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Comment: One of the best investments I've ever made (Score 1) 359 359

Perhaps TI calculators don't make sense anymore, but I consider my TI-85 (purchased in 1994) to be one of the best investments I've ever made. This calculator got me through undergrad, two Masters in Engineering, and has been used in every job. The calculator is still functioning and gets used on a weekly basis because It's really much faster for small calculations/basic arithmetic than R or Excel.

And then there's the countless hours I spent playing Tetris and Drug Wars on it when I was supposed to be paying attention to class.

Comment: Re:I am a bit worried about the "fill in the shape (Score 1) 206 206

i agree, the description of the algorithm is too vague to really understand what is going on.

30 seconds of googling turned up this brief lecture on compressed sensing. written for undergrads, "the prerequisites for understanding this lecture note material are linear algebra, basic optimization, and basic probability."
http://dsp.rice.edu/sites/dsp.rice.edu/files/cs/baraniukCSlecture07.pdf

side note: rich baraniuk was one of the best professors i had in undergrad

Security

+ - SPAM: Meet the Military's Cyber-Security Forces

destinyland writes: How exactly would the military fight a cyber war? In August 2009, the U.S. Air Force activated its new cyberspace combat unit, the 24th Air Force, to "provide combat-ready forces trained and equipped to conduct sustained cyber operations." It's commanded by former Minuteman missile and satellite-jamming specialist Major General Richard Webber. (And under his command are two wings, the 688th Information Operations Wing and the 67th Network Warfare Wing, plus a combat communications units.) Meanwhile, to counter the threat of cyber warfare, DARPA is still deploying the National Cyber Range, a test bed of networked computers to test countermeasures against "cyberwar". (According to one report, it provides "a virtual network world — to be populated by mirror computers and inhabited by myriad software sim-people 'replicants,' and used as a firing range in which to develop the art of cyber warfare.") The Obama administration has even added a military cybersecurity coordinator to the National Security team.
Link to Original Source

Comment: connexions (Score 1) 178 178

i was one of several undergrads working with rich baranuik on connexions back in 2000. i don't know how much has changed since then, but the philosophy behind the idea really intrigued me.

the goal is to create stand-alone "modules" of information, typically short and on a single topic. these are then placed in a repository from which anyone else can mix and match to create their own course. another appealing aspect was that courses no longer had to be linear, but could bounce around as the instructor saw fit.

connexions also works to separate content from design, which allows an author to focus on content creation without having to worry about presentation.

Comment: Re:why is PACER even allowed to charge? (Score 3, Insightful) 145 145

I agree that stuff like this should be free since it is, after all, subsidized by our tax dollars.

But you're mistaken if you think it costs them nothing to make available to you these electronic documents. They have to (1) buy and maintain servers and storage, (2) pay the people to install and maintain that hardware, and (3) pay for electricity and cooling.

Comment: Re:Debt to society? (Score 1) 358 358

Then you haven't heard what's going on in Miami:

In Miami, a causeway in the middle of Biscayne Bay has become home to one of the county's least desirable populations: sex offenders.

What began a few years ago as a stopgap solution has become de facto public policy. For sex offenders with few resources who want to stay in Miami, there's just one option: an encampment of tents and shacks on the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

The encampment got started a few years ago, when Miami-Dade County, like other communities across the country, adopted an ordinance banning sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of anywhere that children gather.

from NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104150499

Comment: Do you live near a technology company? (Score 1) 364 364

When I worked at Micron Technology in Boise, ID, we had a volunteer program that would go into the classroom to teach about basic circuits. Using a breadboard, transistors and a few LEDs the kids received a fun, hands-on introduction to electronics. I participated a few times and had a lot of fun, especially since the company was paying for a day out of the office. And, as far as I know, the teacher just had to call up and request the electronics lab. Worth a shot?

Comment: Re:Really?!? (Score 1) 413 413

you need to have enough launch vehicles to maintain your second strike capability, without which it might be advantageous for your adversary to strike first. so the question is: are 500 launch vehicles enough to (1) survive the initial attack and (2) successfully hit back with enough force that deterrence is still credible?

egrep patterns are full regular expressions; it uses a fast deterministic algorithm that sometimes needs exponential space. -- unix manuals

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