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Comment Get them interested (Score 1) 349

The problem with modern public education is that from a young age any child going through school is disenfranchised from it by having to do things they already know, dont know, or having difficult social circumstances with classmates, etc.

Whatever it is, the problem is that 90% of kids dont want to be there. They dont care, they dont want to learn because they dont care to learn. That is the massive gaping wound in public education. It is also a factor of the factory like public schooling we have - in this "information" age, students should be learning what interests them from a young age. If you foster creative sparks and teach what the student wants to know, they will actively participate and things like ipads become accessories to learning to help promote it, not the other way around.

Real world example. At my high school we had macbooks when I graduated. Standardized test scores dropped by 30%, 60% of students grades dropped, 20% stayed the same, 20% went up. The 60% whose grades declined were using the laptops to ignore the classroom and not engage in something they didnt want to do. The 20% whose grades went up used the laptops in class to accelerate learning. The other 20% did some of both. The net result is that a huge fraction of a student body doesnt want to be there, and has no interest in learning, and you try to force feed them material that wont stick or have lasting impact but then try it again the next day, the next year, and for 13 years straight. It is a broken system by that mark.

You need to get every young person interested in education, get them something that they would want to learn, and move away from the factory farm public school system we have today. Technology allows more specialized per child education, and it really needs to happen. The technology has encroached everywhere else in their lives except in schools in any meaningful way - just throwing ipads at a disenfranchised populace only gives them more tools to ignore the class.

Comment Why is politics a profession? (Score 4, Interesting) 477

I mean, I would much rather having accomplished scientists, engineers, and other professions representing me than someone who majored in law in college with the sole intention of being a politician. There is a breakdown in the system, and it was completely intended - when individual senators represent and are elected by up to 60 million people (Cali) they have no connection to their constituents at all.

I mean, the process to fix it is an arduous process. We need to take money out of politics, take it out of campaigning, and we can easily use technology to develop a mutually agreed upon open platform on the internet to market representatives. Like, say, each county could host a site called elections.XXXX.gov and it would allow people to apply and run for the office. Probably have a tiny $10 running fee to keep people from flooding the sites, but besides that make it open to all constituents and all it takes is the ability to type in ones positions and appear at public debate. And then outlaw the spending of money on political advertising, because once we have an easy to access platform for knowing all the candidates where they can respectively give their standings on different political topics, we can move away from the grossly unintended 2 party system and more towards electing people and not parties that don't work in the publics interest.

Problem is, the entrenched powers have absolutely no desire to move towards a system where anyone but the in crowd of each party could ever get nominated and handed to the public. They want 2 partys because they are easier to control and mutually benefit from the status quo.

Comment I like the implication (Score 4, Insightful) 121

Fast forward ten years when we are all driving driverless cars. No matter who makes them, they need to get permission from Google to make such a vehicle even if they never use any google product in its production. The fact that technology will have easily progressed far enough by that point to allow fully automated vehicles, google will still be getting a huge chunk out of any car made or sold without ever having any part its design, construction, or sale, besides being the first ones to do it.

This is like all software patents. Trying to patent mathematics and language. And we are going to have a whole generation of wasted potential because there is no way to fix it, because the only ones that can change it love the way things are now.

Comment Re:Easy to do (Score 1) 302

Now, I am as against slavery as the next liberty loving nutbag, but can /. not have double standards on google search?

A few weeks ago they took torrent sites off instant search and there was massive outcry. Technically, in most countries using google, most of those sites were breaking law. What they were breaking should not be criminal, but it was still not law abiding to host copyrighted material on torrent sites. And the /. community exploded against it! Hoo rah, how could Google do this, search must be agnostic to culture and law, blah blah.

So lets not have double standards. I love google supporting this, but I also am I proponent that google search has become too imbedded and powerful on the internet to just giving google passes if they start blacklisting sites from their search. It is a slippery slope that goes against the intent if you start making exceptions.

Comment The Foundations of this argument are absurd anyway (Score 4, Interesting) 472

I mean, there is this big cultural panic that women don't go into STEM and everyone wonders why. They point out that they are force fed dolls, and shows about mothering, princesses and other assorted crud, where boys are fed high strength stuff like GI Joe and Bob the Builder.

But that isnt the cause of the divide. The culture inside public schools is almost as immobile as governments, because the younger children adopt the values of the older ones to try to fit in, be cool, and seem more mature. The effect of peers on kids growing up has more profound effects than any specific media they are consuming - it is more a product of their behavior around one another than it is from what they watch on tv

I dont have any sources off the top of my head, but from other discussions on this topic, the general consensus is a home schooled boy and girl completely cut off from peer influence have absolutely no real discernible preference away from math, that statistically if you introduce math in interesting and purposeful ways, both of them can like it, and develop interests in it. There is no genetic or hormonal effect prohibiting either from developing a fascination with any particular field. So of course it is cultural, but I believe it is in the in-culture of public schooling, must less the culture of society as a whole, that keeps this problem from being dealt with.

Comment Dont take away choice (Score 1) 373

I don't like the incentive that the addon maker should decide what ads are "acceptable" or not. I will choose which sites to allow ads on, if they are in the way of content, I will get rid of them, otherwise I will usually allow them.

Heres an example: ads on youtube. I use noscript to block the in video ads, because I am not waiting through 15 seconds of wasted bandwidth and time to get to a video. Ads on the side? Those are fine, and I allow them under adblock. Does your site pop an ad up when I load a page? Adblocked. Ads on the banners and sides, that are not animated / sound, usually just a single image or some text? Perfectly fine.

I have never bought anything based on an ad before, from TV or internet. I always research purchases, or when it comes to consumables like food, I try different brands. It is almost like wasting bandwidth to throw ads at me, but I do know there are plenty of people that eat up ads like candy.

Comment Re:Pffft. (Score 5, Interesting) 421

There are a few problems with functional programming languages that have prevented their true adoption anywhere.

1. Limited paradigms - I always prefer languages that let me write my code the way I want, a la C++, than a language that requires a strict paradigm from academia like Lisp. If I want to use the inherent hardware property based side effects of certain code structures, let me. Programming languages =/= mothers.

2. Difficulty. 90% of programmers (not on the internet, in general) write code like Fortran when its 2010. The most popular languages now, C# and Java, are popular because they are extremely easy to understand, if not easy to get things done in. You dont need to know lambda calculus or templates or prototyping to understand 99% of C# / java code (yes, I know C# has all of those and java has 2/3 of those). The problem with functional languages is that they always use these paradigms.

3. Most functional languages except Ocaml are like Ruby and Python in that they have tremendous performance overhead. For a consumer application, that overhead usually doesnt impede adoption (its more like the software is poorly written than the applications environment is too inefficient). But when talking about server programming the costs of running something under Ruby vs C are astronomical, and the same problem arises with functional programming. It might not hurt the consumer that the Python implementation of their music player consuming 30% more clock cycles than the exact same program written in C, but it does cause huge scaling issues with popular resources like Twitter.

4. In extension of 3, functional programming is getting away from how the hardware actually works. It is good for a novice that doesnt want to get into the details of pointers and caching and disk IO, but professionals should enter the game knowing how the underlying system runs and that making tradeoffs for readability by someone who doesnt know the language anyway vs performance benefits falls to the wayside. Developer time is important, but when you factor in the massive overhead trying to get 20+ year professional developers in C to try to think functionally you are never justifying the upfront cost of using the languages.

I mean, I dont use them. Thats personal preference. I like the way C and OO work more than I like dynamic typing and having no data and all the other out of this world paradigms. I really hope that D can achieve what I hope it will evolve into, a language that is hopefully as easy to understand as Python without the boilerplate of Java but with the performance of C. Thats kind of where the end goal of programming languages needs to be.

Comment Monitization and Monopolies (Score 5, Interesting) 644

I mean the reason this is a problem at all is that Mozilla is a non profit but still needs to cover operating costs. Since everything they make is free, they need to either monetize customer support (and who has ever heard of that with a browser or email reader) or have ad revenue.

The google deal was just a means to an end, that some fraction of the add revenue from google goes to mozilla because google was firefox default search. The reason its so dangerous for mozilla is because google has such monopolistic power over search they have no one else to turn to to get ad revenue from searching from, hence the inquiries at M$.

But do consider this - Google is paying 100 million a year, but in 2010 they had revune of 29 billion. In exchange, they go from having influence in a quarter of the browser market (Chrome) to half the market (Chrome + FF) and then they have majority influence. I imagine its something they want when pushing WebM video and standards compliance in browsers.

I use Firefox, and have tried Chrome, but as a developer, add on nerd, and moralist I can't give myself to the company whose adds are blocked by a plugin in their own browser. I have compared them, and run them against Sunspider, and the half a milisecond of delay in page loading doesn't make me want to ditch a fully open project for something Google has lordship over. Its the same thing with Android vs Ubuntu on tablets, I want to see Ubuntu succeed because it is an open development process, not just source wise. Google already close sourced Android 3 even though it was blatantly illegal to close source software built on Linux. So I'd rather stick with the open standard. Worst case scenario, I might find a few months to work on FF myself and try to fix some of the slowdowns if I really take issue with them. That's the benefit of open development.

Comment Re:The real issue (Score 5, Informative) 144

The power of media is just part of a recurring theme of politicians just ignoring the constitution and putting Supreme Court judges in place to keep whatever backwards legislation they pass as law.

If all three branches of government are controlled by private media dollars, there are no checks and balances left, and there is no way to enforce the constitution if all the branches are taken out of the picture like they are right now.

I mean that is the main reason for OWS, getting corporate influence out of government. The real solution is to really understand what the constitution was for - it was just a document to unify the states under a common base law. That was the reason for the 10th amendment. The states should be handling almost everything the fed is right now, and through financial mobility anyone disenfranchised with a given state could move to one that better suits their political ideology. The problem is that states have become irrelevant as amendments like direct voting of senators came about removing the states from the federal level.

It really is just a side effect of the top down politics when they should be bottom up - new ideas of political discourse should come from local attempts at new ideas and good ideas should build up across districts into state laws, and eventually if everyone starts doing the same thing it might become national law. The way it is now is just backwards

Comment I don't see it (Score 1) 374

I own none of the modern consoles, and bought a ps2 back in 2001 when it came out as a naive youngster who didn't know how horrible the closed system of consoles is.

But the economics of consoles make sense, for both developer and publisher, and that is why I don't see them dying off. Fundamentally, subsidizing hardware through self manufacture or using your push in the tech industry to get insanely low cost hardware made, and then after that selling it at a loss to get more initial purchases, just to make it up on a title fee for the next half decade makes great sense.

It's also the reason free to play games with cash shops are booming. If you can lower the barrier to entry you will almost always get more net return. You reach a divide when it comes to general purpose computers and gaming in the console-esque way, because there are two forces going against one another in the general market - the hardware manufacturer needs to maximize the profit made off the units, and that raises the barrier of entry to gaming hardware. That, and the best graphics will only be had on high end hardware specialized for gaming (which is just gpus in general now).

Consoles are so weak right now because the current generation is almost a decade old. Their tech specs are being bumped up against by Nvidias next couple Tegra iterations. When the Xbox 720 and PS4 come out on hardware that would cost an average joe $900 to buy but is brought down to $300 through M$ / Sony manufacture and retail deals thats where the idea of consoles works.

The reason it works also has to factor in the iron grip the price market for games is at. There are basically three tiers of purchased games (not free to plays, etc) - the app store $1 game, the indie $10 game, and the big studio $60 game, and outside of Steam sales there is no price variability. Gabe Newell realized this. The magic sweet spot of maximal profit is well below $60 in a digital distribution system, because the cost to reproduce is near 0, and if Steam integrated some peer to peer downloading client for the games it sells it would be practically 0. The only costs to developers is getting on widely used distribution platforms, but that isnt really necessary, you could just sell the game from the corporate website and cloud host the distribution. Much cheaper than either the Steam cut or physical retail but also requires some work. If the game price became as organic as it needs to become through digital distribution, games with high demand would have their price rise and games with low demand would drop their price to find a demand point. The point is to find the individual threshold they will pay for a given game - that is why piracy is so rampant. No one is at the personal purchase threshold they like the most when it comes to most titles.

Comment Why not handle the actual problem? (Score 2) 108

If South Korean teenagers are wasting their lives in virtual worlds, it means they have nothing to strive for in this one. Taking away the escape mechanism will not do anything but make them take more extremist escapist measures like getting into mind altering drugs. The problem that needs addressed, and it actually applies internationally to pretty much every nations children, is that the new generations are disenfranchised with our outdated methodologies regarding education. We treat it like a factory going through 12 or 13 different cycles, try putting the gifted on a different track, etc, but in the end, it repels them. It repelled me and most other people I know. I grew to seek education and knowledge because I realized they were important, public schooling drove me away from them because they do them so horribly wrong. That is why kids everywhere don't care. No one else does beyond this superficial level. They restrict the exploration and experimentation in the world of the youth and wonder why they become disenfranchised with it.

Comment Re:Recall the Itanium (Score 2) 235

Itanium failed moreso because it tried to replace x86 with a new 64 bit only version. That is why it bombed more than any performance benchmarks. The sad thing for AMD is that Bulldozer is all around not favorable for anything - it always comes up to a 9 / 10 where someone else has a 10 / 10, it is a jack of all trades but in processor land that is bad. It has somewhat decent power efficiency, but is terrible compared to other 32nm processors from Intel, it is more in 45nm land. It has good performance in parallel tasks, but the high end i7 2600k is better at price / performance and efficiency, and the new i7 3960x blows it out of the water with 12 threads at once. Its price to performance isn't bad, but i5 2500ks beat it fairly soundly, especially in serial tasks. AMD really needs to go back to the drawing board and crank out a platform with per core efficiency rivaling Sandy Bridge. Lots of cores on a die doesn't mean much when the individual cores are regressions from the Phenom line.

Comment Re:Religious groups (Score 5, Interesting) 272

Porn will exist in general. 99.9% of humans past the age of 13 have sexual urges, and satisfying them through images and video causes no harm to anyone, it just makes them feel good. Its like drug prohibition. Porn doesn't hurt your neighbor in ANY WAY, but the fact it exists offends them, like they want to change the fundemental laws of the universe to make it so it can't exist. Since they don't have the education to even know how to do that, they just complain to government and the "moral" fabric of society takes over. That might sound judgmental, but having grown up in the last two decades, all I see is old people complaining about things that have no influence or effect on them and preventing everyone else from doing what they want to satisfy their own superiority complex. It gets old.

Comment Re:Awesome (Score 4, Interesting) 249

They are converting all of youtube to WebM, and it is the only royalty free web video codec. I'm pretty sure they will beat h.264 in the long run because free wins in the end. The fact the encoding is behind the scenes doesn't matter. In a decade html5 video will be defined by webm because no one wants to license h.264 for encoding products.

Comment Circlejerk? (Score 2) 283

Nobody who reads slashdot or who works in real software development would ever tell you that software patents were good things. Even the devs at Microsoft, Apple, and Google, who hold a significant chunk of all software patents, probably hate them themselves. But we all know this. Complaining about them here is just preaching to the choir. The only way to fix this is to educate the people that make decisions about patents, aka, Congress, about why they are bad, and get their hands out of the pockets of patent trolls like Rambus and Creative. I just had to put that out there. There are, literally, like 1000 stories a week on patent fudges, and its only going to get worse as more and more troll companies buy up patents to sue everyone with them. You don't accomplish anything by explaining to the Slashdot community why they are bad, we all know they are bad.

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I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman