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Comment Re:here (Score 1) 328

As a computer science student who has planned his academic career with a commercial one in mind, but is considering tacking on a philosophy major because he just can't stay away from it, I agree. This is important. I hope that anyone seeking to get a degree in philosophy in order to pursue a career in philosophy is met with success. But anyone with such intent should know by now or very soon learn that academic philosophy is very difficult, extremely competitive, and generally requires a LOT of schooling. Aside from teaching, major success in philosophy only happens for a lucky few, and even some of today's most important philosophers were largely unrecognized or undervalued during their lifetime. (The political philosophy which grounds the legal tradition of the US and its Constitution, for example, pre-dates it by several generations.)

The mistake some people make is that a degree in philosophy is, or ought to be, a step towards a career elsewhere. If you are currently pursuing a degree in philosophy, but only because you enjoy that subject for your general education, make other plans for a career elsewhere. Don't pretend that you can do otherwise.

It sucks, because there are many wonderful pursuits that are hard to making a living on. I think they should still be pursued wherever that's possible, but we should just be honest with ourselves about (a) the difficulty of attaining success in our fields, (b) the motive for our pursuit of knowledge, and (c) whether or not the initial plan (a single bachelor's degree --> a professional career --> no more formal education ever again) will satisfy all our goals realistically.

We absolutely need good philosophers and psychologists, not to mention artists of all sorts. But there's no shortage of people who just kinda dug those subjects in their twenties, so don't pretend that kinda digging something for a few years is a career move!

Comment Re:Still searching for "perfect" mp3 player (mplay (Score 1) 152

Here are a few good command-line tools for managing and playing your music:
  dnuos, a list-generating script which you could use to create something like your catalog.txt file. It's pretty nice, and it can do things like read the metadata of the files if you want, as well as the file names.
  morituri, a command line CD ripper with error correction support and metadata fetching
  beets, a command line music manager which includes an MPD server and so can be interacted with using any number of command line MPD clients

I think beets + [some command line MPD client] would be best for you. I'm a happy Amarok user, but I've got a large collection that is partially hosted on a little Samba server that was for a long time headless, so I've played with command line management tools and I found beets and morituri to be very impressive. I hope one of those links is useful to you. :-)

Comment Re:Tell them this (Score 1) 315

I work for a youth organization, and I always have kids watching what I do and going "Cool, can you teach me how to hack?" Invariably, they get disappointed when I show them how to ssh into a remote machine and recompile the kernel instead of breaking into a DoD mainframe and launch missiles at China or something. And anytime I do try and generate interest in actual programming, it is hard to get past the "How do you program games?" point. Let's work past printf and scanf first, junior.

This won't help OP, but I know that sometimes what it takes to get someone to realize what computer science really is a full computer science course. When I was in high school, I took a total of 5 computer science courses, three of which were for college credit. Although I definitely had ‘making video games’ in mind when I signed up for my first computer science course, but it wasn't long until I learned that what made programming fun for me wasn't the type of product I was building. By my second computer science course (the first with any real coding), I grew out of my ‘dream’ of being a video game programmer because I so enjoyed the problem-solving and algorithmic design aspects of ‘boring’ projects like text parsing, implementing data structures, storage formats (cheesy little text-based ‘databases’).

I doubt whether they can get it from a 20-minute talk, but I know that high-schoolers can certainly learn what computer science is really about, and also that the fundamentals of computer science and programming are more satisfying subjects in themselves than any video game.

Comment Re:let's not forget (Score 1) 455

$ aptitude show gnome-session-fallback
[snip]
Description: GNOME Session Manager - GNOME fallback session
  The GNOME Session Manager is in charge of starting the core components of the
  GNOME desktop, and applications that should be launched at login time. It also
  features a way to save and restore currently running applications.

  This package contains the required components for the GNOME 3 fallback session,
  based on the GNOME Panel. It can be started from a display manager such as GDM,
  and doesn’t have specific hardware requirements.

The GNOME 3 fallback session uses the same interpretation of the desktop metaphor as GNOME 2 (the panel). I think it shows up in the DM session list as ‘Gnome Classic’.

Comment Re:I moved to kubuntu (Score 1) 455

I've been using KDE as long as I've been using GNU/Linux (~7 years), and Kubuntu as long as I've been using an Ubuntu-based distro. I still love KDE.

That said, I've installed Unity/Oneiric on my secondary/guest computer in the main room, and I'm very impressed with it. I think it's a really cool system. I'm comfortable using it, and I'd recommend it to anyone. I like it much better than Gnome. You should give it a shot. Just install it alongside KDE and log into it once or twice to try it out.

Comment Re:Here's what I'm protesting for: (Score 1) 1799

2. Not-for-profit healthcare. I didn't say free, I said not-for-profit.

Thank you! Finally someone who gets it. We can't pretend that services like healthcare are free, but at some point we have to acknowledge that a for-profit healthcare system can only succeed by maximizing revenue and minimizing payouts — i.e., by providing as little actual healthcare as possible.

There is plenty of space between recognizing that the capitalist model doesn't succeed in providing certain services on the one hand, and magical thinking about ‘free’ public services on the other.

Comment Re:All you need is a jury of your PEERS. (Score 1) 123

That's kind of the point of a combative (that may not be the correct legal term) justice system. Each lawyer does everything they can for one side, and hopefully the truth comes out when they each push one-sided versions of the story. Each attorney only gets to select two persons to be removed from the jury. I'm not sure how big the jury is, but the impact should not be huge. The goal is to remove people with biases which would prevent them from ruling fairly. I guess it's supposed to prevent things like mistrials, based upon the idea that there will only be a handful of people with extreme, relevant prejudices in any jury pool.

I'm not sure I totally agree with that reasoning, but I don't think your characterization of it was very complete or fair, either.

Comment Re:Jeopardizing his career? (Score 1) 302

As silly as this sounds, there are actually reasonable times this should happen. Depending on the local law, legally blind persons can keep or earn a driver's license provided that they go through some approved adaptive driving program. These programs involve the use of accessibility devices like special glasses featuring mounted bifocal binoculars (yes, they are as hard to use as it sounds). Without these devices, the driving would be both illegal and unfeasible. In an effort not to lose them, I'd imagine most legally blind people, not much suited to searching for things, leave them in the car rather than take them inside to work or wherever they go. (I know some people who leave them in their car just to avoid the stares.)

This all sets you up for a situation where a legally blind employee (without an assigned parking space) who drove to work exits the building, enters the parking lot, and has a very hard time finding their car. If employees of their rank don't usually get designated parking spaces, depending on the size of the campus, this can be seriously hopeless. It seems to me that the easiest thing to do in that scenario (esp. granted that they have a registered disability since they need to go through some registration process to even get their special driver's license) is to just give them a handicapped space. Being closer to the building is also helpful.

There's also the case that the legally blind person isn't even the driver or car owner. Think of the wheelchair painted on those spaces: does the person in the wheelchair always (or even usually) actually drive that car?

(Sorry for strangling your joke.)

Comment Re:I hope they make it like 3.5! (Score 1) 227

Resizing a terminal causes hard lockups with version 270.* drivers on my machine. It happens not only on Konsole, but also on Gnome Terminal. Apparently drivers, especially newer drivers for newer cards, can do some very strange/bad things in response to normal API calls. It happens, and it's not the KDE or Gnome developers' job to work around it, mostly because it's not even their job to own Nvidia hardware. That said, ordinary users and developers of these desktop environments do work hard to (a) provide workarounds and explanations to ordinary users and (b) determine the precise nature of the problem and work with upstream driver developers to resolve issues. Many an Nvidia driver bug has been hunted down by developers on downstream projects like KWin.

In any case, simply working around non-compliant behavior on the part of upstream libraries and drivers is never the right thing to do. All that creates is some kind of bizarre shadow-API that developers have to then learn by trial and error. Another important point to consider here is that much of the time all it takes to solve the problem is simply to revert to an older version of the very same drivers. When a new version of an Nvidia driver introduces problematic behavior during typical application use that was previously benign (as in my case, with the terminal resize hard freeze), it's absurd to hold downstream developers responsible for that.

Comment Re:You need different kinds of people (Score 1) 487

This. I did some bitching about specialization ruining the cooperative capacity of today's workers, and this is probably the best solution to it. We need managers who are good at managing, but have at least enough experience with the work of their team to be sympathetic to their workload, and in better cases, a realistic understanding of it.

There's nothing evil about business skills, but there is something terrible about a very narrow skillset.

Comment Re:You need different kinds of people (Score 1) 487

I think this kind of thinking is exactly the problem geeks have about other people - putting down their knowledge or interests.

I think you hit the nail on the head here. What a business needs in terms of management is someone who isn't necessarily a geek at all, but simply someone who has respect for the work of those he manages, even with an understanding that it is different work. Geeks likewise ought to accommodate their managers, knowing at least that as empathetic as their own manager might be, he has to answer to people that are even further abstracted from the problems sitting on the geek's desk.

Truly, it's specialization that's killing us. The lack of support for generalist studies in today's society leaves most of the population unable to understand, or even merely perceive as valid, the work of others. Geeks might actually be the worst offenders here. Being a computer science major and a philosophy minor (I highly recommend the studies of semantics and philosophical logic to all people interested in compuer science), I see this a lot in my computer science peers. We need to remind ourselves: our skills are not the only useful skills; our paradigms are not the only valid paradigms.

Comment Re:drag and drop? (Score 1) 107

I agree. I'm not much of a visual learner myself, so maybe I just can't appreciate it... I feel like an asshole for saying it, but Scratch looks to me as if it is quite literally child's play, and totally out of place in a university. I would be more inclined to simply teach students to draw their own diagrams when planning out their design, but maybe that's supposed to be some of what this software does.

I just don't know. Anyone can be tripped up by a new concept just because of that novelty; someone currently struggling to understand programming concepts may go on to be a good programmer. But what kind of a programmer does a student become when that struggle to understand would have caused them to quit if they hadn't been given this 'drag and drop programming language'? Who wants to work with the guy who gives up unless he's spoonfed to this degree? The stated purpose just seems wrong.

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