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Nearly Half of American Adults Are Smartphone Owners

sulfur Re:46% eh? (267 comments)

This was exactly my reasoning. I realized that I'm close a computer or have a laptop nearby almost all the time, so why bother paying extra for a smartphone, peer pressure be damned?

more than 2 years ago

France's Bold Drunk-Driving Legislation - Every Car To Carry a Breathalyzer

sulfur Re:Pay attention, here... (706 comments)

I'd agree with you about repeat offenders, but making the first offense a felony is not going to help. First, drunk people are not exactly known for making the best judgment. Second, how many immature 20 year olds (probably demographic most likely to have the first DUI) will be branded felons for life for making a mistake? Third, driving drunk without causing other offense makes no harm, and while it is irresponsible and should be punished, it doesn't compare with other felony crimes. Fourth, I'm fairly sure I've driven tired enough to the point of being highly impaired on more than one occasion. It's about as irresponsible as drunk driving, yet there is no punishment. The gap between no punishment and felony for pretty much the same kind of behavior is simply too big. Fifth (and this is more about stigma rather than laws), I'm yet to see a convincing argument why society considers that people aren't accountable for having drunk sex (can't give consent), but are accountable for drunk driving.

You can find counter-arguments to each of these points fairly easily, but taken together they build a strong case.

Maybe US has more DUIs because virtually everyone drives here, and starts driving way earlier than in other countries? Maybe other countries have better public transportation for the drunks to get home after parties?

also increase the stigma of DUI

This is probably the first time I've heard that DUI is not stigmatized enough.

more than 2 years ago

YouTube Identifies Birdsong As Copyrighted Music

sulfur Re:ridiculous (730 comments)

And what can Anonymous do? Deface/DDoS your website? While they did have some impact (leaks, protests), there is only so much you can do online.

more than 2 years ago

Should College Go Online?

sulfur Re:We have some of this--kids hate it (261 comments)

Good universities hire dedicated lecturers to teach these core classes with high number of students, whose primary responsibility is teaching and not research. Because of that, these classes tend to be very well-organized.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: CS Degree Without Gen-Ed Requirements?

sulfur Re:You underestimate the value (913 comments)

looking for shortcuts

Also known as "being efficient." You shouldn't make blanket statements like that.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: CS Degree Without Gen-Ed Requirements?

sulfur Re:CLEP Tests (913 comments)

For truly well rounded self educated people, they should be a breeze.

Even if you're not "truly well rounded" or are afraid to fail the test, here is what you should do (I passed some CLEP tests this way):

0. Make sure CLEP tests are accepted (some engineering programs/colleges don't accept certain tests).
1. Find related college course at a decent university that has lecture notes online.
2. Buy the book that this course follows, read it and read the notes. Often course notes will hint at which parts of the book are most important.
3. Pass the test, submit a form to get credit for an equivalent class.

more than 3 years ago

Microsoft Exploits Firefox 4 Uproar, Beats IE Drum

sulfur Re:Harsh Realities (315 comments)

power users will be able to tweak it to a great extent

Right, so I installed a bunch of extensions to make Firefox look and behave like version 2.0... and still haven't upgraded to 5.0 because I'm afraid these extensions will break. "Power users" or "geeks" may be able to tweak their browser, but it doesn't mean we want to (especially as we get older and have more work / less time). It looks like there is at least one new extension that I need to install with every major release of Firefox to bring old 2.0 appearance back. It's not just corporations that want some stability with their software.

more than 3 years ago

Note To Cheaters: Next Time Hire the Brains

sulfur Re:If you cheat in engineering or medicine... (349 comments)

What qualifications are required to get into the military? I don't think they are comparable to either PE or M.D. (and thus may not induce cheating), yet military personnel in some cases may have more potential of killing "wrong" people.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Monitor Your Own Bandwidth Usage?

sulfur Re:/proc/net/dev (319 comments)

This can be tricky (but still doable, of course) on a 32-bit OS because the counters wrap around 4 GB.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Are You Streaming-Only For Home Entertainment?

sulfur Re:Comcast won't let you (697 comments)

I have a similar deal with AT&T DSL. Home phone / DSL package was actually $5-10 cheaper than DSL alone (~$45). In fact it makes sense, as the landline was a negative value for me - way too many marketing/donation soliciting/incorrect calls.

This bundling practice is annoying as Internet connection pretty much makes all other services redundant.

more than 3 years ago

Major Outage At the Amazon Web Services

sulfur Re:No Way! (247 comments)

But... but I thought nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM^H^H^H Amazon!

more than 3 years ago

Speed Tickets Challenged Based On Timestamped Photos

sulfur Re:"Speed Limits" are stupid in general (566 comments)

I agree that the whole concept of a speed limit is stupid, because actual safe maximum speed is highly context-dependent. There are so many factors that even enumerating them is pointless. Speed limits only may somewhat make sense in certain areas in the city (school zone, residential zone, shopping area).

Show me a highway where the majority of the traffic drives at or under the speed limit on a nice day. Similarly, I lost control and totaled my last car when I was going 25 mph under the limit on an interstate. While driving through a residential neighborhood or a shopping area, safe speed at night is actually higher than during the day - exact opposite of a highway. Everything depends on the context.

People will drive at the speed they deem comfortable and safe. Speed limits exist only to make everyone guilty like the parent said and to generate revenue.

more than 3 years ago

Which Grad Students Are the Most Miserable?

sulfur Re:current environment in biology causes bad scien (332 comments)

I'm doing mine in CS, and the papers I enjoy reading the most are those that discuss alternatives / tradeoffs / unsuccessful directions that the authors attempted with their design. Sure, in order to be published your work has to show some improvement of the state of the art, but it is often more educational to read how people came up with a successful system rather than the result itself. I actually heard some professors claim that you should only write about what you did right because the reader would not be interested in the thought process or intermediate experiments you went through, and I find this claim completely false.

more than 3 years ago

Which Grad Students Are the Most Miserable?

sulfur Re:How about learning some statistics? (332 comments)

GRE may be somewhat challenging because you may not have enough time to solve all the problems. When you're 25 and you are presented with a bunch of problems that you last saw in 8th grade, it takes some time to put your brain into "thinking as an 8th grader" mode.

The good news is that most decent places don't care much about GRE, and only use it as the lowest threshold to weed out obviously hopeless applicants.

more than 3 years ago

PayPal Freezes Support Account For Bradley Manning

sulfur Re:Wow (580 comments)

For instance, suppose you're a brick-and-mortar store with a merchant account to take credit cards. But you think that Mastercard and Visa charge way too much in fees. Either you use them anyway, or you do cash-only, and go out of business because so many people these days don't use cash.

I wonder why businesses do not offer discounts for cash payments like diesel gas stations / truck stops do. If Visa/MC take x% of each transaction as a fee, retailer could just make x% discount to customers who pay with cash. I mostly use CCs because of cashback rewards, but if cash discount were greater than my current cashback rate, I would gladly stop using credit cards.

more than 3 years ago

How Your Username May Betray You

sulfur Re:Who cares? (308 comments)

I also don't bother hiding my real identity online; anyone with enough time on their hands and nothing better to do could correlate my accounts across different sites. It's much easier to assume that everything that you post online can be linked to you (similar to an assumption that everything you post on facebook is public). Just don't post anything that you don't want your boss to know, and you'll be fine. Maybe there will be fewer trolls on the Internet this way. Now, of course it is important to be able to post anonymously once in a while, but it shouldn't be a habit.

more than 3 years ago

File Organization — How Do You Do It In 2011?

sulfur Re:Ultrafast search and metadata filesystem (356 comments)

I think we should stop trying to create One FS To Rule Them All, and instead aim for more specialized file systems. I don't care about performance in my /storage, and similarly I don't care about metadata in my /usr.

more than 3 years ago

Google Art Project Brings Galleries To Your PC

sulfur Re:I Disagree (103 comments)

Example tile URLs from my squid log:

I think it's pretty obvious what part of the URL you need to replace if you want to download all tiles for a particular resolution.

more than 3 years ago

Sensor Measures In Fingertips If Driver Is Drunk

sulfur Re:Privacy? (549 comments)

Required liability insurance should not work as punishment. I can understand why insurance companies may want to increase the premium, but outright denying coverage should not be allowed.

This is similar to the issue of sex offender registration. If a guy has paid from his crimes (fine, driving ban, jail, whatever), then he should not have to suffer any more.

more than 3 years ago


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