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Comment: Re:What? (Score 1, Informative) 35

Makerspaces are places where people--either the general public or a group of paying members--can gather together and make things. Makerspaces usually have an abundance of tools, materials, and places to work on hands-on projects. They typically celebrate open source, notions of hacking technology, and playful misuse of technology to do interesting things.

Think: informal, engaging, creative spaces where you can collaborate with people to make things.

Here's a blog I wrote with good pics: Quelab - a Community of Practice. Full disclosure: I'm on the board of directors at Quelab in Albuquerque. Drop by if you're in the area code.

Comment: Re:Wrong site (Score 2) 605

by GMFTatsujin (#42915305) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is the Bar Being Lowered At Universities?

As a long-time reader of /. and a current Teaching Assistant at my local university, I can absolutely confirm that student writing at the college level has plummeted.

I read 70+ papers a week written for a 300 level course in film critique. The content is weirdly polarized. Some students have laser-sharp content and style. Others smash dense blocks of words together with no coherence or structure. There are practically no in-betweeners; the bell curve is inverted on quality.

Comment: Frayed Knights is also worth a mention (Score 1) 163

by GMFTatsujin (#37681412) Attached to: First Person Dungeon Crawlers Making a Return

(To let you know up front: I was a beta tester on this project, but I have no financial stake in its success.)

Frayed Knights: The Skull of S'makh-Daon is a party based dungeon crawler worth looking at. It feels a lot like Wizardy 8 in gameplay, and the writing reminds me of the kind of psuedo-in character talk around a tabletop RPG session: really fun, light-hearted, and a little self-aware of the ridiculousness of the proceedings. Frayed Knights also has a clever endurance mechanic for fighters and casters alike. The leveling system offers solid alternatives for the player to explore.

Frayed Knights went gold a few weeks ago after a *lot* of rigorous testing, feedback, and RCs. Indie developer Jay Barnson of Rampart Games really did a labor of love here. I can recommend the to anyone who enjoyed the Wizardry series, Might and Magic, or classic Bard's Tale.

Frayed Knights Website

Comment: Re:It's a long way (Score 1) 178

by GMFTatsujin (#35307620) Attached to: Drupal Competes As a Framework, Unofficially

I'm building a site on Drupal now exactly because it's what I know.

What, should I use something I *don't* know?

I know other webby develop-o-matic, framworkified tools too, and it's true that I'm not super-convinced that Drupal is exactly right for the job... but getting the job done well is more important to me that getting the job done perfectly, when the "perfect" solution is something I haven't even seen yet. Like, nebulously perfect. Perfect in a way I don't yet know... and have no time to snoop out and master the way I have already with Drupal.

Having a big, flexible toolbox is good, but at some point you say, "Yeah, this'll the job" and get to it. Let me put to use what I've learned.

(That being said, I just subcontracted a Drupal job from a designer whose client wants five pages on the site. FIVE CRAPPY PAGES. I just about tore my eyes out with rage.)

Comment: Re:Advertised speeds, not useful (Score 1) 163

by GMFTatsujin (#35306686) Attached to: Feds Help You Find Your Fastest Internet Service

I find if you move the decimal point over a few places to the left, you get an accurate understanding of what to expect. I'm listed in a 10Mbps region, and I get a very reliably disappointing 150kbps. I haven't been surprised in years at the throughput I've gotten from Comcast.

My buddy a few streets up floored me by getting 1250kbps last night, though. It pays to live in the posh part of town, I guess.

Comment: Re:Not an YRO (Score 1) 634

by GMFTatsujin (#35168244) Attached to: Teacher Suspended Over Blog About Students

Looking at this through the flip test, students who critique, berate, and abuse their teachers' image should fairly expect summary expulsion, unwanted publicity, and the destruction of their future employment.

That's what the teacher got.

Saying something stupid is one thing, consequences are a related thing, but keep it in perspective. Teachers and students both have the right to speak, to write, and to express. This teacher is indicative of a major issue in school -- lack of respect on both sides of the desk -- but she is not the cause of it.

Call her out on it, yeah. Maybe put some of her troubled students in they fray as well. Treat it like what it should be: a reconciliation of students and teachers, though. The educational system won't survive inquisitions, whoever gets staked.

Comment: Holy crap, my degree just became useful! (Score 4, Funny) 87

by GMFTatsujin (#35162976) Attached to: DARPA Wants To Know How Stories Influence People

I worked for the local university, which had a sweet tuition remission policy. I ended up taking classes in anything I was interested in, hopping from college to college. Linguistics, American Studies, Film Studies, lots of literature, some sociology and anthropology... After a few years of this, the university sent me a letter demanding that I declare a degree and f'ing graduate already, or they wouldn't let me take any more classes.

The course load was so varied that it was hard for me to shoehorn it into a single field. I had to figure out what tied them all together.

I realized that I had been studying the ways the stories and cultures interact and affect each other. Lots of semiotics, language, and that sort of idea encoding, but also study of cultural reactions and re-manifestations of stories to "fit the times." Propaganda was a big part of that. (I declared the program in early 2001. That September, I discovered a wealth of research material.)

There was no discrete program to fit that into, but there *was* the catch-all "University Studies" degree: a sort of roll-your-own program that, if you could make a case for hanging your classes together somehow, you could graduate.

I call my degree "Propaganda Studies" for my own amusement, I work in I.T. to pay the bills... but now I can go apply at DARPA! Fat government research grant, here I come!

Comment: Re:Windows CAL cost (Score 2) 246

by GMFTatsujin (#34655012) Attached to: 10 Dos and Don'ts To Make Sysadmins' Lives Easier

Point taken. Consolidating directories of authenticated accounts in general is a good idea, especially if open standards are involved. If Active Directory (or whatever) isn't your cup of tea, setting up an OpenLDAP server or something similar should be an option.

I think the basic idea is to avoid over-replicating information and minimizing the potential for human error in the duplications.

Comment: Re:Go electronic! (Score 1) 441

by GMFTatsujin (#34645858) Attached to: Banknotes Go Electronic To Outwit Counterfeiters

Above posters have already addressed privacy. I agree with that.

But here's another reason: to keep market costs *real.*

When you pay with a credit or debit card, the card network charges the business some amount just for the privilege of handing over your money. This nibbles away at the business's profitability, ie: the reason they stay open to sell you what you're after in the first place.

With cash, you pay the same price, but the money stays between you and the business. You're not paying a VISA/MC/DISC/AMEX middleman for a "carry your money from A to B' fee.

Cash is more efficient that electronic in that regard.

Plus it makes it easier to fill up your piggy bank with spare change for a little splurge spending later on. (Can't do that with receipts!)

Arithmetic is being able to count up to twenty without taking off your shoes. -- Mickey Mouse

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