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Comment: Re:fname.lname.incrementer (Score 1) 383

by Toam (#42759693) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Name Conflicts In Automatically Generated Email Addresses?

Example: jonathan.swift@domain.tld comes in first, gets this username. Then we have Jonathan Andrew Swift who gets jonathan.a.swift@domain.tld. When Jonathan Abbott Smith comes in, he gets the loathed jonathan.x.swift@domain.tld

What happens when Jonathan Xavier Smith enrolls?

Comment: It isn't really the publishers fault. (Score 2) 400

by Toam (#41222343) Attached to: With 'Access Codes,' Textbook Pricing More Complicated Than Ever

If the professors are requiring that the students log in to some part of the text book publishers website to actually view a homework assignment, then that is very much the professors fault.

Writing assignments is not that hard. And I say that having just finished preparing the tutorial and assignment for the class I'm teaching tomorrow.

Comment: Re:It not enough (Score 2) 87

by Toam (#40805337) Attached to: Anonymous Dumps Australian Telco Data Online

People have to get angry. They have to understand they shouldn't be angry at the "hacktivists" but at the laws which require data collection and retention

This is the hard part.

When nurses strike over pay/conditions, people (generally) get annoyed at the nurses for risking peoples safety, not the goverment (or governing body) for not resolving the problems

When teachers strike over pay/conditions, people get annoyed at the teachers for disrupting the childrens education, not the government for not resolving the problems

When people protest in the steeet, people get angry at the protestors for the inconvenience, not for the government for not resolving the problems

Comment: Re:Easy to say. Hard to do. (Score 4, Insightful) 479

by Toam (#39320967) Attached to: X-Prize Founder Wants Ideas For Fixing Education

So if you're in an area where children aren't "performing" due largely to the attitude of their parents, and your performance evaluation is bad, all the teachers should leave and go somewhere else?

What you're saying is that people who live in an area where most parents don't care about their childrens education (even if they themselves DO care about their childrens education) don't deserve to have a school.

Also, it means that a teacher who lives (works) in an area where parents are move involved in their childrens education will have to work "less hard" for a greater pay cheque than a teacher in a "worse" area would.

Not everything should be run like a business.

Comment: Re:Legal Threats (Score 2) 407

by Toam (#39283737) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Has Been Sued By the RIAA?

I'm generally ignorant to this issue, but I've always wondered how they would be persued...

I've had a few of those come to my household in the past, when I've been living in share houses. The notice would come to the person whos name was on the internet connection, but you might have 4 people using that internet connection, plus if its a wireless connection who is to say that those pesky neighbours haven't cracked your security?

What would the procedure be for them to actually follow up on an allegation of copyright infringement under such circumstances?

Comment: Re:heart's in the right place, but (Score 1) 427

by Toam (#38814681) Attached to: Why We Should Teach Our Kids To Code

Oh man, I don't even know where to start...

Outside of academia, you believe this to be an important skill why? I can program spreadsheets for some IBM mainframe thing, Excel, Lotus and whatever Corel called theirs... and you know what? Once out of corporate almost ten years ago, I haven't needed or wanted to do it one time. That's how important that knowledge is out in the world. You're inundated with technology, so you see it as the answer to whatever question. It's not. Besides, Excel costs $120, ledger books are far cheaper. So they don't need to know how to program Excel.

I don't know what "the real world" that you speak of is. I use spreadsheets more in my "real" life (eg: at home) more than I do at work. I might have a spreadsheet keeping track of what I plant in my vegetable garden, how it worked etc etc, keeping track of batches of homebrew. I could do all these things in a ledger book (which is more expensive than, say, openoffice by the way) but I can't re-order the data once its input. A spreadsheet program is not the same as a paper spreadsheet. This is kind of the point.

So, you're speaking of computer literacy at a college level, an utterly different thing than computer literacy for generic Shirley. And I know good and damned well that where you teach requires an intro computer course (see my rant elsewhere on this post), so why weren't they educated there before you got them? Failing of the uni, looks to me.

Yes, I'm talking about "college" level computer literacy. All that means is the computer literacy of people who are in the particular classes I happen to teach. These classes have an enourmous range of students in them, from various different backgrounds and various different levels of education. There are a lot of "generic Shileys" in these classes.

And there is no "intro computer course" required so I don't know where you think I teach (I am at an Australian university - maybe American universities have a different set of requirements?).

Now... Define "useful" in terms of day-to-day living in the real world, not academia. When the time comes that they need a spreadsheet for something, they figure it out. Probably with help and one of those specialized spreadsheets for home budget or whatever. Or they use a ledger book.

Again, I use these generic software packages a lot more in my home life than at work. I will use Word/OpenOffice to write a letter, and to do that you need to know how to format it - and by format I mean more than changing the font to MS Comic Sans. At work I typically write most of my documents in LaTeX. At home I might use Excel/OpenOffice to create a spreadsheet. At work I write software to process data. The way I've used "useful" pretty much doesn't apply to (my area of) academia - and a vast majority of the students I'm teaching will not end up in academia, they will end up in this "real world" you keep talking about.

Maybe if you're a labourer or whatever and your job does not involve a computer then, sure, computer literacy probably isn't a problem. But if you have any job which does involve a computer (arguably most jobs) then computer literacy is a pretty big deal.

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