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Comment Re:Information wants to be free (Score 1) 128

Here's a good list of what journal publishers do -

The things that strikes me most about these discussions is the question of what we want our journals (and your articles) to be. Are we looking for a race to the cheapest possible publishing systems or are we looking to maintain an environment where there is true incentive to compete for business and continual improvement to the authoring/reading experience?

Anyone can publish the results of their research for free online. Just put it up on your university sponsored web space or post it on Facebook. Maybe the people you know will read it. Maybe even some of the people that they know. Plenty of popular authors making a good living doing just this type of thing. They self publish with Amazon, for example.

But simply publishing something doesn't make it a success and most scientists aren't professional authors. They want to publish their material and move on to the next research project. So, there's a market for helping these scientists get what they want and their's a cost related to these tradeoffs, whether that cost is through publication charges or subscription paywalls.

There are lots of thing that should change - and are changing - in the academic publishing world. The best publishers these days act a lot more like technology companies than the content aggregators of old. They're underwriting the improvements that authors and readers are asking for. They may not move as fast as some people want, but they are balancing a lot more stakeholders than just the folks saying "I want it free and now". They support scholarly societies and invest in the explosive grow in new journal titles. They fulfill the requests of editorial boards. They employ the overwhelming majority of people who spend their waking hours working on and thinking about how to make publishing/reading scholarly articles better for everyone involved. Yes, some of them have stockholders too. I suspect that all of us could think of much worse things to say about someone other than that he believes strongly enough in the importance of a robust scholarly publishing system to bet on the success of that industry.

Submission + - Starting in 2013, rescind your copyright transfer (

Gkeeper80 writes: A little known provision of the Copyright Act of 1976 allows authors to rescind copyright transfer agreements and reassert ownership of their copyrights after 35 years. Starting next year, works that fall under a transfer agreement made since 1978 will have a 5 year window in which to renegotiate the terms of the agreement or cancel it all together. But act fast. You must give notice of 2 years (and no more than 10) before you plan to cancel the agreement.

Comment Re:Disappointed (Score 1) 301

Same here, thought I started on the TI-85 a few years earlier and even tried to build my own connector cable to my PC (failed miserably). The manual for that calculator was the only time I've completely cracked the spine of a book from over use and writing programs was the one thing that kept me interested in high school math. I guess the supported programming language is still available, but researching the Z80 instruction set was the first time I really understood what computers did.

Comment Re:Dead on. (Score 3, Interesting) 470

It's funny how things transition, though. Email used to be the way you could easily contact everyone who might want to know about the birth of your child without bothering them. Then suddenly email became a defacto communication tool and we get offended if people send us things we don't want. I think it's because we now use email for work and most of the things that come in email are implicit action items, just like the regular mail is.

So, Facebook became that communication tool for some people but the same process is happening there too. I've had a couple of friends who were already habitual posters, but once they became new parents it started getting sickening. 2-3 posts per day about what the baby spit up on or what noise it makes. The first person who started doing that was just an acquaintance so after it got really annoying I just blocked her. Now one of my close friends is doing it so I feel bad hiding her messages, but I can't just hide the baby posts. Worse than that, she regularly gets 10-15 replies from other stay-at-home moms, family members etc, so I clearly don't have the right to tell her I think it's obnoxious. Some people love it. Facebook seems to prioritize her messages too because my usual wall page might be made up of 20% her messages.

I love seeing her and the kid and I want to know when there's something interesting happening with either of them. That's why I'm on Facebook. We just have a different opinion about what's interesting.

The reality is that Facebook isn't the problem. It's just that different people have different conceptions about what what/how much information to share and as long as we have publishing tools there will be debate about whether a particular piece of information should be recorded or distributed. Whether Facebook disappears or stops being the "appropriate" place for that type of information won't really matter, because we'll have something else that starts out as the best place for that information...until it's not.

Comment Re:Oh please you old windbag (Score 1) 604

Voting with your wallet doesn't work unless you can get a LARGE mass of people to do so.

I'm pretty sure that voting is always about getting a large mass of people to agree with your opinion and act accordingly. But voting with your wallet is kind of like asking people to answer an open ended question with True or False.

What was it you were voting for? Better customer service or Net Neutrality? Something else entirely?

Also, plenty of people don't vote in elections. Since they don't care enough to make their opinions known through action they are discounted from the process. Unfortunately, when voting with your wallet there will be plenty of people who don't want to "vote" but there's no way to distinguish them from votes for the incumbent.

Fortunately we do vote for our representatives, so maybe instead of trying to divine a purpose from indirect actions we should just tell our representatives what we want and empower them to make decisions in our best interest.

Comment Re:They are also kiling Altavista (Score 1) 311

Altavista has been dead for a while. Not just the public website that was the king of web search, but the indexing database that you could purchase. I used to work for a group that used Altavista to index and search academic materials but the system stopped evolving in the 90's. I remember back around 2005 we couldn't even get them to give us 64-bit or Linux compatible binaries. The software was designed for running on one large machine at a time, no blades or decentralization.

We transitioned away from Altavista because of those issues. I guess enough others have too.

Comment Re:Headline Is So Very Wrong (Score 1) 1193

TFA says that their overall tax rate is over 22%. This loophole is only being used for taxes on income earned over seas. Granted, the marginal tax rate for companies is supposed to be 35% but there are always loopholes when laws from different countries don't quite overlap. Its practically impossible to control everything without draconian measures.

This story is a textbook example of using a shocking statistic out of context and a popular name in the title to evoke undeserved outrage.

Comment Re:Yes and no (Score 1) 338

Unfortunately, when you need it you'll find that the weak magstipe has been erased and that you have to buy a whole new card anyway.

At least that's what's happenes to me over and over again. Not sure if it's the contact with credit cards or the fact that I keep my RFID office key in there too and everything in my wallet gets a dose of RF when I unlock the door.

Either way, I end up with a stack of unusable cards that I eventually have to go out of my way to bring to Metro Center, where they won't let you exchange more than 3 cards at a time and refuse to give you change (their replacement cards only come in $1, $3 & $5 denominations).

Metro wins again

Comment Re:Just give them fake data. (Score 1) 267

That's not true in all cases. Sure, for the really big projects there's probably no verification, but I used MTurk a few times for data collection jobs that I didn't want to do or wanted done quickly. It was easy to look up information from 500 websites in the span of a day and then I could browse the results to look for obvious outliers. When I found them, I just rejected those items and reposted them. I let some of the borderline cases slide, where I thought my instructions might have led to confusion, but generally the bad data was from people who didn't properly follow the instructions.

I also tested using an outsource group for some of my bigger projects and found that they (outsourcers) often worked better because I didn't need to check their work as closely. Once I had trained them to find what I needed, they were much more reliable. That could have something to do with the bottom dollar wages on MTurk. I was willing to pay more for a more reliable outcome.

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 205

I don't know how this survey works, but my company had to apply for the survey of "Best Companies to Work For" which publishes a similar list. They had to distribute a survey to employees and submit supporting materials.

So, it's possible that many companies simply didn't bother applying to Computer World's survey and that this is really the "Top 100 Companies Who Chose to Participate in Our Survey"

Comment Re:Let Them (Score 1) 1123

That's a very simplified view and overlooks the numerous examples of police corruption that have been caught and prosecuted.

I agree that society requires a trustworthy enforcement group in order to function and as with any system, there will be outlier elements. A truly trustworthy system has self-correction mechanisms that help to deal with the outliers. That goes for technical systems as well as societal systems.

The police and judicial systems are far from perfect and many indiscretions go unpunished but that doesn't make the system, as a whole, corrupt.

Comment Re:LOL - Your a perfect example (Score 1) 370

$2 may not be expensive for you, but then again you seem to the be type whose willing to pay more for their beers at a bar. Of course, in real life, many people don't like to drink at bars because they're over prices. For them, there's a market for beer that you can buy and take home with you at a fraction of the price.

The GP seems to think that there's a "right" and "wrong" price, but the reality is that everyone places a difference value on their media and those valuations might change depending on the content of the media.

These surveys simple show that some people say the value proposition isn't working out for them. Now, the publishes have a right to refuse to sell their products at prices and terms that these people want, but it's always a trade off to understand what effect your sales strategy will produce. Will it cause people to reevaluate their valuations and pay the higher price? Will it open up opportunities for competition? Will it cause people to feel so bothered that they risk illegal activity to get access your products.

The reality is that there's no right or wrong, there's just business trade-offs. If the content producers want to reduce the piracy and increase their customer base, this survey suggests that they can. It's up to them to determine whether they want to take that risk. And if they don't they know what to expect.

Comment Re:A novel idea: be a better teacher (Score 1) 664

Of course, students who really aren't paying any attention are likely to fail courses and quickly fall below enrollment standards, so there's already a fail-safe here.

On the other hand, restricting access to technology is a draconian measure that can have unintended consequences (many outlined throughout this discussion).

The reality is, schools don't want students to fail out. There are plenty of altruistic and selfish reasons for this, but it's in their best interest for their students to succeed. There's no reason that schools can't inform students about the dangers of distractions during class time without setting up new rules.

Professors who enact bans, rather than working to improve their teaching style are doing a disservice to their students, schools, and subject areas. The college experience should be more broad that simply "learn what I tell you about this subject" and part of that lesson should be helping to find your personal learning style. As adults, students also have the option to make up their own minds about what information is useful, accurate, or ignorable. Professors should be doing their best to explain why their information is worthy of attention and acceptance.

Let the natural incentive structure demonstrate which learning methods work best and more power to the students who can play video games in class while still mastering the material.

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