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MIT Removes Online Physics Lectures and Courses By Walter Lewin

enigma32 Re:What an amazing professor (416 comments)

Was it merely something not quite PC enough for today's crowd, or was it something truly grotesque and thus damning and beyond recovery?


I am back in school (at age 30) in no small part because of the excitement and interest that the Lewin physics lectures instilled in me. His alleged misconduct in any other arena is irrelevant. It's not even as if the content of the lectures could be perceived in some "bad" manner-- it's totally unrelated!

For those that haven't seen those lectures, I cannot recommend them highly enough.

This is a terrible move for MIT. They should be embarrassed.

about two weeks ago

Judge (Tech) Advice By Results

enigma32 On Slashdot, really? (162 comments)

Since when has Slashdot of all places become accepting of general mediocrity over personal excellence?

" Perhaps the advice-giver wants to sound smart, or simply wants to avoid the possiblity of having to admit they were wrong (if you make your advice hard to follow, that reduces the chance of somebody actually climbing that mountain and then pointing out to you if your suggestion didn't work). So it's not just that the advice-giver is being unhelpful, it's that they're being a dick."

Well, I'm glad the author cares about the overall performance of his advice across 'everyone'. Personally, when receiving advice, I prefer searching out and researching all reasonable options and choosing the best one for me rather than taking generic advice applicable to a wide range of people. And when I give advice I try to do it in such a way that leaves the advice-taker able to evaluate the options and take the best option for them, rather than giving them advice that may help "anyone" a little bit but won't help them in particular a whole lot. If the advice-seeker doesn't have the interest to look at the options and make a choice that's their problem.

about 8 months ago

Subversion Project Migrates To Git

enigma32 Re:Change (162 comments)

+1 UI madness.
For me the problem with git is the extreme un-usability of the standard command-line client.

There are countless ways of doing the same operations, all of which are confusing. Unless I use a specific command on a daily basis I end up having to look it up and sift through results with varying ways of doing the same thing. It is extremely frustrating. Some of the other dvcs solutions are far superior in this regard.

Architecturally, git is fantastic. It seems to me it shouldn't be that difficult to make the standard client app easier to use on the command line. Too bad this article is a joke, I would actually love to see it happen.

about 9 months ago

Chicago Public Schools Promoting Computer Science to Core Subject

enigma32 Critical thinking (236 comments)

Yeah, this is great and all...

But wouldn't it be more useful to have a course that emphasizes critical thinking about all types of problems rather than focusing on one specific application of critical thinking? People usually seem to overlook that the important thing about working with computers is the ability to think critically about what you're doing, not the specifics of what you're doing.

Traditional science classes kind of broach the surface of critical thinking, but I suspect that it could be covered in much greater depth over a wide variety of problems, to much better effect.

1 year,10 days

Facebook open sources SQL-on-Hadoop engine "Presto"

enigma32 Submission denied? (1 comments)

This is retarded. I submit a story for the first time and it just disappears from the submissions list. No way to determine what happened.

The "firehose" apparently is just gone, even though the site FAQ still refers to it. There isn't even a redirect from the /firehose page.
There is no way to control what "colors" of submissions I can see on the submissions page, and even clicking on a particular color (which it says will filter to just that color) does absolutely nothing.

One would think that there would at least be a way to see that my submission has presumably been scored "black" or below. But no... there is in fact no way to determine that.

This place has really gone downhill in recent years.

about a year ago

I've done my current job in X time zones ...

enigma32 Re:Are the X=1's legit? (167 comments)

Actually, it kind of does.

ET == [EST or EDT, depending on the time of year]
So, if you look at your timezone as "ET", then yeah, it's one timezone.
However, if you look at your timezone as EST or EDT, it's two.

Personally, I look at it both ways, depending on the context of what I'm doing.

about a year ago

Lord Blair Calls for Laws To Stop 'Principled' Leaking of State Secrets

enigma32 Re: Government vs terrorists (395 comments)

This. Exactly.
Terrorists are a sometimes-maybe-sorta threat. Government is much more terrifying because it is always there protecting itself rather than its citizens.

How do we fight this nonsense?
It goes way beyond the role of groups like the EFF... What groups can I support to prevent nonsense like this?

about a year ago

iTunes: Still Slowing Down Windows PCs After All These Years

enigma32 Purposeful (519 comments)

Sometimes I swear Apple makes the Windows versions of their software terrible on purpose. It's still an uphill battle trying to use any of their software on a windows machine, as it always has been.

Obviously when you're using their amazing iPhone or iPad or whatever other tacky Apple gadget, you'll start to feel that your PC isn't up to par and you should replace it with a Mac.

Total rubbish. People should avoid buying trashy Apple products at all costs, lest they support this fiefdom.

full disclosure: I have used Linux exclusively for the past 13 years. I only have to interact with Apple and Microsoft's junk when I have to sync my wife's iPad with her PC.

about a year and a half ago

If You're a Foreigner Using GPS In China, You Could Be a Spy

enigma32 Bad idea? (219 comments)

Maybe they shouldn't have Coca-Cola deliver refreshments to their secret military installations? ;)

about 2 years ago

US Postal Service Discontinuing Saturday Mail Delivery

enigma32 Re:Bout Time (582 comments)

This sounds like what I've experienced with USPS.
Except I've had this sort of nonsense happen dozens of times with them.

about 2 years ago

US Postal Service Discontinuing Saturday Mail Delivery

enigma32 Re:Restructure the USPS (582 comments)

I'm sorry... are you implying that restructuring the USPS would be in some way unethical or inhumane?

about 2 years ago

US Postal Service Discontinuing Saturday Mail Delivery

enigma32 Re:Bout Time (582 comments)


I've lived in apartments in the NYC area and the LA area over the past 5 years.
In both places, the USPS has screwed up almost every package delivery, almost always without apology. (Frequently resulting in packages going back across the country with me never having even seen a missed delivery notice.)
There's not even a useful way to complain to anyone higher up the food chain than the local postmaster, who, based on the three I've spoken with, is useless 100% of the time.

I, for one, am thrilled to see them dropping Saturday delivery of some items. They need to start running the operation like a business instead of a government agency if they intend to hang around much longer.

I never have a problem with UPS or Fedex.

about 2 years ago

Turning SF's Bay Bridge Into a Giant LED Display

enigma32 Re:25k addresses, not so challenging (99 comments)

Agreed. Chamsys' or other commercial (or open source-- see OLA) tools have been around to do these sorts of things for years.
This is really no big deal.The entertainment lighting industry does this all over the world, all the time.

Except there it's often previsualized in a computer months before anything is even assembled in the real world. There is no need to "debug" this sort of thing on the bridge itself. Simple video animations can drive 25k pixels without a problem and are very predictable in a simulation.
This is simply a publicity stunt.

I don't see what the big deal is. Yes, it looks nice, but there is nothing even remotely exciting about this.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Is Going To a Technical College Worth It?

enigma32 CompSci? (309 comments)

Sounds to me like you're more interested in _Computer Science_ than programming or "IT".

Maybe you need to reconsider the program you are in, or attend a more serious education institution?

more than 2 years ago

Hiring Smokers Banned In South Florida City

enigma32 Re:Have you seen the tobacco packaging in Australi (1199 comments)

Wow. I hadn't seen this. Unbelievable.
This is another great example of ridiculous government regulation.

I'd be interested to see a statistic of how many smokers are unaware that their habit (or indulgence, in the case of those who do in infrequently) is harmful to their health.

Does the government really think that people don't know this?
Just another waste of money all around.

more than 2 years ago

Brown Signs California Bill For Free Textbooks

enigma32 Re:California needs to get itself under control (201 comments)

Actually, I have given reasons for why I hate California.
I hate it because everything here is completely nonsensical.

California is ranked 49 out of 51 for unemployment (not good at all): http://money.cnn.com/interactive/economy/state-unemployment-rates/
And at 7.25%, California has the great distinction of having the highest minimum sales tax in the US. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sales_and_use_taxes_in_California)

And no, my objection is not baseless. It's based on the fact that government spending on something like this ridiculous textbook program is a waste when there are other alternatives out there (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_textbook#Projects) already generating these things for free. Why should the state of California pour money into something that already exists? There are much more important issues to deal with (like that 10.6% unemployment rate, or being ranked #6 for state debt: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/24/states-debt-combined-may-exceed-4-trillion_n_1029162.html#s429797&title=6_California)

I have evidence backing up my claims. But go ahead and keep loving your socialist paradise while it continues to spend itself out of existence. At least I know I'll be moving back to sanity in a couple years.

more than 2 years ago

Brown Signs California Bill For Free Textbooks

enigma32 Re:California needs to get itself under control (201 comments)

Actually, my wife is here to attend a quality private institution that just happens to be located in this socialist state.

As for my "favorite little states", I am referring mostly to NY, which is half the population of but fares much, much better than California.
And New Yorkers may much high taxes per capita than CA residences, so you haven't got much to complain about there.

more than 2 years ago

Brown Signs California Bill For Free Textbooks

enigma32 Re:California needs to get itself under control (201 comments)

Probably because most of those east coast states have anywhere from half (think New York) to 1/75 (Vermont) the population of California. It is much easier to achieve consensus and compromise with less people. What you end up with are a lot of great intentions that are picked apart until they either fail or become a shell of the actual intent. That being said, California still leads the nation on many issues and is probably best considered a testing ground of potential national ideas.

The whole life situation in California is much crazier than anywhere else I've ever been. Are you saying that it's harder for people in CA to make good decisions than it is for the nation as a whole?
I know it is nonsensical here because I've lived on both sides of the country, in big cities and small towns. Can you say the same?
I recently renewed the registration on my car. After spending over an hour looking for the renewal form on the DMV website I gave up and just went to AAA. They told me it's not actually called a "renewal" form in California. Unfortunately the CA DMV site never explains that anywhere on their site, and worse, they don't link to the form from any of their informational pages about the process!
Now go compare that to other states. It's pretty easy elsewhere (search for "NY DMV registration renewal" and see what I mean). Why is it harder here? I don't know, the state is just screwed up. No one thinks before they do things here.

Re: freely available educational material paid for by the government being a bad thing if not utilized

No it is not. Open access to material is always a good thing. If you don't like the way the Universities choose material for classes, then lobby the Universities directly or start your own University using the Open material.

Actually, you're just dead wrong here. A waste of money is a waste of money no matter how you look at it. If the CA government pays for these books to be developed and published and they aren't used, it is-- by any definition-- a waste of money [because the product of the expenditure is not being used].
I agree free access to educational material is a good thing (and if you had read my initial post you would know that), but I don't see this particular program benefiting anyone in any conceivable away unless it gains the support of the folks actually teaching the classes. [And again, how is the CA government going to head up the production of 50 text books for college courses if they can't even manage to have a proper link to a car registration renewal form online?]

We need to stop footing the bill for all the crappy southern states and instead demand a better return on the federal taxes paid by our residents.

Hmm. Or.. [stick with me here]... we could stop trying to spend money on worthless things like high speed trains between San Francisco and LA, textbook programs that won't impact anyone, and other useless expenditures before going after more dollars to waste!

The solution in government is never to get more money. That just drives inflation. The solution [for government, anyway] always needs to be keeping things as efficient as possible so that the government doesn't consume more of the income of the people it supports than absolutely necessary.
Throwing money away on useless programs doesn't help at all. Making existing programs more efficient first, and then trying to do wonderful things like give away educational materials (which are already available for free elsewhere) is a good thing.

more than 2 years ago

Brown Signs California Bill For Free Textbooks

enigma32 California needs to get itself under control (201 comments)

This is ridiculous.
I moved to California a year ago to be with my wife will she attends grad school and I have been appalled at the insanity that regularly occurs in this state as compared to anywhere the East coast.

1) Freely available educational material is fantastic.
2) Having the government pay for freely available educational material that will not necessarily be used by the college courses they are intended for is bad.
3) Forcing professors to use the state-sponsored books would be even worse. The Government can't get anything right, so I certainly wouldn't want some bureaucrat deciding what books were going to be used in a course I was taking.
4) This state doesn't need to spend any more money on anything. Period. They need to get their spending under control before trying to enhance things. 10%+ sales tax? Very bad! And I can hardly wait to see my income taxes for the past year.

This is a terrible idea. The CA state government needs to start thinking about NOT defaulting rather than blowing money on ridiculous schemes with no payoff.
There are already some freely available texts anyway, from programs pioneered by top universities. Why not incentivize things like that rather than trying to take more under the government umbrella?

more than 2 years ago

Soda Ban May Hit the Big Apple

enigma32 Re:And what exactly did we expect? (1141 comments)

I, for one, have thought about most of those consequences and STILL DO NOT WANT A NANNY STATE.

I don't pay for health insurance because I will not give one penny to our overpriced healthcare system unless my life is in immediate danger. If that meant I had to die in the street, so be it. I'll stand up for my principles with my life.

Supporters of the Nanny State would expect the State to step in and protect them when they will stand up for something with their lives. Yet another choice they apparently aren't grown-up enough to make on their own.

For millions of years nature has naturally weeded out individuals that made poor decisions. Why should we fight against that so strongly rather than accepting that some people make bad choices (e.g., eating entirely too much) WHILE KNOWING THAT IT IS A BAD CHOICE and will pay the price?

more than 2 years ago



Associations against our losses of freedom?

enigma32 enigma32 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

enigma32 (128601) writes "With all of the recent talk of law enforcement's issues with photography and the continuing degradation of the ability to travel without harassment or annoyance at trivial issues, I've become fed up with the situation. I'm really sick of losing my rights and feeling powerless to fix it. What organizations are you all involved in to help work against this problem? What politicians can I support to work against this idiocracy? How can we stop the senseless spending on useless security theatre gestures? What can I do to help?"

New SheevaPlug Announced

enigma32 enigma32 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

enigma32 (128601) writes ""The Marvell Plug Computer 3.0 comes with a range of new features over the previous model which include a built in hard drive, as well as integrated Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity."
And a 2ghz processor. Price expected to be similar to the original SheevaPlug- around $99."

Link to Original Source

ISP Port 80 Block by TOS

enigma32 enigma32 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

enigma32 (128601) writes "Just why is it that so many ISPs get away with charging extra for a specific port in our pipe? Granted, the average internet user has no clue what port blocking means. But upon recently going out of town and attempting to check some automation goodies in my house but forgetting to leave apache open to a garbage port number (8080 and 8000 are also blocked) I became extremely perturbed. Even when I try to complain to my provider, the best I can do is leave a complaint through a customer service rep on the phone, so the rep can pass it to their supervisor, who will supposedly email it to someone who might care. I refuse to pay extra for services that won't detract from their bottom line (e.g., running a well-secured personal webserver-- which I used to do for years without difficulty using RoadRunner) but I can't even catch the ear of anyone that can do anything, let alone get them to do something. What can we as a community do besides support slow paced net-neutrality legislation and encourage the FCC to help us from being screwed by the monopolies we're forced to pay homage to?"


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