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Comment: Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine (Score 1) 623

by chiangovitch (#43853093) Attached to: How Did You Learn How To Program?
"Why", not "how". I read this in 3rd grade, probably around 1967 or '68? Piqued my interest in computers that lasted and that I finally got to explore senior year in high school. One thing I /think/ recall from the plot is suspicion that Danny was cheating by using the computer, but it turns out he needed to undestand the problems & the solutions better than the other kids in class in order to be able to do the programming. http://www.scholastic.com/browse/book.jsp?id=854

Comment: Basic Basic (Score 2) 623

by chiangovitch (#43850405) Attached to: How Did You Learn How To Program?
That was the name of the textbook, and we did it on an HP 3000 timeshare minicomputer in 1976. First high school in the city to get its own educational computer system, I think. The class was "Computer Math", and it changed my direction from architecture to computer science. Spent 4.5 years at the state's science & technology campus helping my engineering major friends with their mandatory FORTRAN class. :-P In Computer Science in those days we did a lot with PL/1. Got a job in a small shop after graduation and was in the right spot at the right time just when Unix got commercialized and I got the task of figuring it out. :-D

Comment: Because it won't pay for itself. (Score 1) 219

by chiangovitch (#36455022) Attached to: US Pays $2B To Develop Concentrating Solar Power Projects
Why does the government need to guarantee loans? Because it doesn't make enough sense for sane people to back. If it will pay for itself and give reasonable return while generating cost-competetive power, it doesn't need the governement guaranteeing it with your money. Unless they've already succeeded in their campaign to destroy the ability to raise free capital in this country.

Comment: Re:Did it really need 1 page? (Score 1) 316

by chiangovitch (#33284754) Attached to: Linux Wall Warts Small On Size, Big On Possibilities
Nah, I didn't really learn anything from that article, but I'm not too surprised. But there's still value in it by being a seed to /. to get all the contributed ideas and alternatives you see here.

Most times I read ./ just for the story links and disregard all the idiot responses. But on a story like this I figured I could get some useful pointers from the discussion, and I did.

Comment: Re:Don't like man pages. (Score 1) 769

by chiangovitch (#30310596) Attached to: Is Linux Documentation Lacking?
I find man pages to usually be concise, to the point, and extremely helpful. I hate it when I find there is no man page for a program for which I have a question. I remember when we got our first Unix Sytem 3 v7 system in the '80s. The entire sum of the documentation consisted of one binder of man pages, and one binder of troff-formatted documentation on things like flex, yacc, troff, etc. And it was sufficient for an intelligent neophyte (yours truly), but it certainly wouldn't be suitable for Grandma or my accountant.

Comment: And when it's disrupted by war or economics or ... (Score 1) 492

by chiangovitch (#26177465) Attached to: Scientist Patents New Method To Fight Global Warming
The problem with mitigation techniques that rely upon some ongoing activity is that when it is disrupted for any reason, the accumulated upward pressure on temperature is still there which could have sudden, catastrophic effects. (Regardless of whether I'm conviced of the anthropogenic causes of climate change.)

Comment: Less than a drop in the bucket (Score 1) 276

by chiangovitch (#26090059) Attached to: Waste Coffee Grounds Offer New Source of Biodiesel
In 2003 the annual global consuption of diesel fuel was 684,022 million liters. That's almost 181 Billion gallons. The 340 million gallons they speak of is about 0.2% of annual consumption, if my math and units translations are right -- haven't finished my first cup o' diesel this yet this morning.

Comment: Not just in pencil (Score 1) 962

by chiangovitch (#26079661) Attached to: Best Introduction To Programming For Bright 11-14-Year-Olds?
I kid not ... we had to write our programs in Hollerith code by marking cards in pencil. They were 40-column cards so there was a little more room, and a key to the code was printed on the cards in each column to make it, well, possible if not reasonable. The idea was to get programs written offline and run by passing them through the optical card reader, lessening the demand on the handfull of terminals we had. (Maybe the teacher, who really was a good teacher, wanted to run the program himself sometimes to check the results?) In practice, we'd write and debug on the terminals, then transcribe a printout onto the cards to hand in. :-P

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