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Comment: Re:What? (Score 2) 70

by gstoddart (#48911329) Attached to: Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

Programming tools are free and there are free programming tutorial websites.

Which is fairly meaningless.

Sure, I can check out a medical text from a library ... won't make me a doctor.

The fundamental basis of coding is applying logic, reasoning, problem solving, a lot of trial and error, and then refining it over the years.

Free access is meaningless, unless people are motivated to do it, and have the aptitude for it, and probably have some guidance. Very few people can teach themselves programming from soup to nuts and really grasp all of it -- I've known a few who did, but they were exceptions.

Unless things have changed, programming tends to have a double-tassel distribution -- you get it or you don't. Is this a fault in teaching method or available tools? Or is this a limitation on human brains? I honestly can't say, but I've definitely seen it.

I can tell you not everybody will do well with programming, and some will utterly fail at it -- and how you make it accessible to everybody, I don't know.

There's more grokking involved than most people are willing to admit. There is some aspect of it which actually is art.

Everybody says "programming is just math". Math might have conceived of programming, but I've known brilliant mathematicians who suck at programming. And I've know brilliant coders who suck at math. I don't believe they're one and the same.

I don't think coding is some secret voodoo to be held among the elite. But I don't think everybody is capable of doing it either.

Because it's not really how most people think and do stuff, and because historically, that double tassel is a real thing no matter what people want to believe.

Comment: Coding is problem solving ... (Score 3, Insightful) 70

by gstoddart (#48911097) Attached to: Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

At it's core, coding is problem solving, and relies on logic and reasoning to use the tools you have to solve a problem.

Debugging is thinking through logically what has gone wrong, examining the code, and possibly taking some educated guesses (hypotheses) about what might be the problem and what you might need to fix it (depending on the nature of the problem).

So, sure, teach coding.

But don't think you can do this with people who haven't got a good grasp of problem solving, applying logic and reasoning, formulating a hypothesis, and refining your knowledge based on some experimentation -- which over time grows into a body of knowledge.

Do they still teach any of those in schools?

Comment: Re:The system is corrupt ... (Score 3, Insightful) 115

I would love for the free market approach to work with Comcast. Really, I would. Sadly, Comcast has taken the free market, bent it over, and is currently doing some unspeakable things to it

I would love for the free market approach to work if it weren't a lie. Really, I would. Sadly, everybody always has taken the free market, bent it over, and have always been doing some unspeakable things to it.

Just like always.

All of those nice simplifying assumptions about people being honest, playing by the rules, not willing to swindle to get ahead, not willing to collude to cheat everybody else, and not outright paying bribes ...

See, all of that stuff is precisely why, exactly like communism , any economic theory which assumes the honesty of humans to adhere to your perfect system and achieve perfect outcomes ... is a complete fucking lie.

The assumptions of laissez-faire Capitalism are impossible to have hold true. So everything ascribed to what 'the market' should accomplish is a fairy tale, because humans don't play according to your ideology.

There is no free market. Never has been. Never will be.

Comment: The system is corrupt ... (Score 3, Insightful) 115

Like it or not, the corporations have more or less rigged the game.

There is no chance in hell we get what we want, because the politicians have all quite literally been bought and paid for, and are little more than corporate shills.

This is precisely why all of those people who bray about deregulation and the free market are either deluded, or in on the scam -- because these systems will always become horribly corrupt, and be sold to the highest bidder. And it's a lie to believe that system is self correcting -- because the system is rigged.

American politics (and, indeed, much of the world) is a cesspool of cronyism, and rich assholes cutting through the laws which prevent other rich assholes from raping the system.

Corporate lawyers and lobbyists have far more clout than "the people".

Welcome to the dystopian future where the corporations and the surveillance state work hand in hand, but the state is on the corporate payroll -- at least, the ones who hold any real power.

This is the reason why the bankers who ripped us all off in the housing meltdown never saw any charges -- because they all advise the fucking presidents on economic policy.

It really is time to eat the rich, because they're not in the least concerned about us in this equation.

Comment: Re:The solution is obvious (Score 1) 478

you only want products that were the new hotness at the time but where the company stopped expending resources once it became older?

No, what I want is some guaranteed level of support for consumer electronics.

If I buy something I don't expect it to be unsupported in under 3 years.

Apple was just the last straw.

Comment: Re:The solution is obvious (Score 1) 478

I doubt you would see that from them again.

Oh, I can guarantee I'll never see it from them again.

Had I known they were killing off the iPod classic I'd have replaced mine ... because it has no OS to be upgraded until it's broken.

My original iPad? I traded it in for $40 store credit while it still had some value.

But they won't be getting another iPad sale from me ever. And they won't ever sell me a phone. Or an Apple TV. Or a desktop.

I like the iPod, but for the rest? Apple is not getting my money.

If it wasn't for the fact that I still need some Windows software, my next desktop would be Linux. As it is, it might be worth it to buy a copy of Win 7 and run it in Virtual Box.

Comment: Re:Microsoft would be onto a winner if... (Score 1) 321

by gstoddart (#48906601) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

their seeming insistence that you have some kind of an Windows web account ( or whatever) in order to run the OS

I sincerely hope that isn't true, and that they're not going to take the step to force you to sign up for some of their crap.

I should think they'd break some antitrust laws by requiring shit like that.

And I bet they won't allow you to return it if you say "piss off, no I don't want one".

Looks like I better buy my next Windows machine soon, because Windows 10 sounds more and more like a shitpile I won't want.

Comment: Re:The solution is obvious (Score 1) 478

Also I suspect you picked on the first iPad because it was the worst.

No, I picked on it because I owned one.

My trust level for Apple has dropped significantly since then ... I'm not spending that kind of money on something which they'll abandon soon thereafter.

In fact, it has reaffirmed my belief you should never be the one to buy a first gen of any product, unless you're willing to lose the money on that.

Comment: Wow .... (Score 3, Funny) 138

That's pretty cool.

Imagine, a seasoning which turned your tough steak back from being shoe leather. :-P

Un-boiling an egg, the mind boggles.

I wonder what wacky applications chefs will come up with for this one. I can see some of the molecular gastronomy folks doing some odd things.

Comment: Re:The solution is obvious (Score 2) 478

Apple abandoned the original iPad in under 2.5 years.

It's not like they don't do it either.

Companies expect you to buy the new hotness all the time, and stop expending resources on older platforms.

Because, after all, they only give a shit about you for as long as it takes to get your money. And then you're just someone who doesn't matter to them.

Comment: Translation ... (Score 5, Insightful) 365

We're self entitled assholes, with nor regard for the law, and if we don't get back doors to encryption, we're going to become even more ethically challenged, self entitled assholes with nor regard for the law.

I sincerely hope one or more of their people get shot breaking into some place and not identifying themselves as agents.

Fuck, but governments are willing to slide into fascism and tyranny.

I you can't operate in the law, you should be subject to it ... and tried for criminal activities.

Papers please, comrade. You have nothing to frar if you have nothing to hide.

Comment: Re:what the vaccine actually do? (Score 4, Insightful) 178

by gstoddart (#48885917) Attached to: New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

Well, if you walked up to a smoker and vaccinated them like this ... they would still be addicted, and have no way of alleviating that.

As an ex-smoker, had someone done that to me, I might have had to kill them

Quitting smoking is hard, is sucks, and it takes months if not years for the craving to go away. The smallest thing can make you go back to wanting one.

The ability to get nicotine from an alternate source than smoking is not something to be underestimated, and for many of us is the only way we can really quit.

I rank this about as good as locking someone in a room and waiting for the screaming to stop. It's simply doing nothing at all about the fact that your brain and body are still going "where is it? how about now? can we have some? what about now? Why isn't there any? How do we get some? WHY can't we have any?"

A smoker on forced cold turkey quitting is NOT a person you want to be around.

Comment: Re:Translation: (Score 1) 157

by gstoddart (#48885559) Attached to: Surface RT Devices Won't Get Windows 10

I was really hoping they could throw away the cruft and start fresh, like Android and iOS did.

The way forward isn't slavishly doing the same thing you've been doing for 25+ years.

To me, this just entrenches that we're stuck with every bit of crap baggage Microsoft has been carting around, and that they will essentially keep doing the exact same thing.

So, I like them for a desktop or a server ... but I think they're going to fail miserably for mobile devices.

Essentially they're just going to ram through the iceberg instead of doing anything innovative. I honestly question if Microsoft could write an OS from scratch like Android.

Comment: Re:Yawn ... (Score 1) 228

by gstoddart (#48885247) Attached to: Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

Well, the in 80s I was mostly in elementary/middle school. In the 90s I was working in the tech industry. But I've been using the internet long enough to have used bang path addressing and UUCP and the like.

I don't simply dismiss all technology out of hand -- I actually do look at to see if it adds any benefit to my life.

And, in this case, I conclude the Internet of Things is crap, and Eric Schmidt is full of shit -- everything he says is the delusional ramblings of a billionaire who expects to make money from this.

In which case, I neither trust his vision, nor his intent.

The future, as envisioned by the greedy assholes who expect to profit from it, is generally a meaningless pile of self-serving crap. And Eric Schmidt is no exception.

The number of UNIX installations has grown to 10, with more expected. -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June 1972