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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Digital library management

doishmere writes: How do you organize your digital library? I want organize all kinds of digital text media, such as academic papers, user manuals, e-books, or even local copies of HTML pages. I'm most interested in actually managing the content, but bonus points if there is a reference manager too.

Submission + - Search engines changing our memory (scienceblog.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: The rise of Internet search engines has changed the way our brain remembers information, according to a new study out of Columbia University. "We are reorganizing the way we remember things,” said the study's lead researcher. Because search engines like Google and Bing are so easily at hand, we feel less need to remember details that can be easily looked up. One possible upside: “Perhaps those who teach in any context, be they college professors, doctors or business leaders, will become increasingly focused on imparting greater understanding of ideas and ways of thinking, and less focused on memorization. And perhaps those who learn will become less occupied with facts and more engaged in larger questions of understanding.”

Comment Re:Yeah right (Score 3, Informative) 413

Well, the source is already technically available, since they ship you non-compiled javascript code. FSF's has several problems with this. 1) Gmail has not granted the user the right to modify the Javascript code. 2) Even if (1) is conceded, the FSF is arguing that the obfuscated code transmitted to the client browser does not truly constitute source code. They would like a link to be placed in a comment in the obfuscated code to the original, un-obfuscated code. There is a broader problem, however; even if a website transmits GPL'd code in the clear, the user does not have any easy way to replace the transmitted code with their modified code. They would like browsers to support hot-swapping websites' scripts with modified copies.

Comment Re:Just a way to kill the used book market... (Score 1) 419

I got a 5, and got credit for two semesters of college physics. I accepted the credit for the first semester (mostly mechanics), but decided to waive the credits and retake the second semester (E&M). It was (at least for me) the right decision; I would have lived if I hadn't, but I would have struggled to keep up in upper division courses.

Submission + - Microsoft Unbundles Software (nytimes.com)

doishmere writes: Microsoft has agreed to sell individual pieces of software to NY City workers, rather than forcing each seat to buy a full suite of software. The city has created three classes of users based on which pieces of software they need to perform their job, and Microsoft will sell software packages tailored to each class at a reduced price.

Comment Re:WTF is wrong with you people? (Score 1) 606

commonly used implies possible and feasible. I note that "when" appears in both phrases.

Precisely; "common use" predicates possibility and feasibility, and so is asking "when will X be commonly used?" is a stronger question that "when will X be possible or feasible?".

Showcase prototypes don't really count in any practical sense as "have the technology."

They do if you draw a distinction between possibility and feasibility.

Also, to claim that flying vehicles imply "much better transportation systems" is gratuitous. How would they be better?

See previous posts.

Comment Re:Pros... (Score 1) 141

The statistics could be calculated from any old census (and school) data.

Well, that's just it -- this is an improvement on the collection method. I'm not suggesting schools have fingerprint readers at schools, I'm merely stating that this method will likely produce more accurate census data, which could then be used for any of the reasons mentioned.

Comment Re:Pros... (Score 2, Insightful) 141

There's a difference between a right to privacy and the right for you to keep you existence unknown from the government. I agree that privacy is terribly important, but you can't deal with absolutes; yes, people have died for freedom, but that does not mean we must reject anything that encroaches upon it the slightest. The government isn't collecting this information to spy on its citizens, its doing so to provide services to them and properly run the government. You claim the Indian courts will protect privacy; if this is truly the case, then it is likely that anyone misusing this data would be prosecuted.

Comment Pros... (Score 5, Interesting) 141

As long as reasonable attempts are made to keep this information secure and out of the hands of the police, this is a case where the privacy concerns are far outweighed by the benefits. India has the world's second largest population; think about how difficult it must be form them to keep track of even simple census data. The U.S. has a population one fourth the size of India, and still has trouble taking taking a census only once every 10 years. This will allow India to better allocate aid to impoverished regions, or even just track what percentage of children actually attend school.

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