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Microsoft Trying To Patent a 'Magic Wand'

mkcmkc My GOD! I could use it to CONTROL MY TV!!! (157 comments)

FROM ACROSS THE ROOM!!!!!!!!

As a method of projecting power, there's a lot to be said for the patent system, as opposed to billy clubs, but beyond that it usually seems really lame.

more than 5 years ago
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Wolfram Alpha Launches Tonight, On Camera

mkcmkc Al Gore is off the hook (218 comments)

now that Wolfram has claimed to have invented the Internet (everything that counts, anyway)...

more than 5 years ago
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How Google's High Speed Book Scanner De-Warps Pages

mkcmkc Wood chipper? (209 comments)

This is way better than my idea, which was to throw the book into a wood chipper, scan the results, and then algorithmically reassemble them...

more than 5 years ago
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What Can I Do About Book Pirates?

mkcmkc several mistaken assumptions (987 comments)

The free copies aren't boosting sales for my books.

With all due respect, there's no way you can possibly know this. Even if you spent a great deal of money trying to find out whether or not this was so, you'd be unlikely to get a reasonably solid answer.

In general, people grabbing such unauthorized copies fall into two classes: (1) wouldn't have bought it anyway, and (2) will buy it as a result of having first seen the "free" copy. You lose no money either way.

A much bigger problem is that when I do that Google search, I'm directed to much newer compression textbooks, and a search on Amazon barely rates. That's what's killing you.

more than 5 years ago
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Square Enix Shuts Down Fan-Made Chrono Trigger Sequel

mkcmkc still an important principle (455 comments)

I'm not a serious gamer (anymore--still nursing an old Quake injury :-), but lately I've been picking up a few titles. One of the ones I was considering was a Final Fantasy game. I might have bought it soon. Now I never will. I'm aware that Square Enix simply doesn't care about people like me, but it's still $10 or whatever straight out of their bottom line, and I get to feel good about acting congruently with respect to my principles.

There are a lot of problems with capitalism, but one of the really great things is that frequently you get to choose where to spend your dollars, and when you withhold them, that's coming straight out of the company's hide. You don't get that kind of control with voting.

more than 5 years ago
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Windows 7 RCs Shut Down To Force Updates

mkcmkc As opposed to just crashing every two hours? (414 comments)

Will they include a dialog box so that we know Windows didn't just crash again?

Actually, this reminds me of an entry from SKB's classic Devil's DP Dictionary:

blank card n. Also called spacer card. An unpunched card placed in an input deck at 10,000-card intervals. Since electromechanical devices enjoy a consistent 1e10^4 error rate, the blank-card trick minimizes the impact of card-reader malfunctions.

An oldie, but a goodie!

more than 5 years ago
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Challenges Ahead In Final Hubble Servicing Mission

mkcmkc piano : Earth :: ? : in orbit (130 comments)

weigh as much as a grand piano back on Earth

I'm not a physics expert, but if it weighs as much in orbit as a grand piano does on Earth, wouldn't that give it the mass of, say, the Titanic?

more than 5 years ago
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Ten Features To Love About Android 1.5

mkcmkc Re:i would, but data plan is risky & incompreh (384 comments)

Clearly you know about large roaming fees. Yet you don't seem to be willing to sidestep the issue by leaving the phone at home. That just means that you are a troll.

My CDMA phone had a very important quality that a GSM phone does not: If I forget to leave it at home, flip some switch, do a little happy dance, or whatever it is I'm supposed to do, it won't ruin my life.

Ever heard of risk management? If a house had a big, red button one had to press once a day to keep it from exploding, I could "sidestep the issue" by just remembering to press the button, but there's no way in hell I'm going to buy such a house. I have more than enough things in my life that require my vigilance--I don't need another.

Thank you for the rest of your informative post. I already go completely pre-paid, partly for the reasons above, and partly because I want to be able to switch carriers rapidly when they (inevitably) screw things up. So far I hadn't found anything authoritative that says that a pre-paid SIM even works in an Android phone. (Well, I guess I still haven't, but at least it's another data point.)

The first phone company that comes out with a simple deal that says "this is what you get, this is what it costs, cancel anytime" is going to wipe the floor with the rest of the competition.

more than 5 years ago
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Ten Features To Love About Android 1.5

mkcmkc i would, but data plan is risky & incomprehens (384 comments)

I would love to have and develop for one of these, but the various service plans required to use them seem murky, incomprehensible, and extremely risky.

  • Murky and Incomprehensible: Can anyone surf one of the Android sites and figure out WTF plans you actually need to run these phones and what it will cost per year? It's worse than buying a house. I'd rather try to figure out the federal deficit.
  • Risky: I keep reading these stories about people who traveled and came home to discover a phone bill larger than my annual salary. Sorry, but I am not going to risk my financial well-being to own a whizzy phone.

Until they can fix these problems, I'm sitting on the sidelines.

more than 5 years ago
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More Fake Journals From Elsevier

mkcmkc Re:"restless leg syndrome" is quite real (249 comments)

One difference is that you can in principle avoid biting your nails, at least for a while. I imagine that even the most compulsive can cease for five minutes.

If you're having a restless leg attack, then you're having it, and there's not much you can do in the short run to stop it, short of suicide.

It's certainly possible that RLS is fallout from all of the wonderful fast food, drugs, lethargy, etc., that comes with a wealthy economy.

more than 5 years ago
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More Fake Journals From Elsevier

mkcmkc "restless leg syndrome" is quite real (249 comments)

Try to find incidents of Restless Leg Syndrome (by that name or any other) prior to the advertising campaign. See for yourself how difficult that is. Then you will see that it's not some malady that has plagued mankind over the years for which we finally have a treatment.

Having slept with someone who was tormented by this for months, I can assure you that it is quite real, whatever it is. It's possible that it was much rarer (or nonexistent) prior to 1900, but that's hardly proof that it doesn't exist now.

Your argument was going okay until you introduced this howler...

more than 5 years ago
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Hackers Broke Into FAA Air Traffic Control Systems

mkcmkc Yup (124 comments)

I'm not sure it gets much worse than this. I guess the local nuke plant could install a "whack-a-rod" live webcam game and secure it with DMCA technology...

more than 5 years ago
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Why Is It So Difficult To Fire Bad Teachers?

mkcmkc Re:Same as any other profession (1322 comments)

You probably have been working on projects that did not employ post-project evaluations

That's true, or at least, if any were done I was not privy to that knowledge. My impression is perhaps somewhat skewed in that I found these situations unpleasant enough that I didn't stick around to see the inevitable disasters play out.

more than 5 years ago
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Why Is It So Difficult To Fire Bad Teachers?

mkcmkc Re:Higher pay allows more people to consider teach (1322 comments)

I'm familiar with the concept--I just moved out of a similiar district in another large city.

Vouchers, for better or for worse, have been completely tainted by religious conservatives, who see them as a way to use taxpayer dollars to further their agenda.

Private schools are somewhat tainted by this thinking, and are also harmed by the Ayn Rand types who do not understand why (for example) private fire protection is unworkable.

As you say, it's a tragedy that the kids are held hostage to these political agendas. Unfortunately it won't end until we agree that a quality, public, secular education for every child is a fundamental right and a serious priority.

more than 5 years ago
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Why Is It So Difficult To Fire Bad Teachers?

mkcmkc Re:Same as any other profession (1322 comments)

Good teachers deserve our support. Not the bad ones. Being a teacher doesn't give you an aura of nobility simply because.

I don't quite agree. I think if someone goes into teaching with the desire to do good, accepting that they'll never get rich doing it, and it turns out after training up that they're just not very good at it, or don't like doing it, or maybe after 15 years are just plain tired of it, I think they still deserve our support. In this case support might mean radical counseling or retraining to either make them good again in the classroom or find them another niche where they can be productive.

I think we have to accept that not everyone's going to be able to stand 20+ years of dealing with some of the little shits and their insufferable parents, bureaucratic bullshit, false abuse charges (I have relatives who are teachers), etc. We should plan for this.

And yes, of all the professions, I think teaching is one of the most noble. It's just in a completely different class than going into, say, marketing.

more than 5 years ago
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Why Is It So Difficult To Fire Bad Teachers?

mkcmkc Re:Same as any other profession (1322 comments)

Lots of places: several startups, industry and govt, one superlarge corp, etc. I have seen a lot of people fired for basic HR violations--running a business out of one's cube, not showing up to work, etc. But nothing regarding skill.

more than 5 years ago
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Why Is It So Difficult To Fire Bad Teachers?

mkcmkc Higher pay allows more people to consider teaching (1322 comments)

I'm not suggesting "throwing" money at education--obviously we'd like it spent wisely. Looking at districts across the US, it's clear that there's a correlation between quality of education and dollars spent.

One significant benefit of increasing education funding is that it allows a larger set of people to consider teaching as a career, as opposed to their next best alternative.

For example, I have some desire to teach, a graduate degree, and an excellent knowledge of science and technology. I'd have to cut my salary in half, though, and since I have a family, I'm not willing to do this. (In my case, I believe I'd do poorly in the classroom, so this is not much of a loss, but there are a lot of people like me who'd make excellent teachers.)

more than 5 years ago
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Why Is It So Difficult To Fire Bad Teachers?

mkcmkc Details? (1322 comments)

I'd be curious to hear more. Why were they considered to be incompetent? Over what period of time was this measured? Do you think it's a correct assessment?

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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San Francisco DA Outs SF Network Passwords

mkcmkc mkcmkc writes  |  more than 6 years ago

mkcmkc (197982) writes "As we've been reading, San Francisco network admin Terry Childs withheld a number of passwords to the city's routers, apparently because he was concerned that his bosses might do something stupid with them. After sitting in jail for days, he finally relented, giving the passwords to the mayor. Childs' paranoia proved all too prescient, as the San Francisco DA has justpublished the passwords for the whole world to see. No word on whether the passwords have been changed yet..."

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