Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Give me battery or give me death (Score 1) 134 134

Part of the problem with a light laptop is that if you've got it on your lap or some other soft or uneven surface, when you start typing, the laptop starts swaying. I don't know the exact weight where it gets to the point of being unusable, but even small fluctuations will subtly frustrate people.

There may be other problems, but until they can solve this via engineering or design (without increasing weight), there will continue to be such a thing as "too light."

Comment Re:The statement (Score 2, Insightful) 351 351

Which is all good and fine from a technical standpoint. But look at the status bar fiasco. What was their response to that again? Oh, right, it can be brought back via a plugin. So do they want to move features into plugins or integrate plugins into the core code? Which is it, guys?

It's either blatant hypocrisy or there's some serious cognative dissonance going on inside Mozilla. Yeah, they're probably doing this to make money, but this one move simply invalidates all of their prior excuses for removing features people like and use.

Comment Re:Easier to learn != easier to use (Score 1) 382 382

For the mass of getters and setters, it's a matter of having a good IDE that'll auto-generate those for you. Remember that discussion on IDE's? Good ones do more than autocomplete. They also generate boilerplate.

Now, it's certainly true that needing all this boilerplate completely suck, and a good IDE only makes it suck just a bit less.

Then again, you can just make everything public. And, you can even make everything static. It's not like you're forced into the OO paradigm.

I'll see your type erasure and raise you operator overloading. Operator overloading is bad. Really bad. Javascript bad. Java's one instance of an overloaded operator, the '+' operator, is the one instance of really bad language design. So are the arrays, which are a hybrid of primitive and object.

Comment Re:language is OK, programmers are terrible (Score 3, Insightful) 382 382

Any programming language could have stumbled into that phenomena. It just happened to be Java.

If you threw a bunch of shitty programmers at something simple but low-level like C or complicated but high level like Haskell, these same programmers would turn out software that would completely fail to work. Java, by protecting the programmer from the internals of a system (memory management, pointer vs. value etc.), yet still being simple to write in, lowered the bar significantly for entry into programming as a profession. Anybody can write in Java because it's procedural and easy to think in, and most of the heavy lifting is done for them and it's a matter of stringing together the right libraries.

You're right that it could've been another language besides Java, but said language would've had to have had the same intrinsic qualities as Java. I guess it could be worse and the defacto industry standard language could've gone to C#.

It's both good and bad. As programmers, it makes our day-to-day job of writing and maintaining software easier. It also makes being a programmer easier, which is bad because shitty programmers will turn out shitty software, and will do it for cheap. It devalues our profession precisely because managers know they can hire shitty programmers that will churn out a working product. And by the time any maintenance is needed on it, neither they nor the original programmers would be around to deal with the mess, so it doesn't matter.

Comment Re:Scary side of US (Score 1) 649 649

You're getting yourself confused. You think we're living in an enlighteend society. Reality is, we're not that much more advanced than the apes and monkeys that we evolved out of. Humans are still animals, and just because we're a little more resourceful than every other animal doesn't make us terribly more enlightened as a species.

You also mistake thinking the U.S. is a first world country. We're not. Taking all things into consideration, we're at best, on the border between the first and third worlds. The only reason we're even included among our more civilized peers is because we have a really powerful military and a lot of natural resources that remain untapped. Europe and Asia have had a 25,000-year head start in resource use over North America, and that is the only reason why the U.S. is as influential in the world stage as it currently is.

We're a young country, barely in our adolescence. We had a great start (freedoms, rights, equality, etc.) but we need to mature into those ideals. Give it another thousand years and things will start to get better (if we don't self-destruct first).

Comment Re:Ability to multitask (Score 1) 109 109

The thing with walking is that you're going at such slow speeds that your field of view gives your brain plenty of time to context switch when necessary. I've seen plenty of people (and done it myself) walking and eating or texting or whatnot, and responding to obstacles (other pedestrians, street crossings, etc.) at the very last second.

So walking is usually a bad example, because there's so much time to do the context switch it fools people into thinking they're multi-tasking Driving is a better example. Writing code and holding a coherent verbal conversation or holding multiple verbal conversations at the same time is even more pertinent. IM doesn't count because switching between IM windows is context switching. And I suspect that's where most people get the idea that they're so good at multi-tasking; they mistake multi-tasking for (assisted) rapid context switching.

Comment Re:Not sure (Score 1) 361 361

I find not only that music can influence your state of mind, but that it goes the other way around too, that your present state of mind is drawn towards certain music. When I say state of mind, I mean your mental and emotional depth and maturity, among other things.

There's no specific music or genre older people are "expected to" enjoy. But you'll definitely find your interests changing with age. Personally, I can now see (hear?) structure where I couldn't before (it's like seeing the branches and leaves on a tree rather than just seeing a tree), so my tastes have gravitated towards things that have more complex structures.

Comment Re:Controversial because? (Score 1) 284 284

It's also more dangerous teaching in inner city schools. Dealing with gangs, drugs, weapons, etc. are all a part of the daily routine of both teachers and students. That's why a lot of inner city teachers were originally from the inner city. They go back to give other inner city kids a chance to get out and lead better lives, despite the increases in risk to their own safety and well-being.

Comment Re:Controversial because? (Score 1) 284 284

Pearson subcontracts their test-writing out to other companies who hire people on what's barely above minimum wage to write their tests questions.

What I don't understand is, if Common Core is a federal thing, why doesn't the Federal Government put together a panel of educators to write the curriculum and test questions? Why leave it to a contractor and subcontractors? How are they more qualified?

Actually, I do understand, though I don't understand why Gates thinks it's a good idea and is backing it if he's serious about philanthropy. The answer, obviously, is money. Common Core isn't about teaching or standardizing education. It's about giving Pearson and other test-writing and test-prep businesses their handouts. The car companies got theirs. Airlines get it all the time. Testing companies want their cut of the taxpayer jackpot too.

But a Federal panel would fail. The reasons why is simple: to be put on the panel is an increased burden on the educators who partake in the panel, with no reward. So nobody will want to be a part of it except people who have something else to gain. Mainly, those who cannot actually effectively teach would want to bolster their career by being a part of this. Or those who want an in into industry or perhaps even politics. And the reason there's no reward is because teachers have no prestige in this country. Teaching, education, these are not highly-valued professions and activities. Most adults (save for certain cultures and levels of affluence) don't value education, and pass this onto their children. They'd rather have that fancy 60" TV or new car than send their kids to afterschool test prep. They treat teachers as government-paid babysitters or worse, substitute parents, expecting teachers to do things that they themselves are supposed to be doing for their children.

How do we change this attitude? Birth control is a start. That eliminates a whole class of would-be parents who are both unqualified and ambivalent on parenting. But popular media is the real key, the goal to this. Only they can affect people's perception of education, both fictional media (yes, we know it's all fake Hollywood B.S., but there are subconscious effects) and non-fiction like the news. And popular media is not going to do anything about this because there's no money in it (Look at the latest Muppet series and compare with the original, which funny enough, media considers a "children's show"; Jim Henson is rolling in his grave right now).

If Bill Gates is serious about fixing education, he needs to first fix culture. Maybe buy Disney, whose holding the keys to American culture right now (which is sitting both in and outside their vault). Good luck with that one.


How can you do 'New Math' problems with an 'Old Math' mind? -- Charles Schulz