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Submission + - How to boost Computer Science Education (

wjousts writes: NPR had a story on how a number of nonprofit and for-profit groups are trying to deal with what they see as a crisis in computer science education in K-12 US public schools.


"Ninety percent of schools just don't even teach [computer science]. So if you're a parent and your school doesn't even offer this class, your kids aren't going to have the preparation they need for 21st century," says Hadi Partovi, co-founder of the nonprofit "Just like we teach how electricity works and biology basics they should also know how the Internet works and how apps work. Schools need to add this to the curriculum."

Some sobering stats from last year's Computer Science AP [Advanced Placement] data:

* In Mississippi, Montana and Wyoming, no girls took the computer science exam.
* In 11 states, no black students took it.
* In eight states, no Hispanics took it.
* In 17 states, fewer than 100 students took it.


Submission + - The Facebook Fallacy - Technology Review (

wjousts writes: In a provocative piece on MIT's Technology Review, Michael Wolff argues that not only will Facebook fail, it may well take the rest of the ad supported web with it.

Facebook is a company of technologists, not marketers. If you wanted to bet on someone succeeding in the marketing business, you'd bet on technologists only if they could invent some new way to sell; you wouldn't bet on them to sell the way marketers have always sold.

As Facebook gluts an already glutted market, the fallacy of the Web as a profitable ad medium can no longer be overlooked. The crash will come. And Facebook—that putative transformer of worlds, which is, in reality, only an ad-driven site—will fall with everybody else.


Submission + - Game Giant Forced To Play Catch Up : NPR (

wjousts writes: Electronics Arts built a gaming empire with a strategy straight out of Hollywood — big names and big budgets. But the market has changed to favor data-driven online games, and the Redwood City, Calif., company finds itself forced to change too.
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Rage Against the Smart Meter - Technology Review (

wjousts writes: As utilities are rolling out smart meters, electric meters that use wireless radios to transmit data on electricity usage back to the utility, some in Maine are objecting.

Technology Review reports:

Friedman, who carries a radio-frequency analyzer that emits frightening crackles around cell phones and Wi-Fi routers, says smart meters are a dangerous idea. They are an invasion of privacy and might even cause illness, he has alleged in a legal complaint set to be heard by the Maine Supreme Court next month.


Submission + - Wasting Hackers' Time to Keep Websites Safe (

wjousts writes: A new security start-up, Mykonos Software, is pushing a new approach to handling hackers. Instead of blocking them, it proposes instead to waste their time by feeding them false information until they give up.

As reported in Technology Review:

As a promotional tool to impress potential clients, Mykonos engineers have built versions of the company's software that taunt attackers. One directs a hacker to a Google Maps search for nearby criminal attorneys. Another parodies Microsoft's now-defunct anthropomorphic paper clip, Clippy, with the message: "It looks like you're an unsophisticated script kiddie. Do you need help writing code?"

Their tactics include placing supercookies on suspected attackers computers.

There are few things hackers hate more than being taunted. So is this a valid strategy? Or is it waiving a red cloak at a bull?


Submission + - College Campus Network Still Infected by a Compute (

wjousts writes: From IEEE Spectrum, computers at the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) may still be infected with several viruses, the oldest from 1999!

As of Friday, the viruses were still active. The Chronicle says that CCSF administrators are telling students and employees to "change computer passwords, avoid using school computers for banking or purchases, and to check home computers for viruses" since the viruses have, the college's Chief Technology Officer warned, infected servers and desktops "across administrative, instructional and wireless networks."


Submission + - Why should we stop online piracy? - opinion - 19 J (

wjousts writes: From New Scientist: A little copyright infringement is good for the economy and society, says Matthew Yglesia

Online piracy is like fouling in basketball. You want to penalise it to prevent it from getting out of control, but any effort to actually eliminate it would be a cure much worse than the disease.


Submission + - Why Microsoft Embraced Gaming (

wjousts writes: A interesting take on the birth of the Xbox from Technology Review:

When the original Xbox video-game console went on sale in 2001, it wasn't clear why Microsoft, known for staid workplace software, was branching out into fast-paced action games. But Microsoft decided that capitalizing on the popularity of gaming could help the company position itself for the coming wave of home digital entertainment.


Submission + - How IT Costs More Jobs than It Creates - Technolog (

wjousts writes: Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Center for Digital Business at MIT's Sloan School of Management, and Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at the center argue in their new book "Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy". That advances in IT have cost more jobs than it has created and has enabled CEOs and other leaders to earn outsized incomes.

Is there some truth to it? Or is it Ludditism?

Submission + - How Negative Reviews Increase Sales Online - Techn (

wjousts writes:

Panos Iperitos set out to study the dollar value of online reputation, and along the way he discovered the counter-intuitive ways that reviews inform it

Not surprisingly, people are willing to pay a premium (up to 5%) to buy a product for a seller with a good reputation, but interestingly, negative product reviews can lead to higher sales:

One reason is that buyers gain confidence that "if this is the worst this product will throw at me, it must be pretty good." "Negative reviews that are specific actually tend to serve as risk mitigators," says Ipeirotis On the other hand, the phrase "good packaging" makes it sound like there was nothing else in the transaction worth complimenting.

Spelling and grammar in reviews also have an impact. So much so that unconfirmed rumors have suggested that shoe seller Zappos has spent $0.10 per review to have Amazon's Mechanical Turk correct spelling and grammar in Zappos reviews.


Submission + - The Autism Advantage ( 3

wjousts writes: As reported on

Though people with autism face many challenges because of their condition, they may have been capable hunter-gatherers in prehistoric times, according to a paper published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology in May.

The "autism advantage," a relatively new perspective, contends that sometimes autism has compensating benefits, including increased abilities for spatial intelligence, concentration and memory. Although individuals with autism have trouble with social cognition, their other cognitive abilities are sometimes largely intact.

So is autism a "disorder" or a normal part of human evolutionary history?

"I've seen the forgeries I've sent out." -- John F. Haugh II (jfh@rpp386.Dallas.TX.US), about forging net news articles