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Comment: eh (Score 2) 395

by buddyglass (#49619887) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

The truth is that programming isn't a passion or a talent, says Edge, it is just a bunch of skills that can be learned.

Yes and no. I'd argue it depends on how you define "programming". If you're talking about "can code up basic solutions to relatively straightforward problems" then yes, with enough time, most people can probably learn to do that. Considerably fewer ever reach the point where the code they produce is (usually) elegant. Where they're capable of troubleshooting the most elusive bugs. Where they fairly quickly identify solutions that are orders of magnitude more efficient than the naive approach to a given problem.

I tend to think the folks who reach that level are able to do so by a combination of experience and some inherent traits that you can't just pick up in a programming class. An example from my current job:

My employer makes apps. Our app downloads some images over the network when it launches. It caches them so unless something changes there's not much going over the wire, but the initial download can take a while. Up to 30 seconds where the user is stuck watching a progress indicator on the splash screen. At least two different developers had worked on this app. Then the company hired a new guy (not me). One of the first things he did was refactor the image download code to use multiple threads and transfer the images concurrently instead of in serial. With 8 threads the speedup was approximately 5x. His key insight was that most of the images were very small, so much of the total time was latency and not lack of bandwidth. Especially since latency is so high on mobile networks.

Now the previous developers were not right out of school. They had years of experience. They could "program". But they didn't recognize an enhancement with significant implications for users when it was right there in front of their faces. It's possible that if they had been specifically instructed to optimize the image loading logic they would have come up with a similar solution. Maybe, maybe not. But why did the third guy immediately recognize the problem (and put in place a very effective solution) without being prompted? Was that a "skill" he learned in a programming class?

On multiple occasions this same guy has identified long-standing bugs in our app that I'm almost positive no other member of our team would have ever been able to figure out even with infinite time.

Comment: I'm confused... (Score 1) 211

"We believe that every child should have access to an exceptional, personalized education that enables them to be happy and successful in an ever-changing world," reads AltSchool's mission statement.

Then why have you set yourself up as a private school? If you want to reach every child, why not set yourself up as a public charter school and allow every student equal opportunity to apply? Currently, only children whose parents have $28,750 to spare have access to this "exceptional" education. That's not every child.

Eventually, the plan is for the billionaire-bankrolled education magic to trickle down. AltSchool's pitch to investors, according to NPR, is that one day, charter schools or even regular public schools could outsource many basic functions to its software platform.

Good luck with that. At $28,750, you cost way more money than what every state in the nation pays to educate a child. And all those lucky kids still get a teacher in the room! You better have a really, -really- good return on investment for that kind of money!

Comment: Re:All aboard the FAIL train (Score 1) 543

by XxtraLarGe (#49612755) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Announces Bid For White House

Insightful? This is hilarious. The Democrats had practically anointed Hilary, who should be on trial for a felony for her email scandal. Now, even the NY Times is trying to get someone else credible to run for the Dems, as the extent of her corruption has been revealed to be truly enormous.

Nobody who supports Hilary Clinton cares about that.

Comment: Re: I like this guy but... (Score 1) 437

by XxtraLarGe (#49587465) Attached to: Rand Paul Moves To Block New "Net Neutrality" Rules

Do you really want to live in a world run by Taco Bell?

This is just plain foolishness, and you've been watching Demolition Man too much. Nobody's talking about completely eliminating government, but you jump to a world run by Taco Bell--a company owned by Pepsi, which plays second fiddle to Coke. Taco Bell couldn't force you to eat at Taco Bell even if every restaurant was Taco Bell. The only way that could happen is if the government mandated that every restaurant had to be Taco Bell.

Comment: Re: I like this guy but... (Score 2, Insightful) 437

by XxtraLarGe (#49586251) Attached to: Rand Paul Moves To Block New "Net Neutrality" Rules

In general if you look at the donor list, they all come from the same strata of society but represent opposing cultures within that strata. Granted, picking either party is a vote for the wealthy controlling the country, but they are still a fairly diverse bunch and you can pick and choose who's goals align with your own.

Yeah, either you can vote for the Democrats, who create new regulations to freeze competition out, or you can vote for the Republicans, who give away corporate welfare to freeze the competition out. That's why it always makes me laugh when people say libertarians are for big business, when libertarians would be the first to eliminate regulatory barriers to entry & corporate welfare. The reason corporations are so powerful is because they're propped up by the government, but most people just don't get that.

Comment: Re:Doesn't replace the real thing. (Score 1) 99

by XxtraLarGe (#49586019) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Windows Holographic Platform

"Happiness is a warm puppy." Even Charlie Brown and Lucy knew this. An image of a dog is far from the real thing.

I wonder if I could put the dog on the floor, say "follow me," then put the HoloLense on my dog. I'm sure he'd have fun chasing it for a while, or at least I'd be entertained. :-D

Comment: Re:Title II (Score 1, Troll) 437

by XxtraLarGe (#49584553) Attached to: Rand Paul Moves To Block New "Net Neutrality" Rules

I've yet to have anyone explain clearly why having the internet under the same regulatory regime as the telephone system would be a, net, positive thing.

Because the FCC is calling it "net neutrality" - that's why. Just like the "Patriot" Act inspires patriotism. See? I'm sure I'll get modded troll, but I don't care. Just don't complain to me when the FCC messes up internet for everyone if you supported this under the guise of net neutrality.

Comment: Re:"Had to" (Score 1) 123

by XxtraLarGe (#49579001) Attached to: Crowdfunded Android Console Ouya Reportedly Seeking Buyout

You don't get that with Kickstarter. All you get is a promise for a future product. Consequently, the "investors" see themselves (accurately) as customers. And with that perception comes certain expectations, like wanting to get your money back if the product is not delivered or not delivered on time.

I've only contributed to one Kickstarter. It was called "Code Hero", and I contributed $13.37 ("1337 contributor") for which they promised early access to the beta. After I played the beta, I knew the project was going to tank, but I always saw this more as a charitable donation than anything else.

+ - How to build a Maker Space for a Liberal Arts College 1

Submitted by XxtraLarGe
XxtraLarGe writes: I work for a small liberal arts college, and have been asked to research makerspaces. I have done a bunch of initial research which tells me a lot about equipment being used, as well as location, etc., but what I'm not finding are what to know before you start, or what it takes to make the effort worthwhile.

I'd be interested in hearing from other educators, staff, students and other maker community members on Slashdot that had makerspaces at their schools or community — can be any level — and what was the experience like? 3D printer, 3D scanner & Laser cutting machines seem to be a given, so I'd like to hear what kinds of think-outside-the-box equipment/materials did you have? We are considering putting it in our library, which seems to be a popular choice with most schools. There's also the possibility of having it somewhere in town that it could be more accessible to members of the community, maybe even as a co-op.

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov