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Comment: Re:The hard part (Score 1) 195

by (#45989789) Attached to: Building an Open Source Nest
If you think of a thermostat as a device that closes a switch when the temperature is below or above a set point, you're certainly right. But if you had some vision, you would see a new generation of devices, "smart homes", real-life ubiquitous computing, energy sustainability, and opportunities for data-mining or even networked intelligence. That's why I have two Nests - right now it's just good-looking and convenient (remote control!), but I'm adopting technology that, in a few years, may change the way I live.

Comment: Someone disagrees - and gets fired? (Score 1) 409

by (#45951061) Attached to: Lawsuit: Oracle Called $50K 'Good Money For an Indian'
Is this what corporate America is, these days? Someone disagrees in an e-mail with the head office and gets dismissed for that? Oracle would be unethical, but also downright stupid if they fired everyone who didn't share the views of their superiors. I can't believe that...

Comment: Visa requirements - above-average salary? (Score 1) 409

by (#45951037) Attached to: Lawsuit: Oracle Called $50K 'Good Money For an Indian'
That guy from India presumably needed a visa, such as an H1B. In order to get this, a company needs to demonstrate to the Dept of Labor that the person in question can command an above-average salary. How do they do this if they undercut people in comparable jobs?

Comment: Re:Yet another great argument... (Score 2, Interesting) 402

by (#44155431) Attached to: D.C. Awards Obamacare IT Work To Offshore Outsourcer
I'm not sure you're familiar with the facts. First, the number of H1B's given to this company indicates precisely that they are _not_ an offshore, outsourcing enterprise - the place of employment (and where taxes are paid by the employer and employees) is the US. Second, H1B requires that employers "Pay the nonimmigrant workers at least the local prevailing wage or the employer's actual wage, whichever is higher; pay for non-productive time in certain circumstances; and offer benefits on the same basis as for U.S. workers;" ( Of course, there is some wiggle room, but that is natural and appropriate for a free market society. The H1Bs I know are getting paid far above what certain US nationals make in similar jobs, because they're worth it. Their job hunt is international, and so are their careers. For other H1Bs - well, don't forget that this country was founded based on immigration. I agree that there are problems though - see Moryath's comment below. The bigger question for me is why it takes $50M to make a website backed by a database, to serve a tiny state in which most potential users will have employer-provided healthcare anyway.

Comment: Re:lateral transfer / evolution (Score 1) 159

by (#44092751) Attached to: New Links Found Between Bacteria and Cancer
Perhaps because the classic evolution model typically involves vertical transfer? But, of course, the selection process continues to work very well, so you're right from that perspective. "HGT has been shown to be an important factor in the evolution of many organisms." -

Comment: INS has been around... with shortcomings (Score 1) 84

by (#43434083) Attached to: DARPA Develops Non-GPS Navigation Chip
Inertial navigation systems have been around for a long time - certainly predating GPS. Commercial aircraft fly with them (to be independent). They are small enough to be added to small drones - though they are not "chip-scale". Precise, robust ones are very expensive, and perhaps addressing the price is one of their goals, though the blurb doesn't state that. They also need to be re-calibrated regularly (ever seen exact position information at locations where aircraft park?), but again, I don't see how the DARPA project addresses it. It would be nice to have a miniature-INS for indoors navigation, but only if it's a chip for less than $10 or so...

Comment: Simplify your life (Score 1) 770

by (#42969281) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Starting From Scratch After a Burglary?
I live perfectly well without TV. Netflix provides ample entertainment on a nice large flat-screen or a projector. You will save time and energy (it'll be quiet). AppleTV is useful. I have a laptop (a top-of-the line Macbook Pro with SSD etc etc), but no desktop (not even at work). That way I don't have to synchronize data, and I have everything with me. If you need another iMac at home depends on your family, I guess. An iPad or a cheaper Android tablet are useful for reading the news during breakfast, etc etc. Someone here suggested to simply wait and see what you miss the most. That is a wise suggestion.

Comment: Independent gas station chains? Scalability? (Score 1) 525

by (#42911869) Attached to: CNN Replicates John Broder's Drive In the Tesla Model S
If I only had one gas station every 200 miles, I'd get quite nervous in my car as well. (It does 300 miles per re-fill.) The solution would be a joint-venture with a chain of gas stations, or perhaps for Musk to buy a 50% share in one outright. Are all the gas station chains in North America owned by big mineral oil companies, or are there independent ones? If these chains installed sufficient charging stations, one could get rid of this problem. Once there are more EV on the road, a problem of scalability will crop up. You'll need many more power points at a station than you have now (for gas) if it takes an hour to re-charge. That takes some real estate...

Comment: Information Sciences (Score 1) 347

One of the degrees we offer here at Penn State is "Information Sciences and Technology". While there are many CS aspects to it, which are taught (Databases, Programming, Mobile and Web Development, etc.), there are more aspects of humanities and "big data" involved - learning how to interpret and visualize quantitative measures, and learning to process large-scale data (e.g., CiteSEER was created here), and some aspects of software development, project management, business management. We also have a strong cyber security group and teach cyber law. We want our students to be strong computationally (e.g., understand scalability, algorithms, data structures), but theoretical computer science, as interesting as I find it personally, takes the back-burner. From what I understand, our graduates have among the highest average starting salaries among the BSc-level programs here. Other schools have iSchools as well, whose programs are worth considering. (There is a spectrum from "library science" to business or CS. Choose wisely.)

Comment: When did I last buy X? (Score 1) 141

by (#42765583) Attached to: Cooking Up the Connected Kitchen
Actually, having remote access to an inventory is a killer application. Of course, we don't want to scan every item added or used up. The implementation is the problem. RFID might be a solution, though it isn't cost-effective at this time, and more importantly, RFID tags won't be attached to single eggs or pieces of broccoli in my fridge. A simple webcam in the fridge might go along way (the devil is in the details - light - positioning?), but it wouldn't capture the pantry or the spice rack... "When did I last buy X?" might be a pretty good proxy for all of this, without all the kitchen technology.

Comment: Re:Too little, too late (Score 1) 182

by (#42103983) Attached to: Firefox 18 Beta Out With IonMonkey JavaScript Engine
I tried switching from Chrome (using the Canary build), because it kept crashing on me. I had to use Firefox nightly builds, because the standard Firefox looks fuzzy on my Retina display Macbook Pro (high-res Retina display have been out for almost 6 months, IIRC).

Unfortunately, Firefox turned out to have problems with providing a cursor in the location bar after opening a new window (you had to set it by mouse!), and the privacy mode is broken: it removes all other windows and switches to anonymous browsing globally. Autofill did not work as well as I expected: user names often weren't filled in. Speed was not an issue.

Enough little issues for me to switch back to Chrome. It's sad that they haven't managed to make FF fully useable. To make anonymous browsing apply to a single window appears to require deeper architectural changes according to the bug thread, which does not bode well for their overall design. Making it per-tab appears to be yet another story, which seems even more strange to me.

Never trust a computer you can't repair yourself.