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Comment: Determination (Score 1) 687

Determination is more important than talent. I always had a lot of natural talent so a lot of things were easy for me. I expected things to always be easy. They weren't. I got frustrated easily. Make sure she doesn't think she can glide through life on talent alone. Minimize the role of talent, emphasize determination.

Teach her to determine who she wants to be and then be determined to be that person regardless of critics, naysayers, or the status quo.

Teach her to determine who can help her reach her goals and then be determined to convince them to help her. Due to my natural talents, ALL of my teachers just assumed that I would be fine with no help. This left me clueless about anything that wasn't in a book. Now, I read a lot of books so I knew a lot of stuff, but there aren't books about how to get other project members to do their share our even what to do when they won't. No books about getting into grad school really tell you what you really need to know. She will need mentors. She should be determined to find them. Independence is great but help is better.

Finally, tell her not to be afraid to use your death to get the help she needs. She can say, "If my dad were still alive, he would help me with this. But he died last year, so can you help me with this?" If that's what it takes to get people to help her, she should do it. However, she should be determined to do all the actual work on her own. Guidance is good. Getting people to do her work for her is bad.

Comment: Re:Ummmm.... (Score 1) 318

by GrantRobertson (#49098569) Attached to: Java Vs. Node.js: Epic Battle For Dev Mindshare

this is not about applets, which have been dead for years already.

OK, please count this as a dumb question and not a troll question: Why, exactly ARE applets dead, and in what context? Are they dead simply because they never caught on an are simply unpopular? Are they dead because IF a user does not update their JVM then a malicious web-app can do very bad things? Is it dead because, regardless of which version of the JVM, the web-app itself is vulnerable to malformed data and can be used as an attack vector? But then is that vulnerability any worse than what could be created through sloppy JS code? Would applets be OK in a limited environment? I have worked at a company that used Oracle databases and used Java web-apps to access said databases. It seemed to work just fine for them (though they could have done a lot better with their UX).

I'm asking because I am thinking about getting back into programming but I only have so much time and energy. I don't think I can just "learn every language out there" like many hot-shot developers say one should do. I may end up doing some professional development but I am not looking to be the cream of the crop. I am more interested in finding my own small niche and settling in there. I know the world will change around me. I am fine with that for now.

Comment: Um, I have prior art for that ... (Score 1) 85

by GrantRobertson (#49078405) Attached to: Algorithmic Patenting

Back in 2009 I proposed a very similar system but for the purpose of generating prior art to thus invalidate as many troll patents as possible. I even posted it here on Slashdot. funny, I got no responses. Here's a link to my blog post about it: http://www.ideationizing.com/2....

Yes, I know. My method is not similar enough to invalidate their patent, which I am sure they will get despite their method being an algorithm. But this is Slashdot, the home of misleading headlines.

Comment: Social skills training can help anyone. (Score 1) 289

To answer the original poster's actual question:

I think you should evaluate each therapist and social skills program individually. Sure, most may be lame, but some may not be. Also keep in mind that you are NOT an expert at training for these things. What appears to be a waste of time may actually be getting to the root of a problem that you haven't even noticed.

As someone who is recently self-diagnosed, but who never received any kind of help, I can tell you what I would have appreciated:

Parents and adults who did not respond to my problems with platitudes like: "If you just be yourself, people will like you." Listen to your child and help them work through specific instances of things that have made them uncomfortable. Offer concrete suggestions based on how the real world works in their school. Ask for feedback as to how that advice is helping.

Provide lots of opportunities for success. I am talking about social success here, not just success in completing tasks. Play dates may be good, but I would suggest that you get your kid into clubs based on activities they like, but that have a large social component. For instance, If your kid likes trains. Don't just take them to a club where someone shows off their latest train set. Take them to events where the kids get together over pizza and talk about their trains in a less formal manner. Perhaps have them build trains together, then all get together for the pizza party. You should perhaps direct the activities (as in plan for all the kids to have stuff ready to build said trains) and monitor for bullying and bad behavior, but then let the kids take it from there. Learn the subtle signs that indicate that either your kid is uncomfortable or that other kids are perplexed by his/her behavior. Now, watch for those signs during the activity BUT DON'T INTERRUPT DURING THE ACTIVITY. Now, the next day, pick a few things to talk to your kid about. Always make sure to let your child know that they aren't "in trouble" for "acting wrong" but that you just want to help them understand how other people think. Make it clear that this is the kind of discussion that ALL good parents should be having with their kids, rather than it being some kind of remedial activity because they are broken.

Avoid bullies like the plague. While it is OK for other kids to be perplexed or confused by your child's behavior, if they actually start picking on your kid then take steps to get that bad apple out of the club, find a different club, or talk to the other parents and fork your own club, without the bullies allowed. The longer bullying is allowed to persist, the more socially isolated your child will become. It is almost an exponential scale.

I know someone who is much further along on the autism spectrum than I am. However, when he was around 14 or 15 his few friends got together and decided they were going to teach him how to be less socially awkward. After each interaction they critiqued him, much like members at a ToastMasters meeting critiquing a member's speech or presentation. Now, though he still has many autistic tics, he is far more socially skilled and successful than I am. To my ear, he always sounds so phoney and patronizing, but everyone seems to love him. He meets and flirts with new women with ease and does very well at work, garnering the praise of many of the managers. Mostly because he has learned when to keep his mouth shut and exactly when and how to make suggestions.

Finally, keep in mind, this will be a lifetime project. Never think you are done. Life will always present new things that will always be difficult for your child, well past their mid-life crisis. The most important thing you can do is be that sounding board that they can always go to for advice.

Comment: Re:Social communication is just communication. (Score 1) 289

I would concentrate on something else entirely: excellent communication skills.

Lacking a degree of of social grace is forgivable if you can write and speak effectively.

Perhaps you should be looking less at speech communication therapy, and more at AP English.

I beg to differ. I am an excellent technical writer, and when I speak I am always careful to make sure that I am understood. So, I do great in meetings and such. However, I have difficulty making friends and I don't seem to interview very well because I always seem just a little bit off. In a lot of ways, having great communication skills is seen as odd or elitist by a lot of people.

Comment: Re:On loan??? (Score 5, Interesting) 118

by GrantRobertson (#49022579) Attached to: Neil Armstrong's Widow Discovers Moon Camera In Bag

I used to work at the California Museum of Science and Industry. Every once in a while they would do a purge of really old stuff that had been stored in the basements for decades. They would rent a giant dumpster and hire people to haul stuff out to fill it up. We were not only told that we could have anything we found in there, but we were given time to dig through it during work time. Why? Because it fed our scientific nerdyness, making us more enthusiastic science museum employees. Because the more stuff we could find a new home for, the less they had to pay to haul away.

The only rule was that those who decided what to throw out couldn't then go and get it out of the dumpster.

Of course, that was before eBay. Nowadays, I am sure they have someone whose job it is to post that kind of stuff on eBay and sell it to help fund the museum.

There is absolutely NO ethical problem with taking home surplus from work, if it is truly surplus and you have permission.

Comment: I'm still waiting for... (Score 1) 421

by GrantRobertson (#48730725) Attached to: What Isn't There an App For?

...apps as good as what I had on my Palm Pilot, that will sync directly with my PC without going through someone's web service.

A task manager with actual start dates, end dates, dependencies, priorities, categories, and roll-over of uncompleted tasks. NOT these all-day appointments that Google pretends are tasks.

A database program that allows me to design my database on my desktop and sync it directly to my device, provides a usable, customizable interface on the device, then reliably syncs data back to my desktop, again WITHOUT an intervening web service and without programming.

Heck, a standardized synchronization manager to handle synchronizing files, data, and settings to the desktop, would be a good start.

Comment: Re: oh boy! (Score 1) 253

Yes! People who have people skills assume it is easy to learn because they learned t easily. Many people have difficulty with it. You could teach me all ther moves for football but I would still get mowed down on every play. There are some things that one can't just learn out of a book. Believe me, I have tried.

"An entire fraternity of strapping Wall-Street-bound youth. Hell - this is going to be a blood bath!" -- Post Bros. Comics

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