Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Correlation is not causation (Score 4, Insightful) 270

by jaffray (#47924715) Attached to: College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

If you don't care about what kind of job you get, just how much money you make, then:

a) You will make more money than someone who considers other factors in their choice of career.
b) You will take any courses which you're told will enhance your marketability, no matter how disgusting. Like COBOL.

Hence it's unsurprising that people who take COBOL make more money... but is it *because* they took COBOL? That's less clear. Correlation is not causation.

Comment: And if you work nights, fuck you. (Score 1) 567

“Bad drivers will at some point need to improve their driving or accept [having] to pay for the real risk they represent” ... yeah, right. If you drive at night, such as for work, Progressive will penalize you no matter how good a driver you are and how safely you drive and how many precautions you take against the possible hazards caused by darkness. They will toss you in the same premium bin with the partiers and drunks. Screw that.

Snapshot can't measure driving quality. It measures speed and distance travelled and sudden stops. Presumably if I'm driving at night and take a longer route going 75mph on a wide-open freeway, instead of driving 35mph on the shorter twisty two-lane country road with far more hazards from drivers crossing the center line or deer jumping into the road, Snapshot will penalize me for it. Again, screw that.

Comment: Layouts aren't important... but Dvorak has issues (Score 3, Insightful) 165

by jaffray (#42918095) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Keyboard Layout To Reduce Right Pinky/Ring Finger Usage?

Speaking as someone who's still struggling with the extensor tendinitis he developed as a young programmer over 15 years ago, with hundreds of nights of pain and hundreds of thousands in lost earnings as a result...

First: It's a natural hacker impulse to focus on keyboard layouts and hardware and other fun toys like that. Resist that urge. The importance of that stuff is tiny compared to good overall ergonomic habits, good posture, taking breaks, and managing tension. Get all the help that you can on those issues. Watch your own habits. Have someone else watch you. Make adjustments.

Second: Having said that... when I was first having hand trouble, I switched to Dvorak. This was, for me, a very poor decision. As you've noticed, Dvorak overloads the right pinky finger, which is a bad idea on a typewriter, but a horrible idea on a computer keyboard where other often-used keys are on the right edge of the layout.

Moving the entire arm to hit Enter and other right-edge keys with a non-pinky finger helped some, but not enough. After a couple weeks of increasing right-pinky pain, I simply swapped the L and P keys, so the commonly-used L was on the left index instead of the right pinky.

The L/P swap helped with the overloading, but exacerbated my second problem with a new layout, which was greater tension while typing. Even though I felt comfortable with Dvorak on a conscious level, I was still sometimes tensing up before keystrokes as my fingers weren't sure which way to go for an extra few milliseconds. And I was still having to use QWERTY keyboards often enough that I couldn't completely banish that muscle memory. Eventually I just switched back to QWERTY. More finger-mileage, yes, but is finger-mileage really the issue? It wasn't for me.

Third: No, really. Spend your time on the annoying difficult-to-scientifically-analyze meatspace issues like posture, not on keyboard layouts.

Power

Microbes Produce Power As They Clean Nuclear Waste 90

Posted by samzenpus
from the two-in-one dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have isolated and explained the phenomenon that causes microbes to generate electricity while cleaning up nuclear waste. The team is hoping to use their findings to create a microbial fuel cell that is capable of generating renewable energy while it cleans up environments exposed to nuclear waste. The bacteria the team studied is a kind of geobacter that is covered in a coat of tiny, natural nanowires that protect the bacteria from the toxic materials. While completing the complex task of stabilizing radioactive spills, the bacteria simultaneously creates energy that can be harnessed and used as a zero-emissions power supply."

Comment: Redirects make this study useless (Score 1) 216

by jaffray (#36072896) Attached to: Drudge Generates More News Traffic Than Social Media

Of course Twitter refers almost no traffic to news sites - Twitter sends traffic to bit.ly and the like, which then redirect to news sites. To a lesser extent, so does Facebook.

Looking through the original study, they don't even attempt to address this issue. Remarkably shoddy work.

Comment: Laptops are more complicated (Score 2) 336

by jaffray (#36006584) Attached to: NVIDIA Gets Away With Bait-and-Switch

A new econobox 15" laptop is not even close to equivalent to a three-year-old high-end ultraportable. Or a three-year-old 17" gaming laptop. Or a three-year-old tablet PC. Or even a three-year-old high-end 15" office laptop. It's dishonest to suggest that because the new econobox has comparable benchmarks, that it's a comparable system. Laptops are more complicated than that. The econobox has nowhere near the same utility.

If you disagree, try lugging it through an airport instead of the older ultraportable, or try holding it in one hand to take inventory instead of the older tablet. See how much good the extra PCMarks do you.

Also, what kind of laptops are you buying that cost $2000 but can't be sold for $350 three years later? I bought a three-year-old high-end ThinkPad for a friend for $750 recently. Cost twice as much as a new econobox, benchmarks were worse, but it was still a great deal for a far better user experience.

Comment: Background on the case (Score 5, Informative) 594

by jaffray (#33543800) Attached to: Family To Receive $1.5M+ In Vaccine-Autism Award

The following article from the New England Journal of Medicine has a good summary of why the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program exists, and why some of its recent decisions, including the award in the Poling case, have been problematic. Basically, since 2005 the policy has been to concede cases where petitioners establish a plausible theory by which their injury could have been caused by the vaccine, rather than requiring proof or even scientific evidence that the vaccine caused said injury.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp0802904

See also the Wikipedia article on the program, which also discusses the Poling case.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccine_court

Comment: "Too large for a phone"? (Score 2, Interesting) 167

by jaffray (#32467682) Attached to: Hands-On With Dell's Streak Android Device

"Too large for a phone" is a matter of opinion. This is exactly the size of phone I've been waiting for. I want as large a screen as possible, without making it impossible to hold it to my ear for my (very occasional) voice calls, or conveniently carry it in a holster or (less often) a pocket.

For me, a phone being tiny is of little value. Give me vast amounts of screen space, a large physical keyboard with hard keys with spacing and some travel distance, and a huge battery that won't run out even if I spend all day using it heavily in areas with poor signal. The Dell Streak isn't what I want, having only the screen space but not the physical keyboard and an unknown battery (and an obsolete OS), but the size? Perfect.

"Not useful for serious business"? Depends on your business. Much of my business is coordinating employees via email and text message, keeping records in spreadsheets and simple text documents, and occasionally consulting and searching through previous emails and web-based resources. A smartphone with a 5" screen, a reasonable array of apps, and a keyboard that lets me do 50wpm, is just fine for this.

Even my T-Mobile Sidekick was adequate for most of my business needs, despite the dubious browser and poor screen, thanks to the ultra-quick app switching and utterly fabulous hard keyboard unmatched by any other device. If Microsoft hadn't bought the platform, stripped it of development resources, and left it to die, I might still be using it.

Sure, this large a phone isn't for everyone. But that's one of the lovely things about an open OS - you have choices in hardware. I'd rather use iPhone OS, it's a far smoother user experience, but where am I going to find an iPhone with a 4-5" screen? or a physical keyboard? or running on a carrier other than AT&T?

Comment: "We Love Apple"? (Score 1) 731

by jaffray (#32196994) Attached to: Adobe Calls Out Apple With Ads In NY Times, WSJ

If Adobe loves Apple, they have a funny way of showing it. When they ship versions of Flash Player for OS X that are even less efficient and even more buggy than the Windows versions, and publicly acknowledge that making Flash for OS X anything more than barely usable is a low priority because they'd rather work on the Windows and mobile versions, that doesn't sound like love to me.

Comment: Re:Pointless in Vegas (Score 1) 597

by jaffray (#29767009) Attached to: Computer-Based System To Crack Down On Casino Card Counters

even a player keeping a perfect count cannot create a significant edge.

Funny how much time they spend scrutinizing players who "cannot create a significant edge", isn't it? You kinda wonder why they even bother barring them. Except, of course, if your hypothesis is completely bogus...

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

Working...