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Comment: Re:What we need ... is common sense and ... (Score 1) 235

by donak (#47389335) Attached to: Radar Changing the Face of Cycling

Courtesy for All!
My first issue is this phrase: " ... to cut off any traffic ... ".
The idea that one road user is "cutting off" another arises from
- one vehicle behind another, in another lane,
- approaching at a higher speed and
- the vehicle in front changes lanes in front of it
Does the vehicle behind not have brakes? Can the driver not use them, if fitted?
If the flow of traffic is so tight that there is literally no room for someone to change lanes, everyone is sitting in a traffic jam (rolling or otherwise).
If not, all it takes is for the following vehicle to show a little courtesy, a little regard for other road users (including bicycles) and apply the brakes!

Instead we get people sticking their heads out the car window, shrieking "You cut me off, you asshole" right after having run into the other vehicle.
I saw a police officer recently say on TV: "Everyone has a duty of care to drive safely". We need a little common courtesy as much as we need observation or enforcement of rights and responsibilities.

Comment: ASUS Netbook running Gnome 3 (Score 1) 611

by donak (#47136851) Attached to: Which desktop environment do you like the best?

I have an ASUS netbook of the "1.6ghz Atom chip, 1GB RAM, 160GB HD" variety on which I carefully installed OpenSUSE12 with XFCE.
When it came time to update OpenSUSE (next version or some such) I decided to be really clever and save some download capacity by using a cover DVD from a computer magazine, stuck in a USB connected DVD drive.

So, I ended up with Gnome 3 as an "added extra" without realising it.

When I did see it there, I thought I'd try it for a laugh, assuming the poor little netbook would most likely "crash and burn".
Silly of me really, it booted in a fairly normal time, and ran like a charm ...

Comment: Language and Small Bits (Score 1) 688

by donak (#47076043) Attached to: Professors: US "In Denial" Over Poor Maths Standards

I think at least some of what has gone wrong in Math education is that the linguists have infected the teaching of Math with a whole lot of over-descriptive buzz words. One that I recall from my sisters years at primary (elementary) school was the "commutative law of addition". She was 3 years younger than me, and has never really dealt with Math well. I don't think it helps when kids have to learn lots of wordy rules, instead of just getting in and tackling the numbers.
Mathematics is a language in it's own right : you don't need to overload it with extras to make it comprehensible.

What I've read in other comments about Common Core Math seems to simply be a different way of breaking down the numbers into easily handled bits.
The way I was taught was with simple sums at first: 2 + 3 = 5; 7 - 4 = 3. But our Math books had squares, not just lines, so we were taught to structure the sums to give numbers a proper place to simplify the operations we carried out on them:

      2
      3 +
-----
      5

and later
  2 3
  3 5 +
-----
  5 8

The significance of the additional columns to the left was that they were 10 times the immediate neighbour to it's right.
So, a large subtraction operated by adding 10 (in this case) to the number in the "units column", and 1 to the number at the bottom of the "tens column".
Same value (10 units / 1 ten), different number to express it.
                [+10]
            8 2
            3 9 -
  [+1]
          ---------
            4 3
So, descriptively it operated as "2 minus 9 won't go, add 10, 12 minus 9 is 3, 1 (to 'put the 10 back') plus 3 is 4, 8 minus 4 is 4".
It's an array, with a handy sub-array, to facilitate operations that rely on the relationship of 1 and 10 and 100 (etc.) each in it's proper place.

The operation described in the Common Core examples is linear, they're "climbing a ladder, a step at a time" using addition to find the value between the two numbers. It teaches a linear operation that is more easily described in words, but is less structured in mathematical terms.

Comment: Dell Latitude C610 Laptop (Score 1) 702

by donak (#46795351) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

Years ago I bought a Dell Latitude C610 laptop from the government department I worked for, on Dell's website it's service tag shows a shipping date of 5/7/2002.
The software licensing for the Government here in Australia is such that I could only buy the hardware, the hard-drive was wiped.
So, I have installed various Linux versions on it over the years since I got my hands on it ... all of which ran fine.
It has a "Designed for Windows XP" sticker near the keyboard, but the "licence sticker" underneath says "Windows 2000 Professional"!
It has a Pentium III chip, originally 256MB RAM which I upgraded to 512MB ... and a whole 16MB of Video RAM.
And that wiped hard-drive? 10GB. Needless to say, I'm in two minds whether or not to invest in an upgrade to 40GB, just to return it to usefulness ... or to show off my "still working fossil".

Comment: Simpler direct solution (Score 1) 184

by donak (#46748789) Attached to: The Case For a Safer Smartphone

All that's really needed is for police to have the authority to confiscate the cell-phone / mobile-phone / smart-phone of a driver who was seen using it,
tuck it gently under (in front of) the front wheel, and then tell the driver they can go ...

How many broken phones will it take to cure some people? Let's find out!

Comment: Short & Sweet (Score 1) 388

by donak (#45932705) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Misdirected Email?

I've always used multiple accounts for different purposes, and none of them are my actual name.
All emails are the minimum 6 letters @ domain : abcdef@whatever.com
I rarely get a lot of spam because the spam filters seem to work well, and the short address seems to be mostly invisible to the spammers.
On the rare occasions that I got something belonging to someone else, it was usually a mis-type and I sent a reply to the sender.
This was a bit of a challenge when I got rent receipts from a Brazilian Real Estate agent, but with a little help from Google translate I worked it out.

Comment: Hack 'em Back? (Score 1) 201

by donak (#45497913) Attached to: Microsoft Customers Hit With New Wave of Fake Tech Support Calls

Would it be possible for one of you experts (no sarcasm intended) to run a Windows VM and spend all the time you're talking to them tracing back to their machine?
Change a few settings ... find out where they are ... trace their server and cause it to reboot??
Or even just have "BOO!!" appear on their screen?

Hack the Hackers FTW!

Comment: Employer Discrimination (Score 1) 266

by donak (#44972965) Attached to: 'Eraser' Law Will Let California Kids Scrub Online Past

Instead of trying to force the ability to undo all child-hood indiscretions on Google/Microsoft et al., why don't they simply make a refusal to hire on the basis of "unsuitable internet postings" as a minor an act of discrimination equivalent to the usual race, gender, religion/creed issues.
It could even fit under "age discrimination" which is unlawful in Australia.

Comment: The shade of Windows 7 Starter wants to know ... (Score 1) 321

by donak (#44821231) Attached to: Intel's Haswell Chips Pushing Windows RT Into Oblivion

... how it could be so quickly forgotten.
Windows8 RT was an attempt to cash in on the cheap end of the tablet market, and failed on price and over-supply.

When the "all new, all singing, all dancing" netbooks came out, supplied with Windows 7 Starter, you were supposed to pay for a upgrade to "real Windows 7".
RT is suffering the same fate ... nobody wants it, because nobody wants to pay more just to be able to run some limited software on it.
Android on Arm would be the smartest thing manufacturers could do, if they can "shoe-horn" Android onto those megalithic M$ tablets.

Me? I installed OpenSuSE with xfce on the two netbooks I got cheap at the "end of model" sales. I dual-booted the first one I bought : it had WinXP, and I was keeping that.

Comment: Renowned Commentator Antony Green has suggested: (Score 1) 343

by donak (#44818561) Attached to: Australia Elects Libertarian-Leaning Senator (By Accident)

The power over preferences should be returned to the voters.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-11/green-hand-the-power-of-preferences-back-to-the-people/4951020
He suggests that optional preferential voting should be made possible both "above the line" and "below the line", an either/or option in the Senate ballot that made the situation, as originally posted, possible.
Being able to mark one or more preferences, either as to parties, or as to individual candidates, would wipe out the "preference swap" vote rigging.

+ - University of Queensland Custodian of Pitch Drop Experiment dies

Submitted by donak
donak (609594) writes "Professor John Mainstone the custodian of the Pitch Drop Experiment at University of Queensland, in Brisbane Australia has passed away at the age of 78 without ever having seen a drop of pitch fall into the beaker under the funnel.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-26/pitch-drop-professor-dies-before-longest-running-experiment-ends/4912104"

Comment: Comodo Internet Security on a Sempron chip PC (Score 1) 294

by donak (#44309509) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Light-Footprint Antivirus For Windows XP?

I'm running Comodo Internet Security on a AMD Sempron 1.75ghz chipped PC, admittedly with 2GB of DDR2 RAM.
In fact I'm running it on every Windows PC in the house, including Windows 8 laptops!
It runs fine, I've never noticed any slowing ... and it's free for personal use.

Comment: MS missed the point : need to restore Start MENU (Score 1) 543

by donak (#44167859) Attached to: Microsoft Reacts To Feedback But Did They Get Windows 8.1 Right?

Anyone I've talked to about their use of Windows 8 has them telling me they've "... fixed it by installing [program name] to restore the Start Menu and boot direct to the desktop ..." so Micro$oft returning the Start Button is just a bit of window dressing.

And yes, I've installed Win8 on a PC, and recently bought two laptops (one with a touch-screen) so I can learn it and help people use it.
I'm sure Windows 8 Tile Start screen is great on a tablet / smart phone ... it's painful on a PC, especially a non-touch screen.

I took a fish head to the movies and I didn't have to pay. -- Fish Heads, Saturday Night Live, 1977.

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