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Comment Re:Does this mean...? (Score 4, Informative) 181

It's also trivially easy with a few python scripts to strip the DRM from any kindle book you've purchased legally (think about it- the kindle has to be able to decrypt the book, and it's running on a pretty small chip). All you need to do is extract your decrypt key from the kindle, which turns out to be a function of the kindle's serial number.

I've done this for all the books I've bought for the kindle, to save a "just in case" version. It's also worth noting that the majority of piratebay books are pretty lousy OCR scans of books, with lots of markup and text errors. All the harry dresden books, for example, decided to be in a bold fond in the version I downloaded. Makes purchasing them a LOT more worthwhile (which I ended up doing for the first few, until I decided to give up on the series, but that's another story).

Still, I recognize that purchasing from amazon/bn/whoever is just supporting the business model of DRM, even if I strip out the DRM later. Would be nice to get somebody who didn't use platform lockin techniques, but that's probably unlikely in the near term.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 342

Are you also the same Josh Fruhlinger that writes the Comics Curmudgeon blog? Name seems familiar, and although I at first thought it was just a coincidence, the connection is understandable. After all, plenty of people are interested in programming, blogging, and comics. Like me.

Comment Re:Personally, Android (Score 4, Informative) 403

There is a great iPhone application programming course on iTunesU, which includes an introduction to ObjC and rapidly moves into powerful programming techniques for iOS. Better yet, it uses a lot of the examples from the SDK as the course material (there's no book), and the slides are provided as part of the program. It's all free to boot. Definitely worth watching for a good introduction to the platform. Plus, it's all free.

It's the Stanford University CS 193P, iPhone Application Programming, Spring 2010 course that I watched.

Comment Requirements are funny (Score 1) 319

There are two problems with the premise of this article. The first is inherent- while there are clearly better and worse ways to teach (and lectures in particular are usually pretty poor), there is no One Right way to do it. Teaching is like Perl. Different students require different kinds of experiences to learn stuff, and different material lends itself to different forms of teaching. Requiring "tech" is stupid. Teaching is a complex activity requiring specialized knowledge and skills, not just "tech". Requiring that faculty keep abreast of best practices in the field and implement those best practices is probably a good idea. Of course, that's not their job, which brings me to the other problem.

Faculty at prestigious institutions are hired for their understanding of the advanced content in their field, their ability to carry out publishable research in that field, and their ability to secure funding to do more research in that field. In other words: faculty are judged by how well they raise the profile of the institution. Faculty teaching ability is weighted at or near to last place when considering the "quality" of the professor. Sure, a good teacher is a good idea, but anybody spending lots of time on their teaching is taking away time from their research and grantwriting, which are the activities that will lead to tenure, promotion, and other forms of recognition from the broader community.

In short: as long as we keep selecting faculty based on their academic achievements, we will have faculty that's good at research but not good at teaching. No amount of anything will change that- teaching is a difficult job, and simply layering on requirements to use courseware or videoconferencing will not help.

Comment Re:It is just PR "managing" the bad press ... (Score 2, Insightful) 534

Software patch cannot fix signal attenuation from a hand.

Actually, a software patch *can* help when it changes how the software-tunable capacitors in the antenna system respond. Not that there's anything about doing that in this particular press release, but you're being a bit under-optimistic here.

Comment Re:Who cares? (Score 3, Interesting) 242

I had heard of a scam wherein hackers change your outgoing voicemail message to be "I accept the charges", and then call you collect from one of those strange high-priced calling codes. Effectively, you end up responsible for a huge phone bill, some percentage of which goes to the hackers.

This could be one of those urban legends too- it's late and I'm too tired to confirm it right now, but one can at least see how this isn't necessarily a non-issue.

Comment Re:I haven't seen it yet... (Score 1) 861

To be honest, it wasn't all that good. I don't know why it got so many awards- there was no plot, it was difficult to believe that the story actually could have happened (and many people involved in real explosive disposal units in iraq/afghanistan said the same), and the characters were one-dimensional and uninspiring.

Comment Is this dead salmon lying? (Score 2, Informative) 197

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/09/fmrisalmon/

fMRI is a fairly arcane art- it's nowhere near the "thought detector" most laypeople think it is. The actual practice is rife with the chance to show confirmation bias, given the kind of data filtering that goes on during the process. Check out the link above- scientists were able to show the reaction that a fish had to watching pictures of pleasant situations (babies, puppies, flowers, etc). The fish was dead at the time of the test, however. So, if fMRI can be used to show that a dead salmon has feelings, I'm not likely to trust it for a "lie detector".

Comment Some interesting statistics (Score 2, Informative) 2044

Here's the graph. Health Care expenditures, as a percentage of US GDP, have increased pretty significantly over the last 40 years. Keep in mind that health care costs are PART of GDP (so when WellPoint raises insurance rates, it actually shows up as an increase in GDP, which helps illustrate why GDP might not be the best indicator of our national economic health). That means that the expenditures in the health care sector have been growing much faster than those in most other sectors of the economy - if they were all growing equally, the portion of the GDP associated with health care would stay flat.

I have my own opinions about how to solve this mess, but I'm not in congress and I have trouble making my fish agree with me, let alone other people. So I won't talk about those, just about the facts of the situation.

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