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Crime

Justice Not As Blind As Previously Thought 256

Posted by samzenpus
from the too-pretty-for-jail dept.
NotSoHeavyD3 writes "I doubt this is much of a surprise but apparently Cornell University did a study that seems to show you're more likely to get convicted if you're ugly. From the article: 'According to a Cornell University study, unattractive defendants are 22 percent more likely to be convicted than good-looking ones. And the unattractive also get slapped with harsher sentences — an average of 22 months longer in prison.'"

Comment: Re:Eyecandy in cost of usability (Score 1) 1124

by keithius (#29521905) Attached to: Firefox To Replace Menus With Office Ribbon

Some line had to be drawn at which features were used most often; those that their user data said were used less frequently were the ones that were moved to other tabs (i.e, not the "Home" tab).

BTW, the "auto-fit" option is on the "Home" tab in Excel 2007; it's in the "Cells" group, under the "Format" button.

Comment: Re:Eyecandy in cost of usability (Score 5, Informative) 1124

by keithius (#29520493) Attached to: Firefox To Replace Menus With Office Ribbon

There is no "algorithm" in the ribbon, unlike in earlier (menu driven!) versions of Office.

Unlike the menus in, say, Office XP or Office 2003, where some items were "hidden" until you used them, in the ribbon EVERYTHING is there. It doesn't try to "adapt" to you. Sure, you have to re-learn where a lot of stuff is, but that was often the case before the ribbon came out as well (because more features kept getting squeezed into a menu-driven UI that just wasn't made for a program with that many options).

The only thing that changes in the ribbon are some contextual tabs that show up at the end, e.g., when you have selected a picture or a table. These tabs are meaningless normally, so they are hidden. But they don't re-arrange themselves based on your usage patterns - they are static and don't change.

Comment: Re:Eyecandy in cost of usability (Score 2) 1124

by keithius (#29520417) Attached to: Firefox To Replace Menus With Office Ribbon

Well.. yes, and no. Bob and Clippy were certainly the result of research I'm sure, but not the kind of research that went into the ribbon.

The ribbon was built using feedback from that program in Office which started in... Office XP I think ... that let you send usage data back to Microsoft. So unlike all previous versions of office, with the ribbon Microsoft actual had REAL data to go on, from a much larger sample than they ever could have put together in their UI testing labs. And that can make a really, really big difference!

Comment: Re:Eyecandy in cost of usability (Score 4, Informative) 1124

by keithius (#29520367) Attached to: Firefox To Replace Menus With Office Ribbon

The link you are probably looking for is this one:

http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/archive/2006/11/10/the-office-2007-ui-bible.aspx

It's a link to Jensen Harris's Office 2007 blog, where he collects all the articles he wrote about the Office 2007 UI (the "ribbon"), explains WHY it is the way it is, provides (IMHO) rather insightful comparisons against the old menu & toolbar paradigm, and generally does a good job of explaining why they chose the ribbon over the "status quo" of toolbars and menus.

That said, a ribbon-based UI is not always the answer - like toolbars and menus, it can be abused by people who don't think UI design through carefully enough, but it is a clever and intuitive answer to "option overload."

Comment: Re:Angels and Demons (Score 1) 305

by keithius (#28055449) Attached to: RIAA MediaSentry, Dead In US, Is Alive In Australia

Every last one of you honestly believes that downloading Angels and Demons is exactly the same thing as refusing to give up your seat on a bus because of the color of your skin? Honestly? HONESTLY?

No, that's what we call an ANALOGY, or for the nitpicky among us, a SIMILE. Even though the poster did say "exactly like," its clear from context that they were not speaking literally. No need to get so worked up about it. (Unless, y'know, you enjoy getting worked up like that.)

Privacy

Flash Cookies, a Little-Known Privacy Threat 225

Posted by kdawson
from the flashblock-considered-mandatory dept.
Wiini recommends a blog posting exploring Flash cookies, a little-known threat to privacy, and how you can get control of them. 98% of browsers have Macromedia Flash Player installed, and the cookies it enables have some interesting properties. They have no expiration date; they store 100 KB of data by default, with an unlimited maximum; they can't be deleted by your browser; and they send previous visit information and history, by default, without your permission. I was amazed at some of the sites, not visited in a year or more, that still had Flash cookies on my machine. Here's the user-unfriendly GUI for deleting them, one at a time, each one requiring confirmation.
Image

Slashdot's Disagree Mail 167 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the crazy-is-as-crazy-does dept.
I get a lot of mail from obviously unbalanced people. Enough in fact, that I've often wondered if there was a institution that allowed their patients to only read Slashdot. We've even had a few visits from some questionable individuals. A man who tried to bribe me with a car if I let him "reverse engineer" Rob Malda's Life comes to mind. He insisted on Rob being present for the process and couldn't explain to me what it entailed, so I suggested he leave. The personal visits are rare, however, compared to the amount of mail I get. Here are a few of my favorites; let's hope these people have started to take their medication. Read below and don't be worried if you don't understand all of it.
Patents

EU Patent Staff Go On Strike 116

Posted by timothy
from the stop-exploiting-me dept.
h4rm0ny writes "Last Friday, staff at the European Patent Office went on strike. They protested outside for several hours and issued a statement claiming that 'the organisation is decentralising and focusing on granting as many patents as possible to gain financially from fees generated.' They also declared this as being disastrous for innovation and that their campaign was not for better wages, but for better quality patents. Meanwhile, an article on it discusses the US's own approach to dealing with the increasing flood of patent applications: a community patent project to help identify prior art. It might sound like a grass-roots scheme, and maybe it is, but those roots include such patent behemoths as IBM. So it looks like on both sides of the Atlantic, some signs of sanity might be emerging in the patent world from those people right in the thick of it." Note, this was a half-day strike, not ongoing.
Science

LHC Success! 1007

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the good-news-everybody dept.
Tomahawk writes "It worked! The LHC was turned on this morning and has been shown to have worked. Engineers cheered as the proton particles completed their first circuit of the underground ring which houses the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). (And we're all still alive, too!)" Here is a picture from the control room which I'm sure makes sense to someone that isn't me.
Image

Slashdot's Disagree Mail 426 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the unsubscribe-me dept.
Everyone likes to belong to something. Whether it be for fun, a sense of belonging, or a need for attention, a group gives you a feeling of solidarity. Surrounding yourself with people that share common goals and ideas can be comforting. Sometimes however, you realize that you hate the people you've surrounded yourself with. Your religion doesn't allow you to read anything that has profanity or you've subscribed to Slashdot thinking you could learn more about hockey. This week's collection is composed of people who don't want to play, read, or be associated with us anymore. Read below to find out how bad they want out.
Image

Dallas Schools Extend Homework Due Dates Indefinitely 8 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the making-idiocracy-seem-more-likely-one-day-at-a-time dept.
New classroom grading rules in Dallas are drawing fire from teachers and parents as being too lenient on lazy students. The new rules would require teachers to accept late work, give retests to students who fail and force teachers to drop homework grades that would drag down a student's class average. Nancy Bingham, a former teacher, said that she didn't think the rules would help really lazy students adding, "If the kid is hell-bent on failing, they're going to fail anyway." Dallas school superintendent Michael Hinojosa disagrees, saying, "Our mission is not to fail kids. Our mission is to make sure they get it, and we believe that effort creates ability." It's a lot easier to reach for the stars if you lower the sky.
PC Games (Games)

Referee Recommends Disbarment For Jack Thompson 280

Posted by timothy
from the disbar-is-such-a-harsh-word dept.
spielermacher writes "GamePolitics is reporting that Jack Thompson — the lawyer every gamer loves to hate — has apparently lost his court case and is facing disbarment. The Referee in the case has gone beyond the Florida Bar's request for a 10-year disbarment and is recommending a lifetime ban. From the Final Report issued by the court: '... the Respondent has demonstrated a pattern of conduct to strike out harshly, extensively, repeatedly and willfully to simply try to bring as much difficulty, distraction and anguish to those he considers in opposition to his causes. He does not proceed within the guidelines of appropriate professional behavior ...' All I can say is that it's about time."

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