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Comment Re:Changing Userbase? (Score 1) 133

I too have little use for the menus (not to mention the screen wasting toolbar) of emacs. However, I do like the idea of running a webbrowser from within emacs (a webkit based webbrowser widget was actually the only thing that was merged. The full xwidget branch isn't merged yet). I especially hope that this will make it possible to add words from the webbrowser to emacs autocomplete. That would be really convenient in many cases.

Comment Great news! (Score 4, Interesting) 133

That is really great news. Good enough that I actually logged in to comment rather than commenting anonymously as I usually do. I've been following the xwidgets branch from the sidelines for some time but never bothered to build Joakim Verona's branch myself. It should be noted though that what was merged was not the full xwidgets experience, rather the xwidgets_mvp branch. This branch only contains support for embedding a webkit browser widget. (Although even that will be extremely useful I believe.)

The xwidgets branch however promises even more. The main use case (at least from my point of view) isn't really to put normal widgets such as gtk buttons or sliders or anything like that in an emacs window. From my point of view the most important thing is that you will be able to embed whole applications using the GtkSocket widget. This means that you could, for example:
* Have a good PDF viewer embedded in one buffer while you are editing latex source code in another and be able to easily switch between those buffers using emacs commands.
* You could have inkscape running in one buffer and use normal inkscape editing commands for almost everything, except when you are editing text. In those situations you may want to use emacs commands instead.
* You could have a *good* webbrowser running inside emacs to search for documentation online while coding

Of course, the main xwidgets branch also opens up possibililties when it comes to prettyifying a lot of built in emacs applications. However, I don't find that very necessary in many cases. One of the main advantages with emacs is that (almost) everything is text, which means that you get a synergistic effect the more you do inside emacs.

; Witty end of comment for emacs aficionados:
(animate-string "Congratulations to Joakim Verona for getting this merged" 10 10)

Comment Far from junk science... (Score 2) 166

If you read the article in PNAS ( http://www.pnas.org/content/ea... ) you can see that they consider the question of examination equivalence by only looking at previous studies that "were largely or solely limited to changes in the conduct of the regularly scheduled class or recitation sessions;" So based on what I have read in the paper I would classify this as very far from junk science.

Comment Re:I've heard slashdot is behind the times... (Score 1) 166

The article (available at http://www.pnas.org/content/ea... ) is a meta-analysis of earlier studies. So this study can be seen as a validation of the earlier research rather than presenting something completely novel.

(One possible reason why lectures are still so common: It is a cheap teaching method that scales well with class size.)

Comment Anecdotal evidence suggests... (Score 2) 166

... that it is easier to take cheap shots at research if you only read the slashdot summary rather than the actual publication.

So to answer your concerns I tracked down the publication in PNAS: http://www.pnas.org/content/ea...

To quote from the article:

The data we analyzed came from two types of studies: (i) randomized trials, where each student was randomly placed in a treatment; and (ii) quasirandom designs where students self-sorted into classes, blind to the treatment at the time of registering for the class

In other words, if I understand the article correctly, the authors only considered studies where active learning was contrasted with traditional lectures in the same course! Therefore it seems likely that active learning is a good idea, regardless of whether the topic is hard or easy. (By the way, active learning doesn't necessarily have to involve fun and games, although if a student, in general, doesn't think that learning is fun, perhaps he or she should consider doing something else...)

Comment Re:Fluid Design... (Score 1) 1191

It is late here and I'm in a negative mood. However, the fact that at least one staff member seems to actually listen to the comments written here is a hopeful indication. (Also, the mock-ups on dropbox in the grandparent looks promising. I'll have to look into the Stylish plugin which I didn't know about before.)

Comment Re:Oh F*CK That! (Score 1) 1191

I think the most damning thing about the new comment system is that I had to go back to the old version of the site to read through the comments in an efficient manner. (And I'm not talking about the fact that the "reply" button is not implemented yet...)

Also, the exact user id is mostly for bragging rights anyway, but it does give an indication as to whether the user is a long time user of slashdot or not. Although other indications such as the karma of the user might be more useful in most situations...

Comment Ouch. (Score 1) 1191

I don't want to sound too negative, so I'll limit myself to my major concerns:

* The current version has very clear boundaries between stories in the form of the green bar. (Same for (expanded) comments.) With the new design it is simply harder to find these boundaries.
* Why all the wasted space in this new design? If I want a narrow column I'll just resize my web browser. The old layout was good because it allowed me to quickly scan through a lot of stories to select the ones that interested me. Same with comments. With the new design I need to scroll quite a bit more before having seen all the content.
* Speaking of comments, what is going on with the comment system? I hope the limited comment functionality (for example, lack of folding, etc) is just due to the fact that this is a beta.

Comment In case of emergency: Grab the data from /dev/mem (Score 1) 506

What is even more annoying is when the webserver serves up an error page after you have just written a very long comment (or similar) hit "post". My solution (in Linux) is to simply dump /dev/mem to /tmp/memorydump and then search this file for keywords present in the recently written form. While this is not a perfect solution, it has certainly saved me a lot of extra work in a few situations. (Nowadays I mostly write longer entries in emacs and cut&paste everything into the form to avoid this kind of issues.)

If you are going to try this out, note that you'll need to do this immediately, before the memory has been overwritten by another process. (And you obviously need to be root to be able to access /dev/mem in most situations.)

Comment This has already been done. (On another(?) car.) (Score 3, Interesting) 390

There is at least one car model where researchers has been able to get access to the CAN bus and do all sorts of shenanigans through the following means:
  • * Specially crafted file on a CD inserted into the CD player
  • * Exploit weakness in the car bluetooth interface
  • * Exploit weakness in built in GSM modem

For the details, see http://www.autosec.org/pubs/cars-usenixsec2011.pdf. (Pretty scary reading. In this case they are also able to disable the brakes and they are also able to engage the brakes on only one of the front wheels for all sorts of "fun"...)

Comment Re:I call BS (Score 1) 131

The problem seems to be (if I understand the article correctly) that for example the FMS can be hacked (presumably by buffer overflows or similar exploits) and then used to take over other functionality.

This seems similar to how a malformed RDS packet sent via FM radio can disable the brakes on a certain car: http://www.autosec.org/pubs/cars-usenixsec2011.pdf (among other things).

Exactly how similar these attacks are are difficult to ascertain as the presentation leaves a lot to be guessed, although the net-security report on his talk gives some more details.

Comment This is even worse than car security (Score 2) 131

It seems that the aircraft industry is about as security conscious as the car industry. The following page at http://lwn.net/Articles/518923/ discusses how researchers were able to take almost complete control, including the breaks, but excluding the steering IIRC by for example the following attack vectors: Malware infested CD inserted into car stereo, malformed RDS package sent via FM radio, some sort of bluetooth hacking, etc. (Also the ODBC-II port of course, although that is cheating....)

At the time I read the lwn article and the associated papers I thought to myself that the car industry should learn security and stability from the aerospace industry. Unfortunately it now turns out that they seem to have done so :(

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