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Comment Re:This is just another waiver (Score 1) 332

They can't dump the responsibility on the patient, especially by shoving an informed consent form under his hand in the 15 minutes before surgery.

Oh yes they can (legally speaking)

This is a very questionable statement, and depends a lot on the locale and the situations of the case. Contractually waiving your rights is something that the courts often frown upon.

Here is my experience. I live in California, and my old apartment was accidentally burned down by a maintenance worker who was not qualified to do the task he had been assigned. The landlord refused to reimburse me for my lost property, because I had signed a lease waiving my right to damages in such a case. I contacted a lawyer, who told me that one can't contract away responsibility for one's own negligence. The landlord was clearly negligent in the case, and the waiver clause in the lease would not hold up in court. I hired the lawyer, and we successfully sued the landlord


Wine 1.2 Released 427

David Gerard writes "Stuck with that one Windows app you can't get rid of? Rejoice — Wine 1.2 is officially released! Apart from running pretty much any Windows application on Unix better than 1.0 (from 2008), major new features include 64-bit support, bi-directional text, and translation into thirty languages. And, of course, DirectX 9 is well-supported and DirectX 10 is getting better. Packages should hit the distros over the weekend, or you can get the source now."

Nmap 5.20 Released 36

ruphus13 writes "Nmap has a new release out, and it's a major one. It includes a GUI front-end called Zenmap, and, according to the post, 'Network admins will no doubt be excited to learn that Nmap is now ready to identify Snow Leopard systems, Android Linux smartphones, and Chumbies, among other OSes that Nmap can now identify. This release also brings an additional 31 Nmap Scripting Engine scripts, bringing the total collection up to 80 pre-written scripts for Nmap. The scripts include X11 access checks to see if on a system allows remote access, a script to retrieve and print an SSL certificate, and a script designed to see whether a host is serving malware. Nmap also comes with netcat and Ndiff. Source code and binaries are available from the Nmap site, including RPMs for x86 and x86_64 systems, and binaries for Windows and Mac OS X. '"

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 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.

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