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Submission + - Ask /. Should I sign permission slip so my kid can use Google Apps at school? (

McGruber writes: My childrens' public elementary school recently acquired 100 Chromebooks and is using Google Apps for Education (GAFE) []. As part of the rollout, the school emailed this to parents:

[School] now has over 100 ChromeBooks that teachers can use in their classrooms for a variety of purposes. Teachers and students will have access to Google Apps for Education (GAFE) as a tool for learning, creativity, and critical thinking. In preparation for the roll-out of this great resource, we ask all parents to give permission for classroom instructional use. Please take a moment and complete the form sent home last week in the Friday Folder and return it to your child's teacher.

The permission slip asks us to sign-away some of the protections provided by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). It says:
COPPA applies to commercial companies and limits their ability to collect personal information from children under 13. This permission form allows the school to act as an agent for parents in the collection of information within the school context. The school's use of student information is solely for education purposes.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) FERPA protects the privacy of student education records and gives parents the rights to review student records. Signing this form acknowledges that some student records, such as portfolios of student work with teacher feedback, may be stored in a student’s GAFE accounts on Google servers.

Should we, the parents, sign this form? If not, how do we explain to the school leadership why we declined to grant permission?

Comment Re:Uber + Autonomous vehicles = Dumb (Score 2) 151

Uber getting involved in autonomous cars makes absolutely zero business sense. Their entire business model is based on an asset-light utilization of vehicles owned by the people that drive for them. They are basically a middle-man matching and scheduling taxi service.

Uber is a software middleman dependent on utilizing vehicles and smartphones owned by others. Once the smartphone and (autonomous) vehicles start being produced by the same companies (Alphabet, Apple, etc), then there is no more need for Uber -- ridesharing is trivial compared to autonomous vehicies

So Uber eneeds to look like its developing autonomous vehicles in order to keep the hype up prior to its IPO.

Comment Re:Agile is good for some teams & projects, ho (Score 1) 332

If your team consists solely of programmers of medium competence, Agile may be the best choice. If you have even one excellent systems architect...

What you're ignoring, is that for a hell of a lot of real-world projects, there's already a pretty good architecture in the form of one of several appropriate frameworks--and in many cases the team is already using one.

There's really a small portion of software development that is cutting-edge.

Comment both sides??? (Score 5, Insightful) 89

No, there are not "strong arguments on both sides". One side is corrupt and lying. Either the local administration of the schools are skimming funds and creating the hazardous unqualified schools as described, or the government agency is lying because they demanded bribes and were refused. This is not a "both sides have a point" kind of situation, and actual journalism would require digging in and finding the truth.

Comment could just be the beginning (Score 3, Informative) 153

From my experience, I'd guess that about 90% of Oracle installations do not need Oracle. They're all ripe for migration to PostgreSQL or MongoDB. (Granted the 10% of installations that are big enough to need Oracle will be way more than 10% of Oracle's database revenue, but it's still a nice market segment, ripe for the taking.)

Comment Re:California (Score 1) 428

Out there, "traditional roofing materials" are asphalt shingles, or sometimes cedar shakes, neither of which is bulky or brittle.

Cedar shakes are quite brittle. A good hail storm leaves them with tiny cracks, which spread with hot/cold cycles, so that a year or two after the storm they literally disintegrate into shards.

Comment Re:Horizontal glass (Score 1) 428

Shingles, on the other hand, could have hail dropped from a very high distance indeed -- enough to reach terminal velocity.

I'm pretty sure you have no idea what the phrase "terminal velocity" actually means, otherwise you wouldn't throw it around in such an idiotically pointless way.

Hint: please describe to us under what conditions hail could possibly ever NOT be at "terminal velocity" when it hits your roof ;-)

Submission + - Facebook admits that it miscalculated advertising metrics (

McGruber writes: Facebook disclosed on Wednesday that a comprehensive internal metrics audit found that discrepancies, or “bugs,” led to the undercounting or overcounting of four measurements, including the weekly and monthly reach of marketers’ posts, the number of full video views and time spent with publishers’ Instant Articles. None of the metrics in question impact Facebook’s billing, said Mark Rabkin, vice president of Facebook’s core ads team.

The unveiling of the additional errors may trouble some advertisers and web publishers that rely on Facebook for distribution and monetization. Several had already called for additional third-party validation of Facebook’s data.

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