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Comment: Re:Students will complain (Score 4, Informative) 419

by runlevelfour (#34018674) Attached to: Colleges May Start Forcing Switch To eTextbooks
I am curious where you went to school. Mine tended cost around $50-120 and if you sold it back in mint condition you might get half of that back. Any sort of blemish (dog ear, crease in cover or a page, any marks, worn edges) immediately cut even that miserable sale price in half. Then they restocked the used books at about 10% less than new (regardless of their condition they cost the same in spite of the fact they screwed you based on damage).

Only recently has this monopoly been broken with the advent of online textbook purchasing, and prices are a bit more reasonable on the new prices. They still rape you on the used purchase/sell-back end but that can be circumvented if you keep an ear out and find people who just had the class and you're about to take it. Cut out the middle-man and both sides are happy. Higher learning has become such a racket driven by lust for profit.

Recently taking more classes we used e-book versions which I say was even more of a rip-off. The e-book cost about 40-60% of the dead-tree version, and they revoke access after about six months to a year, and of course you can't sell it back at all. Maybe I am weird but I prefer to keep my textbooks as reference and refreshers.
Education

Science Luminary Martin Gardner Dead at 95 96

Posted by timothy
from the sad-to-note dept.
From James Randi's blog comes word that science writer Martin Gardner has died at the age of 95. I never met Gardner, but one of his books (Entertaining Science Experiments With Everyday Objects) has been a favorite of mine since I was 6 or 7 years old; I didn't realize until just now quite how many books he authored.
Google

Installing Android 2.2 "Froyo" On the Nexus One 154

Posted by timothy
from the just-had-to-be-first-didn't-you dept.
gjt writes "I awoke this morning to see TechCrunch's MG Siegler post what appeared to be the first news of Froyo's availability. I frantically went to my phone's settings and tried to check for an update -oe but no luck. Then I went to xda-developers.com and sure enough there was a very long thread (now over 132 pages) of fellow eager beavers waiting for release (and trying to figure out how to get it). Several hours went by waiting for a semi-technical user to get the update and check the Android logs for the download location. It turns out you can get it straight from Google. With the information scattered around in different places I decided to consolidate the How-To into a single post." Note: According to attached comments, and to the TechCrunch story, it seems this is a staggered rollout, so not every Android owner may be able to try it out yet.
Social Networks

Food Bloggers Giving Restaurant Owners Heartburn 311

Posted by timothy
from the pics-or-it-didn't-happen dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "Call it the invasion of the pasta paparazzi. Food bloggers are so excited about sharing their experiences, especially at trendy, popular restaurants, that they're too busy taking pictures and video to enjoy the food when it's at its best. Many signature dishes come out at the perfect temperature ... take a few minutes to capture what it looks like, and your palate won't be nearly as pleased. Some restaurants have taken the step of banning cameras, or at least have established a 'no flash' rule. Others just want to make sure enthusiastic reviewers are still enthused after eating their food."
Communications

Quantum Teleportation Achieved Over 16 km In China 389

Posted by timothy
from the can-feel-it-from-here dept.
Laxori666 writes "Scientists in China have succeeded in teleporting information between photons farther than ever before. They transported quantum information over a free space distance of 16 km (10 miles), much farther than the few hundred meters previously achieved, which brings us closer to transmitting information over long distances without the need for a traditional signal."
The Courts

Federal Court Issues Permanent Injunction For Isohunt 212

Posted by timothy
from the federal-prisons-are-actually-nicer-than-most dept.
suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from NewTeeVee: "Judge Stephen Wilson of the US District Court of California, Southern District, issued a permanent injunction (PDF) against the popular torrent site Isohunt yesterday, forcing the site and its owner Garry Fung to immediately prevent access to virtually all Hollywood movies. The injunction theoretically leaves the door open for the site to deploy a strict filtering system, but its terms are so broad that Isohunt has little choice but to shut down or at the very least block all US visitors. ... The verdict states that they have to cease 'hosting, indexing, linking to, or otherwise providing access to any (torrent) or similar files' that can be used to download the studios' movies and TV shows. Studios have to supply Isohunt with a list of titles of works they own, and Isohunt has to start blocking those torrents within 24 hours."
Microsoft

Microsoft Windows 3.0 Is 20 Years Today 307

Posted by timothy
from the great-platform-for-playing-jeopardy dept.
siliconbits writes "Some say that the Windows 3.0 GUI (remember, it needed MS-DOS or DR-DOS to work) was the single most important version, as it allowed Microsoft to get its day. The first truly successful Windows operating system is 20 years old today; Windows 3.0 was launched on 22 May 1990 and was the successor to Windows 2.1x."
Education

Conservative Textbook Curriculum Passes Final Vote In Texas 895

Posted by Soulskill
from the maximum-truthiness dept.
suraj.sun sends in a followup to a story we've been following about the Texas Board of Education's efforts to put a more political spin on some of their state's textbooks. From the Dallas Morning News: "In a landmark move that will shape the future education of millions of Texas schoolchildren, the State Board of Education on Friday approved new curriculum standards for US history and other social studies courses that reflect a more conservative tone than in the past. Split along party lines, the board delivered a pair of 9-5 votes to adopt the new standards, which will dictate what is taught in all Texas schools and provide the basis for future textbooks and student achievement tests over the next decade. Texas standards often wind up being taught in other states because national publishers typically tailor their materials to Texas, one of the biggest textbook purchasers in the country. Approval came after the GOP-dominated board approved a new curriculum standard that would encourage high school students to question the legal doctrine of church-state separation — a sore point for social conservative groups who disagree with court decisions that have affirmed the doctrine, including the ban on school-sponsored prayer."
Security

Malware on Hijacked Subdomains, a New Trend? 24

Posted by Soulskill
from the hiding-in-plain-sight dept.
The Unmask Parasites blog discusses a technique attackers are using more and more often recently: modifying a compromised site's DNS settings to redirect various subdomains to different IPs that serve up malware, often leaving site administrators none the wiser. Quoting: "It is clear that hackers have figured out that subdomains of legitimate websites are an almost infinite source of free domain names for their attack sites. With access to DNS settings, they can create arbitrary subdomains that point to their own servers. Such subdomains can hardly be noticed by domain owners who rarely check their DNS records after the initial domain configuration. And they cost nothing to hackers. I wonder if using hijacked subdomains of legitimate websites is a new trend in malware distribution or just a temporarily solution that won't be widely adopted by cybercriminals in the long run (like dynamic DNS domains last September)."
Biotech

The Economist Calls For "Open Source" Biology 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the preparing-for-plague-2.0 dept.
Socguy writes "With the announcement earlier this week that a team of researchers has created the first artificial life, The Economist has been pondering the implications of what this brave new frontier means when the power to build living organisms filters through to anyone with a laptop. Traditional methods of restricting and regulating dangerous technology have more or less worked so far, but The Economist thinks that this time may be different. They are calling for an open system where the 'good guys' can see and counter any dangerous organisms that are released, accidentally or otherwise."
Google

Google Offers Encrypted Web Search Option 288

Posted by Soulskill
from the helping-you-hide-your-pokemon-obsession dept.
alphadogg writes "People who want to shield their use of Google's Web search engine from network snoops now have the option of encrypting the session with SSL protection. In the case of Google search, SSL will protect the transmission of search queries entered by users and the search results returned by Google servers. Google began rolling out the encrypted version of its Web search engine on Friday. 'We think users will appreciate this new option for searching. It's a helpful addition to users' online privacy and security, and we'll continue to add encryption support for more search offerings,' wrote Evan Roseman, a Google software engineer, in an official blog post."
Facebook

A Contrarian Stance On Facebook and Privacy 160

Posted by Soulskill
from the baby-steps dept.
macslocum writes "Amid the uproar over Facebook's privacy maneuvers, Tim O'Reilly offers a contrarian view. He writes: 'The essence of my argument is that there's enormous advantage for users in giving up some privacy online and that we need to be exploring the boundary conditions — asking ourselves when is it good for users, and when is it bad, to reveal their personal information. I'd rather have entrepreneurs making high-profile mistakes about those boundaries, and then correcting them, than silently avoiding controversy while quietly taking advantage of public ignorance of the subject, or avoiding a potentially contentious area of innovation because they are afraid of backlash. It's easy to say that this should always be the user's choice, but entrepreneurs from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg are in the business of discovering things that users don't already know that they will want, and sometimes we only find the right balance by pushing too far, and then recovering.'" Facebook has confirmed it is working on more changes to its privacy policy in response to feedback from users.
Technology

Russian Man Aims To Reinvent "Taser" Technology 131

Posted by timothy
from the hammers-are-cheap-too dept.
Lanxon writes "A Russian man is hoping to overhaul the technology within Taser-type weapons — transforming them from single-shot, short-range devices that stun for a few seconds, into more effective long-range, rapid-fire weapons — by modifying the wires and the type of shock they generate, reports Wired. Non-lethal weapon developer Oleg Nemtyshkin's design uses bare wires, rather than the insulated wires favored by Taser and other stun gun makers. These wires weigh only about one sixteenth as much as insulated wire, providing less drag on the darts and improved accuracy. Nemtyshkin demonstrated his bare wire technology with a prototype – 'Legionary" — in 2001. His latest version is the S5, and a video of the weapon in action shows it firing repeatedly — almost as fast as the trigger can be pulled."
The Courts

Swedish Court Rules ISP Must Reveal OpenBitTorrent Operator's Identity 230

Posted by timothy
from the fess-up-now dept.
2phar writes "An ISP must hand over the identity of the operator behind OpenBitTorrent, a court in Sweden ruled [Wednesday]. The ISP must now reveal the identity of its customer, operator of probably the world's largest torrent tracker, to Hollywood movie companies or face a hefty fine. 'OpenBitTorrent is used for file sharing, and we suspect that it is the Pirate Bay tracker with a new name. It is added by default on all of the torrent tracker files on Pirate Bay,' Hollywood lawyer Monique Wadsted said in an earlier comment. The ruling covers the customer behind the IP addresses 188.126.64.2 and 188.126.64.3 and/or any other IP addresses in Portlane's entire range (188.126.64.0 – 188.126.95.255) which have been allocated to tracker.openbittorrent.com since August 28, 2009."
Education

Most Useful OS For High-School Science Education? 434

Posted by timothy
from the why-in-my-day dept.
Clayperion writes "I teach at a high school program for gifted students which emphasizes math, science, and technology. Currently we have two computer labs for the students: A new programming lab (all Dell PCs running XP, MS Visual C++, Eclipse, and SolidWorks for programming and CAD) and an old general-purpose lab (all Macs running OS X 10.3, with software ranging from some legacy OS 9 science applications to MathCad). Most of our students eventually pursue graduate degrees in science and engineering, and we would like them to have experience with the tools they will find out in industry. As we look to replace the old machines, there has been a push to switch to PCs with XP so that there is only a single platform to support. There are over 5000 machines on the district's network and the IT department is very small (fewer than 10 people), so the fewer hardware and software differences between the machines, the better. Without opening a flame war as to which one is 'better,' I'd like to know what those of you in the science and engineering fields actually use more in your labs (hardware, OS, software), so that we can decide which platform to support. It will most likely have to be either XP or OS 10.6, with very restricted permissions to students and teachers, as that is the comfort level of IT and administration, but I'll push for whatever would benefit the students the most."

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