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Comment Minimally invasive education (Score 2) 112

When I got into computing (in the '80's), the teachers at my school knew as little about it as we did -- we learned together.

Within a couple of years a friend and I implemented a Forth setup as a replacement OS on a machine that was shipped with C/PM (writing the floppy controller in machine code etc.). None of the teachers had a clue what we were doing, but they were quite interested, and very encouraging.

I would suggest that we should not bother with teachers, beyond asking them to occasionally ask the kids what they're doing, and then say how clever that sounds.

This is the Minimally invasive education approach pioneered by Sugata Mitra.

As Aurtur C. Clark said to him: "Any teacher that can be replaced by a computer ... should be!"

There's no point poisoning the minds of the next generation with the befuddled understanding of teachers with little aptitude for the subject.

Comment Re:systemd (Score 1) 41

Let's not overreact:

apt-get purge systemd works just fine.

The result is: apt-get will automatically suggest removing systemd and install sysvinit-core

That may work until systemd is a hard dependency for everything on your machine.

CAPTCHA: sleepers

this is Debian remember -- it'll work as long as anyone thinks it's worth the effort to make it work.

If the volume of noise made by the anti crowd had any correlation with available effort then that would indicate that it would work forever, but my suspicion is that those people are all mouth and no trousers.

Comment Re:systemd made my laptop unusable (Score 1) 41

When I upgraded to Jessie, it installed systemd, and the laptop started going into suspend all the time. I'd unsuspend it, and it would suspend again 30 seconds later.

In diagnosing it, I found that using journalctl is much nicer than grepping though the tangle of partial and redundant logs that syslogd generates -- how is it that that particular collective itch seems not to have provoked anyone to scratch it previously in the decades we've been suffering it?

I also discovered that the laptop's lid switch was stuck in, and needed a squirt of lubricant to get it working again -- for some reason sysvinit/acpi/etc. conspired to ignore that fact.

One gets the impression that the bulk of people still whining about systemd have either never used it, or have very little real experience of the tangle of string and duct tape that is sysvinit. If whining about Debian, they also seem to be incapable of basic reading comprehension -- One only uses the word "default" when other choices are available.

Submission + - DebConf15: Largest DebConf to take place in Heidelberg mid-August

alfino writes: Less than two weeks away, DebConf15, the 16th Debian Conference, scheduled to take place 15–22 August in Heidelberg, Germany, has been officially announced. The organisers are expecting more than 550 participants from 53 countries (making it the largest DebConf so far, and the first in history that will be closing registrations early), and have presented a schedule packed with talks and events, including several prominent, invited speakers, and yet plenty of room for informal and ad-hoc collaboration. Most events will be streamed live to allow for remote participation, and archived for later consumption.

The celebrations of Debian's 22nd birthday on 16 August, the traditional "Cheese & Wine BoF", a screening of the Oscar-award-winning documentary Citizenfour (which mentions Debian in its end credits), and a day trip for all attendees top off the programme. Additionally, DebConf15 will be preceeded by DebCamp, a week of sprints, workshops and hacking sessions. It is expected that much progress will be made on Debian (gcc5 transition, planning of the next stable release "stretch", etc.), and of course Free Software in general. The conference itself begins with an Open Weekend geared to the public, and featuring a job fair.

Attendance is free of charge thanks to numerous sponsors, including Platinum Sponsor Hewlett-Packard. Registration is required nonetheless and only very few places are left.

The conference will be tracked on various social media sites using hashtag #DebConf15. Even though Debian does not endorse proprietary services, @DebConf will have the news.

Comment I hate caravans (Score 1) 755

... so I took a blow-torch to my car to remove the hardpoint to which one can attach a towing hook.

Clearly the presence of the hardpoint is all part of the caravan club's conspiracy.

Having removed the hardpoint I can rest easy that I won't find myself suddenly towing a caravan.

OK, so the structural integrity of the chasis is somewhat compromised, and I'll probably end up losing control of the vehicle at some point as a result of that, but the risk is totally worth it to avoid the risk of caravan infection.

I really don't know what the designers were thinking. How could they inflict this creeping caravanism on me by making the structure at the back of my car confom to caravan-club standards?


As for libsystemd0, for a sane view read:

Comment Re:Is there an open-source alternative? (Score 1) 69

git-annex (and git-annex assistant for those that don't like CLI):

does lots more than just sync you files, and can do that with proper encryption (GPG) to a load of cloud providers, or to your own servers, or without needing a server at all. I could go on, but it would be better to just follow the links.

Submission + - Rhombus Tech A10 EOMA-68 CPU Card schematics completed (

lkcl writes: "Rhombus Tech's first CPU Card is nearing completion and availability: the schematics have been completed by Wits-Tech. Although it appears strange to be using a 1ghz Cortex A8 for the first CPU Card, not only is the mass-volume price of the A10 lower than other offerings; not only does the A10 classify as "good enough" (in combination with 1gb of RAM); but Allwinner Tech is one of the very rare China-based SoC companies willing to collaborate with Software (Libre) developers without an enforced (GPL-violating) NDA in place. Overall, it's the very first step in the right direction for collaboration between Software (Libre) developers and mass-volume PRC Factories. There will be more (faster, better) EOMA-68 CPU Cards: this one is just the first."

Comment Daily Mail is moronic (Score 5, Insightful) 116

The last time I had the misfortune to have my brain polluted by a Daily Mail story was when sitting bored in a physio's waiting room.

Flipping the rag open at random, I see a headline something like:

    87% of Britons now members of a persecuted minority

this little nugget of wisdom had apparently been assembled by taking the percentages of various "minorities" and adding them all together.

The groups included:

    51% Women

*cough* minority?

and then:

    12% Single Mothers

[SubEd Are you sure we can simply add that number to the Women?] [Ed: yeah, no problem]

Comment make 4 kids share 1, and they teach themselves (Score 2, Interesting) 152

as proven by Sugata Mitra (of Hole in the Wall project fame), if you get rid of the teachers and provide one computer per 4 children, and let the kids collaborate, they teach one another

The quote from Arthur C Clark is particularly telling: Any teacher that can be replaced by a computer should be replaced by a computer.

Comment s/Denmark/Venezuela/ (Score 4, Informative) 138

There are four appeals, but Denmark's not one of them -- Venezuela is though.

Denmark are just part of the general howl of protest from people who've looked at the heap of excrement that is DIS 29500 and found it wanting, and/or were in one of the many countries where the behaviour of their National Bodies has made it clear that their local Microsoft lackeys have been interfering with what should be a process focussed on technical merit, not on whether personal gain can be maximised.

Submission + - Kilogram prototype mysteriously loses weight

mernil writes: "The 118-year-old cylinder that is the international prototype for the metric mass, kept tightly under lock and key outside Paris, is mysteriously losing weight — if ever so slightly. Physicist Richard Davis of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sevres, southwest of Paris, says the reference kilo appears to have lost 50 micrograms compared with the average of dozens of copies. "The mystery is that they were all made of the same material, and many were made at the same time and kept under the same conditions, and yet the masses among them are slowly drifting apart," he said. "We don't really have a good hypothesis for it.""

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing