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Comment: Story Telling, Just do it -- PLUS, what are games? (Score 1) 121

by kale77in (#48638747) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Resources For Kids Who Want To Make Games?

This and "Just do it" (esp. by sharing the results with school-friends doing the same thing) are the best answers thus far. I'll add a third idea:

No-one has yet mentioned the importance of thinking about the nature of challenges, and so, what games fundamentally are, why they're enjoyable, why there are fundamental limits to that enjoyment in any one game, and how to push them. This book, A Theory of Fun, was extraordinary on those subjects. Might be worth leaving it lying around:

Comment: Re:So Proud of Gun Ownership (Score 1) 1232

by kale77in (#42393571) Attached to: New York Paper Uses Public Records To Publish Gun-Owner Map

The real loaded weapons are these people waiting to go off. And without guns, they won't be stopped. They will resort to other things. Poisonings? Gassings? Bombings? Stabbings and slashings? What will we hope to take away from EVERYONE then? Gasoline? Propane?

This argument fails. Unstable people become dangerous when they have an especially depressing week, or they go off the meds. Suicides and homicides happen in this window. If assault weapons aren't at hand then assault weapons won't be used. These are different to bombs, poison or even handguns and rifles. Bombs and mass poisonings take time to plan, by which time a person will usually stabilize again. Stabbings are less likely to be fatal, or numerous, or even successful, and they require more courage. Even handguns or non-automatic rifles take time to load or are harder to aim. But access to an assault rifle with a high-capacity magazine mean that almost anyone can reliably put on a massacre. It's much easier to prevent access to such weapons than to make mental illness disappear. When the US Constitution was written, muskets could be loaded and fired three times per minute, if you had practiced well. That was plenty for the purpose of self-defense, or for the people to hold the government to account. There's no constitutional argument for assault weapons, and the "people will just use bombs" argument fails when the dynamics of mental illness are considered.

Comment: Re:Creepy... (Score 2) 119

by kale77in (#42335131) Attached to: Spider Discovered That Builds Its Own Spider Decoys
Mimic was my all-time #1 bad-science movie, for one single, monumental plot hole. In order to develop, the mega-roaches needed selection pressures to favour those that resembled humans, but no humans or other predators were even aware of them, let alone selectively killing off the non-humanoid ones.

Comment: Re:modding video games (Score 1) 246

by kale77in (#41666155) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Book Or Game To Introduce Kids To Programming?

We have a winner. There has to be something they themselves want to accomplish by programming. Get that sorted and get out of the way.

I used to have books of (printed!) computer game programs that I would type into my Atari 800XL, which of course led to writing my own once I knew how they worked, and friends with the same interests playing my games and me playing theirs. There was a 1986 edition of Scientific American which had a Mandelbrot set on the cover, and the algorithm inside, and I remember when the first six-hour run successfully produced a 40x40 image of the whole set.

The right tech now depends on what they want to accomplish. But get them to imagine themselves showing their friends their OWN phone app, or web app (whether a game or something else), and you won;t have to worry about their motivation from then on. You just need to be there for questions when they hit a roadblock.

And if they don't like programming, help them be good at what they do like.

Comment: Re:I think you just need two things (Score 4, Insightful) 276

I would say mod parent up... But remembered that *I* have mod points. MAHAHAHAHHHH!!!!

Seriously, you just say: "You know that ANYONE can do that, yeah?" when they like something a computer does.

Myself, I took the 1986 Scientific American article with the fractals on the cover and coded up the algorithm on little PC with 64K or RAM, and never looked back. I've used to assume that the question for a ten year old would be "Would you like to write your own game?" ... But actually, it's "What do computers do that is cool?" and the realization that literally _anyone_ can do that. It's a level playing field. Anything you can see on a computer, you can take apart or rebuild, and then change to make it do what you want.

Comment: Re:Issue for me is pattern recognition. (Score 1) 204

by kale77in (#39222693) Attached to: Computer Programmers Only the 5th Most Sleep Deprived Profession
I once made a 13 minute loop of rain sounds for a friend who was in a mental hospital. It was 18 mins originally, but 13 after removing every time a car stopped, or plain flew by, or anything else that would have created a cognizable pattern. Very soothing stuff.

Comment: Re:Good news for my old eyes! (Score 1) 559

by kale77in (#39004787) Attached to: Global Christianity and the Rise of the Cellphone
Virtually everyone at my church brings their Bibles on cellphones for when they need to refer to a text; no reason to carry a chunky paper book around as well. Your old eyes can set whatever point size you like. I suspect that visitors think they're all texting or on Facebook (even when they're not).

Single tasking: Just Say No.