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Comment Re:oblig xkcd (Score 1) 321

awesome. From that strip, what seems to be a perfect description of our current school boards:

> What your favorite map projection says about you:

> You want to avoid cultural imperialism, but you've heard bad things about Gall-Peters. You're conflict-averse and buy organic. You use a recently-invented set of gender-neutral pronouns and think that what the world needs is a revolution in consciousness.

Comment My Pet Peeves (recent Windows laptop keyboards) (Score 4, Insightful) 698

1. CapsLock. Grr.

2. The numeric keypad on 15" laptops. Why? Why?! Why?!! It causes the rest of the keys to get scrunched up and moved to unnatural positions, and positions the trackpad offset left upto 3 or 4 inches, which makes for a horrible experience for a right-handed typist. The trackpad should ALWAYS be centered.

3. But please bring back full-size Page Up/Down keys (with maybe a shift action to Begin/End). I'm looking at you, Macbook Pro! Don't run and hide..

Comment Re:Just like Teacher "Grades" (Score 5, Insightful) 245

It's actually much worse. Teachers who toil away in schools where the students get little or no parental or peer support for learning, get hurt very badly by these grades, because regardless of how hard they work on the students, they do less well on standardized tests (and improve less) than students who grow up in suburban environments that encourage learning.

So it becomes a terribly dis-incentive for the best teachers to go to the schools that need them the most - they'll grab all the plum assignments in the nice, rich, suburban schools, while fresh teachers get sent to the inner-city schools (perpetuating this situation).

Comment There's a simple reason (Score 1) 271

There's a very simple reason for this. Banks have bought themselves protection from any liability if your info is stolen.

All of our e-banking and credit laws are written so that the banks and credit-card companies get all the benefits of easy credit (issuing new cards), but all of the risks of this ease have been pushed to the owners of the identity. Thus, banks and merchants will issue you credit, and accept cards, with little to no verification (insisted upon by Visa), and if someone uses a stolen card with your name, that's your problem, not theirs. You have to _prove_ that you didn't buy that item, or else you're on the hook.

The day they move 100% of the responsibility for identity breaches onto the banks, merchants and credit brokers, you'll find them suddenly discovering "innovative security solutions" to protect themselves. Because the alternative is not being able to offer credit, and therefore grinding the economy to a standstill.

Comment Re:One good turn... (Score 4, Informative) 235

Selfless? What the ****?

Did you even read _why_ he had to auction off that medal? Read the source links, and follow them back.

TLDR: He made himself an outcast by tossing out some really incendiary stuff about Africans, women, etc. (basically saying that they were "less intelligent", etc.) Once his sources of income (speaking, consulting) dried up, he needed to rehabilitate himself, so he's concocted this (IMO cynical) ploy of "selling his medal for charity" (yeah, right..)

I'm sure his opinions mesh well with the Russian oligarchs'..

Comment Not really about whether Udacity is "good" (Score 2) 116

The main reason SJSU (and other schools) are looking at Udacity and its like, is to be able to spend less time and resources on remedial courses for incoming students (the California State Univ system is basically the entry-level university for the state). If Udacity could ensure that a majority of these students pass those courses, then SJSU can focus its efforts on "real" university material.

They seem to have fallen down on that deliverable, so SJSU really has no option but to toss them, and go back to teaching those remedial courses in person.

Really, this is quite an undesirable outcome for all sides (students, the university, and Udacity). Most of the students involved in remedial courses are those who have already failed at learning (enough) in a hands-on setting (school). Udacity's job was cut out for them - to do better than hands-on teaching, with students that are significantly harder to teach. So not too surprising in this context..

Comment Why is this a surprise? (Score 1) 43

I'll surmise that from a lawyer's point of view, information security is just another "feature" or "service" to take for granted (just like electricity or water). If any confidential information is lost, it is the _client_ who's injured, and hey, the lawyer will be happy to help the client sue whoever for absurd sums of money (for a small consideration, of course..).

Comment Virtualize and use an _OLD_ OS (Score 1) 313

I've seen comments (but no clarification from OP) about these being 16-bit apps, and also mentions of Virtualization.

Excellent idea. But one big benefit of virtualization is that you can run these apps in the oldest available OS you can grab. Are they DOS apps? Grab an MS-DOS 6.22 image and install it into a tiny virtual machine with, say, 4MB of memory. If that's all they need, why give them more (and a giant base OS like Windows XP)?

The benefit here is that if you have dozens of these legacy apps, you can put _each of them_ into its own virtual machine, each taking up only 4MB or whatever, and you can run all this on a beefy 64-bit server for your newer software.

I think Hyper-V can run MS-DOS in a VM. If not, you can consider using VMware's free Server 1.0, or Workstation (both of which run on Windows).

Comment Time for an "English Fundamentalist Movement" (Score 1) 191

Webster's is an abomination unto the Holy English Language - any dictionary that would allow "momentarily" as meaning "in a moment" rather than "for a moment" would be. Looks like others (Oxford) are also falling into this dangerous syncretism.

Personally, I don't think I'd like to be in a plane that takes off "momentarily"..

Only 1/2 :-).

Comment Re:Four Factors (Score 1) 527

Well, he might have a defense given three of the four factors:

Wrong. From

How do I copyright a name, title, slogan or logo?

Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. In some cases, these things may be protected as trademarks. Contact the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, 800-786-9199, for further information. However, copyright protection may be available for logo artwork that contains sufficient authorship. In some circumstances, an artistic logo may also be protected as a trademark.

Comment Re:Good luck with that (Score 1) 462

Totally impenetrable physical security doesn't exist, but totally impenetrable electronic security most certainly does. It's quite simple to make something completely immune to hacker attacks over the internet: disconnect it from the internet!

Which was exactly my instant reaction when I saw the story. The real problem, as mentioned by Congressman Langevin, is that most of the power providers are small private operators that swim in murky waters. They like the "convenience" of having their billing systems, control systems, and the secretary's network resources all on the same network ("easy to administer with one sysadmin", I suppose), and "just put a firewall" to protect the key systems.

Profit is everything when the profits tend to be razor-thin. It's the middlemen that make most of the money, not the producers.

Of course, our defense infrastructure isn't immune to this, either. The easiest "break-ins" are apparently by just leaving around USB keys in the parking lot, and depending on unsuspecting and greedy people picking them up and sticking it into their laptops or desktops to see what's on it (and whether they can nab it for themselves..)

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