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Submission + - Are Laptops Really Upgradable? 1

Heliar1956 writes: "O.K., I’ve noted the discussions about the “upgradability” of the new Mac Book Pro Retina and the Macbook airs, and want to ask, “Is it really feasible to upgrade a laptop?” I think the answer is no, depending on how old it is and what you’re upgrading.

A secondary question is how much usable life would you expect out of a significant upgrade like in my example below?

I have a 5-year old Sony Vaio VGN FZ140E, which was a high-end laptop when I purchased it, not a mid-level or bargain. The specs are 200 GB hard drive, 2 GB memory, a bad battery, and Windows Vista, stable but corrupt enough not to update since February 2012. It works fine and currently I’m just using it to browse on the nightstand, mostly because of the dead battery.

I believe a nice upgrade would be a 250-ish GB SSD, at least 2 GB more memory, a battery, and Windows 7, all of which would amount to roughly $500-$650 depending on how you source parts. Such an upgrade would make it usable for mobile computing again at some level.

Can you reasonably put $500-$650 into a 5-year old laptop and what do you get? I know that resale value will not increase or increase by a tiny amount. Note these models were also known for getting hot, especially batteries (some spectacular failures).

I’ve also noted no one seems to discuss the upgradability of cell phones, and upgrading MacBook Airs seem to be a non-topic anymore.

Comments? Suggestions?

Cheers, Steve"

Submission + - Hacker Highschool teaches students the importance of information security (

ectoman writes: "Pete Herzog, co-founder of the Institute for Security and Open Methodologies (ISECOM), recently announced that the organization has begun work on the next iteration of Hacker Highschool, a set of of license-free security and privacy awareness materials that educators in elementary, middle, and high schools can use to teach students the importance of information security. Herzog explains that teaching kids to be hackers not only keeps them safer online but also helps them build better worlds. "It might sound strange," he writes, "but every industry and profession could benefit from an employee as creative, resourceful, and motivated as a hacker.""

Submission + - In Hacker Highschool, students learn to redesign the future (

caseyb89 writes: "Hacker Highschool is an after school program that teaches students the best practices of responsible hacking. The program is open source, and high schools across the country have begun offering the free program to students. Hacker Highschool recognized that teens are constantly taught that hacking is bad, and they realized that teens' amature understanding of hacking was the cause of the biggest issues. The program aims to reverse this negative stereotype of hacking by encouraging teens to embrace ethical, responsible hacking."

Comment Re:Triple? and also - selection bias (Score 1) 36

That is exactly what the point of the statement was. Banks want to have people with large accounts, implementing the print scanners on the cards increased the number of large accounts they have, therefore increasing the bank's profitability. It's probably taken directly out of a press release full of self-praise for what a great decision it was, which explains why the intent of the statement got so muddled.

Exactly the point was to say that the decision was good for the bank. I've used fingerprint scanners in the past, and I have to wonder if the higher balances are from people not being able to take their money out versus actually having wealthier customers given how finkiky these scanners can be.

Comment Re:Shills aren't new (Score 2) 84

Bulk shills are. Welcome to the future, where the difference between a valid viewpoint and an astroturfed attempt to hornswaggle you out of your own money and political power has shrunk to the imperceptible.

That's why Mitt has to use them. Not very many of the people who *actually* agree with him are competent enough to use the "new fangled internets" and yet her feels he must seem as if they are.

Comment Re:Finally! (Score 1) 102

I no longer have to worry about my crappy call-dropping 2G coverage since it has since been replaced by my crappy call-dropping 3G coverage which is now being replaced by my crappy call-dropping 4G coverage.

Not only that but with a larger phone and less battery life. Progress is awesome.

Comment Re:Why not? (Score 2) 187

Not that this is really news worthy but who cares if they are watching porn? This is a legitimate job that has to be staffed 24/7 and probably requires about 20min worth of total combined labor in a typical year. Being the military that is increased to maybe a few days labor worth of redundant checklists over the course of the year.

Having done jobs where your sole purpose most of the time is just to be there waiting I understand the lack of things to do. Still Gotta love the fact that beyond the normal workplace squimishness their main concern was viruses and malware, which porn sites have actually gotten a lot better about policing these days.

Submission + - Too little critical thinking in college (

Joe_Dragon writes: Has college become too easy?
March 25, 2012|Clarence Page


You can lead a student to knowledge, according to an old academic saying, but you can't make him or her think.

I recently wrote about the possibility of testing and certification for what I called a "college-level GED." Like the current GED test for high school equivalency, it would award certification to bright, hardworking job applicants who want to show potential employers how much they know, even though they never graduated from college.

I heard from a number of readers who supported the idea. Some were eager to take the test now, if they could. But the most thoughtful question I received went like this: What about the "critical thinking" skills that we traditionally expect campus academic life to teach and encourage?

I agree. Critical thinking is the brain's investigative reporter. It questions assumptions and requires more than the memory to pass most standardized tests.

But we do have tests for that. For example, the Collegiate Learning Assessment, launched in 2000, gives a 90-minute essay test to freshmen and seniors that aims to measure gains in critical thinking and communication skills.

However, recent studies of CLA results reveal another major problem, not so much in the testing of critical thinking as in how little critical thinking is being taught.

One new book, "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses," by sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, questions whether a large chunk of today's college students are learning much on campus that they didn't already know.

Following CLA results and other data for 2,300 students at 24 public and private colleges, Arum, of New York University, and Roksa, of the University of Virginia, startled the academic world with their finding that 36 percent of students made no significant learning gains in critical thinking and communication skills from their freshman to senior years.

That tends to confirm what reader Jerre Levy, a retired University of Chicago professor of psychology, wrote: "I wish with all my heart that a college degree implied that the person holding that degree was capable of critical thinking. However, this is, sadly, not true."

Among the jaw-dropping examples Levy related in her email to me and a later phone call was a senior who reacted with memorable resentment to a two-week take-home assignment to critically evaluate a scientific journal article.

The professor specifically requested a hard-eyed assessment of strengths and weaknesses in the article's sources, methods and conclusions. She did not, repeat, not want students simply to summarize the contents. She stipulated that last part in capital letters.

Yet when the students returned their papers, she recalled, one offered nothing but what Levy said she didn't want: "a content summary, without a single evaluative statement." When the student complained about her zero grade, Levy explained the goose egg. The student argued back indignantly, "But that would have required THINKING!"

It was the winter quarter of her senior year, the young woman explained, and she could memorize as much as any professor gave her and earn As and Bs but, until this course, she had "never been required to think!"

"If students can get a degree from the University of Chicago without having either the will or capacity to think," Levy said, "then it is certainly true of less selective universities and colleges."

Ohio University's Richard Vedder, my former economics professor who gave me the collegiate GED test idea, is even more blunt in his assessment of today's academia: "Universities are becoming more like country clubs," he said, with climbing walls, indoor tracks and other luxuries that give students "something else to do with their free time besides drink and have sex."

Vedder, who divides his time between teaching, researching as an adjunct scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and directing the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, blames grade inflation and other perverse incentives, like too much free time.

That would be just another reason for us Americans to develop more innovative alternatives to college, like alternative GED-style certifications of what individuals actually know and how eagerly they will learn, not just how many classes they have taken.

It's worth thinking about.

Clarence Page, a member of the Tribune's editorial board, blogs at

Twitter @cptime


Submission + - Cybersecurity Bill Fails Today in US Senate (

wiredmikey writes: A development following the recently posted story Senate Cybersecurity Bill Stalled By Ridiculous Amendments — The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 failed to advance in the US Senate on Thursday. The measure was blocked amid opposition from an unusual coalition of civil libertarians — who feared it could allow too much government snooping — and conservatives who said it would create a new bureaucracy.

The bill needed 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to advance under rules in the chamber, but got only 52. The failure came despite pleas from Obama and top US defense officials. The US Chamber of Commerce argued that the bill "could actually impede US cybersecurity by shifting businesses' resources away from implementing robust and effective security measures and toward meeting government mandates."

Comment Re:Hopefully Samsung's gig is up (Score 3, Interesting) 404

As far as phones and tablets go the technology changed. Apple just wasn't going to do anything until It could make it the way it wanted to. Samsung was already making phones and tablets with the technology that was available at the time. It didn't allow for the designs that apple wanted hence they waited. Samsung did not copy they were infact just changing their designs to utilize the best materials and desgn that new research, parts etc, made possible. As they are showing they were already headed that way long before the iphone.

Submission + - 83 Million Fake User On Facebook (

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook has 83 Million Fake Accounts. 46 Millions accounts are duplicate, while the number of user who are not classified are 23 Million While Undesirable Accounts are 14 million. The total of all this figures comes to 83 Million. This are not the number of any survey conducted by any organization or college but this information is of Facebook itself.

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