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Comment It's simple economics (Score 4, Insightful) 120

Teaching doesn't pay. Scores are leaving the profession, and fewer and fewer graduates are going into it.

Education has now spent a decade as one of the five lowest-paying masters degrees in the country.
(Music Education and Social Work, perennially topping the list.)

For a degree that can easily cost a quarter-million dollars or more to obtain, starting salaries are scarcely competitive with the night manager at McDonalds.

If they want real talent, the state is going to need to change their compensation system in a meaningful way.

Comment About time (Score 2) 417

>More robust competition at the local level will raise speeds and lower prices.

We used to have something like that in the US until the ISP deregulation of the late 90s removed requirements for allowing subleasing bandwidth and last mile connectivity. (Of the sort the UK uses to proliferate enviable cost competition.)

Submission + - GTalk+PGP Encryption : First app for your privacy (BETA) ( 5

techbugs writes: SecureIM is the first Secure-Chat application which is built to protect you from any possible or potential leak of privacy. These days organizations spy on our chats to target ads and Governments in the name of security, however there is no excuse of not demanding and having access to privacy when we want.

SecureIM secures your communication in 2 ways
1. Secure Transmission :- A chat message will be encrypted and only readable on the device it is sent to/from.
2. Single Use Keys :- The Keys generated while messaging are discarded when the application is closed, which means it is impossible to decode a message once the app is reloaded.

The application is extremely simple to use, no need to bother about the complexities of encryption and underlying privacy details, rest assured your messages will always be out of reach from snoopers.

This app uses Public Key Cryptography, each session generates its own private/public keys.
Keys are never stored but kept in memory until the app is running.

Comment Lessons from Windows 8 Activation (Score 1) 435

Here's a quick, entirely true story of a windows 8 activation:

(Preface: I'm a software developer, and regularly develop under, run, and test with: XP, Win7, OSX, Mint, Ubuntu, etc. I like and use each of these for entirely different reasons.)

A friend of mine, non-programmer but average to above-average PC and Mac user for more than a decade, bought a new, name-brand, laptop that came with Windows 8 "pre-installed." I was over when she began booting it up for the first time.

The first boot / install began by asking for wif access, and asking for (unusually personal) mandatory information, phone number, email address, etc. which it then (presumably) validated. I did not see a way to bypass customer information capture, which is possible with every other OS I've had experience with.
  Then it began an install routine, and crashed. We tried twice more, with some sort of connection failure to Microsoft crashing the install each time. On the fourth try, it finally succeeded, and then began an install that required (I believe) at least 3 in-process system reboots.

Almost an hour later, my friend was "rewarded" with the baffling windows 8 UI. Her reaction was exactly: "Well, it looks like you can go anywhere Microsoft wants you to."

After nearly an hour of raw frustration, intrusive marketing practices, you get hit with the UI from bizarro-world. And there's no obvious, intuitive way to use it like you would, say, every other computer that you've used in the last twenty years.

By the time we'd bothered to google for ways to defeat her new laptop's UI and use it like a general purpose computer, my friend had made up her mind.
She *hated* Windows 8. We returned the computer, stopped by the Apple store on the way home, and picked up a Macbook.
(She set it up in under 10 minutes, began using it right away, and has been happy with it since.)

I don't think my friend will ever buy an Windows machine again. And I can't say that I blame her.

I *still* can't believe Microsoft got something like the first hour of ownership/UX with their OS so completely wrong.

I remember reading something about Ballmer unilaterally kicking everyone who raised objections to the win8 UI off the team. I guess this is what happens when you fill a bench with yes-men, maybe?

Comment Re:Good one Youtube (Score 1) 450

>the AWB is a class of weapons that is rarely used in crime

Sure, that distinction belongs to the semi-automatic handgun. But it is frequently the AWB class of weapon used in spectacularly high profile mass-murders.

While by far most of America's 32,929 civilian firearm casualties in 2012 were singular affairs of homicide, suicide, ground-standing, etc., most commonly involving semi-automatic handguns, the AR-15 (along with a handful of AK-47 variants) seem to be the favorite weapon among manifesto-writing mass murders willing to gun down entire rooms full of school children, moviegoers, mall shoppers, etc.

Why do mass murderers seem to be drawn to the AR-15? Is it the 800 rounds a minute fire rate that the aftermarket accessory stocks boast of?!
Military fantasy attachments like bayonet mounts and ultra-high capacity clips?

Who knows? Whatever the reason, it's these weapons that tend to show up at America's most shocking scenes of horror, time and time again. And that gets them noticed.


Submission + - NASA Frees Their Robotics Software (

kremvax writes: CORRECTION: In reference to my slashdot article: 20/2233224 Since I originally took both the headline and paraphrased quote directly from, where I discovered the story, I think it might be better karma if I mention the link to their release, or at least have MrFuture writes instead of kremvax writes, I'd hate for that to go uncredited, or unlinked. Thanks, Kremvax "It's a field day for robotics hackers everywhere, as NASA releases the first installment of their CLARAty reusable robotic software framework to the public. According to the JPL press release, these modules contain everything from math infrastructure to device drivers for common motors and cameras, and computer vision, image, and 3D processing."

Submission + - Nasa Frees Their Robotics Software (

kremvax writes: It's a field day for robotics hackers everywhere, as NASA releases the first installment of their CLARAty reusable robotic software framework to the public. According to the JPL press release, these modules contain everything from math infrastructure to device drivers for common motors and cameras, and computer vision, image, and 3D processing.
The Internet

Submission + - Citizendium: building a better Wikipedia

Encylopedia Internetica writes: Ars Technica is running a feature on Citizendium, Wikipedia cofounder Larry Sanger's attempt to build an online knowledge repository that avoids some the 'serious and endemic problems' Sanger has seen with Wikipedia. His decision to launch Citizendium came as a result of the issue with John Seigenthaler's Wikipedia entry. 'Sanger had hoped that Wikipedia would clean up its act, and he was all but certain that the encyclopedia would eventually put an expert review system in place. After Seigenthaler's call, Sanger found the Wikipedia community's response "completely unacceptable" and concluded that they were no longer able to change in important ways.' The feature also looks at the Citizendium 'expert' system as well as the editing and article approval process.

Submission + - Stable Open Source NTFS After 12 Years of Work

irgu writes: "Open source NTFS development started in 1995 by Martin von Loewis under Linux, which was taken over by Anton Altaparmakov in 2000. Two years ago Apple hired Altaparmakov to work on Mac OS X and made a deal with the team to relicense the code and return the new one, soonest in the spring of 2008. But the team also continued the work and Szabolcs Szakacsits announced the read/write NTFS-3G driver for beta testing last year. Only half year passed and NTFS-3G reached the stable status and has been already ported to FreeBSD, Mac OS X, BeOS, Haiku, 64-bit and big-endian architectures, and new CPU's!"
United States

Submission + - How to Keep America Competitive

pkbarbiedoll writes: In a Washington Times column from this weekend, Bill Gates writes,

This issue has reached a crisis point. Computer science employment is growing by nearly 100,000 jobs annually. But at the same time studies show that there is a dramatic decline in the number of students graduating with computer science degrees. The United States provides 65,000 temporary H-1B visas each year to make up this shortfall — not nearly enough to fill open technical positions. Permanent residency regulations compound this problem. Temporary employees wait five years or longer for a green card. During that time they can't change jobs, which limits their opportunities to contribute to their employer's success and overall economic growth.

Interesting read, but this argument is not new and is based on a distortion of truth. If US companies simply offered fair pay, good benefits, and a general sense of job security to US citizens there would be no reason to insource labor from other countries. Mr. Gates implies that US workers are not willing to work IT anymore. He fails to mention why. Most college students do not wish to throw away 4 years of their lives (and thousands of dollars) on a career in an industry rife with outsourcing. Mr. Gates acknowledges that most US companies are not interested in offering competitive wages, so the only solution in his eyes is to import coders willing to work for a lot less (or, outsource). This has nothing to do with innovation and everything to do with creating downward pressure on IT costs.
Sun Microsystems

Sun Releases ODF plugin for Microsoft Office 50

Verunks writes "Microsoft Word users now can easily import and export to the OpenDocument Format. The StarOffice 8 Conversion Technology Preview, a plug-in for Microsoft Word 2003 that allows users of Microsoft Word 2003 to read, edit and save to the OpenDocument Format (ODF) is now available"

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