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Comment: Re:People should pay for their choices (Score 1) 842

by bears (#40257903) Attached to: California City May Tax Sugary Drinks Like Cigarettes

OK, so a generally healthy person who lives to 90 (say) quite probably does incur more total medical expenses over their life compared to someone who dies at 50.
They also surely contribute (via taxes/insurance premiums depending on your system) quite a lot more too?

The 18 year old dumbass not wearing a seatbelt might, if wearing a seatbelt, escape with minor injuries. And then contribute to the healthcare system for another 50 years and more. Killing them at 18 isn't necessarily the best fiscal option.

Comment: Re:I hope they hire him for the right reasons ... (Score 1) 177

by bears (#37108026) Attached to: Samsung Hires Steve 'Cyanogen' Kondik

I have an i7500, and it has GAOSP on it. Yes, the community got Froyo working, but not IMO well enough for day to day use. The I7500 was never updated beyond 1.5 in the UK (thanks, O2), and the Samsung 1.5 and 1.6 releases were both rather poor quality - I think the rotten state of Samsung binaries was what stumped the community. That, and just too little memory.

I'm hoping this means Samsung recognise they have a problem with Android software quality and mean to address it.

Comment: Re:Dietel & Dietel (Score 1) 364

by bears (#36306042) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Homeschool Curriculum For CS??

Bloody hell, someone actually answering the OP's question.

I'll second the answer. Look on AQA's website for their A level Computing syllabus. NOT, repeat NOT, the ICT A level syllabus. The latter is a pile of foetid dingoes kidneys. The Computing syllabus isn't bad. From memory it doesn't include much in the way of 'how to do bold fonts in Windows'. If you really need that, plunder the ICT syllabus; it's that plus a load of cargo-cult ideas about how computer systems get written, which should be hurled aside with great force.

There are several different boards that set A level syllabuses, of which AQA is one. I've no reason to prefer them over the others, just that's the one that I read.

In other news, I have a low opinion of the Deitel books. The ones I've browsed might as well have been written by a computer. But that's by the by; the OP emphatically doesn't want a 'how to code', but a course outline covering more than the nuts and bolts of coding some language.

Comment: Re:Yes. (Score 1) 403

by bears (#33705040) Attached to: Should I Learn To Program iOS Or Android Devices?

I got started in Android with that book. The higher stars are closer to the mark. It has its problems, but overall the book, coupled with the online Android docs, is a pretty good way to get your bearings with Android.

Don't assume it's going to teach you Java or magically explain in detail the exact little problem you're stuck on. Sorry - if you're new to any platform, you're going to have put some work in.

Comment: Re:The "choice is bad" argument (Score 1) 405

by bears (#33597402) Attached to: Will Android Flavors Spoil the Platform?

If nothing else, the past year has made me vow to never buy an Android phone that can't be rooted and reflashed, even if it means changing carriers if necessary.

Amen, amen.

I have a Samsung Galaxy i7500 - the original Galaxy. Released in the UK not quite a year ago, it remains on 1.5 (and it took a few goes to get a release of acceptable quality), though Samsung can't quite bring themselves to admit it's now abandonware. Firmware blob problems mean there's not yet a fully working third-party 2.1, though GAOSP is getting close.

I also have a HTC G1, bought second-hand for app development work. Inferior hardware spec in most ways, but there's a good quality HTC 1.6 release and Cyanogen 2.2 works much better than I dared expect.

I am shaping a good long bargepole that I can very deliberately use to not touch Samsung's offerings ever again. And next time new phone time rolls around I shall be looking hard to find something that will be Cyangoen-friendly.

Android is great. But it's a platform, with the same need for updates as a PC, not a ship-and-forget, and some manufacturers need to realise that.

Comment: Re:0.1% of the membership = vote of no confidence? (Score 2, Interesting) 275

by bears (#32512596) Attached to: British Computer Society Is Officially At Civil War

As a Pom who has been developing software professionally for 20 years, and who did a fair amount of academic CS too, I've looked repeatedly during that time at joining BCS.

Damm right it needs modernisation. They barely seem to know what a computer does. The question is whether the current track will make that worse or better. And from where I sit, as an interested outside observer, it looks worse. The active distain for anyone who actually programs, rather than (genuflect) manages has always been there, and now the management types are running the asylum it's getting worse. In BCS-land, DMR (say) would be heavily outranked by anything in a suit, and I don't want to be any part of an organisation like that.

For us /.ers, BCS is and will remain completely, utterly and spectacularly irrelevant. And if BCS is irrelevant and hostile to us, what the hell business does it have proclaiming itself as the institute for the industry of which we are the engine room?

By the way, you have checked the credentials of those calling the EGM? They are far from random members. And the vilification and threats heaped on those who dared to question the current course has been shameful.

I'm sticking happily in ACM, which does still manage to pay serious attention to the technical side of life.

Comment: Re:Create a portable lab (Score 2, Informative) 411

by bears (#26602069) Attached to: Best IT Solution For a Brand-New School?


Every year my oldest's school has a careers evening. So last week, like the previous 2 years, I went along and talked to random passers-by about coding for living.

The first year I got asked a load of questions about GCSE/A-levels, and so last year read the ICT GCSE and A-level syllabuses. I think the screams could be heard down the road. The note on course projects in the A-level syllabus provoked the loudest. Something like 'You should use a common computer application for your project. Writing a program using a general-purpose programming language is outside the spirit of this course and will be marked accordingly.'.

There is some light on the horizon. Her school have dumped A-level ICT and now only offer A-level Computing. This is a very different kettle of fish. I was positively purring by the time the syllabus got onto having to learn an assembler...

Comment: Re:Git links (Score 1) 346

by bears (#26406955) Attached to: Git Adoption Soaring; Are There Good Migration Strategies?

If SVK actually worked, you might have a point.

I used SVK for a year attempting to synchronise two SVN repos, a main dev repo and a secure-area repo only accessible via VPN. SVK would periodically go wild, bouncing changes endlessly between the repos, unless you use the bundle-multiple-changes-into-one mode. All syncs HAD to go via my laptop; set up the mirroring via another machine, and every damm change would get copied over again.

SVK works OK as a satellite to a SVN repo. Try anything more distributed, and it doesn't cut the mustard.

I'm now using Mercurial. Small, fast, easy to learn, dead easy to bring up on AIX, and works perfectly. No contest.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27