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Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

MBGMorden Re:Just let them test out! (307 comments)

That's actually a path I don't like much myself. I too took AP Calc in high school and though I passed the test and exempted Calc 101, Calc 102 was just a bit too much too fast. I ended up having to drop it the first time and take it a second time to actually get my credit.

I kinda worry about that with CS too. There are a lot of people who may think they have a good foundation going in (and they likely do), but for anyone that doesn't already have the formal education they all pick up a least a FEW new things in an intro class. Those few new things can be the difference between the 2nd class in the series being overly difficult or manageable.

4 days ago
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Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

MBGMorden Re:Just let them test out! (307 comments)

I'd say that was more the fault of your teacher than the experienced student.

I started in 1999 myself (though I was 17), and had been programming at home in BASIC for 6-7 years at that point. Things went MUCH smoother for me than my roommate (also a CS Major) who was starting completely fresh. As long as the experienced students don't try to change the tempo of the class (ie, yes you know what a variable is already, but just be quiet and let everyone else hear the lecture), I don't see the issue.

4 days ago
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Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

MBGMorden Re:Just let them test out! (307 comments)

Certainly wasn't when I was in college (though that's been 11 years ago at this point). I had always heard hearsay and urban legends about professors who would give only a set number of letter grades based on a curve, but never experienced it.

About the closest I got was a particularly lenient History teacher who at the end of the semester gave everyone with averages 85-100 an A, 70-85 a B, 55-70 a C, and 40-55 a D. Still wasn't a set # of grades though - he just adjusted what numeric average corresponded to what letter grade. In all fairness though that class was a bit hard to score well in numerically - the only grades in the class were from 3 tests - all of which were composed of only 3 essay questions.

I think the set # of grades thing is mostly a myth and something you see in movies.

4 days ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

MBGMorden Re:freedom 2 b a moron (1041 comments)

Sorry, but that's part of the compromise.

I'm very much for personal freedoms. I don't believe much of anything should be required - particularly for medical treatments (that's not to say I'm anti-vaccine - on the contrary I've pretty much all of them and do a yearly flu-shot).

HOWEVER, part of the social contract is that if you want to participate in the group's collaborate efforts, then you have to abide by some rules. Ergo, if you don't want to vaccinate your child you're free to do that, but be prepared to pay for private education. You can't have the best of both worlds - taking advantage of the publicly funded education system whilst endangering the health of the other participants.

about a week ago
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Keurig 2.0 Genuine K-Cup Spoofing Vulnerability

MBGMorden Re:Someone has (270 comments)

As another person pointed out - a coffee filter and used up coffee grounds not that detrimental to the environment - there's a high level of biodegrability there.

Plastic cups? Not so much.

This also negates the fact that from a cost perspective, regular ground coffee (even better varieties) cost significantly less than K-cups. You may be financially ahead throwing out your extra.

about a week ago
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The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

MBGMorden Re:Read one, write other (566 comments)

Because tablets still suck for browsing the web. Data entry on such devices moves along at a snail's pace compared to an actual keyboard and mouse - and using the web still involves a lot of data entry (search boxes, logins, forum posts, etc).

I have a tablet I use it a lot - when travelling. Their portability is amazing. I'd rather drive a nail through my foot than use one at home or work though - even for just browsing the web.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: IT Career Path After 35?

MBGMorden Re:Of course you can! (376 comments)

Yep. I've personally been working state government for 10 years now, and it's take 10 years to work UP to over $60k/year. I started out with a Computer Science degree doing actual programming at $28k/year (though I am thankful they took me with zero work experience).

The pay really does stink. The only bright sides are that I get to live where I want (basically near family - I have no desire to move for a better job), my employer pays for my health insurance 100%, and I'll be eligible to retire with a real pension plan (50% of my average salary, adjusted for inflation) at 51 years old. If I'm being completely honest I don't see myself leaving until I retire. The job is just to stable to give up. After retiring I may look elsewhere, but if I can't find anything or it takes a long while I'll have enough cushion that I can make it anyways.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: IT Career Path After 35?

MBGMorden Re:YES! (376 comments)

That's because it's government work. Government jobs (particularly state or local) tend to pay less than private sector, so you end up with a lot of older folks who have trouble finding work elsewhere.

Where I'm at (also government) I'm currently interviewing candidates for a web developer position. They want 6 years of experience and are willing to start at $40k per year - and they're shocked when all we can get are people who are obviously unqualified, people just looking for something to bridge the gap between unemployment and retirement, and people who are obviously just looking for something to tie them over until they find a "real" job. The latter category typically gets hired - and they can't figure out why the last 3 people in this position stayed less than 2 years.

FWIW, if I can find anyone qualified, I typically don't care how old they are. At what we're offering I'll take what I can get. Also, FWIW, at 34 years old out of a 25 person department I'm the 2nd youngest except for the secretaries.

about three weeks ago
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Football Concussion Lawsuits Start To Hit High Schools

MBGMorden Re:No single company (233 comments)

You're misunderstanding the premise. It's not that the helmet would be scanning the player's head for injuries, its that it would be active during the game and would have sensors that say "You know what - I just detected a blow of significant force on this side of the helmet - that's probably enough to give the player a concussion.".

That said - I just don't see this happening from a financial perspective. Most high school football team budgets are probably less than ONE of these helmets would cost. They'd probably have to give up the game entirely if force to use such a thing.

Realistically - football is a rough sport. You have to know that going in and accept the risks. I personally played in high school and never suffered a concussion, but did get a hairline fracture on my arm that bothered me for quite a while. It's just part of the sport.

about three weeks ago
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Customers Creating Fake Amazon Pages To Get Cheap Electronics At Walmart

MBGMorden Re:wont last (287 comments)

Wal-mart isn't overpricing anything. They may have made a fortune, but their margins are pretty darned thin - they make it up on volume. Many sales deals are actually loss-leaders. IE, they get you in the store and hope that you buy enough other stuff to make up their loss.

By price matching, Wal-mart is hoping to get you in THEIR store rather than the competitors. And if you happen to just need to pickup bread, milk, some sheets, and fill your prescriptions while you're there, then they're ok with losing a bit of money on that one price match.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is It Worth Being Grandfathered On Verizon's Unlimited Data Plan?

MBGMorden Re:The real questions to ask (209 comments)

Never trust an in-store rep to do ANYTHING. They will say one thing and when the plan is changed they can't get it back.

If you're going to upgrade, you upgrade at full price, and you do it from the website where you can verify yourself that the plan is still the same.

about 3 months ago
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The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

MBGMorden Re:This device is not new or interesting (651 comments)

Way back when each individual part was serialized (and for such guns an "all matching" gun is indeed worth a premium), but these days its just not efficient. Plus we've come a long ways in parts interchangeability. 100 years ago if you bought a part for a gun it needed to be fitted to that gun to work (and that is still true today for many "old" designs from that era, such as the 1911 handgun). On most newly designed guns parts just drop in and work. Being able to match it to a certain gun just isn't important.

about 3 months ago
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The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

MBGMorden Re:Sheriffs Dept preferred Mini-14 ... (651 comments)

What the range master at the Sheriffs training facility explained to me is that the Mini-14 offers the exact same performance as the semi-auto M16/M-4/AR-15 type rifles at a fraction of the price.

That may have once been true (about the price), but not really anymore. The Mini-14 starts at around $750. You can get AR-15's for under $600 now.

A big reason for that is simply market competition - the AR-15 patents have long expired and it's popularity has led to be it being one of the most heavily cloned rifles in the world, so all sorts of companies are making them (its to rifles what the 1911 is to handguns).

It also presents a problem for the anti-gun folks trying to present the gun as some niche purchase for whackos - its by far the most popularly sold model of rifle in the country.

about 3 months ago
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The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

MBGMorden Re:the solution: (651 comments)

By your logic its ok for the government to tell you you can't wear a shirt with a certain logo, so long as you're allowed to wear another shirt with an approved logo.

about 3 months ago
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The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

MBGMorden Re:the solution: (651 comments)

In times past, yes. Nowadays however gun-rights activists indeed are heavily recruiting minorities to try and appeal to them. The NRA brought on Colion Noir (a black gun owner/vlogger) as a spokesperson, and they were very quick to jump to Shaneen Allen's defense when she (a black woman) was arrested in New Jersey for accidentally violating one of their draconian gun laws.

Simply put - trying to paint the NRA or gun rights activists as racist is a trick that simply doesn't work anymore. 40-50 years ago it was true, but back then half the country was racist. The whole country - including the gun rights movement - has come a long way.

about 3 months ago
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The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

MBGMorden Re:the solution: (651 comments)

The Constitution was written almost immediately after citizens had overthrown their previous government (England) via armed revolt. Many times England had tried to disarm to Colonists to prevent just such a thing from happening.

Do you honestly think its "nonsense" to think that a group that had just overthrown their government would not think it possible (and in the right circumstances necessary) to do so again?

about 3 months ago
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Debian Switching Back To GNOME As the Default Desktop

MBGMorden Re:Why not KDE (403 comments)

I've been using Linux since 1997 (pretty much exclusively since 2009). I still prefer MInt over anything else. Eye candy is good, package management is good - and it is the primary platform for Cinnamon which removes all the retarded aspects of Gnome 3 to make it back into a decent desktop UI.

about 3 months ago
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Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

MBGMorden False positives (364 comments)

I don't see how this is going to work. They mention "hardware and software solutions" but how are they going to make this apply only to the driver? Seems every legitimate way of doing this would block everyone in a moving vehicle - even passengers - from doing it.

about 3 months ago
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New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?

MBGMorden Re:Not worth it (251 comments)

For the most part. Crapware isn't really like Malware you get from the red-light districts of the web. Most of it is just junk installed by the OEM that goes away when uninstalled.

That's not to say it might to leave a config file or registry entry lying around afterwards, but as far as visible, executing processes, most of them respond well to just uninstalling.

about 4 months ago
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New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?

MBGMorden Re:Already? (251 comments)

Yeah - $30 or 40 may be a bit more reasonable. Still though, computers have gotten pretty cheap these days. I paid $199 for my Windows 8.1 laptop on sale. $30-40 is still a decent chunk of the purchase price to upgrade the OS (which I'm sure when the computer was assembled the OEM was charged next to nothing for the original copy).

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Police Chases, Even on foot, banned in small SC to

MBGMorden MBGMorden writes  |  more than 5 years ago

MBGMorden writes "Looks like if you commit a crime in Wellford, SC you should be ok as long as you run. The small town's mayor, despite the disapproval of the police chief, has banned police chases, even on foot. The stated cause is that the officers are hurting themselves in chases too often and the town is paying an outrageous $20,000 per year in insurance costs. When a reporter reminded the mayor that if a suspect gets away they may harm someone else, the mayor stated "That won't happen in Wellford.". Read more at http://www.wltx.com/news/story.aspx?storyid=78680&catid=2"
Link to Original Source
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South Carolina seeking to outlaw profanity

MBGMorden MBGMorden writes  |  more than 5 years ago

MBGMorden (803437) writes "It looks like in an act that defies common sense, a bill has been introduced in the South Carolina State Senate that seeks to outlaw the use of profanity. According to the bill it would become a felony (punishable by a fine up to $5000 or up to 5 years in prison) to "publish orally or in writing, exhibit, or otherwise make available material containing words, language, or actions of a profane, vulgar, lewd, lascivious, or indecent nature". I'm not sure if "in writing" could be applied to the internet, but in any event this is scary stuff."
Link to Original Source
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MBGMorden MBGMorden writes  |  more than 7 years ago

MBGMorden (803437) writes "I know that American Idol doesn't exactly garner a lot of respect from the Slashdot crowd, but I found it interesting that they are now selling (at 99 cents per track) the performances of the contestants of the various tracks they did on the show (http://downloads.americanidol.com/). Even more interesting was that they are 320kbps non-DRM'd MP3's. Perhaps the music industry is finally coming around to the idea of DRM-free media?"

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