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+ - Is Java to Blame for Lack of K-12 Programming Classes?

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "In December, President Obama, celebrities, politicians and tech companies came together to launch a national coding education push. Code.org's rallying cry that "9 out of 10 schools don't even offer computer programming classes" surprised many, some of whom recalled being taught coding in elementary school in the early '80s. So, why the decreased interest in programming by kids? Interestingly, long before he joined Code.org's Leadership Team, IU Dean Bobby Schnabel co-authored a chapter on Education (pdf) for a 2006 ACM report which fingered Java as a villain: "One final possible explanation has to do with the quality of teaching and the nature of the material that is taught. High school curricula have changed in the last decade to focus on languages (primarily Java) and paradigms (object-oriented programming). The introductory college computing course also typically focuses on teaching the more modern object-oriented style of programming such as Java, in part because students who mastered these tools could readily find employment (at least in the 1990s). However, these tools are somewhat difficult for faculty to teach and students to learn especially compared to tools and skills taught in introductory courses in other science and engineering disciplines. The preparation of high school teachers who are teaching computer science has been an issue for many years, but the complication introduced by these new programming languages has made the quality of instruction even more problematic. Many high schools have eliminated computer science courses perhaps because it is so hard to teach." Along these lines, it should be noted that while Microsoft, Apple, and Google are now crying to Congress that little Johnny can't code, all three dumped their programming-for-the-masses offerings — Steve Jobs deep-sixed Hypercard, Microsoft killed BASIC, and Larry Page abandoned App Inventor. Curiously, the huge PR success enjoyed by the Hour of Code stemmed from a Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg-narrated tutorial that employed Blockly, a programming-for-the-masses project that Neil Fraser brought back from the dead after Google killed it. So, if the tech giants want to get kids programming again, might shipping a usable-by-kids programming language on their devices again be a better strategy than giving $750-$1000 to teachers of Code.org's 20-hour course, or offering $100 to 'every U.S. public high school girl' who completes Codecademy's 15-hour JavaScript curriculum?"

+ - Slashdot Beta Woes 16

Submitted by s.petry
s.petry (762400) writes "What is a Slashdot and why the Beta might destroy it?

Slashdot has been around, well, a very long time. Longer than any of it's competators, but not as long as IIRC. Slashdot was a very much one of the first true social media web sites.

On Slashdot, you could create a handle or ID. Something personal, but not too personal, unless you wanted it to be. But it was not required either. We know each other by our handles, we have watched each other grow as people. We may have even taken pot shots at each other in threads. Unless of course you are anonymous, but often we can guess who that really is.

One of Slashdot's first motto's was "News for Nerds" that Matters. I have no idea when that was removed. I have not always scoured the boards here daily, life can get too busy for that. That excuses my ignorance in a way. I guess someone thought it politically incorrect, but most of us "Nerds" enjoyed it. We are proud of who we are, and what we know. Often we use that pride and knowledge to make someone else look bad. That is how we get our digs in, and we enjoy that part of us too. We don't punch people, we belittle them. It's who we are!

What made Slashdot unique were a few things. What you will note here is "who" has been responsible for the success of Slashdot. Hint, it has never been a just the company taking care of the servers and software.

— First, the user base submitted stories that "they" thought mattered. It was not a corporate feed. Sure, stories were submitted about companies. The latest break through from AMD and Intel, various stories regarding the graphic card wars, my compiler is better than your compiler, and yes your scripting language stinks! Microsoft IIS has brought us all a few laughs and lots of flame wars to boot. Still, we not only read about the products but get to my second point.

— User comments. This is the primary why we have been coming here for as long as we have, many of us for decades. We provide alternative opinions or back what was given in the article. This aspect not only makes the "News" interesting, but often leads to other news and information sharing. It's not always positive, but this is the nature of allowing commentary. It also brings out the third point.

— Moderation. Moderation has been done by the community for a very long time. It took lots of trial and error to get a working system. As with any public system it's imperfect, but it's been successful. People can choose to view poorly modded comments, but don't have to. As with posting anonymous versus with our own handle it's an option that allows us to personalize the way we see and read what's on the site. And as a reward for submitting something worth reading, you might get a mod point of your own to use as a reward for someone else.

Why we dislike Beta and what is being pushed, and why this will result in the end of an era if it becomes forced on the community.

1. Bulky graphics. We get that Dice and Slashdot need revenue. I have Karma good enough to disable advertisements, but have never kept this setting on. I realize that Slashdot/Dice make money with this. That said, the ads sit away from my news and out of the way. I can get there if I want it (but nobody has ever gotten a penny from me clicking an ad... nobody!), but it's not forced into my face or news feed.

2. Low text area. I like having enough on my screen to keep me busy without constant scrolling. Slashdot currently has the correct ratio of text to screen. This ratio has never been complained about, yet Beta reduces the usable text area by at least 1/2 and no option for changing the behavior. I hate reading Slashdot on mobile devices because I can't stand scrolling constantly.

3. JavaScript. We all know the risks of JS, and many of us disable it. We also have an option of reading in Lync or non-standard browsers that many of us toy with for both personal and professional reasons. This flexibility is gone in Beta, and we are forced to allow JS to run. If you don't know the risks of allowing JS to run, you probably don't read much on Slashdot. Those that allow JS do so accepting the risk (which is admittedly low on a well known site).

4. Ordering/Sorting/Referencing. Each entry currently gets tagged with a unique thread ID. This allows linking to the exact post in a thread, not just the top of the thread. In Beta this is gone. It could be that the site decided to simply hide the post ID or it was removed. Either way, going to specific posts is something that is used very commonly by the community.

5. Eye candy. Most of us are not here for "eye candy" and many have allergic reactions to eye candy. Slashdot has a good mix currently. It's not as simple as the site starting with a r-e-d-i-t, which is good. That site has a reputation that keeps many of us away, and their format matches my attitude of them (s-i-m-p-l-e-t-o-n). At the same time, it's not like watching some other "news" sites with so much scrolling crap I can't read an article without getting a headache. The wasted space in beta for big bulky borders, sure smells like eye candy. Nothing buzzes or scrolls yet, but we can sense what's coming in a patch later.

The thing is, the community cares about Slashdot. We come here because we care. We submit stories because of that, we vote because of that, we moderate because of that, and we comment because of that. At the same time we realize that without the community Slashdot loses most of its value. We respect that we don't host the servers, backup the databases, or patch the servers. Slashdot/Dice provide the services needed for Slashdot.

It's a give give relationship, and we each get something in return. Slashdot gets tons of Search hits and lots of web traffic. We get a place to learn, teach, and occasionally vent.

Look, if you want to change default color scheme or make pre-made palettes for us to choose from, we would probably be okay with that. If you want to take away our ability to block ads by Karma, or move the ads to the left side of my browser window, I would be okay with those things too.

If you want to make drastic changes to how the site works, this is a different story all together. The reason so many are against Beta is that it breaks some of the fundamental parts of what makes Slashdot work.

User input until recently has not been acknowledged. The acknowledgment we have received is not from the people that are making the decision to push Beta live. We told people Beta was broken, what it lacked, and we were rather surprised to get a warning that Beta would be live despite what we told people. People are already making plans to leave, which means that Slashdot could fade away very soon.

Whether this was the goal for Dice or not remains to be seen. If it is, it's been nice knowing you but I won't be back. A partnership only works when there is mutual respect between the parties. A word of caution, us Nerds have good memories and lots of knowledge. The loss of Slashdot impacts all of Dice holdings, not just Slashdot. I boycott everything a company holds, not just the product group that did me wrong.

If that was not the goal of Dice, you should quickly begin communicating with the user base. What are the plans are to fix what Beta has broken? Why is Beta being pushed live with things broken? A "Sorry we have not been communicating!", and perhaps even a "Thank you" to the user base for helping make Slashdot a success for so many years."

+ - Oracle's attempt to copyright its Java APIs->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The remarkable outpouring of support for Google in the Oracle v. Google appeal continues, with a group of well-known innovators, start-ups, and those who fund them — innovators like Ray Ozzie, Tim O'Reilly, Mitch Kapor, Dan Bricklin, and Esther Dyson — standing with yesterday's group of leading computer scientists in telling the court that Oracle's attempt to copyright its Java APIs would be damaging to innovation."
Link to Original Source

+ - Facebook 'Trusted Contacts' lets you pester friends to recover account access->

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg (971356) writes "Facebook Thursday said it’s making available globally a feature called "Trusted Contacts" that lets users select three to five friends who can help users recover account access such as if they forget their password. Facebook said the idea is that once these friends are identified as “trusted contacts” through the user’s security settings, Facebook will provide each of them with a special code. “Enter the codes from [at least 3 of] your trusted contacts, and you’ll be able to access your account,” Facebook says. “After you set your trusted contacts, we’ll notify them so that they can be ready to help you if you ever need it.”"
Link to Original Source
Firefox

Emscripten and New Javascript Engine Bring Unreal Engine To Firefox 124

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the cycle-is-nearly-complete dept.
MojoKid writes "There's no doubt that gaming on the Web has improved dramatically in recent years, but Mozilla believes it has developed new technology that will deliver a big leap in what browser-based gaming can become. The company developed a highly-optimized version of Javascript that's designed to 'supercharge' a game's code to deliver near-native performance. And now that innovation has enabled Mozilla to bring Epic's Unreal Engine 3 to the browser. As a sort of proof of concept, Mozilla debuted this BananaBread game demo that was built using WebGL, Emscripten, and the new JavaScript version called 'asm.js.' Mozilla says that it's working with the likes of EA, Disney, and ZeptoLab to optimize games for the mobile Web, as well." Emscripten was previously used to port Doom to the browser.

Comment: Re:God,talk about Sensitizing (Score 4, Insightful) 180

by thehossman (#36924794) Attached to: Java 7 Ships With Severe Bug

a) some of these bugs where filed months ago, and yet those hotspot "optimizations" are still on by default

b) it's true that some problems can be avoided by deliberately disabling these optimizations, but w/o raising big warning alarms to users, people aren't going to know they need to go out of their way to do that. For crash bugs, it may not be so bad -- they see the crash and google to find out why it crashed. For miss-evaluation of loops that can lead to silent data corruption it's a different story -- how would users ever know that they need to disable those options if developers don't yell and holler from the roof tops?

Perl

+ - Perl 5.14 Released->

Submitted by
chromatic
chromatic writes "Pumpking Jesse Vincent has just released Perl 5.14, the latest stable version of the venerable Perl 5 programming language. The list of changes in Perl 5.14 includes several enhancements, including performance tuning, Unicode improvements, and updates to the core libraries and documentation. Perl 5.16 is on track for a release next April."
Link to Original Source

+ - Hoosiers Lose Right to Resist Illegal Police Entry-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "People have no right to resist if police officers illegally enter their home, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in a decision that overturns centuries of common law.

The court issued its 3-2 ruling on Thursday, contending that allowing residents to resist officers who enter their homes without any right would increase the risk of violent confrontation. If police enter a home illegally, the courts are the proper place to protest it, Justice Steven David said."

Link to Original Source
Programming

+ - Slashdot not fixed-> 3

Submitted by mustPushCart
mustPushCart (1871520) writes "Slashdot popular around the world with basement dwellers and secretively anti corporate white collars alike has not yet changed its design after its January 25, 2011 redesign broke hearts and browsers, bringing out its passive aggressive readership into active fist shaking before sending them back into its idle section. The design continues to remain broken on Chrome in addition to being slow, clunky and generally silently hated. Slashdot editors could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press"
Link to Original Source

+ - WalMart Stores Skimming On Gift Returns->

Submitted by
thehossman
thehossman writes "After receiving a report of Sacramento Area WalMart store only refunding a fraction of the original purchase price for an item returned using gift receipts (in which the person returning the item doesn't know the price paid) CBS13 In Sacramento, in conjunction with a sister station in Philadelphia, conducted a sting at multiple WalMart locations to see how common this practice was: 'Add up everything we bought, we spent a total of $51.82 with tax, but only received $26.99 back when we returned the items with gift receipts'"
Link to Original Source
Idle

+ - Pigeon transfers data faster than South Africa's T-> 2

Submitted by Attila Dimedici
Attila Dimedici (1036002) writes "I believe that we discussed this when they first proposed it, but now they have gone and done it.
http://www.news.com.au/technology/pigeon-transfers-data-faster-than-south-africas-telkom/story-e6frfro0-1225771449209?from=public_rss

Workers at a South African information technology company this week proved it was faster for them to transmit data with a carrier pigeon than to send it using Telkom, the country's leading ISP."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Factually Incorrect Title: There Is No Retweeting (Score 5, Informative) 137

by thehossman (#35590806) Attached to: NY Times Asks Twitter To Shut Down Retweeting Feed

The twitter account in question isn't retweeting the URLs.

There is no automated bot in play here.

All this guy did was create a "Twitter List" of the ~40 official Twitter Accounts used by the NYTimes (they seem to have one per section of their site) ...

https://twitter.com/#!/FreeNYT/firehose/members

...if you follow that "list" you get access to all of those URLs.

You would get access to the same URLs if you followed each of those ~40 individual twitter accounts directly.

Essentially the NYT is complaining that someone is promoting the existence of their twitter accounts.

Comment: Some actual news stories about this (Score 3, Informative) 191

by thehossman (#35510468) Attached to: Teen Cancels Party After 200,000 RSVP On Facebook

If a random blogger is going to submission spam slashdot with all of his two paragraph blogs plagiarizing news articles, the least he could do is actually LINK to some genuinely useful coverage of the story on a reputable sites...

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.

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