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Comment: If roles were reversed, would it make sense? (Score 1) 205

by smith6174 (#47613261) Attached to: MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated
I think there are competing interests in higher education, and we might be ignoring the contradictions it creates. We model the university as a machine that puts courses into students, usually including a per-course score. It is arbitrary how those courses are divided, otherwise schools on a trimester system or something more unique would create a world of confusion. More confusion comes with the scores, where some schools aren't on a 4.0 scale. From this angle, schools want to produce as many high scores as possible, and the want those scores to be meaningful. The contradiction comes from the university as a whole, getting paid per course and only assigning real value after enough has been paid. Just try obtaining a broadly respected degree using credits mostly obtained from another source! We have granted a monopoly on verifying knowledge to the same institutions that also sell that knowledge. Is it any mystery why phrases like "well-rounded" and "comprehensive" are used so frequently? SO, if roles were reversed, and we could evaluate someone's knowledge without relying on the institution that sold them the knowledge, would universities even make sense? Imagine that MIT went into the business of verifying knowledge obtained elsewhere, and of course they would still try to say the knowledge they sell themselves is better. If MIT wants to give away the knowledge for free in any sized chunks, I don't care. The real issue is that there is nobody verifying knowledge independently, except fly-by-night degree mills that also charge money.

Comment: Am I missing Something? (Score 1) 78

by smith6174 (#46274645) Attached to: New Encryption Scheme Could Protect Your Genome
I studied bioinformatics, but I've never understood this illusion of a bunch of goofball scientists toiling away in lab coats somewhere. Modern personal computers are more than capable of doing whatever analysis an individual user might want done. You want expert analysis of your results? Ask a doctor, who is already legally required to keep everything confidential.

Comment: Re:To quote Betteridge's law (Score 1) 115

by smith6174 (#45247853) Attached to: Is Google Building a Floating Data Center In San Francisco Bay?
"Half the energy cost of a datacenter goes on cooling" And now the cost will be replaced by a mobile generator or a really long power cord? I think it is obvious that Google is involved, but why jump to conclusions about energy savings? Isn't it more likely that putting a data center on a barge will save real estate costs and property taxes?

Comment: Location, Location, Location (Score 1) 216

by smith6174 (#44737963) Attached to: Facebook To Overhaul Data Use Policy
Am I the only one that notices that the Facebook iPhone app reads your location every time you use it too? Why wasn't this mentioned? Presumably they are just innocently trying to give me the best location-specific advertising, but their reasons don't concern me. They know where you are whenever you use the app.

Comment: WHY WHY WHY? (Score 1) 102

by smith6174 (#38453752) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Open Source License For Guitar?
Don't get me wrong, I love open source, and custom guitars are really cool, but what in the world is the point? A quick internet search brings up schematics for every meaningful electric guitar built in the past 50 years. Have you invented a new way to wrap the pickup coils, or invented a new way to wire up volume knobs? It isn't like Fender and Gibson have a monopoly, and wood does grow on trees. You can shape the thing any way you want with tools available at any hardware store. Are you really obsessed with a license for something that anybody could build using commodity parts? I suggest just take pictures of your process and put it in a blog with blueprints or something.

Comment: Right, the world would end... (Score 1) 597

by smith6174 (#33458194) Attached to: AMD Hates Laptop Stickers As Much As You Do
Would the world end instantly if forced to make quality products? It seems like almost all companies compete by making their products cheaper. This means reducing quality and selling space for ads and other crapware. Stickers have never helped sell a computer, for the simple reason that for all of the product's useful life a sticker only shows how obsolete you are. I have owned computers with stickers: windows 98, Y2k, Celeron, etc. How many of these stickers influenced ANYONE who was looking for a new computer. On the other hand, yes I paid more for a mac. No cool stickers. However, it makes quite an impression when you trip on the power cord and nothing bad happens due to the magsafe. Buy whatever you want I guess.

Comment: Preserved for historical significance? (Score 1) 1

by smith6174 (#33253106) Attached to: 100-year-old Scotch pulled from frozen crate - Yah
What are they even thinking saving it for historical significance? Why don't they just enjoy it or sell it off to high bidders? What a waste. Are we saving it for when humans are really screwed during the apocalypse? Are we waiting until we are responsible enough to handle Gizmo-gremlin pets? I personally would be much more excited about drinking the real historical item, rather than a recreation. How are they even going to advertise the replica? "This whiskey tastes as close as we could to a famous historical stash, which we destroyed in an anal-retentive attempt to preserve history."

Comment: Who cares? (Score 1, Insightful) 973

by smith6174 (#33188026) Attached to: Abandon Earth Or Die, Warns Hawking
I don't want to seem like a total pessimist, but I don't care at all what happens to the human race. If every human dies because of a meteor or something, the universe won't even notice. I think it is a bit premature, since we have never publicly met any others, to believe that our species is worthy of being preserved and expanded beyond earth. Thanks for the books, Hawking, but there has to be higher priority things to do.

Comment: Holy BFD! (Score 1) 245

by smith6174 (#33185002) Attached to: Kmart Briefly Offers $149 Android Tablet
Really? $20 off on a product I've never heard of? I try to stay positive when I think of Kmart's future, but I don't think anyone is going to be waiting in line at midnight for this thing. This is the same company that a few years ago had such a bad reputation that it's stock was selling for a third of what its real estate was worth.

Comment: Whatever (Score 5, Insightful) 659

by smith6174 (#33112424) Attached to: Obama Sets End of Iraq Combat For August 31st
So, we are ending "combat operations" but keeping the soldiers with guns there? It's only slightly comforting to hear that nothing has changed in the military since I got out (Only in an "at least it isn't me" way). This used to be the trick they would pull on all the missions I was on. When people get tired, just tell them it's almost over, whether it really is or not. Since I'm allowed to think now, what does an end to combat operations really mean? It sounds like they are just going to end combat pay.

If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst

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