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Comment Re:Goverrnment (Score 1) 596

Armed response is way premature and is the last result when all peaceful means are exhausted.. On the other hand filing a motion for an injunction prohibiting this until the matter has been fully litigated would be a wise move. This is clearly a constitutional issue... We have a Constitution and Bill of Rights for just this reason...

Comment Re:heads are going to roll for this... (Score 2) 201

Let's make sure the right head rolls... This was a rookie mistake that no CEO should ever make. One NEVER tries a demo for the first time before an important audience. If the CEO isn't willing to do a dry run, then he should either get a product manager who has the time to do it or the board should get a new CEO.

Comment Re:Yep, they were... (Score 5, Insightful) 369

Earlier this year our Keurig brewer needed to be replaced. Went to the store and got a new one. Got it home and our existing K-cups wouldn't work - they were the old version. Called Keurig - they told me they would replace my cups. Told them that wasn't good enough because I didn't want to worry every time we bought cups. The rep said there was nothing she could do. Told her she lost a customer for life.

Took the brewer back, got a refund. Ordered a Mr Coffee version that is quite acceptable. Use whatever cups I want. Hope their management lose their jobs over this one. First rule of business is to treat your customers with respect or they (we) will find vendors who will. Interestingly enough, everybody figured out how to defeat their DRM. Keurig alienated customers and competitors found a workaround. Queue up Nelson Munch: "Haa Haa."

Comment Re:Administrators (Score 4, Insightful) 538

There is a clear reason for the rise in tuition: The availability of "easy credit" for student loans.

In the Dark Ages when I was an undergrad, we lived in dorms with painted cinder block walls, spartan furniture, and a bathroom per hallway. We had a minimal gym facility but reasonable equipment in the labs. With some help from my parents and working had during summers and breaks, I graduated with only $750 in loans.

Now you have luxury dorms and sports complexes. Sadly, the cost increases for these facilities and the explosion of administrators made it practically impossible to pay for one's education at a top tier state school by working hard during the summers and breaks and some help from ones parents.

Let's not mention the Lake Wobegone mentality that all the children are above average. Colleges love remedial courses - they get paid and the students stay longer. But that changes the economics. Attending college is a business decision and if the graduate can't repay the debt in a few years, the ROI wasn't there.

Comment Re:Massive conspiracy (Score 1) 465

Depends upon whether six months of backup meets the requirements of the records retention statute. If not, at a minimum all management who signed off on the policy should be fired. I could also see a statute setting different retention periods for different levels of employees. I could see a shorter period for lower level employees, but senior employees such as Lerner should have records that cover a much longer period, such as the statute of limitation for the consequences of criminal action in their position.

Comment Re:Couldn't disagree more! (Score 2) 115

I, too, have taken three Coursera classes for credit and done all the work. All three were well worth the effort. One was a teaser program for an expensive masters sponsored by the University. That was clear and did not diminish the value. Another was the first offering and was experimenting with peer grading. There were many problems with peer grading, but that did not diminish the value. I respect all three of the instructors and benefited greatly from the work and interaction.

One must have reasonable expectations of MOOCs. Much of the data mining is actually designed to benefit students. Andrew Ng and Daphne Kohler have written about how valuable the large sample size is for detecting conceptual misunderstanding from wong quiz answers to give appropriate automatic feedback. Two of my classes had over 10,000 participants. Compare that to the typical size of less than 200 at most universities. Seems to me that both faculty and students benefit from such research - faculty from publications and name recognition and students from better instruction.

Comment Re:because desktop linux is a toy and novelty (Score 5, Insightful) 1215

It is a bit more complicated. I work in the analytical division of well-recognized company. Most of our vendors design instrumentation to work with Windows. There are rarely drivers for other OS choices. Most is also designed with an over-emphasis on graphical user interfaces, the bane of reproducible research.

I see way too much abuse of spreadsheets. According to Baggerly and Coombes, part of the problems in the Duke scandal were caused by off-by one index errors with Excel. Similar spreadheet blunders arose in the recent Reinhart-Rogoff problem.

I hate Excel. It is hard to do simple things efficiently. Try and do a scatterplot with multiple series. How many keystrokes will it take? Once you get your analysis done and your report written with Word, how difficult is it to fix if the client wants to add one more sample? Then consider the changes in VBA. We have 3rd party code that are locked and won't even open on current versions of Excel.

Over the last few years, I migrated all of my back-end data processing to R/Sweave/LaTeX. For some projects I use markdown instead of LaTeX. Everything is scriptable, plays well with version control (code is mainly text files), and runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows. I use (and contribute) to Open Source whenever feasible. Solving problems is easier and I find community support better than most vendor support.

If I could get my hardware to play nice with Linux, I'd switch in a heartbeat. There is only one application I would miss - the debugger in Visual Studio. RStudio is pretty good at what it was designed for, but that does not include debugging the C++ code that needs to be written to speed up some computationally intensive parts...

Comment Re:Just be a real scientist... (Score 1) 87

I use JabRef and am quite satisfied. I also prefer LaTeX to Word etc and with Sweave can include chunks of R code to produce figures. RStudio is a decent IDE for all of this and

Sweave/LaTeX/BibTeX files are all text files and work efficiently with git for version control. Having everything under version control has saved my bacon more than once. An added benefit of git is that it is easy to keep work synched across multiple computers with different operating systems.

I find support from these Open Source communities better than commercial support (as long as one follows Eric Raymond's advice on "How to ask questions the smart way."

Comment Re:Call Quality (Score 4, Informative) 445

You are spot on. I work in a basement lab (electron microscopy) constructed with Hauserman partition walls (metal over drywall type core). These act like a Faraday Cage and cause cellular reception to be awful. To make matters worse, my management - trying to cut cost - decided that everybody had personal electronic devices these days and eliminated voice mail on our desk phone. What a mess. I have a hard time reading Dilbert these days -- it is too close to my reality...

Comment Weren't the forensic accontants bonded? (Score 3, Interesting) 237

The statement that caused me most concern was, "'We stand by the forensic review that we've seen." Excuse me? Somebody didn't look closely enough. Wouldn't a deal this big require a bond? Were I an HP shareholder, that statement would start my petitions to the BOD that Meg should go. Were I an HP shareholder, I would expect at least a statement like: "We have commissioned an independent review to insure that our forensic accountants used due diligence. HP will actively support the authorities with appropriate jurisdiction in the prosecution any fraud." Hindsight is always 20:20, but the shareholders deserve a specific analysis of what went wrong and assurance that the company will support prosecution of fraud.

Comment Re:Hardly newsworthy (Score 4, Informative) 780

It is one thing to have an older MacBook and think about moving to a Linux distro when the current OS no longer supports your hardware, but unless you are a hobbyist who get pleasure from tinkering and wants to see "if I can...", it seems like a waste of time and money. Note that I am writing this on a 2009 MacBook Pro with Mountain Lion but I also use Linux for many aspects of my work. If I wanted a Linux laptop to just "get my work done," I would look carefully at one of these: The key is to let your supplier work out the hardware details. That is part of why one buys from a given supplier. We are all free to tinker to our hearts content, but if our objective is to use the system to do something useful, it is typically more productive to get something that works on the OS of choice. This is hardly a new concept...

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