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Comment Too late for developers... (Score 2, Interesting) 336

It seems that Nokia has a bit of a following on /., probably because their hardware is pretty decent, and key handsets like the N900 appeal to the demographic here. But the fact is in terms of an *ecosystem*, Nokia has nothing. They are in the gutter.
Nokia are at the point where they are actively having to pay developers to write apps. And we're not talking small apps here - big, branded apps for global companies, who are being approached by Nokia asking them if they'd like an app for Ovi. I couldn't tell you the number of clients I deal with day in day out during my day job who have already been rung up by Nokia. Even with an app developed at no cost, very few companies will take Nokia up on it.
It is simply not a space that people want to release software into right now. It doesn't get you press, and it doesn't get you sales. At least Blackberry have realised their previous app space strategy wasn't working, and are attempting to engage with mobile developers in a meaningful way. Nokia's left there without a clue.

Comment Re:thrusting (Score 4, Insightful) 594

I don't know where you're getting the idea it's cheaper to shoot on film than digital, but in the vast majority of cases it's much, *much*, cheaper to shoot digitally than on film.

Film is costly for several reasons, including having a finite supply of it (when shooting a film you tend to shoot between 3-4x more footage than you end up using. On digital it's much closer to 15-20x more footage), having to scan it to work on it digitally in post production (optical effects and tints being very rare today), and increasingly in today's world, a lack of people trained to handle it.

Not to mention the fact that stock itself is very expensive, and for digital you're either shooting on magnetic media or SSD.

Finally, your assertion that "depth is a known problem with filming" is nonsense. You may be used to seeing films with a shallow field, but it's entirely possible to shoot films without any depth of field at all. There was a movment in the 1930s to this effect - some really classic films such as 'The Rules of the Game' are shot almost entirely in 'deep focus', where there effectively is no depth of field, and everything is in sharp clarity.

Comment Re:iPhone? (Score 1) 266

"C) With no restrictions on app development, the person who makes a $.99 fart application loses business to the teenager with an hour of free time and an SDK who makes his own one and releases it for free for his own amusement. With the iPhone that app might cost $50 or more to develop"

Ah, but that's not strictly true, is it? Because to get onto the Android Market you need to pay a $25 registration fee. Now, I'll admit the App Store requires a $99 fee, but I think it's worth noting both platforms require some form of payment to actually get onto the main storefront.

Comment Ooo, deja vu (Score 5, Insightful) 317

It's sort of ironic that Facebook is trying to stop someone crawling public profiles on their site, because that's exactly what Mark Zuckerberg did while he was at Harvard (I was a grad student in the CS department at the time).

Pre-Facebook, Zuckerberg created a site that let Harvard students compare each other, a bit like Hot or Not. Obviously nobody was going to go to a site that wasn't populated with their classmates, so he basically crawled the websites of the various residential houses that put their students info online (but behind passwords and auth) and copied it into his own site.

He actually got into a fair bit of trouble for this, and ended up being sent to Harvard's ad-board for discipline (I think he got put on probation, but I'm not entirely sure).

The key difference here is that this guy actually did everything by the book and followed robots.txt, whereas Mark Zuckerberg didn't.

Comment Re:I'd hope so. (Score 4, Insightful) 171

Exactly. People who are stupid enough to fall for it deserve what they get.

This isn't the government going behind your back, putting you under covert surveillance. It's completely in the open. A friend of mine used to work for the MA state police, in the computer forensics unit. He was amazed at the number of gang members who would just openly accept his friend request on Facebook, which would lead to him quietly beavering away to figure out the social network of the gang, where they met, what they got up to. Sneaky? Perhaps, but not illegal.

Really, people are just plain stupid.

Comment Re:Of course it is easy! (Score 2, Insightful) 684

I think I disagree - the beauty of programming is everyone codes in a different way. I taught entry-level CS. A simple java 'print "hello world" 10 times using a for loop' question may only have one solution, but dozens of stylistic variations. Square braces on the same line? Spaces between your commas? System.out.println() or System.out.print? Cheating in CS is generally pretty easy to catch when somebody is just copying code, because it will be totally out of style with their usual work. The problem comes when someone is cheating to such an extent that *none* of their code is original!

Comment A ramble from the TAs view (Score 4, Interesting) 684

I used to head TF CS classes at an Ivy League school (you can probably guess which one from my job title alone). I worked both in session with undergraduates, and in the summer for the high-school/further learning program.

Cheating in CS is terribly easy to detect. We had programs we could use to pick up anything suspect, but I never actually used them - at the entry-level I was teaching at, it was pretty easy to catch someone out. In fact, often you can complete the assignment in the time it would take you to modify your stolen/plagiarized code so as to be undetectable. Half the time you just need to google the code they submitted before you find a forum/Yahoo Answers post from the student in question, and once you've been coding a student for a while you get a good feel for what exactly is and isn't their style and their code.

As to preventing it: there was a very simple policy at my university. You cheat, you fail. In most cases, it was rarely followed. We tended to be far more strict at the Summer School sessions, but then again, we also tended to get considerably more problems, mainly because the high school students and foreign exchange students attending didn't know better. The university also didn't really have a problem showing them the door.

Undergraduates were more of an issue. A lot of the time, we would let them know we'd discovered it, and let it slide. Repeat offenders were usually dealt with by using some kind of grade penalty. Very rarely did students get referred for academic discipline (although this is partly due to the entry-level nature of the courses I taught. Something high-level, or with a substantial amount of original research required, would be another story).

Finally, and perhaps most importantly - why were these students cheating? Well, honestly, I suspect because of the academic pressures placed upon them. I'd be extremely interested to compare the rates of detected cheating at somewhere like MIT, where grades are rounded up/down for GPA (ie, get a B+ and it's recorded as a B in your GPA, get an A- and it becomes an A) and at my university. Given the vast number of emails I used to get at the end of each semester from students desperate for a grade boost to help their GPA, I can see how some might have convinced themselves it was 'ok' to cheat. And maybe....just maybe...people are cheating because they're not getting the support they need. The article says the guy was taking the class for the second time. Sounds like maybe he wasn't getting the one-on-one help and extra support teaching staff should be giving him. Just a thought.

Comment Re:Bootcamp a gimmick (Score 1) 279

For many companies it's way more than a gimmick - I work for a large university that *exclusively* provides Apple hardware for end-user computing. All staff and students use iMacs or MacBook Pros for day to day use. The hardware is solid, and the lifespan of a mac machine tends to be a couple of years beyond that of a PC. Around half of those users choose to keep OS X on their personal machines we provide, and the others use Windows. So Boot Camp for us is really a big, big plus. If Apple didn't provide Boot Camp, they'd lose a lot of custom from institutions like ours.

Comment From the other side... (Score 1) 467

...it's clear that the person blogging this has only really experienced things on one side of the fence. I used to Head TA some large intro CS classes for an Ivy school, and currently work in Instructional Technology. I think her complaints are valid, but don't really have a lot to do with PowerPoint - it's just a fact of life that some professors are bad lecturers. Using PowerPoint as a lecture tool can go pretty badly - but guess what, so can using a chalkboard! I've read a lot of student evaluations in my time, and for every student complaining that the class used too many slides, there's one who's upset we didn't have enough. Some students don't want to take notes, others do. This is part of the challenge of teaching - to find an even ground where every student is satisfied with the lecture style. For example, she says "what helps me most is doing problems step by step as a class". However, I've seen some students who *hate* this approach - so what about them? Do we just forget about them? Ignore them? I personally don't take notes very well, so I like having handouts to supplement lectures. Does this make me a bad student? Honestly, the blog post isn't all that different from some of the student evaluations I read for classes - one student's opinion about what his or her perfect class is. Unfortunately, other students might feel differently. A good professor can be engaging *regardless* of how they present. If you only lecture well with PowerPoint and the projector in your lecture hall breaks, what do you do? The student here is missing the much bigger picture, which is that bad teaching is just bad teaching - whether it be slides, chalk, or overheads.

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