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Comment: Re:"Rogue"? (Score 1) 262

by swillden (#48943685) Attached to: Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen

Ah, I see what you're saying. In all of those cases, I'd say Google shifted to working on a component that integrates with other Google services. It does happen that the service-integrated component largely duplicates the features of an existing OSS component, plus adds a lot, but I don't think that's because of any move to close Android.

At this point there's really no need for Google to maintain generic apps for all of those things; there are plenty out there in every category you mentioned. I'm less sure that there are open source apps in all of those categories... but anyone who wants is free to pick up that ball. I suppose it would be nice if Google were to do it, but that's no longer necessary for the success of the platform.

I reiterate that the above represents only my personal opinions. Google pays me to write code, not define platform strategy (except in my narrow area) and certainly not to act as a proper corporate spokesperson. When I say stupid stuff it reflects on me.

Comment: Re:why google keeps microsoft away (Score 1) 262

by swillden (#48943619) Attached to: Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen
It wouldn't be hard to do something nicer, but my Tasker profile is a pretty crude hack. Since I never connect anything that doesn't have its own volume control, I just have a profile that runs every minute and turns the volume up to max. So if anything turns the volume down, it quickly gets turned back up.

Comment: Is anyone surprised? (Score 3, Interesting) 79

I think some forget, or never knew, that his first book was published 1996. This guy is not a fast writer.

Personally doesn't bother me, since I stopped reading after the third book because the quality tanked so hard. The original Game of Thrones is my all time favourite fantasy novel and I will recommend it all the time. A Clash of Kings was good, but a major step down. I enjoyed it though. A Storm of Swords wasn't very good at all.When A Feast for Crows I asked some people and the answer I universally got was "don't bother" so I didn't. It was also a bit harder to maintain the "givashit" with 5 years intervening instead of 2.

It seems like he more or less ran out of ideas and has bogged things down in to a whole bunch of characters nobody cares about. Ok, he can do as he pleases, but I'll keep my money thanks.

Comment: Re:Marketable? (Score 2) 132

by bmo (#48943543) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Engage 5th-8th Graders In Computing?


They are so far away from the professional world that anything they learn that is specific to any kind of software or technology will be completely obsolete once they've left school.

They should be doing something fun. The best thing that can be done is to point kids in directions that make them want to do it on their own - self-directed study and show them resources where they can find out how to do things. And let them form groups to create projects and don't limit them to just glowing phosphors on a screen. Lego Mindstorms (and its descendants) comes to mind.

They need to learn that computers are tools for creation and creativity.

Absolutely do /not/ take out all the fun by teaching only fundamentals or just teaching them how to use Word and Excel, aka "marketable skills."


Comment: Re:population (Score 1) 184

by Firethorn (#48943529) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

Using mostly off the shelf components and some hand made components, a trucking company has increased the fuel efficiency of a tractor trailer rig from ~5 to ~15 mpg.

Do you happen to have a link? I'm not arguing, but it's an interesting subject. I know, for example, that simply adding a fairing that turns the flat back of most trailers into a curved one saves a measurable amount of fuel, and I'm surprised that the truckers aren't using them - it's my understanding that they don't even need to be hugely structural.

Comment: Re:ok then... but (Score 1) 184

by Firethorn (#48943497) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

I think you'd be surprised just how much gets used overnight just on street lights, let alone all the use for heating water when the cost is cheap.

Yeah, we need to do something about our light pollution.

As for heating water, if we seriously transitioned towards solar electricity I'd imagine that the 'cheap' time for using power would flip to the day and people would adjust their timers appropriately.

Comment: Re:Marketable? (Score 2) 132

by tlhIngan (#48943431) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Engage 5th-8th Graders In Computing?

I think perhaps the first "marketable" skill would be just how to use a computer.

Forget all the programming stuff - that's cool and all, but do these kids know how to use a computer to begin with?

Explain away the magic. Teach them how to use a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation program. Doesn't have to be LibreOffice or Word or whatever - any generic word processor and spreadsheet will do.

The goal is to give them skills useful for life - perhaps they have a report they need to write - show them how after all their research is done, to type it up, and print it out and how neat and tidy it comes out.

That's a skill they'll need just to move on - and they can immediately benefit by producing homework that they're proud to turn in that looks all neat and professional.

Once they've mastered that skill, then you'll have figured out who in the group is technically minded and wants to do stuff, who needs reinforcement of the basics, and who still is too afraid of the computer. You can then show the technical group stuff about programming, fixing and mucking around the computer. Those who are struggling with the basics you can reinforce and help out with their homework assignments, and those afraid of the computer? Well, show them how to not be afraid. If they're afraid of breaking it, bring in a junker that works and show them that it's really quite hard to break a computer without taking a sledgehammer to it.

Before you even consider jumping into the technical side, see if your group has basic skills everyone will assume they have - typing, how to use a word processor, using the Internet, etc. Only then should you move on.

Comment: Re:"Wi-Fi" is fundamentally broken, period. (Score 4, Insightful) 88

by AmiMoJo (#48942641) Attached to: Wi-Fi Issues Continue For OS X Users Despite Updates

Excuses, excuses. I don't want to call you a fanboy, but this is a classic fanboy tactic. Blame the technology, make out it is so badly broken it's the technology's fault and not Apple's.

The reality is that hundreds of millions of people use wifi successfully and with minimal hassle every day. Yeah, it's not perfect but 20 years ago widespread low cost networking was just a dream, and now we have thousands and thousands of devices sharing the 2.4GHz band more or less without issue. If anything it's biggest problem is that it's too popular and has saturated 2.4GHz.

To look at it another way, all other major operating systems managed to implement it in a fairly reliable way. I come home, my phone and laptop connect to wifi automatically and just work, despite the congestion and mix of standards and vendors.

Comment: Re:Vast... Tracts of Land (Score 1) 184

by Firethorn (#48942049) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

I think that jandrese was addressing the specific point of 'last significant famine was in '92' with 'there's one right now in NK'.

If anything, he's saying the link is stronger - the 400 year remark means that it's not just the 20th century, but dating back to the 16th that 'all' famines are politically based. Of course 'politically created' means that it could be engineered by an outside polity, rather than being of the government of the area itself.

For example, I remember reading somewhere that the potato famine was caused due to import/export regulations. It is indeed scary. One I remember from back in school is that the US shot a lot of the Buffalo with the intent of denying them to the Native Americans, a policy of starving them out.

Comment: Re:Exactly! (Score 1) 184

by Firethorn (#48941987) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

Bio Diesel I actually like, sulfur is all but forgotten, and the increased lubricity actually makes it easier on your engine. But the idea of trying to convert a soy crop to BD100 is going to be dumb. Recycling waste vegitable oil from the food processing industry on the other hand, reduces waste and taps into an existing supply.

There's not enough waste oil for the demand for bio-diesel NOW. It used to be that restaurants had to pay to get their old grease hauled away, so they were more than happy to give it to the 'wierdos' who wanted to turn it into bio-diesel. Today it's a valuable commodity that the bio-diesel types have to pay money to get.

Personally, I'm for algae farms located in desert areas using seawater as a feedstock. Some solar panels to provide the energy needed to run the pumps.

Most can drive electric cars, but for lubrication and long-haul where electricity isn't practical, biodiesel and ethanol(or butanol, etc...) from algae for the bulk demand.

Comment: Re:Majority leaders home district (Score 1) 155

At current rates, with no reprocessing or advances in technology.

Don't forget: No additional exploration and no price increases as well. After WWII we went on an exploration binge, but since then we haven't really even looked.

With Thorium we'd have enough for tens of thousands of years.

Comment: Re: 4 paid developers yes, but (Score 3, Insightful) 230

by Austerity Empowers (#48941203) Attached to: VirtualBox Development At a Standstill

This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job.
Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

I love this, I worked for a multibillion dollar gorilla that used this as a management principle. In that management thought that Anybody could do the work, but Nobody they hired could, and Everybody else wouldn't help. Eventually, to fix the dysfunction, they fired Somebody. Somebody told his friends what happened, and Anybody that heard quit. Nobody that was left could do the work, so Everybody was miserable.

The Ballad of Offshoring. It has a happy ending though, the CEO got fired (he's a Somebody that Everybody hated, which Anybody could replace) and things are slowly recovering. The funniest part is 6 months before he got fired he sent out a strange email to the company reminding them he's still the boss. We suspect that HR realized they forgot to tell him, and got around to fixing it shortly thereafter.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.