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Comment: Re:Network layer and education (Score 1) 257

by MyNicknameSucks (#49104823) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Parental Content Control For Free OSs?


A good example is alcohol, when i was in school many of the other kids in my class were forbidden from touching alcohol and that made them seek out ways to obtain alcohol... Myself and a few others were never forbidden, our parents allowed us to try alcohol if we wanted... I found alcoholic drinks tasted quite disgusting, and lost interest in them.

I liked the taste and (ultimately) became a brewer.

Comment: Re:A quick summation (Score 1) 700

by MyNicknameSucks (#48978513) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Pros and Cons of Homeschooling?

I should also clarify something.

Being involved in your kids' education is not just about nagging them to do homework. It's about encouraging them to read; it's about talking to them about the merits of one movie over another; it's about museums and galleries; it's about board games and puzzles; it's about what is the nerdiest rock and roll song ever recorded (I think it's "Ramble On" because of the hobbits, the kids voted for "Why Does the Sun Shine"); it's about talking over current events; it's about the kid with 7 years' worth of violin lessons teaching you how to do vibrato on a guitar.

Comment: A quick summation (Score 1) 700

by MyNicknameSucks (#48978457) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Pros and Cons of Homeschooling?

To homeschool or not to homeschool: that is the question, but the answer is not binary.

The research is absolutely clear: the kids who do best academically tend to have parents who are interested in their education and, specifically, read to their kids from an early age.

After that, everything is mostly details. You will find kids who do well academically in public schools, in private schools, in charter schools, in homeschools. And you will find kids who are pulled from one and placed into another because the latter didn't pan out.

The main takeaway is that you have to be engaged in your kid's education; that's really the only thing homeschooling has, by definition, over other educational avenues.

Time for my anecdote. Our eldest daughter had a rough time with bullying at her public school a few years ago. She is, at heart, a nerdy kid who had issues wondering why other kids couldn't relate to her ... which is, for better or worse, like chum to a bullying shark in elementary school. We talked to the vice principal, her teacher, and the piece of dog ***t's parents. The bullying mostly came under control. And then, we tried to figure out what to do to make sure our kid didn't look like chum. For us, it involved two things she loves: dance and swimming. Dance gave her good posture and the ability to look confident and strong even when she's nervous. Lifesaving classes taught her to be in control of a situation. And now, she's a confident teenager whose former bully politely ask her for tutoring (and she gets taken out, gratis, for tea and pastries).

If we had pulled her from her public school and homeschooled her, I'm not sure she would've learned that degree of self confidence and poise. And she still would have looked like chum in a private school, but we would have been paying for her to be bullied by well-heeled brats.

FWIW, that's not what my parents did under similar conditions ... and I HATED elementary school. My parents were oblivious, and I've never really learned how to deal with difficult people.

Our other daughter is a different kid; she got an award from her school last year mostly for standing up for classmates who were being bullied. She's ... intense. Public school is a good place for her to be.

Comment: Re:Not about mobile (Score 1) 489

by MyNicknameSucks (#48853753) Attached to: Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

For laptops (and even desktops) whether touch makes sense depends on the application. I've seen, for example, medical apps that work well on laptops and desktops with touch screen monitors. I've also seen DJ apps that, while designed for mouse control, are easier to use with a touch screen. And where I work, the "Prototype Manufacturing" lab has switched all their monitors to touch screen monitors (keyboards and mice are still available, but a lot of the time, the techs use just the touch screens).

The great divide between touch and mouse seems to come down to text. As soon as you need to highlight or edit text, touch rapidly starts becoming a hindrance to doing work. FWIW, one of my kids a touchscreen notebook. Much of her tech life revolves around touchscreens, from the family's smartphones to the Wii U to tablets. But the combination of horrible touchpad and Office ribbons had her rummaging in a junk drawer for a corded mouse that is almost as old as she is.

Comment: Re:Not about mobile (Score 1) 489

by MyNicknameSucks (#48853701) Attached to: Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

I love win 8.1 most of the time. It's fast, stable, runs on comparatively old hardware. But ... lordy. Networking problems today at the household. By force of habit, I double-click the tray's networking icon -- out slides a Metro charm-type thing that show my network connections. Cool -- I double-click Network 1. Nothing. I right click it. Nothing. There is nothing that can be done my to my PC's sole network connection from that Metro element intruding into my desktop which, somewhat ironically, covers up the network icon that CAN get me to networking properties.

And, you're right, Metro with a mouse sucks. But, you know what? Metro with a keyboard is OK. If you can remember some of the old shortcuts (alt-tab to change windows, alt-F4 to close windows, etc.), it's actually OK for dealing with a couple open apps. And I like type-to-search for docs and applications. And win-q/w/s for launching different kinds of searches is kinda' slick if you've been trained to open Explorer and pray. But I never, ever work with just a couple open windows open and there is, honestly, never a time when the only things I want to do on my PC can be done with just Metro apps.

Personally, I can't stand the senseless bouncing between full-screen Metro apps (most of the default OS tools are Metro apps, not their desktop counterparts) and windowed desktop applications. I was gob-smacked the first time I needed to check some math while writing an email in 8.0; a 22" four-function calculator taking up the entire screen was among the stupidest things I've ever seen on a computer.

Comment: Re:I'm amazed (Score 2) 169

by MyNicknameSucks (#48740301) Attached to: How Long Will It Take Streaming To Dominate the Music Business?

I'll take a stab at this.

Twenty years ago, my wife and I would spend from about $100 a month to $200 on CDs. Most of the music we've bought on CD hasn't been listened to in a decade -- despite having every single note ripped and stored on a media server.

Now, we spend $10.

Just for giggles, I stream music from bands I like, even if I have the CD, just so they can get a couple bucks from me.

Comment: Re:Computer careers and gender (Score 1) 208

I've also seen alpha-nerds placed into management positions where half the underlings either quit or transferred out of the department within six months.

This isn't some alpha-nerd v. social butterfly thing; it's all about fitting the right person to the right job.

FWIW, it's pretty easy to find posts from tech people around here who, on the topic of a nerd-centric work environment, say, "Suck it up, that's how we roll." The counterpoint, of course, is that if you want management to notice you and think you're worthy of promotion, you ... make chit-chat. Go out for coffee. Talk about current events. That's how management rolls.

Comment: Re:Computer careers and gender (Score 3, Insightful) 208

Experience has taught me that capability and knowledge takes a back-seat to being liked by the people making the personnel decisions. Drinking buddies, flirts, camping cliques, fellow sports fans, all move up faster than those that have the best technical knowledge.

At the risk of being labelled "Troll", maybe that's not so bad. The folks with social skills move on to positions that require unscripted social interactions, the folks who are really good at the technical aspects of the job keep on doing their own thing.

Comment: There are gender differences (Score 4, Interesting) 208

There are gender differences; you don't see it so much in ability scores, but you do tend to see it in how boys and girls learn. There are, I believe, some advantages for separating boys and girls for some classes, but certainly not all. The tricky bit, however, is that, on an individual basis, some kids simply don't fit the gender stereotypes. Some girls like being hands-on and active; some boys prefer to get their answers from reading and watching.

In a perfect world, you'd pair the right kid with the right teaching method, but that's not always possible, so you make compromises ... like gender-specific classes -- which can also help boys in some cases. FWIW, a couple years ago, news and infotainment stories based on all-boys programs were all the rage in Canada (specifically that elementary school education had become too feminized with too many female educators), so, while the current media frenzy is focusing on girls' achievements, there is a degree of parity in the overall arc of the coverage.

As for the current controversy, Google and MS aren't in the business of being SJWs; they're in the business of making money. And the research strongly suggests that:

The financial benefits of greater gender equity are undeniable. Extensive global research conducted by Credit Suisse, Catalyst and McKinsey & Co. examining the link between women on boards and stronger financial performance of Fortune 500 companies has been cited in numerous publications. Examining the return on sales, return on invested capital, and return on equity, their research confirmed that companies with women on their boards of directors outperform those with the least number of women by significant margins in each category.

Source (with cursory review of the literature): Note: Credit Suisse is not some backwater, liberal college spouting pseudo-scientific gibberish; they're a well-run capitalist organization that makes no bones about being in it for the money.

You want people with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences working together. It might take longer to reach a decision (or finish a project), but it's likely that the decision will be better for it. Monocultures are suboptimal for decision making (the research from WWII on is quite solid on this). Google and Microsoft are not pushing forward with trying to get more girl coders from some sense of goodness and charity; they're doing it because they see a business case for it. The gender equity aspect is veneer slapped over a business decision to make it 1.) seem like a good thing for society and 2.) make it easier to shake money loose governments to improve their own workforces.

Comment: It's expensive (Score 1) 516

by MyNicknameSucks (#48466277) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

Last year, after the ice storm knocked out power to large parts of Toronto for several days, the local utility published some numbers of what it would cost to fully bury Toronto's power lines; it was a mind boggling number -- in the billions. No one has the will to spend that kind of money to improve the grid's up time by .1%.

But ... above-ground lines aren't the worst thing in the world. First, if there is a problem, above-ground lines are far easier to repair. Second, parts of Toronto are prone to flooding. We lost part of our subway system for a few days a couple years ago due to flooding shorting out the buried power infrastructure downtown.

FWIW, it's not the aboveground nature of Toronto's grid that causes most of our problems; it's 60 year-old infrastructure with a rated lifespan of 50 years that kills us. Coming out of WWII, there was public will in Toronto to build grand projects -- the citizens were fine with the idea of doing without for the greater good. Once the boomers came into power, they started nickel and diming everything and put off maintenance. Infrastructure spending? Not cool. Lowering tax rates far below what their parents paid? That's cool.

Comment: What a bunch of hypocrits (Score 1) 481

Seriously, people. Looking at the comments here for the last couple of years, you can see the same people say, "NSA surveillance is bad because it violates my constitutional and civil rights. The government requires a warrant to gather information about me." The same people will say, "Suck it up, buttercup, because the cops are in the right when they stop and search you [for no reason other than your age and skin colour]."

Comment: And if GG had ignored Sarkessian ... (Score 1) 834

by MyNicknameSucks (#48359107) Attached to: How To End Online Harassment

Snark on:

Does anyone have a guide for which anonymous #GG users are legit and which anonymous #GG users are not?

Snark off.

The message has shifted since #GG became a thing; you can poke around the stories here, at Ars, and elsewhere and see that people who identified with the movement, early days, were often (note: I said "often", not "always" or "frequently") OK with calling people "feminazis" (since replaced with SJW). They also, sometimes, went on explain how "rape" and "kill" are almost used affectionately in gaming or dismissed the threats with arguments that, basically, said, "She hurt our feelings." I think that, as #GG has become more organized, the obvious trolling gets smacked down, at least in the forums (seriously, that's a positive step forward) ... but you can't walk back the fact that the harassing comments, (and fabricated stories about trading sexual favours for positive reviews) early on, muddled the message.

And it's the early comments that framed the debate. And those early, juvenile, minority opinion comments absolutely proved Sarkeesian's point better for more people than her videos ever could -- and gave her a FAR wider audience than she could ever have dreamed of.

Seriously, I have no idea why the #GG people interested in journalism ethics continued to use the #GG tag when its brand had been tarnished beyond repair. It tied a legitimate cause to one tainted in the public's eyes with threats (rape and murder), lies (sex for positive reviews), intimidation (doxxing, mass murder threats at the university), and outright misogyny (seriously, it's not OK to call someone a Nazi). No amount of damage control will fix that.

And, finally, since I'm about to modded down to troll anyway ... ethics in gaming journalism is not a big deal to most people. Gaming journalism rates as a cut below entertainment journalism. And, frankly, gaming (let alone ethics in gaming journalism) receives fewer column inches than the obituary section in most newspapers. It is, simply, not a subject most people care about because it doesn't affect them personally, any more than the extravagant gifts given to film journalists at film festivals (iPads, private parties) do.

If at first you don't succeed, you must be a programmer.