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Comment: Re:Ditch the smartboard (Score 4, Insightful) 96

by edremy (#47956947) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Alternate Software For Use On Smartboards?
Don't diss the Surface Pro. Yes, it is *absolutely* a better solution. No, you can't replace it with an iPad- the iPad is like fingerpainting compared to the fine detail you get on a Surface. And why would you want to buy an additional Wacom tablet when the Surface uses a Wacom digitzer in the first place? You can write directly on the Surface rather than trying to master the blind writing skill you need with an external tablet. And if there's a tablet+pen interface better than OneNote on a Mac or Linux let me know, because I've yet to see it.

We've been buying more and more of them lately simply because they work so bloody well for this sort of task.

/Waiting for the "Troll" downmods I get everytime I mention that they are far nicer than most people realize.

Comment: Our Associate VP of IT (Score 2) 392

by edremy (#47920243) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?
has a Ph.D. in 17th century English literature. Admittedly we do work at a college, but you might be surprised at what humanists are doing these days: he got into the computer side of things while building databases of who was sending who letters around then. Digital Humanities is a growing field, and one that has some interesting CS applications- you've got things like Mallet chewing through vast swathes of literature looking for correlations, you have folks building high end digital maps to look into questions of how sight lines affected historical battles, etc.

Comment: Re:Learn Coldfusion (Score 2) 387

by edremy (#47862931) Attached to: Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative
Heh- a large chunk of our timesheet system where I work as well as departmental budgets is all done within a custom portal written in.... ColdFusion. We're slowly moving away from bits of it (The helpdesk ticketing/inventory control parts are gone now) but I can't see it dying completely within the next decade.

Comment: What technology? (Score 1) 231

by edremy (#47824271) Attached to: Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?
If you're talking computers, my neighbor got a hard copy terminal when I was about 8- it was hooked up by phone line to the mainframe at work and printed on green bar paper. Hacking wasn't much of an option. "Technology" to my generation probably would have been a 4-barrel carb or a tube guitar amp.

Comment: Re:At the risk of blaming the victim... (Score 1) 311

by edremy (#47820331) Attached to: Apple Denies Systems Breach In Photo Leak

If it's out there someone is going to steal it.

Simple, no? Blame the victim all you want, but that line of thinking pretty quickly devolves into unplugging from the Internet and trying to pay your bills with physical cash.

Only if you miss the point.

.... No -- the real world has jerks in it. It's sad. And it's terrible that good people have to be restricted in their actions because of it, but that's what living in the real world is like. So, you can do online finance, but you take reasonable precautions... like using strong passwords and not posting your financial data on the internet for anyone to see. If you are likely to be a hacking target -- like a rich person with lots of financial stuff, or a famous actress with nudey photos of yourself -- you may want to go up a few more levels in terms of precaution.

Except that these people didn't post their information on the internet for everyone to see. They uploaded the photos (possibly without their knowledge, since they might not really understand iCloud) to what they thought was a secure account. From Apple's own page on iCloud: "With iCloud, you can share exactly what you want, with exactly whom you want." It was only Apple's piss-poor understanding of security that allowed the accounts to be brute forced.

Should they have used better passwords, or better reset questions? Sure, but I bet that 75% of Etrade account passwords could be brute forced using the same script if Etrade allowed it. Hell, I only updated mine a year or so ago since it was 10 digits long and I figured that wasn't enough anymore

I'm actually really annoyed at the focus on the "Don't upload nude selfies" bit. The foci in this story should be 1) Don't trust cloud vendors. 1a) Especially Apple 2) Push for better multi-factor authentication systems on *everything*- cloud photo accounts, checking accounts, ATMs, etc.

Comment: Re:At the risk of blaming the victim... (Score 4, Insightful) 311

by edremy (#47818381) Attached to: Apple Denies Systems Breach In Photo Leak
If you don't want people stealing your money don't store money online. Don't use credit/debit cards, an online brokerage account, web access to your checking account, etc. If it's out there someone is going to steal it.

Simple, no? Blame the victim all you want, but that line of thinking pretty quickly devolves into unplugging from the Internet and trying to pay your bills with physical cash.

Comment: Re:Most open communities get turned into cesspools (Score 1) 239

by edremy (#47731053) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'
Except, of course, I did mention specifically why it was very good for those things- high resolution digitizer, full computer with access to huge library of programs, OneNote, etc. But I said something positive about MS, and thus I'm a troll. It's not the first time it's happened to me, while I watch content-free Linux propaganda in the same thread get +5 informative. (And now of course I get an AC trying to defend the bias...)

Back in the days when Slashdot was actually somewhat relevant, the bias was well known and the source of much amusement at other sites. Now it's just sad.

Comment: Re:Most open communities get turned into cesspools (Score 4, Interesting) 239

by edremy (#47726009) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

I'll give Slashdot some credit, it has actually managed to avoid crap like that comparatively well. Maybe it's the liberal use of anonymous posting here, or the more limited moderation system. Regardless, Slashdot is a clean and friendly place to have open discussion, at least compared to Hacker News, reddit, Wikipedia and Stack Overflow.

I find this comment amusing, since every time I mention Microsoft in any form of positive light I'm downmodded. I mentioned the MS Surface the other day and commented that it was proving a very nice tool for developing online learning materials. Downmodded instantly as "Troll"

Slashdot has serious groupthink issues and always has.

Comment: Re:External expansion through USB (Score 1) 215

by edremy (#47708357) Attached to: New HP Laptop Would Mean Windows at Chromebook Prices
Hmm, I have USB ports on my Chromebooks too, and USB drives, mice and the like work fine. Even Wacom tablets are supported as of last June. Oh, and HDMI ports as well. Webcam's built in. Printers aren't a problem either- the stuff just runs through your local router, it's not like it bounces off a remote server. I'm not sure what ISP you're on where you have a monthly limit, but if you're in that boat a network based thin client isn't exactly a smart choice anyway. Most dads aren't looking for high end sound cards and state of the art games.

And if you really want Linux, run Crouton.

About 90% of what you want is available on a Chromebook. If you need something in the 10%, well, buy a PC, but don't be surprised when a lot of people might not have the same use cases as you do. I have a home PC, but the Chromebook is awesome for simple, cheap and light- bulletproof laptop for the kids, and fun to type on the couch while watching Cosmos. (And I've been using my Chromecast to pull up Youtube videos expanding on some points for the wife afterwards.)

Comment: Re:Needs grow (Score 1) 215

by edremy (#47705473) Attached to: New HP Laptop Would Mean Windows at Chromebook Prices
A decent Chromebook is ~$200. How many upgrades can you make to a machine for that total cost? (And in the laptop world, a cheap laptop isn't going to have squat for expandability anyway)

As an added bonus, when it does come time for a new $200 Chromebook, setup will take less than a minute for him to type his WiFi password and log into it. Everything else is automagically there.

Comment: Why not community college rather than online? (Score 2) 81

by edremy (#47678395) Attached to: Is Remote Instruction the Future of College?
Speaking as a guy who works in educational technology, send her to a CC instead of trying to find stuff online. The local CC will be dirt cheap, will have classes at odd hours if she needs to work, will have in-person instruction and will most likely have transfer agreements with lots of schools as well as a process for vetting with ones that don't automatically accept their credits. They also have to meet standards of teaching that are certified by accreditors with long histories in evaluating schools.

Online education has a lot of promise in various areas, but don't always assume it's the best tool

Comment: Re:One mistake Sony Made (Score 3, Interesting) 172

by edremy (#47604569) Attached to: Sony Tosses the Sony Reader On the Scrap Heap
I actually tested a couple of ereaders back in the dawn of the e-ink versions for educational use, including the Sony ones.

They sucked. Utterly sucked. Equation formatting was laughably bad. Footnoting was dismal. Diagrams/graphs/pictures were far too small to see and magnify worked poorly (and of course there was no color). Writing text notes was a pain, and bookmarking was far too slow compared to page flipping. PDFs didn't format/reflow/do much of anything right.

It's not all that much better today. I love my Kindle, but I read novels and the like on it. Professional reading is almost always paper text. I've done e-textbooks on an iPad which handles equations and diagrams better, but it's still clunky compared to paper.

Assembly language experience is [important] for the maturity and understanding of how computers work that it provides. -- D. Gries