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Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Place To Relocate?

notjustchalk Re:US (999 comments)

[Insert mythic deity here] save you if you get chronically sick or have/develop a medical condition.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Place To Relocate?

notjustchalk Re:US (999 comments)

...So if Canada has 10% or more of the U.S' debt and our debt has been steadily rising by an exponential factor of around 5% - 10%...

Canada's debt has been exponentially rising by around 5% - 10% per year


You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

more than 2 years ago

Valve Unveils Steam For Schools, Portal In the Classroom

notjustchalk Re:does Steam work under firewalls that most schoo (83 comments)

YMMV, but as an IT-admin turned teacher, I can tell you in my neck-o-the-woods, the lockdowns are simple AD policies for Windows and a rather crummy 3rd party AV/FW combo. So, it's really just as easy as getting central admin to whitelist a few more executables and IP addresses (which may not even be necessary as I'm fairly sure this is not going to be an "always online" type Steam app). This won't be a problem IT-wise, but without a strong IT person onsite it may become a "convenience" issue (ie. central admin may not want to deal with support).

more than 2 years ago

Valve Unveils Steam For Schools, Portal In the Classroom

notjustchalk Re:Unless the school uses Linux of course (83 comments)

Oh come on, seriously? The vast majority of schools are still using some flavor of Windows. I am as gung-ho about Linux as your average /. reader, but even I can see the benefits of this coming out now rather than waiting for the Linux port (which I am waiting eagerly for). Beyond just that, most large school boards run locked down MS desktops which are centrally managed - you think that's going to change anytime soon?

more than 2 years ago

Valve Unveils Steam For Schools, Portal In the Classroom

notjustchalk As a teacher, I say Kudos to Valve! (83 comments)

Here's the actual site that Valve has published regarding this particular effort:

A few things not quite clear in TFA:
1) These are not retail versions of Steam nor Portal 2:
1a) As mentioned, it is a locked down version of Steam called Steam for Schools. Only one application is available right now:
1b) A modified version of Portal called Portal 2 Puzzle Maker which takes most of the concepts in the game but makes it more interactable (i.e. here's a room, here's a pallette of tools, here's what you need to figure out or do...) - a game design tool more than a game.
2) For the teachers among us (me included), they've already collected a number of lesson plans for both Physics and Math curriculums. They're both tending to higher grades (ie 9-12) right now (e.g. parabaloid motion, harmonic oscillation, gravity, spatial geometry/volumes, etc) which makes sense, however, I've only taken a cursory glance as I'm supposed to be marking exams right now... (oops). They're also accepting lesson plans, etc.
3) It looks like they're aiming to extend lessons into the Chemistry, Game Design, Language Arts, and more categories - color me excited as I'm a Chem teacher!

It's unfortunate I'm only finding out about this right now as it's pretty close to the end of the school year, but I supposed the summer is a good time to play with it and figure out how to integrate it into the classroom. For those who are already getting steamed re: "they should be buying textbooks, etc", I have to say that computing resources are already in schools and to a large part being wasted on Facebook and flash games for the most part - this is just another tool to enrich courses and make the curriculum come alive. Oh, and for those that would rather us teachers "take our students outside to learn about physics", I challenge you to a) take more than 5 kids outside and try to keep a lesson run coherently with all the sundry distractions and b) try to do it in the middle of winter.

Kudos to Valve for willing to venture into this territory! Now, let's just get that Linux port finished already okay...? :)

more than 2 years ago

Sony: 10 Million Credit Cards May Have Been Exposed

notjustchalk Re:Ok (251 comments)

Why does everybody collect and store all these data centrally?

Because "paying for stuff" isn't the only reason Sony collects your data. There's also advertising (especially targeted/predictive), data mining, data sharing (both internally and externally), tracking/trending, etc. I think that data is a lot more valuable sitting on their servers than it is hidden in your console - hence, whatever the cost, it will remain there. That really goes for any internet aware service, not just Sony/PSN.

more than 3 years ago

GM Loses Money On Every Volt Built

notjustchalk Re:They Make It Back on Software Sales & Suppo (471 comments)

... they hold a razorblade to your b*lls

"There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum, it's breathtaking, I suggest you try it..."

more than 3 years ago

The Return of the Microsoft Kin

notjustchalk Re:Really?? (92 comments)

Apple's iOS is like that beautiful dominatrix. Controlling, manipulative, and demeaning.

Steve Jobs is the new John Romero - he doesn't have clients, he has bitches.

more than 3 years ago

DoD Takes Criticism From Security Experts On Cyberwar Incident

notjustchalk Just another vector for funding... (116 comments)

Since when was efficacy or even logic a metric for whether or not a new department/task-group/domain/[insert group du jour] is deemed "necessary" for any govenrmental body? This is just another not-so-subtle attempt at widening the jurisdiction of the military. After all, if the boogyman is unmasked, why, another must be conjured lest we all wake up to the cold truth that these people are simply pissing large reams of money down the tubes.

In the end, all of this will be justified after the fact despite any protestations. War on terror, anyone?

ps. Although if you think about it, it's somewhat ironic that antivirus firms (Sophos, Symantec, etc), which have been frequent fear mongerers themselves, are calling the military on fear mongering.

about 4 years ago

Old People Enjoy Reading Negative Stories About Young

notjustchalk +1 Redundant? (122 comments)

Schadenfreude (Scha¦den|freude)

Pronunciation:/d()nfrd, dnfryd/

noun [mass noun]

* pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune


"Get off my lawn"



about 4 years ago

Google Stops Selling Its Own Phone

notjustchalk The consumer had lost (196 comments)

This is really too bad. Up here in Canada, we're stuck with disgusting 3 year contracts (the 2 year ones have hardly any discount) with egregious profiteering (world's highest text msg prices for instance) and a culture of neglect after you've bought a phone from our oligopoly of carriers. The N1, expensive as it was, really was the best option for a good, unlocked, and free (as in freedom) smartphone. Any Android you get up here will assuredly be abandoned by the carriers - after all, new firmware means less sales according to the carrier. It really meant that the only consistently upgrade friendly Android phone was the N1.

Where I think Google failed was in not offering more choice like a certain fruit-labelled, obsessed-with-lock-in software maker. After all ~$500 for a phone, cheap though it may be over the long run, is a psychologically difficult barrier to overcome. I do believe, however, that having a few options that were cheaper (with appropriately pared down features) could have made it a more profitable venture. Sadly, I would have bought an N1 in the near future, but now it looks like I'll be sticking with my dumbphone.

Furthermore, trusting people to make buying decisions on long term fiscal calculations (without any assistance), might have been ambitious in retrospect. Maybe putting a cost calculator on the N1 website might have helped?

more than 4 years ago

Tom's Hardware On the Current Stable of Office Apps For Linux

notjustchalk Re:KOffice 2 (121 comments)

Maybe this was added on later (?), but they did give a reason for not putting in KOffice 2:

Please note that I used KOffice version 1.6.3 for this roundup. Version 2.0 of KOffice gets full KDE 4 integration and a major face-lift. Though the long-awaited 2.0 has been officially released, it was not yet available via the official repo of any major distribution at posting time. Also, the KDE project tends to make its .0 releases the first look at the development of a new version, not a stable milestone like most other software houses.

I think he's got a point about the "stable milestone" part - remember KDE4?

more than 4 years ago

HotelChatter's Annual Hotel Wi-Fi Report 2010

notjustchalk Close the barn door, Martha! (157 comments)

I find it ironic and more than a little insulting when certain hotels (ones that typically charge high room rates) try to gouge an insane amount of money for wifi from travellers when free wifi is all but the nearest coffee shop away. Why do these places, many of which cultivate an air of "our service separates us from the other rabble", treat their customers with such contempt when it comes to wifi? One would think they would do anything to keep what business they have and actively work to get more customers (especially when just about every small mom and pop B&B has free wifi!).

ps. Hyatt Regency Vancouver, I'm looking at you! (benefit of the doubt: that was a couple of years ago)

more than 4 years ago

Gardening On Mars

notjustchalk Re:GECK? (262 comments)

Ha, that's certainly somewhat more appropriate. However, I think the GECK was introduced in Fallout 2, IIRC.
Also, didn't the German version have all sorts of censorship - ie. no children in the game, less violence etc? Such silliness.

more than 4 years ago

OLED Film Could Provide Cheap Night Vision For Cars

notjustchalk Green or BW? (120 comments)

Is there a typo in TFA here?
"The result is a monochromatic green-tinted view of the area in front of it."

But the image caption under the green-tinted rendering is "Conventional night vision image, via David Kitson, Creative Commons 3.0". Plus, it looks pretty grainy/low-res compared to the newer BW rendering which is captioned "New 7-series to feature high-tech night vision system".

Regardless, if the IR image is overlaid onto the screen (HUP) display, mightn't oncoming traffic lights be blinding and actually restrict vision at times?

more than 4 years ago

Gardening On Mars

notjustchalk GECK? (262 comments)

"...a starter kit for the first colonists."

I'd lobby for it to be called the Garden of Eden Creation Kit, but there might be fallout from that decision...

more than 4 years ago


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