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Books

Comic Books Improve Early Childhood Literacy 127

Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that Professor Carol Tilley, a professor of library and information science at the University of Illinois, says that comics are just as sophisticated as other forms of reading, children benefit from reading them at least as much as they do from reading other kinds of books, and that there is evidence that comics increase children's vocabulary and instill a love of reading. 'A lot of the criticism of comics and comic books come from people who think that kids are just looking at the pictures and not putting them together with the words,' says Tilley. 'But you could easily make some of the same criticisms of picture books – that kids are just looking at pictures, and not at the words.' Tilley says that some of the condescension toward comics as a medium may come from the connotations that the name itself evokes but that the distinct comic book aesthetic — frames, thought and speech bubbles, motion lines, to name a few — has been co-opted by children's books, creating a hybrid format."
Robotics

Robot Controlled By Human Brain Cells 86

destinyland writes "There's a new experiment from the British researchers who created a robot controlled by cultured rat neurons. They're now using a line of human brain neurons to control robots. The neurons are placed onto a multi-electrode dish that registers the neurons' electric signals. 'Every time the robot nears an object, the electrodes generate signals to stimulate the brain. In response, the brain's output is used to drive the wheels of the robot left and right so that it avoids hitting objects. The robot has no additional control from a human or a computer — its sole means of control is from its own brain.'"
Security

Cyber-criminal Left In Charge of Prison Computer Network 389

samzenpus writes "A 27-year-old man serving six years for stealing £6.5million using forged credit cards over the internet was recruited to help write code needed for the installation of an internal prison TV station. He was left unguarded with unfettered access to the system and produced results that anyone but prison officials could have guessed. He installed a series of passwords on all the machines, shutting down the entire prison computer system. A prison source said, 'It's unbelievable that a criminal convicted of cyber-crime was allowed uncontrolled access to the hard drive. He set up such an elaborate array of passwords it took a specialist company to get it working.'"

Comment Re:Google dodged the point (Score 1) 150

But seriously, this argument is wholly inane and false.

1: IE6 - it would break intranet sites. NO it wouldn't as it wouldn't get used unless the proper meta tag is IN THE PAGE. Is this insanely hard to understand? IE6 would keep chugging along until a page that asked nicely for the plugin came around. Then it would be used. The intranet would remain untouched.

2: IE7 - upgrade to IE8. Do you have any idea of how many organisations are avoiding upgrading to IE8 specifically because they aren't sure that everything is going to work properly. You are arguing that they have to upgrade (to a product that is measurably worse than the competition at handling new, javascript-heavy web applications) rather than take advantage of a plugin that will solve their immediate pain point (performance for certain apps) while not disturbing their current setup.

3: Veiled attempt at tricking users into using Chrome instead of legitimately gaining marketshare.
Please, enlighten me - exactly how does one "legitimately gain marketshare"? This is just plain old stupid. Market share is built by providing a good product and having people use it. Time will tell if Chrome Frames is a good product and if people will use it. You are not the judge of what is a legitimate route to market or not. Sorry. The arbiter of that is the market.

Comment Re:So, which side (Score 3, Interesting) 150

Ummm. Not many users? Do you completely fail to comprehend how HARD Google could push this on IE6/7 users if they wanted to? And with their allies and partners I think they would have a very good chance of doing an 80-20 conversion on that user base. That's what's up for grabs, not the measly IE8 percentage points. IE6 and IE7 users accessing Youtube, google.com, gmail, google docs et al being gently pushed to install the plugin. Good thing too in my opinion. The sooner we can get that crap out the door and onto the crap heap of history the better for everyone.

Comment On voicemail (Score 1) 383

1: The major reason for voicemail and related services (slamdown notifications where you get a text message stating that someone called you but didn't leave a message) are NOT the minutes you spend but rather call completion. You see, calls that don't terminate when your terminal is not online (a not uncommon occurance in crap networks like the US ones, you would not believe how much time a normal handset in a metropolitan area is offline) are a loss since you don't get missed call information. There is a very, VERY well understod business case for voicemail services and how they affect the average revenue per user.

2: What customers SHOULD do is require that all operators allow them to connect to Google Voice type services, i.e. a service provider that will let them govern the way they receive information and control the modus in which they respond themselves.

3: The charging model of US operators is completely insane compared to the rest of the world. How the hell can you put up with it? Seriously?

Comment How hard is it to understand? (Score 2, Insightful) 423

Use the appropriate tool. Always. There are tons.

Don't use a relational database to try to represent hierarchical data. Don't try to use LDAP to do analytics. Think of the performance implications before you have more than two users accessing your system. Data storage is a very different animal, you are often (though not always) I/O bound. This is very different from being limited by the amount of instructions you can deal with per unit of time. Don't think otherwise because it will bite you in the ass.

And still I see people making the same stupid mistakes over and over. But it's pretty simple really:

A solution designed to be generic will ALWAYS be slower than a solution that is customized. This shouldn't be surprising. If you have serious performance requirements (ESPECIALLY if they are coupled with huge amounts of data) then a custom solution is definitely something you should look into. At some point you will run into a brick wall and find out that there is stuff you can't do with the solution you have in place. This is natural. Custom solutions to hard problems always lead to restrictions in terms of future features. Always. You will NEVER be able to anticipate all features that you would like to have. (Yes, this is true for Google as well. No they don't have any special kind of magic dust that they sprinkle on their things there, they do the best they can and then they get bitten in the ass too, just like everybody else.)

Comment Go climbing (Score 1) 1354

Loads of geeks climb, it's fun/scary, the f/m ratio is good and there's loads of hanging out and chatting between climbs. I heartily recommend it. Plus you get a whole lot stronger, get the opportunity to learn something new and meet people you certainly would never meet otherwise.

Comment Re:Not a genius? He probably is. (Score 5, Insightful) 648

Our social peers? Allow me to laugh derisively. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Being different in school SUCKS ASS. At least in college people are sufficiently grown up to not be assholes 100 percent of the time.

Social peers is all to often a nice waying of saying "hang out with the half wits". There is a lot of value being put on "functioning well in groups" that for certain people mean they get to learn that they really don't want to be part of any group that they haven't selected for themselves.

Comment Listen (Score 1) 412

You are young. Sell the company. It will be painful but useful and for several reasons. It establishes a track record, it gives you (I would assume since I don't expect you to sell it for peanuts) some well deserved cash that gives you some level of independence and in the process you will learn a lot about how NOT to do things.

Just do it.

Comment Tiresome (Score 2, Insightful) 431

Well, that was the lamest collection of reasons I've ever seen.
It's client-server all over again? Umm. Yeah? So? Most enterprise applications are client-server. Include document and process management and your entire network is a gigantic client-server system. Come on. Is that supposed to scare anyone? Really? Wow. Should every employee have a browser? Hell yeah. If they have a computer they should have a browser. If you have a problem with your employees doing other stuff than work then you have a problem that won't go away because you take away the browser. That should be obvious to anyone who has ever been an employer.

And saying that the web is a place that is dominated by big players is just ludicrous when advocating working on the desktop instead. (I don't think I need to spell this one out for you)

No, this is all crap. There are valid reasons why certain applications shouldn't be web based. But the article lists none of these. Too much load on the datacenter. I mean seriously. Come on!

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