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Judge Overrules Samsung Objection To Jury Instructional Video

MacTO Re:Samsung's objection is absurd (232 comments)

While I agree with your assessment of Apple's portrayal in the video, it is also important to avoid the perception of bias in the legal system. Even the perception of bias, may that bias be imaginary or real, has the potential to undermine the legal system.

(For a more common example of this, consider how many minorities distrust the judicial system because of perceived racial biases. Whether those biases are real or not is a moot point.)

about two weeks ago
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3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?

MacTO Improve my skills first ... (251 comments)

I need to improve my knowledge and skills related to 3-D printing first, then I'll make the plunge.

As many have noted, 3-D printing isn't easy. A big part of the reason is that the technology isn't well developed yet. As others have noted, 3-D printing is also over hyped. A big part of the reason is that the idea is exciting, but it takes a particular type of personality to have a use for it.

Yet this simply means that 3-D printing is of limited value as it stands, and as it will continue to stand. (It will become more reliable, but it will never become convenient.) It does mean that the people who end up using it will have a mindset where they want to create their own stuff. Some of those people will be inventive, while others will want to know how their stuff work. Some will be tinkerers, while others will take pride in what they create.

So please stop with the negativity. If it's not for you, that's fine. If you can't honestly recommend it to other people, that's fine. But also understand that there are other people who want to use 3-D printing and have good uses for 3-D printing.

about three weeks ago
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Why US Gov't Retirement Involves a Hole in the Ground Near Pittsburgh

MacTO Re:Makes perfect sense (142 comments)

Government run institutions are among the last to change, except when they are among the first to change. The thing is that there are a lot of government institutions out there. Some of them have a lot of motivation to institute change, because the scale of the problem is so large that traditional methods won't work. Some of them have a lot of motivation to avoid change, because the amount of effort required to institute change exceeds the returns. So you are in a sense right: there are cases where there is no reason to change. Yet you are also wrong: it is a feature (i.e. they aren't changing in order to control costs) rather than a problem.

about three weeks ago
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Spacecraft Returns Seven Particles From Birth of the Solar System

MacTO Re:Astrophysics humour... (48 comments)

Empty? We are talking about the Solar System here. Even if you ignore the Sun and planets, this place is remarkably full. This sample from STARDUST demonstrates just how incredibly full it is.

(No sarcasm intended. A lot of the matter out there is in the form of an incredibly tenuous gas rather than particles.)

about a month ago
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The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

MacTO Summary misses the interesting points ... (392 comments)

There is a lot more to this article than the mythical labor shortage. There is a discussion of the complexity of the issue. That includes things like labor market cycles, shortages in some specializations with surpluses in many, the cost of misinformation to graduates, and a fair bit more.

To the summary skimmers, this article is probably worth your time.

about a month ago
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College Grads Create Fake Tesla Commercial That Elon Musk Loves

MacTO Re:Lemme posit this... (100 comments)

The big reason: you aren't in the target demographic for TV commercials. I suspect that you would find the advertising in a trade publication that interests you similarly interesting, because you would be in the target demographic.

Time is another consideration. This is a 1 minute commercial, so they have time to "tell a story". I'm pretty sure that most commercials are 30 seconds, and even 15 seconds, in length. That's barely enough time to get a person's attention and blurt out your product name.

about a month ago
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Survey Finds Nearly 50% In US Believe In Medical Conspiracy Theories

MacTO It is understandable ... (395 comments)

It is understandable when people see something that they don't like, then proceed to create an opinion without informing themselves in even the most basic manner.

about a month ago
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The Billionaires Privatizing American Science

MacTO Should have strong private and public funding ... (279 comments)

Private funding is great in many areas. This is particularly true of science that addresses problems that society needs to solve (e.g. medicine) or that captures people's imaginations (e.g. astronomy).

However, there is a lot of science that needs to be done that doesn't fit into either category. That is where governments need to step in.

about 1 month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Management Interface On an IT Appliance?

MacTO Focus upon usability, not looks ... (114 comments)

For usability, you need to look at your target market. This means that you should be asking the people who will buy your product, rather than the people on Slashdot. (If we are your target market, at least let us know what you are developing so that we can provide meaningful input.)

about a month ago
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Is One Laptop Per Child Winding Down?

MacTO Re:OLPC served its purpose (111 comments)

To add to what LoRdTAW said:

The landscape of computer education has also changed tremendously, and for the better. Whether this was stimulated by the OLPC project or not is an open question, but there has been a change.

Computers in education pretty much meant a computer running a web processor, a word processor, and a smattering of poorly designed educational products when the XO-1 was introduced. Since then the "constructionist" philosophy of Papert, which was the framework of computer education in the 1980's, has reemerged. Many projects have been started to develop more comprehensive computer curricula and educational resources (e.g. lesson plans and software). The available software is more flexible in both lesson design and their philosophy of education. Self-directed resources have also improved. When the XO-1 came out, they were mostly geared towards reading and viewing. Now we have a large element of collaboration.

While it is sad to see the demise of the OLPC project, the demise reflects many positive changes in the landscape of education.

about a month ago
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Mozilla Is Investigating Why Dell Is Charging To Install Firefox

MacTO Consumers should look for a better deal ... (306 comments)

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.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Software Can You Not Live Without?

MacTO Re:You lost me at vim (531 comments)

According to my brain, emacs. According to my fingers, vim. Since my fingers are controlling the keyboard, guess who wins.

about a month and a half ago
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"Microsoft Killed My Pappy"

MacTO Hate wasn't about antitrust case ... (742 comments)

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.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Lync Server Gathers Employee Data Just Like NSA

MacTO Company computers, company network ... (207 comments)

Given that this is dealing with company computers on a company network, it is their right to know how it is being used. I would hope that there is a strong privacy policy in place regarding any personal information that they uncover that is not a violation of company policies, but that is a hope and not an expectation.

Overall though, I would suggest that it is best to avoid doing anything at work that would stir up office politics.

about 2 months ago
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Why Your Online Impersonation of a 16-year Old Girl Won't Last Long

MacTO Just what I need ... (137 comments)

Now both people and computers will call me a girl.

about 2 months ago
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Obama To Ask For $1 Billion Climate Change Fund

MacTO Makes sense, regardless on position on AGW ... (410 comments)

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.

about 2 months ago
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Time Warner Deal Is How Comcast Will Fight Cord Cutters

MacTO Re:what price increases? (424 comments)

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.

about 2 months ago
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Adobe's New Ebook DRM Will Leave Existing Users Out In the Cold Come July

MacTO Gotta wonder how vendors are reacting ... (304 comments)

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.

about 2 months ago
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The Moderately Enthusiastic Programmer

MacTO It's just advertising ... (533 comments)

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.

about 3 months ago
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New Zealand Schools Find Less Structure Improves Children's Behavior

MacTO Yes and no ... (127 comments)

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.).

about 3 months ago

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