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Comment Re:Cryptonomicon? (Score 1) 796

I wouldn't list Cryptonomicon as classic literature, but it definitely has been one of the most enjoyable books I've ever read.

But everyone's tastes are different. I've tried reading Neuromancer twice and gave up less than half-way through. I just got to the point where I couldn't stand reading it, but many others I've talked to say it's one of their favorite all-time books. Go figure ...

Comment Correction: Not TOR's decision to postpone ebook (Score 1) 1

As it turns out, it was not TOR's decision to postpone the e-book version as many reviewers on Amazon assumed.

From Brandon Sanderson's blog:

"This is not my decision or Tor’s decision, but Harriet’s. She is uncomfortable with ebooks. Specifically, she worries about ebooks cutting into the hardcover sales. It isn’t about money for her, as the monetary difference between the two is negligible here. It is about a worry that her husband’s legacy will be undermined if sales are split between ebooks and hardcovers, preventing the last book of the Wheel of Time from hitting number one on either list. (Many of the bestseller lists are still handling ebooks in somewhat awkward ways.)

        As the last books have all hit number one, she doesn’t want to risk one of these not hitting number one, and therefore ending the series on a down note. (Even though each Wheel of Time book has sold more than its predecessor, including the ones I have worked on.) I personally feel her worries are unfounded, and have explained that to her, but it is not my choice and I respect her reasoning for the decision. She is just trying to safeguard Robert Jordan’s legacy, and feels this is a very important way she needs to do so. After talking about the issue, we were able to move the ebook up from the originally planned one-year delay to instead come out this spring."

Submission + - 'A Memory of Light' released ... but not for E-readers ( 1

McSnickered writes: My wife, who has been waiting impatiently for the last book of the Robert Jordan series 'Wheel of Time' to come out, was sorely disappointed when she discovered that it wasn't available for the Nook. It turns out that it's not available for the Kindle either. Apparently, TOR decided to postpone the E-book version till April thus encouraging fans (of which I am not) to purchase the hardback version.

Currently, 217 Amazon reviewers have given it a collective 2.5 stars due to 124 reviewers angrily tossing out 1 star (as well as a nasty note to TOR for not providing a Kindle version).

Comment Re:I think that's all college students (Score 4, Interesting) 823

I usually ignore the "Ask Slashdot"'s, but this one really resonated with me...

25 years ago as a college freshman, I went in with a thirst for knowledge and above average ability in math/sciences. I had also been involved in competetive athletics since 7th grade. My college freshman experience was that there was more chest-thumping and overt general nastiness in my physics and calculus classes than I had ever experienced in athletics. Trying to get help in the computer science lab first required getting talked down to by the lab's equivilent of Comic Book Guy.

It was a HUGE turnoff. I ended up changing my major to a non-tech field which was a mistake. It turned out OK for me though - I graduated, got a job, found that I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped, went back to graduate school in a technical field and had a great experience (no chest-thumping this time, people seemed to have grown up), and got into a career that I really enjoy.

Yes there are jerks everywhere, but I found "nerd arrogance" to be particularly annoying. I think that as you get through the weeding-out classes you'll have a better experience.

Comment Jury selection FAIL (Score 3, Interesting) 503

I was recently called to report for jury duty on a patent litigation trial at a US District Court. The patent involved "computer code" as the judge put it. Weeks before arriving, I filled out a questionnaire which included questions about my occupation, which I stated as Software Engineer.

As we went through jury selection, it quickly became clear that the attorneys wanted to state their case in their own way without anyone on the jury attempting to re-explain or translate for the others. Out of the first 14 jurors interviewed, only 1 person had had ANY experience with "computer code" (30 years ago in the Navy, and he mentioned COBOL). One side or the other threw that guy off the jury. We didn't get past Juror #15 before they had agreed on the jury pool. I was juror #28!

I can't believe that Samsung allowed this guy anywhere near the final jury. Well, unless there were 10 other patent trolls in the pool that they needed to get rid of before him.

Comment Re:Wait, what? Algebra in HIGH SCHOOL (Score 1) 490

I spent my teenage years during the 1980's - this is how the math curriculum was administered in an affluent suburb of Seattle at the time (when Jr. High was prevalent. Grades 7-9):

Jr. High:
7th Grade - Everyone took "7th Grade Math". There weren't different levels of "7th Grade Math", everyone took the same class. We spent all of the class and homework doing endless problems of long division and multiplication. It sucked.

8th Grade - Everyone took "Pre-Algebra". This was our first exposure in school to solving for X

9th Grade - Everyone took "Algebra 1". We had a math book from the 1960's that was awful.

High School:
10th Grade - Everyone took "Geometry". Fun class - I liked it.

11th Grade - Only students interested in a math-related career continued taking math at this point. It was "Algebra 2" and included Trigonometry.

12th Grade - Only students REALLY interested in math-related careers took math their last year of high school. This was called "Math Analysis" and was essentially Pre-Calc.

There actually was a Calculus class at our high school, but there were only about 5 students who could take it, and they were a very select few who had been allowed to skip the 7th Grade math experience to take the "more advanced" Pre-Algebra class. There was only 1 such kid in my 7th Grade class that got to do this.

So now fast forward to today in a rural state famous for potatoes. When my oldest son was in 5th grade, ALL the 5th graders were allowed to take a math test, that if they passed, would give them the opportunity to take "Pre Algebra" as 6th graders (rather than my sad experience of having to wait till 8th grade). My son passed and is now taking "Algebra 1" as a 7th grader. If he stays on track, he'll be in Calculus in 11th grade, and university-level Calculus in 12th grade. Although this is probably about average to lower average for Europe/Asia, it's considered a fairly rigorous schedule for the United States.

While I want to bemoan our country's struggles with math and science education, I also have to acknowledge how far things have progressed in the last 25 years. Whether or not today's students take advantage of the opportunities they have now, at least they HAVE some decent opportunities!

Comment Re:sounds like someone in iCon Group has friends (Score 1) 204

TGDaily has an interesting take on it related to Shimon Peres' son who is the Apple distributor:

Indeed, it is worth noting that Apple's Israeli distributor, iDigital, is run by Chemi Peres, the hyper-entrepreneurial son of Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Clearly, iDigital wants its lucrative cut of every iPad brought into the country - which it will undoubtedly receive when a modified European version of the iPad is approved for import over the next two or three months.

But in the meantime, iDigital can't make money off the slow trickle of iPads entering the country via private citizens, tourists and international businessmen.

And if iDigital can't get its cut, well, then, no iPad for you!

Comment Reality check (Score 4, Informative) 70

At the bottom of the article is the following update that might put things in a more realistic perspective:


Update - 1/18/10 - 10:25PM EST:

This just came in from our contacts at Asus here in the US. It looks like things are a bit premature at this point (of course) but it does appear that Asus will be making a major play in this arena in the near future.

"As for the status of the unit, we do have plans to bring a series of innovative products into this market sector. All details about the product(s) are still to be finalized with the goals of outstanding responsiveness and battery life being of prime importance for us to ensure a great end user experience. The mass production schedule is still under discussion as is pricing, availability, and channel selections. However, based on our history with mobile products, the digital reader series will be cost competitive with other solutions while offering a wealth of features.

ASUS believes that content and applications are the keys to success in the market sector. Once we have a concrete software and application plan, we will disclose additional information to you."


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