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Comment Re:COBOL isn't hard to learn (Score 2) 245

Indeed. If there is a market for COBOL programmers (and it's clear there is), then the obvious solution is for unis and colleges to spit out more COBOL-literate CS graduates. Honestly, if I was ten years younger, I'd probably delve into it myself. It is, after all, just a programming language, and hardly on the same level of trying to learn Sanskrit.

Submission + - Spying on Students in the Classroom (eff.org)

schwit1 writes: It seems a day doesn’t go by without another report of a company monitoring what we do on the Internet and selling that data to generate more revenue. And now the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has examined what happens to the data that's collected from students using technology in the classroom. They released the results of an extensive survey covering students in grades K-12.

What they found was that little work has been done to protect the privacy of the student information that is collected from both the classroom and from using the online software the schools issue for use at home on the students' own devices. They found that while many school districts have embraced technology and all of the benefits it can bring to the schools and students, often little thought has been given to one of the unintended consequences of this: the students' privacy.

The study was very extensive and took two years to complete. Virtually everything was examined, including what's being done along each point from the suppliers of hardware and software and the cloud services, to the schools and the students. They found that lots of data is being collected without permission and that it's easy for outside companies to access the data. They also discovered that there's little to prevent suppliers from sharing data with others, including advertisers.

Comment Image processing (Score 1) 95

When I started my PhD in image processing, I was given an 80-column, 24-line text terminal to the department microVax (approximately 1 MIP, shared between about 40 people). I was lucky, and got one of the good ones, it had an amber phospher :)

Seriously, the only place to see the results of the algorithm was on a shared display downstairs in the lab - which was in high demand. I ended up doing a lot of terminal-style graphs (mine wasn't a tektronix terminal, so I only had text-like characters) to prove an algorithm worked before actually seeing it.

And now I look at the technological ability of my freaking phone, and I wonder at just how far things have come in 30 years or so...

Comment Re:The obsession with degrees hold good people bac (Score 1) 184

You apparently flunked logic. First, he did not claim degrees are useless at all. He said they are unnecessary for programming. He went on to say that he then chose to get 2 degrees to further his knowledge. Indeed, a degree program is a valid way to do that. It is not the only way to do that.

Comment Re:This is retarded conservatism to help 'coal' (Score 4, Informative) 463

The problem is that even if coal is completely deregulated, it's not miners who are going to be doing the extraction. The future of mining is automated. At best this will just give the coal barons a few more years of profit and do dick for the miners.

But it's not even going to be that good. Natural gas is killing coal, so there isn't even going to be a coal industry by the time renewables dominate. This is a classic "buggy whip" problem, in that there ain't gonna be no more horse-drawn carriages, so there ain't gonna be no more buggy whips. Whatever you think of Clinton, she was telling the miners the truth, their jobs are quickly becoming obsolete.

And the same goes for lots of other industries. Manufacturing is rapidly automating, so that even mass repatriation of US industrial capacity is not going to deliver the same level of employment that was there even thirty years ago. There's nothing the US government can do about it, short of outlawing automation and renewables, which would be sheer madness.

Christ, no less than Rick Perry himself has admitted the US needs to stay in the Paris Accord. Even the most pro-oil of pro-oil politicians know full well the jig is up. Oil isn't coming back, and as the price falls away it's impact on the economy diminishes. Coal was the first because it's the most expensive and most obviously harmful, but it applies to all the fossil fuels.

Comment Re:Incorrect (Score 1) 463

Do you have any actual evidence that wind farms have this effect? This strikes me as arguing that NASA shouldn't use gravity assist because it robs a planet of some of its momentum.

In other words, while you're technically correct, the effect is so small as to be irrelevant. But tell you what, if you have evidence that wind farms actually have this large an effect, then provide citations. And no, some blog is not a citation. I mean peer reviewed or primary literature.

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