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'Microsoft Lumia' Will Replace the Nokia Brand

hendrips Re:reborn? (139 comments)

Say what? I'm pretty sure the meaning of the word "reborn" is very much the opposite of "dead."

Semantic quibbles aside, Nokia is very much alive and kicking, as an independent and hopefully revitalized company. They have about 56,000 employees, $15.5 billion in revenues, and and a $30 billion market capitalization. They have been consistently profitable since shedding their phone division, with profits for the upcoming fiscal year expected to be around $1.5 billion. For reference, that puts post-spinoff Nokia at a bit larger than Texas Instruments, and a bit smaller than EMC/VMware (depending on exactly how you measure a company's "size").

9 hours ago
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IBM Pays GlobalFoundries $1.5 Billion To Shed Its Chip Division

hendrips Re:Bigger fuckup than John Akers (81 comments)

I can't speak for any of IBM's other decisions, but in this case I have to strongly disagree with you. The IBM semiconductor business has been losing money hand over fist recently. They can't compete with Samsung or TSMC on price and volume, and there's not enough interest in specialty chips or POWER to make up the slack. It costs at minimum $5 billion to build a new fab, and IBM would have to build at least one, maybe two new fabs, not to mention updating their existing fabs, in order to be competitive with the big guys.

So, IBM could spend $5 billion - $10 billion just to catch up to their competitors, and still be at a very serious risk of the division being unprofitable, or they could spend $1.3 billion knowing for certain that the bleeding will stop. I only wonder what took them so long.

Also, for what it's worth, IBM is allegedly doing this deal in part so that it can focus more money into design research. They've announced a $3 billion investment into their semiconductor research division, which they aren't getting rid of. The implication is that the manufacturing division was crowding out any other R&D spending, and that IBM can now focus on high margin ARM-style licensing instead of getting dragged further into a war with TSMC et al. that they would inevitably lose.

2 days ago
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"Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

hendrips Re:Bad summary? Or horrible editorializing? (259 comments)

Colloquially speaking, "hacking" means malicious exploitation of computer vulnerabilities for personal gain or other nefarious purposes.
Colloquially speaking, a megabyte consists of one million bytes.
Colloquially speaking, "virii" is a fake word made up by computer nerds who didn't understand Latin.

Should I be expecting Slashdot to get on board with these colloquialisms as well?

about a week ago
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Symantec To Separate Into Two Companies

hendrips Re:Synergies never emerge (86 comments)

Never is an awfully strong word. Just off the top of my head, Apple/Siri, Micron/Elpida, and Lenovo/IBM Thinkpad have all been extremely successful mergers with obvious synergies. But most successful mergers are boring and don't make the news much, whereas we've been hearing about HP's ongoing woes for at least three solid years.

about two weeks ago
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What's Been the Best Linux Distro of 2014?

hendrips Re:Mint (302 comments)

I'll throw in my agreement with Mint for desktop users.

In my house, my wife is the Linux advocate, while I'm the one who's fond of Windows 7. This is in spite of the fact that I am usually the technically competent tinkerer, and she wants things to "just work." But my wife loves Linux because she never has to call me for help any more now that she got a new laptop and put Mint on it (that's not really a knock on Windows, it's just that her old laptop was a supremely crappy Vista machine that was always crashing).

My wife doesn't have a clue what ALSA or Pulseaudio are, she just knows that she can play all of her music through Amazon Cloud Player. She could care less about open vs. proprietary document formats; she just knows that she can do word processing without paying for Office, while still saving to files her friends & family can read. And she certainly doesn't care about the finer points of human-computer interface design; she's just happy that all of the icons and buttons are in the "right place," where she expects them after almost 20 years of using Windows. Most of all, she loves the fact that Mint never crashes.

Congratulations, Linux advocates. I never thought this day would come. But there's finally a distro out there that 1) can be installed and operated by a technically un-savvy but vaguely intelligent home user using only basic Google skills 2) requires minimal support from technically inclined friends/family 3) is rock stable 4) never, ever requires the use of the console 5) can perform all the basic functions an average home user would want (actual average users, not Slashdot's imaginary "average user") 6) and is still open-source, Unixy, and tinkerable.

Heck, I don't even use Linux, and I'll still say that I love Mint. Why are you Linux On The Desktop advocates not making a bigger deal about Mint?

I will note, however, that my wife flatly refuses to use the GIMP, both because of the weird interface and the awful name. It's the only thing that can make her switch back to her Windows partition. Can't someone come up with something better?

about two weeks ago
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Robotic Taster Will Judge 'Real Thai Food'

hendrips Re:Well .. most asian food in the US is crap (103 comments)

Not only that, but keep in mind that some immigrant cultures have been in the U.S. for a long time, and their cooking styles may drift over time. Chinese-American cuisine has been around for over 150 years, and allegedly is much more similar to native Chinese cooking from 150 years ago that to today's native Chinese cooking.

Anecdotally, I have found that Vietnamese-American food, which is a much more recent cuisine style than Chinese-American, is relatively similar to native Vietnamese, with decreased spicyness being the main difference.

about three weeks ago
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Robotic Taster Will Judge 'Real Thai Food'

hendrips Re:Moron (103 comments)

People who like spicy food are stupid? I guess that writes off Thailand and most of the Indian sub-continent, along with plenty of other people.

Seriously, I feel like this is a new low in Slashdot insults - not because it's obviously incorrect, but because it's such an unimportant and unnoticeable personal preference (at least if you were insulting someone's bad taste in fashion or grooming or art, you could complain about having to look at the result). Really, I'm stupid because of the food that I like?

about three weeks ago
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Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

hendrips Re:scientists gonna science (460 comments)

Because the citizens are paying their wages. Scientific research, especially in the academy, is mostly funded by government grants (been to graduate school, learned that the hard way). The money for those grants was forcibly extracted from the citizens via taxation. So yes, scientists who are using government grant money had damn well better be serving citizens. Sure, their job is to "do science," but that science ultimately needs to provide some good to the public, eventually.

Unfortunately, sometimes the best service a scientist can offer is to tell the people things that they don't want to hear.

about three weeks ago
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Physicist Claims Black Holes Mathematically Don't Exist

hendrips Re:Short Memories (356 comments)

The scientific community claimed no such thing. Random idiots did though. Says Wikipedia:

The flight mechanism and aerodynamics of the bumblebee (as well as other insects) are actually quite well understood, in spite of the urban legend that calculations show that they should not be able to fly. In the 1930s, the French entomologist Antoine Magnan, using flawed techniques, indeed postulated that bumblebees theoretically should not be able to fly in his book Le Vol des Insectes (The Flight of Insects).[159] Magnan later realized his error and retracted the suggestion. However, the hypothesis became generalized to the false notion that "scientists think that bumblebees should not be able to fly".

about a month ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

hendrips Re:The UK Cobol Climate Is Very Different (270 comments)

Look, I like to think of myself as a fiscal-conservative/libertarian, but when I read something this elitist and out of touch, I really start to sympathize with those Occupy idiots.

about a month ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

hendrips Re: The UK Cobol Climate Is Very Different (270 comments)

On the one hand, I absolutely agree with your sentiments. Suits suck. But having said that, if buying a new suit for an interview is a hardship, there are several charities which offer free or low-cost suit rentals to those who need it for a job interview. Now, you might say that the mere need for such a charity service is disgusting in itself, and you'd be right. But, since we're stuck with this problem for the moment, it's probably the best way to help those in need. You might want to check around your area and see if any charities accept suit or "interview clothes" donations.

about a month ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

hendrips Re:The UK Cobol Climate Is Very Different (270 comments)

Every professional workplace has an expectation of a formal atire.

That's a very questionable assertion these days. I would suggest that most workplaces, at least in the United States, do not require "formal attire" in the sense that you seem to mean it except on special occasions. It's called business casual for a reason. Even my neighbor, a lawyer, only has to wear a suit if meeting with clients and/or appearing in court.

Many small, but no less professional, companies, have dropped even that. To use myself as a completely anecdotal example, I usually wear a $30 pair of jeans and a $15 button down shirt from Costco to work. My boss wears a football jersey to work on Fridays. Our company president, quite the fashion leader, can often be seen in shorts, a plaid shirt, and with three days of stubble. We are expected to dress "well" when meeting clients, but that's fairly rare since most of our work is over the phone or email, and even then a full suit is not required. Somehow this has not prevented our firm from making gobs of money hand over fist, and I don't doubt that the lack of perceived B.S. that we have to go through is one reason our employee retention is so high.

about a month ago
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Home Depot Confirms Breach of Its Payment Systems

hendrips Re:Just bite the bullet (111 comments)

After the Target breach, the bank that issues my credit card cancelled that card and sent me a new one. They didn't give me a choice, and they didn't give any warning.

Every account that relied on my card information had to be updated. One of my bills - car insurance - bounced because they cancelled my old card before I had time to update that account with the new card info. It's quite galling to pay a late payment fee and have my credit rating potentially dinged for not paying a bill that I had enough cash on hand to pay a hundred times over.

The worst part of it was that I hadn't even been to Target in years - my bank just panicked and sent everyone new credit cards. So while I theoretically didn't have any liability, there was still a fairly major annoyance, not to mention a late payment fee.

about a month and a half ago
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UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013

hendrips Re:Meanwhile in the real world... (427 comments)

The math pedant in me would like to point out that, technically, a null hypothesis can never be established. Statistical tests can only "reject" or "fail to reject" a null hypothesis.

And that's the point - the null hypothesis is that there has been no change temperatures, and there is absolutely enough statistical evidence to reject that hypothesis.

about a month and a half ago
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Combating Recent, Ugly Incidents of Misogyny In Gamer Culture

hendrips Re:One bad apple spoils the barrel (1134 comments)

Interesting - the more people pick on a victim, the more it becomes the victim's fault? Quite the logic there.

about a month and a half ago
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How the Outdated TI-84 Plus Still Holds a Monopoly On Classrooms

hendrips Re:No calculator should be required for (math) tes (359 comments)

I sympathize with the sentiment that calculators are overused in high school math courses, but I don't think it's necessary to ban them entirely. There are certain classes of problems that really make sense with sense with a calculator - compound interest is an obvious one.

Example: I invest 1$ in a bank account paying 3.5% interest compounded continuously for 30 years. How much money do I have at the end of that time? Well, you could leave your answer as e^1.05, but that's not a particularly intuitive answer and won't help a student much in their real world financial decision making. You could use those old fashioned log & exponential tables, but that would be pretty stupid and the students would rightly resent you for giving them busywork. Or you could just use a calculator to figure out it's $2.86 and move on.

Besides, calculators can remove a lot of drudgery for students, especially the more talented ones, even when problems can be done by hand. Multiplying matrices and calculating determinants by hand are extremely easy tasks - an intelligent high school student can pick up the algorithms in 15 minutes. Actually doing the calculations, however, takes a mind-numbingly long amount of time relative to how difficult the algorithms are. As an algebra II teacher, I could:
1) not teach linear algebra, which would be an annoying restriction, especially considering how useful it will be in physics next year,
2) make students do all calculations by hand, which will be a colossal waste of time for my more intelligent students, not to mention making them hate me,
3) ask mostly theoretical questions on tests and homework, which isn't really appropriate for a general purpose high school class,
4) teach my students to use R, which would be great if any, much less all, of the other math teachers knew R, and if I magically got 30 new computers in my classroom, and if teaching 30 students of varying technical ability how to use R weren't a bit of a time sink,
5) give in, let students do the grunt work by calculator, and spend more time teaching them applications and how to set up problems.
I'm pretty sure that option 5 is the least bad option for the average high school teacher, even if it is also the least ideologically agreeable choice.

about a month and a half ago
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How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

hendrips Re:Better idea (202 comments)

Well yeah, but that was long after the pyramids had already been built.

It's really hard to get a proper sense of how long-lasting and unchanging ancient Egyptian civilization was. Ctesibius probably invented the aeolipile steam engine sometime around 250 BC in Alexandria. The first Egyptian pyramid was built ca. 2700 BC, and the last pyramids were completed ca. 1750 BC.

about 2 months ago
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How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

hendrips Re:Slave labor is still the best explanation (202 comments)

Careful though - what you say is pretty much correct as far as I know for Old Kingdom Egypt, but it's not universally true of ancient cultures.

In Rome, for instance, the distinction between slave and citizen-peasant was a Really Big Deal, with a whole host of legally enforced distinctions.

Sometimes it even varied within a single civilization - in the Byzantine Empire, the Anatolian lower classes did indeed form a single amorphous serf-like peasantry of the type you describe, while the European portion of the Empire maintained much stricter protections for the free lower classes, maintaining the tradition of their Roman predecessors.

about 2 months ago
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Amazon To Buy Twitch For $970 Million

hendrips Re:Sad (61 comments)

2500 years ago, the Ancient Greeks gathered by the thousands to watch naked men grapple each other and throw sticks in the air.
1500 years ago, the Byzantines gathered by the hundred thousands to watch men ride in circles in carts.
500 years ago, Europeans all over the continent dressed up in hundreds of pounds of metal and ran into each other waving sticks.
50 years ago, Americans began watching young men throw pieces of pig hide at each other by the millions.

Curiously, the Apocalypse has failed to manifest itself for any of these events. Rather, Classical Athens, Justinian's Constantinople, Renaissance Europe, and Cold War America all tend to be considered civilizations at the height of their political and/or cultural dominance.

Somehow, I suspect that I'm not going to be meeting the Four Horsemen anytime soon because of Twitch (unless I'm watching someone play Diablo, maybe).

about 2 months ago
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New HP Laptop Would Mean Windows at Chromebook Prices

hendrips Re:Why bother? (215 comments)

Um what? I count 328 laptops under $250, just including laptops running Windows 8 and Windows 7. There's a $229.00 ASUS laptop literally right there on the front page of Newegg right now.

about 2 months ago

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