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Kindle Pricing, Business Models and Source Code

Falkkin Re:Subsidized hardware (156 comments)

Funny you mention that, since razors are the one toiletry that's advertized exactly like tech gadgets: "6 blades is SO last year! Now get the MACH 12 WITH 12 BLADES!" :)

more than 5 years ago

Kindle Pricing, Business Models and Source Code

Falkkin Subsidized hardware (156 comments)

"If I'm buying a Kindle from Amazon that enables me to buy books from Amazon, I'm broadcasting a desire to buy Kindle books. I would welcome some subsidization of the hardware since I'm going to be buying content anyway. No, I really think Amazon priced the Kindle the way they did because they thought they could get away with doing so..."

Why is it only in the tech-gadget industry that people expect manufacturers to sell items for *less than cost*?

more than 5 years ago

Go For a Masters, Or Not?

Falkkin Re:Work Experience (834 comments)

For what's it's worth, please note that the original poster's degree was in computer engineering, not computer science. "Computer engineering" means different things at different places, but IMHO the value of a master's in CE is a bit more than in CS.

more than 5 years ago

Options For a Laptop With a Broken Screen?

Falkkin Re:Checked it? (544 comments)

"... putting it in a separate tray for security."

No need to do that. I just leave the laptop in my bag. Usually the screeners don't notice/care; if they do notice, smile and apologetically say "whoops, sorry, I forgot." They'll then take it out and run it through separately. I've done this probably 10-15 times in the last year or two, and they've only taken it out for a separate scan once.

Exception: if some TSA guy before the x-ray belt asks me directly if I have a laptop, I take it out of my bag. There's no penalty for acting dumb for something you forgot to take out (or every high-school girl with a 6-oz bottle of shampoo would be doing time in federal prison), but I presume there's a significant penalty for lying to a TSA agent.

more than 5 years ago

Canadian Pirates Sell Spurious Songs — In 1897

Falkkin Re:Copyright The New York Times?!? (177 comments)

This seems to be a blanket statement that NYT puts on all their online articles. It might be insane in this case, but from their standpoint I understand why they do it: they put the publishing date there, and the fact that the article was Copyrighted then, and let the user figure out whether the laws in their jurisdiction actually allow the work to be copied. They have no idea what the hell laws Congress might pass (even applying retroactively) in the future, so pass the buck to someone else on determining that a given article is, in fact, not copyrighted.

I also wouldn't be surprised if this is just laziness on the part of some programmer; I can imagine something like this happening:

for (a in articles) { addStandardCopyrightMessage(; }

(I'm not saying that any of this is *right*; I'm just saying that I can see how this happened, and I'm not at all surprised.)

more than 5 years ago

Miro Asks Users To "Adopt" Lines of Source

Falkkin Kind of expensive... (178 comments)

$4/line per month? Hell, I should try and get some code into this project... if I can get 2000 lines of code adopted, I'll make $96K/year for the rest of my life. Seems I'll be able to retire before 30 after all. :)

more than 5 years ago

Amazon Launches Public Data Sets To Spur Research

Falkkin Gnomes (82 comments)

Am I the only person who read "to upload large (non-confidential) data sets to Amazon -- things like census data, gnomes, etc --"?

more than 5 years ago

Twenty Years of Dijkstra's Cruelty

Falkkin Re:Hmmm... (727 comments)

While I agree with your point in general, the particular example of

cout << "output" << endl;

is a poor one... it raises the obvious question of "what's <<?" which then requires either the "it's magic" answer or a lengthy discussion of operator overloading. Depending on compiler, you also might need to "using namespace std" (more magic) or write std::cout and std::endl (less magic but still requires an explanation). Also, what's "endl" and why can't I just write \n?

A better example from Hello World might be "public static void main(String[] args)" ... compared to "void main()" there is a LOT of initially-unexplained garbage in the Java function declaration. :)

more than 5 years ago

1.4 Billion Pixel Camera To Watch For Asteroids

Falkkin Re:Pending Doom (138 comments)

The book "Death from the Skies" by Phil Plait has a lengthy chapter devoted specifically to asteroid impacts and how we might consider avoiding them. The missile idea is a bad one, as the individual fragments will still hit Earth and quite possibly do more damage than the original asteroid due to immediately affecting an even wider area. A couple more promising ideas are gravitational deflection (park some other massive object nearby and allow the new object's gravity to slowly move the asteroid off a collision course) or putting a rocket on the asteroid and giving it some thrust in a harmless direction. Of course, the best strategy depends on how far ahead of time we know about the possible impact, and of course the sooner we know about it the "easier" it should be to avoid it. So building huge cameras like this is one of the more significant things we can do to prevent a possible Death from the Skies.

more than 5 years ago

Google Map To Real Piracy

Falkkin Re:Site slashdotted, mirror here: (262 comments)

Really, the funniest thing about this is one of the "reviews":

Rated 2.0 out of 5.0
Service was OK - bob - Aug 1, 2008
Atmosphere could use some help, and gets a bit noisy at times (I could barely hear my lunchpal throughout the meal). The service was mediocre, because while they do exactly (most of the time) as you tell them, it takes a holler and sometimes a fervent hand wave to get their attention. Plus, you have to shout out your orders too. Food was decent but for the price, not really worth it.

more than 5 years ago

Very Large Telescope Captures New 27-Megapixel Deep Field

Falkkin Re:Coverage by Bad Astronomer here (131 comments)

Actually, for perspective, this image is approximately 1/500000th of the sky.

more than 5 years ago

Very Large Telescope Captures New 27-Megapixel Deep Field

Falkkin Re:How much area does this cover? (131 comments)

The image is 14.1 x 26.1 arcminutes according to ESO website. For reference, the moon is about 30 arcminutes.

more than 5 years ago

Very Large Telescope Captures New 27-Megapixel Deep Field

Falkkin Coverage by Bad Astronomer here (131 comments)

Phil Plait has quite a bit to say about this image:

"Scanning the full-res image is incredible. There's so much to see! Each dot, each smudge, is a full-blown galaxy, a collection of billions of stars. They're very, very far away; some of these galaxies are estimated to be 10 billion light years distant; you're seeing them as they were just a couple of billion years after the Universe itself began, and the faintest are one-billionth as bright as objects you can see with your own eye."

He also talks quite a bit about his favorite astronomical event - gamma-ray bursts.

more than 5 years ago

(Stupid) Useful Emacs Tricks?

Falkkin Re:Please Don't Stop (412 comments)

Yeah, given that the *nix thread had over 2000 comments, I'd say there's a significant demand for more of these sorts of posts.

My only regret is that I wish they'd spaced out the articles a bit, so that I had some time to digest the tricks in one article before reading the next one -- I find that if I add too many tricks to my toolbox at once I tend to forget about some of them. I guess I should just re-read the articles in another month or so. (Also an indication that these are quality articles -- there's not many discussion threads on Slashdot that I'd even consider going back and re-reading later.)

more than 5 years ago

(Stupid) Useful Emacs Tricks?

Falkkin Re:editing over ssh (412 comments)

I used to use this, but haven't for the last year or two because of sshfs, since sshfs lets you run arbitrary shell commands on the remote files as well.

more than 5 years ago



Games With A Purpose website launched

Falkkin Falkkin writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Falkkin (97268) writes "Luis von Ahn and his team at Carnegie Mellon University have launched GWAP, a new web site for "Games With A Purpose". By playing these online games, humans help provide data for problems that are hard for computers to solve, such as computer vision and sound classification. AP and the BBC have reported on the launch. Slashdot has previously covered other human computation projects by Dr. von Ahn, including the ESP Game and reCAPTCHA. The new web site contains a re-vamping of the ESP Game as well as four completely new games."
Link to Original Source

Falkkin Falkkin writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mcmillen writes "Humans solve about 60 million CAPTCHAs a day. A new project called reCAPTCHA aims to put this human computing power to good use. reCAPTCHA improves the process of digitizing books by sending words that cannot be read by OCR software to the Web, in the form of CAPTCHAs for humans to decipher. With reCAPTCHA, a pair of distorted English words is presented to a human. One word cannot be read correctly by OCR; the other word's answer is already known. The user is asked to transcribe both words. If they solve the one for which the answer is known, the system assumes their answer is correct for the unknown one. reCAPTCHA was developed by Luis von Ahn, one of the original CAPTCHA inventors."

Falkkin Falkkin writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Falkkin (97268) writes "You can now pre-order Duke Nukem Forever from Best Buy. Perhaps it will really be released on 1/2/2007 as the site claims; but perhaps Best Buy is just looking for long-term, interest-free loans. You decide..."


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