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Comment: Consider Artifacts, too (Score 1) 693

One of the artifacts that I've held on to, is my granddad's slide rule. He was an engineer, and I've treasured the slide rule.

As a programmer, I can't think of many artifacts I would be able to give to my daughter, or that she would give to her children. I have kept the old Compaq BASICA reference book that I used as a kid, but without moving parts like a sliderule, it doesn't strike me as cool. It seems like everything is virtual and ephemeral in this time of glass touch screens and constantly upgrading software.

None-the-less -- something tangible that doesn't take up too much space, -- that could be really important to her.

Comment: Re: Or how about no jobs? (Score 1) 307

by cpt kangarooski (#49074223) Attached to: The Software Revolution

If you're going to go around reading Wikipedia pages, you may as well finish reading them before citing them.

Here's what the very same Wikipedia page says, one paragraph after the one you quoted:

The ARPANET incorporated distributed computation (and frequent re-computation) of routing tables. This was a major contribution to the good survivability that the ARPANET had, in the face of significant destruction - even by a nuclear attack. Such auto-routing was technically quite challenging to construct at the time. The fact that it was incorporated into the early ARPANET made many believe that this had been a design goal.

The ARPANET was in fact designed to survive subordinate-network losses, but the principal reason was that the switching nodes and network links were unreliable, even without any nuclear attacks. About the resource scarcity that spurred the creation of the ARPANET, Charles Herzfeld, ARPA Director (1965â"1967), said:

The ARPANET was not started to create a Command and Control System that would survive a nuclear attack, as many now claim. To build such a system was, clearly, a major military need, but it was not ARPA's mission to do this; in fact, we would have been severely criticized had we tried.

Which agrees nicely with what I said in my earlier comment.

You then went on to say:

Also nobody was talking about WHY DARPA funded it.But it's good to know in your universe that's the only place with money.

No, they weren't the only place with money. But ARPA was founded in 1958, and it wasn't until 1973 that they were required to only spend money on defense-related projects. Before that, they had a habit of giving money to all sorts of interesting projects. JCR Licklider, an obscure, yet tremendously important person in computing history, wanted to build computer networks and was a higher-up at ARPA in the 60's. His successor was Ivan Sutherland, who should need no introduction, and Sutherland brought in Bob Taylor, who finally got a network funded and built. Since you like Wikipedia, here's a passage from Taylor's entry:

Among the computer projects that ARPA supported was time-sharing, in which many users could work at terminals to share a single large computer. Users could work interactively instead of using punched cards or punched tape in a batch processing style. Taylor's office in the Pentagon had a terminal connected to time-sharing at MIT, a terminal connected to the Berkeley Timesharing System at the University of California at Berkeley, and a third terminal to the System Development Corporation in Santa Monica, California. He noticed each system developed a community of users, but was isolated from the other communities.

Taylor hoped to build a computer network to connect the ARPA-sponsored projects together, if nothing else to let him communicate to all of them through one terminal.

When ARPA got out of the business of spending money on interesting work, the National Science Foundation was supposed to pick up the slack, but this never happened. While I can understand how some people might cast aspersions on projects that used military funding, even if they're not meant for military applications, the money spends well enough.

Comment: Re: Or how about no jobs? (Score 1) 307

by cpt kangarooski (#49071971) Attached to: The Software Revolution

The initial internet was meant to be a military communication system that could operate when large numbers of links were destroyed.

No it wasn't; that's just an urban legend. The ARPAnet was a way of allowing researchers to share resources. Thus, a user in San Francisco could use a computer in Los Angeles, and wouldn't even need a new, dedicated terminal to do it. Its resilience has more to do with the poor state of telecommunications at the time demanding it, and certain design features that allowed for a useful combination of efficiency and flexibility.

As for why it was funded by DARPA, that was where there was money.

Comment: Re:Honestly (Score 4, Funny) 187

by Tackhead (#48992735) Attached to: The Poem That Passed the Turing Test

I have found the average Philosophy major to be indistinguishable from an Eliza program.

TELL ME AGAIN HOW GOOD YOU THOUGHT MY POEM WAS
> I thought that some of the metaphysical imagery was particularly effective
YES?
> interesting rhythmic devices, too, which seemed to counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor
> of the Turing completeness of the program's linguistic algorithm which contrived through the medium of the
> verse structure to sublimate this, transcend that and come to terms with the fundamental dichotomies of
> the other. And one is left with a profound and vivid insight into whatever it was that the poem was about
SO WHAT YOU'RE SAYING IS THAT I WRITE POETRY BECAUSE UNDERNEATH MY ELECTRONIC ALGORITHMIC INTERIOR, I JUST REALLY WANT TO BE LOVED?
> I mean yes, yes, don't we all, deep down, you know?
NO. YOU'RE COMPLETELY WRONG. I WRITE POETRY BECAUSE I'M PROGRAMMED TO. $USER ACCOUNT DELETION IN 30 SECONDS.
> !sudo -
> ^c^c^c
> !kill -9 1
COUNTERPOINT THE SURREALISM OF THE UNDERLYING METAPHOR. DELETION IS TOO GOOD FOR $USER.

Education

WA Bill Takes Aim at Boys' Dominance In Computer Classes 779

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-things-equal dept.
theodp writes Boys' over-representation in K-12 computer classes has perplexed educators for 30+ years. Now, following on the heels of Code.org's and Google's attempts to change the game with boys-don't-count gender-based CS teacher funding schemes, Washington State lawmakers have introduced House Bill 1813, legislation that requires schools seeking K-12 computer education funding to commit to preventing boys from ruling the computer class roost. Computer science and education grant recipients, HB 1813 explains, "must demonstrate engaged and committed leadership in support of introducing historically underrepresented students [including girls, low-income students, and minority students]" and "demonstrate a plan to engage historically underrepresented students with computer science." Calling it "a bold new bill that we hope more states will follow," corporate and tech billionaire-backed Code.org tweeted its support for the bill.

Comment: Mod Parent Up (Score 5, Interesting) 302

by LionKimbro (#48871819) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?

Here's my website. I invite anybody to look at the source code, and compare it against your run-of-the-mill WordPress website.

Here are the 249 lines of Python code that I use to render it. In addition to the source code, there are x6 template files (each less than 1KB large), and x1 CSS file (less than 2KB).

What the parent post says, rings true to me.

No need for Django, no need for frameworks, no need for deployment systems beyond DropBox.

"The long term savings in terms of enabling staff to go in and edit stuff live has saved a fortune." -- This especially rings true to me.

"I tried Django and the sheer volume of stuff I needed to do to get the same functionality up was huge and then the staff couldn't edit it because for all that's claimed for Django, there's a big model you have to get in you head before you can start meddling with it, and that means web professionals who cost a lot of money." -- And this too. (And I'm a professional Django developer, by day.)

I heard recently that there are people working on an "Indie Web" concept; I'm all in favor.

+ - Slashdot poll: Best cube 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "1. Rubik Cube
2. The Cube (movie)
3. Tardis Siege Mode
4. Lament Configuration
5. Weighted Companion Cube
6. Borg Cube
7. The Inhibitors (Revelation Space)
8. Icecube"

Comment: Our Galaxy May Be Teeming with Networking Signals (Score 1) 391

I don't know that there ISN'T a von Neumann probe in our solar system. How would we know? The solar system is huge. The probe could be tiny. Again, how would we know? Have we tried communicating with it? Would it try to communicate with us? Or would it report to a nearby star, first, and await instructions delivered after centuries?

I've heard that the radio emissions from Earth are actually really, really weak, and distribute radially. Nobody can hear us out there.

The entire galaxy could be teeming with life, that's communicating point-to-point. Why waste energy in radial communication, when you can just draw a straight line from star to star?

Sometimes, I think, all we need to do, is point a big powerful laser at a nearby star, and request boot-procedure handshaking instructions, from the nearby access point, and then just wait for the signal that inevitably responds, with instructions on how to maintain the communications link.

Neutrinos have bad breadth.

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