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Comment: Still relevant (Score 1) 164

by phormalitize (#35452280) Attached to: Should Public Libraries Become Hacker Spaces?
Even though technology and digital content is replacing printed material for many people, the same people who use libraries now (those with lower income such as students, etc.) will still need them. Books are far less expensive than the technology needed to read digital copies; in some ways the digital revolution may make things less accessible to poor and less fortunate people. As they have previously, libraries can help bridge this disparity - I hope they come up with a feasible solution that continues to allow wide access to these materials.

Comment: Level of Confidence in Statistics (Score 2, Insightful) 81

by phormalitize (#31415044) Attached to: Cybercrooks Surpassed Old School Bankrobbers In '09
My guess is that the government doesn't publish the statistics because they aren't able to accurately collect such data for various reasons (general inability to establish effective metrics, reluctance of affected entities to disclose detailed data, etc.) There would have to be some kind of consensus about what needed to be collected, and probably more laws passed to force companies to disclose it...

Comment: More than just a privacy concern. (Score 1) 6

by phormalitize (#31204962) Attached to: My school wants my finger prints for my work study
This is also a security concern. When someone who wants access to your system or your place of work, and they steal an ID card or a password, you can recover by getting a new ID or password. When someone steals your fingerprint, they can't exactly issue you a new one.

Granted, you have to have a pretty motivated attacker to go through the trouble of duplicating your fingerprints, so the average person is safe - but the more systems that use this as an identification/authentication measure, the more incentive there will be for attackers to develop easier and more efficient ways of attacking it. It's good you're not taking it lightly.
Games

+ - SPAM: Amazing tales of gaming world records

Submitted by almehdaaol
almehdaaol (1669586) writes "Setting a world record in videogames is no easy task. Whether it's playing videogames for hours and hours non-stop or decorating your own room with as much gaming memorabilia as possible, these records show how hardcore gamers can be. Check out our compilation of gaming world record stories inside."
Link to Original Source
Math

+ - Math anxiety affects skills as basic as counting-> 1

Submitted by thirty-seven
thirty-seven (568076) writes "According to four Canadian psychologists, a study they have conducted shows that math anxiety, "the feeling of fear and dread of performing mathematical calculations", can negatively affect mathematical tasks much simpler and more basic than previously thought.

In the study, participants were asked to count black squares on a white screen. The number of squares shown ranged from one to nine and participants were given as much time as they wanted before answering. When the number of squares was in the subitizing range (one to four), both math-anxious and non-math-anxious participants performed equally well, but when the number of squares was in the counting range (five to nine), the math-anxious group took longer and were less accurate.

The University of Waterloo's news release about the study includes this interesting note: "Previous studies have shown that a weakness in basic math abilities has a greater negative effect on employment opportunities than reading difficulties [do].""

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Privacy

+ - My school wants my finger prints for my work study 6

Submitted by BonesSB
BonesSB (1555105) writes "I'm a student at a University in Massachusetts, where I have a federal work-study position. Yesterday, I got an email from the office that is responsible for student run organizations (of which one I work for) saying that I need to go to their office and have my finger prints taken for the purposes of clocking in and out of work. This raises huge privacy concerns for me, as should it everybody else. I am in the process of contacting the local newspaper, getting the word out to students everywhere, and talking directly to the office regarding this. I got an email back with two very contradictory sentences: "There will be no image of your fingerprints anywhere. No one will have access to your fingerprints. The machine is storing your prints as a means of identifying who you are when you touch it." Does anybody else attend a school that requires something similar? This is an obvious slippery slope, and something I am not taking lightly. What else should I do?"
United Kingdom

New Linux-Based Laptop For Computer Newbies 198

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the bad-software-knows-no-bounds dept.
Smivs writes "The BBC is carrying a report on how people confused and frustrated by computers can now turn to a laptop called Alex built just for them. Based on Linux, the laptop comes with simplified e-mail, web browsing, image editing and office software. Those who sign up for Alex pay £39.95 a month for telephone support, software updates and broadband access. The Newcastle-Based Broadband Computer Company who developed Alex has been working on this project for three years, and didn't immediately adopt a Linux solution — in fact, the first big trial was based on Windows. The company's Chief Technology Officer Barney Morrison-Lyons says that was never going to be the right route: 'The biggest problem with Microsoft is badly-written software — the operating system allows you to write software badly unlike Mac or Linux.' Mr. Hudson, one of the company's founders, said the company also intends to launch an application store for Alex for customers who want to add more features and functions to their computer. 'People who love Linux will be keen to develop for this,' he said."
Google

Google Buys iPhone Search App, Kills It 223

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the throw-money-at-it dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "PC World reports that Google has acquired a popular iPhone application called reMail that provides 'lightning fast' full-text search of your Gmail and IMAP e-mail accounts. The app downloads copies of all your e-mail which can then be searched with various Boolean options. reMail has only been in the application store for about six months — with a free version limited to one Gmail account and a premium version which can connect to multiple accounts. 'Google and reMail have decided to discontinue reMail's iPhone application, and we have removed it from the App Store,' writes company founder Gabor Cselle, who will be returning to Google as a Product Manager on the Gmail team. Google isn't saying what the fate of reMail might be. Some are suggesting reMail could be integrated into Gmail search or live on in some form as a part of Android, Google's mobile platform. Another possibility is that Google may have snapped up reMail just to kill it, not because reMail was a competitor to anything Google had, but because reMail made the iPhone better or the acquisition may have more to do with keeping good search technology away from the competition, as opposed to an attempt to undercut the iPhone. 'Perhaps Google is just planning to buy up all the iPhone developers, one at a time, until Android is the only game in town,' writes Bill Ray at the Register."

Comment: Re:Effectively? (Score 1) 269

by phormalitize (#31198620) Attached to: Looking Back From the 1980s At Computers In Education
Sure - I think overall technology is great for education, I played educational games on various devices and eventually computers when I was a kid and I think it had a lot of value. Kids respond well to that kind of thing. But most technology kind of takes the approach "learning is fun!" and I think that yes, learning is fun, but it's also hard work. Students sitting in classrooms are going to get bored sometimes, and they're going to have to swallow stuff they don't really enjoy or have a lot of interest in. When the enter the workplace, in general the problem only gets worse. Traditional classroom learning teaches kids to focus and interact well, in addition to the material itself. And while it may seem like an eternity to a kid, teachers actually don't have a lot of time to teach each lesson - so when they try to throw a computer lesson in too often, I think it destroys the focus and can take away from the real points the kids should be absorbing (a lot of this can also be caused because teachers don't understand how to fix the technology when it breaks, and kids are great at causing technology to do unusual things).

So anyway, I didn't mean to imply I thought technology had no value whatsoever in the classroom, but I think it should be used very stringently and is more useful as an outside-of-class supplement than an integral tool.

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