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Is Attending a CS Conference Worth the Time?

mad_clown Re:Depends (244 comments)

I'm not in CS, but I agree with MrEricSir. Not only is presenting at a conference a big confidence booster, but it can also open up a lot of doors for you if you impress the right folks with your presentation. I watched a colleague present a paper at a conference last year only to seem him be approached afterwards by no less than three different people giving him contact information for potential job opportunities in the non-profit international law sector.

Again, that's a pretty long way from CS, but it's probably more common than you think.

Find the money and go to Utah. Maybe try to find a pertinent mailing list and see if there are other people who're in a similar boat who'd like to split the cost of a room with you. Depending on how big the conference is, it might be fairly easy to find someone.

more than 3 years ago
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Comcast-NBC Merger Approved By FCC

mad_clown Re:Obama: liar, weak, or naive? (268 comments)

You know. Except for all those Republicans who did. But clearly you weren't paying much attention.

more than 3 years ago
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Should Colleges Ban Classroom Laptop Use?

mad_clown Re:Wuntootree... (804 comments)

1) More like "the taxpayer's money," for most people. And while it may be "your choice" to put yourself into an academic environment, once there you are expected to abide by certain rules, like a real grown up. You're not a special little snowflake and sometimes you don't get to do whatever you want.

2) Chaotic offices and call centers are indeed loud, distracting places. How this is supposed to be an argument for making classrooms into loud, distracting places, I am not sure. If you can't "deal with" having to put your toys away in certain environments, maybe you should think about finding a kitchen to work in, rather than wasting your time going to college.

3) ... Old people?

more than 3 years ago
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Should Colleges Ban Classroom Laptop Use?

mad_clown Re:I agree - for large lectures (804 comments)

sell assessment and certification/accreditation, not instruction

^This.

Also, and it varies from field to field, but I think coming to class and having a discussion about various interpretations or applications of certain ideas is usually a lot more valuable than the actual content of the reading itself. You might very well be able to go home and read and think about the ideas of (insert person here) on your own, but chances are you're not going to be exposed to questions (and answers) you hadn't thought of, elucidations and tangents that are interesting and illuminating, etc.

If you just want to learn stuff why bother going to college? Just go buy the book and do it on your own.

more than 3 years ago
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Should Colleges Ban Classroom Laptop Use?

mad_clown Re:College is a choice... (804 comments)

You want to get rid of the nanny state? How about starting with cutting the student loans system so that students can't rely on... the nanny state to subsidize their four (or five!) years of partying and doing everything possible to avoid learning a damned thing.

Oh, that's not what you meant?

more than 3 years ago
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Should Colleges Ban Classroom Laptop Use?

mad_clown Re:College is a choice... (804 comments)

college is a good opportunity for teenager-cum-adults to have the freedom to make their own decisions in an environment which helps them to measure themselves

I happen to think that part of this should absolutely be learning that, while you have the freedom to make your own decisions, those decisions frequently have unpleasant consequences. There should not be the expectation that one can do little more than plant their ass in a seat a few times a week and screw around the whole time and then, after all is said and done, swagger out of class at the end of the quarter with a decent grade.

Unfortunately, today's special little snowflakes demand exactly that from the very professors they call "assholes" behind their back for daring to assign 15 pages of reading (an assignment that, all too often, goes uncompleted anyways).

more than 3 years ago
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Should Colleges Ban Classroom Laptop Use?

mad_clown Re:College is a choice... (804 comments)

In my classes, all laptops, cell phones, non-class-related reading materials, etc. are banned. If you need to use a laptop to take notes, you ok it with me first. If you get caught breaking these rules, you lose a letter grade, period. Dicking around with this stuff is disrespectful to the instructor and, as someone who was on the other side of the desk not so long ago, it's extremely annoying to other students who don't want to hear your phone buzzing every 30 seconds or whatever.

It's not about being a hard-ass for the sake of being mean. It's about setting ground rules and establishing from day one that this is an academic environment and everyone is expected to act like an adult. If they can't handle that, they're free to find another class or, better yet, re-evaluate what they're doing with their lives.

Such rules are harder to implement in huge lecture classes, granted, but in smaller classes they seem to work just fine, especially if there's a TA who can keep an extra eye out for you.

Losing a whole letter grade for something as stupid as a text message is something that even the thickest of undergraduates don't want to deal with, especially when they're already only pulling a C- for turning in half-assed work.

more than 3 years ago
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Woman Sues Google Over Street View Shots of Her Underwear

mad_clown Admit it... (417 comments)

Everyone who clicked on this story initially mis-read the title as "Woman Sues Google Over Street View Shots of Her in Her Underwear."

more than 3 years ago
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Oregon To Let Students Use Spell Check on State Exams

mad_clown Re:In what subject though? (235 comments)

...in other classes you should be marked for the knowledge taught in those classes.

If a student's spelling and grammar are so terrible that they are barely able to express their ideas, then grading them on that basis is totally appropriate. Moreover, when a student turns in a paper riddled with spelling and grammar errors, it's immediately clear that they didn't spend half a second proofreading, which is a wonderful indication of how seriously they're taking their coursework.

"This isn't an English class, so you shouldn't grade us on spelling and grammar" and "I felt like I was graded on my grammar, not my ideas" are the favorite refrains of lazy students who crapped out a paper the night before it was due and couldn't even be bothered to give it a once-over.

The number of functionally illiterate students who walk through the doors of my classroom (college level) is staggering. Anything that gives them more incentive to slag off their education and turn in lazy work is a bad thing as far as I'm concerned.

more than 3 years ago
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Ubuntu 9.04 Released

mad_clown Re:Jaunty (620 comments)

I'm holding out for "Tantric Turtle"

more than 5 years ago
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Kentucky Officials "Changed Votes At Voting Machines"

mad_clown Re:Election Fraud (494 comments)

Perhaps.

more than 5 years ago
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Ubuntu vs. Windows In OpenOffice.org Benchmark

mad_clown Re:Like Windows users are gonna care (262 comments)

Unlike the anonymous douche bag below--who's apparently running OO on an IBM XT--for us: OO = total success.

Well, I can't speak for the anonymous douchebag, but OO.org flies on my XT once I disable Java!

more than 5 years ago
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Kentucky Officials "Changed Votes At Voting Machines"

mad_clown Re:Election Fraud (494 comments)

Is this supposed to be irony?

more than 5 years ago
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Kentucky Officials "Changed Votes At Voting Machines"

mad_clown Re:Election Fraud (494 comments)

It's astonishing, though, how many of Obama's hirelings have "made mistakes" on their taxes. "Mistakes", moreover, that if any of us plebians made, would probably land us in jail.

Kudos for the ad-hominem, though.

more than 5 years ago
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Linux Foundation Asks Who Says "I'm Linux" Best

mad_clown Re:What a second... (459 comments)

I was going to say "I'd pay for that," but I realized that it wouldn't be appropriate, given the context.

more than 5 years ago
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Kentucky Officials "Changed Votes At Voting Machines"

mad_clown Re:Election Fraud (494 comments)

it's easy to make something sound bad by slapping a label on it

It's also easy to make something look good by employing silly blandishments.

"Protecting the environment" can mean anything from "keeping people from dumping toxic waste into the local lake" to "burning down car dealerships," depending on who's doing the "protecting." "Protecting your rights" often morphs into "hate speech laws" that have the perverse effect of infringing on First Amendment rights. "Fighting crime" is a completely meaningless term (I'd love someone to explain to me what a "root cause" is without resorting to worn-out racial tropes), and "protecting consumers..." is all too often a smokescreen for increased government intervention in the economy, which, as the housing crisis has amply proved, often has a hand in... crashing the economy.

I'm also rather shocked that you'd consider socialism merely an "economic system," when the very point of socialism is that the state assumes control of the economy. Any time the state is involved in anything whatsoever, politics becomes important.

more than 5 years ago
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Kentucky Officials "Changed Votes At Voting Machines"

mad_clown Re:Election Fraud (494 comments)

What we're saying is that when Republicans do it, the criminals are protected and sheltered by the party. When Democrats do it, we eject them from the party and prosecute them.

Which of Obama's tax-cheating nominees have been "ejected from the party" and prosecuted? How about Dodd? Or Rangel?

I'm so tired of Democrats piously informing everyone else about just how "tough on their own" they really are. You're just as bad as the Republicans.

A pox on both your houses.

more than 5 years ago
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Linux Foundation Asks Who Says "I'm Linux" Best

mad_clown Re:What a second... (459 comments)

God, I can just see RMS doing that commercial. Only the commercial would be about 15 minutes long, and would contain multiple instances when he exclaimed "GNU stands for GNU's not UNIX! It's a HACK!!!"

more than 5 years ago

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