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A New Car UI

0101000001001010 Argh, no! (237 comments)

A car UI should be usable without looking at it. That's why physical buttons and dials of different sizes and shapes with satisfying tactile feedback are the gold standard. Touchscreens should be limited to interaction while parked, such as setting up your sat nav.

about 6 months ago
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US Government Shutdown Ends

0101000001001010 Re:As the saying goes... (999 comments)

And nothing of value was lost. Or gained.

In addition to the lost productivity, increased uncertainty, 3 points off GDP growth (estimate by Macroeconomic Advisers), there's also the plain old bill of $24 billion in shutdown and startup cost.

In Slashdot money, that would have built about 4 Large Hadron Colliders including fully funding the experiments; or about 1.5 ITERs.

about 10 months ago
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Anant Agarwal Answers Your Questions About edX and the Future of Education

0101000001001010 Careers (20 comments)

Think of online learning and platforms to create great online course material not as making teachers obsolete, but as tools for teachers, which will enable them to do a lot more than they could previously with the time they had. [...] Blogging sites and online news did not make journalists obsolete, rather created 10 million journalists, while making news much more interactive and exciting. In much the same manner, online learning has the potential to transform education.

Agarwal liked that line so much, he used it in the answer to two questions about the future of lecturers. But let's be real here. Online news has not been good for journalists. Arguably it has been good for the public in terms of access to journalism or journalism quality; these are debatable notions that I don't want to get into.

But without a doubt journalists have been layed off in droves, salaries have fallen, and careers especially at the low end have ended. Just look at what has happened to local newspapers. Even the premier papers like the NYT have fallen on hard times.

So maybe MOOCs are a good idea. Maybe they'll make education more accessible, cheaper, meritocratic, higher quality, etc. Let's talk about that. But let us not pretend that it isn't very bad news for all but the very top tier of instructors, and perhaps even bad news for them. Pointing this out is not a sufficient argument against MOOCs. All sorts of job fields have been made obsolete by technology.

I dislike the spin of pretending this is good news for instructors though.

about 10 months ago
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The College-Loan Scandal

0101000001001010 College Expenses != Tuitition (827 comments)

This article, like many others, misses an important point. Even if colleges hold their total expenditures to the rate of inflation, state support has been declining dramatically over the past decades. As a consequences students are picking up a greater share of the total expenditures through tuition. Clearly that will result in tuition rising at a rate faster than inflation.

If you want to attack wasteful college expenditures, which is a worthwhile topic, you must focus on total expenditures per unit of size (student, degree, credit hour, whatever). Looking at only the part of the expenditure financed by tuition is highly misleading. Unless we're talking about for-profit colleges. Those are sucking the lifeblood out of college-bound youth. Just look at the per degree debt levels of college loans that go to for-profits. "Among all bachelor's degree recipients, median debt was about $7,960 at public four-year institutions, $17,040 at private not-for-profit four-year institutions, and $31,190 at for-profit institutions." [http://www.asa.org/policy/resources/stats/]

1 year,4 days
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North Korea Threatens US With Preemptive Nuclear Strike

0101000001001010 Re:Nope (727 comments)

They said that if the US is about to start a nuclear war they reserve the right to make a pre-emptive strike, just like all nuclear armed countries do. There is no threat of action, merely a warning to the US that NK will defend itself.

Actually, they are at war. There's a cease-fire in place, there's no fighting to speak of, but the Korean war hasn't actually ended.

Correction to two posts above:

1. Not every nuclear nation reserves the right to a pre-emptive strike. Russia for example has a no-first-use policy. The U.S. on the other hand changed to a more aggressive stance under Bush II, where it may use ("mini") nukes to attack targets not reachable by conventional weapons.

2. N.K. has quit the armistice with an effective date of March 11. So ever so technically we'll be back to an active war.

about a year and a half ago
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Toshiba Pursues Copyright Claim Against Laptop Manual Site

0101000001001010 That Doesn't Sound So Smart (268 comments)

Mental note: Toshiba laptops are now worth less because the manuals will be harder to come by.

about 2 years ago
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Cisco VP To Memo Leaker: Finding You Now 'My Hobby'

0101000001001010 Re:Dead giveaway (312 comments)

True he might not have anything on him at the time that he sent the email, but he may have something now.

If fat face is smart he sent a slightly different email to each department to narrow down his list of suspects.

I would hope the leaker would be smart enough not to leak this email. Presumably it was leaked somewhere else since it was sent to a large number of employees.

about 2 years ago
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School Regrets Swapping Laptops For iPads

0101000001001010 Can Work Needs Planning (504 comments)

iPads in the classroom can be a great tool. But here's the thing. You have to plan for it before adoption.

Projection: AirPlay, HDMI, or VGA?
Documents: KeyNote, Quicktime, PDF; or maybe go to something less prepared and more on the fly. It can be neat to have a blackboard in your hand that projects on the screen.
Storage: Internal cloud, iBooks/iTunes for education where you can create your own courses with files, Moodle.

etc, etc. And only after you've worked these things out, you then beta-test by having a few tech savvy instructors run courses with them. Collect feedback. Discuss. Revise.

For the love of gods, don't just buy a bunch of hardware, hand it to people, and tell them to go educate. How's that supposed to work?

about 2 years ago
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What Is Your Favorite Ancient Olympic Game?

0101000001001010 Tug of War (207 comments)

Not an ancient Olympic Game, but from 1900 until 1920 Tug of War was an official event. That seems like a fun event I'd like to see return.

about 2 years ago
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RIM CEO: 'There's Nothing Wrong With the Company'

0101000001001010 Soon. (230 comments)

And there'll be nothing wrong with the company as it won't exist in the near future.

more than 2 years ago
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5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons Announced

0101000001001010 Money (309 comments)

Don't they realize that the more often they change the ruleset the more often players have to spend money buying new books?

Oh...

more than 2 years ago
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Cnet Apologizes For Nmap Adware Mess

0101000001001010 Re:Perfect american corporate business practice (231 comments)

"Flying Coffin." Interesting nickname. In my home country it was called the Widow Maker. Erich Hartmann, the highest-scoring fighter ace in the history of air warfare, called it fundamentally flawed and unfit for service. Lockheed's money caused his superiors to force him into early retirement. 115 German pilots were killed in non-combat missions while piloting the F104.

more than 2 years ago
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AT&T Issues Scathing Response To FCC Report

0101000001001010 Poor AT&T (215 comments)

Ohhhh, poor AT&T. Your regulator has some teeth and is preserving the bit of competition that still exists in wireless? We all feel so very very bad for you.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Flash-Friendly Router To Replace Aging WRT54GS?

0101000001001010 WRT54GL (334 comments)

After all these years, I still consider the WRT54GL to be the best wireless router for home use. I don't know if that's impressive or sad.

Consider giving Tomato a spin for firmware. Very user friendly, especially for slightly advanced uses like bridging.

more than 2 years ago
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China Probes US Renewable Energy Policy

0101000001001010 Re:Currency Value (240 comments)

Bald-faced lie. Sorry, I'll stop now.

more than 2 years ago
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Help Shape the Future of Slashdot

0101000001001010 Thank You (763 comments)

Everybody's a critic, including myself. So you're about to have to read some strong responses. But please keep in that, IMHO, there's still no place on the Web like Slashdot. So thank you for keeping it together, warts and all.

more than 2 years ago
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Who Makes Your Favorite Networking Gear?

0101000001001010 Cisco (322 comments)

Linksys has always been a good solution for my SOHO needs. My short forays into D-Link and Netgear were both disappointments. I'm now running a couple of WRT54GL with Tomato on them. This is my favorite network yet. I may be missing out on fancy 'N' speeds, but my network works and works right every time day in and day out. I'll do with 'only' 54Mbps for that.

more than 2 years ago
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Seigniorage Hack Could Resolve Debt Limit Crisis

0101000001001010 Re:Inflation (696 comments)

Not necessarily. The Fed could sterilize the move by selling off an amount of Treasuries equal to the value of the coin and destroying the money it receives. Then the money supply would be unaffected. Effectively the Treasury would be proxy borrowing by having the Fed sell Treasuries, which have already been counted against the debt limit, instead of selling new Treasuries itself, which it cannot legally do.

It's only inflationary if the money supply is increased.

about 3 years ago
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Sorting Algorithms As Dances

0101000001001010 Quicksort. (68 comments)

That was cool, but when clicking the link I really, really wanted to see quicksort done as a dance. Curse me and my expectations.

Anybody know of any entertaining visual representation of quicksort?

more than 3 years ago

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