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Comment What the teacher said (Score 1) 278

There is also a subjective element to a lot of courses. A parent might think they know the answer to a question, but if you weren't in that teacher's class, know their take, their biases, even how they like things formatted, you could do more harm than good. The correct answer on a test is what the marker thinks the correct answer is, not what you think, not some absolute (except in hard sciences and math perhaps, but even there tread carefully).

Comment Re:Licensing? (Score 1) 360

Exactly, don't expose yourself to licensing grief. Once the computers are out of your hands the recipients can do what they like with them, including pirating Windows 7 or XP if that's what they want. But that will be Not Your Problem.

Free Geek in Vancouver, BC does this. I don't know if they've ever done a survey where they follow up 6 months later and see what OS the computer is running now. Would be interesting.

Comment Might work (Score 3, Interesting) 148

They've failed from a marketing perspective in the North American market. Partnering with a large US corporation which seems to know a thing or two about marketing could work out for them. Though it would be more reassuring if they partnered with someone who didn't define 'partner' as 'someone you work with until you eat them'.

Comment abebooks.com (Score 1) 283

abebooks.com is a front end for used bookstores around the world. Because most of them charge shipping and handling, it can be cheaper to buy new from an online retailer who offers free shipping if you buy over a certain amount, but it's definitely worth checking out. Some books you can find cheaper even including s/h. If cost wasn't a factor, I'd buy via abebooks exclusively to support small business.

As for ebooks, they've been around for awhile, but still waiting for a reader not associated with a retailer who can nip in and delete stuff off it, which supports multiple non-drmed formats, and costs under $100.

Comment Re:Sad ... (Score 1) 214

This is truly sad, and it means American laws have been totally taken over by corporate interests.

Totally? I don't think so. Maybe 80%. You'll know it has reached 'totally' when the creeping corporatism that's been going on for a long time finally morphs into its even more evil sister, fascism. That's not an inevitability, just the current trajectory.

Comment Re:Time to fork! (Score 1) 445

Or a legacy support group (if a 3 month old browser is going to be considered 'legacy'). There's a lot I like about firefox, but 3 months then EOL suggests that they're either unable or unwilling to do something which needs doing. It wouldn't be as glamorous as a fork with new name, new vision, new blah, but I'll bet it would be appreciated by a shitload of people.

Comment Re:You're already making more progress... (Score 1) 444

My understanding is that the US does indeed have $1 coins, but no one ever uses them. I guess it will take the government ditching the bill altogether to get people to switch.

That's it exactly. We might still be using ones (not twos, they're considered bad luck for some reason) if we had been given a choice. We weren't. Now we're used to the coins, though I like one dollar bills when visiting the states. More of my money is in my wallet, rather than in pockets and on dressers and various other surfaces where they accumulate.

Comment Re:Inflated sense of self-importance (Score 2) 419

Maybe they should have a policy of easy to remember pass phrases -- lots of characters but no need to write them down. I was at a bank today where there was what appeared to be a new hire. She was having trouble with something, consulted her notes right there in front of me, points to a word and asks another worker, "is it this password?". I averted my eyes politely, but I should probably have stared pointedly at it and spoken it out loud a character at a time, just to make the point.

Comment Re:We must commit to better nuclear power (Score 1) 122

Unless the average citizen of Western states wants to either drastically reduce their power consumption or accept foreign energy hegemony over their economies, nuclear power is essential at least in the interim.

If Germany can pull it off, the interim could be very short -- nuclear replaced by sustainable energy by 2022.

Comment Re:Does anybody actually buy music anymore? (Score 1) 167

You said it. Compared to the magnitude of the rip off that is copyright term extension, piracy is trivial. Copyright in its original form was a good deal for everyone, but that deal is now very much broken. Act according to your own conscience, keeping in mind that artists have to eat, and few are raking in what the top names get.

Comment link to depth of copyright block (Score 1) 357

Thanks for the link. Drawbacks would appear to be display size, and copyright. His source document is public domain, and for those you could have deep linkage back to source. But in a copyright crazy world the sourcing aspect would have some annoying limits. Still, I can imagine it being useful for all manner of other things. I would like to see a demo of what he described with regard to multimedia editing.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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