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Comment: Re:My son does fine with both (Score 1) 342

by SydShamino (#46771227) Attached to: Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

My first baby will be born in a few months. My intention is for tablets to be used only outside the house, when we are in a public space like a (family-appropriate where I'm not being an ass taking my young child) restaurant, and quiet activity is most important as to not disturb neighbors (even though they should be okay with occasional child noise going to a family-appropriate restaurant). It might be appropriate in a car as well, when I'm alone with them and should be focused on the road, not them.

Real books, being read by a real parent, building blocks, and a shovel and some dirt should be the mainstay of home play. They worked pretty well for me.

Comment: Re:Relevant Skills (Score 1) 342

by SydShamino (#46771151) Attached to: Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

I have packed a car for a road trip countless times in my life, and my ability to find the correct pattern to fill all available space is directly attributable to my extensive practice with LEGO bricks.

Actually, I think my ability to pack parts onto a PCB layout tighter than most other engineers and layout designers is also drawn from this, and that does have direct job benefits.

Someone who played a lot of Tetris might have the same skills; I was never interested in that game.

Comment: Re:Tax Act vs Turbo Tax (Score 2) 381

by SydShamino (#46758283) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

Turbo Tax's DRM stunt also got me to switch - in my case to Tax Cut (now called H&R Block At Home). It moved easily with me from Windows to OSX, and for the last few years it's pretty simple to type "H&R Block coupon" into Google, follow a link, and download the software I need for ~30% off their list price. It's been able to handle both our taxes and those of the grandparents we were responsible for, even as our needs have grown to now include a home business, various types of stock transactions including foreign stock, etc., plus inheritance and estate issues when we filed those final returns, too.

To the original submitter: if you live in Texas, and you only took an hour and a half to do your taxes, you did it wrong. Texans can claim a sales tax deduction because we don't pay a state income tax. The IRS provides a table you can use to guesstimate your sales tax paid, but the amount they give is a lowball, especially for people who have discretionary income to buy luxury goods like technology items - the kind of people who frequent Slashdot. It only takes a few hours of TV watching to enter all my receipts into a spreadsheet to sum them up, and last year I paid ~$2000 more in sales tax than the table would have suggested.* That translates directly into a ~$600 tax break for a few hours work. Unless you make or grow all your own food, and don't buy new laptops and phones and game systems, y'all other Texans should have been saving receipts and saving money.

* Not including taxes on a car, of course, since those can be added onto the table amount anyway.

Comment: Re:Medical doctor (Score 1) 723

by SydShamino (#46743325) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

It was a joke, since I'm an electrical engineer and 90% of electronics that randomly stop working do so because a cheap electrolytic cap has failed. Besides, in my post-apocalyptic society, wandering monks will be welcomed everywhere, as they are the Bringers of Knowledge who can dispense technical advice to the unwashed masses.

Comment: Re:Sure you can (Score 1) 578

by SydShamino (#46727051) Attached to: Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

It doesn't just take aptitude to become a programmer. You must also have opportunity. I assure you that 100% of the people born in the 1500s who had the aptitude to become programmers did not do so. Likewise, due to the overall poor nature of the area and resulting limited exposure to technology and investment in customized per-student education opportunities, and yes due to lack of knowledge of parents (who are the best people to teach their children to be inquisitive), I fully expect some kids in West Virginia who had the aptitude to become programmers are instead shoveling coal.

But in no way does that imply that everyone currently shoveling coal has the aptitude to become a programmer.

But in no way does that imply that everyone currently shoveling coal is incapable of learning and doing some other rewarding job, if given the opportunity to learn one.

Comment: Re:nope! (Score 1) 496

by SydShamino (#46726971) Attached to: Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

Whether I can see a car in an adjacent lane behind me or not, I always leave enough space in front of me and then accelerate as I change lanes. I can slow back down right away, but being in that mindset means I'm better prepared if there's someone going 25 MPH over the limit approaching from behind, which is someone that any of us might not see regardless of mirror position.

Comment: Re:nope! (Score 1) 496

by SydShamino (#46726935) Attached to: Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

He was talking about regularly using a car where two different people adjusted the mirrors, neither of which included a portion of the rear quarter panel, because he might not be able to distinguish between the two positions readily.

If he (or I) get into a car that we know has the mirrors set wrong (i.e. this isn't my exclusive car and I don't know I drove it last), it's easy to remember to set the side mirrors. You know, the same way you remember to set the seat and steering wheel and center mirror each time. It's part of the mental checklist that every competent driver should be going through before they put the car in gear.

Comment: Re:nope! (Score 1) 496

by SydShamino (#46726871) Attached to: Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

In the same way that you don't need to look at your own hands to know where they are, I don't need to look at my own rear quarterpanel to remember where it is. Maybe that's because I've driven the same care for ~13 years, or maybe because it's small enough that I can feel it as an extension of myself, or maybe I make a point of keeping the size and shape of my car in my head along with the other information necessary to operate a motor vehicle, but I know the boundaries of the car I'm driving.

Comment: Re:nope! (Score 1) 496

by SydShamino (#46726839) Attached to: Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

I'm trying to articulate why your answer isn't correct, but I think the simplest way is to say that, in my car, that's not true. I can see back down the side lanes better with my mirrors where they are than if they were pointed more into my own lane, especially when there's a big car directly behind me. Sorry.

Comment: Re:What???? (Score 4, Informative) 578

by SydShamino (#46726185) Attached to: Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

Bloomberg didn't say that you can't teach any coal worker to code, just that you can't teach every coal worker to code, refuting Zuckerberg's Marie-Antoinette-style "let them write code" statement.

Only the Zuck sounds like an out-of-touch elitist in this case; Bloomberg is making a legitimate point that the retraining process is more complicated than that because it has to be tailored to the skills and interests of each person. The article summary is misleading, and the headline is outright wrong.

Comment: Re:Sure you can (Score 1) 578

by SydShamino (#46726151) Attached to: Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

No, no it's not. The rationalization used by slave owners was that everyone - adults and children alike - would be unable to learn to do anything else because of inherent limitations in their capabilities. The argument put forth here is that adults may be unable to learn to do one specific job that may require not only years of training, but also a familiarity with the underlying math and technology - a familiarity that they may lack. Nothing whatsoever implies that the children of current coal workers couldn't become excellent programmers, or excellent managers, or excellent architects, etc., and so they should be indentured into coal work, too. Nor does this imply that current coal workers couldn't become good mechanical engineers, or mechanics, or architects, or artists, just that some of them could never become good programmers.

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan

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