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Comment Re:Commendable... (Score 3, Insightful) 621

And they wonder why the school systems of the nation can't hire anyone competent.

I'd like to add that a competent sysadmin would do his best to keep costs to a bare minimum, and that includes things like buying the lowest-power CPUs that can get the job done, sticking to the job's specifications for software, cycling computers into powersave when idle, and -- in a school environment -- switching the damn things off at night, when very few people have legitimate reasons to use them.

Treating your work computers as your personal playground to install random stuff on to amuse yourself is completely unprofessional. Why do you think he didn't ask for permission? Because for whatever the reasons might be, he would probably have been unlikely to procure it.

Comment Re:Commendable... (Score 5, Insightful) 621

They were his machines to configure, as a technology supervisor. It's not like he hacked into the machines in the dark of night to set things up on the sly. Sure, his configuration may have been a failure as far as the business needs of the school system were concerned, but when TFA is claiming "there may be charges filed!!"

Actually, I think it falls pretty squarely under most States' ethics laws as a violation. If I set up a Bittorent tracker using government computers, then I'm using bandwidth inappropriately, which violates ethics laws. This guy set up a SETI account in his own name, for whatever joy he gets from being at the top of SETI crunch lists, and used government-paid electricity for his own purposes. Over 5,000 computers with say (conservatively) 200W PSUs, that's not an insignificant amount of electricity/dollars. If my tax dollars went into it, I'd be kinda pissed (mainly because I'd prefer donating cycles to Folding@Home, but that's another story).

A little silly? Perhaps, but judging the degree of his "ethics violation" and the subsequent consequences is the job of a judge or jury. The fact that an "ethics violation" that breaks an ethics law has been committed isn't really debatable.

Comment Re:hmm (Score 5, Interesting) 118

Once it's a public company, it has a fiduciary responsibility to bend its users over to try and get as much money for its shareholders as it can.

Here's an interesting thing they could think of. Ask users to pay a small monthly fee to see who views their profiles. Sure, it'll drive a lot of people off the site, but Facebook is so ingrained in the lives of a certain demographic that it would feed of insecurities and fears and certainly generate a decent monthly revenue. The same insecurities and fears would ensure that a user pool never disappears, since getting off Facebook would deprive you of OMG! why is Sheila dressed like a tramp!??

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 333

I agree in principle with what you're saying about Bing vs. Goog, but I'm quite astounded by your leaps of logic. Nobody here can make a claim for either search engine being better, because as the old saying goes (approximately): "I see you anecdote, and raise you two."

The two engines gave quite similar results for such a clear unambiguous and uncommon term. This implies they are spidering with similar coverage.

Most of the results that are controversial/missed by a search engine will occur at the periphery of the web. There's one giant honkin' connected in the Web, so it's quite unsurprising that the first few dozens of results for a well-defined, common term will show up in all major search engines. Your search does NOT imply that they are spidering with similar coverage. See the paper by Broder: Broder et al

Google's results were clearly more relevant. This implies that Bing's ranking algorithm is still not as good as Google's.

Anecdotes and subjective judgments do not result in implications, unless you're Sarah Palin.

one occurs overwhelmingly in an unwanted context. Bing borks them.

This is interesting, but again, "miserable failure" can be used as an anecdote for Google "borking" too.

Comment Re:Seems reasonable... (Score 5, Insightful) 520

If you use data, it seems reasonable to me to charge a fee even if you just made "a mistake".

Agreed...but the issue is not about paying for the 0.2kb HTTP request you just made, but rather paying for an entire MB worth of data. It's not like billing per kilobyte or even per BYTE is technically infeasible, so why can't you pay for a fractional MB if that's what you use? In fact, there is absolutely no justifiable technical reason for this -- it's pure asshat accounting. This is like plugging in a desk lamp into your wall outlet for 5 minutes and ComEd charging you for an entire kWh.

You know it's asshat-ish when even AT&T has a better policy.

Comment Re:The problem is not an efficient algorithm (Score 1) 421

This means that as soon as someone proclaims "We know the rules of Economics!", someone else is going to look at those rules and either game them to their benefit, or rewrite them to better suit their own purpose.

Which means that economists will always have a profession, and more concretely, a job. Now THAT's job security (just talk to any humanities scholar going up for tenure)...

Comment Re:It'd be nice if they stopped lying. (Score 1, Insightful) 555

If the plan is limited, it's not "unlimited", so please stop pretending. No, any cap is a cap is not no cap is not "unlimited".

Actually, all "unlimited" plans are limited. Just multiply maximum bandwidth by days in the month to figure out your monthly cap. So the question here is if 5 GB is less than Verizon's "3G" speed multiplied by about 30 days. It would be nice if someone with Verizon could figure this out.

Comment Re:"Obviously lifted" not so obvious (Score 4, Informative) 493

Except that a truly Microsoft-written ReadBytes method on the .NET Framework can be that simple, for example one int parameter http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.io.binaryreader.readbytes.aspx [microsoft.com]

There's a difference between a calling a method, where the object has internal state, and a C Win32 API function call, i.e., sans objects. I absolutely guarantee that you won't see many pretty signatures in the Win32 API. I'd bet that 99% of the Win32 API function SIGNATURES won't make it through a standards-compliant compiler without Windows.h. Anyway, my comment was supposed to be funny, but on second thought, it might actually deserve that informative mod.

Don't even get me started on the dual-version ANSI and Unicode functions, although given the mess that the Win32 API is, it's probably an elegant solution.

Comment Re:"Obviously lifted" not so obvious (Score 5, Insightful) 493

The code in question seems to be called into scrutiny because the two areas of code bear the same name (ReadBytes) and operate similarly.

(bold mine)

Actually, if the function is just something called "ReadBytes(char *buf)" or similar, then that's a bit strange. If it was truly Microsoft-written, it would be:
WINAPI DWORD ReadBytesW(LPCSTRWRAAXA szCharBufW_x, struct READBYTESINFO *srbinfArgs).

Comment Re:Oh no... (Score 5, Interesting) 319

This is incredibly brave of Microsoft, given that Outlook is so ubiquitous. I can see a number of good and not-so-good reasons for doing this:

(1) They feel that Outlook is genuinely capable of withstanding competition from the likes of TBird and other competitors, and to be fair, the quality of Outlook has improved a lot.
(2) They feel that opening Outlook's specs will give them access to iPhone app-store like ingenuity from the "crowd" (throw in your favorite buzzword here). Basically, let the hackers go at it and come up with neat little means to improve Outlook usability. If more products carry a "Works with MS Outlook" sticker, that can only be good for outlook (in one line of reasoning).
(3) All the old, seasoned outlook engineers have retired or died, and they're hoping that someone can figure out the .pst specs.

Comment Re:as they would say on FARK.. (Score 4, Insightful) 572

You can't tell me that nobody in charge knew this stuff would be controversial. They knew exactly what they were doing and that it would get them more publicity than they were willing to pay for

Never attribute to cleverness what can be attributed to stupidity. The Pepsi campaign was actually for Amp, a mountain dew-type energy drink, which is supposed to be "edgy", whatever that means. To me, that sounds like a bunch of douchebag marketing execs, fresh out of newly minted MBAs or marketing degrees, who genuinely, genuinely believe that putting out a sexist ad is "targeting the demographic" and not a "massive liability".

Comment Re:Is this news? (Score 5, Funny) 650

PC sales staff are clueless droids - film at 11. It's been this way since PCs hit retail sales floors. Anybody with the smarts to sell a PC with competence has the smarts to not be in retail.

Agreed, but PC sales staff can be very helpful, based on my experience. You can ask them where the Toshiba laptop you saw advertised is located, and they can expertly guide you to the correct shelf. You can ask if they have a fresh piece available instead of the display unit, and they can effectively locate one in the back for you. Based on their extensive experience, they can advise you about the best way to beat traffic on your way home.

Comment Re:The primary drive: sex. (Score 3, Interesting) 482

Given this AI the built-in ability to have sex, or at least to want to impress others of the same kind. That should do the job. After all the desire to have sex (and with that procreation) is the single strongest force driving humanity forward.

There's actually a bit of insight here. The only problem is that we don't have a model for "attraction" -- hell, if we did, Slashdot would wither in its readership and die. So while it's (relatively) easy to design sex robots, without an appropriate model for attraction -- and thus things to strive for -- we'd end up with nothing more than a vast, mechanistic orgy of clanging parts, spilled lube, and wasted electricity.

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