Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Quotes. (Score 1) 339

My preferred technique for producing passwords is to utilize some of my favorite quotes, from books or whatever else. Of course, it's wise to add in a few modifications to make it stronger:
  1. Take any words which either represent or sound like numbers (such as "one", "to", and "for") and replace them with that number.
  2. For some single number n, take the nth character (or last character, if n is too large) of each word not coded by step 1 and use that character to represent the word. If the word is capitalized, capitalize the chosen letter.

So, "A penny for your thoughts?" , with n=1, becomes "Ap4yt". Take n=2: "Ae4oh", The string is pretty much gibberish if you don't know its origin, yet it's still easy to reproduce, at the least, for n=1, it's almost trivial to memorize.

And, of course, feel free to add random numbers or extra details (like initials for the person being quoted) to the beginning or end.

Comment How will it work for travelling situations? (Score 2, Interesting) 256

I'm curious as to how they plan to implement it, especially because some people do a lot of moving across the country. Will it be able to warn people who are vacationing (or on business trips, etc) of emergency alerts where they are, as opposed to back at home? The article mentions "geographical targeting," but gives no indication of whether this will be done with real-time information as opposed to phone registration data.

Comment Re:That won't be on the evaluation form. (Score 1) 433

Marketing surveys suffer from remarkably selective attention; sort of like asking "When did you stop beating your wife?" reveals a certain prejudice.

Instead of noticing that we loathe any and all of the ads, they are going to ask: "Which one did you enjoy the most?"

Well, of course. Marketing companies don't want to be unmarketable themselves. Being selective about their questions allows marketers to make their customers think they're really liked, instead of disappointing them with the truth.

Comment Re:No substitute for reality (Score 1) 46

I'd like to submit the following real-world research that's been going on for the past six years, minimum:
Warning: video on-site is stored as Windows Media Player format.

I personally worked on this research project some during my undergraduate years - in particular, the mentioned Cranial Nerve 3 case. Long story short, the project completely simulates a Standardized Patient interaction for the medical students, complete with life-size display and standard questionnaire. The scripting system isn't exactly precanned - okay, you have a limited set of questions, but the medical student isn't told that - they simply ask questions naturally and see what the patient responds with. None of your classic "select from these three to five options" gag that we're typically stuck with in video games.

Even if the speech recognition element of the system doesn't pan out, all you'd have to do is train someone to run the system, rather than how to fully act, speak, and appear as such a patient themselves. In addition, there are certain scenarios (such as the cranial nerve palsy case) where it is completely unsafe to have a newer medical student interviewing such a patient, as said patient would need immediate, highly trained medical intervention due to an immediate (potentially fatal) health risk. In addition, this case in particular is quite rare; thus, if nothing else, there is no other way to have standardized patient training for these cases in a reproducible and safe manner, and this sort of project has a future.

For those interested, this particular lab's research focus with this project is to determine just how much the "virtual environment"/"virtual person" aspect of the system would affect the impact that such interactions would have on those training with it. You'd be surprised at how much people subconsciously treat virtual people like real people... especially as long as the speech recognition is working properly. Do we exhibit the same racial biases toward virtual people as we do toward real people? Yes. (Other publications are also linked on this page.

Medical Students Open To Learning With Video Games 46

Gwmaw writes "A reported 98 percent of medical students surveyed at the University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin-Madison liked the idea of using technology to enhance their medical education, according to a study published online in BMC Medical Education. For example, a virtual environment could help medical students learn how to interview a patient or run a patient clinic. In the survey, 80 percent of students said computer games can have an educational value."

Comment Re:Democracy needs smart people (Score 1) 1138

As a twenty-five year old still in-process within the educational system, I must whole-heartedly agree with the article's sentiment. There are a lot of people in college that I truly believe would be better served by moving on with life outside of the university system. Sure, having the chance to "broaden one's horizon" and learn about various things is "nice," but is it neceesary? Is that, in particular, what our nation really needs?

I believe the undergrad system (at the very least) does a terrible job at addressing what democracy really needs - people who sit down and examine things for themselves, rather than parroting on everything that they're told. There's a proliferation of study aid sessions on college campuses, all aimed to give you the essentials that you need to memorize to get the grade that you want, rather than actually teach you the material for keeps. Whether a student actually learns it is up to them, and unfortunately, many students are here not for true education, but for a simple piece of paper that gives them their right to a job... or so they think, until they graduate. So many people go through the halls of our colleges without ever being educated by them.

I have tutored and taught students at my university - heck, I'm even instructing an undergraduate course right now as a grad student and Ph.D. candidate - and I have met students with very poor problem solving skills who have made it into one of the top 20 public universities in the US. One of these students probably had no problem solving skills whatsoever before I scrapped everything in our one-on-one tutoring sessions to teach her some!

While we in the states might like to think that a university is a great tool that prepares everyone to properly contribute to the real world, it simply fails to do so in some of the most important ways. Either universities need to step up their game to make ensure that those who go graduate are truly quality students, or we should stop subsidizing everyone who wants to delay their life for four or five years by simply going through the motions rather than learning.

Comment Re:two news in one. (Score 1) 185

As I've been told by someone who works in state government, the one good thing about finally getting into a government job is that it takes nothing short of an act of Congress to fire you from said job.

With it being so hard to actually lose a government job, it's fairly easy to see where the lack of motivation comes from.

Unfortunately (?) for this person, the "act of Congress" actually happened.

Submission + - Next Nintendo handheld to be NVIDIA Tegra powered (

Vigile writes: When you sell over a 100 million handheld gaming systems, everyone wants to be involved in your success; just ask Nintendo. As a company with many different obstacles in its path, NVIDIA could definitely use the boost in revenues that would come from partnering with a company like Nintendo on a handheld system and it looks like the Tegra processor will make that happen. The NVIDIA Tegra processor is an SoC that runs a set of ARM cores, a GeForce-based graphics core and an HD video processor capable of 1080p output that would definitely give the current Nintendo DS/DSi systems a performance boost inline with the Sony PSP. The "Nintendo TS" as it has been dubbed will apparently be ready for a late winter 2010 release and should put a spark in the mobile gaming market and give Nintendo's developers the power to bring higher quality games to the platform.

Comment Adjustible stategies from enemies, anyone? (Score 1) 404

It depends on what sort of potential "adjustment" we'd be talking about. A lot of video games allow you to adjust the difficulty, but most of the time this simply means an increase in stats that makes it easier for the same old AI to kill you and harder for you to kill it.

What a lot of video games DON'T seem to have is an adjustment in AI. I don't know how many games (RPGs in particular) where it simply seems like the enemy is wailing on my characters at random, rather than attempting to *gasp* strategically isolate one character, kill them, and then move down the line! If they see you use healing magic, then why can't they realize that they should mute - or eliminate - the mage(s) first?

Other posts above have mentioned that we'd like to be rewarded sometimes for our increased skill in a game - so accordingly, I'd agree that not all enemies should be able to adjust as much as others. At the same time, what would really make a game more interesting is if a zone change resulted in a more strategic AI to combat, rather than just a simple stat increase.

Start off a game with a few areas (or dungeons) that allow you to comprehend the game mechanics and get strategies. Then, allow the enemies to understand the mechanics and those same strategies, rather than just adding a status ailment or two and increased stats to their armament, and allow there to be a semblance of intelligence to what we're fighting.


Submission + - Getting Students to Think at Internet Scale (

Hugh Pickens writes: "The NY Times reports that researchers and workers in fields as diverse as bio-technology, astronomy and computer science will soon find themselves overwhelmed with information so the next generation of computer scientists has to learn think in terms of internet scale of petabytes of data. For the most part, university students have used rather modest computing systems to support their studies but these machines fail to churn through enough data to really challenge and train a young mind meant to ponder the mega-scale problems of tomorrow. “If they imprint on these small systems, that becomes their frame of reference and what they’re always thinking about,” said Jim Spohrer, a director at IBM.’s Almaden Research Center. This year, the National Science Foundation funded 14 universities that want to teach their students how to grapple with big data questions and students are beginning to work with data sets like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the largest public data set in the world, which takes detailed images of larger chunks of the sky and produces about 30 terabytes of data each night. “Science these days has basically turned into a data-management problem,” says Jimmy Lin, an associate professor at the University of Maryland."

Slashdot Top Deals

Elliptic paraboloids for sale.