Ask Slashdot: Software To Organise a Heterogeneous Mix of Files?
I don't have a perfect answer for you, but I can tell you that I use Devonthink Pro as described here by Steven Berlin Johnson. In addition, I have a large "random" folder that consists mostly of snippets of text found in articles on the Internet.
This isn't your ideal solution—as you've noted, DTP is currently OS X only—but it does work pretty well for me, especially when I'm thinking about a general topic and need to find information on it. I even wrote a post about the similarities between Joyce's method of composition / finding material and how Johnson uses DTP.
Clearwire Sued Over WiMAX Throttling
When Clearwire did this to me, all I did was write a lousy blog post about it and tell my friends not to use their service. Seeing something more substantive is impressive.
Clear Has Nationwide Outage
The troubled WiMax provider (also known as Clearwire) has had many user complaints of throttling, over billing, overloaded towers and system congestion, and of misrepresentation of the service offerings in ads and by resellers,
I was one of them and wrote about the experience here. The short version: they don't advertise their bandwidth throttling and don't warn when they do throttle your bandwidth. My roommate and I thought they'd be a useful alternative to conventional ISPs, but they turn out not to be.
Cheaters Exposed Analyzing Statistical Anomalies
... if you, or the mods who gave you +3, had read the article, you'd know that statistical anomalies are brought to human attention for further investigation. These systems merely flag unusual patterns and say, "Hey, you might want to take a look at this."
Just One Out of 16 Hybrids Pays Back In Gas Savings
The thing is, if you are TRULY concerned about the environment (and must drive a car), then you would buy a used car.
Ceteris paribus, you can't get an equivalent used car with the overall lifespan of the new car; in addition, if you buy a used car that someone else would've bought for the same or a slightly lower price, the person selling the car can buy whatever they want -- which might not be the green car you would've bought.
In addition, some people want the lower hassle factor of a new car, with the low probability of breakdowns and the high reliability that such a car entails.
The Real Science Gap
Anyone interested in this subject should read Philip Greenspun's essay Women in Science. Ignore the borderline sexist stuff about women and pay attention to his comments about the structure of science in the United States and the opportunity costs of pursuing a career in science.
As he observes: "Adjusted for IQ, quantitative skills, and working hours, jobs in science are the lowest paid in the United States." And he's right. And then people wonder why more Americans don't go into science.
Unfortunately, I'm posting this a bit late in the game--there are 400 comments already--so it's not likely to get modded very far up, but those who actually care about science in the United States should read this.
Best Solutions For Massive Home Hard Drive Storage?
The parent post should be modded up -- I came to this comment thread specifically to mention a Drobo. I don't actually have one because I haven't needed the storage, but they've gotten stellar reviews online. They also appear to scale up relatively easily from the cheap 4-drive Drobos to the bigger 8-drive ones.
One other thing you should consider, especially with a lot of people recommending dedicated servers, is power consumption: the bigger and heavier the box, the more you're going to pay in monthly power bills. This is one reason why using an old computer that's sitting around and stuffing 6 HDs into it might not be an optimal solution: if it costs you another $10 - $15 a month in power, you can relatively quickly spend your way out of whatever savings you've nominally achieved.
Pointing Stick Keyboard Roundup
I believe the Unicomp EnduraPro is the same basic design as the Customizer/Space Saver keyboards, which are reviewed at the link, and those in turn are modern Model Ms.
For those of you seeking the One True Keyboard, take note.
Lower Merion School District Update
The parent poster is basically correct but should include one other point: teachers and administrators are in the impossible position of trying to please (or at least placate) all parents, or at least all parents who want to fight whatever it is that the school district wants to do. You can see these kinds of problems with issues like evolution or sex ed; parent 1, Christian lunatic, doesn't want evolution taught, while parent 2, scientist, wants their child educated. Either way, the school will take heat.
It goes deeper than those obvious examples, of course, and the major fact/issue is that trying to please one constituent or set of constituents will anger another. Try to regulate the clothing girls wear to school? It might infringe on freedom of speech or expression. Don't regulate it? A parent will complain to the newspaper that girls are dressing in that dreaded way: "inappropriately." And the list goes on...
Mexico Will Shut Down 25.9 Million Cell Phones
I'm with you. The Fall of Mexico from The Atlantic should be required reading for anyone interested in what's going in the country. One thing the article points out that makes me wary is the apparently growing integration of the military with the drug cartels--as a result, forcing Mexicans to register their phones might make Mexicans safer by making it easier to track phones that are being used for crime--or less safe as the military and police abuse the knowledge that such a plan brings with it.
One thing is clear: the country has some profound problems at the moment. And I'm not convinced this plan will solve them.
Court Says Parents Can Block PA "Sexting" Prosecutions
For those seeking more background on the general insanity of this story and "sexting" in general, see Slate.com's Textual Misconduct and the Economist on America's unjust sex laws: An ever harsher approach is doing more harm than good, but it is being copied around the world. The latter is tangentially related to the main issue but nonetheless useful.
US Sits On Supply of Rare, Tech-Crucial Minerals
One thing that does not seem to be talked about much is that all rare earth metals will be completely depleted, in any practically extractable reserves, within the next 50-100 years.
The problem with these kinds of projections is that they almost invariably forget to take technological change into account; Malthus predicted that humanity would starve to death because of food shortages in the late 18th Century, whale oil was unsustainable until the discovery of underground oil, and horse shit threatened the viability of cities until the development of the automobile (which then threatened cities through emissions), and various people have predicted peak oil at various times going back to the early 20th Century.
Now, we will eventually face peak oil, but that date keeps getting pushed further back due to advances in extraction technology. But by then hybrid/electric cars or other, unforeseen technology may have rendered the point moot. Rare earth metals might be completely depleted in 50 - 100 years, assuming that the ability to find and recover such metals doesn't improve and that recycling technology doesn't make original harvesting moot (imagine if someday all the technological garbage we've shipped to China and Africa makes those countries rich through the trace metals that become recoverable).
This isn't to argue that we should wantonly strip mine every metal deposit conceivable, or that just because false alarms sounded in the past doesn't mean true alarms won't sound in the future. But the fairly long history of worries about resource depletion, followed by the obviation of that resource or by the discovery of new deposits, means that I don't think most of us should be wildly worried about the possibility that rare earth metals will disappear in 50 years.
In Israel, Potential Organ Donors Could Jump the Queue
far right Jews is that most of the guys are in some form of learning program, so the women are often the primary breadwinners. This leads to the average Jewish woman on the far right having more education and job training than her husband.
This is somewhat true; the term for ultra Orthodox Jewish men is "sit and learn," and chiefly the Talmud. Rebecca Goldstein's novel The Mind-Body Problem discusses this phenomenon extensively.
It's not quite true to say that the average woman has more education, since most of their businesses are of the small, shop-keeper / mender / teacher types (and teacher doesn't mean "M.A. and in public schools." It means "high school education then teaching at the Yeshiva"); it would be more accurate to say that many women in that culture have a larger direct financial impact on the world.
Professors Banning Laptops In the Lecture Hall
I'm a "GAT" (meaning I teach an independent class) at the University of Arizona and ban laptops in my class for this reason and others, as explained here.
Professors Banning Laptops In the Lecture Hall
See my post, Students, Laptops, and Distraction: Hardly a Surprise, in which I link to a bunch of articles dealing with some of the research and ideas behind technological distraction (and how it differs from doodling in the margins). I'm a grad student in English at the University of Arizona consequently have to face the laptop/no laptop issue in writing classes and decided on the "no laptop" side, as explained at the link.
(A quick rebuttal of the predictable hit-n-run commenters: this doesn't mean I think every professor/teacher should ban laptops or that laptops are bad in other circumstances. I know that you don't misuse your laptop, and that such a policy is unfair to have the majority behavior dictate rules affecting the minority like you, but I talk about that stuff at the link.)
Correcting Poor Typing Technique?
If you're worried about medical issues or carpal tunnel, try the Kinesis Advantage Ergonomic Keyboard, which might help you a) improve your posture and b) type faster. I've been using one for about nine months and think I probably type faster than I once did, although this might be the placebo effect. The company also includes a short guide with typing exercises that should help you adjust.
From switching, I learned that I didn't hit the "c" key correctly and that a wider hand stance is vastly more comfortable than conventional keyboards. But in the end I've found that my biggest problem isn't with typing speed, but with thinking speed, and that hasn't improved with a nicer keyboard.
Pen Still Mightier Than the Laptop For Notetaking?
I guarantee that there are students who would learn better with them.
Maybe: but I'm skeptical, and I'd love to see evidence of this, and think the burden of proof on the person asserting it. I also don't mean to use ad hom attacks but nonetheless strongly suspect that you're not a teacher. The experience of many teachers seems to indicate that computers are often a greater burden than benefit. I don't see any real evidence from your reply that indicates otherwise. Although all I have is experience on my side, along with the experiences of those cited in my post, along with some data from The Atlantic, all you have are bald assertions. I'd love to see more.
They have a net negative effect on your classroom because you allow them to!
Computers can have a negative effect on the classroom because of the availability of distraction--therefore I don't allow them to by banning them. So far it seems to work, or at least better than the alternative: if I could think of an effective way to integrate computers, I'd do so.
Pen Still Mightier Than the Laptop For Notetaking?
I saw your similar comment on my blog and responded thus:
Teachers who have had problems with children passing notes would never have suggested banning pen and paper.
It's also possible that paper and computers have distinct properties (they're local, not networked) that make them unlike laptops and thus inappropriate for direct comparison. I don't think your analogy fits.
So let them be distracted. That is their choice. Unless they are disrupting others, you should stop babying your students and let them use or misuse the tools as they see fit.
Students don't exist in a vacuum: they can also distract others and lower the overall quality of discussion and the classroom experience. In addition, it can sometimes be helpful for mild forms of paternalism to be used to nudge someone in the right direction. If students don't like the very minor restrictions in my class, they're welcome to take someone else's. Few do.
I don't think it morally wrong, or something like that, for students to have laptops in class, but apparently I'm not alone in noticing the drawbacks they can have.
If you can't get their attention in the first place there are only a handful of possibilities: 1) The subject stinks. 2) The material stinks. 3) The students stink. 4) The teacher stinks.
It's also possible that humans have a tendency toward distraction that Internet access in particular enables, per the Google article, or that people often aren't very good at regulating themselves, per Paul Graham's essay; I'm often not good at regulating myself. Hence it can be desirable to remove the means of distraction as a way of removing the distraction itself.
Banning an item that might help a student who is there and wants to learn so that a lazy student that doesn't care is not distracted is completely irresponsible.
I beg to differ: banning an item that might has a net negative effect on the classroom is responsible because it appears to improve learning and the classroom experience, per the above.
Pen Still Mightier Than the Laptop For Notetaking?
I wrote a post on Laptops, students, and distraction that explains why I forbid laptops in my classes (and the post grew out of a Slashdot comment like this one). From what I've seen, students are better off doing what can be done outside of class outside of class (like reading--which includes PowerPoint) and doing inside class what can't be done outside of class: spontaneous discussion, group questioning/answering/review, and the like.
This seems like the optimal division of time and one that keeps classroom discussions relevant. It also means that not having laptops and cell phones can actually make for a better overall experience.
Murdoch Says E-Book Prices Will Kill Paper Books
I can't afford the dead-tree versions of alot of the books I want.
Have you thought about buying them used, either from outfits like Abebooks or Amazon's second-hand market? I ask because those sources are where a lot of my older books come from -- and I read a lot of them.