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Comment "...Um, International standards" (Score 1) 698

I once (many years ago) found myself in the same room with the manager responsible for Apple's peripherals, including keyboards. I asked (actually, begged) him to get rid of the stupid Caps Lock key. All he did was mumble something about "international standards" required for big corporate/government sales. So maybe the solution is to get corporations & governments to change their keyboard requirements. (Yeah, good luck with that...). In the mean time, every major OS has a tool or setting to make Caps lock control. Once you set that up, you don't even notice it any more.

Submission + - Are Bug Bounties the Right Solution for Improving Security? ( writes: Coding Horror's Jeff Atwood is questioning if the current practice of paying researchers bounties for the software vulnerabilities they find is really improving over-all security. He notes how the Heartbleed bug serves as a counter example to "Linus's Law" that "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow".

...If you want to find bugs in your code, in your website, in your app, you do it the old fashioned way: by paying for them. You buy the eyeballs.

While I applaud any effort to make things more secure, and I completely agree that security is a battle we should be fighting on multiple fronts, both commercial and non-commercial, I am uneasy about some aspects of paying for bugs becoming the new normal. What are we incentivizing, exactly?

Comment NSF Young Investigator Awards (Score 1) 153

Back when I was in school (1980's), the NSF recognized this problem and had a special grant ("NSF Young Investigator Award") that would issue small to medium sized grants to faculty under a certain age. I took a quick spin on Google, couldn't tell if the program (or something similar) still exists. Even though the grants weren't large, it enabled junior faculty to get a "Principle Investigator" line on their CV, hopefully enabling future funding.

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

+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.

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