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Comment: Problems not tools (Score 1) 107

by kubajz (#48421447) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program?
As a matter of fact, in my experience you can use any of the recommended tools. However, my more pressing question is what PROBLEMS the kids should try to solve since this is tje best way to learn. Of course you can start with a simple game but soon you get into object cloning. You can do pong but you get into general angle reflections. You do anything geometric and get into sine functions. Does anyone know of a nice set of problems to solve, with increasing complexity, for young programmers?

Comment: Re:Or, just don't get married. (Score 1) 447

by kubajz (#48139963) Attached to: Statisticians Uncover What Makes For a Stable Marriage
Perhaps surprisingly, the "one parent at home" is fairly a recent invention, since the one parent left home to go work in a factory. For many centuries prior to that, most people worked close to home or at home, and typically the whole family was involved, whether it was agriculture or a trade. That meant that for example men spent more time with the rest of the family in "traditional" setups than many of them do now :)

Comment: How do they do it? (Score 1) 26

by kubajz (#48025721) Attached to: How Tech Is Transforming Teaching In a South African Township
Some really interesting ideas here, if you're lazy to RTFA:

One of the primary goals is to foster curiosity in the kids (which is essentially internal motivation, one of the strongest forms).

The kids often work in groups on tasks that are slightly above their current skill level, which teaches them cooperation and problem-solving.

Teachers mainly come in to fill in gaps by answering questions and summarize what the kids learn.

Then the kids spend time on Khan Academy or similar doing tests to make sure they mastered the subject.

It would be interesting to see which of the elements actually helps the most - I would say it's not the "PeerMarker" software that lets pupils compare two essays and show which one is better using a slider (no written feedback on students' written assignment? that must hurt the learning, although it's understandable given the lack of teachers), but a breakdown of the other elements would be very interesting. Too bad a lot of the article focuses on math, it would be interesting to see more detail e.g. about writing.

Comment: Ski trip (Score 1) 310

When I learned programming my Dad took us to a skiing trip in the Slovak mountains - small cottage in the woods with a simple wood stove, nearest shop was 30 minute walk through the hills in deep snow, and whole days were spent skiing. The nights, however, we spent programming - with a pencil and an eraser ("the most important tool of a good programmer", my Dad said), and he was my compiler, debugger and processor, executing my handwritten programs for me and pointing out mistakes :)

Comment: Re:Fuck the foreigners Re:What about inbound? (Score 1) 347

by kubajz (#46996893) Attached to: Glenn Greenwald: How the NSA Tampers With US Made Internet Routers
Interesting thought, that we would have these rights if there was no Absolute Law or something similar. What would lead us to conclude that everyone has the right to Liberty, for example? Is it a matter of taking a vote about it? And if the majority vote against, could they then imprison the minority? I live in Europe and one thing I envy the US Constitution is the way rights are defined - that they are given by an Absolute and therefore cannot be voted away :)

Comment: Re:Still a long way from brain-boxes (Score 1) 209

> Meanwhile we need to ask ourselves - if we're creating this simulation based on the human brain, then what are the odds that some form of consciousness dwells within it?

If there's a consciousness in the simulation, then consciousness is just a result of a deterministic calculation, isn't it? In that case, what's the point of "asking ourselves"? Our consciousness would also be just a deterministic process so we can ask all we want but the answers we will arrive at are already given and we could not change them no matter how hard we "tried to think it through"... yawn :)

Comment: Re:MEGA Windows sync client (Score 1) 69

by kubajz (#46018583) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Just Launched His New Music Service With His Own Album
My understanding is that MEGA work by encrypting your data client-side within the browser, so the only thing that could happen to the said shopping list is getting lost, but until it is sent back to your browser and decrypted there even Dotcom cannot read it - that's the main reason why they cannot provide you with a password reset feature. They have a bug bounty program for finding holes in this setup. I do not trust the guy either but I think that this kind of arrangement, while having a side effect of protecting him from liability for users' content, also helps keep my data more secure. OTOH I know Slashdot is full of people more knowledgeable with the matter, so I do not mind hearing more from someone who can poke a few holes in their model :)

Comment: MEGA Windows sync client (Score 4, Interesting) 69

by kubajz (#46014741) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Just Launched His New Music Service With His Own Album
I hope this is not too off-topic, but Mega has recently (and very quietly, without even a mention on their blog) released a Windows sync client - a significant step in being feature-complete compared to their less-encrypted competition of Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft SkyDrive.

Comment: Re:FOR-PROFIT CORP !! NO THANX !! (Score 1) 143

by kubajz (#45453373) Attached to: Ars Checks Out CyanogenMod's New Installer
If profit is not necessary, could you give me one reason why anyone would fund a startup? Could you explain how to build a factory if the bank won't give you a loan? How to expand internationally once you've invested all your personal wealth into your business? Why would someone risk being a business owner and not an employee? See, all these are things that are typically solved by equity investment, or (partly) giving up your ownership, and these investors, for the large risk they are taking, expect a return - profit. Interestingly, as an example, in Islamic finance it is okay to turn profit but it's forbidden to give loans and ask for interest which is understood as making money without taking a risk. Or, in other words - the business generates value for customers (otherwise they would not buy its products), for employees (who get wages), for loan providers (because you pay interest on your loans) and finally for owners who are running the largest risk - a risk that there won't be anything left to pay for their investment in the company. You would suggest to let them take losses but not have the option of getting profits... and I think it would not work :)

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.