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Comment Yep. (Score 1) 61

I and a co-author pitched this notion in 2006. We had pitched it as a smaller element of a "research match-maker" idea. And, man, were the academics violently opposed. No one saw value in the work and most felt either directly threatened or otherwise unsure how to objectively gauge the value of the contribution with author name and affiliation removed. It was depressing.

Comment No they won't. (Score 0) 182

This is like saying that THIS year will be the year when VRML takes off and replaces text and images for e-commerce. It never happens, and for good reason. Why "navigate" for minutes when I can page and scroll for seconds, with no real loss in fidelity? Yes, there is actually an idiot out there in the world who keeps trumpeting every or every-other year about how THIS IS THE YEAR. Much like that guy and his prediction, this, too, is not fated to supplant the status quo. (The next iteration of learning will likely have little to do with modality and much to do with removing cognitive or processing bottlenecks at the learner's side.)

Comment Why can't American consumers... (Score 1) 333 the same? And why is there an expectation that a country can drive policy of private businesses? Is like it if Porsches were cheaper. However, I doubt that American consumers banding together in this would be given cheaper cars. The "it's a huge market and we have to bow to it at the expense of the locals" argument carries no weight in manufacturing any longer (e.g. coffee, textiles, clothing), so why do we unthinkingly give it a pass here?

Comment Re:Ever done business in China? (Score 1) 338

You are absolutely correct.

Unfortunately, China is a nation in the midst of an Industrial Revolution. I suspect that it is no different from Britain or the USA during their respective periods of industry, but I hate, hate, hate, the notion of money-at-any-cost.

The basic dangers of food security is not limited just to export business. In fact, it is cheaper to create "fake eggs." So many Chinese end up with eggs--many of which are chemical concoctions rather than the real deal. Buying food from a vendor is equally risky. It doesn't matter if you're Chinese or Western, if they can make another few RMB at the cost of you possibly dying, your life-insurance policy had better be paid up, because they will absolutely cut that corner and take another few RMB of profit.

It's a shame, really, as the culture used to lead the world and be very progressive. Now that is not the case at all. I have been married to a Chinese, and her take on morals, ethics, public safety, and so forth were as follows:

"I want what is mine. And everything is mine."

That's it. No further analysis needed. She's not particularly evil, but a product of the country and society that is modern China.

So--is it surprising to see fabricated EVERYTHING coming out of China? Oh yes. Why would research be different? I just hope that no serious scientist / science presence gets roped into believing anything the Chinese "discover" or "invent" for the next 20-30 years. Otherwise, there will be a tremendous amount of time, money, and effort thrown away for naught.

Comment Legal Test? (Score 1) 570

It sounds like these PS3s are being "reverse-engineered" to run "non-stock" software on them, vis-a-vis password cracking.

I posit a direct and urgent need to determine two things:
(1) Method of operation;
(2) Scope and reach of the program.

This could make for an interesting legal test of DMCA/PATRIOT act laws.

Comment Re:Run For Your Life. Now. (Score 1) 474

Parent raises an exceptionally good point. I'm not sure how it is in the UK, but here in the USA we have master plumbers moaning about the fact that they cannot hire an idiot apprentice kid under them ... who in 3 years of training will set themselves up for a realistic shot of $100,000/year salary.

This figure, by the way, is what I hope to earn after TEN+ YEARS of formal post-secondary education. IF the academic market can come back together again. And if I'm employable.

Comment Re:That is your job. (Score 1) 474

There are days I'd love to play with the tech and roll out cool things, and it does get annoying to handle the level 2 stuff (fortunately, I have a part-time helpdesk guy for the basics).

One tip would be to get an intern, and dump some of the support tickets on them. Honestly, I'm not sure how viable a solution that is (I'd be eager to hear others experiences), because I don't know if a CS person will want an internship like that. But maybe someone from a business background would be intrigued; you likely touch every part of the business, and there could be appeal there.

You have a PFY and you are advocating same.

I'm sure that Simon would be touched; BOFH continues to live on and be relevant nearly 15 years after being released on the World Wide Web.

Comment Hell no. Don't go back just for the M.Sc. (Score 1) 834

If you can get an entry-level position, go to work. A M.Sc. in CS will get you nowhere. The Ph.D. is the next "stepping stone," and that will open up new doors for you. So unless you're wanting to go all the way to a Ph.D., don't bother going back. Academia sucks and is full of all sorts of social cues that are distressing, misleading, petty and small.

Comment Re:This is just now news? (Score 1) 243

I used to happily pay the extra $5-$10 premium that Gamestop charges on their games for one and only one reason: Their no-questions-asked return policy. If I was unsure (for instance, multiplayer options) and the store employee didn't know, I *used* to have the peace of mind knowing that I could pick up the software, check out the item in question, and then return it and let the employee know what had happened. I did this twice, and Gamestop made an extra $hundreds off of me during this period. Then a few years back I noticed a new return policy - "you bought it, you bought it" was the gist. I have not shopped there since.

Submission + - Microsoft's 'Cloud OS' takes shape (

AlexGr writes: "By Ina Fried (CNET DENVER — Microsoft is in the early stages of a plan that will see virtually its entire lineup of underlying Internet services opened up to developers, the software maker made clear this week. In addition to making available its existing services, such as mail and instant messaging, Microsoft also will create core infrastructure services, such as storage and alerts, that developers can build on top of. It's a set of capabilities that have been referred to as a "Cloud OS," though it's not a term Microsoft likes to use publicly."

Submission + - Robot walks - and learns about walking

FLJerseyBoy writes: The BBC reports:

Roboticists are using the lessons of a 1930s human physiologist to build the world's fastest walking robot.

Runbot is a self-learning, dynamic robot, which has been built around the theories of Nikolai Bernstein.

...Runbot is a small, biped robot which can move at speeds of more than three leg lengths per second, slightly slower than the fastest walking human.

Bernstein said that animal movement was not under the total control of the brain but rather, "local circuits" did most of the command and control work.

The brain was involved in the process of walking, he said, only when the understood parameters were altered, such as moving from one type of terrain to another, or dealing with uneven surfaces.
Video at the site shows Runbot initially failing but then learning to walk up a ramp.

Submission + - FBI Employees Face Criminal Probe Over Patriot Act (

DevanJedi writes: "According to an article at, "FBI personnel who used misleading emergency letters to acquire thousands of Americans' phone records are the subject of a criminal investigation [...] The privately disclosed investigation would mark the first time government officials have faced possible prosecution for misuse of Patriot Act investigative tools.""

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