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Comment backwards (Score 1) 648

Kids should start with raw machine language and fairly quickly move up to assembly, and then maybe plain old C, and only then get to higher level languages later. These lower levels don't have to be mastered to high degrees, but just introduced to lay the foundation to build on logically. I think these intro courses look at things backwards.

Higher level languages should be saved for experts as a tool for getting stuff done faster, with greater amounts of complexity, by people who understand how things work and are less likely to shot themselves (and their users) in the face.

That being said, good programmers can start with any language... doesn't really matter all that much.

Comment ZAP! From nowhere. Think about it. (Score 1) 784

Letting kids go outside is cruel and stupid when it can be so easily avoided in our modern society. Have you people not heard of lightening? This is not paranoia, it's verifiable fact. On average 50 people are killed each year in the USA from lightning. Thankfully the average is going down, and we less now... thanks probably to more people staying inside. But it's still more than are killed in the average terrorist attack or school shooting, or pedophile rampage, which people seem to be very concerned about. Since irresponsible parents historically have not seen fit to make sure their children are properly shielded from lightning each and every time they leave home, it would seem there is no choice but for a society who cares about children to make sure the children are secured indoors.

I would mention the actually astronomically greater threat posed by automobiles, directly and indirectly, but I understand that our society has made the conscious decision to holds cars sacred. So that's fine.

Comment Distro - BSD (Score 1) 403

It might be helpful to know what linux distro you tend to use, because the type of distro may indicate which BSD variant you would be most comfortable with.

I have in times past run 3 of the original BSDs and all have (many) strengths and (a few) weaknesses.

I would generally recommend FreeBSD for the community and documentation. Ever since it adopted OpenBSD's PF firewall many years ago (which is wonderful), I have generally recommended FreeBSD for it's generally greater modern compatibility and larger community for anyone who isn't entirely hardcore into a particular BSD for particular reasons.

It's a bit superficial, but why not fire up some VMs with all OS's you may be interested in and give them an install to kick the wheels... get at least a bit of a feel for the thing.

Comment Used to things (Score 1) 464

I love my progressives. When I used to have dual monitors they were near a window which I used to look out of often, switching from close to far vision. I remember the wavy distortion and the slight feeling of disorientation when i first went progressive (especially when walking), but it didn't last very long for me, and I loved the option of distance clarity too much to give it up. Single vision lenses are definitely clearer, with a larger field of vision, for reading. I have reading glasses, but I find I rarely use them... I can't be bothered. I prefer the flexibility of the progressives, despite their quirks and limitations, and have just grown used to moving my head up and down to get the clarity where I want it. I don't even think about it anymore.

Different people have different priorities and different tolerances, but I can say that for myself I have gotten entirely used to progressives and prefer them.

Comment Zoho has your back, but nobody seems to know.... (Score 2) 40

Zoho Docs has supported ODT for some time. It's sad so few know about it. Their app Zoho Writer even supports editing ODT on android (and perhaps other platforms?). I was amazed when I stumbled on this functionality entirely by accident. The Zoho Writer app also supports opening files from Google Drive and Dropbox... so technically you could say that it supports editing ODT on those platforms as well.

Furthermore, Zoho has a desktop file sync client that supports Linux, unlike Google who has has seemingly utterly failed to provide a linux client despite promising it when Drive launched.

Way too little, way too late from Google, as far as I'm concerned.

(My documents are fairly simple, so I'm not sure how technically complete the ODT support is. But it's worked for me.)

Comment mistakes were made (Score 3, Insightful) 465

So, here we have a nice example of something like Jon Stewart's "one mistake"... with all the willful environmental destruction in the world, this story of one admitted dreadful mistake by people who actually care deeply (for which the Greenpeace response -- as strong an apology as possible, while accepting that mere apology is insufficient -- is missing from the summary) becomes the story.... sad.

Comment sansa story (Score 2) 269

Despite having had a phone and tablet, I still use my sandisk sansa e200-series mp3 player daily. I've owned the newer sansa clip, fuse and fuse+, but I just keep going back to an e-series... the perfect device for me, with rockbox installed. It's small, and tactile, and has fantastic battery life, and microSD slot. The design is a sort of clunkier miniature iPod classic. I can operate it completely (rockbox has voice menus) in my pocket without looking, or from a lanyard hanging around my neck. I also use the sleep timer, and variable speed play back (for audio books) a lot.

And there were years when you could get these things pretty cheap on ebay, because in the ipod/ipod touch frenzy, only an enlightened few seemed to want these things. Well, the enlightened few (mostly rockbox users) still cling to this device, but they are getting harder to find... and in recent years the price is going up. Though they are still usually well under $100; sometimes even under $50. I have a couple of them hoarded for myself. I fear the day when they break down (i've gone through a few of them) and I can find no more sources.

Though, also I earnestly have hoped through the years that something better could come along. I hoped my android devices, with suitable software, would take over... but they have not managed it. The ability to operate the thing blind, it's size and battery life, (and the handy lanyard attachment spot!) just keep it in use...

Rockbox also runs on ipod classic, and I've considered many times getting an iPod classic to run rockbox... it seems like they'd work similarly to my sansas, but they (like most apple products) are just too damned expensive. Also bigger and heavier.

Comment Re:Are you sure? (Score 1) 863

KDE has overwhelming support by linux users, considering how many choose it despite it not being a default in hardly any distros. Gnome 3 and Unity have overwhelming rejection just about everywhere you look, but it didn't stop most of the distros listed from pushing it on their users. Because the mostly monolithic leaders of the most-used distros choose something, or do not choose something, doesn't necessarily mean it has support -- they sometimes choose for their own reasons, which evidently do not always sync with their users short-term or long-term interests.

The Debian divide at least shows Debian has some healthy level of non-monolithic leadership... until the divide splits them into two more-monolithic camps.

Comment movies vs space (Score 3, Funny) 200

It's disturbing all these comparisons between the budget of Hollywood movies and a space program. It's ridiculous... the space program may aim to eventually travel to the stars, but Hollywood movies are MADE FROM stars. Imagine if space programs had to build orbiters and probes out of actual stars... now you get the picture. The precious resource that Hollywood movies are made from far outshines any glorified firework.

To look at it yet another way, Gravity took US ALL into space, in a way that probably felt more real to us than if we had actually gone into boring old space. Whereas the Indian mars orbiter didn't take anyone, not even Matt Daemon. It might send back a few snapshots and data hardly anyone will be interested in. We won't even get a T-Shirt out of it. There is no comparison.

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department