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Comment Copyright needs reform (Score 1) 93

If anything, the digital dissemination of copyrighted works, on the whole, increases the speed with which they depreciate, since more people who desire to purchase a legal copy of a copyrighted work can do so much more quickly than was previously possible, and since legal copies of copyrighted works don't degrade in quality over time (if you have a good cloud to store them in). I think that copyright term should be reduced to account for this.

Comment Postgres hands down (Score 4, Informative) 320

I come from a Sybase SQL Anywhere shop. It never ceases to amaze me how stuff that can be elegantly expressed in a couple of queries in Watcom-SQL typically takes four times as much code in MySQL's dialect. I love Sybase's support for the ANSI standards, subqueries, Java/.NET/C/PHP/Perl stored procedures when they are the right tool for the job (ever needed to resize raster images in an INSERT trigger coming from some third-party application?), and great drivers. I shouldn't have to spend 10 minutes trying to figure out why MySQL doesn't support the standard casting string concatenation operator by default (||), or why subqueries don't work like they ought, etc.

Having used Postgres, all of the worthwhile MySQL features are there, most of the SQLA features are there, and the pain level is much, much lower in Postgres than MySQL for someone coming from a full-featured commercial RDBMS.

What really sucks is all of the applications that are so coded around MySQLisms that they don't run on ANSI-compliant engines.

Comment It's a hard problem (Score 1) 134

I don't think Facebook is competent to decide whether or not a church's refusal to recognize the legitimacy of homosexual couples is hate speech, or whether or not the state of Israel is a terrorist organization, etc.

I'd rather them stick to standards that are not so subject to interpretation, like no depictions of one person's genitalia in contact with another person where either person is not of the age of majority. Let the nation states decide what those ages of majority are. Those sorts of standards are much less subject to interpretation.

Comment Some ideas (Score 2) 107

My first programming language (5 years old, 1985) was Apple BASIC. Online interpreter:

When I was in 3rd grade, we programmed in LogoWriter. Looks like there is a web-based LOGO interpreter here:

Next, I learned PASCAL.

None of that stuff is OOP (although imperative is still a very important paradigm).

Once you want to move past kiddie stuff, I'd set her down with a C# IDE (the free-as-in-beer Visual Studio edition or the free-as-in-really-free MonoDevelop) and some YouTube tutorials.

Comment Andi Graph (Score 1) 359

Andi Graph is the bomb... you can switch between any TI-8x ROMs. The only thing I miss about it is the tactile keys.

I own a TI-85. Therefore, I have no remorse about using the TI-85 ROM on my Android devices, as I'm not letting anyone use my calculator at the same time. I paid for the software.

In conjunction with BlueStacks on my Samsung ATIV Pro 900T, I can even project and take screenshots of the whole calculator without any special TI hardware.

Comment More nuanced choices would be nice here. (Score 4, Insightful) 437

I'm a parent of four precocious kids in a small college town in the mountains of NC.

We have taxpayer-funded public transportation here. 12 years old and up are allowed to ride the bus alone (to go to the library, etc). Would I let my 7-year old if he were allowed? No. Would I let him go with his 12-year-old brother who has a way to stay in touch with me? Probably.

I don't think the issue here is automotive safety. A fully-automated car should be safe enough for kids to ride in by themselves, or it shouldn't be on the road. I think the bigger concern is, when is it okay to let your kids out in public without supervision? 72% of the people who said flat out "no" did so because they have the impression that parents should be attached to their children at the hip, or because there was no option for, say, 15 and up. Maybe kids should be able to earn the freedom of being out without their parents with good grades above a certain age, etc. The survey sucked. There should have been an option for unlicensed adolescents but not younger children, etc. Parental consent and discretion should be part of the equation as well. We're the ones responsible for our kids, and with that responsibility should come some discretion on our part.

On a side note, I think autonomous cars will reduce the need for us to go out for non-social things. I mean, aside from losing the ability to pick the best produce, I certainly wouldn't mind telling my car to make a run to the grocery store for me. For me, shopping is just time I'd rather spend with my family.

Comment If you have to do it, this is how I would do it (Score 1) 130

Put bar code labels on everything with the asset identifiers.
Make a simple web app that authenticates to the LDAP server (you don't even have to write the auth part - Apache will handle that for you). The app will have two basic functions: start using asset and stop using asset.
They will touch one function or the other and enter the asset ID to generate a log entry.
Write an iOS native wrapper app for it using UIWebView and ZBar, to let them scan the asset tag using the camera on their phone.
Leave a $170 iPod touch in the lab for anyone who doesn't have an iPhone, so they don't feel left out.
If desired, automate sending nag messages to people who forgot to log stopping the use of something. Give them a way to enter corrections with a web form.
Provide your bean counters with a suitable report, preferably something that exports to their favorite bean counting app's format (I'd probably use the free Crystal Java Runtime just because I know it).

It can be made generic enough to get app store approval.


Cost to implement: 2 weeks of my time - negotiable.

There is an upside to logging stuff like this besides satisfying the beanies... you also have data to justify new purchase requests.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen