The Amazon Fire TV Is Kind of a Mess
Really? Amazon streaming works wonderful here.....
Tried netflix, couldn't find any real advantage of it over amazon and we already had a prime membership for our regular amazon orders so reason to pay for netflix....eventually replaced cable TV with an amazon kindle fire hd 10.7" and season passes to shows on amazon that we now own and can download to the tablet or stream as desired.
The firetv appliance seems to be nothing more than Amazon trying to find a way to shift programs at will between the tablet and a larger display for family viewing. It's also a subtle way for amazon to test out the waters of the the gaming set top box business via use and expansion of their existing android app store.
Using this box primarily for netflix or not trying to take advantage of tablet tv transfer would seem to be missing the point of the whole endeavor.
25% of Charter Schools Owe Their Soul To the Walmart Store
Public school teachers are all well and good, but from the Parent perspective (who has the strongest interest in the education of their child):
* The parent has no control over which specialist/teacher is chosen. In fact, in many school districts, the assignment of students to classes isn't known until 5pm on the Friday before the first week of school. This just hammers in that the child will be forced to attend the school assigned classroom regardless of the parent's interests or concerns about the teacher.
* The parent has little to no control over what is taught in the class - and has little ability to protest or take their child out if they find some material offensive or inappropriate.
* The school sets the emphasis on the various subjects, which might be completely opposite of what the parent believes is correct for his child.
* Even if a parent is willing to work with the child when he comes home from school on those areas he/she wants to emphasize or reinforce, typically the child will have other conflicting homework or be worn out - simply lose his creativity after attending public school for many years.
* Sometimes the parent believes the teacher/school is actually teaching wrong information, or the child is being exposed to bad influences/culture - How much time does the parent spend every week deprogramming their child when he/she could have been teaching/reinforcing instead?
Taking active direct control of the childs education by reading up, becoming familiar with educational topics and curriculums, which books are good/bad, what teaching philosophies work/etc and then choosing the right educational venue (public, private, tutor, home school, coop) would seem to be a better approach.
But honestly, a lot of parents are afraid of homeschooling because they think they couldn't stand being around their child all day or that they just can't teach effectively....or that the child is somehow losing out. For grades K-8, it honest is not that difficult and with a larger family and some careful planning there is no issue with socialization. And just 2-4hrs/day of direct 1-on-1, or 1-2 education time between a parent and child easily matches or surpases what a child learns by being one out of 30 students during 5-7hrs of public school. All home schooling really requires is an educated parent with a reasonable amount of time, modest resources, and the drive/commitment to make it work. As for specialists, I'm currently home schooling my 3rd and 5th graders and will consider exposing them to community colleges professors or dedicated online classes when they get to high school for those subjects that need substantial expertise.
25% of Charter Schools Owe Their Soul To the Walmart Store
Most states allows groups of parents in a neighborhood to group together and form homeschool co-ops. This can significantly reduce costs and save time - but the tradeoff decision should be made by the parent based on what they think is the best interest of the child. In any case, public schools really are just one option among dozens and there is no real reason why it should be the default - especially these days with the huge amount of educational resources available online or via amazone or various community groups.
Parents only have a limited number of years to set the entire trajectory for their childs life - Taking 10 years off work to homeschool a child shouldn't be something that unusual - and, if more parents just took the time to investigate the education options available and what could be taught via a customized curriculum tailored to the child - I'd expect we'd see much higher overall academic achievement, stronger families, and more realistic/better balanced kids.
25% of Charter Schools Owe Their Soul To the Walmart Store
Good parenting means taking _complete responsibility_ for your childs education. If your public school is awesome, great - but that only goes a little way. The culture, values, education, and effort/commitment of the parents has always been the number one predictor of a childs future academic success. Public schools are also limited in what they are allowed to teach your child - forced to comply with what is polically correct, what politicians and businesses have managed to redefine the subjects and ideas to study as, and what the local/state/federal government have compromised as the textbooks and teachers that your kid will interact with. These are usually far from the best choice which you learn about in great detail if you go and investigate on your own and then put together your own educational plan which you implement via home schooling, careful selection of private schools, or selective hiring of tutors.
Having kids was never supposed to be about the state taking over most of the responsibility for education, or for being a gloried childcare center because both parents work, or something that could be handled without careful planning and ensuring one had the necessary resources ahead of time. Politicians and the public can talk all they want about improving public schools and overall childhood education, but the further responsibility and teaching moves away from responsibile active parents - the worse the result will always be. We've had a 100 year slide away from families and responsibile parenting and nothing is going to be fixed in education until we reverse it.
How Can Nintendo Recover?
I'm a casual gamer 'dad' interested in fitness with several home schooled kids. I'd expect my family to be the ideal target demographic for the WII U - and indeed, we purchased one since the playstation/xbox were essentially banned - we don't want to feed FPS and junk games to our kids.
Still, what does WII offer us in terms of quality games?
- Wii Fit Plus (just a modest bump over the older wii fit, should have been better).
- Wii Sports Club - OK, took forever for them to release it, some of the sports (e.g. bowling) do not simulate as well as they should. The best game seems to be golf...but come on, it isn't that much better than the old wii sports game.
- Legend of Zelda - Finally released, kids are interested in it...we'll see.
- Mario Junk...no, not interested
- Not much else...
So, basically, the WII U is a decent platform hampered by a lack of quality games for its target market, and the few good games took forever to be released...
I might feel better if I knew Nintendo worked well with third parties and was planning to release a large set of good games over the next year....but I think Zelda and Wii Sports Club have been taking nearly all their resources and it doesn't seem like the relations with third party devs are that good at the moment...
FBI Edits Mission Statement: Removes Law Enforcement As 'Primary' Purpose
The city of rome being sacked by barbarian invaders from 390-500AD is what historians commonly use as a milestone to mark rome's fall. It is however, more interesting, from a comparitive perspective to note the long decline and increasing struggles of rome from ~100BC onwards. This is partly because it clashes so much against the amazing and astonishing rise of rome during the preceeding 650 year period. It is almost like history plays itself forward and reverses itself in a pyramid shape across a 1100 year period. People can not help but wonder about it.
The actual sacking of the city is almost irrelevant to the story.
In any case, there are hundreds - if not thousands of discussions, movies, and books that one can ingest to get a better understanding. Rome and its leaders were aware that they were in decline relatively early on, but they could not stop the momentum.
With regard to military spending, some have argued that it was not the spending so much as the romes need for ever increasing borders to protect itself which required ever more soldiers to patrol/fortify which also involved ever more absorbtion of other cultures/people without traditional loyalty to rome or roman work ethic.
Likewise, many historians have suggested that during Rome's rise, the conflicting classes of roman society were able to compromise, share common values, sacrifice for common good, and accept the results of elections even when their candidates did not win. All of these necessary components of society stopped functioning around 50BC and there is no single reason. The decline was as much cultural as economic as military.
For First Three Years, Consumer Hard Drives As Reliable As Enterprise Drives
While consumer drives overall might not have a significantly higher failure rate than enterprise ones, I can think of a few differences:
a) consumer drives are nearly always 7200rpm for normal models, 5400rpm for green or laptop models which directly influences the number of small random disk operations that can be performed per second and the overall maximum throughput. Enterprise drives typically range from 18000rpm at the very high end to 7200rpm at the absolutely lowest end, with 10K rpm probably the most common for bulk storage and 15000rpm for data intensive settings.
b) Enterprise drives are usually available for multiple connection types (fiber/SAS/SATA) whereas consumer drives are nearly always SATA only.
c) For some drive vendors, SMART reporting is much more consistant for enterprise drives. Also, the number of extra sectors on the drive made available for bad blocks to ensure the full capacity of the drive and to remap defective sectors can be significantly higher.
d) The newest difference between enterprise and consumer drives is that some manufactures are intentionally disabling typical enterprise firmware features on the consumer models, drive commands that are helpful for hardware raid/etc.
e) Guarenteed repair warranties on enterprise drives are frequently at least 1-2yrs longer than consumer
f) More attention is usually given to the impact of constant drive usage in the design of enterprise drives than consumer. While the average failure rate for drives in a 2-3yr timeframe may not be that different, I wouldn't be surprised if usage patterns over 5-10yrs resulted in a significant divergence. It's not that unusual for enterprise storage systems with dozens to hundreds of drives being in operation for at least 5 years, and frequently 10 years.
Also, I'd be curious about temperature variation tolerence. The longer a drive survives, the more likely it is to be exposed at least at some point to a brief period when normal building a/c fails or the computer chassis fans/etc fail....Not a few datacenter drive replacements have been required after datacenters have had power blips that resulted in a/c going offline for 10-20 minutes. This may not be a big deal for modern consumer drives where usage is relatively minimal and the drive is at least partially in low power mode.
Legislation Would Prohibit ISPs From Throttling Online Video Services
What we need is a mandatory uniform labeling and advertising requirement for internet access services.
We have nutrition labels telling us what is in food.
Whe have labels telling us exactly what is and not included when we buy a car.
There can be perfectly legitimate reasons for internet access providers to block or prioritize traffic. Consumers may even want to pay for a cheaper plan that has more limitations.
As long as it is simple and easy for a consumer to compare and see what they are buying, the government doesn't need to be involved in what internet access services can and can not be sold. If we ever get to a point where internet access impacts consumer safety, there may be a minor role for ensuring specific sites and services are accessible - but there really isn't any reason to treat the internet any differently than a myriad of more mature industries.
Creating a rule specifically addressing video services is a bad law, and is crony capitalism. A few generations ago, the American voting public would have understood this and punished politicians that tried to make an end run....now we are all just a mob that opportunistic politicians cater to based on whatever is the fad of the momement. We are getting the government we deserve.
Uneven Enforcement Suspected At Nuclear Plants
Redstates want to keep nuclear, and even *gasp* coal because they believe society needs jobs and cheap energy to grow and be stable.....so, yeah, they don't overregulate and hound the industries to death with mini-taxes meant to increase costs under the guise of safety....
Blue states - however......for them, the sanctity of gaia and a pure green earth is more important than anything else so......in those areas, they gladly double and triple energy prices and make do with much higher levels of unemployment and consider the nuclear/coal industries, when they are not banned all together, as free sources of additional state taxes....any possible violation is a way for the state to charge another fee....hip hip hooray. Whatever....it's not like someone else won't end up burning all that coal and it all goes into the same atmosphere...witness california coasts getting polution via ocean winds from china and having to export its manufacturing jobs elsewhere.
Lockheed To Furlough 3,000 On Monday, Layoffs Also Kicking In
Correct me if I'm wrong, but budgets themselves are meaningless as far as funding the government goes. What actually counts are funding bills for the individual major departments of the federal government. To my knowledge, it was only the house that went through the effort of sending those real funding bills to the senate where the senate tabled them. The house ignored this because that is what they are supposed to do....for the legitimate funding process to work, the senate needs to take up the house bills, modify them as they see fit, and then send back to house - if both chambers are roughly in agreement, then for each bill the congress selects a comittee to merge both bills into one and then have both chambers approve the resulting merged department budget. So, if I'm following this correctly, the senate actually hasn't done anything necessary to fund the government this year....except to request that the house avoid doing any work and pass a combined bill that funds all departments at the inflated budgets agreed several years ago when democrats had the super majority and a major stimulus was passed minus some meager spending cuts/sequester the house did manage to get through during the last debt increase vote... That hardly seems responsible... I can't see how the senate can legitimately complain at all about the house if the above is true.
What Developers Can Learn From Healthcare.gov
Sure, let's believe there is some neutral news site that we can all agree to use for news....
But, first, let's agree to get rid of the partisan sources:
NPR, CNN, nytimes, dailykos, slate, politico, washingtonpost on the left
foxnews, breitbart, redstate, hotair, instapundit on the right
What is left?
Thanks for pointing out the need to ban references to these sites....it's a good things our founding fathers agreed to ban unapproved speech...we definitely should not trust even our adults to properly filter out biased news sources....
U.S. Government: Sorry, We're Closed
Republican members of the house were elected to do two things:
a) cut spending, as the house has primary responsibility in the constitution for the budget....this is where they will frequently make a stand. Unfortunately, the democrats boosted the budget substantially using the financial crisis as an excuse and have yet to restore normal spending levels. They also refuse to follow the normal budget process. When the republicans in the house pass a budget for negotiations, the senate sends it back with major spending increases and then refuse to consider any cuts. This forces the house to make a decision every year about whether they are willing to shut down the government over the senates irresponsibility and intrangence. We're lucky the republicans have been as patient as they have the last several years.
b) Stop or significantly reduce the overwhelming sweep of obamacare. The president and senate has refused to negotiate.
Given the arrogance of the above behavior by the senate and president, I see no reason whatsoever why the house should play mr nice....they have the responsibility for choosing which laws are funded. They've chosen to fund everything else but the health care law. That's generous. If you want to change that, ask your senator and president to negotiate.
U.S. Government: Sorry, We're Closed
Oh, stop that junk about obamacare originally being a republican idea. Did you ever say something stupid and than have someone else make it 100x worse, proclaim it loudly to the world, and then blame it all as your idea?
Yes, one republican think tank suggested that an exchange type system where people are required to purchase health care might be an alternative to Clinton's health proposals....it went nowhere in the federal government, and the think tank later said they were stupid to have suggested it.
Romney implemented his own system in Massachussets without approval from natioanl republicans, but a) MA is a blue state and is far from mainstream republican opinion, b) Romneycare was put in place to prevent democrats in Massachussets from implementing a far worse system, and c) Many republicans refused to vote for Romney in the presidential election due to his involvement in romneycare. Lastly, there is quite a bit of feedback that suggests Massachussets has had to make major changes to keep their system functional, and despite that the cost has been much higher than originally assumed. Many of the proponents are no longer as fervant.
That democrats are now saying obamacare is based on republican ideas and thus the republicans should approve it is pure partisan drivel.
U.S. Government: Sorry, We're Closed
The house is not obligated to fund any law. It has chosen to fund everything in government, but some aspects of a single law that relates to the federal government takeover of the health care industry.
The senate has decided that funding for that law is so important, that they're willing to shutdown the government over it.
That's why the government shut down.
Yahoo! Sports Redesign Sparks Controversy, Disdain From Users
+1 Apparently someone at Yahoo just thought if they could get enough new flickr users, it would bring in more profit for yahoo.....so they stupidly went for an over the top UI + essentially unlimited uploading plan that has made it too cumbersome for established users to keep using the site for what they were doing before (sharing photos, participating in discussion groups, and commenting on/browsing other photos)...
The Decline of '20% Time' at Google
Your refutal of the maxime shareholder profit argument may be technically correct, but it's probably simplistic....whenever an officer of a company makes a decision that can be questioned as not maximizing profit, he is opening himself up to the possibility of a shareholder lawsuit. If the officer is the CEO, the risks are even greater.
So guess what happens...the ceo is advised by his lawyer how to behave, the ceo advises his subordinate managers how to behave, and the a new culture trickles down...
No one is to blame but the system here.
Congress Voting On Amendment to Defund NSA Domestic Spying Tomorrow
Bah, things could be worse.....consider being a republican in the northern portion of San Diego:
City Council Rep is a democrat --pretty much votes opposite of what I would
City Mayor is a corrupt democrat -- he's bringing city business to a halt and making San Diego a laughing stalk nationwide
State Legislature is entirely controlled by democrats and veto proof majority -- destroying the economy of the state
State Governor is democrat and a great liar saying he has balanced the state budget while just pushing the expenses into future years, raising taxes, or making county governments take over state responsibilities.
Congressional Representative is a democrat - says the right thing, but always votes opposite of what I would
State Senators (both) are democrats -- By my standards, I consider both of them crazy
National President is a hardcore democrat
There isn't anyone in power from my local city to state to congress to president that in anyway represents my beliefs...And, I get to pay high taxes for this representation...
Hollywood's Love of Analytics Couldn't Prevent Six Massive Blockbuster Flops
I stopped going to the movie theater a few years ago, like many.....now if I like a movie, I wait for it to be released for the Kindle Fire and watch it there or download it from Amazon to the tivo connected to the plasma tv(only tv in the house which is seeing less and less use).
In any case, to get me to purchase, a movie should have most of the following traits:
Plot -- Actually exist, ideally I want to be surprised rather than guess the ending within the first 20 minutes
Relevance - Zero Dark Thirty wasn't an awesome movie, but it was very relevant and therefore got the cash.
Artistry/Time - Movies should take as much time as needed to tell their story and be comprehensive with multiple conflicts/concepts/etc, I'm not going to pay just because this years superhero movie is out..... Older classic movies were much longer than most movies today, and even the best movies of the last twenty years have been somewhat longer than the normal movie that is released which must be between 100-120 minutes regardless of how much has to be cut.
Politics -- Movies are produced to reflect the politics of whatever the college age generation is at the time (they are the ones who have the time and motivation to go to the theater)...In the 80's, we had some modestly conservative movies come out, but still most movies showed both sides of issues and tried not to be too patronizing....now, most movies lean substantially left....and talk down to anyone who disagrees... If one isn't an eco-fascist, Avatar loses a significant amount of its appeal.
Character -- Movies are so expensive these days that one will feel guilty buying it just for oneself, which means that movies that I feel comfortable sharing with my kids are more likely to get the cash..... A significant number of movies are failing here.
Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Committee Leaders
The problem with this justification, even if it is true, is that it assumes that we can trust our government with ever increasing amounts of power and surveilance over lives despite the fact that we know that more power = more corruption, that government will inherently misuse the power and tools it has access to, and that polarization/decline in morality in our culture is resulting in our leaders feeling the have more leeway to push the boundaries of what is permissable. And, just timing wise....this leak coming right after we've found out that the president has been using the IRS to punish his political enemies and ensure his opponents power was reduced during the recent election....
Basically, what you are saying might make sense if the culture and ethics of Americans and our leaders was beyond reproof, with the government we have --- it is more likely to be used to supress domestic dissent (to maintain internal power) rather than to stop our external enemies.
Ask Slashdot: What Is the Future of Old Copper Pair Technology?
In my experience:
- For business and critical home office connections, reliability is the single most important aspect when evaluating internet connectivity options
- Due to the telecom deregulation bill in the 90's, the major phone companies have essentially killed off all competition for DSL and relegated DSL as a consumer technology where the emphasis is high bandwidth, low cost....reliability has plummeted, phone company can arbitrarily take down DSL for 24-48hrs to do upgrades/maintenance and there is nothing you can do about it other than get a pittance level SLA refunds later. Promised repair times are meaningless for DSL.
- Cable Internet Connections are even worse, they are shared and latency can vary by time of day....if you are lucky, you can upgrade to a business cable connection...but you are unlilkey to get a high uplink speed and cable companies were really not designed to provide good customer service. Some cable companies also offer fiber or gigE services which are not shared and provide real advantages...but this is hit or miss based on your location. And, until recently -- too expensive. We've just reached the point where they are a better deal than cheap bonded t-1.
- Bonded T-1 historically been the best solution for those needing 4.5Mbps or less, 2-3 seperate dedicated lines and the routers automatically adjust if one or several lines go up/down...packets fragments are reordered and checksummed on each end, there are good built in diagnostics, and phone companies are usually exceptionally diligent about fixing most T-1 issues within 4hrs. Bonded T-1's are one of the few areas where you can find reasonable SLA's ....e.g. get much of a months bill refunded if service is down for an extended period. Unfortunately, bonded t-1's are becoming somewhat less reliable as customer centric t-1 companies like speakeasy are being purchased by the telecoms and then sucked into crappy business practices that companies like megapath offer.
So, bonded t1 is OK for the time being, but I expect most customers are in process or planning a switch to fiber/gigE once they can get the SLA's and availability at the locations of interest.