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Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

Hunter-Killer Re:Impact of foreigners on the education of Americ (161 comments)

I had a similar experience when I was in school a few years ago.

Group project with two German foreign exchange students--copy/pasted their part from another website. I caught it early and after some "clarification" from the professor, they redid it.

Another group project--with a white guy, white girl, African immigrant, and a Chinese exchange student. White girl didn't contribute anything at all, Chinese didn't contribute anything (informed us "I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do" two days before the report was due), and the African immigrant contributed one slide (the project was a slide and a paper). White guy and I ended up writing the entire paper, and we were not pleased.

I was the group leader for both projects. The lesson I learned wasn't that foreign students are worthless, but rather that people needed to be treated differently. For any project, I map out the pieces and dependencies that need to be completed in a shared spreadsheet, and let team members choose what they work on. This works out very well for motivated students, and functional procrastinators since the dependencies are also worked out. Unfortunately, simply telling everyone what needs to be done is not a one-size-fits-all solution. If I had assigned tasks to specific individuals early on and followed up regularly, I would have obtained better results. If output was poor or non-existent, we could have adjusted expectations ("you need to turn this in earlier so we can correct for ESL") or escalate to the professor if necessary.

If you are an "A" student, working with other "A" students is the easiest way to keep that A. Learning how to get the most of B and C students is likely more valuable than a slight downtick in your GPA.

about a month and a half ago

Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills

Hunter-Killer Re:Bank accounts for the poor (753 comments)

Fast food companies have figured this out. Paper checks cost too much, so workers receive a debit card, which the company deposits paychecks in.

about 3 months ago

Netflix Is Looking To Pay Someone To Watch Netflix All Day

Hunter-Killer Re:Netflix rating engine sucks (86 comments)

Crummy selection pretty much nails it. If there were an infinite number of movies, the algorithm would work well. Consider the following scenario: You are one of 3000 subscribers that likes 18th century historical dramas. A documentary on royal intrigues is highly regarded by the 30 or so subscribers in your group that have seen it. Unfortunately, it won't be recommended to you because other subscribers ran out of movies long ago and now watch whatever is on the main page. Many of those 3k subscribers watched Ip Man because it looked tolerable, not because it had an intersection with your interests, but it'll be recommended anyway. Hidden gems are drowned out because the algorithm can't tell the difference between a movie you want to see and a movie you saw because you wanted to see something, anything that night.

about 3 months ago

Firewall Company Palo Alto Buys Stealthy Startup Formed By Ex-NSAers

Hunter-Killer Re:I don't think so. (102 comments)

Sonicwall offers a Network Security Appliance firewall. I can hear their marketing department: "NSA? That spells security!" Good luck with that today.

about 10 months ago

Parcel Sensor Knows When Your Delivery Has Been Dropped

Hunter-Killer Re:Existing non-electronic variant (145 comments)

Couriers have figured out that the best way of dealing with a Shockwatch is to rip the filament off the box.

about a year and a half ago

A Server That Can Fall From the Sky, and Survive

Hunter-Killer Re:Useless without pictures (91 comments)

How to make military-grade network gear:

1. Get network equipment.
2. Slap it in a ruggedized box.
3. Slap an extra 0 or two on the invoice.

That said, I wouldn't mind having some PacStar gear around for the next disaster.

about a year and a half ago

Google Killing Off Mini, Video, and iGoogle

Hunter-Killer Re:What exactly am I suppose to replace it with? (329 comments)

I switched to Netvibes a few years ago, when Google added the unremoveable sidebar (which was added at the behest of gadget developers, apparently the only users of iGoogle that matter). It has served me pretty well, though I still miss having a Google search bar with full functionality.

more than 2 years ago

In Nothing We Trust

Hunter-Killer Re:Quoting FDR Is Ridiculous (910 comments)

Wiping your nose does not cure a cold. It never has, and it never will.

Do not give specious reasoning a free pass because you agree with its conclusion.

about 2 years ago

Military Labs Develop Caffeinated Jerky and "Zapplesauce"

Hunter-Killer Re:MRE (151 comments)

During OIF I, I made the grievous error of saying that #4, Country Captain Chicken, wasn't that terrible. After a few days of my coworkers selflessly saving the #4 for me while they got first pick on a new box, I quickly recanted.

more than 2 years ago

Writer Peter Watts Sentenced; No Jail Time

Hunter-Killer Re:simply standing too close to an officer.. (299 comments)

Your interpretation of the statistics does not appear to take proportionality into account.
If Job A has 6 fatalities and 100 workers while Job B has 3 fatalities and 10 workers, Job B is more dangerous since the odds of death are higher on a per worker basis.

more than 4 years ago

Ask Blizzard About Starcraft2, Diablo III, WoW, or

Hunter-Killer Regulating user-made premium content (520 comments)

Shacknews reports that StarCraft II will support non-free user-made maps and mods. Depending on how this is implemented, mapmakers may find their works offered for free via other distribution channels. As some iPhone app writers have discovered, it's also possible to be undercut by a free cloned or superficially changed version of their map. How does Blizzard intend to enforce author rights?

more than 5 years ago

EA Won't Use DRM For The Sims 3

Hunter-Killer Re:It's great that they lightened the DRM load. (128 comments)

So let me get this straight -- you want to discourage, not copying, but loaning?

The parent was talking about casual copying. If a game did not implement CD checks, then it could be loaned out, installed, then returned--no copying required. I think it's fairly obvious why game devs prefer users buying their products instead of borrowing them from a friend.

But if anything, this opens up new markets -- game rentals, and used games. And it does drive up the value of a game, if you know it can be re-sold.

Used game sales aren't good for the original developer. If a game is bought for $50, then resold four times for $10-30 each time, how much does the original developer make? $50. Epic Games has voiced their opinion on the issue, and has taken measures to discourage the practice (unlocks/DLC).

The supposed purpose of DRM is to "keep honest people honest", by preventing things like actual copyright infringement. But your comment does tend to indicate the true purpose of DRM -- to prevent people from doing perfectly honest things (like lending) that you'd rather be able to charge for.

I don't disagree with your statement that DRM can have ulterior reasons. However, lending is not always honest. With a book, possession directly implies access. If I loan out a book, I can't read it until it's returned. Software is different; It's dishonest to loan out my copy of Office 2007 to my friends to install, if can still use it.

If you're already forcing them to be online, why do you need to limit the number of saves? Just don't allow more than one person to be online at once.

The point of limiting saves is to create a finite resource, which discourages sharing. Users wouldn't have to continuously be online--only if they want to save their game. Is it an inconvenience to users? Yes. But it is somewhat compensated by the "resume anywhere" feature, while "one user at any time" is only a stick.

And hey, I can lend games on Steam. I just have to lend the whole account at a time, and if I lend my account credentials, I risk losing the account. That's really all the incentive I need -- to limit the number of saves on top of that really serves no purpose, other than to save you disk space.

Actually, that's against the Steam EULA:

You may not reveal, share or otherwise allow others to use your password or Account.

The solution I recommended is better. With Steam, loaning is an all-or-nothing proposition. You can't play one game while a concurrent user plays another, even if you legitimately own both. This is not an issue if a game+saves is tied to a key instead of an account.

more than 5 years ago

EA Won't Use DRM For The Sims 3

Hunter-Killer Re:It's great that they lightened the DRM load. (128 comments)

Is there really that much of a difference between handing my buddy a CD in a jewel case vs handing him a CD in a jewel case that has the key printed on it?
I don't believe keys matter for casual loaning of single player games, which is what The Sims 3 is. Their best strategy is to discourage loaning, which has been a side-effect of hand-held console cartridges for some time. Carts have a finite amount of space for save game slots, and as a result you don't want to loan your cartridge to someone careless who will overwrite your "hard work" with their own progress. This could be implemented in a similar fashion by moving storing saves online, and limiting the amount of slots available. The customer loses some flexibility by being unable to save locally, but benefits by not losing progress when reinstalling, or transitioning between different computers.

more than 5 years ago

Slashdot's Disagree Mail

Hunter-Killer Re:idle (426 comments)

I was under the (mistaken) impression that filtering had to be done by the reader; that wouldn't have been an option for me since I use iGoogle. Yahoo Pipes looks like it will fit the bill. Thanks.

more than 6 years ago


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