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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).

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Comment: Yet another voice in the darkness... (Score 1) 698

Given the number of comments made so far, the odds that the OP will see this (or more than a handful of people, for that matter) is vanishingly small. That said, I laude you for your creativity and insight to do such a thing for your daughter. You might want to do something similar for your wife, as well; I expect she will want to hear encouragement from you, even after you're gone.

My father passed just under a year ago, due to complications from stage-4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. There was about 10 days between his diagnosis and when he died; he didn't have a chance to make any specific goodbyes. Admittedly, my situation is different -- I'm cis-male and my father died well after I became a (nominal) adult. However, I can offer suggestions based on what I would have liked to know, and never had the chance to ask. I can also offer some advice based on the efforts my brother and I have had to go through to deal with his papers and documents.

I'd like to have had more records of my extended family and those who came before. My father was a first-generation American, the child of Holocaust Survivors. I don't know that much in the way of specific stories about my family from Europe, or the struggles of leaving, my grandparent's emigration, or similar. I know my father (and uncle) had stories told to him by his parents, though. Few, if any, ever made it past that; I hope my uncle will pass on the verbal record as he best can.

I'd like to have known more about my father's life and who he was. In going through his papers, I've found letters of commendation from Under-Secretary (US Cabinet) level offices about subject I had no idea he had any expertise. I never realized how many patents he had gotten over the years (none of which were software, FWIW), or some of the weird adventures he had. I know he was a prankster when he was in college, but I didn't realize the extent until I found a letter from a college friend that read like an indictment. =)

I'd like to have known more about things he wish he could have done and any regrets he might have had. I know he never visited Israel and wanted to, but little else. I can't right any mistakes he made, but maybe I can make some sort of amends or do things in his memory.

I would like to know what he would have thought of any kids my wife and I might have. I personally regret not telling him that we plan on having kids -- I think he died thinking that my brother and I were the last of our line (My brother has no intention on having kids, only cats).

Give whatever advice you think best. You know your daughter, and while she will change over the years, the best you can do is to be honest and frank. Inevitably she's going to fall; give her your advice on how, somedays, the best thing is to get up and fight back and others it is to eat a pint of ice cream and fight the battle a different day. Someday, someone is going to violate her trust; give advice on both how to rebuild that trust and how to walk away.

Perhaps my strongest piece of advice is don't make videos for specific events. Make videos for types of events, and maybe for different ages. She may or may not ever marry, graduate high school or college, or have children; make videos for days of celebration. She may or may not ever lose a partner or close friend, have a divorce, get into a car accident, or fail a class. Make videos to cheer her up after a bad day and encourage her for future endeavors.

Regardless, make sure you let your personality come through; don't get so caught in the effort that you miss the most important message.

Some advice on the non-video aspects, though. Go through your papers (or files or whatever) and trim them down to what is important and what isn't. I didn't need to find 2 dozen copies of my father's Thesis, or his college notes, much less his stacks of punch cards (... which were unnumbered. There's a special kind of hell for people who don't number their punch card stacks). Nor did I need his collection of square-dancing ribbons (hundreds). Letters from him to his mother at camp, a family tree, or a 'camp' songbook from the friend-his-parents-warned-him-against? Those are the things that are treasures. Relevant financial records, not a stack of correspondence about whether someone sent him a check or not 30 years ago. Label photos of important people or places, and trim the rest. Especially if no one else will recognize the items in the photo. Make sure heirlooms are documented to the best of your ability,

And put your passwords into an escrow, so that anything new isn't lost or forgotten.

Comment: Consider Artifacts, too (Score 1) 698

One of the artifacts that I've held on to, is my granddad's slide rule. He was an engineer, and I've treasured the slide rule.

As a programmer, I can't think of many artifacts I would be able to give to my daughter, or that she would give to her children. I have kept the old Compaq BASICA reference book that I used as a kid, but without moving parts like a sliderule, it doesn't strike me as cool. It seems like everything is virtual and ephemeral in this time of glass touch screens and constantly upgrading software.

None-the-less -- something tangible that doesn't take up too much space, -- that could be really important to her.

Comment: Re:Instilling values more important (Score 1) 698

Paypal is a scam company now. It wasnâ(TM)t really a scam company when it was originally founded. It broke new ground in paying for stuff on the web when the web was in its infancy. It was also had to deal with massive scams coming from the other direction, faux customers.

Bitcoin companies seem to be having a much worse problem with being scams than Paypal did, at least until it was sold off by the founders to EBay at which point, yes it turned in to an obnoxious, kind of a scam company.

It should also be noted 9/11, the Patriot act and the 2008 crash all happened in there which made Paypal increasingly obnoxious in reaction to crushing Federal scrutiny of and intrusion in to financial transactions.

Comment: Re:Instilling values more important (Score 3, Interesting) 698

Point her to the Elon Musk TED talk. When asked how he did so many amazing things, one of his more insightful comments was he learned physics, and he learned how to approach things from the bottom up the way a physicist would. If you learn something at a fundamental level you can do amazing and new things. If you learn stuff, shallowly, from the top down, you often end up copying others which is both less amazing and less valuable.

Also has pretty good lessons for all the wanna be startup founders in Silicon Vally who are doing Uber of . . . or AirBNB of . . ., me too companies.

He also covers doing big, hard things for the benefit of humanity part pretty well.

Comment: Huh? (Score 1) 131

by Daetrin (#49088089) Attached to: Carnegie-Mellon Sends Hundreds of Acceptance Letters By Mistake
"The program accepts fewer than nine percent of more than 1,200 applicants, which places the acceptance level at about a hundred, so they're bad at math, too."

Does this joke depend on some fact in TFA? (Which i am unable to read at work.) Are they actually supposed to be accepting some number that is significantly higher or lower than 100? As it is that statement stands out as a total non-sequitur.

Comment: Re:No reason to go there (Score 2) 294

by Daetrin (#48998277) Attached to: Radioshack Declares Bankruptcy
Radio Shack serves a need, it just doesn't serve it very well. I needed a 6' USB extension cable last weekend on short notice. I checked at Radio Shack, Staples and Office Depot. If i remember correctly the prices were:

Radio Shack: $35
Staples: $25
Office Depot: $20

I'm probably wrong about the specifics, but that was the general range. Meanwhile i could go online and get a cable from Monoprice for $3-4, and, rather insultingly, Office Depot's online store had one for $5-6.

If Radio Shack had a cable for about $10 i probably would have given up and bought it there just for the convenience, even though i still would have considered that price gouging. But paying an order of magnitude more was just out of the question. This ought to have been exactly the case where Radio Shack came to the rescue, but instead they were the worst of the bunch.

Comment: I don't understand the problem (Score 2) 194

by Daetrin (#48998143) Attached to: Farmers Struggling With High-Tech Farm Equipment
Slashdot was telling me just a couple months ago that "farming has been stuck in a bit of a rut" and "farming has been using techniques that have been handed down from centuries ago". Since Slashdot is never wrong, clearly farmers don't use high-tech equipment. So how can they be struggling to repair it?
Education

WA Bill Takes Aim at Boys' Dominance In Computer Classes 779

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-things-equal dept.
theodp writes Boys' over-representation in K-12 computer classes has perplexed educators for 30+ years. Now, following on the heels of Code.org's and Google's attempts to change the game with boys-don't-count gender-based CS teacher funding schemes, Washington State lawmakers have introduced House Bill 1813, legislation that requires schools seeking K-12 computer education funding to commit to preventing boys from ruling the computer class roost. Computer science and education grant recipients, HB 1813 explains, "must demonstrate engaged and committed leadership in support of introducing historically underrepresented students [including girls, low-income students, and minority students]" and "demonstrate a plan to engage historically underrepresented students with computer science." Calling it "a bold new bill that we hope more states will follow," corporate and tech billionaire-backed Code.org tweeted its support for the bill.

Comment: Velikovsky (almost) strikes again! (Score 1) 65

by Daetrin (#48941541) Attached to: How Gaseous, Neptune-Like Planets Can Become Habitable
Looks like another example of how _some_ of Immanuel Velikovsky's ideas, such as those in Worlds in Collision, were actually plausible and scientifically interesting, at least at a basic level. It's too bad he felt it was necessary to sabotage himself by compressing all of his ideas together into an implausibly complex series of events taking place over an implausibly short timeline in order to make a kind of historical conspiracy theory.

Comment: Mod Parent Up (Score 5, Interesting) 302

by LionKimbro (#48871819) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?

Here's my website. I invite anybody to look at the source code, and compare it against your run-of-the-mill WordPress website.

Here are the 249 lines of Python code that I use to render it. In addition to the source code, there are x6 template files (each less than 1KB large), and x1 CSS file (less than 2KB).

What the parent post says, rings true to me.

No need for Django, no need for frameworks, no need for deployment systems beyond DropBox.

"The long term savings in terms of enabling staff to go in and edit stuff live has saved a fortune." -- This especially rings true to me.

"I tried Django and the sheer volume of stuff I needed to do to get the same functionality up was huge and then the staff couldn't edit it because for all that's claimed for Django, there's a big model you have to get in you head before you can start meddling with it, and that means web professionals who cost a lot of money." -- And this too. (And I'm a professional Django developer, by day.)

I heard recently that there are people working on an "Indie Web" concept; I'm all in favor.

Comment: Re:anything has to be better than beyond earth (Score 1) 227

by Daetrin (#48856589) Attached to: Sid Meier's New Game Is About Starships

I still suspect the reviewers were bribed somehow, or perhaps tested the game before it got radically dumbed down, just before release?

I think the glowing reviews of Civ5 are explainable without resorting to bribery or shenanigans by the developer as the cause.

I am a long term but relatively moderate Civ player. I've been playing since the first Civilization and have played all of them since then. Including Civilization: Call to Power and Call to Power 2, plus Alpha Centauri. And all of the Master of Orion games (including 3, regrettably) Master of Magic, and GalCiv and GalCiv2.

I am not an expert however. I can't beat any of them at the highest difficulty settings, with the exceptions of the original MoO, mainly due to Sulla's recaps and videos.

When the initial Civ5 news stories came out i was wary about how the one unit per tile thing would work, however when i first got the game i have to admit i quite liked it. It was simple and easy to get into and it was very pretty. And i've always liked one city challenges, it it made those really easy!

It took time to realize that perhaps it made one city challenges _too_ easy, and did so at the cost of making other styles of play (anything involving more than three or four cities) prohibitively difficult/unrewarding. Doing the tactical combat was kind of fun at first, it took a little while for the problems with the combat to become more clear. I did notice the dearth of interesting buildings and how long they took to complete much earlier, but i didn't really make the connection to 1UPT until it was pointed out by Sulla and others. I'm sure those problems were immediately apparent to the real experts, but for the rest of us it took a little while.

Reviewers generally don't have that much time to invest in playing a game for review. They saw the pretty and got to experience the first dozen or so hours where it was fun and easy, but with enough choices available that it seemed to present the kind of strategic depth that would allow for a great deal of replay. They never got to the point of realizing that most games end up being the initial rush to build your first two or three cities and then just sitting back and hitting "next turn" a lot.

So they gave their reviews and left it to the Civ community to do the in-depth analysis and rip it a new one.

But those initial reviews were probably correct for a lot of people. Civ5 _is_ a great game for people who want to put in a few dozen hours without facing a serious challenge and then move on to the next game. Or people who like dumping in a lot of time into a game that's at least moderately entertaining in order to pick up achievements. (I confess that i got sucked into that for longer than i should have.)

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.

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