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Comment Good Luck. (Score 1) 290

No matter what you tell the new person you will still be the answer guy for months especially since you are still at the university.

I gave my last employer almost two months notice and a handful of resumes of fully qualified people who were available to start immediately.

The HR idiots didn't get someone hired and able to show up until my last day. I took that day off as my spouse had a bad feeling about me commuting to work that day.

So the new guy got nothing, no logins, no script explanations, no documentation overview, nothing.

I started getting calls at my new employer from "friends" that still worked there asking me to help the new guy before they strung him up in the server room. I helped for a bit then cut them all off. No money no answers.

Comment SImple Under $20 Solution (Score 1) 332

Buy a digital Timer. Set it to power up the wireless AP only when you want it available. Keep the AP and timer out of reach of those that may want to mess with it. If a special event comes up and wireless access is needed anybody can push the timers "ON" button to turn on the wireless and then the "OFF" button later to return it to timer mode.

I have used this solution in the past to great success in a warehouse/office environment to cut the internet at night because warehouse night staff were surfing instead of working.

Comment Poop Pills (Score 2) 271

No joke. There are existing therapies where individuals who have seriously disrupted gut bacteria colonies basically take a poop pill. The idea is that you re-seed the GI track with the desirable flora in order to establish a healthy and balanced community. Of course the source of the donated flora is something that you might not want to dwell on too long.

Of course other animals do this all the time voluntarily.

Comment Autism seems to be linked to gut bacteria too (Score 1) 271

CBC TV in Canada aired a show focusing on Autism and links to gut bacteria. The episode is titled The Autism Enigma.

Well worth watching.

Considering that the bacteria in our bodies outnumber our own cells (numerically) it should not be a surprise that when they get messed with we get messed up.

Comment Not a problem here (Score 1) 237

Why is the total electricity used by Google a problem? Google has a huge network of data centers, offices and other business entities that use electricity. The total amount of electricity used is going to be huge.

The real question... has and is Google working to use that electricity wisely and with an eye to maximizing value and minimizing waste? Well from what I have read over the years the answer is Yes.

Everyone, GM, Toyota, the US government, The City of LA, and even my dear old Mom uses electricity (directly and indirectly) and it isn't the total used, but rather the waste (if any) and the strategies to maximize value out of that electricity that needs to be reported and scrutinized.

We all know this right?

Comment Re:Teachers just don't give a damn anymore (Score 1) 511

No doubt there are many teacher's who don't care anymore. They have been denigrated in the media, made the whipping boy by politicians looking for re-election. They have been kicked in the nads by everyone with an axe to grind.

But let me ask you does this not happen in any work environment where the employees are treated like sh*t?

Students know their rights, but few know their responsibilities. Parents demand their kids be taught by teachers, but don't support the teachers in this task. Tax payers demand fewer taxes while demanding results from schools. Politicians and school board politicos demand schools toe the line with outrageous ill-conceived plans to fix the ills of society by downloading them into the schools.

Yes, I am less surprised by the statement that "teachers just don't give a damn anymore" and more surprised that there are still teachers showing up in schools to teach and entering the profession at all.

Hey everyone let's not forget that the school environment in which our kids sit every day is also the same environment in which teachers work.

Comment Yes we all know this already! (Score 1) 511

Simply placing any technology in a classroom will do nothing more than increase the amount of stuff in the room. We all know this. It doesn't matter what the technology is, paper, pencils, projectors, laptops, unless the technology can be meaningfully integrated into the curriculum it will not have a positive effect on overall learning.

What this study does, beyond saying the obvious, is to identify the two main problems with education.

Problem one is that politicians, the public and school board administrators think they can increase student learning by stuffing technology in the classroom. Well I've seen many a classroom over the last 40 years that have wonderful technological marvels collecting dust as they sit unused on the shelf. I've also seen classrooms with next to no cutting edge technology that have produced students who excel in learning. So the presence of technology does not make for increased test scores. So why is money being spent on laptops and networks and other gadgets when this is shown to fail? Well, because we as a society think the quick fix is the way to make it happen. Society is looking for the quick fix for everything, buy on credit vs saving, liposuction instead of lifestyle change, etc. So why not education too.

The second problem is that we all assume we know what education needs, in this case computers. We all know all there is to know about education, after all most of us sat in a classroom for a dozen or more years we should be experts. In fact today we are allowing our politicians and media to use education as their whipping boy. We denigrate teachers. We fail to support schools. We have allowed the educational system to be perverted to the point where we value the politicos who run our education systems more than the teachers who actually do the real work. Well folks collectively we know next to nothing about education. Our politicians and education politicos know F**k all. To resolve this problem in education let's put the resources (money, people) back in the classroom where they belong. Let's invest more in teachers and less in the administrators whose job it is to support the actual education of our kids. Let's invest the money in actual classroom resources like books, manipulatives, lunch programs, and ongoing professional teacher training. Let's put the resources back where the education rubber meets the education road.

Sorry to ramble here folks, but let's all realize that large schools, huge school boards, and standardized testing are not in place for the benefit of students. These things benefit the politicians and education politico. Bring education back to the neighborhoods and the kids it is meant to searve. Take it away from politicians. hey folks consider getting involved.

Comment Re:Just the beginning of the end... (Score 1) 223

Although I suspect you are kidding with your comment there is plenty of truth to it and that is not unexpected.

First school from k-4 is usually remembered only very sporadically as are all memories up to the age of about 10. The reason being that the mental framework required to categorize and store these memories isn't developed until the age of 10. So the ability to access those memories is very poor.

Second, for most people the memories that come to mind when asked about anything done for long periods of time and somewhat repetitive, school, home life, scouting, dating, parenting, working, etc. are the memories of events that were out of the normal range. Snow days are definitely out of the normal range. Think about dating and you probably remember the big events like losing virginity (yes, many of the folks who read Slashdot have in fact lost their virginity) and people you dated for extended periods, but not likely every face of everyone you dated. Think about married life and you remember the wedding, the new apartment or house, moving, having kids, etc. but you likely can't easily recall too many events that aren't special. Actually now that I think of it married life may not be a great example as many try to block many of the memories in this stage of their life.

Anyway I think you can get my point.

Comment Just the beginning of the end... (Score 2) 223

Many folks working out how education will evolve in a productive way (not the politicians and corporations who only look to break education in order to line their pockets during the crisis they create) see the coming of the virtual classroom as a done deal. It will happen and we will see it in our lifetime.

So to see the end of Snow Days (due to transportation problems) because students can be required to participate in lessons from home is a done deal. All the technical stuff students learn in school today, you know the stuff that they assess with standardized testing (another useless and damaging corporate weapon) can easily and quickly be learned in a virtual learning environment.

What will be interesting is how we deal with the aspects of schooling that aren't shown on report cards, socialization, mental and physical well being. Parents who home school their children tend to work very hard to include these very important components of development. I have talked to parents who go way out of their way to have their students participate in group activities educational, spiritual and recreational.

So I say good riddance to the Snow Days of old that more often than not rewarded the bus students and punished those who walked. Good bye to the nightmare of parents having to leave kids at home with only a moment of preparation time and having to rely on the TV and game console to guard over them. Welcome to the new reality of the web being used for more than just porn.

By the way, yes, I was never a bus student and I didn't get my fair share of snow days.

Submission + - How to watch European Soccer Online

gwn writes: I keep getting asked by the Soccer Hooligans I support to find a way for them to watch European Football (soccer) matches over the internet. I have very little consistent success with this. So I as you in the Slashdot community who have figured this out for guidance. Of course today's England vs France match is the current target, but Premier League, Championship and the others are in demand too. Any useful guidance will be appreciated.

Comment This is an old and legitimate use of lightbulbs... (Score 1) 557

When I was a little kid I remember my Dad telling me about using incandescent light bulb(s) to prevent the pump and pipes from freezing when the winter temperatures would fall well below zero. Granted the pump house was well insulated to retain the heat. I can also see using a backup bulb placed in a fixture governed by light sensor that turned on only if the first bulb died to provide a backup.

I recall seeing light bulbs used for their heating properties in a couple of other situations. I recall a mechanics trouble light turned on and placed under the hood of a car in winter to keep the engine block from getting too cold to start. I seem to recall a blanket and tarp also place over the hood of the car. I recall using the heat from a light bulb to soften plastic parts to mold them for a custom fit (plastic models and later car parts). Not to mention the easy bake oven application.

So I would have to say their is plenty of prior art to support light bulbs imported as heating devices.

Comment I faced this a few months ago... and... (Score 1) 618

I found I already owned a router that allowed me to control we access hours I just set static IP's on the target machines and gave them restricted access to the web...

I use for the parental controls... I direct the router to OpenDNS for its dns lookups...

and I have installed a opensource program called iTalc to monitor the users on the machines... iTalc requires a small client on the users machine and an admin install on the teachers machine... you can then view what is going on, take control of a user or shut them down...

Remember to have the kids login as users not admins... take away those admin rights!

Easy to install, very inexpensive and remarkably effective... Especially with the users knowing I can monitor what they are doing at any time, even from work... Remember you don't always have to go so far as to cut access off, often all the user needs is to know and see you have all the tools to do it.

Comment ...and MUSIC training helps too (Score 1) 466

I have lived and worked in various IT environments over the last couple of decades and I have observed a very interesting thing... The best programmers I have had the pleasure to work with/for were also musicians. Usually amateur musicians, but musicians.

It seems there are very important skill transfers between the two.

I am also able to watch my own kids... and the musical one has chosen to go to university to get a software engineering degree... and is doing amazingly. By the way he also took every math he could get in high school and first year university.

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