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Comment: Classes aren't requirements... (Score 1) 656

by sohmc (#43874645) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Important Is Advanced Math In a CS Degree?

An important lesson I learned after college is that not every "requirement" is an actual requirement. Requirements like classes are often hurdles that are placed to either weed out people who don't want to do the hard work. Sometimes they are there to seem accredited to other organizations, allowing the school to justify their degrees.

I couldn't get a CompSci degree for the same reason. I couldn't handle calc. I got As in all my programming classes, but couldn't do the math.

I would say CS requires more creative thinking than logical thinking, but both are needed. However, in my every day life, I use maybe an Algebra 2 level type math?

Unless you're going to be writing video games or the like, you probably don't need it. But unfortunately, nothing you can do about it if the school is requiring you to.

You can do what I'm doing: get an English degree, show off your computer skills, and tell employers that with my geekiness and my English skills, I make great presentations and write very well.

Comment: Before you call the kettle black... (Score 1) 716

by sohmc (#43780557) Attached to: Web of Tax Shelters Saved Apple Billions, Inquiry Finds

Remember: most American's take advantage of the "legal loophole" called the itemized deduction.

You are under no legal obligation to itemize your deductions. And, unless I'm mistaken, you do not have to claim all your allowances.

Yes, I realize there is a huge difference between corporations skipping on millions in taxes, but they are taking advantage of the various tax laws that allow them to lower their tax liability, like any one of us do on April 15th.

The problem is not the corporations but the laws. I'd like to see a more simple tax system so that I don't have to spend an entire weekend figuring out how much I need to pay the government. Then again, I'm sure flying cars are more of a realistic possibility than our tax system being fixed.

Comment: The "ick" factor (Score 1) 626

by sohmc (#43709479) Attached to: UN Says: Why Not Eat More Insects?

It doesn't matter how ingenious, how wonderful, or how awesome a product is. If people don't want it, they won't buy it.

The US suffers from the "ew, bugs are gross" factor. Until this changes, the US won't adopt eating bugs en mass. This will be a fringe thing until we're basically forced to because meat becomes prohibitively expensive.

Comment: Re:90% (Score 4, Informative) 231

by sohmc (#43485299) Attached to: CISPA Passes US House, Despite Privacy Shortcomings and Promised Veto

The problem of ruling by the majority is that minority interests get overlooked (see gay marriage).

The system we have in place currently is *SUPPOSED* to balance the will of the people (via election) and the morality of the elected (via legislature).

But you are still right that we have moved passed this. The sad thing is we deserve the government we vote for. Congress has a 95% re-election rate while having a 10% approval rating. Everyone hates what Congress has become, but everyone also things it's not their reps fault.

The only way to fix this is if EVERYONE votes out their representative, regardless of their party affiliation. We need fresh blood in there. Some of those reps won't leave until they either resign or die in office.

Comment: Re:OpenID and security perspective (Score 1) 158

by sohmc (#42741541) Attached to: Facebook To App Developers: Good Idea, Now Stop Using Our API

It's a single-point of failure. If your Google account gets compromised (either due to Google's incompetence or yours), you're pretty hosed. Of course, this assumes that your attacker is aware of which sides you used Google authentication (or any other authentication for that matter).

There is always a trade-off between convenience and security: If you don't want to carry keys, you can leave the door unlocked, etc...

My typical workflow is "Does this site have a bugmenot login?" If not, am I okay with this site having my personal information, regardless of how much Facebook/Google/Twitter/etc guarantees it won't share it because this can change at any time? If not, either create an individual account or do not interact with the site.

More often than not, I choose the last option.

Comment: What about the big ones (e.g. verizon, AT&T) (Score 1) 327

by sohmc (#42479647) Attached to: Worldwide IPv6 Adoption: Where Do We Stand Today?

My FiOS ISP does not have an IPv6 address. I support it internally on my router. I imagine that the hold up is that the big guys aren't there yet. This makes sense since they have the most equipment to replace/reprogram.

I'd actually be interested in where these guys are at. I'm sure they figured it out for businesses but I'd like an IPv6 address for my house.

Comment: Re:They would ignore it no matter what. (Score 1) 141

by sohmc (#42466541) Attached to: Why "We The People" Should Use Random Sample Voting

"We the People" is probably the stupidest and most successful placebo button any politician has ever created. While I didn't vote for Obama the first time around, I would have voted for him the second time around IF instead of creating an "official response" they actually got some lemming on congress to run with it, regardless of whether he agreed with the petition or not. (He can always veto the bill if it ever got to him.)

That would have been a step in the right direction. But no, being the political coward he is, made it so that us little people could complain and nag and he would not have to do squat about it.

I would not be surprised if his official response is a very simple "No."

Comment: Re:I can't see Verizon activating my white box pho (Score 1) 230

by sohmc (#42463709) Attached to: Who Would Actually Build an Ubuntu Smartphone?

Verizon, et al (with the possible exception of Sprint) have a large enough market share that the small percentage of hackers (classical definition) won't make a dent in their bottom line. This is assisted by the high cost to enter the market. Unfortunately, unless there is some sort of apocalypse or some other technical catastrophic, this will require legislative solution.

It's kind of ironic that the iPhone was successful for AT&T. Apple was the first company (at least I'm aware of) that told the carriers, "No, we're going to make the phone. You have no say. You will buy it as-is or we go to someone else." Verizon said no because they wanted to lock down the phone. AT&T, knowing the number of acolytes willing to switch over to get an Apple device, said, "Sure!" Granted, this changed down the road, with AT&T getting more and more features. But, for the first time, a cell phone manufacturer dictated to a carrier the terms of how a phone would work.

Unlike Apple, Canonical doesn't have the name brand. And their fans are too small in number to take this much of a risk. I imagine that people who will use the Ubuntu interface will be people like you and me, who load the ROM directly on the phone.

I just hope that the source will be released so we can all benefit.

Comment: Re:Reliability, reliability, reliability. Left han (Score 1) 1013

by sohmc (#42349919) Attached to: Using Technology To Make Guns Safer

Non-lethal is only useful when there isn't an immediate threat to someone's life.

When you absolutely need to be sure someone won't kill someone, there's only one way to do that. That's why police don't wield tasers when confronting an armed criminal. They wield them when confronting someone who is acting wildly, but is not an immediate threat. (A Youtube video comes to mind where someone is going bat crazy at a police officer for writing her a ticket. She starts slapping him so he tases her.)

Using a taser against someone carrying a shovel is one thing. Using one against someone carrying a full-auto M14 is another.

To your point though, I'm not sure if keeping any gun/taser in a classroom is a good idea (unless it was on the teacher's person, in a holster). Too much can happen and a student can gain possession before the teacher can do anything.

Comment: Re:We can make complex AND reliable things (Score 1) 1013

by sohmc (#42349817) Attached to: Using Technology To Make Guns Safer

Let's take the analogy away from the hot button issue (guns) and apply it to something else: stoves.

I prefer my stove to be simple. I absolutely hate electric stoves and convection. Yes, other people like them but if something breaks, it's usually far more complicated to fix and requires much more maintenance.

My gas stove has one switch that regulates the flow of gas. That's really all I need. Timers are nice, but are not necessary.

I think the point your making is that there must be a trade off. And while I agree with the premise, you are missing a huge part of the argument which is simplicity. When I cook, I don't want to have to figure out which buttons do what when I just want to cook my food and be done with it. Temperature meters, sensors, etc...these are all things that make it better for some, annoying for others.

If people want to buy them, I won't stop them. The moment you or the government tells me I MUST give up my simple stove for a bloatware ridden electric one that costs five times as much is the same moment that I resist.

I don't care if my simple stove has caused more carbon monoxide deaths than electric ones. There are ways I can monitor that. The trade-off is not enough for me to make that switch.

To bring the discussion back to guns, the only way I'd be willing to have added "security" to guns is to make the police liable. Too many anti-gun people say, "well, if there were more police, these things wouldn't happen." When seconds count, the police are often minutes away. If you can guarantee that the police can be at my house within seconds of a break in, I'll gladly turn in my gun.

I don't know anyone who is willing give up their personal privacy within their home and give the police carte blanche access. If you are, good for you. But don't make that decision for me.

Comment: Why is data paid both ways? (Score 1) 353

by sohmc (#42329641) Attached to: ISP Data Caps Just a 'Cash Cow'

This may seem like a really stupid question but it has always bugged me: why do both me and the content provider pay for data?

Back in the bad old days of Long Distance Calling, whomever initiated the phone call (assuming you're not calling collect or on a 800 number) paid for the call. It made sense: why pay for something that you didn't start?

However, in data, both sides pay. Am I the only one confused by this? I understand that I should have to pay for a connection (like the phone company) but why do I get a bandwidth meter along with the other side?

The only reason I can think of is because the data is "asynchronous" (e.g. the same amount of data isn't being exchanged). But this reason only goes so far since once side is uploading and the other side is downloading.

"Just think of a computer as hardware you can program." -- Nigel de la Tierre

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