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Comment Re:Could have told you writing analysis was bogus. (Score 1) 96

Signatures written on paper are not all that helpful...Where they actually are accurate, however, is when written on pressure sensative pads (such as those seen on new-fandangled credit card swipers)

This may be slightly offtopic (but hopefully interesting to the slashdot crowd), so I apologize in advance. I've been trying to figure out how to use electronic signature pads to verify job authorizations, and haven't been able to come up with a way that they seem airtight to me if a customer denies issuing the authorization. Perhaps you or another reader can enlighten me.

I can record the data coming in from the signature pad and associate it with the job ticket in our database easily enough. However, if the customer denies authorizing the work, and we show them the signature data, they can just claim we copied it from another ticket. That seems like a reasonable defense to me, and one that very well might hold up in court if it came to that

I've tried to think of various ways to hash the signature data with unique information from a job ticket, but can't think of anything that can get around the fact that we have access to the raw data that comes from the signature pad, and can do what we want with it. Therefore, I don't see how they can be used for anything like signing a contract.

Of course, a signature on paper (which is what we currently do) can be forged, but there are ways to tell that have been mentioned elsewhere in this story.

Comment Re:No Really Definite Confirmation of This Yet (Score 1) 465

I think pygtk is great. In fact, as I write this I'm taking a break from the cross-platform application I maintain as one of my job duties.

However, some people don't like python as much as you and I. For instance, they may prefer not to use a dynamically-typed language or need something with better performance. Also, I don't see why pygtk would be any more cross-platform than C# using the gtk bindings. At least in theory, both should work on many platforms, and look identical (since they would both use gtk widgets).

I've been deeply skeptical of Mono since it's inception, because of the patent issues hanging over it, so I see the latest happenings here as a positive thing. I'm not likely to abandon python any time soon, but more choice is a good thing for those of us who like using Free software but still need things to run under Windows.

Comment Re:Work Experience (Score 1) 834

Generally, to teach HS and below, the only degree allowable is an education degree. A PHD in math will not be allowed to teach algebra, and a Nobel prive winning physicist will not be allowed to teach physics, unless of course they additionally have a BA in education.

Where do you live? My wife is a high school English teacher, and has a degree in English. I have a friend who teaches elementary school who double-majored in Psychology and Italian. Here in California, teachers who teach specialized subjects (English, math, foreign languages, etc) generally have a degree in the subject they teach, while teachers who don't specialize (elementary school teachers, for example) might have a degree in education. There is a lot of flexibility, though.

All teachers here, except in rare circumstances, have to have teaching credentials, though. These are usually acquired after the bachelor's degree by completing graduate-level coursework that can be finished in a year, as well as taking an exam and getting some real classroom experience (usually through student teaching). The credential is not a degree, but it does require continuing education, and many teachers end up eventually getting a Master's in education due to all the additional education classes they need to take.

My wife did have a friend at her former school who ran into a problem similar to what you're describing. He was a 7th and 8th grade biology teacher, but had a doctorate in some branch of biology from Oxford University. Aside from having a solid background in the science, he was an excellent teacher, having been selected as Teacher of the Year for the district. However, he received notice that he wasn't "highly qualified" for his position and would have to take additional classes to keep his job. Apparently due to some bureaucratic snafu, the powers-that-be didn't recognize his Oxford degree because it wasn't a PhD, but a DPhil, DSc, or something similar that we never see in America. They couldn't be reasoned with, though, so he ended wasting a bunch of time taking classes that he had *taught* when he was a grad student.

Comment Re:Work Experience (Score 1) 834

Notice anything striking there? Of all my "Education" professors, none had taught in a non-college classroom in the last two decades. Some never had. What made them *qualified* to teach me? A PhD in Education. Did they have anything useful to teach? No. How could they, when their entire background was full-time immersion in college-level educational philosophy? My "Education" professors were philosophers,(PhD) not teachers.

My wife, who is a teacher, would definitely agree with you. She often refers to the following quote: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach, teach teachers."

Comment Re:time to port gnome! (Score 1) 828

Of the apps you listed, only Tomboy is an official Gnome app. The others are just third-party apps written using the gnome libs and Mono. Furthermore, there are (in my opinion) better gtk or gnome apps in each category that that don't use Mono. I don't see how this makes Mono "firmly entrenched" in Gnome.

For the record, I am a long time user of gnome, but am deeply skeptical about Mono, and avoid it like the plague. This attitude seems to be fairly common in the gnome community in my experience.

Also, to keep this message on topic, I don't use QT or even have it installed on my systems, but I think this license change is a smart idea, and I hope it increases QT usage in areas where it makes sense.

Comment Re:time to port gnome! (Score 1) 828

Oddly enough, Qt and KDE are the "free" ones now, where as Gnome is now firmly entrenched with Mono.

Do you have any evidence of this? To the best of my knowledge, the Gnome community is deeply ambivalent about Mono. There are very few official Gnome apps that use it.

Comment Re:Strategy fail (Score 1) 828

"if you avoid using programs from another desktop"

Which is just not possible. Where is the CD burning program in GNOME that beats K3B? Where is the music player that beats Amarok? In the other direction, where is the office suite that beats OpenOffice.org? You cannot avoid mixing GTK and Qt apps on a desktop without hurting yourself.

Personally, I don't really like K3B. I use Gnome Baker and am perfectly happy with it. Amarok seems decent enough, but I prefer Quod Libet, a player that uses gtk, gstreamer, and python.

I don't mean any disrespect to the hackers who have put a lot of hard work into KDE/QT apps, but I don't even have QT installed on my system any more and don't feel like I'm missing anything. Likewise, I'm sure someone so inclined could do without gnome and gtk. It may be hard, though, to find an adequate substitute for OpenOffice, if one needs that sort of app.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 2, Informative) 506

Having a stock option is not the same thing as having actual stock. An option is just the right to buy stock at a predetermined price at some point in the future. As a rule, you only exercise that option when you actually want to sell the stock and take your money, since there is little to no upside to exercising the option and then holding on to the stock. Furthermore, all options that haven't been exercised already are likely worthless, since the stock price has come down so much, and will probably never be exercised.

However, Microsoft stopped giving out stock options in 2003, and started giving direct stock grants. I'm not sure, but I suspect that these are non-voting shares. Microsoft's executives and board could not care less about the wishes of non-voting stockholders. I suppose these stockholders could organize a class-action lawsuit against the board, claiming they are not living up to their fiduciary duties. If things get bad enough where this is likely to happen, though, Microsoft will have much bigger problems to worry about.

Games

Early Reviews Reflect Well On Mirror's Edge 73

The much-anticipated first person non-shooter Mirror's Edge is being released today for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Reviews for the game, while not without complaints, are generally positive. 1Up praises the controls, saying, "It gets things very right very early, distilling its first-person platformer ambitions into a very manageable control scheme. ... Once you're familiar with Faith's abilities and their limitations — imparted through a much-needed tutorial — it's easy to see potential routes through the world." Ars Technica is more critical, noting that the main story's gameplay only clocks in at about six hours, and that the artistic style doesn't vary much between levels. Nick Channon, a producer for Mirror's Edge, sat down with Gamasutra and discussed the reasoning for some of their design choices. The PC version of Mirror's Edge and some additional downloadable content will be available in January.
Privacy

Users Know Advertisers Watch Them, and Hate It 243

Chris Blanc tips an Ars writeup on a survey of consumer attitudes toward targeted advertising. The results of the survey, conducted for TRUSTe, confirm that advertisers are in a tough spot. "[The survey company] randomly selected 1,015 nationally representative adults... Although only 40 percent of the group was familiar with the term 'behavioral targeting,' most users were well aware of the practice. 57 percent reported that they weren't comfortable their activities [were being] tracked for advertising purposes, even if the information couldn't be tied to their names or real-life identities. Simultaneously, 72 percent of those surveyed said that they find online advertising annoying when the ads are not relevant to their needs..."
Networking

Submission + - Building a modern IT infrastructure for < $3,00 (playingwithwire.com)

mvip writes: "This article talks about how to build a modern IT infrastructure from scratch with a sub-$3,000 budget. It's not the first article about saving costs using Open Source and Linux, but a slightly different approach using LTSP. The article goes through how to build an IT infrastructure from scratch with 10 clients and 1 server for $3,000 without having to settle for low performance and obsolete software."
Businesses

Submission + - Bachelor's Degree of Uselessness? 1

DarkMorph writes: I have received my bachelor's degree in computer science back in May, and it's nearly September now, and my job search seems to be entirely in vain. So far I have had only one opportunity in California, which ended up being a big group interview and it was a dud. Lately I've found an online business that distributes resumes to thousands of recruiters nationwide. I received from them the list of 569 recruiters (with jobs in Florida where I live and California where I want to be) that they contacted with my resume and I still sit in silence after two weeks. My college degree doesn't seem to be very rewarding at all, and I don't know what to do about getting a job that pays enough for me to move out. The Slashdot community would be the best to address regarding employment due to the variety and quantity of readers, and I was wondering what would be a good step for me to do next? I know a handful of programming languages, and web languages, but I find C/C++ and Linux-related stuff the most interesting.

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