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Comment: Re:Print up your own degree! (Score 1) 913

by jesboat (#36576606) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: CS Degree Without Gen-Ed Requirements?

You're really funny. Brown (http://cs.brown.edu) has no University-wide requirements. We also have one of the best [13th according to some random website Google just showed me] CS departments in the US, and, as an Ivy, I somewhat suspect we're accredited. *cough* </snark>

I came here because I had roughly the same attitude as you, and, looking at the upmodded comments, I'm the only one who seems to be agreeing-ish. That said, most of the other upmodded comments make valid points. Let me elaborate:

Just because you don't have any requirements for gen-ed classes doesn't mean you want to take only CS classes. Almost everyone (all but 1 person I know) in the CS department who came in with our mentality has come to realize

  1. taking only CS-ey classes is FAR too much work (at least for Brown's CS classes.)
  2. unless every aspect of CS interests you, you'll run out. Don't OD on CS your first couple semesters.
  3. being here [Brown] gives you a unique opportunity to take, with little risk, anything that sounds interesting. Taking a general "how to write" class, feh. On the other hand, "Beyond Narnia: The Literature of C.S. Lewis", "Color Me Cool: A Survey of Contemporary Graphic Novels", "Human Sexuality in a Social Context": you're not going to get opportunities like that in your life ever again. Seriously.

Love,
Jon Sailor (cs.brown.edu/~jon)

Comment: Re:Anyone else think is was a .NET Fortran? (Score 1) 267

by jesboat (#31116578) Attached to: An Interview With F# Creator Don Syme

The name "functional" is a little confusing, since imperative languages are heavily based on functions as well, though they are not typically used in the same way.

Actually, imperative languages are typically based on procedures, not functions. The fact that such languages tend to call procedures "functions" is the confusing bit.

Comment: xmonad (Score 1) 460

by jesboat (#30944554) Attached to: 2 Displays and 2 Workspaces With Linux and X?

xmonad does what you want with desktops my default. Each of my monitors is bound to one specific workspace at a time; I can switch either monitor independently to any workspace, or manually stretch windows across the gap in between.

You can use xmonad as the window manager for GNOME.

It'll require a little bit of tweaking to make it look normal, though (you'll need to add window decorations, and configure it to make windows floating by default), or you could learn the keyboard shortcuts and use tiling, which sounds like it may work better with the way you want to think about screens anyway. (It sounds terrible, I know, but it's remarkably effective.)

Comment: Re:Information Security Puffery (Score 1) 353

by jesboat (#30901020) Attached to: Researchers Claim "Effectively Perfect" Spam Blocking Discovery

Sure. It's all in what you consider "fundamental", I guess.

" but inefficient isn't the end of the world. Just means it's a first step towards something better."

That's like saying a break in AES to 2^40 isn't the end of the world, it just makes cracking it slightly more efficient. :-P

Comment: Re:Information Security Puffery (Score 1) 353

by jesboat (#30897638) Attached to: Researchers Claim "Effectively Perfect" Spam Blocking Discovery

In fact, during the same time period a guy named Craig Gentry solved a major open crypto problem --- namely, how to compute on encrypted data --- and it got a fraction of the press coverage.

This was nothing fundamentally new; google "secure multiparty computation." Or, FTFA, Gentry's technique requires a "trillion times" more computational power than existing techniques.

Not that I think his work wasn't awesome-- I've already queued the paper in my reading list. All I'm claiming is that he didn't "solve a major open problem".

Math

Which Math For Programmers? 466

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stats-kicked-my-balls dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It is no news that the greatest computer scientists and programmers are/were mathematicians. As a kid 'hacking' if-else programs, I was not aware of the importance of math in programming, but few years later, when I read Engines of Logic by Martin Davis I started becoming increasingly more convinced of this. Unfortunately, math doesn't return my love, and prefers me to struggle with it. Now, as the end of the semester approaches, I am faced with a dilemma: What math subject to choose next? I have two choices: 'Discreet structures with graph theory' (discrete math; proofs, sets, algorithms and graphs) on one side, and 'Selected math chapters' (math analysis; vectors, euclidean space, differentials) on the other. I'm scared of the second one because it's said to be harder. But contrary to my own opinion, one assistant told me that it would be more useful for a programmer compared to the first subject. Then again, he's not a programmer. That's why I turn to you for help, fellow slashdotters — any advice?"

Comment: Why has nobody suggested UDF? (Score 1) 484

by jesboat (#30546390) Attached to: Best Filesystem For External Back-Up Drives?

FAT32: no POSIX metadata, 4GB file size limit is deadly. It's inefficient, and generally outdated and nasty.

NTFS: proprietary, sometimes complicated to get on Linux, hard to get on OSX.

ext*: bad-to-none support on non-Linux. IIRC, neither the Windows nor OSX drivers support journaling, for example.

HFS+: about the same boat as ext*, if you swap "Linux" and "OSX".

UDF: reasonably efficient, support for basic metadata (POSIX, though no EAs or forks), full support on Linux 2.6, OSX 10.5, Windows Vista/7, or (with third-party utils)

Comment: Re:Another reason not to go Verizon! (Score 2, Interesting) 510

by jesboat (#30521092) Attached to: Verizon Removes Search Choices For BlackBerrys

argue my way up the manager food chain

What you fail to understand is that the customer-accessible part of the manager food chain in the vast majority of companies is approximately two people tall: CSR and supervisor. (Depending on the company and nature of question, you may be able to get to tier2 support; hence the "approximately".)

You will have better luck...

  • Just calling back. Virgin Mobile's policies used to differ depending on which call center your call got routed to, but even in less extreme cases, some reps are nicer than others.
  • Turboing. In particular, some companies have started to have "Executive Support" hotlines (Sprint comes to mind.) Save these for a last resort. GetHuman is also useful.
  • Moving horizontally. Try web order support, activations, billing, customer service, terminations, etc.
  • Being nice instead of nasty.
  • Writing. Yes, seriously. I've resolved many issues just by sending the entity in question a nastygram. People still take snail-mail seriously.

Comment: Re:Do you hear me now?? (Score 1) 510

by jesboat (#30521026) Attached to: Verizon Removes Search Choices For BlackBerrys

Let me elaborate a bit on a previous comment.

T-Mobile's ETF is $200. They can't offer you a subsidy of significantly more than $200, because then it would be to your advantage to buy a phone, cancel your contract, and sell the phone for a profit. Contract lengths are two years. Amortized over 2 years, by taking the subsidy, you save $8._33. Meanwhile, T-Mobile's has two tiers of plans. One gives you the subsidy, has a contract, and is $10 more a month. Thus: if you have the money up-front, buy your phone, save $240 in the cost of a plan over two years, and save yourself from a contract.

Consider the Motorola Cliq. As a user, it's a good phone.

Comment: Re:Rouge students and some more insight (Score 1) 300

by jesboat (#26274197) Attached to: CCC Create a Rogue CA Certificate

but they haven't even bothered to make sure that only leaf certificates can be issued.

Nope; the CA only signed a what you call a leaf certificate, but the constraint which determines whether a key can is a branch ("CA = true") or leaf ("CA = false") was part of the cert that they were able to change. See the last paragraph of section 5.1

The Internet

+ - "Anonymous" protests Scientology worldwide

Submitted by
Anonymous
Anonymous writes "Yesterday, on what would have been Lisa McPherson's 48th birthday, thousands of "Anonymous" protested Scientology in dozens of locations around the globe. The protest effort, loosely organized on wikis, IRC channels, and the *chan websites, began as a DDoS attack in response to the Church's issuance of takedown notices against a leaked promotional video featuring Tom Cruise. Since Slashdot last covered it, it's been featured in Newsweek, on the front page of MSNBC, on USA Today, the LA Times, and even the St. Petersburg Times. A forum thread contains videos from Hong Kong to Dallas to Dublin; the Boston Globe has a particularly evocative of some protesters with signs and Guy Fawkes masks."

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