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Comment: Re:Age of Slashdot Accounts (Score 1) 146

by pridkett (#41412911) Attached to: Get Your 15 Years of Slashdot Shirt (For free, Depending)

I remember visiting Slashdot the day that accounts first went live in 1998. I think they went live around 8am CDT, but for some reason I didn't claim my account until around noon. Now I'm forever saddled with a shameful four digit uid. At least it contains the number of the beast. So, that first day there were at least 2665 accounts registered by about noon.

Comment: How is this different from fivethirtyeight? (Score 4, Insightful) 519

by pridkett (#41269029) Attached to: Poll-Based System Predicts U.S. Election Results For President, Senate

So aside from being a visual disaster and not providing all of the background numbers, how is this different from what Nate Silver has been doing for the last four years? Okay, it allows you to assign a swing, but it's a lot more opaque and seems a lot less robust than what Silver has been doing over at fivethirtyeight.

Comment: Ikea jerker and a normal table (Score 1) 347

by pridkett (#41250147) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's Your Take On Stand-Up Desks?

There's lots of various options for building an easy standup desk, especially if you're close to an Ikea. An easy solution is to stop by Ikea and pick up some Malm side tables and trim to height. That worked well enough for a while, eventually I wanted something better.

The solution was to pick up a used Ikea Jerker desk off Craigslist. I work at that most of the time and when my feet need a rest I'll switch to a small table that's close by. Total cost: $50 and it works great.

That said, it weirds out some people at work how I work standing up. I can't imagine what they'll think once I move in a treadmill.

Comment: What goes around comes around.... (Score 5, Interesting) 253

by pridkett (#33488072) Attached to: Senate Candidate Sued By Copyright Troll

There's some deep irony here. After the Nevada primary Angle changed her website to make her seem more consistent with the mainstream values of the Republican party. The Reid campaign, sensing an opportunity, archived her old website and put it online at http://www.therealsharronangle.com/ This, of course, really irked the Angle campaign who attempted to use copyright law against the Nevada state Democratic party to squash the publication of the site.

Comment: Re:Student effect on economy (Score 1) 344

by pridkett (#30185804) Attached to: Pittsburgh To Tax Students

And while the students do pay some local taxes (sales taxes, etc) other people who work in Pittsburgh pay those taxes, plus they also pay income taxes.

This is not true. One of the problems with Pittsburgh is the number of people who work in the city but don't live in the city, so they can't charge them income tax. For example, the income tax in the city of Pittsburgh is 3%, elsewhere in Allegheny county it's 1%. I know lots of people who live just outside of the city (for example, Wilkinsburg) because it saves them 2% of their paycheck. It's also interesting that Pittsburgh only taxes income that is taxable by the state, this excludes grad student stipends.

The only way around this is to levy a non-income based tax on workers. Which is what they do with the stupidly regressive occupation tax that knocks $52 off everyones paychecks throughout the year. This is actually becoming almost standard in western PA with Robinson and Washington County recently adding it.

I'm not saying this occupation tax is fair, in fact, I think it's stupid and backwards for Pittsburgh, but there are lots of problems with the Pittsburgh tax base. Of course, when your mayor is, well, less than stellar, that causes problems.

Comment: In related news... (Score 1) 433

by pridkett (#29930559) Attached to: Wait For Windows 7 SP1, Support Firm Warns Users

Apparently upgrading your computer can cause all sorts of strange problems that the OS developer couldn't have anticipated. Why just last night my Ubuntu box ate itself when I upgraded to Karmic. Oh wait, this is supposed to be an attempt at a Windows bashing story circa 1998. Okay, move along with the reality distortion field...

Seriously, this passes for news? One support firm says to wait until Windows 7 SP1? The same firm will probably say wait for Windows 7 SP2 once SP1 comes out. In fact, they'll probably caution people against Windows 7 SP1 because of the upgrade process (remember XP SP2 and SP3?). Also, have folks actually looked at this support firm that most people have never heard of? Their web page (http://www.rescuecom.com/) doesn't inspire the greatest confidence. Love the stock photos and the fact they say they'll hook me up with anything.

The fact is Windows 7 is one of the best operating systems from Microsoft ever*. It's solid, it works, it's fast, it's pretty, it has the best multimedia support of any OS, and like it or not, it's going to be the new standard. However, a legacy of bad decisions by partner companies, manufacturers, and even Microsoft has left existing systems with problems -- drivers with memory leaks, crapware, and the occasional security hole. Moving your grandma to Linux because Windows 7 had problems installing on her crapware loaded PC isn't the solution, nor is moving her to a Mac, plan9, haiku, inferno, *bsd, OS/2 warp, xenix, dr-dos, vms, minix, or system z.

Although, if you migrate your grandma to System Z please provide a writeup of how you managed to do it. I've been trying to get my grandma to understand the z/vm hypervisor for years...

* If it helps out, feel free to insert the phrase "Imma let you finish, but..." prior to this sentence

Comment: Better idea: take a research methods class (Score 5, Insightful) 46

by pridkett (#29767763) Attached to: Experimenting On Mechanical Turk

The subject basically says it all. If you're conducting a study, either for academia or industry, do yourself a favor and take a good research methods class. I can't count then number of promising studies I've rejected for publication because their methods were poor. While Dr. Jacobson makes some good points, most of them are pretty obvious to anyone who has taken a good class on creating experiments with humans -- for example, deception is a cornerstone of many human studies. Also, for you budding young scientists, make sure you get IRB approval before conducting your study. I reviewed a paper where the authors were clearly from a University and I had questions about the ethics of their methods so I asked for the IRB data for the study...whoops, they never got it. The paper was withdrawn by the authors shortly after.

Comment: Re:For several reasons no (Score 2, Informative) 664

by pridkett (#26199903) Attached to: Will People Really Boycott Apple Over DRM?

1) The iPhone is the biggest selling single phone on the market, hell they've a 1/3 of the whole market with one device

The OP misspoke slightly, but sometimes stuff can get confusing. The iPhone is the biggest selling phone in the United States, yes, even more than the freebie RAZR (cite). They had 28% back in February of 2008 and now have 30% as of December 2, 2008 -- although the later figure seems more suspect (cite, cite). The supply drop of iPhone-2Gs in the 1Q diminished their numbers quite a bit. Also, the market is smart phones, not just touch screen ones. The largest player in smart phones in the US is Blackberry -- which, well, has been having a less than stellar time with the attempt at the touch screen Storm.

Media

NBC's Zucker Hints At Return to iTunes 68

Posted by Zonk
from the yay-we-can-all-just-get-along dept.
Bad corporate blood led to the collapse of the NBC/Apple business relationship in the fall of last year. Now, via the Engadget news feed, comes word that things may be thawing out between the two. A for-pay article in the Financial Times had words from NBC Universal's COE Jeff Zucker, saying: "'We've said all along that we admire Apple, that we want to be in business with Apple.' He then unexpectedly adds, 'We're great fans of Steve Jobs.' No telling what has caused the turnabout. Perhaps the writers strike gave both parties time to reflect on their mounting lost revenue." The site also notes that NBC signed a deal as part of the recent movie rental announcement, possibly contributing to the thaw. They link to a BusinessWeek article pointing out positive statements from Jobs reciprocating these 'feelings'.
Announcements

+ - Ohio Linuxfest 2007 Schedule Announced->

Submitted by
Damin
Damin writes "The conference schedule for the Ohio Linuxfest 2007 (Saturday, September 29th, Columbus Ohio) has been posted and it contains a suprisingly diverse mix of topics. In it's Fifth year, the conference has been growing steadily and remains free to the public. The list of speakes is quite impressive; Max Spevack, leader of the Fedora Project, kicks off the conference with a presentation on "How Red Hat Continues Learning to Stop Worrying and Love the Community" and Bradley Kuhn former Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation will close out the conference with an evening keynote. Always worth seeing, Jon 'maddog' Hall of Linux International will be on hand as well as Warren Woodford, the founder of MEPIS. Ubuntu, Debian, OpenOffice.Org, Zenoss, PostgreSQL will all be represented.

In addition to the regular fare, there are a few really interesting presentations such as "FOSS and How Developers Pay the Bills", "Are Developers Responsible for Ensuring Users Can Use Their Programs" and this one on using Open Source tools to manage baseball stastistics. Google is apparently planning one hell of an after party. It is hard to argue with the value provided for the cost($0) of this conference. While free and open to anyone, registration is required, and with over 2,000 people expected this year things should be quite hopping!"

Link to Original Source
Microsoft

+ - Bill Gates: Microsoft will support OpenID

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In his RSA conference keynote today, Bill Gates announced the Microsoft will support the decentralized OpenID digital identity protocol, in addition to WS-* and CardSpace. From its roots in LID, the first major deployment in LiveJournal, and now with support from Techorati, Magnolia, Symantec, a suspected mass-deployment by AOL, and a number of startups, using URLs as digital identities seems to be an unstoppable idea.

Key points of Bill Gates on OpenID are transcribed here, video of the full speech is here."
NASA

NASA May Have Killed The Martians 238

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-a-big-oopsie dept.
Sneakernets writes "CNN reports that NASA may have found life on Mars via the Viking space probes in 1976-77, but failed to recognize it and killed it by accident. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a geology professor at Washington State University, says that Mars microbes that the space probes had found were possibly drowned and baked by accident. Other experts said the new concept is plausible, but more work is needed before they are convinced. From the article: 'A new NASA Mars mission called Phoenix is set for launch this summer, and one of the scientists involved said he is eager to test the new theory about life on Mars. However, scientists must come up with a way to do that using the mission's existing scientific instruments, said NASA astrobiologist and Phoenix co-investigator Chris McKay.'"

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