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Comment: Re:There are actual lists ya know (Score 1) 708

by fyzikapan (#37833020) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: GNU/Linux Laptops?
This mirrors my experience pretty well. I got a Thinkpad X200 and put Linux on it. Things were mostly fine, until I tried to connect it to an external monitor, at which point Gnome lost track of where everything should be. Audio generally worked okay, except, of course, when it didn't. Sleep sort of worked, except when it failed for no apparent reason. Updating resulted in a non-bootable system. Wireless was fine, as long as I was willing to disable/enable it every hour or so. All the little things added up to a rather crappy experience, like being trapped on some late 90's consumer crapbox running Windows 98. Eventually, I ended up with a MBP running OS X and suddenly everything just worked, and I got to keep the Unixy goodness.

Comment: Re:Important point- power used (Score 1) 360

by fyzikapan (#37267674) Attached to: Alloy Could Produce Hydrogen Fuel Using Sunlight
Silicon gets used because it's well-understood. However, it's actually a pretty terrible absorber (indirect gap, smallish absorption coefficient), so you need a lot of it (drives up cost). Also, making crystalline materials is not the cost-driving thing you seem to think it is. It's often simply a matter of heating up the substrate during deposition (in the case of a thin film). Sometimes (metals, layered chalcogenides, for example) it's actually pretty difficult to make an amorphous material.

Comment: Re:XP still here (Score 1) 315

by fyzikapan (#36755290) Attached to: Microsoft Pulling the Plug On Windows XP In Three Years
Exactly. On the business side, there isn't really a compelling case to upgrade from XP in a lot of circumstances. Upgrading something like a hospital is a massive undertaking, for very little benefit. As of a few years ago, one of the largest EMR companies was still writing its client in Visual Basic 6 (though there were efforts to move it over to C# and modern APIs). And at home, there's little reason for many people to upgrade. The upgrade from 98 to XP was clearly worth doing - we went from buggy, crashy trash to a system that just works. In some ways, Microsoft did too good of a job on XP, which is great for users because the software does what they want and they're very used to it, but it's bad for Microsoft who wants people to upgrade.

Comment: Some are especially bad (Score 1) 557

by fyzikapan (#35411168) Attached to: Can For-Profit Tech Colleges Be Trusted?
Frontline has a nice program about for profit schools. They seem to fall mostly into two categories: failing private colleges (usually religious non-education places) that are trying the online gig in order to stay afloat, and schools started for the sole purpose of exploiting the student loan system for fun and exorbitant profit. There are almost certainly some good for profit schools out there, but they're overshadowed by the seemingly endless parade of slimy bastards who are just in it to make a quick buck. Some schools have absolutely dismal repayment rates, with many of the biggest managing less than 35%.
Crime

Girls Bugged Teachers' Staff Room 227

Posted by samzenpus
from the making-the-grade dept.
A pair of enterprising Swedish schoolgirls ended up in court after they were caught bugging their teachers break room. The duo hoped they would hear discussions about upcoming tests and school work, allowing them to get better grades. It worked until one of them decided to brag about it on Facebook, and the authorities were called in. The girls were charged with trespassing and fined 2,000 kronor ($270) each in Stockholm District Court.

Comment: Re:I feel no sympathy there either (Score 1) 251

by fyzikapan (#32876762) Attached to: Windows XP SP2 Support Ends Tomorrow

Also I'll add you CAN get systems that are supported pretty much perpetually. Mainframes are like that. You can run those for decades and even after new version come out, the support continues. However you pay a ton to buy it, pay even more in maintenance (support isn't free, software or hardware, you have to pay yearly upkeep) and they are going to certify it for certain apps and you'll run those and no other, or lose support.

++ If you want perpetual support, you need to be prepared to spend huge sums of money to get it. You have to be prepared to pay a team of developers, testers, and support staff to support your outdated platform, and that does not come cheap, either in the initial purchase or with ongoing support contracts. My former employer offered perpetual support, but licensing fees ran in the millions of dollars and support contracts started at hundreds of thousands per year for even the smallest clients.

Comment: Re:Best way to stop cheat sheets... (Score 1) 439

by fyzikapan (#32857428) Attached to: Colleges Stepping Up Anti-Cheating Technology

In the end, the results often don't even justify punishing the cheater.

Depends on the university. At some schools, failing a course for cheating results in an F that stays on your transcript (and is included in your GPA) even if you repeat the course. But yeah, if that option is off the table, punishing people for cheating probably isn't worth the effort, because they're likely going to fail anyway.

Comment: Re:Retarded (Score 1) 439

by fyzikapan (#32855382) Attached to: Colleges Stepping Up Anti-Cheating Technology
The author must have had some amazingly bad professors. -I've had a grand total of one professor that didn't write her own lectures. Most have a set of lecture notes that they've developed and refined over the years. -Sure. -Some changes, sure. Sometimes you want to teach something in a different way and see how it changes students' understanding of the material, which means reusing questions. Sometimes a question is good and you want to keep it. Sometimes something went horribly wrong (like engineering majors not knowing differential volume in spherical coordinates), so you tweak the question a bit (and hope they understand Cartesian). -Rearranging the questions is really about the best you can do without running the risk of being unfair. Sometimes it turns out that what seem like simple variations on questions result in dramatically different student performance. -What's wrong with using material you wrote? Isn't that what you were just demanding? -Agreed. Lots of TAs are crap. They're frequently new to the country and have little experience speaking English. As for cheating, we try to do the best we can while avoiding false positives. That means that lots of people slip through and action is only taken in the most egregious, obvious cases, like students who turn in the exact right answers to a different test form, or students who turn in identical wrong solutions.

Comment: Re:I see your free software and raise you? (Score 1) 417

by fyzikapan (#26833001) Attached to: MS To Offer Free Windows 7 Upgrade To Vista Users
When you make things up, you look like an idiot. Microsoft has published their support lifecycles for all versions of Windows. Here's the one for vista. Mainstream support ends in 2012, while extended support ends in 2017. So that's a little over 5 years for mainstream support, and a little over 10 years for extended support. Compare that to WinMe (here) which was only supported for 3 years and 5.5 years.

Comment: Re:Do OS's really need a diet? (Score 2, Insightful) 345

by fyzikapan (#26789297) Attached to: The Incredible Shrinking Operating System

It's called the Windows Registry, and we all know how well _that_ works.

Pretty damn well? The registry cleaned up the mess of .ini files thrown everywhere (not unlike the giant pile of files in /etc (or whatever other location a particular installer decides to put its config info in)), and the b-tree structure means keys leftover by old apps have negligible impact (despite the alleged "winrot" that so many drone on and on about).

To restore a sense of reality, I think Walt Disney should have a Hardluckland. -- Jack Paar

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