Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Brilliant idea (Score 2) 192

So your just rude in another way reading emails or whatever when you should be paying attention to your customers. If the person i want to hire or keep hired isn't giving me the attention i am paying for we will just find one who will not be rude. Rudeness seems to be the dish of the last few decades

Couple of things: First, I believe you're getting the wrong idea on what I'm doing. I glance at my watch to see the sender, customer down emergencies will be coming from a specific sender. If it's important, I excuse myself from the conversation. I'm not reading emails on my watch, just seeing who the sender is.

Second, the customers are human and understand if there is an emergency that pulls me away from them that it's expected behavior. They know that if it were them with the server down emergency and I were at another customer that I would respond for them in the same way. This behavior is actually in our contracts.

Third: Our customers are businesses that are too small for dedicated IT but too large to have someone's nephew do it. We provide a service where they can have Professional IT services at a price that makes sense. All of our customers know we will respond to their emergencies which may pull us away from another customer the same way we'll respond to another customer's emergency and be pulled away from them. If that means I need to glance at my wrist to filter what is important vs what is not and that is an issue for you as a customer, we're actually okay letting you go as a client. By believing we're being rude by being available for our other customers you don't fit into our business model. We would have to raise our prices for you and lower our quality of service to our other customers.

Comment: Re:Brilliant idea (Score 1) 192

The majority of people I know don't wear watches to begin with, a smart watch is a fancy version of something they wouldn't buy in the first place. I haven't worn a watch since I got a cell phone and everything started having a clock in it.

I felt the same way, and frankly I could get by without a smart watch, but the feature set really hit my use-case. I do onsite consulting for small firms (HIPAA and PCI compliant IT support) and often get SMS and emails from customers other than the one I'm currently at. While it would be possible to pull out my phone and read SMS and emails, I'm often in front of customers or otherwise in a position where it would be rude or even inconvenient to pull out my phone, but I need to know if a server at another customer has gone offline. By having my SMS and emails show on my (previously pebble, now Gear) smart watch I am able to save a non-trivial amount of time per day by just glancing at my watch instead of pulling out my phone.

This is a very specific use case though, and while I love that smart watches exist, once I get home the watch is taken off and set down next to my phone.

Comment: Re:Free is still too expensive (Score 4, Interesting) 322

by Binestar (#49284663) Attached to: Microsoft Offers Pirates Amnesty and Free Windows 10 Upgrades

I call shenanigans. You're not going to do anything with a windows 8 machine until you install third party software anyways. What is the issue with installing a third party start menu? If the product is available and does what you want for the price you want (classic shell is free), what's the problem?

Disk IO is better in windows 8 than in 7
Startup times are better

I wouldn't necessarily spend money to upgrade from 7 to 8 on an existing PC, but new PC, I'd just get it with 8.1 to start.

Comment: Re:I'm a Canadian (Score 1) 397

by Binestar (#48915473) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

For giving alcohol to children the law varies state to state. In Ohio for instance, the law states: "No person shall sell or furnish any low-alcohol beverage to, or buy any low-alcohol beverage for, an underage person, unless given by a physician in the regular line of his practice or given for established religious purposes, or unless the underage person is accompanied by a parent, spouse who is not an underage person, or legal guardian."

New York State is different. While parents can consent to underage drinking, it has to be in the privacy of their own home, and the law is purposely vague, just saying "Moderate amounts" which essentially means you never know the limit until someone prosecutes you for it. The beverage must also be served by the parent, and they may not serve anyone except who they are legal guardians for, so no going to a friends house and having his parents give you wine.

Comment: Re:Here comes a Karma hit.... (Score 1) 107

by Binestar (#48414351) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program?
As a rule we have limited screen time a lot (30 minutes/day is generous) and that counts TV/DS/Wii/Computer. Adding in something that will get her familiar with computers (She has the same interest in computers I had at her age) isn't a bad thing. We're not stopping those extras, this is just something else to add to the list.

Comment: Re:Here comes a Karma hit.... (Score 1) 107

by Binestar (#48414191) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program?

We do game night every week. She's taking piano and plays the Trombone. She's in girl scouts as well doing yoga and joining ski club.

She's not isolated in any way. We engage with her every moment she wants to be engaged. I'm not asking her to go to college with these skills, I'm trying to find fun ways of challenging her even more with her current interests.

Comment: (Score 1) 107

by Binestar (#48413953) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program?

I do believe between this post and the others saying Kano is good has helped me choose one of her Christmas gifts this year. I'm glad so many here have had good experiences with it.

I actually had something similar happen, as posted in a different response, I have a couple of minecraft servers I run for the girls. One day I went through online minecraft schematics and tossed in a few castles, homes, a roller coaster and a pyramid maze and when they found them a few days later they were amazed. Even more so when I showed them how I got them there.

Comment: Re:Program what? (Score 1) 107

by Binestar (#48413867) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program?

In this case, anything engaging, which in general for a kid mostly means games. I've done board game design with my kids, having them design a board game that we all play on game night. That was fun, although I found is quite unfair that if you're over 20 years old you start with no rerolls and if you're a girl you get 3 extra re-rolls. The girls of course felt that was perfectly fair...

As I posted earlier in thread, my goal is to take what they enjoy doing and attempting to broaden their focus a bit into useful life skills. Non programming example: My older daughter loves cookies. We started with teaching her how to assist making cookies, moved on to her making cookies for us, and from there she's moved on to making dinner, etc. She's 12, but able to pull open a cookbook and throw together a decent 30 minute meal.

That might be a little simple of an example, but my goal with them playing minecraft is similar. Get them to mod the game they enjoy, get to them to learn the stuff that goes on behind the scenes and it lets them determine if it's something they enjoy doing.

Comment: Re: Don't teach them to "program" (Score 1) 107

by Binestar (#48413763) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program?
See, I wouldn't say my daughter is currently interested in programming, I would say she is currently interested in MINECRAFT and I'm adding something I would consider a life skill to that interest by showing her how to mod minecraft. If I'm successful on guiding my daughter into interests that add life skills, I believe I will have succeeded as a parent. By showing her how all this stuff she is interested in runs, I hope to broaden her horizons.

Comment: Re:If she likes it, stick with it (Score 1) 107

by Binestar (#48413717) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program?
Right now I run two private minecraft servers for the kids. They invite their friends from school and have done some nice building. The effort and thought I see them putting into their house designs and stuff is what made me think she would enjoy modding a bit and letting others see what she makes. I'm sure if this course she's taking keeps her interest I'll be setting up something so she can run a server with the mods she's writing and I'll work with her on ideas for other mods.

Comment: Re:What does *she* want to do? (Score 1) 107

by Binestar (#48413679) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program?

Very valid question on her desires. Up until I got this course on modding minecraft what she wanted to do was "Play Minecraft". I am strongly of the opinion that my children need not only time to play, but that it's a good idea in general to make that play something that they can build on in the future. If she gets her "Play Minecraft" and I get my "She's learning a life skill at the same time" it's a valid redirection of her energy IMO.

Now Java itself may or may not be a useful skill in the future, but the thought process behind the programming at this point I believe is most important.

As for the eclipse part, the online course she's using has presented it well. In the first part of the course she's learning some about syntax, but mostly doing some art in gimp, typing in names to make things be named differently and editing code that already exists.

Comment: Re:Lego Mindstorms (Score 2) 107

by Binestar (#48413581) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program?
My older daughter has done a 2 day GEARS program at RIT. and I found that quite interesting and she enjoyed it. I'm planning on sending my 9 year old next year when she's eligible for that course. The Modding course I linked to above actually has my daughter interacting with her mod and launching minecraft to see her work quite often, so when she makes changes to her sword or other, she gets to see the results quite quickly. The feedback is quite fast for her, which is nice.

Comment: Re:Excel VBA (Score 1) 107

by Binestar (#48413495) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program?
Tongue in cheek as firmly as I see it there, I'm not sure it would keep her attention very well. I have shown her the Flight Sim Easter Egg in Excel 97 as an example of an easter egg and also had her looking some up for her Wii games. The searching for things has really opened her mind for thinking outside the box a bit. (example: )

"Most of us, when all is said and done, like what we like and make up reasons for it afterwards." -- Soren F. Petersen