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Comment: Re:Bitcoin (Score 4, Informative) 455

by rgbscan (#46603051) Attached to: Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

Undoing moderation to post this (sorry) but I have first hand knowledge of this having worked in merchant payment processing and setting up these accounts and terminals for customers. The standard VISA contract prohibits you from charging more for card purchases, however you are totally allowed to offer discounts for cash. You can not market the card as costing more (say, posting a sign saying 3% upcharge for VISA customers) but you are completely welcome to post a sign saying 3% discount for paying in cash, using a loyalty card, showing up dressed as a chicken, or whatever. Promotions and discounts are fine and are considered marketing events - "upcharging" VISA customers is not allowed and considered a penalty to customers. As long as you market correctly you're in the clear. VISA's business manual even has examples of this in their do's and do not's section.

Comment: Re:Redefine hunting. (Score 1) 397

by rgbscan (#46565965) Attached to: Drone-Assisted Hunting To Be Illegal In Alaska

Please don't support HobbyKing. Aside from the ethics of them selling chinese knockoffs and second-shift runs of everything in R/C, most of it is junk. I've had three speedos come DOA, a LiPo pack puff in 3 uses, and a charger that showed up unable to charge 1s packs even though it was advertised as being capable of doing so. In only one case did I get a refund, and that was a 7 week adventure involving a Paypal dispute. DIY it yourself with a Arduino based setup or something if you want to keep costs down, but don't sell your soul to the R/C junk cartel.

Comment: Re:Holy cow, a decent idea! (Score 1) 597

by rgbscan (#46246275) Attached to: Financing College With a Tax On All Graduates

Agreed. Add smaller class sizes to the list. I went to a school with a 16:1 teach/student ratio. No giant hall 101 class lectures for me. Every teacher knew my name and knew me well. Cost a bunch extra as a private school over what I could have got in community college or a public institution but I thought it was important.

Comment: Re:Airport wifi (Score 1) 159

by rgbscan (#46121949) Attached to: Canadian Spy Agency Snooped Travelers With Airport Wi-Fi

I recently traveled to the UK and back on Delta on an A330. Their info-tainment system in the seatback had an 8 inch touchscreen panel with both a headphone jack and a usb jack. Plugging it in to USB allowed charging and streaming of any local content you had (provided it was non-drm'd). It was this system, although I couldn't id the manufacturer:

Comment: Re:the second dose is free (Score 1) 314

by rgbscan (#45226433) Attached to: Torvalds: Free OS X Is No Threat To Linux

Snow Leopard was free for a while last year. By download or by disk. As part of the MobileMe shutdown and transition to iCloud, they were giving away Snow Leopard for free to anyone that filled out the form and asked for it, just in case the lack of Snow Leopard was the reason you weren't migrated to iCloud yet. I managed to snag a couple DVDs of the OS direct from Apple. Of course if you missed it, you're SOL now :-)

Comment: Motivation (Score 2) 20

" I was chatting with a learner who was taking an edX course in Krgezistan and he had to drop out half way. Later he told me that he discovered that there were three other students taking the same class in his town close to where he lived, and had he known that, he would have connected with them and stayed the course. Following these learnings, we are encouraging our students to form study groups through meetups, and facilitating this with links to meetup sites in the course introduction email. "

And this is exactly why online courses are not a good option for most people (slashdot folk excluded). Unless you are very good at self motivation and individual work, online courses are a disaster. Having to be physically present, to hand something in or be shamed, to have the pressure of knowing the right answer if the professor chooses to call on you, to having a piece in a group project and knowing you're letting real world people down if you don't do your part, etc, etc. These are all things the traditional settings brings that the MOOC's can't touch.

I'm definitely the slashdot type and generally love learning for the sake of learning (I'm actually wrapping up my 3rd college degree right now). I can say from experience though, while I might love pulling out an Objective-C book and picking and choosing the bits I want to learn to whip out an App quickly, there's no way I can function well in an online classroom. I'll put off the deliverables that bore me until the very last minute. I'm very relectutant to engage in the required "chat sessions" and mandatory "post in the forum once per week and respond to three other students posts" type of setup you see in online classes. It just hasn't worked for me. As an anonymous learner among hundreds I don't feel any peer pressure or implied social connections that would motivate me to get over the hump on some of the busy work.

When the EdX guy himself is saying that physical presence and study groups are to be encouraged, you can see this whole on-line thing isn't the panacea our politicians keep touting. They are perfect for a certain subset of learners. Great for them, but not a silver bullet for the rest of us.

"If John Madden steps outside on February 2, looks down, and doesn't see his feet, we'll have 6 more weeks of Pro football." -- Chuck Newcombe