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Comment: Re:Software Documentation is bad everywhere (Score 5, Insightful) 430

Have you ever USED IBM, Oracle or MS software?

I've run into scenarios with both IBM and MS where I'm looking for a specific error code, and I get into this:
Q: What is ERR:174027?
A: That's ERR:174027
*Bashes head into wall*

Commercial software might have better documentation, but a lot of the help still comes from blogs of people having the same error, which IS NOT documentation!

Comment: Re:let them so it gets thrown out? (Score 1) 286

I didn't RTFA


but wouldn't the tricky/slimy answer be "let them search it, so then all of the evidence gets thrown out"?

No, because then you've consented to the search, and there's no restriction on what they can do. By remaining silent, you likely consented to a search. Alarmingly, by remaining silent, you can waive your right to remain silent (see Salinas v. Texas).

Comment: Re:What I say (Score 2) 286

Actually, no.

"Am I being detained, or am I free to go?"

Another one of those rights that can use some excercise is the right to walk away from a police encounter. Just because a cop wants to talk to you doesn't mean that you have to talk to him. Granted, it's a good idea to not be a dick, as the cops can legally ruin your day. Be polite and direct without agreeing or admitting to anything is the best course of action.

Comment: Re:Some Good, Some Bad (Score 1) 286

Don't get physical/let them do as they please, then lawyer up."

I consider that bad advice, because it discourages people from exercising their right to defend themselves against unlawful arrest, a right that has been repeatedly verified and upheld in court.

Of course, as with any exercising any right, you do so at your own peril.

I think this piece of advice was more aimed about keeping you safe, not keeping you "right". If you start fighting with a cop because he's illegally searching your phone, you might end up catching a bullet. Since you were fighting with the cop, he thought his life was in danger, so the shooting could be "justified", even if the initial search was illegal.

You can be right, but if you're dead, it's really a pointless victory, isn't it? If the search is illegal, you can get it tossed in court (VERY easily), and then you can go after the police for damages. If you're dead, who cares?

Comment: Re:danger will robinson (Score 1) 688

by johnwallace123 (#47068255) Attached to: Professors: US "In Denial" Over Poor Maths Standards

Take a better example, like:

- 148.

Doing this in your head the traditional way would be hard.

Not really; the steps are (working from the right, of course):
1 < 8, so 1 becomes 11, 2 becomes 1, and 11 - 8 =3
1 (previously 2) < 4, so 1 becomes 11 and 3 becomes 2, 11 - 4 = 7
2 (previously 3) > 1, so 2 - 1 = 1

Answer: 173. Took me all of 10 seconds. I needed to remember at most 3 pieces of information at once (the fact that I borrowed plus what digits I had already solved). That's well under the 5 - 9 items that people can hold in short-term memory. With this method, I just need to know how to count to 20 really well, and if I'm really stuck, I can use my fingers + toes!. I use this method ALL THE TIME when tipping, to figure out "what tip to I need to make the bill X".

Granted, if I'm subtacting 10-digit numbers, the "traditional" method can get tough to do entirely in your head, which brings me to...

[T]his is the kind of math that makes people think they can't do it without assistance from paper or a calculator.

When was the last time you NEEDED to add/subtract a 3+ digit number and you didn't have a pen/paper or a calculator with you? I don't even have a smart phone, and I've got a calculator on my cell phone if things get really tricky.

But doing 52 + 21 is much easier, and doing 73 + 100 is also quite easy.

Where did 52 come from?? There's no 52 in the problem anywhere! And why are we adding 100?

The "traditional" method only looks at a single digit at a time, so you only need to know how to add 2 single digit numbers (and carry or borrow). With your method, you need to first know that 48 + X = 100, so X = 52. You're no longer doing arithmetic in your head, now you're doing algebra in your head!

Comment: Re:Don’t throw a wet blanket on science (Score 2) 86

by johnwallace123 (#46521067) Attached to: New Stanford Institute To Target Bad Science

And, frankly, even if the research isn't mistaken, but is later superseded by more advances, we should start thinking about how to attach references to those sorts of things too -- lawyers do it when drafting a statute that replaces a previous one, to avoid confusion. Scientists should figure out a mechanism to do the same.

If only there was a mechanism to refer to or cite previous work. I know... we can call them references, or citations! Awesome, I should publish a new paper telling everyone that they should use this system!!

Comment: Re:Regulation of currency - 2 issues (Score 1) 240

by johnwallace123 (#46390287) Attached to: MtGox Sets Up Call Center For Worried Bitcoiners

1) bitcoin value goes up and down, so does everything else. Live with it or dont use it.

Not everything goes up and down at the rate of bitcoin. Over the past year, the exchange rate of a bitcoin has ranged from $36 to $1151. If we consider BTC the "currency" and a single USD the "commodities basket", that gives us a deflation rate of 96%! Even if you look at today's exchange rate of ~$650, it still gives us a deflation rate of 94.5%. Never in the history of the United States has deflation gone higher than 20%. Deflation is generally considered a very bad thing in economics, and it usually coincides with a major recession.

2) Storing your bitcoins on a server owned by someone else is like giving your cash to someone you dont know. Maybe it will still be there, maybe it wont.

I just gave my entire pay check to someone I don't know! I don't know the teller at my local bank! HOLY CRAP! I should run over there to make sure that my money is still there!!! Oh, right, that's what this whole FDIC thing is meant to prevent; I like the regulation of my bank. It means that I don't have to hoard my cash and hire an armed guard to protect it while I work.

As many have stated, BTC is an investment, and a speculative one at that. A currency, it is not.

Comment: Re:So, whom to H8? (Score 3, Insightful) 325

by johnwallace123 (#46015803) Attached to: The Whole Story Behind Low AP CS Exam Stats

Great idea!

OK, now this grad student is certified to teach high school, right (which means he double-majored in secondary education and computer science)? We can't have any uncertified teachers corrupting the minds of our youth.
Cool, and he's completed his mandatory background check that he has to pay for too, right (and that will take about a year to process)? Excellent!
And he's also going to participate in the mandatory training sessions at the high school held at 7 am, even though he isn't scheduled to come in until 1 pm.

Teaching high school is WAY different than teaching college. The barrier to entry is much higher and the requirements much different than those of a standard "industry" job. Not to mention the pay sucks. This might be a reason why the CS teacher at most high schools is a math/science teacher who knows how to use Windows and may have taken an intro to CS elective in college.

Comment: Re:^This (Score 1) 375

by johnwallace123 (#44993773) Attached to: Students Hack School-Issued iPads Within One Week

If this is true, then how come our schools are so awful?

We the people have been throwing more and more money at schoolteachers, and requiring ever-increasing levels of training and education to maintain their license to teach, yet the educational achievments of our students have been flatlined for 40 years, and have even fallen dramatically in some districts.

Have we really been throwing money at teachers? Teacher salaries have remained fairly constant in inflation-adjusted terms over the past few decades. W have definitely been throwing money at schools. With NCLB testing and gee-whiz-bang "let's give everyone a tablet" initiatives, and insanely overpaid administrators, we're spending way more, but we aren't seeing any results... hm...

Meanwhile home schooled children, taught by parents with no formal training as teachers, outperform government-schooled students so often that the high achieving home schooler has become a cultural meme, if not a cliche.

Charter schools have also been able to deliver superior results at lower cost.

Um, citation needed? Yes, some charter schools are great, but even more are worse.

No, I don't think we need professionally trained well paid teachers. What we need are voucher programs, more home schooling, teachers and schools that have to compete, the utter end to tenure of any kind, and pay/bonuses based on classroom performance instead of seniority.

Because tying pay raises to test performance doesn't give anyone an incentive to cheat. It would never happen.

Opening up the teaching profession to anyone with a bachelor's degree and a demonstrated knowledge of a subject (english, math, science) would be even better. There is no evidence that having a master's degree in early childhood education helps someone teach 3rd graders how to multiply. Let those who want to teach and who are good at it take the field, and get rid of parasitic space takers for whom a teaching job is a state-paid sinecure.

Most of all, outlaw public sector unions so that groups like the NEA aren't able to block real education reform.

I'm all for at-will employment, but let's be honest, if school systems could get away with paying teachers minimum wage, they would. After all, if all you need is demonstrated knowledge of a subject, why don't the 1st graders teach kindergarten? Too far? OK, well, certainly a high school dropout should be OK. After all, they know their colors and how to read "See Spot Run." I'm sure you wouldn't mind handing over your kids to a burnout stoner, right?

Comment: Re:Not true. (Score 1) 984

by johnwallace123 (#43139821) Attached to: Ohio Judge Rules Speed Cameras Are a Scam

Actually, in most states, traffic violations are considered "infractions," which still falls under the criminal court system. However, since the punishment is typically less than six months in jail, you do not usually have the right to a jury trial. The standards of evidence on the other hand still rise to "beyond a reasonable doubt."

That said, it's typically not hard to get to "beyond a reasonable doubt," because officers are trained on how to answer the prosecution's questions in traffic court, because they have to do it so often. A typical example could be:

Prosecutor: How did you know the defendant was speeding?
Officer: I visually esitimated his speed at X, then used my RADAR/LIDAR equipment to get a speed reading of Y (close to X).
Defendant: Are you sure? I wasn't looking at my speedometer, but I know I wasn't speeding!
Officer: I was certified in the use of the equipment on [DATE], and it was last calibrated on [DATE]. Yeah, you were speeding
Judge: Guilty! Next!

Just because it's routine, doesn't mean you don't have rights. Keep in mind that less than 5% of criminal trials actually make it to trial, and those that do nearly always result in conviction.

Comment: Re:Not true. (Score 1) 984

by johnwallace123 (#43137595) Attached to: Ohio Judge Rules Speed Cameras Are a Scam

See, in the US, we like to have this whole "Innocent until PROVEN guilty." We like it so much, it's actually in our constitution!

The idea behind that is the government can't extract any revenue from you unless they have proven (beyond a reasonable doubt, no less) that you have committed the offense. Before you pay for a speeding ticket, you can get in front of a judge and state your case. Heck, you can even say you were speeding, but you have a really good reason for doing so.

Our system isn't perfect; a lot of traffic courts are little more than kangaroo courts, but there's at least an illusion of a chance. If you have to pay a fine up front to challenge the accusation, it isn't fair. Granted, if you are legitimately convicted, you can be made to pay the cost of the court's time, but you take that chance when you challenge .. it's just like a plea bargain vs. going to trial; you have to weigh the risk vs. reward.

In summary, asking for a fine or "administrative charge" before a conviction is unconstitutional.

Comment: Re:Mostly makes sense - outside the USA (Score 1) 351

School administrators (puiblic or private) have a legal 'duty of care' to children. They won't stop parents from taking their kids to modeling agencies or auditions but if they produce something in school, say their major artwork for the matriculation exam, the school can arrange a professional exhibition and prevent students from beign ripped off.

And who is there to prevent the administrators from ripping off the children? After all, since they own the copyright, it's theirs to sell, and of course, we know that kids make stupid decisions with money, so the school will just keep that money and spend it "wisely" (those conferences in Hawaii don't grow on trees!). Better than the kid wasting it on candy or something, right?

It seems like everyone wants a cheap, easy buck off of someone else's work now. What ever happened to earning a living through an honest day's work?

Comment: Re:What is really needed. (Score 1) 768

by johnwallace123 (#37897694) Attached to: Student Loans In America: the Next Big Credit Bubble
I work at one of those non-profit public state universities, and the tuition here is outrageous!

Let's just say you want to get a 4-year degree and take 4 years, and you're getting in-state tuition. Each year, tuition and mandatory fees are just shy of $16,000. Oh, you actually want to live and eat? OK, room + board (on campus with cheapest meal plan) will run you $8500/year. Total over 4 years: $98,000! Throw in a trip home here, pizza there, and you've got a $100,000 education at a land-grant public university! Oh, and how are you going to pay for that? Work, you say? OK, let's assume that you pay no income or payroll tax (HA!); where can you find a part-time job that requires no experience and pays $25k/year (that's $12/hr for full-time work)? Realistically, if you want to do it without taking on debt, you'd need a job that pays closer to $40k/yr. Some people don't even make that WITH a degree.

Now, if a student wants to get a 4-yr degree, the rule of thumb is that they should borrow as much as they make in their first year out of school. Thus, this school (which awards almost 9,000 undergrad degrees each year) should be churning out people with $100k salaries, right? I've got an MS and almost 10 yrs experience, and I still don't make that!

It's not just the "luxury schools" that have the incredible bills. Many places, if you want to get a degree that is nationally recognized, you'll have to spend a lot of money. If mommy and daddy aren't footing the bill, it's either unaffordable or will burden you with non-dischargeable debt for the rest of your life. Congrats, for your hard work and dedication to "getting a degree," so you can "get a job," you get to be a slave to the finance companies so you'll never get out of debt.

The Almighty Buck

Device Protects Day Traders From Emotional Trading 260

Posted by samzenpus
from the never-again dept.
Philips Electronics, a Netherlands-based company, has come up with a device designed to protect day traders from emotionally based trading decisions. The Rationalizer measures your galvanic skin response and lets you know when you are under stress. An online trader can then take a "time-out, wind down and re-consider their actions," according to the company. This may have come too late for us, but at least future generations won't have to live through the horror of angry day trading.

"Once they go up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department." -- Werner von Braun