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+ - Dr.Who to teach kids to code ->

Submitted by DCFC
DCFC (933633) writes "The BBC is releasing a game to help ten 8-11 year olds get into coding. Based on Dr.Who, it alternates between standard platform game and programming puzzles that introduce the ideas of sequence, loops, if..then, variables and a touch of event driven programming...and you get to program a Dalek to make him more powerful, apparently the BBC thinks upgrading psychopathic racist death machines is a good idea."
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Comment: Re:Lenovo phones (Score 1) 41

by ShieldW0lf (#48192023) Attached to: Rumor: Lenovo In Talks To Buy BlackBerry

People do get that the only thing that knocked RIM from the top of the heap was the lawsuit filed by patent troll NTP, right?

They weren't beaten on technical merits. They weren't beaten because they "don't understand consumers". They weren't beaten on style, or execution, or anything else.

They were beaten by a corrupt US legal system that forced the guys running the company to stop running the company, hang around in a court room for years and in the end pay over half a trillion dollars to patent trolls.

Looking back, what they should have done was shut down US operations immediately, allowed the US government to implode and gone on to greener pastures.

Moral of the story, don't do business with Americans. One way or another, they'll fuck you over in the end. That's how they got where they are today.

Smart men just don't do business with the sharpest horse trader in town.

Comment: Re:Hold on a minute (Score 1) 170

by shaitand (#48189619) Attached to: Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries
"Pedagogy is not a simple subject, and just because you know the material does not, in any way, mean that you can be an effective teacher"

The vast majority of teachers do nothing more than follow along with a textbook. Some paraphrase the material, some simply assign it as reading. Then they'll assign the questions at the end of the chapter as homework. Perhaps they'll have some handout assignments from the teacher version of the text. ANYONE can do that provided they themselves understand the material.

"To be a really good teacher you need to have mastery of the entire discipline so that you understand where every class fits into the overall tableau."

Who said anything about good teachers? But understanding where each class fits in is simply a matter of having worked through the material a few times. Teach the same text book two or three times and you'll have it all memorized and know where every class fits in. You might change it up a bit, skip things, alter things. At that point you are an expert. None of that has anything to do with advanced degrees. The fact that you are "qualified" to teach literally any course with any masters degree regardless of the relevance of your major is proof of that.

"Also, if you think passing the course, or even excelling at the course, gives you the necessary content knowledge to effectively teach it, you are terribly mistaken."

Who said anything about teaching effectively? That has little to do with most of the schools in the US. It means you had the ability to read and comprehend the material. Which means you could do so again and regurgitate that material for students.

"Not to mention the simple case of a student asking you a question that's not in the textbook (which is most of them)."

Read above where I indicated understanding the material, which an A student has done.

Comment: Re:Hold on a minute (Score 1) 170

by shaitand (#48188895) Attached to: Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries
"If the highly paid programmers are skewed towards certain high cost of living markets, then it's fairer to compare salaries against other professions in those same markets, and not nationwide averages."

This is what everybody repeated when I lived in a more rural and lower paying market. It's not really as true as I was led to believe. It's even less true as time goes on. Things cost about the same in Home Depot, Walmart, and when buying from Amazon. Cars cost about the same, gas costs about the same, education costs the same, most everything costs about the same with the exception of housing and that isn't nearly so big a hit if you work in the city then live in suburbs like most people.

In rural Illinois you'd pay $500/month mortgage on a reasonable 3 bedroom home in a safe middle class neighborhood, in Dallas you'd pay maybe $700, in Albuquerque you'd pay $800, in Miami you'd pay $1200. So, the biggest gap there is $700/mo. That's $8,400 a year. You might pay up to $200/mo more on utilities (and that would be a massive and unlikely swing) so that is another $2400. $10,800 difference. If you are getting paid $50,000 a year in Omaha for a job I get $100,000 a year for in Dallas you most definitely are NOT making equivalent money after factoring cost of living. Not even close. You will have dramatically less disposable income.

On the flip side, you don't have to be nearly as good at what you do to stay employed in Omaha. There isn't nearly as much skilled competition.

Comment: Re:Hold on a minute (Score 1) 170

by shaitand (#48188713) Attached to: Developers, IT Still Racking Up (Mostly) High Salaries
"I didn't say that were that important, just that being a teacher requires an advanced degree and they are paid a lot less than programmers."

The type of degree required for the job really isn't relevant. It's true, IT generally doesn't actually require a degree. But there are plenty of people working in IT with degrees, bachelors and masters degrees abound. The people who have them aren't generally any better at the job. If anything they generally have however much time they wasted on slow university learning subtracted from their years of experience. Things that universities dedicate entire courses to are material IT professionals are expected to pick up during the process of using that material to single handedly deploy a project due in 4-6 weeks. Or even figure out on the fly to resolve a problem with a 30 minute SLA. Rinse, repeat, over and over again.

The amount of money you wasted to be taught largely irrelevant material really really slowly and usually in such a manner that you are unable to actually apply it in unique ways to solve real problems shouldn't be a factor in what you make. IT is the oil that keeps a profit making machine running, so they get a piece of the profit left after the leeches (aka sales, senior management, stockholders, etc) take off their chunk.

Teachers generate zero profits. Everything they make is a charitable donation except at for profit institutions. Below university level they serve two functions, one is to be a babysitter, the other is to teach more or less the exact same material from a textbook over and over again, year after year. In a grade school or high school those might be the same textbooks for 10 years. Yes what they do is important but to be a highschool teacher you need to be able to read and comprehend the material in one subject at the grade level of the class being taught. There is no reason they SHOULD need an advanced degree. Anyone who got an A in the course in question is qualified to teach it.

Even some university courses aren't much different. Learn the latest textbook, comprehend it, regurgitate. The books just tend to cycle out more often but they only have to learn the differences.

Comment: Re:Bigger fuckup than John Akers (Score 1) 75

by Kjella (#48187177) Attached to: IBM Pays GlobalFoundries $1.5 Billion To Shed Its Chip Division

3) Contractual obligations/customer relations, in the enterprise world people build systems they expect to last many, many years and not have the parts disappear on a whim. Which is is why Intel has launched Itaniums as late as 2012, whoever they suckered into buying it will get time to bail out. Don't underestimate the value of grudges in the enterprise, any executive who gets burned by IBM ditching it fast and dirty will be their enemy when the next big consulting/outsourcing contract rolls around.

Comment: Re:Unity is rubbish. Systemd is rubbish (Score 3, Interesting) 101

by Kjella (#48186319) Attached to: Ubuntu Turns 10

Except they're not chasing the mainstream, they're chasing the hype wave of Apple/Google/Microsoft trying to be the "big next thing" instead of what is actually mainstream today with Win7/OS X. Instead of picking a market and staying on target to finish the job they still haven't finished on the office desktop from 1999 or the laptop from 2004 or smartphone from 2009 or tablet from 2014. And at this rate I don't think Ubuntu will stay in one place long enough to be relevant to anyone outside the ~1% of the desktop market Linux owns today.

Comment: Most Macs don't have Retina displays (Score 1) 360

by lolocaust (#48180253) Attached to: Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday
When the Retina enhanced redesign of iOS was released (iOS 7), the majority of products being sold had Retina displays. Now, only two very high end models of their Macs have Retina displays. Really, they should have waited until they had "mainstream" Retina Macs before changing the fonts, like they did with the iPhone and iPads.

Comment: Re:Tax dollars at work. (Score 3, Funny) 97

by Yaztromo (#48179483) Attached to: Canada Will Ship 800 Doses of Experimental Ebola Drug to WHO

It's interesting that OP claims the government "owns" the "IP" related to the vaccine.

Something I left out of my previous post; generally, the Government of Canada doesn't own the patent; instead it's owned by Queen Elizabeth II, in Right of Canada, and represented by the minister of the relevant government agency.

Here's an example I picked purely because of it's humorous title, particular when you relate it to the Queen as owner: APPARATUS FOR PERFORMING SCROTAL CIRCUMFERENCE MEASUREMENT ON BULLS.


Comment: Re:Tax dollars at work. (Score 1) 97

by Yaztromo (#48179477) Attached to: Canada Will Ship 800 Doses of Experimental Ebola Drug to WHO

In Canada and most other democracies the gov't is the people, and the people are allowed to own stuff.

As a generalization you're correct, however, in the case of patents, they technically aren't held by the Government of Canada, but are instead held by the Queen. This is usually written as "HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN, IN RIGHT OF CANADA AS REPRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OF..." in Canadian patents.

Of course, in a practical sense, the Queen is going around acting as a patent troll. She may own the patents, but control tends to lie with the minister of the responsible government agency.


Your code should be more efficient!