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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: And that is why.... (Score 4, Insightful) 599

I, an active professor and research scientist, drive a 1982 Dodge Ram Pickup. No tracking, no disconnect, easy to work on engine. I will keep this baby going for the rest of my life, and no company will be tracking my whereabouts. (So long as I remember to turn off my cell phone, which I usually do.)

Comment: Re:Don't poke the peons (Score 5, Interesting) 218

by pngwen (#45232821) Attached to: 87-Year-Old World War II Veteran Takes On the TSA

They did willingly sign up to work for the TSA. They have also witnessed and participated in violations of American's rights, and they remain at their posts. Therefore they are culpable as traitors to the cause of liberty. Should justice ever prevail, their heads will line the streets of our free cities!

Comment: Cushiest Job Ever (Score 1) 177

by pngwen (#44923061) Attached to: NSA Posts Opening For "Civil Liberties & Privacy Officer"

All you do is just rubber stamp all the plans which cross your desk.

Well, maybe you have to sort it into two piles. "Stuff we admit to" and "Stuff that will piss off the whole civilized world" Still, this would be very easy. It's the only job which will do less than a police departments internal investigation board!

Comment: It has for undergrad, not so much for the grads (Score 5, Informative) 605

by pngwen (#42912543) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is the Bar Being Lowered At Universities?

I am a college instructor, and I have been for about 7 years now. I'll be upgrading to professor soon, so I can tell you first hand that your observations are quite correct. The undergraduate education system of the USA is considered to be the laughing stock of the academic world. However, our graduate schools are perceived as the best in the world. The reason for this is the utter failure of our public primary schools.

Think of it this way. The average high school graduate in the US can only read on a 6th grade reading level. They come to me, a scholar in the field of Computer Science, and I have to try to teach them complex mathematical ideas that are only truly expressible in a new language. I have a couple of options. I can either dumb down my course to give them a chance, or I can maintain my integrity and demand that they come up to speed. The answer is that I have to do a mixture of them. If I taught as I was supposed to, my student success rate would plummet and my perception scores would be low, hence I would be fired. However, if I make the course too easy, I've polluted my own field in the next generation. Instead, I try to ramp them up with basic skills, but push them just to the edge of what their minds can actually handle. I also try to encourage them in other areas of study outside my own. Most of my students consider me a very tough but fair instructor, and most are grateful for my help. However, I do fail a larger percentage of my students than other instructors. Most have gone the field pollution route.

This is a serious problem in our society. One thing we could do to fix it is stop pushing college so hard. Many of my kids would be better served in a tradeschool than a university, and yet they are pressured to come to me. They waist 4 years of their lives, learn nothing usable, and then end up back where they started.

Oh, and one last thought. About the perception of the rest of the world. If you have a Bachelor's degree, that basically brings you up to par with the high school graduates in other countries. That also brings you up to the level your grandparents in the US had when they finished High School. We need to stop the degradation of the primary schools, but we never will. No child left behind has basically ensured that all future generations of Americans will be too stupid to find their a**hole with both hands.

Comment: My distros date me a little... (Score 1) 867

by pngwen (#41468215) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Distros Have You Used, In What Order?

Yggdrasil -> Slackware -> Redhat (for an hour)->
Debian -> Slackware -> Gentoo -> Knoppix -> Ubuntu ->
Gentoo (Forever!)

UNIX wise, I've owned HP-UX machines, 1 AIX server,
FreeBSD, OpenBSD, then NetBSD

Prior to Yggdrasil, I had a cross compiled linux from scratch sort of setup. Ah, those were good days!

Comment: Full disclosure is the most ethical path. (Score 3, Interesting) 517

by pngwen (#38243820) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: To Hack Or Not To Hack?

The most ethical thing you can do is fully disclose the hack to the media, and to as many websites as possible. This will force the developers to either fix the problem or let the company go down in flames. If you keep it secret, innocent pepole will be harmed when their information is leaked by the faulty code. If you could hack it, others can too. They may be less altruistic about what they find.

Write to 2600, call your local media, write to your newspaper, post the info here, go to the forums, and take the word to the street!

Comment: Re:How do I go back to the previous version? (Score 1) 2254

by pngwen (#35004684) Attached to: Slashdot Launches Re-Design

I say we implement a program which scrapes all of slashdot's content and presents it in the old format. Add a couple of ads in there and maybe we could make a buck or two off it.

Honestly though, I believe that all the code these "designers" created really amounts to a lengthy suicide note for slashdot. I've been here since 1997, and I won't be here much longer.

Comment: Major suckage (Score 1) 2254

by pngwen (#35004188) Attached to: Slashdot Launches Re-Design

One thing I loved about slashdot was the simple theme. No floating themes, no waisted screen real estate. Whether I was on a small screen or a 20" monitor it always worked. This design, however, is poor on all screens. It is annoying and wasteful.

I have been a loyal reader for 13.5 years. I found slashdot mere months after its founding. If you do not undo these changes, I will no longer come here for news. I cannot abide this atrocity. I will tell my students henceforth to avoid this site, and i will actively campaign against it. Change back to something reasonable, and I will continue to evangelize this site to the geeks of tomorrow.

The choice, sadly, is yours.

-Bob, the once loyal

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun