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Comment: Re:Customers will decide the Surface Fate (Score 1, Troll) 124

by edremy (#47079157) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Windows 8.1 With Bing To Sell Cheaper Devices
Flip side: our department has bought a bunch and will be buying more in the future. For developing online learning materials, a Surface + Camtasia simply blows away everything else out there- a full PC capable of running all Windows software + every bizarre web thing out there, with a high resolution pen and OneNote. You can even edit the resulting video directly on the machine.

Comment: Re:LOL ... (Score 3, Informative) 367

by edremy (#46827473) Attached to: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

Now, if a pilot starts out in the military (where they don't have to pay for flight school)

Unless things have changed since I was in, only officers* fly in the military, and in order to be an officer, you need a university degree. That means taking on student debt and being tied down for at least the length of a commission, so if you just want to fly for a living, it would make more sense to just go straight to flight school instead of considering the military a path to riches.

(* Or warrant officers, but that also requires considerable experience behind you as an enlisted man. You don't just start off flying.)

Except if you go to the Air Force Academy, where it's free. Or join ROTC at a school and get your tuition picked up. Either way you can get out of college for waaay less than someone who doesn't join up

Comment: Audio gear, telescope, calculator, and ... (Score 1) 702

by edremy (#46789911) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?
45 years old: Celestion Dynascope. Tracking drive still mostly works, although I did have to inexpertly replace the cork clutch which explains the "mostly"

30 years old: HP-11C calculator, Kenwood audio amp, Bose speakers, AKAI tape deck are all still running after 30 years, although they don't get much use, the tape deck especially.

25 years old: Yamaha PAC-921 guitar. Had to replace a potentiometer but it works perfectly, and with decent maintenance will probably never fail. There are tons of people with older electrics

And the current champion, which I don't think anyone's mentioned: my Dad's hand me down 60-year-old slide rule. Still works, and I threaten my students with it occasionally

Comment: Economist, Sky and Telescope, Skeptic (Score 1) 285

by edremy (#46776473) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?
The former because it's probably the best general news periodical around, even when you disagree with their (fully acknowledged) slant. S&T is nice for the photos and paper charts- my son still has the four page foldout detail of the Milky Way up on his wall. Skeptic just for the off-the wall stuff- it's a good snack time at the table read.

Comment: Re:Phil has no idea what he's talking about. (Score 3, Informative) 101

$250 for a decent Chromebook? How about $200 for the Acer 720p? Find me a Windows laptop with specs anywhere near it for $200- and it better include a SSD because the 10 second boot on a Chromebook is pretty essential. I can't even find a new Windows laptop on Amazon for $200, and the few used ones have Atom processors, 10" screens and Windows 7 Basic.

Yes, it's not a great development device. But it boots in seconds, needs no antivirus (or even maintenance), has a 8-10 hour battery life, a 13" screen and a decent keyboard and trackpad. Stick Linux on it if you want to hack away

Comment: Re:Dogecoin (Score 2) 357

by edremy (#46563181) Attached to: Cryptocurrency Exchange Vircurex To Freeze Customer Accounts

Dogecoin is different - its not a speculative 'currency' like Bitcoin wants to be.

Dogecoin knows this should not be taken too seriously, it also is an inflationary-based coin, ie you can always mine motre, so anyone who is hoarding coins will find their value falling over time (see bitcoin which was designed to become more expensive over time which encourages hoarding), and as a result means Dogecoins are meant to be spent.

So Dogecoin is the only true virtual currency as they are really used for simply, tiny transactions (eg reddits tip jar). Others like BC are corrupted by people thinking they can make a quick buck, or like NorrisCoin, run by scammers hoping to be top of a ponzi pyramid.

Actually, Dogecoin is still deflationary, just not as bad as all the rest. There are 100M Dogecoin in the first batch and ~5M/year afterwards. Since the number is fixed, the inflation rate goes down- it's 5% the first year, but only 2.5% 20 years from now. The world's GDP growth is running about 3%, so assuming that's constant (yeah, yeah) Dogecoin will turn deflationary in about 15 years and accelerate after that.

Comment: "Accident should not be prevented" (Score 1) 153

That's what one of the lab supervisors I worked with at an old job used to write up on the accident reports of about half the students who hurt themselves. Picked up a piece of glass without checking to see if it was hot? You've got some nice blisters to go with that learnin'. Forgot to check the stopcock on a buret and dumped concentrated NaOH all over your experiment and books? (That was me) Oh well, buy another book. Ice shifts suddenly while you're trying to get a beaker full of fuming nitric acid into an ice bath and you splash your hand? (Me again) Get used to having no hair and brown spots for a week. Minor accidents are great teaching tools- so long as nobody loses an eye or fingers everything's good.

Meanwhile, back when I worked in industry I got to see an open can of ether sitting on a benchtop (not fume hood) and the chemist smoking less than ten feet away. Oh, and my desk was in the radioisotope lab for a while- the one with two broken fume hoods and an area around the balance that was hot enough I didn't like to be near it for long periods.

Comment: Two not mentioned so far (Score 1) 669

by edremy (#46285713) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Games Are You Playing?

I'm working my way through System Shock 2 on Impossible as an OSA agent. I've *finally* gotten to the point where my powers are beginning to be effective and I don't have to rely on wrenching every single thing to death now that I've hit the command deck

I also downloaded The Void last night on a whim off of Steam. Really, really bizarre, and the strategy is not obvious at all. I'll see if it's more an art thing or a compelling game

Comment: Have a private pilot's license... (Score 2) 473

by edremy (#46214605) Attached to: Ugly Trends Threaten Aviation Industry
and haven't flown since my first kid was born. As so many others have mentioned, the economics just don't work anymore. I trained on C-152s many years back and they're a nice plane, but even then they were $80/hour to rent one from the local FBO. They sold them right after I got my license and the next cheapest was a 172 at well over $100/hour. To keep yourself from literally being a danger to yourself and everyone around you you need to put in 100 hours/year. $10k/year on a hobby? Yeah, there are a few folks out there who could do it, but not me. Buying a new plane will run you as much as my house, and a used one will cost thousands a year just in inspections and even more in hanger fees.

The only way I think you could do it was the way my old neighbor did- he was a master mechanic who was working on his FAA certificate. He'd signed up with a couple of wealthier folks and he got a fraction of the plane free if he did the work on it.

Comment: Too many people like it inflated (Score 5, Insightful) 264

by edremy (#46212275) Attached to: Adjusting GPAs: A Statistician's Effort To Tackle Grade Inflation
Students love grade inflation because they love getting A's

Faculty love grade inflation because they spend less time dealing with pissed off students and helicopter parents

Administration likes grade inflation because it means fewer people drop out, which is good for the bottom line. More degrees with honors sounds great too.

All we need to do is fix students, faculty and the administration and we can solve this problem right away.....

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"

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