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Ask Slashdot: High-School Suitable Books On How Computers Affect Society? 140

An anonymous reader writes "We are teaching an introductory class in computer science for high school students. We have the technical aspects of the course covered, there is a lot of information on the internet on designing that aspect of the class. We also want to cover some aspects of how computers affect society, privacy, expectations, digital divide etc. We were suggested Blown to Bits, which covers a lot of this but I'm not sure high school students are really going to enjoy it or even take away the right implications ... any recommendations for anything else ? Movies, Fiction, Non-Fiction Books and any other media are all welcome. Students are expected to read no more than 200 pages (that's all the time they have)."
The Internet

Small Town Builds Its Own Gigabyte Network; Cost To Citizens $57/month 269

An anonymous reader writes "On Thursday, the board of O-Net gave approval for residents to get access to [full gigabit bandwidth] for the same price that they currently pay for a guaranteed download speed of 100 megabits per second — $57 to $90 a month, depending on whether they have bundled their internet with TV and phone service. ... the town realized that it couldn't attract technology-based businesses and that bandwidth was a challenge even to ordinary businesses. It came up with a plan — it would install a fibre network throughout the town that would connect to the larger inter-community network being built by the government at that time — the Alberta Supernet."

Comment Re:No shit (Score 1) 491

Brothel owners need to be discreet to stay in business and have, depending on the brothel, probably quite a lot of high ranking officials visiting. So, yes, I do believe that would be quite reliable. Although I live in a part of the world where prostitution is not necessarily a crime, so that might colour my view. Then again if you live somewhere where it does equate to being a crime, that'll probably colour your view as well.

Comment Re:My problem with "the IT department" in general (Score 1) 572

And that's exactly the same thing for the people you're complaining about. They're doing their job to the full extent of what policy allows them to provide. If you don't like it, you either change policy or ask for exemption of the policy. The things you're complaining about needs to go through management, who should fix policy or give you an exemption, it then trickles down to the IT people actually implementing the changed policy/exemption, so you can do your job. It does look like you are complaining mostly and not addressing the issues that are keeping you from doing your work (i.e. get management involved to change policy).

Comment Re:My problem with "the IT department" in general (Score 1) 572

IMAP is a security hole and for policy reasons, they won't do so.

So which part of that is the sysadmins fault (that is if it *is* indeed policy and not an excuse). In a lot of companies willfully disregarding policy is a fireable offence. You apparently think it's reasonable to place someone in such a position, because it's convenient for you to have IMAP. If this is indeed policy and you're not happy with it, you talk to the implementer of the policy to get the policy changed, you don't blame a co worker for actually adhering to policy.

I need wireless access. Policy states that no wireless device can be set up other than by IT. IT refuses to touch anything on my separate network

Again. If you need this, you go to the person who can actually sign off on you having a wireless network for testing purposes. You don't set up your own and connect it to the company network, because it's convenient and if you do set up yourself, you should have a good talk with HR.

Management approved the purchase and it was all fine. IT then blocked it saying that they supply our standard equipment from Dell and we shouldn't be ordering IT equipment separately.

That's essentially rubbish, but again; this may be policy; if you don't agree with the policy discuss policy changes with the policy makers.

but from my point of view, they do get in the way of us doing our jobs far more than they help

From my point of view, it looks like you're blaming people who follow policy for following policy. If policy is idiotic or if you need an exemption, you go through someone who can change policy or give you the exemption, probably not the persons you're complaining about.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 572

That does sound like your IT department is not understaffed and evaluated on the 'number of tickets closed'. This approach probably does not fare that well in a company where the bean counters have taken over.

Comment Re:License war commencing... (Score 1) 457

You'll find innumerable similar examples out there. The GPLv3 which is supposed to give you more "freedom" from corporate "opression" is instead just making everyone flee from projects that use the new license, to no-one's benefit.

Again, I know this is quite selfish, but if I wrote code and I had the choice of writing code that's used by a smaller user group whose members have the same ethics and getting something back in return in the form of improvements OR writing code that's used by a huge group of users without ever getting anything (not even kudos) back *ever*, I'd go for option number one. Getting something back with BSD is not a requirement for companies, companies' only goal is to make money, ergo the time that a company actually does give something back is because it's cheaper to give something back than to keep it in-house.

Option number one is not to 'no one's benefit' it's to the benefit of members of a like minded group, with that group growing once the benefits become clearer to people outside that group, the alternative is benefit to corporations ONLY, without them ever being required to give anything back.

The actual divide in mindset deciding between GPL and BSD licencing, is priorities; BSD minded people probably believe that furthering technology is more important than freedom. I would rather not have cool technology if it meant that it's completely closed off and non-free.

Comment Re:License war commencing... (Score 4, Interesting) 457

Personally, from my point of view, it's more like:

GPL: had BSD been licenced under GPL, then I would not just have worked as free labour for Sony, but Sony actually had to give something in return for using my code (not money, but improvements).

BDS: I don't mind being free labour for multinationals and them making large amounts of money off of my work, as long as I am being credited in the code (which is not open sourced so nobody will actually see who wrote what).

I prefer GPL myself and I know that it's actually a more selfish choice, I do actually somewhat admire people who do seem to be completely selfless and use the BSD licence, the world would be a better place if everyone was like that. However, not everyone is like that and I am sure that if both BSD and Linux were both using the GPL licence, Sony would still not have gone through the trouble of developing their very own. That's called leveraging existing technology, where the main goal is saving money by not having to re-invent the wheel.

Sony now had the choice of:

- Some Free software, where they actually have to put effort in to provide their improvements back to the community


- Some free software, which they can use in which ever way they want without having to do anything in return.

Easy choice.

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