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Comment: Understand and accept your son's abilities (Score 1) 315

by mykepredko (#49442419) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Introduce a 7-Year-Old To Programming?


Personally, I would say seven is a bit young to start introducing him to programming. I don't know what your background is and what you expect from him but my biggest piece of advice is tread carefully. He has quite a few years to become interested/fascinated in programming as well as mature the thinking and analytic skills needed to be a successful programmer. Pushing too hard or introducing it before he's ready could result in him getting a negative attitude about programming. My recommendation would be to hold off and wait until he's around 12 to actively introduce him to programming as a career/interest option if he isn't doing it already.

For full disclosure and as a point of reference; this is my business right now. I cofounded Mimetics Inc. ( to introduce and engage children in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics). We've done over 16,000 students, from ages 6 and up with quite a bit of success in introducing kids to technology and getting them excited about it as a career.

I find that the best approach for introducing young children to program is having something concrete that they can program on with statements directly causing physical actions. This does not mean an Arduino or Raspberry Pi; I know there will be disagreements to this statement, but younger children do not have the manually dexterity to handle wiring or work with complex mechanical structures.

For a parent of a child younger than eight, I would recommend the Wonder Workshop Dot and Dash: The robots are quite a lot of fun for children and are provided with an iPad app that allows control and introductory (Scratch) programming.

As a father myself, I didn't actively introduce programming to my kids at all; they could see me do it and I was available for explanations of what I was doing and demonstrations as how things were done. Maybe a bit incongruous considering my current career arc, but the result has been my older daughter who's now taking Game Programming at college and a 12-year old that is having programming parties at our house with her friends.

Good luck,


Comment: As somebody who saw her in action (Score 4, Insightful) 353

by mykepredko (#49365941) Attached to: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Near Launching Presidential Bid

during her tree felling heydays at HP, I'm not surprised at the chutzpah that would be required for her to think that she could be president.

And her total lack of self-awareness to understand that she doesn't have a snow-ball's chance in hell.

I don't see her being anything approaching a serious candidate.


Comment: The value of technology investment (Score 4, Interesting) 132

by mykepredko (#49364727) Attached to: SpaceX's New Combustion Technologies

This is the first article I've seen that explains well how GPUs can/are being used for practical applications along with what can be achieved and some of the issues. Well worth the read even if you're not into this stuff.

I'm sure that there is a significant cost in developing this new approach to CFD (as well as pushing the envelope on GPU operation) but the result is going to be usable for different applications. TFA says there's irony in what SpaceX is doing here as it has applications with automotive Internal combustion engines but I see that as SpaceX/Musk having a secondary revenue stream for this work that doesn't mean he's helping out his direct competitors.

Along with that, they are driving the development of high speed inter GPU communications which I'm sure has value as well.

All this means is that Musk returns to his home planet, not only is the trip going to be fully funded, but he's going to have some money to throw around when he gets there.


Comment: Define "Good" (Score 1, Informative) 298

by mykepredko (#49356421) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes Some Code Particularly Good?

This type of article comes up continuously on /. and without some concrete defining attribute asking what model/version/etc. of "X" is "Good" is going to turn into a poll.

I would consider "Good" code to have the following attributes:
1. Runs under all operating systems and platforms
2. Source code is readable (note, this does not mean "Well Commented")
3. Takes up the minimum amount of space
4. Operations execute either apparently instantaneously or provides a progress bar for the user
5. Installs quickly
6. It's operation is intuitive
7. Does not share user information
8. Supports many/all user languages
9. Does not have extreme licensing conditions
10. Is free
11. Source code available

If I thought about it for another five minutes, I could probably double this list.

And, it's *my* list of what I would look for in "Good" software, I suspect for anybody else here, YMMV.


Comment: Panda, taking the "anti-" out of "anti-malware" (Score 5, Insightful) 99

by mykepredko (#49250269) Attached to: Panda Antivirus Flags Itself As Malware

Pretty ironic and makes for great headlines, but this *has* to be a major embarrassment.

Shouldn't Panda's product test organization be fired as a matter of course?

I can't see how this kind of bug got through release testing - shouldn't release testing ensure that the product runs after update?


Comment: This would be a great Slashdot poll (Score 2) 286

by mykepredko (#49075721) Attached to: 1950s Toy That Included Actual Uranium Ore Goes On Display At Museum

Reading all the replies so far, maybe we can have a vote on what's most dangerous:
- Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab.
- Anything by Mainway Toys (SNL)
- Lawn Darts
- Chemistry sets
- Electrical kits
- Bicycles (and motorbikes)
- Scooters
- Archery kits
- etc.

Danger is/should be part of growing up.


Comment: Most dangerous toy, my ass (Score 1) 286

by mykepredko (#49075671) Attached to: 1950s Toy That Included Actual Uranium Ore Goes On Display At Museum

More seriously, I had a friend who had a chemistry set with a few CCs of nitric acid as part of the experiments. I remember my dad first being appalled and then showed us nitrocellulose (Kleenex and nitric acid) and how it was great for magic shows.

It's only fun if you can lose an eye.


Comment: Yes we should but... (Score 5, Interesting) 291

by mykepredko (#49056261) Attached to: Should We Really Try To Teach Everyone To Code?

It needs not to be with the expectation that everybody will become an app developer.

Learning to code provides a person with an opportunity to develop a better understanding of
1. How a sequence of operations is constructed
2. How logic is part of the decision making process
3. How to approach problems in an organized fashion
4. How to communicate, describe and document ideas
5. How to work with others in a collaborative environment

My business (https://www/ uses robots to teach programming, but it's important to note that not everyone will become a programmer (or develop applications for robots) but the skills learned by creating simple applications are applicable in life and will help then in a multitude of other pursuits.

Saying that people should learn to code because at some point they will probably will have to program an app is counter-productive and will probably create some very negative perceptions about it. Teaching people (kids) programming as a way to develop the soft skills above and give them a taste of it so they can decide whether or not to pursue it as a career is much more effective and positive.


Comment: So how many Sparc Systems does Oracle Run? (Score 4, Interesting) 190

While reading TFA, my big question was if the Sparc has been improved so much, is Oracle using it in their systems?

According to Wikipedia, Oracle has 122k employees; how many of them are running Sparc systems, how many of their internal servers are Sparcs? For a corporation of this size, I would expect, in three months, for them to consume a lot more than the 7k systems that were shipped in the latest quarter.

When I was at IBM, the company was very proud to be its own best customer; is that true for Oracle?


Comment: I wondered about this (Score 2) 23

by mykepredko (#49025845) Attached to: West To East Coast: SpaceX Ready For Extreme Multitasking

I *think* this is the first time ever any space organization has launched and recovered a spacecraft in the same day. Coupled with the operations going on at two different coasts, it's a pretty impressive performance when you think about it.

It certainly demonstrates a lot of depth to the SpaceX organization.

Kudos to Elon Musk, who, as many people have wondered, must either be an alien or a time traveler tasked with putting humanity on the right path for the future.


Comment: Re:How does Microsoft test with USERS? (Score 1) 378

by mykepredko (#48911543) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

Thanx for the reply. I guess my experience is coloured by my working with the Win8.1 BT UIs and having to pair devices through the multiple methods which require multiple screens to reach the pairing UIs as well as how the BT APIs change the state of the desktop for the user (I'm still looking for an API that will allow me to do the discovery, pairing and connection without causing the current application to be lost).

If you have some suggestions on where to look for APIs that allow these operations (as well as I suspect other enumeration tasks) from an application without the user having to reset the application and desktop to where it was - I would be eternally grateful.


He who has but four and spends five has no need for a wallet.