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Comment The real killer app; "it's on my way to X" (Score 0) 145

Instead of treating this like a full time job, people could be "whenever" deliverers, and be informed by Amazon when a delivery is "on the way" to somewhere they're already going. If you live, work, or recreate near a distribution point, Amazon pops up a text notification and says "Do you want this contract?" sort of like Uber I guess.

Comment I built a cheap standing/tread desk (Score 1) 340

I got some cheap pine from Lowe's and attached it to an old desk surface I had in the garage with clunky cross braces cut from the same pine. I basically just made a long rectangle for each leg and screwed them to the surface. I propped it up on old yearbooks when I realized it was a little short. It's a little ghetto, but it works. Monitors are cheap these days; $150 will get you a decent 24" screen.

I have a home gym with a treadmill as well and made a desktop for it for under $40. I followed these directions, basically:

I have an old PC hooked up to a 50" LCD in the home gym. You could just stick a laptop on the tread-desk if you wanted, or just read a book while you walk/jog/run on it. I have a keyboard and mouse that I can use fine at 1-2mph, but over that and I just watch video because typing and mousing gets a little difficult.

On a typical day, I'll switch on and off between the standing and sitting desks every hour or so, and hit the treadmill once or twice during the day for like an hour or two. I really should use the treadmill more.

Comment The future of education is computers + human (Score 1) 234

The ideal learning environment:

- computerized
- allows a child to proceed at their own pace, faster or slower; the computer quizzes them periodically to see if they've absorbed the material instead of forcing them to sit down and do homework for x hours a night. quizzes encompass a rolling random subset of material to guarantee long-term absorption of knowledge, with no judgments for needing to be refreshed on older material.
- allows a child to learn about what interests them, within reason: "You've already spent x hours on subject A, you should spend more time with subject B and C."
- has a human proctor to help out if they have problems that the computer can't handle
- has experts on call for Skyping or whatnot, whether individual or group
- gamified testing to hold a child's interest (e.g. an RPG that requires solving riddles
- hands-on labs at all age and grade levels to help make clear why they're learning the material, how it can be both useful and fun
- professionally-produced videos instead of making teachers give the same boring lectures over and over, forgetting things sometimes, misspeaking, etc.
- grade levels should be per-field of study, allowing a child to be at various stages of development for any field (Math 6, Language 8, History 5, etc.)
- alternate physical education between fitness (jogging or running, swimming, strength) and play (games) with private showers

Comment Odds of winning the lottery are low too. (Score 5, Insightful) 236

But people win them all the time. Do we really want to gamble we'll never "win" this particular lottery?

I think the author's point is that we should be exploring for positive reasons. Sure, that's a feelgood strategy to take... but I don't put smoke alarms in my house for positive reasons.

Comment Re:C# (Score 1) 648

I personally like C# as a language and I use it for development, but I think Java is a more generalized language suitable for learning, even though I personally dislike parts of it. It's much more ubiquitous and easy to install and I think those aspects are essential for a learning platform.

Yes, with the addition of Mono, C# can run on other platforms, and Microsoft appears to be pushing to open source it completely. Once C# has an easily-installable runtime and SDK for all major platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux) I think it would make a great learning language. I've installed Mono SDKs on two different Linux platforms, and both were complex installations with lots of prerequisites.

Comment I suggested this for finding a Starbound mob. (Score 1) 100

Starbound is a 2d side-scrolly infinite universe procedural game.

A couple weeks ago, I noticed a post by someone who had seen a randomly-generated mob of a specific type on a certain planet, taken it for a pet, and then subsequently lost all of his data, perhaps due to a patch, I forget. He wanted to find that exact pet again because he liked its looks, but in a very large (not technically infinite, but impossible to explore for one person before the heat death of the universe) game universe, the chances of him finding it again were very slim.

My suggestion was to write an AutoHotKey script and game mods to make the player invulnerable and run a ship on autopilot and explore the universe, then put that script into the cloud and run thousands of simultaneous copies. Then, post screenshots when mobs were found as Amazon Turk jobs to compare to the original screenshot of his lost pet.

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]