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Comment: Re:Duh (Score 1) 202

by Em Adespoton (#49785845) Attached to: Adblock Plus Victorious Again In Court

Increasingly, sites are starting to detect ad-blockers and refuse to serve content to those people.

So just like you don't have to view their ads, they don't have to let you view the bulk of the internet if you don't.

See who wins that battle, shall we? And don't pretend you'll just "download but not display them". That's just about as good, as far as they are concerned, because all the same tracking
still applies.

No, what I'll do (and what I DO do) is stop visiting that site. So what battle was won and by whom? Ad agency gets less of a chance of getting a hit, site loses a viewer, and I have more time to do other things (one guarantee in life is that you won't have enough of it to do everything you want).

Comment: Re:How to read f*ucked up code (Score 2) 260

by Em Adespoton (#49784383) Attached to: How Much C++ Should You Know For an Entry-Level C++ Job?

THIS. The things to look for in entry-level C++ are:
1a) a grasp of ANSI C
1b) a grasp of OOP
2) a demonstrated ability to figure out how to understand all the legacy C++ code
3) a demonstrated ability to write new C++ code in the style of the legacy code such that the next person who comes along has a clue as to what they were meaning to do
4) appropriate documentation (via comments AND proper code structuring)

But what counts even more is that the person is a good working fit with the senior programmer in general, and appears to be someone who can learn as they go (because no matter how good their C++ skills are, they're going to be DOING IT WRONG according to the senior programmer).

Comment: Re:And I'm the feminist deity (Score 1) 429

Oh, I'm definitely reading. Wrapping robotics in theater to attract girls who like theater is going to do nothing to show girls what working in the robotics field is like.

What it IS going to do is expose them to the possibility of doing such a thing, in an environment that is familiar to them. Only a small number of those girls will go anywhere with it, but a few, once exposed, will become fascinated with what is possible.

This is exactly the same with the boys. Most boys I know who join robotics groups do it because of video games they've played or cool toys they've played with. Then they get into the nitty gritty of servo mechanics and AI programming, and discover it's actually a LOT of work, and the first things you produce are nothing like Gundam Wing.

So in reality, you're not wrapping robotics (or anything else) in theater to attract people who like theater, you're changing the student body perception of the program itself so that more people might be willing to try it out and stick with it long enough for it to be rewarding -- even when there are other "quick social win" programs out there that it's competing with.

Robotics and programming can be fun and fascinating -- they can also be very dry and boring. Maths are the same way; introduce mathematical concepts in the right way, and they're tools to do something great -- introduce them the wrong way and they become this bit of useless knowledge that accomplishes nothing useful.

If all that makes you interested in chemistry is making kitchen goo and colored smoke and liquids, that's enough to get you interested and start learning about chemistry fundamentals. We're talking kids who are 10-14 here -- they don't know what they're allowed to want to do at this point, and are nowhere near a track for a job in ANY profession.

Once the smoke clears, a few kids who joined a chemistry club because they wanted to learn how to make mustard gas and smoke/stink bombs will discover they can do much more, and much more rewarding things, and it's worth the effort. The majority will graduate from highschool and go into a profession or education track that has nothing to do with being a chemist.

And yeah; I'm a case in point for all of these. In highschool I used to "sign out" chemicals from the chem supply room at the school and create all sorts of compounds on my own time, just because I thought it was neat. As a result, I understand the basics of chemistry and can make many basic compounds from scratch, including substituting when needed. And I know how to do it safely. But I'm no chemist, and have no interest in a job in chemistry.

Programming I got into because my elementary school needed some software to perform a specific task, and I had some spare time and thought I'd see how you make something like that happen. Completely self-driven, and I doubt anyone today or then recalls/cares that it was actually me who developed that software for my school.

So from those two examples, I prove your point: attracted by fancy chemistry experiments, I never went into chemistry. Attracted by solving a problem and playing around with some expensive machinery, I got hooked on computer programming.

But I'm sure glad I had that exposure to chemistry, and I'd probably be better at my job today if there'd been a fun club working on computer projects instead of just me and the school secretary who even touched a computer.

In fact, at one point I actually taught a math/computer "club"/class to elementary school kids -- all boys. Even with them, what really got them learning the hard stuff was giving them rewarding problems to solve that resulted in something they could share with others who might not understand exactly what they were learning.

Along these lines, I remember back in the 90's encountering people who mentioned that they'd built their own computers. At first I was in awe -- having years of knowledge of how computers are made, I couldn't imagine someone making an ENTIRE computer. Then I realized that when they said "made" they actually meant "assembled commodity parts based on spec sheets". I was much less impressed. For the most part, they understood nothing about the components they assembled to create that computer, and didn't really comprehend how it worked. But they still accomplished stuff that they could show off to non-computer users, and a number went on to become hardware designers and software programmers, because building a system "from scratch" drew them in.

Similarly, I remember when being part of a mobile robotics club meant creating your own sensors and logic gates, and writing your own OS to handle the I/O. These days, many robotics clubs start with something like a Lego MindStorm or even an off-the-shelf programmable quadcopter. The basic stuff comes later, after they've already had a taste for the results.

Comment: Re:Wow ... no kidding (Score 1) 230

by Em Adespoton (#49778491) Attached to: Elon Musk Establishes a Grade School

That was my point. I wasn't talking about the LEDs themselves but the overall construction of the consumer LED "bulbs". The LEDs pretty much never fail before the cheap capacitors on the mainboard or just bad circuit layout causes a failure. This was not the case in the earlier LED bulbs due to the fact that when you're creating a premium product and setting a reputation, you don't skimp on the design or components. Same was true for incandescent bulbs, and Edison & Co. figured out how to do it faster and cheaper (and brighter) with an acceptable failure rate that was measured in months instead of decades. But in his case, it was the filament that went, not the supporting circuitry.

Comment: Re:Requires... (Score 2) 109

I was surprised that after setting a secure admin password the cable company could just bypass it once it was back on there network.

That's because you've changed the admin password only. Above the admin password is a support password that has more privileges, and then the root password that rules them all. Your ISP holds these other two accounts that aren't visible from the Admin settings.

Comment: Re:Wow ... no kidding (Score 1) 230

by Em Adespoton (#49776563) Attached to: Elon Musk Establishes a Grade School

By your suggestion, Westinghouse didn't generate AC power, Edison didn't invent the light bulb (well, actually, he didn't...), and DARPA didn't start the internet.

No, by his suggestion, Nicola Tesla didn't generate AC power, Edison didn't invent the light bulb, and J. C. R. Licklider didn't start the internet. Instead, those people were the driving forces that had the ideas and shepherded/browbeat the people who made it happen. Well, except in the case of Edison, where all he did was lead the group that invented the *commodity* light bulb.*

* If you ever wonder why that firehall in Livermore, CA has a bulb that has burned for 106 years when a store-bought incandescent bulb burns out after around 1.5 years, that's because Edison's team also invented the disposable bulb -- a bulb that has a thin enough filament that it eventually burns out and needs to be replaced. This is the kind used today, and we're seeing the same progression in LED bulbs; the newer ones are cheaper to manufacture, but don't last anywhere near as long as the original LED bulbs will.

Comment: Re:And I'm the feminist deity (Score 1) 429

Boys would still come for the same reason they always did. And some girls would drop out later, but this is an after-school program, and you only get to show off if you make it to the end.

As for "it's no theater," well, neither is theater. A much higher percentage of people who go into robotics get high paying rewarding jobs that make a difference than people who go into theater. This message however, isn't really promoted at the school level in anything but words (and rarely even with words).

Comment: Re:Last minute voting researchers? (Score 1) 117

In the West? Chances are very few people will be reseacrhing online inside the voting booth. Do your homework before election day.

You'd be surprised at how many people bring their smartphone into the voting booth with them for some quick wikipedia lookups.

Comment: Re:And I'm the feminist deity (Score 1) 429

I think you're ignoring the aspect of social standing and prestige here.

The real takeaway from their research seemed to be the bit about promoting CS as a vehicle for social change / making a difference / getting noticed. ... it's competing with the school play, which enables the girls to be the focus of an entire audience with much applause. It has weeks/months of buildup with ads in the school and community. It has a number of accessible topics that people who aren't in the play can take part in, and it has a hierarchy (their girls don't like hierarchy thing is pure hogwash) where different people can get "better" and "worse" parts in the play, as well as default exclusivity (not everyone can play the leading roles).

Perhaps you meant to reply to the parent? It's ALL about the prestige.

I'll bet if you tried an experiment in schools in India and China with kids being able to go into either a coding/robotics program or a school play production, you'd have vastly different results.

Exactly, although your country choices are bad: India has Bollywood, and China has a system where only the "perfect" people get the acting/TV jobs. The positions have the same prestige as in the US. However, going to pretty much any country in Africa and setting up this experiment could have very interesting results...

"Your attitude determines your attitude." -- Zig Ziglar, self-improvement doofus