Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:I just don't get it (Score 4, Interesting) 229

by saccade.com (#48511745) Attached to: FBI Seizes Los Angeles Schools' iPad Documents
+1. Our kids' middle school also jumped on the iPad bandwagon. For the most part, the kids hated it. The iPads didn't displace any textbooks, so it was 2 lbs of extra deadweight in their backpacks (tablet+mandatory case & keyboard). It was a source of stress, because on the rare occasions they were actually used in class, you got marked down if your iPad wasn't charged. Assignments still had be printed out and turned in on paper, so a separate PC/Mac was still required. The tablets were supposedly locked down to prevent loading games, etc. but tech-savvy students usually found work-arounds. And some of the edu-ware screw-ups were truly appalling - like the "spelling test" app that didn't disable the iOS dictionary feature. Fortunately, the high-school principals are saner. Quote one: "No, I won't bring tech like tablets into the school just because it's new shiny. It really has to fulfill a serious purpose or solve real problems". Amen.

Comment: Take the money and run (Score 2, Interesting) 54

When the settlement was first announced (works out to $1-2K/defendant) I sent a complaint about the small amount to the generic email address at the plaintiff's law firm. Much to my surprise, one of the lawyers on the case contacted me back. He pointed out the defendant's legal budgets are essentially infinite, and they are more than willing to fight the case to the supreme court. Once you get there, a victory by the plaintiffs are not assured. Remember, these are the guys who handed down Citizen's United. Do you want a new TV now, or a very(!) small chance to get a new car 5-10 years from now? That's what it comes down to.

Comment: Be careful what you wish for (Score 2) 215

by saccade.com (#46985503) Attached to: Plaintiff In Tech Hiring Suit Asks Judge To Reject Settlement
I was also annoyed by the possible $3B win vs. $324M settlement, so I contacted one of the class action plaintiff's lawyers. He called back and I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with him. Among other things, he pointed out the defendants in the case (Apple et. al) have monster legal budgets, and the case will very likely (after many years) be fought all the way to the Supreme court. The current SCOTUS is more corporate than citizen friendly (witness Citizens United, etc.) and a win there is -not- assured. It is sickening to see the lawyers get a big payday, while you (the class member engineers you) are getting a new TV instead of a new car. But the TV is a sure deal, the car most likely is not.

Comment: Graphics doesn't scale well (Score 2) 876

by saccade.com (#46191967) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?
Graphical programming languages were a popular PhD topic 25-30 years ago. You can find them today in systems targeted at kids or non-technical users. But you won't find them anywhere near serious software development. Text is an incredibly dense and powerful medium for communicating with machines. The problem with graphics for programming is they do not scale well. Consider a moderately complex problem, solved in, say, several thousand lines of code. The same thing expressed graphically starts using dozens of pages (or bubbles, or nodes or whatever graphics) to express the same thing. It gets ugly quick.

Several years ago, I did the side by side experiment of expressing the same non-trivial digital circuit (a four digit stopwatch with a multiplexed display) as both a schematic diagram, and as text with Verilog. The graphic (schematic) version was much more time consuming, and *much* harder to modify than the text-based Verilog. It became very clear why digital circuit designers abandoned graphics and switched text for complex designs.

+ - Congressmen Invite Schneier to Brief them on the NSA->

Submitted by saccade.com
saccade.com (771661) writes "Six members of Congress invited security expert Bruce Schneier to brief them on the NSA. Why Bruce? Because, with access to the Snowden documents, he's more forthcoming about the NSA's activities than anybody at the NSA itself. He writes:

Rep. Lofgren asked me to brief her and a few Representatives on the NSA. She said that the NSA wasn't forthcoming about their activities, and they wanted me — as someone with access to the Snowden documents — to explain to them what the NSA was doing. Of course I'm not going to give details on the meeting, except to say that it was candid and interesting. And that it's extremely freaky that Congress has such a difficult time getting information out of the NSA that they have to ask me. I really want oversight to work better in this country.

Ironic: Even though the contents of top-secret, unpublished documents was discussed, the meeting was held in a regular conference room, because Bruce didn't have the necessary security clearance to enter a secure government facility."
Link to Original Source

Comment: How can they sue companies who don't make LEDs? (Score 3, Insightful) 129

I'm puzzled. The patent (at least the one cited in the article) details a very specific method for creating the crystals in LEDs. I can see BU going after various LED manufacturers (Cree, Philips, Panasonic, etc.). But Apple? Microsoft? Those companies re-sell those components, they don't manufacture them.

Physician: One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well. -- Ambrose Bierce