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Comment Re:Cellular is the business model (Score 1) 424

If someone can explain how we need multiple cable companies in order to have ISP competition, it would be helpful. I've personally used AT&T (non-Cable) as my ISP for 15 years (first as ADSL, then with U-verse). I haven't had Cable for almost 20 years. I'm eager for Google Fiber.

AOL hung around at least a decade beyond its prime. Cable isn't dead, but I suspect it's on a similar life-cycle. 50 years from now, using copper wires for data will be a footnote in history books. 100 years from now, even Fiber will be a similar note.

Comment Re:Ah, the mythical CS skills shortage (Score 1) 141

There isn't any shortage of talented CS professionals. However, HR isn't competent to tell the difference between a talented programmer (who can pick up the skills needed for the project in a matter of weeks, and turn out a quality product) and someone who is struggling to avoid being cut from the workforce and has years of experience with the particular "skillset" the employer is seeking (and will turn out a really buggy product, frequently missing deadlines).

Foreign "talent" isn't any more competent (taken as a group) than US talent is. They just have a powerful marketing force making them LOOK more qualified. Seriously -- I've seen pieces of projects off-shored to firms with "coders" who are someone's nephew, good at fixing computers, and have never coded a single for-next loop in their lives. But I've seen the same thing in US-based contractors, so what's Human Resources to do?

Comment Re:Ah, the mythical CS skills shortage (Score 1) 141

You can pass Algebra with a "C". Do you really believe someone should be working professionally in a field where they were a "C" student? Have you ever compared how easily and quickly an "A" student does work compared to a "C" student (not to mention the fact that the "A" student actually had the correct answers)?

People with no maths skills can be good programmers; the two skills aren't really related. However, people who have no talent for programming can't be "taught" to be good programmers -- just like someone with no talent for painting can't be "taught" to be a GOOD painter.

Comment PLATO, Ender, et. al. (Score 1) 203

The PLATO system pushed the hardware envelope for its day, Orson Scott Card dreamed a remarkable interactive classroom in the 80's, and I was involved in a teaching research project in the 80's which used ultra-low-cost systems for computer-aided teaching. It's a theme many people have worked on. It's a theme that (ultimately) is a useful tool, but falls short of being "revolutionary" -- because it's existed (in one form or another) for centuries. It's an iteration, not a leap. It's homework.

Computer courseware can adjust the difficulty of problems to target an area where the student is having difficulty, and it can also present homework that has a visual / animated aspect to it (2 + 1 = ... dots flow together on the screen ... 3). In the end, though, it's just giving the student practice using concepts which were demonstrated by someone else. It can present facts in more interesting ways than a book, but it's still the same information you get from textbooks. You can tell a computer you "need help," and get a pre-packaged review, but you can't ask it a question.

There is certainly a place for computer-based homework in the classroom, and the company I worked with even had some excellent results helping children with learning disabilities to keep up with the rest of the class. Computers can help a good teacher manage a larger classroom effectively (potentially lowering education costs) ... but making education better? That will take more understanding of the psychology behind learning and memory, not better hardware.

Comment Re:Someone needs to lay down the legal smack down (Score 1) 469

The Internet is a self-policing agency, so I like your analogy, but I feel like it needs to go a bit further:

Let's say you go to Eaverton and buy a car at the Ford dealership, then you walk across the street into the bar and start waving a gun around. The Eaverton sheriff has rules about that sort of thing, so he sends you packing. Now, when the car is ready, you can't come pick it up because the sheriff won't let you into town. The sheriff's salary is paid in part by taxes on the dealership's sales, but he didn't run you out of town so the dealership could keep your money. He did it because you broke the law.

There's one other detail this analogy needs: the sheriff said you can come back next month, and you'll be able to pick up the car then (as long as you don't go waving weapons around in the bar like an idiot before you finish the transaction).

Comment Re:Bad summary (Score 1) 469

This is a famous analogy? Hacked, free software isn't analogous to "cars of dubious origin." It's straight-up stolen. There aren't any ifs, buts, or howevers ... it's stolen. If someone else hadn't made the expensive version, then the cheap version couldn't exist.

You make your own judgement calls about whether or not its "okay" to run stolen software without also buying a paid copy. I'm not here to tell you how to live your life. However ... trying to convince ME that it's okay, because the version from the developer sucks? I'm calling you on that one: your argument is invalid.

Also, they're not forgetting that "we" are the ones who pay them. As long as sheeple continue to pay for broken products, they'll continue making them. They're intensely aware that they're being paid -- because they are. It would be awesome if you started a competing company with DRM-free (or DRM-right) products.

Comment Re:Bad summary (Score 0) 469

>> ... then there is no reason to attribute malice to EA.

Malice? MALICE!??!

Look, I get the idea that schools can't use physical punishment on children. There are reams of studies pointing to more effective forms of discipline, and if parents choose to follow those studies, schools shouldn't be allowed to screw it up. It's gone too far, though, if kids grow up somehow coming to the conclusion that actions don't have consequences.

If the guy is breaking forum guidelines, he needs an email sent to his Mom quoting the entire post. How's that for "malice?" For the love of Christ, people, learn to behave in public. It sickens me that it even occurred to anyone to even *consider* malice as a possibility in this story.

Comment Re:Wrong power (Score 3, Informative) 284

The problem here is that people aren't trained in physics. Watts are a measure of power, not energy. If you multiply the Power x the amount of Time, the result is the amount of Energy.

Think of it like a firehose vs. garden hose: the firehose pumps gallons of water per minute, but the garden hose takes a lot longer to pump the same amount of water. The "power" is like the size of the hose: how much energy does it pump in one second? That's like Watts. How much water ended up in the bucket? That depends on both Power and Time; you can fill the bucket faster with a firehose, but if you turn the firehose on and back off right away, then it's easy to get more water out of the garden hose by leaving it on longer. How much water ends up in the bucket is like how much Energy you used. 1 Joule is the amount of energy you get when you push 1 Watt for 1 Second. (1 Kilowatt-hour is the amount you get when you push 1,000 Watts for 1 Hour. If you're following the math, that means 1 KWH = 3,600,000 Joules.)

In a pulsed laser, each burst has a duration, and the most useful information is how much Energy is released per pulse (Joules). That's why they're measured by Energy (Joules or milliJoules). For a continuous laser, there is no "time" element, so the output is measured in Power (Watts).

So ... a 1 MW laser (Power) firing a pulse of 100ns (100 x 1/1,000,000,000th of a second), would give 1,000,000 Watts x 100 ns x 1 ns / 1,000,000,000 ns/sec = 100,000,000 / 1,000,000,000 = 100 / 1000 = 1/10th of 1 Joule each time it fires. A 60 Watt bulb uses 60 Watts per second ... 600 times as much Energy in 1 second as a 1MW laser delivers in 100ns. It's the incredibly small amount of time the pulse is firing (less than 1 millionth of a second) that results in so little energy being delivered to the target. It's the incredibly small area (focusing via the lens) that causes so little energy to do so much damage.

A 1 KJ (Kilojoule) laser would be delivering as much Energy in a single pulse (remember: if we're measuring the laser in Joules, we're giving the value per pulse) as a 1,000 Watt spotlight would use (mostly becoming heat) in 1 second.

I'm not saying this was made using a MW laser. I'm just explaining why a 1MW laser firing a millionth-of-a-second pulse isn't going to burn through anyone's bathroom wall. (And I'm not replying directly to Chris; I just wasn't sure where to drop this water-hose explanation into the conversation.)

Comment Re: "Dangerous Criminal Arrested" (Score 1) 486

Don't forget about libel laws. Violating a red light is a misdemeanor.

There is a SIGNIFICANT difference between "being arrested" and "being tried" ... and a further difference in "being convicted." Charges were DROPPED in the first case mentioned in the article, and will likely be dropped in the cell phone case. The article MIGHT be giving slanted information, but everything there points to harassment ... which is best accomplished by making people afraid via rumors about being arrested, and likely to lose its potency if a judge gets ahold of it.

Comment Re: you fucking moron (Score 1) 486

No, the quote very clearly states that the device can be seized for "containing such evidence." It does not say anything about it being "used to commit terrorism" or "used by a terrorist."

While, legally, the public has the right to sue for harassment (and I think the police have a further right to sue for bringing a frivolous lawsuit), the courts are the WORST way to resolve this kind of thing. We wouldn't be in this mess in the first place if people would just be responsible about who they vote into office, and stand up AS A COMMUNITY for freedom. People are sheep.

Comment Re:Or maybe the author is On LSD (Score 3, Informative) 193

When light hits a surface, it can be reflected, or transmitted. If' it's transmitted then it's going to go through the paint and strike the metal and be reflected.

What are you talking about? Matt Black paint, applied to a mirror, does not result in a surface that reflects visible light.

Paint can certainly absorb photons, and translate the energy to a wavelength no longer recognizable as related to the source.

How did the parent post get rated so highly? Has the Slashdot community fallen so far that it's blinded by the mere mention of "scientific" concepts like index of refraction?

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The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky