Re:I automatically disbelieved this post (Score 1) 129

by TheRaven64 (#48683589) Attached to: Google and Apple Weaseling Out of "Do Not Track"
It depends a lot on the category of goods. Amazon was successful in part because their recommendation system did exactly what you and the grandparent are complaining about: it recommended things that were very similar to the thing that you'd just bought. This works well for books, music, and films / TV shows, because if you like one thing in one of these categories then you'll probably like other similar things in the same category. At the simplest level, if you just bought season 1 of a show, there's a good chance that you'll buy season 2. It doesn't work so well for things like cars or computers: if you've bought one laptop, then there's a very low chance that you'll want to buy a similar laptop next week.

Comment: Re:There's no such thing as a free lunch (Score 1) 129

by TheRaven64 (#48683555) Attached to: Google and Apple Weaseling Out of "Do Not Track"

For me, the quality of ads (meaning the probability that I'd actually click on them) went down a lot when Google started targeting ads at me, rather than at the content of the page that I was viewing. You don't need all of the stalker-like behaviour on ad networks to classify web pages, match them with relevant adverts, and show non-tracking ads.

I'm a bit surprised that there isn't a startup doing tracking-free ads. I bet a lot of people who use AdBlock would be willing to put in an exemption for a company that did not track and ran plain text only ads (you know, like the ads Google used to run, back when we all liked the relevant and non-annoying Google ads).

Comment: Re:Not new (Score 1) 129

by TheRaven64 (#48683537) Attached to: Google and Apple Weaseling Out of "Do Not Track"
I always understood that the point of DNT was simply to advertise intent, so that in any future discussions, in or out of court, the tracking companies would not be able to claim any form of implicit consent. It doesn't matter that it's optional or unenforceable on a technical level, it matters that you can't track people who set the DNT header and then say 'well, they didn't object at the time...' when hit by a class-action lawsuit.

Comment: Re:Why the 1st model starts at -800? (Score 1) 63

by TheRaven64 (#48683357) Attached to: First Airbus A350 XWB Delivered, Will Start Service in January
Always Europe at one end, Asia or the USA at the other end. I've been on one or two full flights from the USA, but I've also been on one where everyone in economy plus had a row of 3 seats to themselves, though economy was packed. Flying ANA to Japan there were quite a few empty seats.

Comment: Re:Why the 1st model starts at -800? (Score 1) 63

by TheRaven64 (#48681267) Attached to: First Airbus A350 XWB Delivered, Will Start Service in January
I've flown first class before, but the value proposition isn't really there. Given the choice between flying first, or flying economy and keeping the price difference, I'd pick the latter (I'll happily fly first when someone else is paying and I don't have the choice of taking the money though). Economy (well, Economy Plus, but it's United, so Economy on any other airline) on the 787 was the first time I've been sufficiently comfortable in an economy seat to get productive work done - usually I just sleep or zone out and watch bad movies. The interesting thing was that the first and business sections didn't seem any different from the 777, only the cheap seats improved.

Comment: Re: Raise a stink and vote with your poket (Score 2) 54

by TheRaven64 (#48679235) Attached to: India Faces Its First Major Net Neutrality Issue
If this works the same way that it does in Europe, then even after you've gone through this you get a code valid for 30 days that you can give to another operator to port your number. This gives them a little window to try to change your mind and is a fairly good way to protest.

Comment: Re:I hate to do it (Score 1) 58

by TheRaven64 (#48679157) Attached to: My laptop lasts on battery for ...

Apple got a lot of bad press a few years ago for massively overestimating their battery life and is now quite a bit more conservative. They've gone from claiming 6 hours to claiming 8, but at the same time they've shipped lower power CPUs and doubled the size of the battery. There was a Kickstarter for an open source compatible laptop with very similar specs to the MBP floating around last week: they were also claiming 8 hours on battery, but they were shipping a battery half the size of the MBP. I guess they think Linux users keep the screen turned off.

Adjusting the brightness has a big impact on battery life for the MBP. Cutting it to 50% can give you another hour or two. I have gfxCardStatus installed and so disable the nVidia card if I'm going to be using it on battery for a while.

The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.