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Comment: Re:^THIS (Score 1) 493

From one of your links

The average salary for public school teachers in 2011–12 was $56,643 in current dollars (i.e., dollars that are not adjusted for inflation). In constant (i.e., inflation-adjusted) dollars, the average salary was about 1 percent higher in 2011–12 than in 1990–91.

First that average, I expect, represents a few quite high salaries and quite a many lower salaries. No teachers I know even hit that average, even after teaching a few years in a district that really gives a damn.

Note, your other link claims that $6800 is for "instruction," not "teachers." And it says:

Instruction expenditures include salaries and benefits of teachers and teaching assistants as well as costs for instructional materials and instructional services provided under contract

Note that your links disagree on total expenditure per student.

In any event, that seems like low pay for such important work.

Comment: Yahoo! is cool again? (Score 4, Interesting) 400

Once upon a time, when we talked about things like "Web Portals," and people knew who Jerry Yang was, Yahoo! was cool, and offered a lot of useful curating and information. Also some good times playing hearts and backgammon on Yahoo! games.

Then there was babel fish.

Then there was Google beta.

Then Deja News was no more.

And now Yahoo! is cool again?

Comment: Re:Lame (Score 1) 730

by fortfive (#47874755) Attached to: Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

The problem with your theory, at least in my case, is that I knew why I wanted a portable mp3 player before I ever had one. I saved my pennies to get that first Jukebox. And with the first iPod, I was like, Perfection! (although it would be until 2d generation before I could afford one.).

The same with iPad, although it still doesn't really function the way I want it to. It is the best option, however, and when it came out, miles beyond anything else, like the iPod.

The iPhone, of course, was truly revolutionary.

The wearable I want is something akin to a TNG communicator, plus the Enterprise computer, plus a floating display a la Star Wars.

Alternatively, they could build in watch functionality into a watch band that I could attach to my existing watch, using its crystal as an HUD. But even then, it would mostly be a toy kind of thing, with limited utility.

Comment: Re:Lame (Score 5, Insightful) 730

by fortfive (#47865315) Attached to: Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

I get the joke.

But the truth is, the thing is, in fact, lame. I had a nomad when the iPod came out. And my next device was an iPod. Because it was *awesome.* The interface was awesome, way easier to use in the car. It looked cooler. It was more portable. It had better sound quality and a better shuffle/random function.

The watch I wear, when I wear one, is 60 years old. It tells accurate time, but it's largely a fashion accessory for me. I knew why I had, and wanted better, portable mp3 players. I have no idea why I want a computerized watch. The *only* use which as been at all seemingly valuable is that it might alert me to notifications I might miss when my phone is in my pocket. But I check my phone frequently enough that it's not really an issue for me.

Now, when a watch can *replace* my phone, well, we'll really have something. As in, those holo-phone things in Star Wars. Even if the floating display was just 2D.

Also, while I'm ranting, I'm sore displeased that both iPhone options are bigger. It's fine to have the big one, I get why people like that. But have the smaller one be truly smaller. Heck, I think the iPhone 5 is too big.

Comment: Re:They're Monopolies (Score 1) 368

by fortfive (#47657177) Attached to: Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

I would hope there would be conditions in [the contract that benefit consumers]

I have a great bridge to sell you. I will throw in some unicorns for the right price . . .

Seriously, I'm pretty sure that in most places the only consumer benefit in the contract is the price of basic cable and free or discounted service for a school or government office.

Comment: It's about Design Specs, I Would Think (Score 2) 431

by fortfive (#47255491) Attached to: Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year

Most of my apple kit is manufactured in China, and is as good a build quality of any electronics I own, as far as I can tell.

It seems that the quality is determined by the design; that is, the Chinese manufactures build it as awesomely or as cheaply as you tell them to.

The fear is that unscrupulous manufacturers will substitute inferior inputs, I suppose, but it appears that, at least for premium brands like Apple and Lenovo, that is not happening. As for labor inputs and standards, well, scruples seem to be lax everywhere but Germany. Personally, I try to be aware of the social impacts of the products I buy, but when I have purchased stuff produced under questionable social conditions, said stuff has never seemed to have suffered any performance degradation. Rather, unfortunately, the opposite is sometimes the case.

Comment: Re:Is this HIPAA data? (Score 1) 62

HIPAA only applies to protected healthcare information disclosed to a statutorily defined health care provider. I doubt Samsung or your carrier qualify.

The issue you raise is important, however.

Most of us have traded away much of our privacy, sometimes for services (gmail), sometimes by happenstance (nytimes.com), so that I doubt heart rate information will matter much.

But if we are entering a techno-dystopian future, and as our phones become more capable of registering our biological condition, it becomes easier for the shepherds to corral us according to their algorithms, and ensure the red-bloods don't mix with the blue's.

Perhaps it is my age, but I have to admit this kind of really personal data gathering makes me a little uncomfortable. Ignorance is more comfortable, too. I noticed that the terms of my health insurance coverage require my consent to let my provider turn over HIPAA data to various third parties, with no stated requirement that my provider ensure HIPAA awareness (let alone compliance) of said third parties. I figure if I am not going to go "dark," (which at my age, I'm too slow to pull off), I best learn to accept the death of privacy. Old age is the ultimate indignity . . .

"Nature is very un-American. Nature never hurries." -- William George Jordan