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Comment Re:Revisionist summary (Score 1) 562

because shooting first and asking questions later is always the right thing to do.

The Ada Initiative, while its heart is in the right place in encouraging women's participation in STEM, is going to garner a lot of resentment if it is interpreted (as it looks like is happening here) as the arbiter of all content which concerns women. That's unreasonable. There are people who see the current state of the "trigger-warning" issuing "anti-oppression" culture as a bunch of a concern trolls. Which, as it turns out, is one of the best social engineering hacks.

Comment Re:'Learning" Social Networking (Score 1) 342

In the post-fb age I've reactivated my lj activity for some of those very reasons(geek understanding of social networks). I need to vent? friends-only locked post on lj. I need to tell everyone I know what I had for lunch? fb. Most of the ppl left on lj are still operating like it's 2002 anyways, fb has pulled the more content free lj users into its own suckfield. so yeah, fb++

Comment Re:Gender expression? (Score 1) 348

yeash. weird. that's a total fail. transgender is *not* a relationship orientation. it's a gender identity, it ought to be in there with words like "man" or "woman". A trans person may be gay, straight, bi, etc. It would be interesting if they included the option to identify as cisgendered as well. Such as A is a cisgendered straight man or B is a transgendered lesbian woman.

Comment Re:iPad's Killer App (Score 1) 143

Electronic books are probably one of the iPad's killer apps. Maybe not the ones we'll see immediately -- the ones basically just ported from the Kindle or something -- but the next generation of books, or the ones after that. Interacting with the book is where the technology will really shine. Think about A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (from The Diamond Age).

Books as a killer app? I don't think that'll be quite enough. Remember that the killer app for the iPod was not the music, but the store to access that music at a reasonable price.

Likewise, the killer app for the iPad has to be much more than just the books, no matter how you dress them up.

Unfortunately for Apple, electronic book stores already exist. And they haven't shown too much promise (yet?). There's no need for an equivalent to iTunes, either (organizing a bookshelf isn't nearly as difficult as a music library).

So, what else can be offered by the iPad? Color? Not good enough.

So, like you said, maybe interactive books: a touch screen opens some opportunities there. But even here I'm skeptical: interactive content is one of the most difficult products to make well. And it's not the sort of thing that Apple can control.

Textbooks, however, might be the key. Here is where an eReader can provide many advantages, even without providing anything more than a basic book. Searching and note-taking, to name a few ... and so, so much more portable. Even at a lower price the publisher makes more money. If it's done right, every student will have one. I would have bought one, for sure (and that's saying something!).

The key, though, is the target demographic. Remember that, at least to general perception, Apple targets the young and hip (or at least those that want to appear young and hip). Literature (in general) has the perception of appealing to the old and intellectual.

Even then, I don't think we've seen what the killer app could be for the iPad or any other eReader. Maybe that's why there's so many skeptics of the lastest Apple product -- and maybe they have a point this time.

Comment Get rid of the raid controller, it's to slow (Score 1) 168

Why keep the RAID controller at all, it's likely the slowest CPU you have in your system anyway. SSDs and smart SW based RAID aware filesystems allows build a new type of storage HW, with no need of a dedicated RADID controller. You can already today with OpenSolaris and combination of SATA drives and a few SSDs build storage solution with very good performance. And if you need the pure SSDs IOPs and low access time, just replace your spinning drives with SSDs for even better performance. Your host CPU/CPUs will have a lot better chance of keeping up with your SSD based RAID.

IDEs With VIM Text Editing Capability? 193

An anonymous reader writes "I am currently looking to move from text editing with vim to a full fledged IDE with gdb integration, integrated command line, etc. Extending VIM with these capabilities is a mortal sin, so I am looking for a linux based GUI IDE. I do not want to give up the efficient text editing capabilities of VIM though. How do I have my cake and eat it too?"

Submission + - First quantum computer demoed, plays sudoku

prostoalex writes: "Canadian company D-Wave Systems is getting some technology press buzz after successfully demonstrating their quantum computer that the company plans to rent out. Scientific American has more of technical description of how the quantum computer works as well as possible areas of application: "The quantum computer was given three problems to solve: searching for molecular structures that match a target molecule, creating a complicated seating plan, and filling in Sudoku puzzles." There are also some videos from the demo."

Submission + - Substitute teacher gets 40 years for porn popups

alphamugwump writes: Substitute teacher Julie Amero faces up to 40 years in prison for exposing kids to porn using a classroom computer.
From the Arstechnica article:

Amero was substituting for a middle-school English class and asked the regular teacher permission to use the computer to e-mail her husband. The teacher granted her permission, and asked her not to log him out of the computer. Amero, the self-professed techno-noob, then left the room to use the restroom, and upon her return says that she found several students gathered around the machine looking at a web site. A series of unfortunate events occurred from this point on, resulting in a slew of pornographic pop-ups appearing on the screen. The onslaught continued despite Amero's attempts to close the windows.

According to The Register

When the students told their parents what had happened, they told the administration, who vowed that Julie would never work in the classroom again. But they went further. The 40-year-old substitute teacher was arrested, indicted, tried and here is the kicker on January 5, 2007, she was convicted of four counts of risk of injury to a minor, or impairing the morals of a child (Conn. Gen. Stat. 53-21). Indeed, she was originally charged with exposing 10 children in the seventh grade class to the materials on the internet, but six of the charges were dropped.

I guess "Ambush Porn" really is dangerous.

Submission + - Microsoft Bans Mobile Device Hackers

An anonymous reader writes: 94142
For years and years, xda-developers has offered access to a collection of ROM images for 'our' phones. These images, often released by mobile carriers or device resellers, contained a version of the Microsoft Windows Mobile OS (or one of its predecessors) as well as customization added by one or more OEMs in the chain.
Offering these ROMs has been an invaluable resource to many developers and enthousiasts. Every once in a while someone uploaded an image that was not supposed to be released yet, but when Microsoft or someone else complained we immediately took it down. Recently Microsoft has begun to complain on a different level, asking us to remove _all_ the ROM images.
We've argued with them that although these ROM images contain Microsoft software, having them online in no way hurts Microsoft's interests because Microsoft gets its money whenever anyone buys a device with their OS on it, and they do not stand to make any more money until the next device is bought.
Quote:Originally Posted by xda-developers I read your last mail. From reading it seems like Microsoft would like us to remove _any and all_ ROM images that have MS software inside of them, even if they are operator ROM images for any of the phones that our community has ever been interested in. If this is indeed the case then I would like to plead with you and your firm to please reconsider this. Our unique collection of ROM images is an extremely valuable resource for developers and enthousiasts trying to make the most out of their HTC phones. As you may be aware the product development cycle in this field is such that by the time a phone hits the market the OEM is already spending 99.9% of its resources on other phones. At present, both HTC and the MS developer programs for handheld devices sadly seem to ignore key needs of third-party developers. This is much unlike a desktop OS which might find development well supported for as much as a decade, and where the OEM doesn't add much custom stuff to the OS. Our community has played a key role in supporting the development of much software and many tools for these devices, thus in turn helping to sell many phones and thus many Windows Mobile licenses. IMHO the practical value of these ROM images for any meaningful infringement is virtually nil, since only a technically adept minority of users can use these images on hardware that has already had its Windows Mobile license fee paid. I fear that us taking these images offline would lead to sadness amongst the developer community, less development/enthousiasm for these devices and really not much else. As a side note we have in the past taken offline all images that contained 'test-versions' and/or unreleased copies of the OS or anything else that was a particular bother to MS, and we will continue to do so. I am a technical person and as such I do not have any legal training. But I suspect that from a legal standpoint you are probably fully within your right to demand that we remove _all_ the images. Nevertheless I hope the above will give you cause to reconsider. I am purposely not informing the community or making a public point out of this at this time because I know any public situation would probably force MS to take a legalistic stand just to avoid setting unfavorable precedent. I guess what it boils down to is this: I'm hoping that we can silently agree that the current situation, although admitably somewhat dodgy, fills an important niche and actually serves Microsoft's interests quite well for the time being.
They have responded to say that the availability of these ROM images is in fact causing problems and restating their request to take them all down.
Quote:Originally Posted by Microsoft Microsoft has limited redistribution policies in place for a number of products, from desktop applications like Office, to downloads such as Windows Media Player and Windows Live Messenger, to Windows Mobile products. The licensing terms for Windows Mobile products also varies between versions and is different for each device depending on the features included by the OEM. As you may know, Microsoft is dedicated to protecting its copyright and other intellectual property rights. I do know is home to many device enthusiasts; however I'm not in a position to debate the legitimacy of any specific piece of software hosted by this site. We have received feedback from several sources on the software hosted by XDA-developers, including mobile operators with customers requesting support on "unofficial ROM images" and media agencies reporting on unreleased ROM versions to name a few. From this feedback, legal review of the sites content, and misconceptions; we concluded we should inform you of the actual Microsoft policies through my original email. These policies are consistent for all non-licensed channels. We do appreciate the feedback you have given us in the past. I can assure you we have teams focused on improving Windows Mobile developer's experiences and if you have additional feedback I encourage you to use the Microsoft developer newsgroups or I would be more than happy to forward this on. I regret that I'm the bearer of bad news, however we do appreciate your understanding of this matter and trust you will remove our content, including "ROM images" containing our content, as originally requested. Ofcourse one can disagree over the severity of the problems caused by the availability of the images versus the impact to our community of simply removing everything. But at this point, we have no other option then to take down any and all ROM images that contain a Microsoft OS, although we still feel strongly this is a disservice not just to our own users but also to the larger community of mobile device developers and enthousiasts. But at the end of the day this is Microsoft's software and legally speaking, they are within their right to ask us to remove it. And even if there were legal ways to challenge this, we certainly do not feel like a protracted legal fight with Microsoft. They can probably afford more lawyers than we can.

Over the course of the next week, and with much pain in our hearts, we will be going over all the directories on the ftp server as well as all attachments to public messages to remove all the ROM images. We may or may not end up writing automated tools to remove the images. A great resource dies this coming week. The vendor giveth, and the vendor taketh away.
GNU is Not Unix

Journal Journal: Time to switch 3

I'm a sysadmin in a totally Windows shop. I know Windows. I'm good at Windows. I'm comfortable in Windows. Familiarity breeds this. When I need to twiddle a setting, I know where it is, and if a piece of software isn't working, I know the usual suspects.


Submission + - Disability groups on OpenDocument Format v1.1

peterkorn writes: "In the person of Curtis Chong, president of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science, the "Voice of Nation's Blind" have spoken: "OpenDocument is no longer a thing to be feared." With the release of OpenDocument v1.1 as an OASIS standard, the accessibility issues raised by the members of the OASIS ODF accessibility subcommittee have been fully addressed. See my blog entry for the details, and lots of other quotes about the release of OpenDocument v1.1. (full disclosure: I'm co-chair of the OASIS ODF accessibility subcommittee, and have been involved in Sun's ODF and StarOffice/ accessibility work, among other things)"

Submission + - Microsoft Outlaws 3rd Party IM Clients

An anonymous reader writes: With the latest update to the MSN Instant Messenger client, now called Windows Live Messenger, Microsoft has required all users to sign a new contract which among other things forbids the use of 3rd party instant messenger clients to connect to the MSN messenger service, such as the AJAX Meebo client, Gaim, and Trillian among others. Worth noting, they do provide a list of authorized 3rd party clients, such as Yahoo Messenger, that are allowed access to the service.

Excerpt: "In using the service, you may not use any unauthorized third party software or service to access the Microsoft instant messaging network currently known as the .NET Messenger service."

Comment Geek culture from a female perspective (Score 5, Interesting) 807

First, the engineering gap is not hidden. It's extremely obvious. In 10 years of sysadmin/IT work, I've never had another female in the IT/systems groups I've worked in. I've worked in edu, consulting, high tech start ups. I have a BSCS and noticed that there were only 10 other females in my graduating class (out of ~100). I have also noticed that it is a very western thing for females not to be interested in CS/EE. I have met many, many Indian and Chinese women in engineering with CS or EE backgrounds. They seem not to have any of these "inborn" differences than western women have.

So what if baby girls like to play with dolls and baby boys play with trucks. That says nada about future aptitude for CS or EE. I am the mother of a girl, and she loves playing trains and trucks and thinks dolls are a lot of fun to throw down the stairs while yelling "uhoh, my baby!". Basically, even if the brains are wired differently, I don't think it's enough of a difference to make technical work a non-starter for all females. There are some advantaged being socialized female brings to technical work; such as the ability to enjoy taking showers on a daily basis. As a sysadmin, I have noticed that users are often relieved when I work on their issues, instead of the BOFH type who is smug and condescending in his treatment of users.

I am a self taught sysadmin, I worked for 6 years before going back to school to get my CS degree. I think the main reason why we lack distaff autodidacts is that they simply do not have the confidence with machines in our culture that males do. I remember learning pascal (yes, i'm ancient) and my dad telling me "Pascal?! What is that crap, if you were a boy you'd be writing compilers in assembly" when I was 14. If that's not one of those hidden sexist cultural things which undercut one's self confidence, I'm not sure what is. I have been a linux user since 1997, and have attended several LUGs only to be hit on, disregarded, or publicly sexually harassed when giving presentations (on vi of all subjects!). It doesn't really make me want to have a lot do with LUGs.

Another issue I have observed is that males are protective of their in-groups in a professional and scholastic setting. These in-groups tend to make up the talent pool which upon which future start-ups are formed. In school we had several group projects, and none of the males in the top 2/3s of the class wanted me on their team, despite the fact that I usually placed in the top 5 on coding assignments(in class sizes of 60). It was like the third grade all over again. So there is a lot of self-segregation taking place. In fact, I'm not even sure why I'm writing this as these threads usually turn into a misogynistic circle jerk among the dominant male in-group of slashdot (and yes, I've seen many of these types of threads over the years around here).

FWIW, I totally disagree with changing classes to be more "girl" friendly as TFA suggests, that's bogus. Algorithms and computational models were my favorite classes, despite being "dry" or "boring". Math departments didn't paint math pink to get up to 30% female (3x higher than CS/EE by most counts). It's a cultural issue which must be addressed. And you can start by taking down the pr0n in the computer labs(yes, there was pr0n printed out and posted in my undergraduate computer labs, boys will be boys, right?!)

OTOH, I've found my career in IT to be satisfying and worth the trouble. It has the flexibility and high pay that a new mom needs, ironically enough. Try finding that in "women's work".

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