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

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) 234 234

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) 236 236

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) 648 648

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) 100 100

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.

Comment Re:One of my earliest multiuser gaming experiences (Score 1) 146 146

It was a typo, of course. I've typed "darth"-something many more times than "dart"-something else in my life.

'80 was probably too early. I would have been single digits. It was probably more like '84-'85 maybe? I remember some people had personal channels they would use, like some dude named Greg hung out in channel 32 I think?

I guess it would be kind of weird and wrong to ask what your username was? I can't even remember mine for sure; it might have been Warewolph, or The Hoodlum. Both awful handles that I discarded soon afterwards.

Comment One of my earliest multiuser gaming experiences. (Score 3, Insightful) 146 146

Back in the day, I knew people that could provide me with magic phone numbers that would allow me to dial anywhere in the world, for free. Imagine that, right? I was only like 13. Statute of limitations and all that. This was in the 80s I guess.

Anyway, I remember we used to somehow dial into a Darthmouth mainframe and from there we could do a couple things. They had some kind of multiuser Zork (or Zork-ish) text adventure that you could play. I tried it a couple times but I couldn't get into it at the time, even though I loved Infocom games.

The biggest appeal was getting into the chat system. There, we could chat with what I assume were Darthmouth college students. "JOIN XYZ" I think was the command from the main menu.

There was this cool VT display of who was in the chat, so you could tell how many people were there. I used to chat with these people all the time. It was great for a precocious 13 year old who couldn't talk with his peers because his vocabulary and worldview was greatly expanded from theirs. How unfortunate that my social skills were so backward at the same time.

The details are a bit foggy, but I'm sure with some conversation with some of the same folks who used to chat there, I could dredge up those memories. Anyone remember chatting on that system?

"Virtual" means never knowing where your next byte is coming from.