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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: Fastest, Cheapest Path To a Bachelor's Degree?

stephencrane Check out SUNY Empire State College (370 comments)

They allow you to transfer lots of credits, to write essays to demonstrate life learning, and offer tons of independent study courses to top off any remaining gaps. The essays are pure gold though.

about 4 months ago
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Monster Hypergiant Star Discovered

stephencrane Wow (94 comments)

Just think of all the fold points it must have.

about 5 months ago
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'Data Science' Is Dead

stephencrane Maybe (139 comments)

But this general domain in the realm of contemporary giant data sets is the basic science research of our times. To say that 'data scientist' roles are dead in the near future based on a ROI analysis is to suggest that all these huge data sets aren't likely to pay off for a corp in the near future. And that doesn't sound right at all.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Magazines Do You Still Read?

stephencrane a few (363 comments)

On paper, I still sometimes read Economist and Foreign Affairs. The Economist is just a great grab as you're walking out. It's light, and so much content that's at minimum vaguely interesting that you're never at risk of running out of something to read for the day.

about a year ago
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Eating Meat Helped Early Humans Reproduce

stephencrane Re:Vegan mums today. (487 comments)

It's been my observation that vegans feeding their dogs a vegan diet generally do so in order to keep their household meat-free. They don't want it in their house; it's a moral component that is served by not handling or storing typical dog food (dry or wet).

more than 2 years ago
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The eBook Backlash

stephencrane Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (418 comments)

Mod up. This is primarily why I got the Nook Simple Touch. (That, plus it can be rooted, reads epub, and there are already lots of easy ways to buy from Amazon.) Dedicated single-purpose devices, so long as they are inexpensive enough, tend to have the advantage over multi-purpose devices. I have an iPad, and they're two totally different animals. I only read pdfs on the ipad.

more than 2 years ago
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In Hot Water: The Effects of Even Modern Nuke Plants On Water

stephencrane Re:Solution (303 comments)

Good idea. We can start with anonymous cowards.

more than 2 years ago
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Twisted Metal Designer Rails Against Storytelling Games

stephencrane Want better gameplay? (313 comments)

Go play Breakout. Or Super Breakout, if you need the flashbang. Want an audiovisual literary development with some level of interactivity? Play Planescape, Dragon Age, Bioshock, Fallout 2, KOTOR, etc. You can hate cut-scene-heavy games and still get great narrative. My personal opinion is that cut-scene segments are a bit of a cheat to get there if you're using them for all the heavy story lifting.

more than 2 years ago
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You Will Never Kill Piracy

stephencrane Re:Hollywood won't change (516 comments)

Kodak died because they didn't have the right culture to adapt to changing circumstances. They invented the first digital camera by a wide margin. They knew this was going to be 'a thing'. They just didn't know what to do with it, or how to go about it. The culture that builds a camera and optics meant to last decades is not automatically the best culture to spin off digital camera with ever-increasing feature on a planned obsolescence schedule. They were perfectionists who could not get out from under their Gillette profit model.

more than 2 years ago
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NYC To Open 1st High School Dedicated To Software

stephencrane NYC doesn't do 'trade schools' (188 comments)

People seem to be arguing towards their own internalized assumptions and recollections about what trade schools used to be. (And if not that, then they're arguing over what they dislike about most state and national education priorities, and making this announcement into a target for all their education-related agita.) The fact of the matter is, there are no real trade schools. When they talk about college prep, they're ultimately talking about AP courses and college writing. I've been to a number of high schools in the city, in the 80s, 90s and today, and what vestiges of 'trade school instruction' were still lying around by 1990 are at worst on the periphery. This would be an environment like any new high school, except they'll offer a dozen elective (and maybe 3 or so selective) courses pertaining to software and computer design. It's not an Apex Tech. There may be ancient metal and wood shop classes still around, but whether the've been replaced with C++ and ergonomic design, it hardly adds up to a true traditional trade school.

more than 2 years ago
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The New Transparency of War and Lethality of Hatred

stephencrane Re:Bogus premise (591 comments)

Al Qaeda did not attack us because we stood in the way of the formation of a caliphate. They attacked us, in the final analysis, as a PR maneuver to further their recruitment needs in the war against Saudi Arabia's government. This happened in the greater context of a Saudi-Iranian geopolitical struggle for regional domination. The United States is the one symbol that, regardless of which side you fall in this war, everyone can get behind wanting to take down a peg. It was Al Qaeda's attempt to rewrite the rules of that struggle, and put themselves in a stronger position to negotiate with the local powers and whatever form popular discontent took inside their borders.

more than 2 years ago
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The Four Fallacies of IT Metrics

stephencrane Re:But what's the answer? (223 comments)

Customer Satisfaction. Employee Satisfaction. Average Time to Resolve Incident. Average Cost per Incident. I like these, assuming they're not fudged. If you're running a more ITIL-ized shop, you will also care about the relationship between incidents and Average Time to Close Problems ('problems', in this sense, being those environmental factors that are the ultimate cause of recurring incidents).

more than 2 years ago
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The Four Fallacies of IT Metrics

stephencrane Re:Help Desk (223 comments)

What, are you getting paid by the post? :-)

more than 2 years ago
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The Four Fallacies of IT Metrics

stephencrane I'm currently reading TFA... (223 comments)

..but I'm not so keen on /.'s article description here. "...the use of incidents resolved per analyst per week as a metric for assessing help-desk performance..." Having worked in this area for decades, I can tell you that I can't think of a single IT support org that uses this as a metric. It's a straw horse, of which there are many when it comes to metrics. The three most common metrics are: Cost per incident Customer Satisfaction Resolution on First Contact (sometimes FC is defined as 'resolved at/within tier 1, even if it means') There are usually two more, but those tend to vary on your business and priorities, if you have SLAs/OLAs, and what service channels you offer. Average speed of answer/Time to Respond to Client is usually next. Average Time to Resolution sometimes. People sometimes care about Abandon Rate, but only within the context of the customer satisfaction metric. A nice place may poll for employee satisfaction. A nicer place does it more than 1-2/year. I've never even seen 'resolved/analyst/week' come up in discussions, forums or books going back to the early 90s. And seriously - NOBODY running anything but a penny ante 100 call/week call center would ever try to regularly cook the stats by having friends and family calling in to boost the customer contacts. It's too much work for too little bang, and it's too easily caught. Any place with a real ACD system, eventually, will notice that a not-insignificant number of calls/emails are coming from the same 10 addresses/numbers. It's just not worth it. The description implies the exact opposite. If you don't have a real ACD system and a real incident-management/ticket-tracking software, you're not really measuring anything anyway and you're probably working at a place that's not complicated enough to care about metrics in the first place.

more than 2 years ago
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Europe's Largest IT Company To Ban Internal Email

stephencrane Re:That is insane! (601 comments)

Are you having trouble with the premise of internal customers, or is it just manners that you find difficult?

more than 2 years ago
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Why Everyone Hates the IT Department

stephencrane Re:Why Everyone Hates the Info Desk (960 comments)

I guarantee you that this 'obsession' with remote desktop software has to do with a management initiative to drive down desk-side support costs. This translates to making it a measurable goal of the Help Desk staff to initiate remote support. They're tracking remote support connection utilization/connection volumes, and reporting against it. The help desk staff are probably not allowed to tell you why, they probably secretly believe it's wasting their time and it's slowly making them bitter.

more than 2 years ago
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Net Neutrality and Carrier Incentives To Invest

stephencrane Re:Farmer subsidies need to STOP (170 comments)

The main problem is that the US -does- sell much of our food overseas, but that price point is based on the subsidized price. The price gap isn't recaptured in the form of tariffs. Many countries don't invest in agricultural and associated legal infrastructure at home because there's no way for anyone to grow crops cheaper than the US can sell them.

more than 2 years ago
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US Student Loans Exceed $1 Trillion

stephencrane Re:WTF Slashdot? (917 comments)

Federal guarantees have enabled private businesses like banks to make a killing on socialized risks. The Feds have now taken it back and will now service loans directly. This can only result in less-bad service. The historical context of a college education was that only the upper class could attend them, and the better schools - by merely attending them - open up the path to social mobility. The lack of social mobility was deemed a really big problem. Attending no-name small colleges are useful if you are learning something directly practical, but generally do not offer much social mobility. You may earn a living, and may make more money than comparable careers open to someone who didn't attend. It however does not get you windows into a higher class. (At the same time, the top 5% ambitious, clever and smart will find ways regardless.) But that's the point. Society isn't about providing for only the best and brightest and most ambitious. Everyone can improve with a little more ambition. This is not in question when people talk about equity. What is not often discussed is the idea that you can't squeeze the upper 40% into the social mobility channels of the top 5%. The sheer volume, even if everyone took it up a notch, does not allow for 'the ones that sneak in the back door'. And it should be clear, that's just the back door. Prior wealth is the greatest determinant of future wealth, hands down. We've built up this awful dynamic where if you can't effectively operate as the 5%, you're a loser. Some may indeed be losers, but most are not. Treating them as such as a means of motivation has limited applications. It ignores the scale and capacity inputs that went into several generations of assumptions about how education 'works'. This very important, semi-monolithic institution of our society have changed very rapidly, and I don't think it appropriate when some lambast people over gender studies degrees. Some people are short-sighted, but most are not. What were seeing is the consequence of the game completely changing, and nowhere near enough conversation at the national level to reflect the magnitude of the changes in assumptions and expectations.

more than 2 years ago
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The "Scientization" of Yucca Mountain

stephencrane Wait...what? (226 comments)

That makes zero sense. This attempt to define 'scientization' is exactly the same as the definition of 'politicizing' science. The scientization of politics would mean limiting political language and maneuvering within the confines of the implied logic of scientific findings.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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New Methodology for Rating Planets' Suitability fo

stephencrane stephencrane writes  |  more than 2 years ago

stephencrane (771345) writes "In a paper published in Astrobiology, researchers at Washington State University, have come up with a new index and criteria set to rate, in order of likelihood, extraterrestrial bodies and their propensity for harboring or supporting life as we know it. Interestingly, Titan has a higher rating than Mars."
Link to Original Source
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NYC to Open 1st High School dedicated to Software

stephencrane stephencrane writes  |  more than 2 years ago

stephencrane (771345) writes "NYC to open The Academy for Software Engineering, with a focus on software design and college preparation. It'll be a 'limited, unscreened' high school, which means admission won't be tied to grades or test scores; solely on interest (and presumably a lottery, once words gets out)."
Link to Original Source
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Connecticut school creates online math curriculum

stephencrane stephencrane writes  |  more than 5 years ago

stephencrane (771345) writes "A school district in Connecticut paid to create a new math curriculum and place it online, for the purposes of phasing out the cost of math textbooks, as well as the problem of covering too much content in the first term only to repeat the first term's concepts in the 2nd term. To me, it always seemed a no-brainer that school curricula were meant to be open-source. The softer stuff might be more political but thinks like math are a clear first-starter. Math is math wherever you go, the only thing that differs is the pace and the focus. Sharing the cost of developing the curriculum, putting it online and breaking up the content into arrangeable blocks, should be an obvious win for everybody. (Well, if they have access to a computer and the internet, I suppose.)"
Link to Original Source
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New set-top box offers ad-supported VOD

stephencrane stephencrane writes  |  more than 5 years ago

stephencrane writes "A new company called Zillow TV is staking out a Hulu/Netflix alternative set-top box to ISPs, to provide both premium and free (ad-supported) movies. They expect to be out in the field by the end of the year. The interface looks to be pretty nifty, with a cool motion-sensing pointer remote. Boxes would run for $50. Rentals would be $2-4/movie. The ad-supported content would probably be older material, and be more valuable to advertisers because the ads will be targeted based on past viewing history as well as other data on you they buy. The interface seems to be a selling point, but I can't see how this beats Netflix just yet."
Link to Original Source
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Weaponized laser kit available for purchase

stephencrane stephencrane writes  |  more than 5 years ago

stephencrane (771345) writes "Northrop Grumman is making available for sale the FIRESTRIKE weaponized laser system. FIRESTRIKE, a solid-state laser unit, weighs over 400lbs, sends/receives instructions and data via an RJ-45 jack and can be synchronized with additional units to emit an 100kw beam. It looks like some piece of stereophonic amplification equipment out of the 50's. Or Fallout 3. It is also reputed to be able to read Blu-ray disks from orbit."
Link to Original Source

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