Mozilla Is Investigating Why Dell Is Charging To Install Firefox
As a service, this really does make sense. It takes time and knowledge to configure a computer. A lot of people are lacking in one, or both, of those departments. The price also makes sense when it comes down to installing an individual piece of software. It takes time to do so. For businesses, time is money.
On the other hand, consumers really ought to look for better deals. You can tell someone what you need and pay them by the hour to get a system that is tailored to your needs. If you need a bunch of stuff done, it'll cost much less. It will also be done according to your requests, which is something that Dell isn't equipped to do.
Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?
According to my brain, emacs. According to my fingers, vim. Since my fingers are controlling the keyboard, guess who wins.
"Microsoft Killed My Pappy"
For the most part, the hatred directed towards Microsoft wasn't about the actual antitrust case. A lot of the hate was directed towards Microsoft locking other OS vendors out of the market. A lot of the hate was due to their stranglehold on the market even though there were huge concerns about the quality of Microsoft's products.
That said, I do wish that some of the haters would update their arguments. I still hear stuff that hasn't been valid since the days of Windows 3.1, never mind Windows XP, and IE6.
Microsoft Lync Server Gathers Employee Data Just Like NSA
Overall though, I would suggest that it is best to avoid doing anything at work that would stir up office politics.
Why Your Online Impersonation of a 16-year Old Girl Won't Last Long
Now both people and computers will call me a girl.
Obama To Ask For $1 Billion Climate Change Fund
This makes sense, whether or not you agree with climate change models or the proposed mechanisms of climate change, because it provides funds to protect critical infrastructure during extreme weather events.
We already know that different regions are susceptible to different types of extreme weather. For example: some areas are prone to flooding while others are susceptible to drought. Prior generations have decided to deal with measures such as building levees or irrigation systems, simply because they understood that infrastructure has to be protected. They didn't worry about the politics of climate change simply because the controversy didn't exist. However, data about prior weather events did exist. (Alas, some of that data was due to contemporary floods or droughts which had a considerable cost in life and property.)
Now if Americans want to stick their heads in the sand and insist that years of flooding and drought won't exist because they don't agree with the AGW crowd, that's up to them. They should also realize that when the inevitable happens, they are the ones that will pay the price for their lack of preparedness. That is true regardless of whether the weather is caused by natural mechanisms or exacerbated by human factors.
Time Warner Deal Is How Comcast Will Fight Cord Cutters
True. On the other hand, when I subscribed to Internet service in the 1990's it cost about $22 (in 2014 dollars) for basic service. Now it costs $30 for basic service. In the 1990's you could 70 times the bandwidth when you paid 7 times the price. Now you will get 10 times the bandwidth when you pay 5 times the price. It's not the best comparison, I realize, but it should be enough to demonstrate that we are paying more for Internet service.
Adobe's New Ebook DRM Will Leave Existing Users Out In the Cold Come July
As far as I can tell, most of the ebook vendors who use DRM use Adobe's DRM. The exceptions are Kindle, Kobo, and (maybe) Nook. Even then, a lot of people who buy from Kobo use Adobe's DRM on third-party readers.
Now for users of computers and tablets, this isn't a huge issue. Just upgrade your software. Users of ereaders though will depend upon upgrades that may never be forthcoming. This will force at least some people to take a second look at why they're using ereaders and perhaps why they are even reading ebooks. After all, a lot of the momentum behind ebooks for your typical reader is going to be the ease of use. Well now it ain't going to be so easy.
The Moderately Enthusiastic Programmer
These descriptions rarely say anything about the employers expectations of the employee. They are intended to attract a pool of qualified candidates.
Just as some job seekers have trouble finding work because they have trouble setting themselves apart in businesses with a large pool of applicants, some businesses have trouble finding employees because they have trouble setting themselves apart from a large pool of potential employers. In order to attract applicants, they try to use more appealing language since a lot of applicants are looking for job satisfaction rather than something that simply uses their skills.
New Zealand Schools Find Less Structure Improves Children's Behavior
From my experience with children in childcare settings, they need a combination of structured and unstructured play. Most children seem to do well with unstructured play for limited durations. This is usually between half an hour and an hour, depending upon the children involved. If the duration becomes too long, then you start running into issues with boredom. That's when structured play should enter the picture. Not only does it reduce immediate conflicts, but it also gives them ideas for those unstructured times.
Ideally, adults would monitor the free play in an environment with limited rules then switch to structured play when signs of risky activities appear.
Incidentally, simply switching from a highly regulated environment to one with few rules is a bad idea. You have to give them the tools first (e.g ideas for games, social boundaries, etc.).
California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules
There should be a process which, yes, can lead to a teacher being fired.
Having worked in schools, I can tell you that there are many excellent teachers who are performing poorly because of the environment. Sometimes it is because the school is poorly managed. More often, it is because a given teacher is a poor fit for the school.
While it is possible to measure the outcomes from a teacher by various metrics, those metrics only measure outcomes. They rarely consider the social environment. When they do consider the social environment, they tend to do so from a negative perspective: by giving the teacher the benefit of the doubt based upon socioeconomic conditions. This sucks for the school because it reenforces lower standards.
What we should be doing is moving low performing teachers, or even average performing teachers, to different schools. After all, it would be terrible to dismiss an "average teacher" from a school with academically motivated students if that same teacher would raise the standards at a low performing school because they know how to motivate students who live in those communities. Likewise, it would suck to dismiss a teacher who crashed and burned at a low performing school when they know how to raise the bar for academically motivated students.
That said, if that teacher cannot perform well at any school that they are placed it, they certainly should be terminated.
Sites Blocked By Smartfilter, Censored in Saudi Arabia
I sympathize with your comment about libraries, though the libraries that I have seen only use filtering software on workstations for children.
I disagree with your comment about homes. If you desire freedom, that includes the right of people to filter their own internet connection. That is even true if it is a parent who wishes to filter content that their children may see. (Parents bear a great deal of responsibility when it comes to raising children and will face many of the consequences when things go wrong. They should have the right to implement policies that reflect that, rather than constantly being neutered by people who have no understanding of the weight of child rearing.) If an individual disagrees that a site has been blocked, they certainly have the right to disable the block or filter.
Filtering on a national scale is a different issue altogether. My perspective on the issue is that it is much more complex than many on Slashdot seem to claim. While I have a desire for a completely free web and believe that the government should stay out of enforcing morality as much as possible, the internet also makes it incredibly easy to conduct illegal activities and hide behind international borders. I'm not talking about run-of-the-mill pornography here since there are much more serious crimes.
HP Brings Back Windows 7 'By Popular Demand' As Buyers Shun Windows 8
Don't get me wrong, the only reason why I upgraded to Windows 8 was to get a cheap upgrade to the professional version. That said, Windows 8 is not as horrible as many people make it sound. For the most part, you don't have to deal with the modern interface. That's even true on stock systems. Once you have launched your application, you are dumped to the desktop You don't have to leave the desktop to switch between tasks either. Frequently used applications can be pinned to the taskbar, just as you did in Windows 7. This means that you pretty much see the start screen after you boot up, bump into the charms bar for shutting down, and may have to go into the modern UI to tweak a few system settings. Outside of people who support Windows, you shouldn't be doing that stuff very often anyhow.
Is Modern itself a disaster? Well, yeah. Even ignoring the bit about a touch UI on a desktop computer, there is a lot wrong with it at so many levels. But that's not the point. The point is that you don't have to use it very often on stock systems, and it's deadly easy to avoid altogether with a start menu replacement.
An Iowa ISP's Metered Pricing: What Will the Market Bear?
I do believe that internet service should be metered. However, the only way that I would accept it is if they treated it like an electric bill: you pay a base rate plus the metered rate, and the metered rate is fine grained. Based upon their rates, they should be charging $0.05 per 10 MB instead of $5 per GB. Plans should be scrapped because they lead to dishonest sales tactics anyway (e.g. overselling customers on a 25 GB plan when they know that the customer never uses more than 1 GB in a month).
Oh, and their metered rates are insane (even if it were fine grained). At those rates, you may as well get someone to burn the data to DVD and ship it courier. It would probably be cheaper.
Thousands of Gas Leaks Discovered Under Streets of Washington DC
I live in a fairly small city that experienced two gas leaks in as many days (and I believe it was three within the span of a week) due to work being done to the lines by the gas company. The two gas leaks were significant enough to evacuate nearby residents and shut down power to the neighborhood.
If these businesses aren't willing to hire and train competent work crews, maybe it's best that things are left alone.
Tech's Gender and Race Gap Starts In High School
Well, it is based upon stereotypes both ways. But I do agree that the professions that are typically associated with empathy simply are not.
I have a background in elementary teaching, and while caring elementary teachers are certainly sympathetic, I've encountered a number of men (and women) who could not make it because empathy got in the way. Simply put, you cannot invest too much emotion into the kids. If you do, you will both burn out and make poor decisions. The real concern is the long term development of the child (academically, physically, and socially). Sometimes that means stepping away from the immediate concerns and looking at how you can develop a foundation that will help them for the rest of their life.
Google Begins To Merge Google+, Gmail Contacts
You aren't actually forced to use G+, even if it is enabled on your account. Realistically, Google won't be able to force you to use G+ either since that would break interoperability with other email providers.
As for the privacy concerns associated with G+, they should exist whether or not these are independent services. It is the same company collecting your data after all.
Algorithm Aims To Predict Fiction Bestsellers
Two quotes stand out for me:
"It's very difficult to quantify decisions that are often made by intuition and relationships."
The study claims that at least some of those decisions are quantifiable, which pretty much contradicts Hamilburg's point.
"Of stylistic characteristics, the scientists are flying in the face of most teaching of creative writing when they emphasize nouns over verbs. Verbs are the engine of fiction and quality writing is often measured by their variety, precision, and force,"
Hansen appears to have missed the point of the study: it is about what sells, rather than what's taught or what makes quality writing.
Ask Slashdot: How To Protect Your Passwords From Amnesia?
In the case of my employer, I got lucky: the administrative passwords were placed in a signed and sealed envelope in case anything critical happened. It worked because they knew how to handle confidential data and acknowledged that I was the only one who should have access to those passwords (unless something critical happened).
In the case of important personal passwords (e.g. financial institutions), you could write it down and place it in a safe. You're letting the bank handle the security in that case, and it is physical security, so there is a lot less to worry about in that case.
For the most part though, my personal passwords are not a huge concern. Passwords for sites like Slashdot can be recorded non-securely, or not recorded and forgotten, without significant consequence. (My choice is to not record and risk forgetting. Other people may stick them in a notebook in their desk.)
Experiments Reveal That Deformed Rubber Sheet Is Not Like Spacetime
I've seen models created out of hardened plastic that more realistically reflect the curvature of space. It still isn't perfect since you still have friction, but it does a decent job of demonstrating orbits.
The true advantage of stretched rubber sheets is that it is a cheap and easy demonstration to create. That was especially important in the days before computer simulations or even television.