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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: it isn't XP, it's an ethics problem (Score 2) 93

If the summary is at all accurate, the manufacture built both the hardware and the software. So blaming the OS is silly. This is a case where any OS could be used, even a custom one, and they would add the spying functionality as they were building it. The real issue is buying hardware systems from unethical folks, no OS hardening in the world will help you when the manufacture controls it.

If China doesn't improve their stand on ethics, they will be relegated to building bath toys and partial systems where their leaks and theft aren't super critical. If they hope to join the rest of the developed world, they need to get their shit together.

Comment: Re:ads (Score 2) 162

by stokessd (#46610311) Attached to: Yahoo May Build Its Own YouTube

I'm actually OK with weeding out a crapload of user content. I don't need a 3 minute tutorial, with a 30 second intro, and 20 second outtro completely drenched in speed metal and cheesy effects to show me something that could have been typed out in three sentences of text.

I've had a free regular and, I've been told, very helpful website with no advertising (other than my own services) for many years now. There would still be useful content on the web without ads. There was when it was starting.

i'm just old, so get off my lawn.


Comment: Re:Apple? (Score 1) 409

by stokessd (#46537577) Attached to: Why Buy Microsoft Milk When the Google Cow Is Free?

I want to like pages, I really do. It used to have a great file saving format that embedded your text as xml and all your embedded graphics were saved in their original file form in the pages file "bundle". So 20 years from now, you could get all your figures and text out, and not be screwed because your program of choice isn't available anymore (I'm looking at you, framemaker).

Here are the fatal flaws of Pages:

1) no cross-referencing of figures, table etc. This makes auto- numbering impossible and table of figures, and tables of contents are all manual like I'm on an IBM selectric and it's 1976.

2) constant saving. I can't open up one document, fiddle with it, and close it. I want to save on my terms. If I want to open a doc, yank half of it out and put it somewhere, I don't necessarily want that change spooled to disk 100 times a second.

3) almost forgot: Absymal footnote, and end note handling. Non-existent is a better word for it.

It's like pages is meant only for letters to mom, and jr. high school english papers.

Don't get me started on Numbers, as someone who knows Excel inside and out, Numbers is baffling. And not in a "I don't know how to use it way", but in a more serious "Who would think this is the way people would want to work" way.

It's a good thing they are free, that's the appropriate value point.

(LaTeX user)

Comment: Re:In other words . . . (Score 1) 409

by stokessd (#46537491) Attached to: Why Buy Microsoft Milk When the Google Cow Is Free?

It scales up to a certain point, then there is a brick wall of functionality, then you have to toss all your work and re-invent it in python, or matlab, etc. Excel is a handy tool, and arguably the best part of the office suite, but I've seen many times when people think they can do something in excel and can't make the model more complex and have to start over in a real programming environment.

"if you use excel well you're like a zen samaurai. you can defeat any problem with a few simple moves."

True, but only for fairly simple problems, or should I say, only for certain classes of problems.


Comment: Re: Interview ending question (Score 1) 692

by stokessd (#46014953) Attached to: Blowing Up a Pointless Job Interview

This happened to me a couple months ago. I was on a phone interview with Cree for a PhD level position and the interviewer was saying it was a night shift position and that this position expected a work level of 55-65 hours a week.

I almost said "we're done here". But I had jumped through so many hoops to get to this point that I was going to let this play out.

After a half hour of questions and answers he asked if I had any questions. My chance! I asked if he was willing to pay me at least 150% of my current salary plus cost of living differential. Because he is expecting me to work 60 hours a week. I also added that this assumes that it's a linear relationship (which it's not). He said, "that depends on how the interview goes". I said, "I guess we have the answer then".

An offer letter was not forthcoming.

Comment: Re: So... (Score 2) 168

by stokessd (#45568373) Attached to: Why Competing For Tenure Is Like Trying To Become a Drug Lord

That is very true. Advisor reputation flows out through his grad students. I'm known as one of "Mark's" students and that comes with significant baggage, both good and bad. In general his student have been very successful and when in certain circles that flowed back to him. Both in reputation and grant money. The grant money comes from people who know him or were his students and are working in the field and control research dollars that can flow to colleges.

It's a cool world, not without problems and inefficiencies, but it would be hard to create a better one that would be stable long-term.


Comment: Re: Overstating their case (Score 1, Insightful) 168

by stokessd (#45568295) Attached to: Why Competing For Tenure Is Like Trying To Become a Drug Lord

That's a real shame. What sort of "Art Studies" were you in? As a PhD in a hard science, I've found employment outside academia to be fairly plentiful.

The real problem that you bring up is that many higher education institutions don't provide guidance in probability of feeding yourself verses major chosen. This is a real shortcoming in a place that you are investing a HUGE amount of time and money into


Comment: Re:Volunteer Judge reporting in! (Score 2) 41

by stokessd (#43466929) Attached to: Slashdot Goes to the FIRST Robotics Competition (Video)

I judged two years in a row at the local FIRST competition. I don't do it anymore because the awards are an "everybody is a winner" type of event. In the two years I judged, one or two teams were head and shoulders above the other teams, and deserved to clean up. But the judges agonized and spread out the awards to everybody. That does both the winners and losers a disservice and doesn't reflect how life really works. It was an interesting idea, but the lack of awards based on merit sort of soured it for me.


The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."