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Comment Doesn't UW have an early college program? (Score 1) 659

IIRC, UW Seattle actually has one of the best "early college" programs around. In essence they take something like twenty or so 12 and 13 year olds, put them through a year long academic "boot camp" and then allow those who get through (usually 18 or 19 out of the 20) to enroll as freshmen. Unlike places like MIT, which enroll the occasional prodigy but have no real special services for them, the UW program provides services and specialized advising to the kids throughout their entire time in school, while also encouraging them to take part in extracurricular activities and maintain a social life both with their age-peers and academic peers. The program seems to work, so could that be an option for a kid like that?

Comment Re:Link to previous story (Score 3, Insightful) 37

P25 wasn't originally designed with security in mind. It was designed as a standardized digital replacement for the mess of incompatible digital and analog trunking systems that had grown up in the 80s and 90s. In its basic, as-designed, unencrypted mode, it works well. It's only when local PDs and FDs decide to try and lock out scanner users (nominally to keep criminals from listening, but more often to keep away TV news crews) by means of ill-conceived encryption addons that things fall apart.

Comment Re:Amazing technology for its time (Score 1) 106

The SX-70 may have been easier to use than the older stuff, but the older stuff actually had a much better image quality. The black and white Polaroid peel-apart materials were really good stuff, for example: Ansel Adams swore by the stuff (it could give him an instant preview of the shot AND with a little bit of care, a good negative to bring back to the darkroom, fix and make traditional prints from) Their color materials were less "high end" than the black and white materials but they still did a much better job at accurate color reproduction than could ever be hoped for from the SX-70.

Submission + - Pathscale Goes Open Source (

Lord Crowface writes: Performance-hungry computer users have a new choice when compiling their weather simulations and raytracers at home: PathScale has just announced the open source release of their flagship Pathscale EKOPath 4 compiler suite. Any bets on how long it takes before some Gentoo fan tries to compile a kernel with this?

Submission + - Chinese Spying Devices Installed on Hong Kong Cars ( 2

jjp9999 writes: "Spying devices disguised as electronic border cards have been secretly installed on thousands of Hong Kong vehicles by Chinese authorities, according to a Hong Kong newspaper. A translation of the story states Chinese authorities have been installing spying devices on all dual-plate Chinese-Hong Kong vehicles for years, enabling a vast network of eavesdropping across the archipelago."
United States

Submission + - Hi-Tech Petition Drive Angers ACLU (

PeeAitchPee writes: Here in Maryland, we currently have a petition drive underway to force a referendum on a new law granting in-state college tuition rates to illegal immigrants. In a few short months, the use of automated, web-based signature form preparation has helped to obtain almost 80% of the required signatures. The ACLU last month sent a letter to the State Board of Elections warning that the petition drive's website, which links to official state voter records and allows petitions to be pre-populated with exact names and addresses, could open the door to fraud. Does this technology indeed encourage fraudulent signatures, or does it merely enable more people to directly participate in their government's processes?

Comment Re:Software Patents? (Score 1) 203

Chances are, none. The well-known Alto (from 1973) and Star (from 1981) systems both did GUI stuff even earlier than the Blit. In fact, the Blit is actually the source of the notorious software patent #4555775 (on backing stores) which almost destroyed X11 in the early 90s...

Comment Low to None (Score 1) 674

Even with better typography support, Word is still unsuitable for anything more complex than a letter to Grandma. That's because it still makes it harder to create structured documents than LaTeX does. If I'm writing a novel or a paper or something, the ability to simply say "\chapter{In Which I Make A Fool of Myself on Slashdot}" is MUCH easier than mucking with the mess that is Word's half-baked paragraph styles. The only thing Word does better than LaTeX is pictures.

Comment Actually, I can see why they're doing this (Score 5, Informative) 226

I'm typing this from OpenSolaris 2008.11 and I'm actually surprised how "desktop-friendly" Solaris has actually become. The default GNOME-based desktop is gorgeous and works well. Hardware support may not be all that broad, but when hardware is supported it's REALLY supported: even booting off the live CD, my Atheros wireless card, NVidia 3D card and crappy on-mobo sound were "auto-magically" detected and set up. Performance is also quite snappy, even on my aging Athlon XP 3000+ with a measly 1 GB of RAM. In short, OpenSolaris is more than up to the task of working on Toshiba's new laptops.

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