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Comment: OIDS (Score 1) 360

by johnrpenner (#47778373) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

OIDS — for the Atari ST, and the Mac OSX (powerPC) — combines the best elements of Defender, Lunar Lander, Asteroids, Gravitar and Thrust, with its inertia based movement, and level editor. one of the best early games. :-D

Mac OSX version by David Hewit:

Atari ST ROM by David Hewit:

Comment: no they dont (Score 1) 544

a device with a slideout keyboard is inherently more prone to breaking than a one piece phone.

i've never had a problem using a touch screen for typing short messages, and if you really do want to write an essay, a lil phone keyboard is still inferior to a real full-size keyboard (which can be paired to any bluetooth equipped phone anyway) — you shouldnt be using your phone to be typing manuscripts anyway — the lil tiny keys — real or not — or still inadequate.

touch screen keyboards work really well in my experience; and they dont suffer the inherent mechanical breakability of a slide-out phone.

2cents from toronto

Comment: reading writing arithmetic & CHESS (Score 2, Interesting) 125

by johnrpenner (#46975493) Attached to: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Lately, Coding

what would really help prepare children better than writing code is playing chess — it will help them learn how to think logically and consistently — if they learn it in chess first — learning all the various changing semantics of languages that may come and go will be trivial — if they got a good grounding in thinking properly through chess. a couple years of chess for grades 5-10 should be mandatory in every school curriculum.

chess is even more important than learning to how to code — because to get anywhere with code, you have to immerse yourself in a language, an API, an IDE, and a way of thinking that is large, legacy, and arcane. by contrast, chess gets it down to the critical skills in a pretty efficient way.

teach chess, then code later will be a piece of cake — because chess teaches the essential skills of grasping clear thoughts/moves in a facile way with the mind — and this mind muscle can be brought to higher level of logical consistency and clarity of thought with chess. something that is simple, yet lends itself to the greatest sophistication.

another reason to teach chess is science standards — lack of critical thinking in regards to science is a reflection of a nation that has lost its ability to think clearly upon basic subjects. chess is the remedy for a lack of clear and lucid thinking on many subjects.

one must work the mind, or it becomes weak, and unable to judge things very well — and then tends to be easily manipulated by political and emotional cues.


Comment: monocultures (Score 0) 392

by johnrpenner (#46663355) Attached to: How Many People Does It Take To Colonize Another Star System?

the GMO mono-culture which wipes out all with roundup, and allows to live only sterile copyright gmo seeds at the expensive of the natural diversity of nature — in mexico, the many many varieties of corn are replaced in america with a mono-culture of sterile gmo seeds — it is insidious destruction of our own planet's natural and abundant diversity.

Comment: where are the entwives? (Score 1) 333

by johnrpenner (#46351561) Attached to: Will Peggy the Programmer Be the New Rosie the Riveter?

i've met some really good women programmers over several decades in the tech world —but precious few. :-(

to make things fit our statistical ideal — we strive to glamourize writing code, the good pay, how easy it is to start, and the cool places you can work if you do. yet these things, have little to do with actually being interesting in numbers and algorithms.

if you have a real interest, the difficulty doesnt stop you, no more than salmon swimming upstream. the insatiable desire to grok code is its own reason. if we cant draw more people into computer science by showing how fascinating powers of 2 arithmetic, binary logic, and how neat pointer references are — then i'm afraid there's little hope — sometimes it seems they just dont like it. they have other less abstract, more practical concerns. so often, in perplexity, i have wondered — why are there so precious few women who are intrinsically interested in writing code? guys dig chicks with whom they can talk C++ —— but where are they!?!?

so i dont know if they are being shut out, or if they are simply averse. for the ones that arent — please, come code. the guys more than want more female programmers around. because of this, i've spent a lot of time trying to help women grok technology more deeply.

one thing i've noticed though, while machinery speaks in hexadecimal; the women are using the machinery more. instead of 'how it works', their quesion is 'how to use'? instead of making machines, they would rather use them. it reminds me of an old quote from Heinrich Heine's mom — 'the man thinks, and the women steers'.

in the end — it is for women to decide.
all we can do is encourage, and hold the door open. :-D
please come.

Comment: embrace and extend (Score 1) 241

by johnrpenner (#46301713) Attached to: With 'Virgin' Developers, Microsoft Could Fork Android

at it again.. the way everyone had to code everything twice.. once for explorer and once for netscape.. well its going to be even more fun for android and android-like devs.. then droid will fracture, leaving a more coherent market for ios dev.. allowing ios to hold on to 30% longer than it would.

maybe it works out w each of the big three (google, apple, microsoft) with a third of the market - with incompatible clouds and digital thunderstorms - more fun ahead! ;-)
2cents from toronto island (snow and thunder tonight)

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein