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Comment: Re:Most open communities get turned into cesspools (Score 1) 233

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) 233

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.

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

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