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Comment: Re:English belongs to the world (Score 1) 667

by rolandw (#49279411) Attached to: Why There Is No Such Thing as 'Proper English'

Rubbish. The English language belongs to the people of England. There is proper English and that is the English that is spoken by the English. Not all British people speak English. Not all English people speak English (listen to the Cornish or a passing Geordie). Americans certainly don't speak English. Neither do Australians. But the difference between English and French is that we English aren't so possessive and uppity about about our language. Besides, we defeated them in 1815 just like we put the Spaniards in their place in 1588. English is continually developing because we've been accepting good, hard working and ambitious people from all over Europe for millennia and people from our former colonies for a hundred years or so and they all bring interesting variations. We made room for them by shipping all the misfits to other places thereby spreading the beauty of our ways. We don't mind you (and everyone else) messing with our language and not being able to spell "programme", "catalogue" or even "colour" because at least you're nearly speaking the same language as us and so we don't have to bother learning another. Instead we can spend our time being the best country in the world by teaching our children to measure in metres (SI) whilst having yards (BS) on our road signs!

+ - Ask Slashdot: Best Strategies For Teaching Kids CS Skills?->

Submitted by beaverdownunder
beaverdownunder (1822050) writes "We're currently working on developing a teaching platform based around our BASIC interpreter DiscoRunner, and we would love to hear from Slashdot readers as to what methods they've used in the past to teach kids computer science concepts — which worked, what didn't, and why.

This will obviously be invaluable to us when it comes to working out the lessons that will be taught in our fight-to-save-the-world-from-evil learning environment, and we would be eternally grateful for any scraps of wisdom you could toss our way. =)

Thank you!"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Jabra Speak USB and Bluetooth (Score 1) 95

by rolandw (#49178989) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Wireless Microphone For Stand-up Meetings?

Works like a charm in somewhat noisy environments too.

We already have one of these. The speaker is good. It's the mic that's rubbish. If you hold it too close the sound is mashed. If you don't then no-one can hear you because of the room...

Thanks for the suggestion anyway.

Comment: Re:Pass around a real mic. (Score 2) 95

by rolandw (#49178977) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Wireless Microphone For Stand-up Meetings?

Get one, mmaybe two real wireless microphones from Shure or someone like that -- think "audio equipment catalog", not "computer equipment catalog". Get the cables to hook the base station up to standard microphone input. Pass the mic around to whoever is talking; it doubles as the "currently speaking" token (and you only have one person at a time talking at standup, right?). Make sure you have lots of spare batteries (presumably rechargeable) in a convenient location.

Passing around a real mic is exactly what I am hoping to do. I was asking /. for recommendations for such a mic! Looks like I've got to check out Shure and Blue Microphone's offerings. Many thanks for your comments!

Comment: Re:Not enough information. (Score 1) 95

by rolandw (#49178649) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Wireless Microphone For Stand-up Meetings?

It is neither a swimming pool (yup, I had to look up "natatorium" and it's an indoor swimming pool) nor is it a closet. It's a room 8m by 4m with 4m ceiling in the middle of a grade 1 listed former royal palace in the middle of London. The people - 6 to 10 - are standing around the end of the table. We have tried a polycom phone through our Asterisk based VOIP phone system but that requires people to sit down and it has even worse echo. I can't fix the room because I need special permission to even drill a hole in the wall (that's what being listed does for you). I can either move out to a new location (seems drastic) or find a solution. There have been some good recommendations for mics to look at (Shure and Blue Microphones) and I've already found one dealer who is a stockist for both so I'll go and take a look and will report back.

+ - Ask Slashdot if it can recommend a wireless microphone for stand-up meetings

Submitted by rolandw
rolandw (1105017) writes "We have daily stand-ups and normally there is at least one person missing from the room. We relay via on-line chat but the sound quality is rubbish. The remote person sounds great via our speaker when they use a headset but they can't hear what is happening in the room. We need a wireless mic that copes with a large echoing room and will stop feedback. Can you recommend one? We're not an over-funded start-up so don't have an unlimited budget..."

+ - Spacewalking astronauts finish extensive, trick cable job

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Spacewalking astronauts successfully completed a three-day cable job outside the International Space Station on Sunday, routing several-hundred feet of power and data lines for new crew capsules commissioned by NASA. It was the third spacewalk in just over a week for Americans Terry Virts and Butch Wilmore, and the quickest succession of spacewalks since NASA’s former shuttle days. The advance work was needed for the manned spacecraft under development by Boeing and SpaceX. A pair of docking ports will fly up later this year, followed by the capsules themselves, with astronauts aboard, in 2017."

Comment: Fat app or web app? (Score 1) 2

by rolandw (#48797971) Attached to: Linux database GUI application develpment question

I think that you need to look at how many people will be using this database app and how strong the demand is for a fat app. Most of my development as been to a web interface for which, in general, I use Python with Flask and as few Javascript frameworks as possible. By sticking to responsive HTML5 you can ensure that as many people as possible can access your data regardless of what OS they are needing and it really shows up Linux's very best (headless) ability. However if you insist on a GUI then my only positive experience has been via a Qt/QML interface. You have a small choice of languages to use but perhaps the least dependency issues if you stick to C. Everything just caused me frustrations (but that might be more to do with my skills than anything else...).

PS. At a risk of starting a flame-war - head for PostgreSQL...

PPS. and write it with Emacs...

PPPS. with Git for version control. You see, there's just so much choice and everyone has their own (probably incorrect) view.

+ - Linux database GUI application develpment question 2

Submitted by msubieta
msubieta (1539615) writes "I have been developing some applications to use in small businesses using Windows and SQL Server. I would like to move on and start doing the same thing in Linux. I have looked at several Frameworks/Databases/Development environments and I really don't know what is the best/simplest/fastest to learn approach. I use VS and C# mostly, although I could easily go back to C++. I found Qt and GTK+ are the most common frameworks, but they seem to lack controls that deal with datasets and stuff (sorry, spoiled by the .net form controls), but I also know that I could use Mono in order to make the jump. I would have no problem on moving to MySQL, as I have done quite a lot of work on that side, and I would like to stick with the traditional client server application, as I find it easier to maintain, and a whole lot more robust when it comes to user interaction (web apps for POS applications don't seem to be the right way to go in my view).

Any suggestions/comments/recommendations?"

Comment: Re:draws a lot of comparisons to Mac OS X (Score 1) 209

by rolandw (#47664327) Attached to: Elementary OS "Freya" Beta Released

As the boss of a company playing in the UK enterprise Linux space I have two machines on my desk. One a MacBookPro and the other a Lenovo running Elementary Luna. I try to run open source software in both - Firefox, Thunderbird, Terminal, Emacs, Gimp, Inkscape and Scribus are my regular tools (did I mention Terminal - that's about 50% of my day?). As OS X develops I reject more and more of what it stands for. I can't stand the App Store and I refuse to install App Store only products. I hate being pandered and molly-coddled. If I want to do something then I want to be able to do it. The only reason I'm writing this on OS X is that the hardware is just better (come on, how hard is it to make a decent keyboard, trackpad and display?). Match Elementary with decent hardware and I'd relegate the Mac (after 30 years...) to legacy only use. Both OSes are equally good at managing a business, managing a stack of Linux servers and writing software.

Comment: Re:Prince XML (Score 1) 132

by rolandw (#47640825) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best PDF Handling Library?

PrinceXML is reliable, simple and produces the most beautiful PDFs ever. We've used it to replace InDesign as a tool for high end magazine page generation and have analysed the output of both - PrinceXML is significantly cleaner. However, it does help if you combine it with an image (re)sizing tool otherwise you end up with huge bloat with oversized images embedded in your PDF.

Comment: Visual programming - look at Prograph (Score 1) 876

by rolandw (#46208227) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

Visual representation of source code does not and will not work effectively. Equally, visual representation of the written word will not work effectively. Where images and text go together, either the text is used to explain the image or the image is just an illustration to go with the text, not a real representation.

This all changes when the code is visual, when the programmer programmes visually and there is no text involved other than for labels, names and attributes. This was what Phil Cox and colleagues realised when they produced Prograph, a visual, object orientated data flow language. Prograph was directly compiled into an executable - it was no pseudo coding system that merely generated C or Java, yet it could run interpreted (making it a dream to debug). In comparisons, clean Prograph code could be produced in about 20% of the time taken to produce the equivalent in C++ but ran only 5% slower. Isn't that what we are always looking for?

Sadly, the commercial exploitation of Prograph was not as successful (isn't it ever thus?) but the concept still lives on as Marten.

Thank you Jack.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990