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US Census Bureau Offers Public API For Data Apps

story645 Re:Riiiiight (47 comments)

Or load up the shapefiles posted at, seeing as census data has been available online for at least a few years now. As the summary said, this made it easier, but in the past couple of years there has also been an explosion in free and open source GIS tools that translate the raw data into something more readable.

more than 2 years ago

Feds Ban 'Buckyballs' Magnets

story645 Re:Only in America! (820 comments)

Same here about not knowing they were banned, as I got them in at the various Russian grocery stores in Queens, NY when I was a kid (the 90's, so long after the ban was in place) 'cause they had really good toys.

more than 2 years ago

What's Wrong With American Ninja Warrior?

story645 Re:Gomenasai Slashdot (349 comments)

Posting to undue mod, I thought this was kinda funny, though I'd go with a yutaka for full otakuness.

more than 2 years ago

Dreaming of Digital Glory At Hacker Hostels

story645 Re:This is why women don't like IT (71 comments)

Dear god, as a female I would see this as a nightmare.

And as a female, I think it could be kinda cool provided I could be in an all girl house (or at least an all girl room), but that has more to do with my religious standards then any disgust at living with boys. I've lived with enough girls that I've had to clean up after that I don't think it's fair to play the boys are slobs card. But then again, I'm in CS and like tech and all that, and only find the start-up culture a little off putting 'cause so many of the people in it aren't all that technical.

I do think you're right though about boundaries and masculine culture playing a part in keeping women from the field, but the frat house atmosphere of these places is just as much a symptom of the culture as a cause of it, though I found the whole den mother thing deeply disturbing-why are the only women being mentioned basically glorified babysitters?

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Tips For Designing a Modern Web Application?

story645 Re:Use a Framework! (409 comments)

Since Mongo is a database and not a framework, it should be used with a framework (for example the big Python ones, Pyramid and Django, support it), not a in place of one. This of course assumes that Mongo is more suited for his task then a plain old relational database, which I'm not so sure since it seems like the app is pretty well structured and the fields are more or less fixed.

more than 2 years ago

Student Charged For Re-selling Textbooks

story645 Re:I Don't See the Parallelism Here ... (489 comments)

Remember when you could go to the library and borrow an expensive textbook you couldn't afford as you needed it and 'get by'? No more of that communist bullshit allowed, am I right?

I think it depends on the school. At mine, a large public uni, professors place requests with the library to stock books they're using and those books usually end up on reserve (meaning they can be borrowed for 2hrs at a time).

more than 2 years ago

Etsy Hacker Grants Support Female Programmers

story645 Re:Sexism (211 comments)

Women used to make up %40 of CS students in the 1980s (Camp 2001) and make up on average a little over %35 of Israeli undergrads in CS ( Vilner 2006) and vary all over the globe. This indicates that the current US rate of about %20 is due to culture because if there was something biological going on, then the rates around the world should be roughly the same.

more than 2 years ago

Wikipedia Didn't Kill Brittanica — Encarta Did

story645 Re:Finally (288 comments)

It goes deeper than that 'cause you can cite secondary sources, and in many disciplines most of the citations are secondary sources. The problem with wiki and other encyclopedias are that they're tertiary sources, which generally can't be used for the reasons you stated, except for special use cases where the wiki/encyclopedia becomes the primary source for the sake of the paper. For example, it's almost impossible to write a paper on wikis without citing wikis because most of the documentation is in wikis.

more than 2 years ago

NASA Unplugs Its Last Mainframe

story645 Re:Do companies really use Big Iron anymore? (230 comments)

My mom keeps telling me that UPS is one of the world's largest users of DB2, a statement backed up in this article. They're not switching off for the same reason financial institutions don't; After pouring lots of money into alternatives, they found that mainframes have better performance.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Entry-Level Robotics Kits For Young Teenagers?

story645 Arduino LilyPads (153 comments)

So they're not robots, but if the girls are into fashion it's a a great way to get them started on programming while still keeping their interests in mind, They can make funky pillows for their bedroom or keep out signs for their doors or I dunno something else that a 12 year old girl might actually want.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Open Vs. Closed-Source For a Start-Up

story645 Re:No need to help your competitors (325 comments)

Willow Garage open sourced the software they use to run their PR2 robot

I think Willow Garage almost had to because they were using lots of open source tools in the first place. ROS is based on playerstage, which is GPL, and a lot of the heavy computer vision stuff is OpenCv, which itself was originally open-sourced by Intel. And the deal with everyone using ROS had a lot to do with development shifting from playerstage to ROS 'cause they were similar but ROS was saner, so they became the standard in large part 'cause they improved on the existing open source standard rather then trying to create some kind of large scale shift in the community. Plus, Willow Garage is as much experimental lab as company, so I don't know if it works as a good case study 'cause it sort of has a weird mix of end goals.

Willow Garage also gained a lot of cred by taking over OpenCV from intel and actively maintaining it, which isn't something a fledgling company can do but is worth considering. They adopted the library 'cause it was critical to their business and considered something of a standard in the vision community, which meant a lot of people were already using it, so it was popular enough that maintaining it was seen as a good thing.

more than 2 years ago

Ron Paul Wants To End the Federal Student Loan Program

story645 Re:Subsidies inflate pricing. (1797 comments)

We need mechanics but we also need accountants.

But most people (even on student loans) don't get degrees in accounting (or engineering, or any of the fields that really need post-secondary school training), they get degrees in things like psych and business, which lead them to be qualified for all sorts of generic jobs that may not really need degrees to do.

more than 2 years ago

Phelps Clan Tweets Intent To Picket Jobs Funeral Via iPhone

story645 Re:Thank you Westboro (699 comments)

** Why is God a guy? Why can't he be a she?

Cause writers/translators had to use some pronoun and most languages use the masculine pronoun as the gender neutral? Seriously though, God is genderless because he's not a physical being is one of those things Orthodox Jewish (and probably other religious) schools cover in kindergarten.

more than 2 years ago

How Do You Explain Software Development To 2nd Graders?

story645 Re:Scratch (430 comments)

the risk is that the kids will concentrate on the pretty 3D graphics and miss the point of those funny little grey oblongs (and they probably won't be able to read the instructions if it's projected on a big screen).

So do an interactive presentation. The code being in blocks makes it really easy to have the kids code along 'cause you can point at a block and ask the room "so how many steps should he go" and "what should he do next" and run the code every time you add a block.

about 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Could We Deal With the End of Time Zones?

story645 Re:Time zones were created to fix local noon (990 comments)

Right now, you have to guess which time zone they're talking about

Or ask, which is what any sensible person would do.

about 3 years ago

Why Doesn't 'Google Kids' Exist?

story645 Re:Google Kids = Legal obligation/legal minefield (561 comments)

I'm sure I'd like having access to some kind of sandboxed Internet service where they could access Sesame Street and Disney stuff (and whatever else) without risk of stumbling across porn.

K9 (and likely most other internet filtering software) have whitelist filtering so that the only internet accessible to the person on that account are the sites on the list. It's a bit annoying to configure and requires a few days to fine tune, but most of the filters are designed to be simple enough for none computer savvy people to use.

more than 3 years ago

CDC Warns of Zombie Apocalypse

story645 it's a cute ad (300 comments)

It looks like they're trying to advert their emergency preparedness campaign, and this is a great creative way to do it.

more than 3 years ago

Amazon Removes Yaoi Manga Titles From Kindle Store

story645 Re:Plenty of Yaoi on Amazon (450 comments)

In one report on this, commentators hypothesized that it was because most (all?) of the titles that were removed had a story (or side story) where at least one of the partners were underage, so it really may be a child porn thing.

more than 3 years ago

Over 7.5 Million Facebook Users Are Under 13

story645 Re:Not surprising (194 comments)

The 13 limit has to do with COPPA, so even if Facebook wanted to allow under 13s it can't legally without the guardian's permission.

more than 3 years ago


story645 hasn't submitted any stories.



Computer Engineering Barbie

story645 story645 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

So the internet voted and decided that Barbie's next job is computer engineering.. Having grown up playing with Barbies, gotten into computer programming through the Barbie fashion games (which I wanted to hack for better options), and finishing up a computer engineering degree, I think this has gotta be one of the most awesome things ever. But, I wonder if it'll have any effect on actual female participation in the major, which currently hovers in the 11% percent range (translating into 1 or 2 female compE's in a class.)


portable moniter?

story645 story645 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I'm part of my schools IGVC team and we're upgrading our bot's computer to an onboard mini-itx. Most of the access to the box is gonna be through ssh, but I want a terminal I can just mount on the bot for convenience/monitoring. Bidding on a PSOne lcd already, but what are some good options if that doesn't pan out? I want to keep it as cheap as possible and small. I haven't found any good guides to modding a digital photo frame or portable dvd player or any other screens (I've got two broken TI-83s with good screens and I'd love to do something with them), but I'm probably just not looking in the right places. Any suggestions?

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