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Canada

Submission + - Coalition targets CBC's free music site (theglobeandmail.com) 1

silentbrad writes: From the GLobe and Mail: A number of Canadian media companies have joined forces to try to shut down a free music website recently launched by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., claiming it threatens to ruin the music business for all of them. The group, which includes Quebecor Inc., Stingray Digital, Cogeco Cable Inc., the Jim Pattison Group and Golden West Radio, believes that CBCmusic.ca will siphon away listeners from their own services, including private radio stations and competing websites that sell streaming music for a fee. The coalition is expected to expand soon to include Rogers Communications Inc. and Corus Entertainment Inc., two of the largest owners of radio stations in Canada. It intends to file a formal complaint with the CRTC, arguing that the broadcaster has no right under its mandate to compete with the private broadcasters in the online music space. ... 'The only music that you can hear for free is when the birds sing,' said Stingray CEO Eric Boyko, whose company runs the Galaxie music app that charges users $4.99 a month for unlimited listening. 'There is a cost to everything, yet CBC does not seem to think that is true.' ... The companies argue they must charge customers to offset royalty costs which are triggered every time a song is played, while the CBC gets around the pay-per-click problem because it is considered a non-profit corporation. ... Media executives aren’t the only ones who have expressed concern. When the CBC service was launched in February, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers said that when it set a flat fees for the more than 100,000 music publishers it represents, it never envisioned a constant stream of free music flooding the Internet.
Education

Submission + - Teachers Think White Females Lag in Math (utexas.edu) 2

ancarett writes: Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin found that American high school math teachers tend to rate white female students’ math abilities lower than those of their white male peers, even when their grades and test scores are comparable. Their research drew from the Education Longitudional Study (2002) with data on about 15,000 students and their teachers. According to the researchers "teachers hold the belief that math is just easier for white males than it is for white females." Their findings appear in the April 2012 issue of Gender & Society.
The Military

Submission + - Sixty Years On, B-52s Are Still Going Strong 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Those who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s knew the B-52 Stratofortress as a central figure in the anxiety that flowed from the protracted staring match between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Now CNET reports that it was 60 years ago, on April 15, 1952, that a B-52 prototype built by Boeing took off on its maiden flight and although the 1950s-vintage B-52s are no longer in the US Air Force inventory, the 90 or so H models delivered between May 1961 and October 1962 still remain on active duty. “The B-52 has been a wonderful flying box,” says retired Brig. Gen. Peyton Cole. “It’s persevered all these years because it’s been able to adapt and still continues to fly. It started out as a high-level flying platform during the Cold War. Then as air defenses got better it became a low-level penetrator, and more than that was the first aircraft to fly low-level at night through FLIR (forward looking infrared) and night-vision TV." The B-52's feat of longevity reflects both regular maintenance and timely upgrades — in the late 1980s, for instance, GPS capabilities were incorporated into the navigation system but it also speaks to the astronomical costs of the next-generation bombers that have followed the B-52 into service (a total of 744 were built, counting all models) with the Air Force. B-52s cost about $70 million apiece (in today's dollars), while the later, stealth-shaped B-2 Spirit bombers carried an "eye-watering $3-billion-a-pop unit price." The Air Force's 30-year forecast, published in March, envisions an enduring role for the B-52 and engineering studies, the Air Force says, suggest that the life span of the B-52 could extend beyond the year 2040. "At that point, why not aim for the centennial mark?""

Comment Raceways, even! (Score 2) 281

Yup, you'll appreciate having room for growth built into the system. Unobtrusive raceways (many can be worked right into the molding either above or at ground level) allows you to upgrade or update your wiring and cable options. Make sure you're not overloading circuits while you're at it. Even some more recent builds are shockingly undersupplied for power needs. Getting a licensed electrician whenever you mess with your wiring is only smart, too. Your house is a big investment. Do it right!

If your guests bring their own tech, make sure you have robust internet access that's easy for them to use. One room in our house remained a frustrating slow spot so we ran a wired connection to the router for that desktop PC. Otherwise, we can offer good Wifi. I keep cards with guest access info so new visitors can add themselves to the network.
GNOME

Submission + - GNOME 3.4 Usability Problems - Does GNOME care about its users? (brad-x.com)

brad-x writes: "As reported earlier, GNOME 3.4 is out. This release brings added emphasis on touch and a new emphasis on fullscreen apps, similar to those found in MacOS X.

Unfortunately this new focus on fullscreen apps — which will continue through future GNOME versions to include quite a number of other GNOME applications, provides no discoverable way to revert to a standard windowed multitasking model.

Users both old and new have raised their voices in complaint regarding GNOME 3, but the project's lead developers insist everyone will get used to it. Do they care about their users?"

Comment Just like a computer is for nothing but work. . . (Score 1) 418

What's the problem with using a tablet in multiple ways and even mostly not for reading? Are these people in trouble for not reading enough on their tablets? I doubt it!

An e-ink device is marvelous for people who do a lot of reading in digitized texts but few are set-up for real multipurpose use. A tablet can be easily used for a lot of different functions: reading may be advertised as a primary role for some of these such as the Kindle Fire, but it's hardly the only or even the best role. So why are people surprised that others are using tablets as multifunctional devices? It's rather like being surprised that you'll code, surf, compose and goof-off on the same personal computer.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go pick up my ereader and get back to some real work. . . .

Comment Work Like a Contractor (Score 1) 671

If your company does a lot of working with contractors or independent entities, chances are that they have policies in place to support people who aren't using institutional systems. Check and see if there's a contractor policy already in place that covers this and if any other employee has opted for this freedom.

After a couple of years of frustration with super-crappy work machines, I checked with my employer (a university). Was there anything for which I needed their hardware or software to access? The answer was no. I don't do financials, I access institutional data at only one step above the general public (Read-Only, limited access) or through portals that are already designed to work off-site.

So I cut the cord and don't use a work-provided machine for anything. It's occasionally annoying (as when my HD died and I had to deal with that on my own) but in so many other ways, intensely liberating. I watch colleagues wrestle with clunky "hardened" laptops or the large Powerbooks they get if they're not stuck with a low-spec desktop. I attend meetings with all of my documentation and data-crunching done on a netbook or ereader that's customized to my workflow. Plus, because I have consulting and contract work outside my full-time job (with employer's full knowledge and consent), my tech is even partially deductible at tax time.

If you can't use your own or can't afford to at this point, talk with IT about the acceptable policy for occasional private use and software add-ons they'd approve. At least you'll know you'll be in their good graces when you're on the road for them and would like to surf to /.

Comment John Wiley, not the Hoboken Publishing Company (Score 1) 97

Read through the OP before summarizing somewhat sloppily, please! The publisher that's initiating this is John Wiley which is based in Hoboken, not named after Hoboken. Wiley is a major publishing house that most academics and many others will recognize. This move might remind you of Elsevier's role in the recently-pulled Research Works Act.

Comment That's Ms. Hypocrite to You (Score 1) 165

I registered with them and, every year that I get paid, I funnel the money to a copyfighting cause. Check out OpenMedia.ca for one such great option! Plus I write them regular letters as a member, haranguing the board and denouncing their policies.

Registered or not, they're still collecting money 'on my behalf' that only goes to fill their warchest. AC levies a fee on every bit of media that they can count being loaned, copied and read in schools and on campuses, caring not who's the author until you register with them and force them to cough up a share of the funds.

They're collecting money based off of my writing, your writing, everyone's writing: Canadians and other citizens! They'll pay out if you register, though and I figure that hurts them at least a little bit which works to our advantage.

Comment Students & Faculty Attack Agreement (Score 5, Informative) 165

Via Ariel Katz, UofT Students and Faculty Demand Suspending the Access Copyright Agreement

I'm on faculty at a different Canadian university. So far, we've cut no deal with Access Copyright yet and I hope we stay strong. You can bet that I'm asking our union to keep an eye on the situation as it relates to the privacy rights of students and faculty!

Ironically, I benefit financially from Access Copyright, having registered as an author with them years ago when a colleague pointed out they were collecting money on my behalf, whether or not I made my claim against them. I'd much rather take a few hundred dollars out of their pockets to pass onto a copyfighting cause each year!

If my university does cave to Access Copyright, I'll cease using my university email. It'll be annoying to switch away from an address I've used for twenty years, but better than seeming to acquiesce to further indignities. I suspect that we'll see more and more academics exploring that option if Toronto and Western are setting a trend.

Comment Re:Time look at the middle ages roots in today's c (Score 1) 463

You didn't have majors in medieval universities. You had the seven liberal arts (the trivium and the quadrivium) which underlay a church-centred curriculum. Think of it as the ultimate gen-ed degree! By the sixteenth century, you had clearly defined professorships in specific fields such as mathematics (think of the Lucasian Chair at Cambridge held by Isaac Newton). To study engineering, say, you didn't go to universities in the eighteenth century - they simply didn't teach a curriculum that covered such topics. Nineteenth century universities is where real specialization took hold to create the idea of majoring in a specific study or another.

Of course, you'd only know this if you studied history. I mean really studied history to learn how to find information as well as usefully analyze that data. For this, you have to go beyond glib and flawed recall. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana

Comment Prof's perspective (Score 1) 236

This is plagiarism both by my university's definition and the one that's included in my syllabus.

This kind of activity is also why I don't allow free-choice essays and require students to submit work in progress during the term as they "workshop" major projects. It's all about deterring plagiarism and trying to get the students to, you know!, actually complete the course requirements. Crazy ideas.

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