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Comment: Ellen Ullman (Score 1) 247

by wendyg (#46848581) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Books for a Comp Sci Graduate Student?

I'd recommend Ellen Ullman's Close to the Machine, a book of essays written in the late 1990s. It's not a computer science book per se, but it is very insightful about how the choices programmers make trickle down to the eventual actual users of the system - that is, not the administrators and employees but the people the system makes decisions for and about. (eg, in the UK's DWP benefits system it would be the people receiving those benefits, not the people deciding whether or not they deserve them).

wg

+ - Pupils tracked in UK college via ultrawideband RFID for 1-3 years->

Submitted by wendyg
wendyg (43303) writes "As part of redeveloping its three-site campus and without consultation with parents or the Information Commissioner, the UK's West Cheshire College installed a highly detailed tracking system using ultrawideband RFID tags handed out to its 14 to 17-year-old students. The system, which cost up approximately £1 million, was abandoned earlier this year because of escalating costs and lack of the functionality the college wanted. The college has been reluctant to answer questions, dubbing privacy campaigner and persistent questioner Pippa King "vexatious", and material relating to the trial has been vanishing off the Net. The law requiring parental consent for the use of biometrics in schools (for things like taking attendance and paying for meals) came into force last month. It seems it already needs to be updated."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:A lot of this BS is just Daniel Berg's fiction (Score 1) 266

by wendyg (#42844153) Attached to: The Paradox of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks

I'd point out that *this* particular New Statesman piece was written by Jemima Kahn, who was one of the celebrity names who posted bail for him. I rather suspect she's formed her own opinion. Same goes for people like Heather Brooke, the Guardian, and the NY Times, who all had their own relationships with Assange before becoming critics.

It's not *all* people who read Domscheit-Berg's book.

wg

Comment: Re:640 years (Score 1) 813

by wendyg (#41151621) Attached to: How Long Do You Want To Live?

That's certainly how I've always felt - the existential thing and the fear of death. As I'm approaching 60, however, the thing I'm also learning to fear is the deaths of friends and family - one thing that's often left out of these discussions.

I've certainly never thought I'd be bored, no matter how long I lived.

wg

Comment: Great idea... (Score 1) 155

by wendyg (#37609768) Attached to: Airline Offering Plane Crash Survival Course to Frequent Flyers

...I've thought for a long time that it was stupid and wasteful that airlines don't harness the assistance of their experienced flyers in emergency situations. The more people who know what to do the better for all concerned. And experienced flyers are less likely to make mistakes about what is and is not an emergency. I'd take this course like a shot if the airline I fly with most often offered it.

wg

Comment: Under-10s at Young Rewired State 2011 (Score 1) 430

by wendyg (#37301946) Attached to: How Do You Explain Software Development To 2nd Graders?

At this year's Young Rewired State - a week for kids under 18 to do cool stuff with code and then present the results - @pixelh8 on Twitter had a bunch of kids under 10 at the Ipswich center. They didn't appear at the eventual presentation, but he did and showed this video (YouTube) of them explaining what they'd learned and doing a little programming. He explained how he did it in his talk: 1) he made it fun for them; 2) he took the group outside and they had many play breaks; 3) he used a *lot* of metaphors to explain. I thought it was immeasurably cool that he was able to do this.

wg

Comment: Re:I am the author of the spreadsheet in question (Score 1) 386

by wendyg (#37242568) Attached to: A Custom Objectionable Word List Ate My Homework

Just curious: does "all stakeholders" include the kids themselves? Since the kids are the ones who bear the brunt of both the filtering *and* whatever harassment/bullying is dished out, I'd have thought they'd have views worth taking into consideration. Probably the youngest kids would struggle to articulate that, but even a kid of 10 is going to have some comprehension of the issues and perhaps quite strong opinions.

wg

United Kingdom

+ - Young Rewired State 2011->

Submitted by
wendyg
wendyg writes "This week, riots across England are being attributed to alienated youth. Last week, however, saw the third Young Rewired State event — a week that saw dozens of teens sign up to spend a week hacking government data to make it more useful. This piece is a diary of the efforts at one of the 14 centres, run by Osmosoft (the home of TiddlyWiki)."
Link to Original Source

+ - humor clothing->

Submitted by dellko10
dellko10 (2043546) writes "Wood are official stockists of Humor, Lyle and Scott, Adidas, Barbour, Clae, Penfield, 10 Deep, Dr Martens, Mishka, The Hundreds, Junk De Luxe, Sperrys. We offer free UK guaranteed next day shipping."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:why? (Score 1) 554

by wendyg (#37020266) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Self-Hosted Gmail Alternatives?

Same here. I've been running Communigate with Spam Assassin since 2003, and most of the time it just works. Every few years there's a painful day when I reinstall the whole thing on a faster machine, but it seems a small price to pay to own my own email. The biggest issue I encounter is the occasional DSL outage (which includes power outages). For that, I have the MX record configured so that email fails over to a different address/server. I've used Gmail for that once or twice, but I don't *like* it. Yes, every so often I do have to get the server off someone's RBL, but it's an infrequent issue.

wg

Comment: Re:You must test the obvious (Score 1) 299

by wendyg (#36317820) Attached to: Why We Have So Much "Duh" Science

While it's absolutely true that you really do have to test the obvious...it is also true that there has been a definite growth in what some of my academic friends call the "Least Publishable Unit". The structure of academic careers - the metrics by which people are promoted, get raises, prestige, etc. - often rewards quantity over quality.

wg

Comment: Re:Useless Search Content (Score 1) 175

by wendyg (#34194840) Attached to: Search Engine Optimization Poisoning Way Up In '10

There's also apparently no algorithm for date-sorting; a friend and I were talking about this on Twitter this week. It's my view that as search engine use has become mainstream they've been increasingly optimized for consumers, not researchers. There is a real niche for a researchers' search engine.

wg

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