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Education

A High School Programming Curriculum For All Students? 214

jonboydev writes "I know there have been many postings on what kids should begin programming with, but I have a little different perspective: I am a software developer looking to help my brother, who is a high school teacher, develop a programming curriculum. The catch is that it is a class for all students to take, not just those interested in programming, and therefore will focus heavily on teaching problem solving. This class would follow after a class using Lego MindStorms, and we are planning on using Python. I'm sure many of you would agree that everyone can benefit from learning to program and any help would be greatly appreciated!"
Sci-Fi

New EVE Expansion Nears, Possible Mobile Plans 74

As the EVE Online creators ramp things up for the free Apocrypha expansion due out next week, lead designer Noah Ward sat down with MTV's Multiplayer blog to discuss the future of the game and what characteristics continue to keep players interested. Ward says they've considered branching out to consoles, but ended up deciding that the game doesn't really lend itself to console play. He left the door open to using smartphones for "augmenting" gameplay. Ward also mentioned that upcoming space MMOs Jumpgate: Evolution and Star Trek Online are so different from EVE that they're not really worried about direct competition; EVE thrives in part because of the player-generated drama and scandals, which few games pull off as well. Massively has gathered a variety of details about the Apocrypha expansion, which includes the game's first epic mission arc, and they've also posted some screenshots. CCP Games launched a website for the expansion containing concept art and interviews with some of the developers.
Security

Submission + - Defendant must tell government his password (volokh.com) 1

sohp writes: "Over at The Volokh Conspiracy, reports are out that the case of a man who invoked the 5th amendment when asked to supply the password to decrypt his hard drive to allow police to search for child pornography has a new development. A judge has overturned the original magistrate's decision allowing the defense and has ordered Sebastien Boucher to supply the prosecutors with a decrypted hard disk. Note that the order is not that he produce the key — just that he provide an unencrypted copy."

Comment Re:Bad Article, Bad Summary (Score 3, Informative) 57

AUTH=Make sure you get your data from the right sources.

Okay.

ENCR=make sure the data are correct.

Huh?

Encryption makes the information secure from snooping, which is pointless in the case of DNS as it is public information by definition.

Signing makes sure the data has not been tampered with. Which is more or less the same as authentication.

Sorry to disappoint you, but you can't "verify" DNS by "querying" if the original data are unprotected.

That is the general idea of how SSL and the CA's work, only with DNS we don't really care if other people know what you are looking for, we just care that we are getting the correct response from the correct server, which requires signing of the responses, which is authentication. That is, with DNS we only really need signing of the data for transfers and queries, not encryption.

Comment Re:How about this (Score 1) 479

Sell computers with whatever you want installed, but require an activation key to be typed in in order to use it. Sell the activation key for an extra fee at checkout. If you don't activate, you're free to wipe your computer and use it as you wish.

But then Windows isn't free!! We all know that a computer is useless with out Windows, so why bother selling the computer without. Just have the OEM give Windows to the user for free anyway.

:)

On a serious note, I have seen customers that for some reason think that the 60-day trial of Norton (or McAfee) that is bundled with their computers is all they ever need for AV, even if the software complains at them for 2 years! that it's subscription is out of date and to upgrade the subscription (seriously, a computer that I was working on, on Saturday, had its last definitions update mid 2007, and the customer brought it in because it was "acting funny").

Comment Re:Blaming Microsoft for OEM's fault (Score 1) 479

No. I worked for Microsoft tech support and I can tell you that we were not allowed to push customer issues back to the OEMs...

... On top of that, I regularly received calls from customers who were told by HP or Dell or whoever to call MS because it wasn't an issue on their end. The OEMs may or may not offer decent Windows support, but they're under no obligation to. All of the companies involved have strict support boundaries, and if something appears to be an issue with something one of the other parties is responsible for, the support call basically ends there.

If it is a bug in Windows sure, obviously the OEM can't fix it, but I was under the impression that the point of the OEM license was that Microsoft does not directly support it, and as such it is cheaper for that reason.

According to this OEM license on Microsoft's website http://www.microsoft.com/oem/sblicense/default.mspx microsoft does not provide end user support for the license. In particluar section 7 states:

7. End User Support. You must provide end user support for the Software or Hardware. You will provide support under terms at least as favorable to the end user as the terms that you provide to support any Customer System. At a minimum, you will provide commercially reasonable telephone support.

Comment Re:And for $20 more ... (Score 1) 479

As a Staples retail employee I can tell you that that would not "cost extremely little to implement." There would definitely have to be a charge, to offset the time an employee would have to be away from the sales floor while wiping a computer hard drive.

Uh, are you wiping the hard drive by using a tiny magnet and flipping all the bits by hand? Typically, you just go out and find your favorite drive wiper, spend five minutes getting it started and then walk away for a few hours.

Well even five minutes would cost ~$10 to do it. And don't forget the computer has to be removed from its box and put back neatly, which adds more time to the operation.

Comment Re:not for me (Score 1) 613

There are really three uses of cursive.

One as a sibling post pointed out is so that quill pens don't blot, which with ball point pens is quite useless.

The second is cursive forces letter grouping for words. With cursive you break the line when the when you switch words. The result is if you don't space your words far enough apart you can still pick out the words with out resorting to solving the text like a one dimensional word search where you don't have a word list and the words could be spelt wrong.

The third is you can write faster with cursive because of reason two, if you start overlapping letters you just need to follow the lines and you can still read the words (albeit a bit slower going), where as if printing start to overlap it looks like someone scribbled on the page.

Related to three there are letters that I have seen from one of the world wars that had the writing on both sides and in two directions. Four pages of text on one sheet!

Comment Re:Did anyone use the Linux client? (Score 1) 299

I attempted to use it. I found that it did not work very well. The UI was vary packed and difficult to use. I had to remove the chat window just to see the ships controls. All in all, it was so poorly done that I didn't use more than a few hours of the 14 day trial account.

What you are describing is how everyone describes the general UI for EvE itself. The UI is just as horrible on windows as it is on linux. The players only put up with that for basically two reasons: 1) the UI is very dense so that it can communicate all of the information that the game generates, and 2) EvE is the only game like it.

Comment Re:money is not the way (Score 1) 497

With open source the file format is always documented, at least in the code itself.

As great as that is, I believe it's a bad idea to use this as a selling point for OSS. I mean, the theory is great - everything is open, all the information you could ever want is documented in some way and if you happen to find a bug or whatever, you can go in and fix it yourself.
But what if you're not a programmer? What if you're just an average Joe who knows an average amount about computers? (I.e. not a lot short of turning it off and on and maybe running the odd Virus scan).
A car is open, if you're a Mechanic and something goes wrong with it, you can just open it up and replace or fix whatever is broken - but of the millions of car drivers out there, how many know how to do more than change the odd flat tire?
I think if you presented OSS in this way, the average person is more than likely going to get scared off by the prospect of having to be a programmer just to write a letter or whatever.

Sure your not a programmer, thats fine. The advantage of having the source code applies to all users of the software. For example, if it is important to you pay a programmer to fix it for you. This is no different than a support contract with a appropriator software vendor. The advantage of having the source code thought is that *any* programmer that can code in the language that the software is written in, can write the fix for you.

This is why a smart company that is having another company build them a core system will have the contractor put the code of the system is escrow in case the contractor gets hit by a bus, fails financially, etc. The other company then gets the code from escrow and hires another company to continue building the system.

To go back to your car example, okay so you are not a mechanic and so the open specifications of the car are useless to you personally (as in you can't fix it yourself), but as with my previous example, you can hire any mechanic that is qualified to work on your car and understands the specifications of the car can fix it for you.

Don't forget about opportunity costs. While some people are able to use what the specifications of the stuff they buy or the source code of their software that they use. It may cost them less to have someone else fix their problem for them, while they are doing their higher paying normal jobs.

Music

Submission + - The Deceptive Perfection of Auto-Tune

theodp writes: "In a medium in which mediocre singing has never been a bar to entry, a lot of pop vocals suddenly sound better than great — they're note- and pitch-perfect. It's all thanks to Auto-Tune, the brainchild of Andy Hildebrand, who realized that the wonders of autocorrelation — which he once used to map drilling sites for the oil industry — could also be used to bestow perfect pitch upon the Britney Spears of the world. While Auto-Tune was intended be used unnoticed, musicians are growing fond of adjusting the program's retune speed to eliminate the natural transition between notes, which yields jumpy and automated-sounding vocals. 'I never figured anyone in their right mind would want to do that,' says Hildebrand."

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