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Comment: It can become mainstream, but not quite yet (Score 4, Insightful) 143

by Molt (#46686953) Attached to: A Bid To Take 3D Printing Mainstream

Over the last few years 3d printing has come on dramatically, it's great for rapid prototyping.

Unfortunately though the average home user doesn't really have much need for rapid prototyping, and most of the things which come out of current 3d printers just don't look polished enough to appeal. They're still very rough looking, more the type of thing which'd come out of a Christmas cracker than the type of thing most people would want as decor.

In terms of software I don't think a more user-friendly 3d editor will help too much. I view 3d product design as similar to writing software, you can make it more accessible but most people are just going to be interested in the library of things other people have developed. Make a library of designs which the average person (not the average current 3d printer owner, they're more enthusiast) will find interesting, attractive, and useful and maybe you'll break the mainstream- until then it's the realm of the tinkerer and the hacker. Most people don't need or want a print out of the Stanford rabbit.

I'm not saying this isn't of interest or use, I may have pledged for one myself if I didn't find paying the import duties to the UK to be so painful (Anyone want to Kickstart a business importing other business' Kickstarters?), but it's still just another 3d printer. I don't think it's the type of thing I'd be recommending to my parents and neighbours though, I just don't think they'd want to deal with the hassles that 3d printers currently bring in exchange for the benefits. How much 3d printing do most people actually need?

What I do see as becoming more popular is the shared printer. People at home make orders for larger and well-finished 3d objects selected from a catalogue and printed on a very nice printer, and they either post them or make them available for collection at central points. I know businesses like Shapeways do this already but the price isn't right for most people yet, it needs to be the case where printing a vase isn't that much more expensive than buying one, and printing a piece to fix your plumbing should be easily affordable.

Comment: Re:Why would a kid want to program something in VB (Score 1) 226

by Molt (#46686161) Attached to: Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?
Do you really expect any company to donate 'rival' equipment to schools? What I would really rather see MS do is to not cancel development of things such as XNA Game Studio, or at to give more support to other freely-available game engines. Game development is something that kids do enjoy. Make it easy for them to quickly and easily write games using proper programming languages, run them on their own devices, and share them with friends, and you stand a chance of actually getting a programmer out of the other side.

Comment: Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 226

by Molt (#46686037) Attached to: Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

Agreed. People end up using things such as VBA because they spend a lot of time using MS Office and want to automate part of it, they don't do it for fun. If people want to get kids excited about programming then Excel will not help.

As you say stuff like Python/Ruby will as they're nice languages and web development is something people can have fun with, and I'd also throw in stuff like mobile development which seems to still be viewed with interest, Javascript which is an oddly odd language but allows a lot of cool web things, and nowadays freely available game engines.

Comment: Re:Microsoft teaches you to be a bad neighbour (Score 1) 226

by Molt (#46685773) Attached to: Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

No, not mmmkay.

You feel that proprietary software software has no place in the schools, others have different views. I personally would prefer free software to be more heavily used in schools but can see a strong benefit from teaching children the software they're likely to be using in their later careers, and often this will be proprietary. For teaching programming I'd likely stick to free software, but for word processing and so on I'd go with Microsoft's suite as when applying for a lot of jobs not having any experience at all with MS Office will be a fairly strong negative.

Comment: Re:Shame it looks like it'll collapse (Score 1) 91

by Molt (#46321819) Attached to: Nostalgic For the ZX Spectrum? Soon You Can Play With a New One
On the Kickstarter's page the video has a segment with Peter Dickinson, the original Industrial Designer for the Spectrum, and so I assume that either he was just happy to see his work get a new life or is receiving money himself from the Kickstarter. Basically if he's happy for his work to be used like this so am I, although I do assume similar agreements have been made with other SInclair folks up to and including Sir Slive.

Microsoft Circles the Wagons To Defeat ODF In the UK 89

Posted by Soulskill
from the tell-them-ODF-is-bigger-on-the-inside dept.
Andy Updegrove writes "Three weeks ago, we heard that Francis Maude, a senior UK government minister, was predicting the conversion to open source office suites by UK government agencies. Lost in the translation in many stories was the fact that this was based not on an adopted policy, but on a proposal still open for public comment — and subject to change. It should be no surprise that Microsoft is trying to get the UK to add OOXML, its own format standard, to the UK policy. Why? According to a messaging sent to its UK partners, because it believes that a failure to include OOXML 'will cause problems for citizens and businesses who use office suites which don't support ODF, including many people who do not use a recent version of Microsoft Office or, for example, Pages on iOS and even Google Docs.' Of course, that's because Microsoft pushed OOXML as an alternative to ODF a decade ago. If you don't want the same objection to be valid a decade from now, consider making your views known at the Cabinet Office Standards Hub. The deadline is February 26."

Comment: Re: For / While in C (Score 1) 533

by Molt (#46002067) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Often-Run Piece of Code -- Ever?
I was thinking pixel shader too, likely a commonly-used part of one of the standard lighting models, or a part of a blend function used for desktop compositing. When a shader's running at a relatively sedate 1920x1200 60Hz we're talking 138,240,000 executions per minute per machine- and that's if it's only executed once per pixel per frame, if it's a per-light piece of code then it could well be executed many times as often.

Comment: Jodrell Bank (Score 5, Interesting) 150

by Molt (#45974505) Attached to: How To Make 96,000lbs of WWII Machinery Into High-Tech Research Platform
This type of reuse of ex-military kit quite often happens, although not normally so long after it was originally used. I'm not sure if it's still running on the same engines but I know that the Lovell Radio Telescope at Jodrell Bank (UK), at one time the largest movable dish telescope, originally had a lot of parts cannibalised from engines taken from two battleships. Lovell, the maker of the telescope, had also previously been using quite a lot of reclaimed military kit for his astronomical observations before the actual radio telescope was built.

As of next Thursday, UNIX will be flushed in favor of TOPS-10. Please update your programs.