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What I'd like to see is a calculator shell that you could pop the RPi into, including physical buttons, lcd screen, battery and charger. My thinking -- most high schools require a graphing calculator, such as the TI 89 or similar, which is around $100 or so. Imagine if for that $100 you get something that can act as the same calculator, but morphs into a full computer when plugging in a keyboard/monitor? It may end up getting a lot more kids into programming that way.

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And then you have to buy a graphing calculator anyway because no high school teacher / university professor will let you take tests with it.

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Because of cheating? How can you use the Raspberry Pi (in a calculator shell) to cheat, in such a way that you can't use a ti-89 to cheat? Most cheating will be by either storing crib notes on the device (which won't do you any good in math if you don't understand the concepts), or by running a program to solve a problem for you, both of which the ti-89 is more than capable of doing -- that is its whole purpose, is to run math programs.

The ideal situation would be where the RPi foundation uses its existing clout to get a PiCalc accepted as a standard calculator in school.

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Standardized test calculator rules in this country are not governed by reason.

For instance, a TI-89 is allowed on the SATs, but a TI-92 is not. Basically the same calculator, except the TI-92 has a qwerty keyboard. How would a tiny little qwerty keyboard actually give you an advantage on a test like the SAT? Who the hell knows. Remember 10 or so years ago when teenagers were all typing on telephone keypads?

On the other hand, the advantage of a TI-89 (with a CAS) over a TI-83+ (without one) is fairly extreme.

(Also, anyone who bothers to google it can trivially get around the reset key combos for at least 83+ line: http://brandonw.net/calculators/fake/ Somebody who takes the time to program their calculator for cheating on a test can do this)

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I don't know if it's fair to say that the rules aren't governed by reason. You're thinking only of the capabilities of the calculator, but there are other potential reasons that are valid. It could be a simple matter of wanting to make it easy for testing staff to identify acceptable calculators by making the list of acceptable calculators very small.

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The TI-92 with its keyboard was banned not because it would help the test taker, but because of a worry that the full keyboard would enable copying the test to send to someone in a later timezone.

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I am skeptical that it would be of any help, particularly since the calculator is only allowed to be out during the math sections, not during the language/written sections.

With the 89's input history, you could effectively record the mathematics section merely by running it all through your calculator and then extracting the history after the fact.

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During my high school exams, every calculator would get reset by a teacher/supervisor beforehand. Harder to do with such a device.

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This was still trivial to get around on calculators: on a TI 83/84 you could simply archive any programs you wanted to survive a memory wipe, then un-archive them after the wipe. This trick was widely employed by students in my high school who stored notes/equations by using programs as generic text files.

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There are two camps on why teachers might disallow calculator:

1) fear of cheating

2) because the teachers want you to do the calculation

When I took my Calc and my engineering courses, my teachers would not allow calculators. They would make sure the numbers are nice, not some crazy number or pi to calculate with. Volts, current, all those numbers are so nice we can do on the paper. I like that because it means the teacher actually put effort to ensure the numbers are not just random, they mean something to the teacher who created the exam (even though they might just change the number next semester).

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Wifi?

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Hell, I'm surprised some of my teachers let me use a graphing calculator one tests that didn't require them. They're already powerful enough to easily cheat with.

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its called your phone

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But you could in theory have a mosquito that is repelled by humans, and only feeds on birds.

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You don't need to create such thing. First because is a bad idea. You are diverting more energy from birds to insects. You will end with less birds (new diseases, blood parasites, etc in the equation) and... ┬┐more mosquito than before?.

The fact is that there are a lot of extant mosquito species that do exactly that and they are here since millions of years. They did not have displaced the other mosquitoes and they didn't fix the problem with malaria.

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That trait is going to end up being selected against very quickly. Humans are much more plentiful.

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More plentiful than what? There are an estimated 200-400 billion birds in the world, with 10-20 billion in (for example) the US alone. Or did you mean something else?

How many birds: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/03/how-many-birds

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I'm talking about cities. The dengue fever mosquito is an urban plague.

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But how do you even fire up an Oracle database with some of the dbf files missing? And I can't think of any other application (other than maybe a document storage system) that would be useful with some of the files missing.

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You don't. You rsync the missing files over and skip the data that is already present, saving time.

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To me I read "curated" as "picked by a human, not an algorithm". I guess it could also be "picked by a sufficiently advanced algorithm that is as good as a human".

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Does anyone have any suggestions for promoting an open source project? I hate mentioning my side project on various forums, even if it is topical -- it makes me feel spammy. I thought about taking out some ads once I add in a few more "enterprise" type features, and was hoping that some open-source focused sites would have a discount on advertising open source projects using unsold ad inventory. I'd also like to find someone to work with that can point out deficiencies in the project web site, or general improvements/features I should add.

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-Tutorials & Examples -Extensive documentation

Sure, these are boring things to work on, but in my experience these are what have let separate a mature project that I can see works from a less mature project that may introduce even more bugs and maintenance.

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Put a screencast up on YouTube? I guess it depends what it is, but 8~10 minute videos can be pretty thorough.

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I'm in a very similar situation -- got a pretty decent open source project out (a mad 2-week programming project over a Christmas holiday vacation). But I'll be darned if I can find time to work on it now (how does the average person find 5 hours a day to watch tv?)

But here's what I'm starting to do now -- I set an alarm to make sure I remember to leave the office at 4:30 pm, instead of squeezing in that extra bit of work (or slacking off). That gets me a bit of a jump on the evening, instead of leaving work at 6:30 or so. Seems to be helping a bit.

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> how does the average person find 5 hours a day to watch tv?

Watching TV is passive, which means you can do it while doing other things. I watch it while cooking, cleaning the house, doing the dishes, and other similar manual and low-cognition activities. In fact, I can't just sit and watch TV for very long.

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Question -- is there any good place to post ideas for startups? Quite often, I'm looking for a company that provides X, and there is no one that I'm aware of that does X. However, I can see how X could be a profitable business for someone, even if I'm not in a position to start X myself.

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This is an idea me and a friend wanted to try out.

http://idealist.tips/

We promoted it but it didn't get any up-take

(the site is using the opensource lobste.rs code from https://github.com/jcs/lobsters )

There is also a sub-reddit where people post this type of stuff (i'm unaffiliated with it)

http://www.reddit.com/r/SomebodyMakeThis/

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http://www.requestsforstartups.com/

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I normally give these ideas to people that I know and like and offer to talk the idea through with them if they ever decide to follow through.

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For the car analogy, it is like the car cost you $1000 up front, but you have to buy a specific brand of gas for the life of the car. Which could be a good deal, since you have to buy gas anyway, as long as that gas isn't much more expensive then other brands of gas. And if that brand is available in all the cities that you drive.

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> Which could be a good deal, since you have to buy gas anyway

Is there any market where this has ever been a good deal?

For printers, mobile phones, etc. I'm not aware of a single example.

Maybe renting a flat is a model where this works, compared to repeatedly buying and selling your house whenever you move. However, maybe this just works in countries like Germany which have very good laws to protect customers/lodgers.

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The question is how you see it as a good deal.

If you need to defer up front costs and facilitate it through increments then yes.

If you see it as the total cost, then it is not a good deal.

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Yea, but it is more expensive. For instance, I'm paying $30/month on Page Plus, whereas the cheapest plan I can get from Verizon is $80/month.

(Though admittedly, the Verizon plan gives more data. None of the Page Plus plans give exactly 2GB of data, but the Page Plus plans at $40 and $55 straddle that amount)

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if you need more data but don't care about minutes, t-mobile has a prepaid plan that is $30 for 5gb data (and throttled after), unlimited text, and 100 minutes.

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That used to be the case. That iPhone really did cost you $200, because you paid $70/month (or whatever) regardless of whether you bought the thing subsidized or unsubsidized.

Now, the carriers are getting away from that model. AT&T, for example, charges you less if you bring your own phone, or buy it from them at full price. The monthly difference is almost exactly 1/24th of the subsidy.

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That's good information to know for comparison -- I'm with T-mobile, and when they switched to the BYOD model, they got rid of the subsidized plans. The replacement plans look like a good deal, but it is hard to compare because plans were getting better every year anyway. And providers went from making money on voice to making money off of data.

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A number of years ago when I had my first large corporate job (systems admin type work), they had most of my team (4 people) in a bullpen area with desks pointing to the corners (and some dividers in place). But everyone could lean out to the aisle and have a quick pow-wow session. Meanwhile, I was stuck in an old directors-sized office that had been converted to cubicles, which is where some periodic contractors would normally sit. But it was empty most of the time, except for me. In that case, I felt really out of place and left out of the loop most of the time.

Now I'm in an open office with 4-ft high dividers (tall enough that you can almost see over them when sitting down), and I hate that too.

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It sounds like, from your description, that if your system clock was running fast that would have also exposed the purchase button early. Can you tell if that's the case by looking at the source? If so, sounds like you have plausible deniability.

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