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Comment Re:How About the Classics? (Score 1) 338

I was brought up on one of those...and had to have it replaced (got a free replacement and game after writing a letter). The programs on the TI994A crashed, fairly often although I loved the thing. Also, does it make sense to expose a child to a platform whose design doesn't reflect today's computer platform foundation? The TI 994a cartridge system doesn't reflect the way systems work now and good luck finding that GIANT expansion module add-on module with the floppy disk drive. (Considering how small the cartridge memory space and Floppy disks were that is a LOT of physical hardware to store). Easier/smaller to just get an old PC and put a Linux distro on it, perhaps one like qimo4kids http://www.qimo4kids.com/ or DouDou Linux http://www.doudoulinux.org?

Comment List of Education/Entertaing Linux Kids Games P2 (Score 1) 338

Oh, forgot to add something, you mentioned kids having trouble using keys for controllers. Suggest getting a PS3 standard controller from a store or E-bay. Plugs in using USB connector and the current kernel (2.6.37+) provides the drivers (hid-sony) See article on Google Code: http://code.google.com/p/fofix/wiki/GameControllers

Comment List of Education/Entertaining Kid Linux Programs (Score 1) 338

I did some research into this topic awhile ago. Here is a list depending on the age group:

3-7: GCompris (http://gcompris.net/-en-) *** Best ***, KDE Education software (http://edu.kde.org/), Tux Software Series (http://tux4kids.alioth.debian.org/), TuxPaint, TuxMath, TuxType all excellent, Omnitux (overlaps with Gcompris) (http://omnitux.sourceforge.net/), SuperTuxCart (no education just game) (http://supertuxkart.sourceforge.net/), SuperTux(http://supertux.lethargik.org/) (entertainment only), Secret Maryo (similar to Super Mario, pure entertainment, no educational value) (http://www.secretmaryo.org/), Frozen Bubbles (pure game, no real education here)(http://www.frozen-bubble.org/), Crayon Physics Deluxe (commercial, puzzle game)(http://www.crayonphysics.com/)

6-14: Scratch (teaches computer programming in an amazingly intuitive way..had 11 year old figure it out with no computer background and no experience) (http://scratch.mit.edu/), Alice (teaches 3d art), (http://www.alice.org/index.php?page=downloads/download_alice), World Of Goo (commercial, puzzle solving)(http://www.2dboy.com ), Trine/Trine 2 (commercial, puzzle solving)(http://http://trine-thegame.com/site/) (good for developing puzzle solving skills..good graphics), Greenfoot (teaches Java to pre-teens similar way to Scratch) (http://www.greenfoot.org/door), Cogs (Commercial puzzle game) (http://www.cogsgame.com/), DreamChess (Stragety...its chess)(http://www.dreamchess.org/), E-Adventure (teaches people to make their own point/click adventure games) (http://e-adventure.e-ucm.es/), Gbrainy (Math/logic games) (https://live.gnome.org/gbrainy), Inkscape (Vector Graphics..works well with Scratch/Alice as teaching tool and book)(http://www.inkscape.org), And Yet It Moves (Commercial puzzle/alternative physics) (http://www.andyetitmoves.net/), Machinarium (Commercial, flash adventure game..great for kids) http://machinarium.net/demo/, Minecraft (semi-commercial, install on Linux may not be straightforward) (https://minecraft.net/), Botanicula (Commercial, Flash adventure Game)(http://botanicula.net/)

Most of the non-commercial games listed above are readily available hrough the software game channels of most Linux Distros including Ubuntu, Mint (I've confirmed all on Mint), Fedora and Debian. I included links in case for some reason the user friendly Software Install Dialogs in Ubuntu/Mint or default Synpatic Package manager channel configuration doesn't do the trick. The commercial ones come in various installers, most user friendly but a few you may need to make a menu launcher manually.

Children specific OS Distros: I've never tried these but it may simplify your OS installations with pre-installed game/activities: http://www.doudoulinux.org/web/english/index.html ***(this looks VERY good for kindergarden first timers on a computer)*** http://www.qimo4kids.com/what-is-qimo/ http://www.edubuntu.org/ http://www.foresightlinux.org/release/foresight-kids-edition-1-0-release-notes/

Recommend all purposes Distro for early starters (6-and up): http://www.linuxmint.org/ (Not education specific but software installation menus make it easy to find/try educational and non-educational games...ubuntu does to but Mint makes it easier for non-techies...have 9-12 year old using it with no training...no problem)

other list of games for Linux are here: http://www.linuxlinks.com/article/20080510052539217/Games.html http://www.linuxlinks.com/article/20080522164112313/Games-Part2.html

While educating your kids on computers hopefully people don't forget that kids need to play outdoors too and get dirty early in life. (Helps prevent peanut allergies I'm told)

Comment The Open Source Chromium Browser as Alternative? (Score 1) 152

What about Chromium? Its Chrome without the Google stuff to extract data to track people for showing ads. http://www.chromium.org/Home I really liked Firefox and recommended to everyone, but with this loss of focus in an attempt to reprove its relevance with it so called "rapid release", its having the reverse effect and may give MS a new opportunity to push its semi-w3c complaint browser. Apple Safari may be a good alternative for MS windows clients but I haven't looked into whether it collects data. I need to see what plugins I can use with Chromium which is the biggest advantage Firefox has in flexibility over its competitors. Ironically, Firefox 17 seems like it will kill some plugins. Is the cure worse than the disease?

Comment Re:Head shaking moments (Score 1) 363

Quite right, but history shows its not whether something is illegal/immoral that deters, but whether the intended victim has any teeth and is ready to bite. Which of course explains why it would be necessary to have a law specifically forbidding turning over access to PRIVATE, PERSONAL data which is irrelevant to performing their professional duties.

Comment Americans and Beer...low standards (Score 1) 633

America being the cheapest place to get beer in my experience is because the beer is...well...cheap. I hated beer when I was in the USA. After I tried beer from England, Ireland, Germany, France and especially Belgium, it occurred to me that I hated American beer because it was bad (and cheap) beer. I also wonder if this is contributing to Americans being so overweight compared to the rest of the world...hmm....

Comment Ubuntu with "guidence" from commercial interests.. (Score 1) 646

All jokes aside, this could damage Ubuntu's reputation. It basically tells the Linux and potential MS converts that Ubuntu is no better than Apple (and to a lessor extent Microsoft). Including tools that directly guide your usage to the benefit of a commercial interest may be considered intrusive by some. Also the Unity Desktop has suffered from usability and stability issues that have kept more informed people from using it,; some sticking to Ubuntu 11 or others going to alternative distros. Which leads to the the subject that not enough people talking about: alternative user friendly distros to Ubuntu. I myself don't find Ubuntu to be wonderfully user friendly and have had stability problems creep in. Linux Mint http://www.linuxmint.com/ I find more user friendly and stable so I recommend it to friends and clients. SolusOS http://www.solusos.com/ is new but look VERY promising based on Debian. I've used pure Debian in office environments with no learning curve complaints by the employees. Of course Fedora is loved by many although more bleeding edge. Linux Mint in particular is gaining more press among Linux users and potential converts whereas Ubuntu has gotten some not so positive press with the new Unity usability/speed/drivers/integration problems and now this rather close partnership with Amazon on the OS level. Ubuntu and Linux in general does not have a market share near big enough that people will forgive annoyances like this. At least with laptops preinstalled junk is relatively easy if annoying to remove. Perhaps that is so with Ubuntu 12 as well, but why should bother a more user friendly distros is available that doesn't play these games?

Linux Minx uses default search engines of those who contribute money to the OS to generate revenue and I find that perfectly acceptable. You can also add the bigger search engines with ease and its no more intrusive than MS IE 7/8's default search engine.

I feel as if Ubuntu is pushing the limits of including "features" in a similar way Microsoft did in stages: first with WGA in XP, then with the Protected Media Path and its "dial home" feature under the pretense of telling you "you are online" with the "Network Connectivity Status Indicator" (which dials to www.msftncsi.com and can only be disabled with a registry hack as there is no admin interface to change this behavior). MS is playing similar games with MS Office: WGA-like "features", the "ribbon" interface everyone HATES (pushing many to Libre/Open Office), and dramatic price increases to push home/SMB users to buy the cloud subscription model via Office 360. These "features" are of no benefit to the user, are often a detriment (especially to privacy) and/or consume excessive resources at a minimum. The WGA with XP was enough to drive me to Linux and I've been very happy with my move.

The Unity issues are piling up and this new one may hurt Linux advancement in general. I'm certain it will hurt Ubuntu acceptance with the informed Linux community. there are alternatives. Its starting to look as though Ubuntu's previous popularity has made it a bit arrogant and complacent with its user base, similar to Microsoft and Apple. While some may correctly argue that fragmentation can hurt Linux, in some ways its also its strength, so long as core standards aren't broken. This could be a clear example.

Comment Fun times at work (Score 1) 397

Okay, this may be have been said and therefore redundant. However, in case its not, I've worked at places that were either: a. Fun and lower pay b. Boring and higher pay c. Unpleasant, stressful and higher pay d. Fun, Stressful and lower pay. (notice of the fun jobs are often somewhat lower pay...but read on) Stress is proven to have a negative effect on your health and life span. The worst stress is from difficult, high pressure situations. Often companies pay more for this, but nobody I know works well in these conditions for long, or at least not at their ideal level. Continual exposure to these often leads to serious problems and mistakes at the company in either maintenance or applied changes. One step better is stress from routine, boring situations which is not as bad, but the brain starts losing its creative juices. Your brain becomes like fruit drying out and decaying. (minus the funny smell). Neither are good for you and are often a sign of management issues. I've worked at fun companies (and still do on a regular basis). They make job and the employer more worthwhile, and more often than not, show management understands the human element of the workplace equation. If you get to work with a "dream team" there truly is no price on that. In my experience they are rare and I miss the ones I got to work with (at companies that got acquired or downsized, either way split the team). I don't feel an extra 10% is worth the potential years of your career you'll never get back. Nor the potential years off your life due to increased negative stress. Note, bordom is a form of negative stress.

My opinion is if you have a good team/company and you can live comfortably, that is ideal and to throw something like that away for 10% increase in salary is selling yourself cheap. That is my 2-cents.

"The mass of men live their lives in quiet disperation" - Henry David Thoreau.

Translation: Most people hate their jobs and their lives. This is true today. Why join such a miserable majority?

Comment Re:Why the focus on music, though? (Score 1) 451

Technically not ALL music is has copyright. Thank goodness the great composers of the last few hundred years didn't have this blood sucking legal mumbo jumbo. Perhaps that is yet another reason Mozart, Bach (and many other greats from the 1600-1800s) were consider great; you didn't need a lawyer to enjoy it. LOL

Comment Data Unreliable (Score 1) 609

We're talking about a country tha censors a lot more than just the Internet. Reports of propoganda officials following ALL foriegn media reprentitives in China as well as soldiers following people known to disagree with government policy are constant. How do you get reliable information on public opinion in a country where if you disagree with the government, you are gaged by threats, inprisonment or even death. (Could this be why China is the number one place to get spare human parts? Hmmm..have to think on that one). To get a small understanding of this check out the stuff done in the excellent film, "The Lives of Others". The Chinese Communist Party recruit people at all levels as spies and act quickly when people are discovered who object to Party policy. (Remember this is the country who wrote "The Art of War" which has a large chapter on spies and counter spies) Its impossible to do an accurate poll under such conditions because it will ALWAYS favor the Communist Party. Garbage in garbage out.

I've got a bad feeling about this.