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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

rgbscan Re:Time to add another layer of BS indirection: (469 comments)

You seem to know your stuff. What's a good mid-range brand for an intermediate student? I'm tired of renting. What's the, say, Intel Core i5 of violins?

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Experiences With Free To Air Satellite TV?

rgbscan Re:Are you in the USA? (219 comments)

There's a lot of random free stuff out there. This list is pretty up to date usually. You'll need something motorized though...


about three weeks ago

Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

rgbscan Re:Bitcoin (455 comments)

Undoing moderation to post this (sorry) but I have first hand knowledge of this having worked in merchant payment processing and setting up these accounts and terminals for customers. The standard VISA contract prohibits you from charging more for card purchases, however you are totally allowed to offer discounts for cash. You can not market the card as costing more (say, posting a sign saying 3% upcharge for VISA customers) but you are completely welcome to post a sign saying 3% discount for paying in cash, using a loyalty card, showing up dressed as a chicken, or whatever. Promotions and discounts are fine and are considered marketing events - "upcharging" VISA customers is not allowed and considered a penalty to customers. As long as you market correctly you're in the clear. VISA's business manual even has examples of this in their do's and do not's section.

about a month ago

Drone-Assisted Hunting To Be Illegal In Alaska

rgbscan Re:Redefine hunting. (397 comments)

Please don't support HobbyKing. Aside from the ethics of them selling chinese knockoffs and second-shift runs of everything in R/C, most of it is junk. I've had three speedos come DOA, a LiPo pack puff in 3 uses, and a charger that showed up unable to charge 1s packs even though it was advertised as being capable of doing so. In only one case did I get a refund, and that was a 7 week adventure involving a Paypal dispute. DIY it yourself with a Arduino based setup or something if you want to keep costs down, but don't sell your soul to the R/C junk cartel.

about a month ago

Water Filtration With a Tree Branch

rgbscan Re:Take That, Capitalists! (205 comments)

There's already a company selling a variant of this.... using a coconut shell based filtration system working on the same principle. www.drinksoma.com

about 2 months ago

How Jan Koum Steered WhatsApp Into $16B Facebook Deal

rgbscan Re:why do people use WhatsApp? (136 comments)

Its just an instant messenger. Not everyone has unlimited, or international texting. Using the data plan often makes more sense.

about 2 months ago

Financing College With a Tax On All Graduates

rgbscan Re:Holy cow, a decent idea! (597 comments)

Agreed. Add smaller class sizes to the list. I went to a school with a 16:1 teach/student ratio. No giant hall 101 class lectures for me. Every teacher knew my name and knew me well. Cost a bunch extra as a private school over what I could have got in community college or a public institution but I thought it was important.

about 2 months ago

Death Hovers Politely For Americans' Swipe-and-Sign Credit Cards

rgbscan Re:Better late.... (731 comments)

I beg to differ. As someone who travels overseas and needs a chip and pin card, they've been available for years. You're just not looking hard enough. See: http://creditcardforum.com/blog/chip-and-pin-credit-cards-usa/

about 2 months ago

Canadian Spy Agency Snooped Travelers With Airport Wi-Fi

rgbscan Re:Airport wifi (159 comments)

I recently traveled to the UK and back on Delta on an A330. Their info-tainment system in the seatback had an 8 inch touchscreen panel with both a headphone jack and a usb jack. Plugging it in to USB allowed charging and streaming of any local content you had (provided it was non-drm'd). It was this system, although I couldn't id the manufacturer: http://boardingarea.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/pointmetotheplane/files/2013/08/tumblr_mqccx6yrK41spl3lco1_1280.jpg

about 3 months ago

Online Streaming As Profitable As TV, Disc Sales By Charging Just a $15 Flat Fee

rgbscan Re:The WWE Network is about to switch to this mode (160 comments)

In addition, you'll have access to the shows that play on cable, as well as terrestrial TV on the same day the networks get them, as opposed to just the back catalog and PPV's. Good deal if you're a fan.

about 2 months ago

Best skywatching equipment at my disposal:

rgbscan Re:Friends have better gear (201 comments)

Here's a review of what he was talking about:


about 2 months ago

Hacker Says He Could Access 70,000 Healthcare.Gov Records In 4 Minutes

rgbscan Re:Throw money at it! (351 comments)

I disagree. I'm still waiting for the IRS to process a form I sent back in October. I call every couple weeks and they say due to sequestration the customer service staff has been cut and they'll get to it when they get to it. It's driving me crazy.

about 3 months ago

Game Review: Path of Exile (Video)

rgbscan Re:What ever happened (177 comments)

Or the whole Neverwinter Nights series?

about 5 months ago

Torvalds: Free OS X Is No Threat To Linux

rgbscan Re:the second dose is free (314 comments)

Snow Leopard was free for a while last year. By download or by disk. As part of the MobileMe shutdown and transition to iCloud, they were giving away Snow Leopard for free to anyone that filled out the form and asked for it, just in case the lack of Snow Leopard was the reason you weren't migrated to iCloud yet. I managed to snag a couple DVDs of the OS direct from Apple. Of course if you missed it, you're SOL now :-)


about 5 months ago

Anant Agarwal Answers Your Questions About edX and the Future of Education

rgbscan Motivation (20 comments)

" I was chatting with a learner who was taking an edX course in Krgezistan and he had to drop out half way. Later he told me that he discovered that there were three other students taking the same class in his town close to where he lived, and had he known that, he would have connected with them and stayed the course. Following these learnings, we are encouraging our students to form study groups through meetups, and facilitating this with links to meetup sites in the course introduction email. "

And this is exactly why online courses are not a good option for most people (slashdot folk excluded). Unless you are very good at self motivation and individual work, online courses are a disaster. Having to be physically present, to hand something in or be shamed, to have the pressure of knowing the right answer if the professor chooses to call on you, to having a piece in a group project and knowing you're letting real world people down if you don't do your part, etc, etc. These are all things the traditional settings brings that the MOOC's can't touch.

I'm definitely the slashdot type and generally love learning for the sake of learning (I'm actually wrapping up my 3rd college degree right now). I can say from experience though, while I might love pulling out an Objective-C book and picking and choosing the bits I want to learn to whip out an App quickly, there's no way I can function well in an online classroom. I'll put off the deliverables that bore me until the very last minute. I'm very relectutant to engage in the required "chat sessions" and mandatory "post in the forum once per week and respond to three other students posts" type of setup you see in online classes. It just hasn't worked for me. As an anonymous learner among hundreds I don't feel any peer pressure or implied social connections that would motivate me to get over the hump on some of the busy work.

When the EdX guy himself is saying that physical presence and study groups are to be encouraged, you can see this whole on-line thing isn't the panacea our politicians keep touting. They are perfect for a certain subset of learners. Great for them, but not a silver bullet for the rest of us.

about 6 months ago

U.S. Spy Panel Is Loaded With Insiders

rgbscan Re:Hope and change (330 comments)

Agreed. I would have love to have voted for Huntsman. I even contributed to his campaign.

about 7 months ago

Bill Gates Acknowledges Ctrl+Alt+Del Was a Mistake

rgbscan Re:Why not SysRq? (665 comments)

You can press the eject button on every Apple keyboard. Or right-click (control-click) the disc and choose eject. Or click to highlight the CD icon and press CMD + Y (put away) or CMD + E (eject) - Not much of a difference anymore, but in the old days when floppy swapping on a single drive was the thing, "eject" would leave the disc icon and directory contents cached on the desktop even after it spit out the floppy. If you clicked into it and tried to retrieve a file or whatever it would prompt you to insert the disk so it could complete the operation. At the time it was nice, since you didn't have to remember what was on what disc through trial and error, or writing really small on the floppy label, you could just have it psedu-mounted and still see the contents of multiple disks on your desktop on a single floppy system.

If you were finally done with it, you could drag the cached image to the trash can to "unmount" it. The "put away" command OTOH ejected the disk and removed the cached image immediately. Dragging the disc from the get-go to the trash had the same effect as "put away".

about 7 months ago

Why Is Microsoft Setting More Money On Fire With Surface 2?

rgbscan Re:You see this in small businesses (616 comments)

Don't worry about the AC.... Politfact has your back on this... http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2013/sep/23/marco-rubio/marco-rubio-favors-defunding-obamacare-opposes-gov/

about 7 months ago

The last time I used a dial-up modem was...

rgbscan Re:Early cable (410 comments)

In Fall 1998 I participated in AT&T/Media One's Broadband test. It was a one way cable modem. You dialed in for the uplink and then a giant ISA card received the downlink. It just listened for packets addressed to you. Everyone's bits got blasted down the same pipe. Had it for about 6 months until they merged with Comcast.

It was awesome. I was pulling about 2m down, with my 56k up. mIRC and DCC were my best friends :-)

about 7 months ago

Apple Sued For Dividing Final Season of Breaking Bad Into Two On iTunes

rgbscan Re:Why is Apple the one being sued? (458 comments)

Traditional seasons are falling by the wayside. A "season" used to basically follow the traditional U.S. school year. New shows in the fall, running through the spring - with summers of re-runs. Usually 22 shows or so.

Look at shows like the walking dead. Premiered on the last day of October. Ran for only only 7 episodes, then a long break until the following October. Shows like Supernatural and Smallville traditionally kept their summer reruns going well into fall, often debuting the new "season" in late December. Way back in 2002, the show 'Felicity' had new shows in the fall, took the winter off, and had new shows again in the spring. Ensuring that new episodes were always on during 'sweeps' and in the slower periods they ran reruns. Walking dead took a similar break in season 2 (minus the reruns) with 6 shows, a 3 month break, and the rest of the season airing. This allowed them to not compete with the superbowl, as well as introduce a new show in the same time slot viewers were accustomed to tuning in. Curb your enthusiasm season 8 consisted of just a few new episodes spanning only the three summer months but it's sold as a season. Jesery Shore seasons 5 and 6 span the same summer physically but were aired a year apart as separate seasons since the first few weeks took place in Italy then they flew back to Jersey to continue the summer - which you could argues should be one 'season' as it's a continuing storyline with no break. Glee seasons 5 is being split out over two years so they can keep the actors in their "senior year" for two seasons and not advancing a grade every season as they had been.

There's all kinds of monkey business in what constitutes a tv season. The traditional understanding is falling by the wayside in a world of DVR's, streaming, and ratings grabs.

about 7 months ago


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