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Comment: Re:finger pointing (Score 2) 367

by TeknoHog (#49353007) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

Finland is in the process of revamping their education system. They are tired of being #1 in the world, and everyone comparing themselves to them, so they have decided to fuck it up.

Finland is #1 at being average. We have full literacy at the expense of holding down anyone smarter than the average. The universities are bureaucratical sausage factories designed to produce set amounts of average masters and doctors. We simply don't have/tolerate the kind of variety and diversity that you see around the world.

Comment: Re:What guarantees of longevity? (Score 1) 48

by TeknoHog (#49347583) Attached to: Facebook Makes Messenger a Platform

All my choir and gym friends are on Facebook, and coordinate things through there. I'm not going to cut myself off from that.

Incidentally, the only reason I have a FB account is to coordinate art/music projects. However, FB chat is just too unreliable to use for anything too intense. I guess I could go back to the likes of ICQ, which I used to use with the less techy friends back in the day.

Comment: Re:What guarantees of longevity? (Score 1) 48

by TeknoHog (#49347541) Attached to: Facebook Makes Messenger a Platform

Why would they need to keep their computer on all the time? I run IRC on someone elses server. Can connect to it with any device from pretty much anywhere.

This wouldn't be an issue for the typical /.er, but it's hard to "sell" IRC with all its quirks when they see something like FB chat working without any extra config. Even basic IRC usage needs some setting up with the servers, and running the client on a separate shell account (aka 1960 tech, why would anybody use text terminals in the age of bling) would be rather hardcore.

Of course, the main problem is really about trust: you can receive messages offline only if you choose a third party like FB to store them. My non-techie friends basically need something more reliable than FB, so I guess I could go back to the likes of ICQ, or whatever is the closest equivalent today.

Comment: Re:What guarantees of longevity? (Score 1) 48

by TeknoHog (#49347391) Attached to: Facebook Makes Messenger a Platform

> email isn't really a fair comparison, as it doesn't allow actual realtime chat Are you sure. No reason it can't offer about the same speed as some messenger service. What latency do you see?

I haven't checked the latencies -- there's probably nothing wrong with SMTP itself, but the practical implementations are wildly different, due to different application realms. Email is more like a replacement for snailmail letters, and the infrastructure with multiple server routes and technologies (such as IMAP at the receiving end) is not optimized for simplicity and speed. Conversely, IM is closer to face-to-face talk, and the speed/simplicity is usually realized by minimizing different layers of software, at the expense of flexibility and independence (e.g. Facebook chat).

I guess you could make an email client with an IM-like interface and do some tweaks to minimize latencies, but there are good reasons why these are separate technologies.

Comment: Re:What guarantees of longevity? (Score 4, Interesting) 48

by TeknoHog (#49340749) Attached to: Facebook Makes Messenger a Platform

Every new messaging platform claims it will kill email, but funnily enough they never do, because they don't offer what email offers - your own immutable copy and interoperability with everyone else. Email actually is the real distributed social network.

I've never thought of Facebook messenger as anything more than a random web chat, a bolt-on feature of the whole antisocial media site. However, email isn't really a fair comparison, as it doesn't allow actual realtime chat. That's what IRC is for, and you get to keep your logs as you please on your own machine. I guess the same applies to any of the newer IM protocols, as long as it's an independent application you control.

BTW, what would you guys suggest to wean non-technical friends off FB chat, given that IRC might be a little too much hassle with all the servers and keeping their computer on all the time?

Comment: Re:Reuters is singular (Score 1) 45

by TeknoHog (#49340249) Attached to: Researchers: Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction

A collective entity is sometimes treated like a plural in sentences, as explained in The Economist style guide. I agree that Reuters should be singular, for several reasons, but it's understandable that people sometimes overshoot with the pluralization.

I guess "Reuters" looks explicitly plural, but it was founded by a chap called Reuter, and once called Reuter's Telegram Company, so the current name is probably just a typographical contraction. IMHO, it's obvious that a business entity should be singular, even if it represents a collective effort, that's pretty much the idea behind corporations.

Comment: Re:In Finland, teacher spots are hyper-competitive (Score 1) 213

by TeknoHog (#49321071) Attached to: Finland's Education System Supersedes "Subjects" With "Topics"

In my experience when I was in school, the best teachers I have encountered were always passionate about the subject they teach. You rarely get people passionate about a subject they are bad at.

Yes, they may not be very well equipped to deal with kids who don't want to learn, but on the balance, it would be better to let down kids who don't want to learn by a teacher good at the subject but at handling rough kids, than to let down kids who DO want to learn by a teacher good at handling rough kids but bad at the subject.

Good points. I agree that being passionate and creative about the subject goes a long way, at least in subjects like experimental sciences with hands-on lab work and fancy demonstrations.

However, there's the whole side of education/upbringing about working with kids/teenagers in general that is hard to gauge when you're applying for a degree in teaching. You have these 19-year olds fresh out of high school who say they love to work with kids, with no idea about the real challenges of the career, and it's hard to pick out those with the right kind of potential. Frankly, it's the same with a lot of professions, and naturally people will end up changing their jobs/studies later.

Personally, I first got a research-oriented Master's and ended up working as a teacher for a couple of years, and finally completed the teacher training. Some of the material was a joke for anyone with real experience - for example, a prominent professor of education says he's worked one full day as a school teacher.

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.