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Comment: One step at a time (Score 5, Insightful) 173

by skander (#30223328) Attached to: Computer Games and Traditional CS Courses

While games are obviously the result of lots of code, there is very little that a 1st year college student could learn about how to program Grand Theft Auto in 2 or 3 courses... Pong might be a good start...

Modern day games use loads of very high end CS concepts, that are simply out of reach for novices. While getting people motivated for a discipline is the first step to teaching them, this tactic sounds more like advertising than actual teaching.

Growing a problem solving mind by the use of strict logic, and taking things one step at a time is the way to become a great programmer. Setting out to recreate the Crytek engine on your first day is bound to end in failure, and more important, disappointement.

Comment: Take a holiday -- and disconnect! (Score 1) 1095

by skander (#30223132) Attached to: Geek Travel To London From the US — Tips?

For a geek, there's probably little you can find around London with your laptop that you can't find in Washington.

However, if you leave everything behind, and try to find some country side, there's much more to learn and experience than you ever would in a museum.

There's some sailing clubs in Brighton that would love to take you out of a spin: The decemember North Sea is vicious, but with the right crew you'll have a great adventure. Or take a ferry to some islands, Jersey maybe...

If you wanna stay on land, check out if there are any farms in Wales or Nothern England that need a helping hand. There's hundreds of "green" projects around the UK that would love to receive visitors.

Scottland really isn't that far away, and really is a different people and countryside. Again, try to stay out of the city, and just try to find an alternate lifestyle.

A holiday, especially when on your own, should be something totally different. Forget your fears, put an away message on you email box, pack some work boots and just see where your plane ticket takes you.

I've traveled to 6 continents and 27 countries in that way, and always found a way home... happier :)

Comment: easy to say 32 years later... (Score 1) 832

by skander (#29153235) Attached to: Poor Design Choices In the Star Wars Universe

While admittably, the technology of Star Wars wasn't terribly well conceived, this whole thing must be looked at retroactively.

When Jules Verne first wrote of a trip to the moon around 1880, he wrote of a large cannon, shooting a cannonball that would contain a passenger. Rockets hadn't been invented yet. Doesn't mean that Jules Verne was an idiot. One way or the other, we did land a man on the moon, and to be fair, it did take a whole lot of firepower.

It's laughable to consider Sci-Fi "wrong!". It's FICTION! Of course it's wrong...The fact is that a long of sci-fi writers imagine things long into the future, and come up with impossible ideas. Sometimes, those ideas become possible by research, and that's a great achievement, both for the author and the scientist.

Don't look for anything more... Unless you're reading Nostradamus, of course...

Comment: Re:This is really freakin' cool (Score 1) 646

by skander (#28911907) Attached to: Student Suing Amazon For Book Deletions

Lawsuits (or laws in general) perhaps really are built around a twisted, shortsighted version of sympathy: almost all of them are built around whether something someone does hurts someone else.

Since Amazon has refunded anyone who had bought the book on his Kindle, it all seems fair.

It is up to a customer to prove that this 'event' has hurt him in a specific way.

When we first of this on /. we all realized how silly Amazon's decision was. But this sort of legal bullsh*t is what it takes to rectify such a wrong... hopefully.

Real Programmers don't write in FORTRAN. FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and crystallography weenies. FORTRAN is for wimp engineers who wear white socks.

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