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Submission + - Non-Coders as the Face of the Learn-to-Code Movements

theodp writes: You wouldn't select Linus Torvalds to be the public face for the 'Year of Basketball.' So, why tap someone who doesn't code to be the face of 'The Year of Code'? Slate's Lily Hay Newman reports on the UK's Year of Code initiative to promote interest in programming and train teachers, which launched last week with a Director who freely admits that she doesn't know how to code. "I'm going to put my cards on the table," Lottie Dexter told Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman on national TV. I've committed this year to learning to code...so over this year I'm going to see exactly what I can achieve. So who knows, I might be the next Zuckerberg." "You can always dream," quipped the curmudgeonly Paxman, who was also unimpressed with Dexter's argument that the national initiative could teach people to make virtual birthday cards, an example straight out of Mark Zuckerberg's Hour of Code playbook (coming soon to the UK). Back in the States, YouTube chief and Hour of Code headliner Susan Wojcicki — one of many non-coder Code.org spokespersons — can be seen on YouTube fumbling for words to answer a little girl's straightforward question, "What is one way you apply Computer Science to your job at Google?". While it's understandable that companies and tech leaders probably couldn't make CS education "an issue like climate change" (for better or worse) without embracing politicians and celebrities, it'd be nice if they'd at least showcase a few more real-life coders in their campaigns.

Submission + - Installing OpenSource VLC Media Player Voids Your Dell Laptop Warranty

An anonymous reader writes: VLC is incapable of increasing the actual power past 100%, all that is being done is the waveform is being modified to be louder within the allowed constraints. But, that didn't stop Dell from denying warranty service for speaker damage if the popular VLC Media Player is installed on a Dell laptop. Also we got a report that service was denied because a KMPlayer was installed on a laptop. The warranty remains valid on the other parts of the laptop. VLC player developer denied the issue with VLC and further claimed the the player cannot be used to damage speakers. How can I convince Dell to replace my laptop speaker which is still in warranty? Or class action is only my option?

Submission + - How Dogecoin Occupied Wall Street (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: At about 9:30pm on Friday in Lower Manhattan, a group of more than a hundred people marched out of the new Bitcoin Center at 40 Broad Street, and into the streets. "To the moon! To the moon! To the moon!" Donning Shiba Inu-branded flair, t-shirts, paper masks—and joined by three live Shiba Inus—the all-ages group, fully sugared up, paraded through the streets of New York’s Financial District to its famous bull sculpture at Bowling Green, where they planned to take it over, doge style.

"Dogecoin is a celebration of doge and dogecoin and the joy of life," said Ben Doernberg, the organizer of the evening's proceedings, who bravely unzipped his doge hoodie to reveal a large doge on his T-shirt. "What better way to turn something so serious into the cutest most fun thing in the world? Which is a doge."

Suddenly, a city bus screeched to a halt near the crowd. The driver shoved open his window and shouted out, "Is this Occupy Wall Street?" A dump truck behind him waited.

Comment Gold has value in a working economy (Score 4, Insightful) 249

The gold fetishist believe gold has value, no matter what. It doesn't. Examples are for instance the holocaust, people ended up selling small fortunes of gold just to survive or even just to eat. The end of time of dreamers who think that once the government collapses, their gold horde will be any safer then a bank account, forget that when Mad Max becomes real, gold has no value.

THIS is why Fallout uses bottle caps. NOT because of anything to do with bottle caps, just to show value is without meaning. People value whatever they value. And I got food and you don't I am not going to give you my food in exchange for your gold because that would leave me holding no food and only worthless gold.

VALUE is ALWAYS what someone ELSE is willing to give up in exchange for it. Take the value of a dollar bill. How much sex does it buy? It can vary from woman to woman and even from moment to moment and from buyer to buyer. Or for something slashdot readers are more familiar with, how about a softdrink from the exact same factory? Can vary from 35 cents to 2.50 with in a few hundred meters (chinese toko to convention hall).

Bitcoins trade is one person selling and another person buying. The more such traders happen, the more you get an average price. But I am going to bet that if I showed up and wanted to sell a BILLION bitcoins in one go, the average price would not apply. Same as if the US tried to sell all its gold at once.

THAT is how easy value can change. Very few things have any intrinisic value whatsoever. What is the value of water to someone living near a lake? The value of food to a farmer with a bountiful harvest? Want proof, read up on changing eating habbits. Like pigeons, peasant food, flying rats or fine dining?

The hardest thing to accept in life after death is that value is fleeting.

Comment It is even simpler (Score 2) 876

Your example works but there is a next level. NEW WORDS!

The Japanese have a way of dealing with new words. AN ENTIRE FUCKING NEW ALPHABET! Forget just learning Kanji (Chinese pictorgrams) Japanese students have two more alphabets to learn (Kana) hiragana and katakana, one for japanese stuff and the other for sound and foreign words. Oh and EITHER one of them is larger then the western alphabets even the really screwy ones with lots dots and slashes messing up perfectly fine letters.


And forget about different breeds of cats. How do you signal a list of cats? Two different icons combined? In language I only need to add an s to the word, with icons you just doubled the number of needed icons. How about extinct cat breeds? What is the icon for extinct? A dinosaur? Then what icon do I use for a dinosaur? A skeleton, then how do I signal a dead cat vs an extinct breed? You would need an infinite number of pictographs to express anything complex.

Oh wait, I GET IT, Flow charts. They are graphical... AND they tend to contain lots of text because there is just ONE database symbol so how do I make it clear one is the relational database and the other a key value store? With WORDS because the makers of flowchart programs knew LANGUAGE is more expressive and more versatile, so they created a dozen symbols and relied on TEXT to clarify them.

And it is not that you couldn't create a graphical interface for a programming language. But what about extensions? With a text library I can just add it to my text code and use it. With a graphical programming language any extension needs far more work, not just downloading a text file but an entire library with new pictographs and detailing how they can be used.

A new programming language is already hard enough to develop and get from idea to a usable product. With a text language, all the focus can be on the compiler, text editors exist very old ones can be used. But for a graphical programming tool, you first need to create a complete graphical tool before you can start using it. It is just far more work. Want me to proof it? Create a graphical config tool for for instance samba that supports EACH and EVERY option in full detail. Compare the amount of work needed for that vs sudo vim /etc/samba/smb.conf WHAT option do you think the samba developers choose? Months of work vs seconds. And it is not like Samba developers need a graphical tool, they know their config file.

That is the final problem... who is going to make it? Where is the market? You are looking at a tool that costs far more to develop then a conventional IDE, is less flexible, less up-to-date, less extensible for an audience that can't be bothered or isn't intelligent enough to handle text coding.

Comment Re:No, they weren't.... (Score 1) 255

I think their concern is that US courts might start following the Indian court's views on what constitutes "obvious" tweaking for the sole purpose of extending a patent.

That fear is worth spending hundreds of millions in court to salve the terror of lost revenue on a global (including US) scale.

Not that they deserve money for trivial reforumulations, such as the "safer" Oxycontin packaging. The main drug itself has not changed so there should never have been a patent extension allowed. Packaging is just packaging. It's not the drug.

And while I'm on this here soap box, let me point out that the addicts have, of course, found ways around the "safer" packaging and are still shooting up on suburban streets, patents or no patents. The whole "safer" packaging thing is a lie. Safer for their pockets, nothing else.

Comment Re:Thank you for replying Timothy (Score 1) 2219

Thanks for your response. Keep them coming.

What I think would help the most is to display a small box at the top of every page on the beta site that lists all the major problems you've identified that you know have to be fixed before the new site can become the default. Ideally, each one should be a link to a page that explains the problem in more detail. This will help us to understand that you really are listening, and trust you not to plow ahead with something that's obviously currently broken.

The problem isn't that the beta site is broken. The problem is that we don't trust you to fix it, because we don't understand why you broke it in the first place and we're afraid you don't think it's broken. Please, put our fears to rest! :-)

Comment Re:Comment filter (Score 1) 2219

I tried the beta this morning. There was no obvious way to show only the comments rated 4* and above. There are ways of seeing funny or insightful posts, but you don't get to control how many.

Did you notice the little gear menu, to the right of the links for funny/insightful/etc.?

What does seem to be missing is collapsed comments - comments that are scored below a certain threshold being displayed as a single line that I can click on to expand them.

Comment Re:No. (Score 1) 2219

I don't think you have understood. We don't want you to slow down. We want you to stop; reverse; appologise for being so out of touch with your user base; and promise to never do anything so stupid again.

Not quite. That's what we THINK we want. What we REALLY want is slightly different.

We don't want you to say you'll slow down, because we hear that as "continue to do exactly the same boneheaded thing you were going to do, just delayed for awhile."

But we don't really want you to stop and go backwards. What we want is for you to make sure that you're not leaving anything important behind when you do move forward. Lots of us have our own little irritations with things we consider to be "broken" in the beta site - my big one is that I couldn't see a way to set up abbreviated comments (where I see only a single line for comments that are scored below my threshold, but I can click on it if I decide I want to expand any specific comment). I have that now, but on the beta site, it appears to be missing. Others have complained about other functionality that seems to be missing. We need to be assured that you're not going to plow ahead without these features.

That doesn't mean you have to go backwards, because Lord knows the old site has some issues that need fixing. But remember that if you alienate your user base in an attempt to attract more users, you'll be left with nothing, because the existing user base is the only thing that makes Slashdot worth a damn. Nobody comes here to read your content, they come here to read ours.

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"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman