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Comment Re:current environment in biology causes bad scien (Score 1) 332

I'm doing mine in CS, and the papers I enjoy reading the most are those that discuss alternatives / tradeoffs / unsuccessful directions that the authors attempted with their design. Sure, in order to be published your work has to show some improvement of the state of the art, but it is often more educational to read how people came up with a successful system rather than the result itself. I actually heard some professors claim that you should only write about what you did right because the reader would not be interested in the thought process or intermediate experiments you went through, and I find this claim completely false.

Comment Re:How about learning some statistics? (Score 1) 332

GRE may be somewhat challenging because you may not have enough time to solve all the problems. When you're 25 and you are presented with a bunch of problems that you last saw in 8th grade, it takes some time to put your brain into "thinking as an 8th grader" mode.

The good news is that most decent places don't care much about GRE, and only use it as the lowest threshold to weed out obviously hopeless applicants.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 580

For instance, suppose you're a brick-and-mortar store with a merchant account to take credit cards. But you think that Mastercard and Visa charge way too much in fees. Either you use them anyway, or you do cash-only, and go out of business because so many people these days don't use cash.

I wonder why businesses do not offer discounts for cash payments like diesel gas stations / truck stops do. If Visa/MC take x% of each transaction as a fee, retailer could just make x% discount to customers who pay with cash. I mostly use CCs because of cashback rewards, but if cash discount were greater than my current cashback rate, I would gladly stop using credit cards.

Comment Re:Who cares? (Score 2) 308

I also don't bother hiding my real identity online; anyone with enough time on their hands and nothing better to do could correlate my accounts across different sites. It's much easier to assume that everything that you post online can be linked to you (similar to an assumption that everything you post on facebook is public). Just don't post anything that you don't want your boss to know, and you'll be fine. Maybe there will be fewer trolls on the Internet this way. Now, of course it is important to be able to post anonymously once in a while, but it shouldn't be a habit.

Comment Re:I Disagree (Score 1) 103

Example tile URLs from my squid log:

I think it's pretty obvious what part of the URL you need to replace if you want to download all tiles for a particular resolution.

Comment Re:Privacy? (Score 3, Interesting) 549

Required liability insurance should not work as punishment. I can understand why insurance companies may want to increase the premium, but outright denying coverage should not be allowed.

This is similar to the issue of sex offender registration. If a guy has paid from his crimes (fine, driving ban, jail, whatever), then he should not have to suffer any more.

Comment Re:Beat me to it. (Score 1) 467

At which point students start questioning what they are paying their tuition for. I myself learned pretty much everything from reading online guides/howtos and manpages, and I do believe that this is the most effective way to go. It seems to me that the answer is that a Linux course does not belong to a university-level CS curriculum. Students will have to learn it anyway, usually by the time they take an OS course (typically because of programming projects involving libpthread). A good idea would be to have a TA install Linux and/or teach some basic command-line tools in a recitation, but wasting more time on it is not necessary.

Comment Re:I like "traitorware" (Score 4, Informative) 263

I *like* cameras that incorporates metadata. This protects me from lawsuits and proves that the picture is mine and can be used however I want and as often I want.

Sure, someone who wants to claim ownership of a picture would never be able to insert desired metadata in the file.

People misuse printers to print out pedophilia ... counterfeiting ... threatening letters ...

You forgot terrorists. They also use printers.

Yes, there are legitimate uses for all these traitorware features in software/hardware. The point is that these features should be opt in and disabled by default, so that people who truly want them can enable them.

Comment Re:A Simple Solution (Score 1) 548

As you note a la carte pricing will end up being more expensive. ISPs will charge $50/month for the first GB and $1/GB after that. Everyone pays at least as much as before, but anything more than minimal use is financially painful. At that point "broadband" becomes useless and everyone might as well switch to a $10 unlimited dial-up plan.

Yes, I forgot to mention that this scheme will only work when ISPs are unable to set such unreasonable pricing (either through free (perfect) market, or through heavy regulation / government control). Of course, this raises a question whether Internet access is a luxury or a basic need that needs to be provided to all citizens.

Comment Re:A Simple Solution (Score 1) 548

You are correct. In fact, charging per sent/received byte of data could fix a number of economical and technical problems in the network.

First, there is this problem of flat rates. For some reason, people seem to like them (is it because they are predictable?), but I don't see any logic behind this. Everyone hates prepaying parking some extra minutes to be safe, leaving earlier, and regretting wasted money. I don't see why this should be different with Internet plans. People who use the Internet to check emails and surf text web would not have to pay for the minimum plan (at least $40/mo). Of course, that would mean less profit for ISPs, which is why per-byte pricing is not popular.

Second, this will solve technical problem of flow fairness. The whole reason why "download accelerators" and (partially) p2p programs exist is because TCP fairness is inherently broken, as you can increase your speed on a congested link simply by opening more connections. Charging per byte would tie all flows to an economic entity, ensuring perfect fairness (you pay more -> you get bigger share of a congested link).

Third, pricing can be dynamic ("congestion pricing"). We can borrow ideas from power companies that charge (typically industrial/commercial) users less per KWh in off-peak hours when the network is underutilized, and similarly charge more during peak hours. While this works the best between end user and their ISP, it could be extended to relationships between ISPs.

Fourth, end users could have more control over prioritizing their traffic with respect to their own and other users' traffic. Suppose the network is congested, and I am willing to pay more to get my VoIP traffic delivered on time, but I don't care as much for p2p traffic (it can be delayed/rescheduled so I can save money).

In fact, this is something I'm working on as a mini-research project, so it would be interesting if it worked in reality.

Submission + - Comcast Charges Level 3 for Netflix Traffic ( 1

NicknamesAreStupid writes: On the eve of purchasing 51% of NBC, Comcast has decided to turn "net neutrality" on its ear by placing a surcharge on Level 3's Netflix traffic, which has become a major load. Of course, Netflix competes with Comcast. Will this help Comcast clear the SEC and FCC hurdles to purchase NBC? Judging from the way the SEC handled the Wall Street mess — YES!

Comment Centralization (Score 3, Insightful) 143

I remember when people were concerned about their privacy and complained about Gmail mining their emails. Facebook will take it to a whole new level, complete with value-added features such as censorship. People have to understand that decentralization is the only way to go; putting all your eggs in one basket (facebook) will never lead to anything good.

Comment Re:Just wait for the GOTY. (Score 1) 261

Obligatory XKCD. But seriously, I also follow this strategy. It really amazes me how resource-hungry modern games have become. Fallout:NV lags on low settings on my NV 8800 GTS 512 that was considered top card only a couple of years ago, and no, I'm not spending another $1.3k on a new system any time soon. Back when CRT monitors were popular at least you could play on a lower resolution; now, non-native resolutions just look ugly.

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