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Comment Re:Teaching programming has no place in school (Score 1) 36

"Teaching algebra has no place in schools

Most people cannot learn the required skills to any reasonable degree. At best this initiative will increase the number of really bad mathematicians. There are far too many of those already."

See how stupid it sounds? How about nutrition/cooks? How about rugby/sportsman? It's fucking idiotic to suggest.

You teach above the level of the kids, you expose to the wonderful things in your subject, you inspire some to take it up, other to plan their career around it, they go to uni and learn how to do it properly (and churn through the boring shit that they aren't interested in because they've been inspired by you and can see the end result).

And programming is at the CORE of computer science. It's the theory of computer science, laid bare. It doesn't have to be advanced, but it has to BE, in the same that you can't just skip algebra - sure, most kids will never use it but kids minds are plastic for a reason. Stretch them with something they don't quite understand when they are young, and it becomes SO MUCH more pliant that they are able to learn so much more, and quicker, and learn things they have no particular interest in to get to their goal.

In the 70's and beyond you WERE taught BASIC. It was designed for just that purpose. And with that same skill you can still write phone apps and all sorts nowadays. Without it, you can't. You're fucked. Unless you want to change the graphics in a template and nothing else.

If you don't teach everything, the kids won't know what they can do, they won't realise what they are good at, they won't learn to do things to get where they want and they won't have the skills even if they are top-end when they get there (e.g. you can't be a mathematician without learning algebra and I assure you it's easier to learn it when you're a kid).

Nobody is saying that every kid will churn our a million lines of C. That's fucking insanity. We're saying programming is a core skill of computer science that MY generation were taught from the ages of 8/9 and is still relevant. As such, it NEEDS to be taught. Or you're not teaching computer science.

The essence of the problem is exactly that, however. We're not teaching computer science. We're teaching "computing". How to use a computer. Not design it, build it, diagnose it, etc. We're teaching how to drive, not how to engineer a car or how it works. That's a backwards step. And as computers get more powerful, it's more and more akin to teaching how to drive an automatic with lane-veering warnings and reverse-parking sensors. It's getting dumber and dumber and dumber and all the teachers only ever drove automatics themselves, by now.

Being "good with" using computers is mistaken for being a computer expert. This is a dangerous, stupid, mistake to make. It's like saying that any HGV driver is a good expert witness for explaining to a court why the brakes failed on a jumbo jet in a major accident.

Comment UK Schools (Score 2) 36

I work IT in UK schools, state and private - always have, never had any other job. I don't teach (officially, at least) but I deal with their needs and the teachers and the pupils every single day.

I can tell you that in 15 years, I have seen precisely two "ICT" teachers who actually know the first thing about computers. One was a former industrial-control specialist for a HUGE chain of supermarkets, the other was a COBOL programmer from IBM. Both were in the industry for 20+ years and then moved into teaching as a career slowdown at the end. In their teaching, precisely NOTHING of their skill is employed as the curriculum doesn't come close. In their extra-curricular activities, it comes out and provides added value but those are attended only by the geeks and nerds anyway (we proudly count ourselves among the geeks and nerds, and that's the point at which I do do some "teaching" myself).

Every other ICT teacher I've ever met isn't someone I'd trust in charge of a dozen computers. I've seen ones that have been forced into the position by the lure of cash for teaching a specialism or being "ICT Coordinator". It means zip. I've been asked by those people why I can't just give them full domain admin access as a solution to the bit of software they bought (without consultation) that only reads MP3 automatically working without a single button press with the dictation machines they bought (without consultation) which only write copy-protected WMA. And I've literally had to show these people how to copy/paste THOUSANDS of times.

Most UK ICT teacher are the same. In fact, both the above "skilled" teachers wouldn't refer to themselves as ICT teachers. They see that as "computing" while they see themselves as "computer scientists". They only ever go by the name of "Head of IT" or whatever, never "ICT".

This filters down to the kids, then back up to the careers they go into. I've dealt with IT managers and consultants that haven't heard of virtualisation, that have no concept of networking or routing, that have NEVER CODED A LINE IN THEIR LIFE. Not a batch file, bash script, not a cscript, not a PowerShell (that wasn't copy/pasted from an online tutorial), PHP, nothing.

IT teaching in the UK is absolute shit. I have removed posters from IT Suites that still clearly advertise the PC chassis as a "hard drive" (a misconception that is rife in the teaching world), produced by a major UK educational supplier OVER 20 YEARS AGO.

There are stars out there, of course. But they are the exception. And IT is the one subject that you can't just get your degree 20 years ago and then hope to keep current with even the basics for the rest of your life ahead of a bunch of teenagers.

Currently, out of those two people, one has left teaching again and gone back to office work to retire, sick of being used as a babysitter. The other is considering moving on because they were pseudo-IT-Manager too for many years and tired of being treated like a second-class teacher, so they are dropping all their non-job-description tasks (they've already apologised to me, who will inherit them all).

We don't have IT teachers in schools in the UK. We have people who are "good at computers". We have people who can teach office skills and computing and play with bits of Lego. We have people that Google iPad apps and then make themselves look cool by forcing everyone to use the latest buzzword app. That think that presentations, video, "blogging", etc. are the ultimate things you can ever do on a computer.

We certainly do not have coders in schools. I have written more lines of code in an average year, just for hobby projects, than all of the other teachers (apart from those two above) that I have ever met put together throughout their entire careers.

I'm sure there are rare exceptions. But that's because they are ALREADY coders and then become teachers. Training existing teachers to be able to code? Good luck! Maybe if you hired on the basis of the skills they possess rather than the endless paperwork they can file, and "lesson plans" they can submit a year in advance, maybe we'd get some kids out that can code past turning a couple of blinking lights on.

Seriously, most impressive coding I've seen from a kid ever was last year - and that's because he was so off-the-scale he was literally just sent to the IT department (not even teacher!) for stuff to do because he did all his work, all his extension work, and then sat bored for the rest of the lesson because the teachers didn't know what to do with him. We took him under our wing and he learned C and Linux in a few weeks, and was writing his own games before we even started doing that. Back in my day, that was me - I'm nothing special but it appears that kids like I was just don't exist nowadays except at the extreme upper boundary in the top private schools. Someone's seriously fucking up IT teaching somewhere. And you only need to look at the curriculum to find out where. Even the new curricula pushed to private schools are pretty worthless and one of those teachers above just threw it out when approached with it.

My brother was a FORTRAN programmer at university, straight-A, first-class student, etc. He went into teaching. He will not touch IT and the IT he sees makes him cringe, and even the technical side he has so many problems getting people to understand (no, not being able to save ANY settings whatsoever is not a good - or even secure - IT system) that he is constantly frustrated by it. He chooses to teach Maths instead, and I can't blame him. You can either teach Maths or not teach Maths. You can't teach Maths by rote and you can't fake your way in Maths for very long.

Unfortunately, IT is the EXACT opposite in the eyes of the average UK school. I've seen people with zero qualifications, industry experience or the first idea about how to use a computer being in charge of directing entire schools about how they should be teaching IT.

Until you fix that, the kids are fucked unless they pay for a private education or take it up themselves.

Comment Programmed behaviour is programmed behaviour. (Score 5, Interesting) 437

If the programming makes it jerk the steering away from a stationary hazard rather than, say, detect it earlier and slow down as it approaches, then it's not suitably programmed for coexistence with unexpected stationary hazards (Not even anything to do with human presence! What if that was a cardboard box and it swerved heavily in case that box "pulled out"?).

If it can't make it's way through a junction where the drivers are following the rules, that's bad programming. If it can't make it's way through a junction where other drivers don't come to a complete halt for it, it's not fit to be on the road with other drivers.

If you want a car to co-exist on the road, it has to be treated as a learner driver. If a learner driver swerved at a non-hazard, they would fail. If a learner driver refused to make progress at a junction because the masses didn't open up before it, they would fail. So should an automated car.

Unless - and this is important - you are saying that automated cars should only operate on automated roads where such hazards should never be possible and they are deliberately NOT programmed to take account of such things. Which, in itself, is expensive (separate roads with separate rules with no human drivers), stupid (that's otherwise known as a "train line", and because they can't do anything about it it will hurt more when it does happen), and dangerous (because what happens if a cardboard box blows over the automated road? etc.).

Program to take account of these things, or don't plan on driving on the road. The safety record is exemplary but equally there are only a handful of them and the eyes of the world are on them, and there are still humans behind the wheel, and even by miles travelled each one is probably dwarved by a single long-distance driver over the course of a year - and it's not hard to find a long-distance driver who's not had an accident for years.

If you're going to be on the roads, then you need to be able to take account of all these things, the same as any learner driver. Sure, you didn't hurt anyone by swerving or not pulling out, but equally - in the wording of my first driving test failure - you have "failed to make adequate progress" while driving.

A car sitting on a driveway would have an even better safety record but, in real life, it's still bog-useless compared to a human. Similarly for any automated vehicle that just stops at a junction because it can't pull out, or swerves out of the way of a non-hazard (and potentially weighs up collision with non-hazard vs collision with small child and gets it wrong).

Comment Re:Older browsers (Score 1) 40

In the same way nobody really writes web browsers for DOS anymore - yes.

You might find a niche project that lets you bring those heap-of-old-junk browsers onto the net via some proxy or setting change or patch or similar, but it'll be unofficial and unsupported.

And nobody with a website will care, they'll just tell you to upgrade. Like nobody will sell you new versions of Microsoft Office for DOS - stick with it on what you have and watch as you can't view other's content in newer formats, or upgrade.

Nobody's saying leap to Windows 10 here. We're saying stop using a browser that's over THREE TIMES AS OLD as an obsolete computer (e.g. 2001 for IE6) to secure your banking transactions when it has known security flaws that CANNOT be fixed.

Comment Re:What I read: (Score 1) 244

Have deployed Windows 8. Twice, actually, at two different workplaces. The "sign in with a Microsoft account"? Not a big deal. Ordinary imaging and group-policy processes block that before you even see an option for it. Really not anything to care about in the grand scheme of a rollout of hundreds of desktops. Additionally - if you want your people to use Office 365, etc. then you already have that to deal with anyway, so you just use Federated AD and it's - again - not an issue.

8 is perfectly business-ready. 10 isn't far behind. But, as you hint at, neither is significantly better or more worthwhile that 7 with the same stuff. 10 is boring. It's not advanced enough. It does nothing new, just hides shit that you still need. And does so in nasty ways, in some cases. But 7 and 8 had those problems to some extent, we just know how to deal with them already.

The best of 10 and 8 taken together just isn't enough to warrant a 7.1, let alone an 8.0, 8.1 or 10.0.

Comment What I read: (Score 5, Insightful) 244

"Windows 2015 Grabs 5.21% Market Share, Passing Windows 2006 and Windows 2012 - majority of people still on Windows 2009 or maybe even Windows 2001".

Er... that's just NOT GOOD. I understand it's early days but for a FREE (in fact, in-your-fucking-face-you-will-have-this-whether-you-like-it-or-not) upgrade, that's just worrying. And nowadays volume licensing offer software assurance, and all kinds of things that make it as cheap to upgrade as to stay where you were.

And, still, it only just beats a 9 and 3 year old operating system and is DWARVED by a 6 year old operating system? It really suggests - as most of us know - that this isn't a forward step at all.

Yeah, early days, but testing etc. versions have been available for over a year. So far, our finance, banking, database and even interactive whiteboard software suppliers have notified us that we're just not supported on the new OS. We haven't even TRIED it properly, and people are already telling us we can't upgrade anyway (why they left it this late to announce that, that's another question entirely).

I work for schools and we're on SA, so we can get Windows 10 for the same price no matter what. I can't find a convincing reason to test it, going purely on what's in our email inbox, when developers have been able to test for a year now. I booted it up in a VM and tested Classic Shell still worked, that was about it.

I've had three members of staff ask me about Windows 10. The first, it broke their software. The second it was a new machine but our software wouldn't install because of the above incompatibilities (I chanced it to shut them up, but it just wouldn't go anyway). The third, it lost all their data (possible user-error but we'll never know now).

The only thing I've done about Windows 10 is block all the updates via WSUS that try to get our users to install it by popups and notifications masquerading as security updates.

Comment Re:The frog is boiling (Score 5, Insightful) 198

Hate to break it to you, but things are cheaper nowadays. I can't even begin to think what my 1000-game Steam library would cost, or the size it would take up in real disks / packaging. Probably several SHELVES judging by the DVD's I have in front of me.

And, to be honest, my girlfriend bought a tablet Windows PC - the cheapest available - and it came with a year of Office 365 for up to five machines. We've since installed all five copies of the latest office. Back in the day, to do that legitimately, would have cost a lot more - hell, it could easily have cost upwards of $500-1000. Sure, next year we have to pay a pittance to keep it up, but we also get all the new versions too, and the option to use what we want.

That would have been unthinkable before online downloads. And, even now, if you buy volume editions on a proper licence of Windows, Office, Server, Exchange, etc. they are ALL downloads. You can pay extra for a DVD, but who the hell is going to do that?

To be honest, factored over the life of software, downloads are not a huge deal. And Steam is as "permanent" a licence as you can get nowadays. Why that stops replayability, I don't know. And the used game market is dead because I can get my own copy in a year's time for less than a used copy would ever be able to go for. We actually cut out a middle-man there.

To be honest, when done properly, it's hard to argue against it. Certainly my Google Play and Amazon Instant Video libraries are more useful, convenient and cheaper than anything on DVD too. And when it comes to DRM done properly, it's hard to pick fault with Steam, to be honest. There's a reason I have 1000 games on it. I'd be shocked if they cost anywhere near the cost of 1000 DVD-ROM's, even blank ones, plus the cost of storing those online for 24/7 download for 10 years, let alone the licence to the software in the first place.

Comment Re:Not all that uncommon in reality (Score 1) 198

Half Life 2 - wasn't that the first proper use of the Steam platform, and basically the same as this?

I think it had some cached gcf's but the fact was by release day, you had to download the whole thing anyway because it had all changed.

Quite what's different between then and now? Now, I can't even REMEMBER the last time I bought a physical copy of a game. Honestly. I have a shelf of old-favourites and I have them all either on Steam, or similar services or - at least - an ISO of their disk.

Who the hell puts a physical disk into their computer nowadays? When Half-Life 2 shipped like that, people moaned because a lot of them were still on dial-up. Nowadays? Fuck, you can't even log into the authentication server over dial-up in any sensible time, I shouldn't think.

This isn't new, and certainly not "news", except maybe that some people are still dumb enough to buy a pretty box for vanity reasons. Hell, even back-in-the-day most of my games were budget titles in plain CD/DVD cases by the time I bought them. But, like I say, my last PHYSICAL game? Maybe CS:CZ. What's that 2004? 11 years ago? And even that was because I bought it as a present for someone, so a physical box was slightly nicer. Nowadays I just email Steam gifts to people if I want to do that.

Comment Re:Alternate headline. (Score 1) 269

Honestly, do not give a shit about Sweden's charges. They can charge or not, it makes NO difference to his situation at the moment. Potential charges were just dropped in fact, and nothing has changed.

However, he is prima facie guilty of skipping UK bail on a UK arrest warrant validated by the EU. The UK police sent the forms back MULTIPLE times for Sweden to dot the i's and cross the t's. Nothing happened until that was done, and done by the book. He then exhausted every possible point of appeal with ZERO success.

The "UK bail" bit is all I give a shit about. He doesn't need a trial for that - by not turning up, he's automatically guilty before a UK court. The rest was about an extradition which isn't the same as an arrest which isn't the same as a charge which isn't the same as a crime which isn't the same as guilt of that crime.

But until the fucker actually comes out and receives the punishment for the UK crime, and serves it, and then gets handed over anyway (it's not like we can ignore the requests we STILL have before us), it's all moot. Literally, the Swedes can say "Oh, all the limitations have expired, there's nothing we can do", or "Oh, we don't want to talk to him now". Literally. It makes NO difference. He's not even arrested for that - and you arrest BEFORE THE GUILT IS PROVEN in order to prove the guilt. You charge when you have good cause to believe you can prove the guilt. But this is still "wanted for questioning", with all the paperwork to back that up.

Except in the UK. Where he's a criminal proven by his very existence outside of the court he took bail from.

You can push or ignore all the trumped-up charges all you like. He played by the book in the UK, lost, fled and now continuing to play by the book he's not only a criminal already, but will have to still be handed over if the Swedes want anyway. What the fuck has anyone, even himself, gained out of that?

Comment Re:Bail jumper? (Score 1) 269

Why? How much did we spend to pick up the teacher who run off with his over-the-age-of-consent and consenting student throughout Europe? How much have we spent chasing beds-in-sheds or anything else? How much on securing the UK border at Calais?

It's not a matter of cost. It's a matter of principle. If all you have to do to avoid the law when you skip bail is find a friendly embassy and camp there until the government decides it's costing too much to watch you, then that's what EVERY criminal (and Assange is a criminal in the UK at the very least, no matter what Sweden want to do or what silly "statute of limitation" laws they have) will do to escape justice.

Given that it's a high-profile case, that's amplified.
Given that they are handing over to an allied nation, that's amplified again.
Given that all the appeals and paperwork have gone through EVERY possible avenue to "save" him, and he still needed to appear but instead ran, that's amplified again.
Given that it's an obstruction of justice charge, effectively, that's amplified again.
Given that he is clearly baiting the law system, playing up to the media and doing it deliberately, that's amplified again.

All he's managed to show is that skipping bail means that the police will happily camp outside for years and not leave you alone, and that you'll STILL face court at the end of the day, and all it does for you to run is make the problem worse, that's doing exactly what it should.

The alternative is that he'd be in South America crowing about the crap UK justice system that didn't care about criminals skipping bail, while every person seeking asylum, or escaping the law, or anything would use every embassy in London as a bolt-hole until the law was changed so that they couldn't but - in the meantime - showing the law system to be toothless.

He needs to be caught, and face justice, and we know where he is but international diplomacy (note... not diplomatic law) prevents us from arresting him. But like a kid in trouble, the longer he hides there, the worse the problem will get for him, and he's not going to be allowed to escape without facing some justice.

Sweden doesn't even figure. We honestly don't give a shit, that's someone else's problem. But you made a vow to a UK court and broke it. That means we'll screw you to the wall so you know you can't do that to the UK. If, after we've dealt with you, the Swedes can't charge him after all - not our problem, and not our embarassment to deal with. But, fuck, you aren't going to try to skip UK bail after that.

In effect, Assange has put himself in prison voluntarily and - when he comes out - is going to spend some real time in a much more real prison. That's hardly attractive to people who want to follow suit, and that's how it SHOULD be.

Comment Alternate headline. (Score 1) 269

"Major retailer offers surveillance location and co-operates with law-enforcement to help bring known fugitive to justice."

Fuck off trying to discredit everyone, Assange, and come out of your hole and stop costing me money (or, at least, cost me money by being in jail until the UK has finished all ITS business with you).

Comment Re:"never to have worked a day in his life," ... (Score 1) 55

Trust me, your employer will be hurt more for not complying - especially if YOU can prove they're not complying, or you were sacked because you tried to make them comply. This is what employment law is for. To protect both the employer and the employee.

My boss has been on at me since June - I have two week's paid leave to take before September. I took one week, and an extra day. They aren't happy. But because of the timing, there was nothing they could do about it. They aren't CLOSE to the legal minimum, so it's not a matter for law, but they cannot be seen to be mistreating an employee.

In countries with employment law, the law comes and sits on you hard if you don't do the basics. As such "forced leave" is a real thing, a very real thing. But if you're being asked to take it, something's already going wrong anyway.

As the other poster says - people get ejected from the building and their access rescinded to MAKE them take a holiday. Because, for sure, if they don't do that and you later leave or have a heart attack or get pissed off and make a complaint, they have evidential and witnessed proof that they fulfilled their statutory "duty of care" to their employees and so can't end up the wrong side of a tribunal.

Welcome to civilisation.

(P.S. Overworking your staff deliberately makes you a fucking idiot as you either experience high-churn or stressed-out employees. Neither contribute to productivity. It doesn't matter how much you pay if no fucker will work for you).

Comment Re:Cable networks are shared bandwidth (Score 1) 253

Er... I don't think 300 dwellings is anywhere near real capacity.

In the UK, cable is delivered with DOCSIS (Actually EuroDOCSIS, same thing, slightly different frequencies), and it's by street, and our streets are much smaller than the typical US "block".

It might be 10Gb over, say, 30 dwellings, or one apartment block. But the bottleneck will ALWAYS be the uplink anyway. What would you need to put 10Gb from multiple clients back to the net? Are you honestly expecting some 1Pb connection at Comcast somewhere? Highly doubtful. Caching, proxying, and the fact that people consume in small bursts or little dribbles whatever they are doing (gaming, web browsing, emailing, downloading, etc.). That's why P2P is such a pain - nothing to do with the legality, entirely to do with the fact that you can max out the uplink connections with just a handful of users.

But that's the same wherever you are. Even on, say, a workplace or school network, your uplink probably isn't on a pair with your between-server connections, and certainly only an order of magnitude better than your client connections at best (e.g. 100Mbps to hundreds of clients, 1Gb actual upstream, or 1Gb/10Gb, etc.).

But, still, a 10Gbit connection will download files, reduce latency, browse the web 10 times faster than a 1Gbit. You won't be able to max it out 24/7, that's all. Nothing's changed in that respect in decades.

Hint: When you upgrade your home network from Gigabit to 10Gb, you will need to multiply everything above it by 10 too or you'll get worse performance than before. Please tell me where you're going to buy 1Tbps kit from (even as an ISP) that isn't so prohibitively expensive that you can only afford to do it on major links and not every 100 clients.

We've just about got 1Gbps as "mainstream". 10Gbps is still expensive but is commercially available to all. 100Gbps is a pipe-dream unless you're a datacentre or ISP or huge enterprise.

Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.