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Comment It's developed process, the teachers own it. (Score 1) 590

If we want to move to an education system whereby teachers are valued based on their ability to teach, and the performance of their students, then the teachers own their lesson plans. This is assuming, of course, that they developed the plan in the first place. Let's just say that's the case in order to make the discussion clearer.

Teachers, good ones, develop their methods for teaching students. If those methods lead to better student understanding, then let them sell them to other teachers. It's really no different than all of the stupid process patents that we rail over, except they're not actually trying to lock them away, they're trying to share them with their peer group and get themselves some benefit in the process.

I don't see a big deal here. They figured out how to build a better mousetrap, let them market it. Unless a school district contains similar "work product" provisions in their teacher contracts that many tech people have in theirs, the schools have no right to the processes and products developed by the teachers for their use.

Comment Re:Recommend a TiVo alternative? (Score 1) 335

Define "superior conflicts-resolution system". Currently, TiVo's scheduler is smart enough to, through the priority set in your season passes, work around jsut about any conflict. For overlaps, TiVo's now offer you the ability to trim/crop recordings that overlap in one direction or the other (end one early or start one late). What did the Hauppage system do differently that those of us on TiVo don't realize we're missing?

Alpine Legend Revolutionizes Music Game Genre 45

Microsoft has announced the upcoming release of Alpine Legend for the Xbox 360. Building upon the established titles of the music game genre, Alpine Legend takes you to the Swiss mountaintops, where you and your friends play up to three Alpenhorns at a time while a fourth yodels along. When you're done playing, you can disassemble the 8-foot horns for easy storage. "Jam with alpine legends like Franz 'The Manz' Lang and Johann Hornbostel. Shake the mountain tops with 100 classic Alphorn tracks including, 'Whose spit is in my horn?' and 'More goat bell (It needs).'"
The Media

Time Warner/Viacom Rift Healed, Pending Details 75

jwilcox154 writes "Yesterday a dispute over fee hikes had threatened a damaging blackout at a minute past midnight Thursday that would have prevented TWC subscribers from watching their favorite shows such as 'SpongeBob SquarePants' and 'The Colbert Report.' The two sides reached an agreement on Thursday, the first of January 2009. The companies stated the terms of the deal were not disclosed. Details must still be finalized over the next few days."
XBox (Games)

Submission + - Bioshock goes gold

wiggles writes: Title says it all. From the press release: "2K, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), announced today that BioShock(TM) has gone to gold master exclusively for the Xbox 360(TM) video game and entertainment system and Games For Windows"
The Internet

Submission + - Hunting via the Internet idea DOA

Radon360 writes: The fairly recent concept of hunting animals via the internet has been met with swift legislation to prevent the idea from becoming a reality in many states. According to this Wall Street Journal article 33 states have already enacted bans and a federal ban is in the works. One of the cited reasons for the expediency is that there is no real opposition to enacting such a prohibition. Most notably, the NRA also supports these bans, though for different reasons than animal rights groups. While sportsman groups have generally come out in favor of such legislation, they are keeping a watchful eye out for the potential of broadly written laws that might impact conventional hunting methods. Just in case you might have been thinking about starting up a site to allow others to go sport-fishing over the internet, California has already banned this practice as well.

Submission + - Track down and squash pesky PHP bugs

An anonymous reader writes: Tracking down bugs in PHP code can be a challenge. But if you have a development system and can install Xdebug, squashing those bugs becomes a lot easier. Xdebug can show a stack trace, dump even complex variables, track memory usage over time, and allow you to conduct an effective post-mortem when an error or crash occurs. This is a good way to get introduced to PHP tools that simplify your PHP debugging.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Ad favorites through the years (

jcatcw writes: "Computerworld has compiled a set of very amusing ads from the pages of its past for the 40th Anniversary issue. In what year would the question, "What is E-mail?" be answered with: "One of the most advanced methods is terminals talking to one another."

They're "versatile, dependable, compatible and maybe even sexy." What are they? These modems that are "all performers," according to a not-so-subtle ad.

"with WordStar, you have a true screen image of what your printout will look like before you print it! With WordStar, you'll erase, insert, delete and move entire blocks of copy."

Remember when "mobile" meant "luggable"? An NEC ad boasts of a laptop that only weighed 11.2 lb. despite its 640K of memory, dual 720K drives and five built-in programs. Woohoo!

A personal favorite: the Personal Mainframe."


Submission + - MIT powers lightbulb wirelessly

kcurtis writes: According to the Boston Globe, MIT Researchers lit a light bulb remotely. The successful experiment to lit a 60-watt light bulb from a power source two meters away, with no physical connection between the power source and the light bulb. Details about WiTricity, or wireless electricity, are scheduled to be reported today in Science Express, the advance online publication of the journal Science, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said.

Submission + - Watch MS in Action vs CA's open standards bill

Cyrus Mack writes: "Watch MS lobbyists and their friends in all their disengenuous glory as they explain to this California assembly committee why open standards are bad. Their arguments? * Sun is doing this to give themselves a competitive advantage * proponents of ODF have stifled Microsoft's efforts with standards bodies * The market is addressing the issue anyway, so legislation is unnecessary Never mind the fact that OOXML, should it be approved by the ISO, would most likely qualify under AB 1668, the bill under discussion. Why does Microsoft fight for standards acceptance on one hand, and then against it with the other?"

Feed Dow Jones Recognizing It Needs To Keep Diversifying Away From Newspaper (

It's no secret that many in the newspaper business have struggled with figuring out how to adapt their business models into the digital age. That's unfortunate, but not too surprising. Dow Jones has had its own struggles in this area, at times making its own publication less relevant by locking up the content... and then complaining that its competitors weren't doing the same. However, lately, it appears that the company is really making a big effort to be more relevant. It's been opening up more and more content as well as experimenting with new and different offerings. Thus, it's not a huge surprise to hear Dow Jones' CEO say that the company's goal is to have less than half of its revenue coming from traditional print operations by 2009. Of course, there are two ways to look at this. If you want to view it positively, it's a publisher recognizing that the times are changing and it needs to adapt to those times and stop trying to protect a cash cow who's getting squeezed. However, on the flip side, this seems to be focusing on the wrong thing. The goal shouldn't be to focus on what percentage of revenue comes from what channel -- but on how to deliver the best overall product that helps maximize revenue.

Think of it this way (and I'll simply make up numbers for simplification in the illustration): In scenario A, the publication makes $60 million off its print operations and $40 million off the rest of the business. In scenario B, the publication makes $40 million off the print operations and another $40 million off of the rest of the business. Scenario A is clearly superior, but if the goal the company is focusing on is making sure that print operations are less than half the revenue for the company, then scenario B is what you target -- even if it makes the company worse off. That's not to say that diversification is bad, especially in a rapidly changing market. But if you're going to diversify, the strategy should be on maximizing revenue and mitigating some levels of risk through diversification, rather than just diversification for the sake of diversification.

Feed Airsoft Roomba kits up with plastic pellets (

Filed under: Robots

We always knew that the eventual robotic rebellion would come in stages (and would start with Roombas), so while many may take a childish satisfaction in seeing an innocent Roomba hacked up to shoot Airsoft BB pellets, we're constantly aware that this is another step towards the ultimate annihilation of all meat-based life forms. "Cool Bots!" MAKE cries, oblivious to the destructive potential pent up inside the little hoover's circuitry -- it's thinking: "I don't even need to try, they're giving me weapons!" Fortunately, this is very much an early stage killer robot, as the photos over on isobot's flickr stream attest. The modified Roomba may look menacing with its red laser sight, but it appears as if the little thing can't aim its plastic payload any higher than a few inches off the ground, limiting its targets to feet and unsuspecting house cats. Of course, that red laser also gives it more than a passing similarity to a certain infamous robot / human hybrid. Today, Airsoft; tomorrow, assimilation?

[Via MAKE]

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

Office Depot Featured Gadget: Xbox 360 Platinum System Packs the power to bring games to life!

Feed Microsoft patent filing reveals "multi-component" gaming plans (

Filed under: Gaming, Handhelds

It looks like Microsoft has more than just games on Zune in store for the future, with a recent patent filing revealing the company's plans for a "multi-component gaming system" that would incorporate of an array of devices, including game consoles and handhelds. Apparently, the various devices would be connected either wired or wirelessly, with the processing capabilities and functionality of the devices "augmented" when used in combination. Some of the potential uses given include devices sharing storage space with another, devices running games stored on other devices, and handhelds "taking advantage of the console gaming device's greater processing speed." Of course, this being a patent application, there's no indication as to when any of this may actually see the light of day, nor is there any details on the "dedicated handheld gaming device" that Microsoft refers to throughout the application, though we're pretty sure what it's not.

[Via Unwired View]

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

Office Depot Featured Gadget: Xbox 360 Platinum System Packs the power to bring games to life!


Submission + - US Feds expose thousands of SSNs

msblack writes: The New York Times is reporting that an Office of Management and Budget exposed over 30,000 SSNs on its website which now notes that information has been removed. As many as 100,000 to 150,000 individuals may have been affected. Taxpayer cost for notifications and credit monitoring is $4 million.

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