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Comment: Re:why the fuck (Score 2) 101

by dbc (#48872349) Attached to: Google Plans Major Play In Wireless Partnering With Sprint and T-Mobile

Exactly. All that infrastructure build-out costs lots of money. You need subscribers to pay the rent on the cell site, you need coverage (cell sites) to get customers. It takes a lot of cash to bootstrap that. Coverage pulls in customers -- I'm a past T-Mobile customer -- their plans are much more subscriber friendly that the other guys, but darn I need coverage in a couple of their holes. I'm just one data point, but I'm sure others make the same decision.

Comment: Re:What's the graduation rate for women? (Score 1) 479

by dbc (#48842807) Attached to: Fighting Tech's Diversity Issues Without Burning Down the System

I pretty much agree with you. But the *perception* of being able to compete is important, regardless of the actual importance of said competition later in real life. The point is that college students (of both sexes) make decisions based on their perceptions of the importance of various factors, and many of those perceptions may not be well calibrated. IMHO lecturing them that their perceptions are wrong is just another way to erode their self-confidence. Making them confident in basic lab/bench skills is actually pretty easy, and should be fun for all involved, and even though they may have a skewed perception of the long-term value, the short term value of increased self-confidence at a critical moment in time is invaluable.

Comment: Re:What's the graduation rate for women? (Score 1) 479

by dbc (#48834803) Attached to: Fighting Tech's Diversity Issues Without Burning Down the System

Well, I have a lot of theories on that. My daughter, by the way, loves pink and purple and fabric arts. She also is a whiz at surface mount soldering, designs her own P.C. bpards, and completed multi-variable calculus at age 14. She is applying to engineering schools as a freshman for next fall. You do not have to do a princess-ectomy in order to end up with an engineer.

You *do* have to give girls the confidence that they can compete. I've made sure that my daughter has good bench skills. Now, I know and you know that bench skills don't matter for diddly when you become a program manager, or a senior grade individual contributor writing the documents that another 120 people will implement. But I've seen talented girls switch out of engineering majors because they were intimidated by the fact that their lab partners had memorized the resistor color code and knew how to use an o'scope and they didn't. In the long run knowing the resistor color code does not get you the corner office. But being confident enough to stick with the major is a big deal.

Comment: Re:Central Computer (Score 1) 314

by dbc (#48827639) Attached to: Radio Shack Reported To Be Ready for Bankruptcy Filing

ahhhh, no. Now, don't get me wrong, I absolutely love Central Computer. But CC is not Radio Shack of the early 1970's. If you want basic components, visit Halted.

But in the end, no store is going to have everything you want for basic electronics any more. When RS started, a nearly complete catalog of useful vacuum tubes filled a few pages in the back of the Radio Amateur's Handbook -- and you didn't need to stock inductors, just enameled wire and coil forms, because hand-wound coils were a normal part of scratch building. Contrast that to when DigiKey stopped publishing a printed catalog, it was about 3 inches thick on thinnest imaginable paper -- and now the online catalog database is truly enormous -- no brick and mortar store could stock all of that.

Also, how can you possibly staff stores coast to coast with knowledgeable people at retail wages? Anybody with the knowledge to really be of help can get better work elsewhere.

Comment: Out 'em: SnoopSnitch + Google maps (Score 5, Interesting) 303

by dbc (#48747205) Attached to: FBI Says Search Warrants Not Needed To Use "Stingrays" In Public Places

A StingRay detector for some rooted Androids exists:

So, I could see crowdsourcing StingRay mapping. Rooted Android + SnoopSnitch + IOIO board + interface application + Google maps + web site. If enough snoops were deployed, you could have a real time map of all StingRays in operation.

Comment: Re:Easy to follow rules. (Score 1) 155

by dbc (#48709365) Attached to: Designing the Best Board Game

In middle school, I loved chess. Not that I was great, but I enjoyed it and studied it and became middling. Later in life, once I had a job that required concentration for 8 hours a day, chess totally lost it's appeal. A moment's lapse on concentration costs you the game in chess. It just wasn't fun at the end of a work day. That is when backgammon became my game of choice. Strategy, similar to chess, but the dice make it pointless to plan more than a couple of moves out. Within a broad strategy, you play the probabilities. A moments lapse of concentration or even a glass of wine don't kill you, especially if you play a short series of games for points..

Comment: Yes, let's destroy our fastest growing industry. (Score 1) 78

by dbc (#48709175) Attached to: India Blocks Code Sharing Websites On Anti-Terror Advisory

Were this any other country, I'd give this about 48 hours to get reversed. Since this is the Indian bureaucracy we are talking about, in may be more like two weeks for this to trickle through the system. But when you the take the fastest growing industry in the nation, that pays the best wages, and is your only hope for keeping the best and brightest from emigrating to greener pastures, and basically torpedo it, somebody is going to notice.

Long computations which yield zero are probably all for naught.