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Comment For the most part yeah. (Score 1) 804

You really should be communicating with your profs during class, not dinking around on your laptop. Unless you type quite a bit faster than most hunt and peckers, you're going to take better notes with pen and paper anyway, and there are relatively few situations where you really need a computer during class as a tool.

What really should be banned is the use of PowerPoint lectures. You know the ones..... where your prof essentially scanned all the relevant sections of the textbook and then cruises through 200 screens of unreadable shrunken slides at light speed while staring at his laptop. Most folks use it as a crutch rather than a visual aid to get a handful of important points across visually, or provide a persistent framework for discussion. It's irritating. I'd much rather see the chalk board in use, screeching and all... at least then the instructor is forced to cover the material at the speed it takes him/her to think through it, giving you enough time to grok it during the lecture.

Comment No net neutrality means big corporate censorship (Score 1) 402

Lame. Not enforcing net neutrality allows, and encourages service providers and media companies to selectively censor whatever they want; they can without violating any legal requirements simply make it too expensive for anyone else to voice their opinion publicly or provide competing content. Heck, you don't even have to actively censor things... you just make the performance and cost of everything that isn't your content slightly more expensive, and economics will make sure that your message is seen more than the 2nd class citizen content.

There is too much danger of these huge corporations manipulating free speech and culture to allow anyone to do that. It will quite rapidly devolve into the same environment as TV... only the rich and big companies can afford to publish.

The internet is a communications media. You don't let the phone company tell you what you can talk about on your phone. Why should you let your ISP tell you what you can see on the internet? It's the same garbage where the TV corporations want to control your internet the same way they control what shows get made. Hint: the shows that get made aren't the shows the people want to see; they are the shows the corporate executives think will sell to advertisers best.


2012 Mayan Calendar 'Doomsday' Date Might Be Wrong 144

astroengine writes "A UC Santa Barbara associate professor is disputing the accuracy of the mesoamerican 'Long Count' calendar after highlighting several astronomical flaws in a correlation factor used to synchronize the ancient Mayan calendar with our modern Gregorian calendar. If proven to be correct, Gerardo Aldana may have nudged the infamous December 21, 2012 'End of the World' date out by at least 60 days. Unfortunately, even if the apocalypse is rescheduled, doomsday theorists will unlikely take note."

Large, Slow Airships Could Move Buildings 184

Algorithmnast writes "The Economist has a short article on using big, slow-moving airships to move large objects without the need to dismantle them. The company mentioned, Skylifter, refers to the lifting ship as an 'aerial crane,' not a Thor weapon. It could easily help move research labs to new parts of the Antarctic, or allow a Solar Tower to be inserted into an area that's difficult to drive to, such as a mesa in New Mexico."

Blizzard Rolls Out Real ID Privacy Options 145

tacarat writes "The last time Blizzard mentioned their new Real ID system, there was a strong backlash from users over privacy issues. Blizzard reconsidered their plans to require real names for forums, and little has been heard about it since. Now, they've announced new privacy settings, allowing users to limit how their name gets shared or to disable the system entirely. Quoting: 'These options provide Real ID users with additional tools for customizing the service based on their preferences, enabling the ability to opt in or out of the Real ID "Friends of Friends" and "Add Facebook Friends" features or to turn off Real ID altogether.'"

Comment Why bother with hyperthreading? it's crappy. (Score 1) 832

For most applications where CPU power matters, hyperthreading actually hurts performance, because the scheduler assumes that the hyper cores are real cores, when in fact they are not. A hyperthreaded core is not a full core, and will bottleneck waiting for the bits it doesn't have on the real core. I prefer not even having hyperthreaded cores unless the os and applications are aware that some cores are gimpy hyperthread cores and takes that into account; i.e does not schedule on them, or only schedules tasks that are not actually crippled by dependency on the real cores on the hyper cores.

Try running a database on hyperthreaded blows chunks. It's better if you just disable them in BIOS.

Comment Well duh. (Score 1) 86

Whoever designed the system is terrible at computer science.

These are home users, using a government provider scanner, and id card, and a key.

Would be pretty easy to build a rootkit filter driver that steals the data off the card during legitimate transactions, along with a keylogger. At that point, you can pretty much remotely impersonate anyone whom you've rootkitted. Doesn't matter how secure the back end is because you can easily dupe the scanner side.

Terrible, terrible design by can't trust home user systems to be clean of rootkits.


Xbox Live Pricing To Go Up To $60 Per Year 199

donniebaseball23 writes "Microsoft has raised the annual price of Xbox Live Gold to $60, which is a price hike of $10. The new price goes into effect on November 1, but gamers can lock in the current Xbox Live price by renewing now. EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich is not surprised by the move, nor does he think it will really have much impact on the Xbox momentum."

Comment The basics: (Score 1) 462

#1 You teach people that software is usually deterministic; if I follow known sequence of steps A, result B will occur. If not, something is usually wrong and its time to ask an expert for assistance.

#2 The way to learn technology is to play with it before crunch time. That means that when you get a new application in front of you, you should explore the menus, see what they can do and how the software behaves so that you can later on be creative when using it under pressure.

#3 Basic computer architecture; e.g. RAM is temporary working space, the hard disk is where your files are saved, etc. How to identify which part of the computer needs to upgrade; e.g. when to add RAM, when to replace the video card, when to get a new machine. How to navigate directories so you actually know where you saved your files (people over 40 have issues with this).

#4 Basic networking. What a NAT is, how to hook up a broadband router. How to determine how fast it really is and reason about whether you are getting what you pay for.

#5 Basics of what kind of problems are done well by computers and what kind of problems computers suck at. Basics of why some algorithms are faster than others at doing the same job. One of the biggest problems with business using computers is that people do not understand anything that does not scale linearly. Examples of applications used for various common types of tasks.

#6 How incredibly complex the stuff is under the hood....that when something is actually wrong with the software, it's extremely difficult to track it down.

#7 Algebra. No, really.

The Almighty Buck

EA Says Game Development Budgets Have Peaked 157

Gamasutra reports on comments from Electronic Arts VP David Demartini indicating that the company thinks AAA game development budgets are not going to continue their skyward trend. "If [a developer] happens to make a lot of money based on that budget, great for them. If they come up short and have to cover some of it — y'know, they'll be smarter the next time they do it. That's kind of the approach that we take to it." Certainly this has something to do with a few major economic flops in the games industry lately, such as the cancellation of This Is Vegas after an estimated $50 million had been dumped into the project. Another example is the anemic response to APB, an MMO with a budget rumored to be as high as $100 million. Poor sales and reviews caused developer Realtime Worlds to enter insolvency and lay off a large portion of the development team.

Halo Reach Leaked To Filesharing Sites 160

Stoobalou writes "What appears to be the full version of Bungie's Halo Reach game has turned up on a number of file sharing sites. The hotly-anticipated multi-player shooter had been hosted on a private area of the Microsoft Live site in order for journalists to preview the release, but Microsoft has admitted that a security breach has meant that pirates have been able to bypass personal download codes given to writers. Disk images of the game are now appearing on a number of public torrent and P2P sites as well as on popular NZB aggregators and Usenet binaries newsgroups." The game isn't due to be released until September 14th. Microsoft is said to be "aggressively pursuing" whoever grabbed the files without their permission.

China's Nine-Day Traffic Jam Tops 62 Miles 198

A traffic jam on the Beijing-Tibet expressway has now entered its ninth day and has grown to over 62 miles in length. This mother-of-all delays has even spawned its own micro-economy of local merchants selling water and food at inflated prices to stranded drivers. Can you imagine how infuriating it must be to see someone leave their blinker on for 9 days?

Comment 2 spaces is easier to read. (Score 1) 814

Duh, the extra whitespace helps you parse each sentence seperately.

It's much more mentally taxing to read a singlespaced block of mooshed together text. Also, typography concerns are nowadays about how to wrap text around oddly shaped illustrations in magazines and advertisements without strange gaps, not making actual text readable. The typography nerds may claim that the original standard before the advent of typewriters and modern computers is "more correct", but I rather think it's not due to objectiveness in analyzing which one is actually better.

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