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Education

Ask Slashdot: How Do I Engage 5th-8th Graders In Computing? 169

Posted by Soulskill
from the robots-with-lasers dept.
An anonymous reader writes: I volunteer at a inner-city community after school program focused K-8th grade. Right now, due to the volunteer demographic, we spend most of our activity time in arts and crafts and homework. The 5th-8th students are getting restless with those activities. I've been asked to spice it up with some electrical wizardry. What I'd like to do is introduce the students to basic jobs skills through computers. My thoughts are that I could conduct some simple hands-on experiments with circuits, and maybe some bread boards. Ultimately, we're going to take apart a computer and put it back together. How successful this project is will dictate whether or not we will go into programming. However, whatever we do, I want the kids to obtain marketable skills. Anyone know of a curriculum I can follow? What experiences have you had with various educational computing projects?
Ruby

Is Ruby On Rails Losing Steam? 291

Posted by Soulskill
from the only-among-left-handed-geriatric-haberdashers dept.
itwbennett writes: In a post last week, Quartz ranked the most valuable programming skills, based on job listing data from Burning Glass and the Brookings Institution. Ruby on Rails came out on top, with an average salary of $109,460. And that may have been true in the first quarter of 2013 when the data was collected, but "before you run out and buy Ruby on Rails for Dummies, you might want to consider some other data which indicate that Rails (and Ruby) usage is not trending upwards," writes Phil Johnson. He looked at recent trends in the usage of Ruby (as a proxy for Rails usage) across MS Gooroo, the TIOBE index, the PYPL index, Redmonk's language rankings, and GitHut and found that "demand by U.S. employers for engineers with Rails skills has been on the decline, at least for the last year."

Comment: Re:German illegal? (Score 1) 323

by jasonditz (#48142787) Attached to: How English Beat German As the Language of Science
My high school didn't offer German language classes and at the time (20 years ago) it was explained to me that the local anti-German language law was still on the books. I don't know that this was actually true, and the Supreme Court ruling certainly made such laws unenforceable, but it pushed me into three years of French instead.

Comment: Re:Boeing bought more politicians. (Score 1) 127

Leaving out Boeing would be budget suicide for NASA.

No one should be left out because there should be no contract. Instead, NASA should be fostering a spot market for launches. They should have a separate bid for each launch: "We want X satellite in Y orbit, and insured for Z dollars." Then give the launch to the lowest bidder. That way each company can work continuously to cut costs and improve services, knowing that if they leapfrog the competition, they can win the next launch, instead of being locked out for years.

That is not feesable. It take years to be trained to fly in a spaceship - whether the lifting body like the Shuttle or Dream Chaser, or a capsule such as Soyuz, CST-100, or Dragon V2. You have to build not only the rocket, but a tower to carry the crew to the top of the rocket along with an arm to get the astronauts into the vehicle (which is not compatible/spacecraft). Escape systems need to be installed. It's very expensive, and it would never be built without assurance that the demand is there. At this time, there is no market for launches except from NASA or ESA. Cosmonauts would ride Russian spacecraft, Indians and Chinese are developing their own systems, etc. The public demand is too little at this time. Without a long-term contract, NASA is not enough for your proposal.

Comment: Re:Putin actually speaks the truth (Score 1) 396

Indeed! Russia also requires all telcoms and ISPs, at their expense, to install monitoring equipment of the internet and telephones, This project is called SORM (wikipedia entry for SORM). The system was put into place around 1996-2000, but it has been used as recently as the Winter Olympics (source). It is explicitly a mass-surveillance system, so either Putin is lying or he is bending the truth: Russia doesn't pay for it... but by law the telcoms have to pay it. They don't do illegal wiretapping because it is explicitly legal. And you're right, they might not have the ability to store all that data for long periods of time, but you can be sure they are targeting people. And you can be sure they are targeting foreign governments too (of course). Heck, there were several diplomatic leaks at the beginning of the Crimean crises in order to strain US-EU ties. You can be sure that's due to Russia's intelligence services.

Comment: Cool Story Bro Time (Score 5, Funny) 312

Back in the 90s, I had a job teaching MS Office to people. One class I was hired for was to teach a bunch of local judges how to use Word.

While discussing how to change fonts, one of the judges says, "Huh! Anal font, what the hell is an ANAL font!"

Maybe it is the same judge!

Comment: Asterisk (Score 1) 497

This is a bit involved, but will work if you have the time and know how to set it up.

You can likely port your landline number to a VOIP service and then setup asterisk. Use IVR to play a message when you are called. Have a code that your friends and family know that will allow them to break out of the IVR and ring an extention.. Funnel everything else to voicemail or whatever you want.. You will only get a ring when it is someone who knows the code.

Comment: Re:second hand e-smoke (Score 1) 314

by CB-in-Tokyo (#44814441) Attached to: Research Shows E-Cigs Might Be As Good For Quitting As Nicotine Patches

I smoked for years, and could never quit.

Three years ago, I tried an ecig on a lark, and actually quit smoking without intending to, which to me seems like a miracle!

I went through a month or two of coughing up stuff from my lungs, but I never felt the need to smoke cigarettes.

I still have a nicotine addiction, but have been slowly weaning myself down to weaker and weaker e-juice. On day I will quit, but I feel a hell of a lot better than I did when I was smoking!

For me, the patch isn't even close !

Operating Systems

Happy 20th Birthday, FreeBSD 220

Posted by timothy
from the long-may-it-wave dept.
mbadolato writes "FreeBSD celebrates its 20th birthday this week. On 19 June 1993, David Greenman, Jordan Hubbard and Rod Grimes announced the creation of their new fork of the BSD 4.3 operating system, and its new name: FreeBSD." And in the time since then, FreeBSD hasn't exactly stood still; it's spawned numerous other projects (like DragonFly BSD and PC-BSD), as well as served as the basis for much of Mac OS X; there's even a Raspberry Pi build.
Input Devices

A Simple DIY Game Controller For People With Physical Challenges 36

Posted by Soulskill
from the accessibility-is-king dept.
capedgirardeau writes "Caleb Kraft of the well-known Hack-A-Day site noticed that game controllers and alternate keyboards for people with physical challenges were very expensive. Simple switches for buttons that could be made for a few dollars were running $60 or $70 apiece. Working with a young man he knew who loves gaming and has muscular dystrophy, Caleb created a do-it-yourself controller for people with physical challenges using a 3-D printer, a super-cheap micro-controller board and some simple keyboard emulation software. He is freely releasing all the 3-D printer files and tutorials to make his and other controllers on a new site, The Controller Project. He also encourages people to check out The AbleGamers Foundation"
Censorship

Greek Government Abruptly Shuts Down State Broadcaster 230

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-dark dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Greek government shut down broadcasting of all TV and radio channels operated by the state-owned broadcaster ERT at midnight local time, with police ejecting journalists and other employees occupying the building. The above link is a prominent Greek economics professor's (and Valve's in-house economist) analysis of the political motivations for the move."

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke

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