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Colleges May Start Forcing Switch To eTextbooks

ZirbMonkey Yup, it's not paper costs, it's publishing et al (419 comments)

I had a few classes where we didn't have a textbook, but rather the professor had us buy a packet of note slides as the textbook replacement. It still cost us $15 a book, yet was essentially 50 pages of double-side copy paper put into a plastic ring binding and paper-card cover. The only reason for charging $15 a book was because that's how much kinkos charged to bind the pages together.

Publishers charge a 'decent' fee to print, bind, and ship textbooks. That's why they cost so damn much, especially when it's a specialized class with a limited print pushed through. They got equipment to pay off and executive under salary. And everyone wants a profit from each slice of the process. But $140 a book is a total scam.

I wish all my classes gave me the option of printing my books at kinkos for $15.

more than 3 years ago

StarCraft II Cost $100 Million To Develop

ZirbMonkey $10 mil per year (414 comments)

It only took them 10 years to release. If they'd released it 5 years ago, it would have only cost a fraction of that.

more than 4 years ago

Subscription-Based 'Hulu Plus' Is Now Official

ZirbMonkey Re:what's the big deal? (434 comments)

> $10/month to watch 720p TV instead of $100/month to watch 720p TV.

If Hulu could actually replace cable you might have a point.

It can't.

Plus, the $100/month level cable service is going to have content that Hulu will only see when Netflix gets it.

My brother pays about $200/mo so he has the privilege of watching HBO, Showtime, and on-demand movies. I'm happily paying $40/mo for just my Internet and Netflix, and frequently have netflix discs sitting around for a week because I don't have time to watch them yet. If you enjoy watching 60+ hours a week of TV, the perhaps you're happy to pay $200/mo to sit on your couch and watch everything avaiable. I figure I'm a mere 10-20 hours a week, and just don't see the value in paying for content I don't have time to watch.

Just because super-sizing your fast food meal gives you more calories for the money doesn't mean that the guy declining the "extra value meal" isn't getting his fill.

more than 4 years ago

Subscription-Based 'Hulu Plus' Is Now Official

ZirbMonkey Re:what's the big deal? (434 comments)

For me, the free version of hulu already has replaced my cable. I now only have a single internet bill ($30/mo for 6Mbps), which is FAR less than my previous comcast cable bundle ($60+ for horrible service and shoddie channel "choice"). I regularly missed the TV shows I wanted to watch anyways since I spend less than 2 hours a day in front of my TV, and participate in other non-couch related activities.

Netflix has already takes up half my "TV time" with Hulu filling out the other half where I catch up on my weekly shows like Office, House, Lost, SG-U, and the rest of those shows that are done for the season with and Networks that have nothing new to offer until the new Fall schedule.

$10/mo for "premium content" that's better than basic cable and at my own convenient schedule seems like a very competitive service. But that' depends entirely on just what kinds of additional shows and features the actual service ends up offering.

more than 4 years ago

The Tuesday Birthday Problem

ZirbMonkey Thank You! (981 comments)

Yes, I read through the article. Yes, I understand the "basics" of probability. Yes, I know how to do statistics.

And Tuesday IS irrelevant.

Anyone trying to say otherwise, quipping that "it depends" is doing the problem wrong and making a classic mistake of correlating a statistic that doesn't affect the outcome. Those who go through the mental gymanstics of making it matter are forcing an outcome that truly is not associated with the problem.

more than 4 years ago

Set Free Your Inner Jedi (Or Pyro)

ZirbMonkey Eye + Laser (463 comments)

"The thing that caught my eye was the price: $200"

The other eye? Fried by a friggin laser

more than 4 years ago

iPhone 4's "Retina Display" Claims Challenged

ZirbMonkey Re:What math? (476 comments)

I did the math:
300 ppi = 0.00333 inches per pixel
at 12 inches, sin(0.00333/12) = 0.00028 rad = 0.016 degrees = 0.95 arcminutes
at 18 inches, sin(0.00333/18) = 0.00019 rad = 0.011 degrees = 0.64 arcminutes

if the human eye is 0.6 arcminutes as stated in the article, you do get a retinal display at 18" from your face, which should be the distance you hold a phone from your face... not 12"

Slashdot is full of nerds. You got to expect a handful of them to do basic trig.

more than 4 years ago

Cloth Successfully Separates Oil From Gulf Water

ZirbMonkey Re:Great for filtering, but - (327 comments)

It would make a great oil sponge, but you'd need to ring out the cloth every minute. But at least you'd have a method for pulling oil out of the water. Perhaps trolling long sheets of it, and ringing out the oil every time it's rolled in...

When the cloth repels oil, the cloth stays porous, and water keeps passing through. You can literally herd the oil like catching fish. I'm not sure how salt and ocean debris would make the filter work in the real ocean The oleophobic cloth filter would plug up with everything else.

more than 4 years ago

The Fashion Industry As a Model For IP Reform

ZirbMonkey Re:Planned obsolescene is in common (398 comments)

In fashion, women are required to constantly buy new clothes lest they be considered "frumpy". Last year's clothes are perfectly good, quality-wise, but a culture has been created by which anyone who wears them is subject to public ridicule. The point of all this is to keep the fashion industry's pockets full. What kind of developer, oops I mean designer, doesn't enjoy working on new designs? They want everyone buying the latest greatest design, even if it's not as good as last year's.

I know many a doctor who make six figures wearing scrubs all year round. No one thinks less of them for it either.

Women are not required to constantly buy new clothes. They aren't required to wear makeup either. They aren't required to drive BMWs and Benz while talking on their iPhone. They aren't required to wear 6" stilletos with a matching hand bag.

The above list is vanity, conspicuous consumption, and the need to feel attractive and desirable to others. People do these things voluntarily, without anyone forcing them to.

more than 4 years ago

Anti-Cancer Agent Stops Metastasis In Its Tracks

ZirbMonkey Dear Science Layman (269 comments)

The purpose of submitting one's research to a publishing company like Nature is peer review. Once a paper is submitted, Nature goes through the task of tracking down other experts in the field. These experts are use their valuable time to analyze, critique, understand, and provide educated proofing that if/when an article is published, the science is verifiable, testable, and valid. Inevitably, many of the papers submitted don't make it past the reviewing process. There's very substantial administrative costs in coordinating all this reviewing as it marches towards being publishable. It ensures every issue contains valid and worthy results that meet high standards. And there's lots of projects fighting for the same ink space.

Then there's the cost of publishing the ink and paper.

Nature can't/doesn't pay for all this cost through ad revenue. Instead, other research institutions buck up to pay a substantial subscription fee to receive the newest results and advances available. Published scientists also receive notoriety in their field, opening up their careers to new projects with more funding. If you wish to read up on the latest issue of Nature or any other science journals, you can easily find them at your nearest university library for free viewing. Universities are happy to pay the subscription fess, since they are running these research programs in an attempt to get their university name in those very same journals.

more than 4 years ago

How Neuros Built Their Nearly Silent HTPC

ZirbMonkey +1 SPCR (199 comments)

When I converted my old AMD system into an HTPC, I spent a ton of time reading reviews and How-To's at SPCR. I'm now extremely happy with it, since the TV (on mute) makes more noise than my HTPC. Sitting in the corner of the room, you need to check for the blue LED to know it's on. I'm running an undervolted quad core with a giant heat sink and 500RPM fan (which can actually be turned off) a passively cooled video card (again with a large heat sink) low RPM hard drives for movie storage, all in an acoustically padded case with more 500RPM fans to maintain a minimal air flow.

Anyone committed to making a silent PC can do it with off-the-shelf parts now a days. It's a dead simple formula: Low Power Components + Large Heat Sinks + Low RPM Fans + Quality Acoustic Case = Silent.

more than 4 years ago

Does a Lame E-Mail Address Really Matter?

ZirbMonkey Re:yes (1049 comments)

They legally cannot discriminate based on race, sex, or age. But anything else is fair game. That's the way it is. To deny that the sorters have any bias is naive. If you're worth your salt, you'd put effort in your resume to keep it from happening to yourself, or use it to make your ink and paper to stand out in a positive way above the other sheets of paper with ink on them that you're competing with.

more than 4 years ago

Does a Lame E-Mail Address Really Matter?

ZirbMonkey Re:yes (1049 comments)

Whoever is in charge of finding new hires will get a stack of 100+ resumes. They need to sort through and grab a handful of resumes they want to interview from. They most certainly are not got to interview every applicant that throws a resume their way. They need to divide the pile into yes, no, and maybes. If they get a big enough pile of "yes" then the maybes will not even make it to consideration.

First thing they do is skim for any spelling mistakes. If they find one, you're out of the pile. Giant block of text? You're out! Ugly font? You're out! In this preliminary sorting procedure, any bias that the sorter has will separate a yes from a maybe, or a maybe from a no.

Every detail counts. Sloppy, inappropriate, or antiquated email addresses that could cause the reviewer to twinge in any way will affect your changes of getting into the interview pile. If you want your best foot forward, this is just one of a number of things to avoid on a resume.

more than 4 years ago

Nvidia's DX11 GF100 Graphics Processor Detailed

ZirbMonkey Still no "real" benchmarks? (220 comments)

While the articles is very interesting on explaining the chip archetecture and technical specifications, I can't believe there sin't a single actual gaming benchmark on these chips yet.

The best they can do is give an estimated calculation on how the chips may or may not actually live up to. They estimate that it will be faster at gaming than ATI's already released 5870.

By the time Nvidia actually releases their Fermi GPU's, ATI's Cypres will have been actively selling for over 3 months. And there's a funny thing about advancements over time: things keep getting faster (aka Moore's Law). Supposing that chips are supposed to double in transistor count every year, the new Fermi chips need to have 20% more transistors than ATI's RV5870 if they release 3 months later... just to keep on the same curve.

And there's still no mention of pricing... but that's expected on a product that doesn't actually run games yet. I don't see a lot of optimism on the gaming front, so I hope for Nvidia's sake that the investment into GPGPU is the branch out they need to trump ATI's sales.

more than 4 years ago

Leaked Modern Warfare 2 Footage Causes Outrage

ZirbMonkey Fantasy vs Reality (543 comments)

Some people have a problem with their fantasy games seem too much like reality.

Warning: Reality may not be suitable for younger children.

more than 4 years ago

New From Coca-Cola ... Fizzy Milk?

ZirbMonkey Cola Cola can ruin anything (15 comments)

Just when you think Chocolate Milk was far enough, Coke raises the bar.

more than 5 years ago

DHS Pathogen Lab To Be Built In "Tornado Alley"

ZirbMonkey doesn't matter where it is (275 comments)

East Coast = Hurricanes
West Cost = Earthquakes
Midwest = Tornadoes

Here's a thought: regardless of where it's build, the dangerous part will be underground. Last I heard, tornadoes don't burrow.

more than 5 years ago

Comcast Bringing Metropolitan WiMAX To Subscribers

ZirbMonkey Re:Comcast is great! (71 comments)

You need to lay it on a bit thicker. Someone might think you're serious.

more than 5 years ago


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