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Comment Re:Annoying for small projects (Score 1) 169

Pretty much spot on. I've worked in academia and high tech manufacturing. Cobbling together something only you will ever use is pretty easy. Making a single novel-ish transistor isn't terribly difficult either. Scaling either up to mass manufacturing is an entirely different story. I suspect that leads to a lot of startup failures. People who have never held down a real job are thinking that work will basically be like college except with a constant inflow of money. They've never had to deal with suppliers, troubleshoot weird issues that fuck up 1% of goods, write solid documentation that end users can understand, etc. Getting products to market simply requires an entire skillset that you're not going to get unless you actually have experience. Just getting the things made is a giant amount of work. Then you have to deal with chip support and work with banks if you want it to be anything more than a really fancy card-shaped decoration that doesn't actually do anything useful.

Comment Re:"defined as homeless here, mostly sharing homes (Score 5, Insightful) 504

That's always the problem with these sorts of statistics. Whoever is crunching the numbers is doing so with an agenda and comes up with something that strains credulity. They're just going for shock value, not attempting to convey any useful information. Ultimately it detracts from the real problem. Housing throughout the bay area is, in fact, incredibly expensive. It strains the budgets of pretty much everyone who isn't bringing home six figures, and even 100k isn't enough to afford a nice place. To get even a small condo, you need a couple people making fairly high salaries. The situation in the bay area is not sustainable, but I fail to see how a shock headline claiming 1/3 of school children are living under bridges in cardboard boxes does anything to change that.

Comment Re:There are actual lists ya know (Score 1) 708

This mirrors my experience pretty well. I got a Thinkpad X200 and put Linux on it. Things were mostly fine, until I tried to connect it to an external monitor, at which point Gnome lost track of where everything should be. Audio generally worked okay, except, of course, when it didn't. Sleep sort of worked, except when it failed for no apparent reason. Updating resulted in a non-bootable system. Wireless was fine, as long as I was willing to disable/enable it every hour or so. All the little things added up to a rather crappy experience, like being trapped on some late 90's consumer crapbox running Windows 98. Eventually, I ended up with a MBP running OS X and suddenly everything just worked, and I got to keep the Unixy goodness.

Comment Re:Important point- power used (Score 1) 360

Silicon gets used because it's well-understood. However, it's actually a pretty terrible absorber (indirect gap, smallish absorption coefficient), so you need a lot of it (drives up cost). Also, making crystalline materials is not the cost-driving thing you seem to think it is. It's often simply a matter of heating up the substrate during deposition (in the case of a thin film). Sometimes (metals, layered chalcogenides, for example) it's actually pretty difficult to make an amorphous material.

Comment Re:Awful (Score 1) 951

You have to dig for "crop"? I mean, it wouldn't occur to you that it might be in the (differently colored to stand out) context-sensitive picture formatting tab on the ribbon? Even my mother, who can't grasp how to email an image without sticking it in a word document first, has figured this out.

Comment Re:XP still here (Score 1) 315

Exactly. On the business side, there isn't really a compelling case to upgrade from XP in a lot of circumstances. Upgrading something like a hospital is a massive undertaking, for very little benefit. As of a few years ago, one of the largest EMR companies was still writing its client in Visual Basic 6 (though there were efforts to move it over to C# and modern APIs). And at home, there's little reason for many people to upgrade. The upgrade from 98 to XP was clearly worth doing - we went from buggy, crashy trash to a system that just works. In some ways, Microsoft did too good of a job on XP, which is great for users because the software does what they want and they're very used to it, but it's bad for Microsoft who wants people to upgrade.

Comment Some are especially bad (Score 1) 557

Frontline has a nice program about for profit schools. They seem to fall mostly into two categories: failing private colleges (usually religious non-education places) that are trying the online gig in order to stay afloat, and schools started for the sole purpose of exploiting the student loan system for fun and exorbitant profit. There are almost certainly some good for profit schools out there, but they're overshadowed by the seemingly endless parade of slimy bastards who are just in it to make a quick buck. Some schools have absolutely dismal repayment rates, with many of the biggest managing less than 35%.

Girls Bugged Teachers' Staff Room 227

A pair of enterprising Swedish schoolgirls ended up in court after they were caught bugging their teachers break room. The duo hoped they would hear discussions about upcoming tests and school work, allowing them to get better grades. It worked until one of them decided to brag about it on Facebook, and the authorities were called in. The girls were charged with trespassing and fined 2,000 kronor ($270) each in Stockholm District Court.

Comment Re:I feel no sympathy there either (Score 1) 251

Also I'll add you CAN get systems that are supported pretty much perpetually. Mainframes are like that. You can run those for decades and even after new version come out, the support continues. However you pay a ton to buy it, pay even more in maintenance (support isn't free, software or hardware, you have to pay yearly upkeep) and they are going to certify it for certain apps and you'll run those and no other, or lose support.

++ If you want perpetual support, you need to be prepared to spend huge sums of money to get it. You have to be prepared to pay a team of developers, testers, and support staff to support your outdated platform, and that does not come cheap, either in the initial purchase or with ongoing support contracts. My former employer offered perpetual support, but licensing fees ran in the millions of dollars and support contracts started at hundreds of thousands per year for even the smallest clients.

Comment Re:Best way to stop cheat sheets... (Score 1) 439

In the end, the results often don't even justify punishing the cheater.

Depends on the university. At some schools, failing a course for cheating results in an F that stays on your transcript (and is included in your GPA) even if you repeat the course. But yeah, if that option is off the table, punishing people for cheating probably isn't worth the effort, because they're likely going to fail anyway.

Comment Re:Retarded (Score 1) 439

The author must have had some amazingly bad professors. -I've had a grand total of one professor that didn't write her own lectures. Most have a set of lecture notes that they've developed and refined over the years. -Sure. -Some changes, sure. Sometimes you want to teach something in a different way and see how it changes students' understanding of the material, which means reusing questions. Sometimes a question is good and you want to keep it. Sometimes something went horribly wrong (like engineering majors not knowing differential volume in spherical coordinates), so you tweak the question a bit (and hope they understand Cartesian). -Rearranging the questions is really about the best you can do without running the risk of being unfair. Sometimes it turns out that what seem like simple variations on questions result in dramatically different student performance. -What's wrong with using material you wrote? Isn't that what you were just demanding? -Agreed. Lots of TAs are crap. They're frequently new to the country and have little experience speaking English. As for cheating, we try to do the best we can while avoiding false positives. That means that lots of people slip through and action is only taken in the most egregious, obvious cases, like students who turn in the exact right answers to a different test form, or students who turn in identical wrong solutions.

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