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Comment Teach the kid, not the language (Score 1) 799

I've taught programming, part time in an elementary setting, for years, and have been a real live stay at home dad for almost 20 years. I know code and kids. Kids learn people first, things later. So teach what *you* are passionate about. A kid will spot bullshit a mile away. You can trust that your little brother knows you better than you would like. Your little brother isn't going to be learning programming, he will be learning what you like. It's the "what you like" part that is most important.

Don't worry about what language to use, all languages suck about the same amount, just in different ways. C is fine, kids have a wonderful ability with language, any language. Any kid under 14 (puberty is the dividing line) or so will pick up the syntax of any language in a few weeks. Arbitrary and weird is fine, they just go with it. In my experience kids can learn either top down or bottom up, but they have a more or less fixed attention span. You have something like 20 - 40 minutes before he will start to get antsy. (YMMV) Regular times for set amounts of time work best. He knows that Monday at 6 big brother will give him a lesson and answer that question that has been bugging him for days, or years or centuries, they're all about the same. If in 6 months he would rather find something else to do, then consider dropping it. But remember!! The discipline in a 12 year olds life is external, not internal! That really doesn't start kicking in until HIgh School.

One thing that will kill this is forgetting that he is 12, below a certain but unknown age kids just can't get certain things. You just don't know what, exactly. Just because you got it at 12 doesn't mean he will. He may get different things. Then they just go to sleep and wake up and suddenly get it. They will often deny that they ever didn't get it, it is now natural and part of them. It's magic and frustrating as hell.

Comment What does he have to ask? (Score 1) 1021

If the teacher needs to ask this question maybe he shouldn't be teaching this course. My idea would be for him to go to his local library and read all of their SciFi collection. Then go the the next one and read anything not in the first. As a rule the librarians will keep decent stuff on the shelf. After that, it's just lit.


Submission + - Apple's new MacBooks have built-in copy protection (

raque writes: "Appleinsider is reporting that the new MacBooks/MacBookPro's have built in copy protection Quote "Apple's new MacBook lines include a form of digital copy protection that will prevent protected media, such as DRM-infused iTunes movies, from playing back on devices that aren't compliant with the new priority protection measures" . Arstechnica is also reporting on the same issue HERE

Is this the deal they had to make to get NBC back?
Is this a deal breaker for Apple or will fans just ignore it to get their hands on the pretty new machines?
Is this a new opportunity for Linux? And what happened to Jobs not liking DRM?"


Magnetic Portals Connect Sun and Earth 235

MaxwellEdison writes "Scientists have discovered evidence of magnetic portals connecting the Earth and the Sun every 8 minutes. 'Several speakers at the Workshop have outlined how FTEs form: On the dayside of Earth (the side closest to the sun), Earth's magnetic field presses against the sun's magnetic field. Approximately every eight minutes, the two fields briefly merge or "reconnect," forming a portal through which particles can flow. The portal takes the form of a magnetic cylinder about as wide as Earth. The European Space Agency's fleet of four Cluster spacecraft and NASA's five THEMIS probes have flown through and surrounded these cylinders, measuring their dimensions and sensing the particles that shoot through.'"

Windows Azure Offers Developers Iron-Clad Lock-in 227

snydeq writes "Microsoft's move to the cloud is certain to create a whole new kind of developer partner, Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister writes. But as much as Microsoft ISVs will likely go along with the shift to Windows Azure to keep revenue streams going, the kind of lock-in they will experience will be worlds away from what they face today. Rather than being able to ignore the new version of a key framework, developers will have no other option than to update their code to suit Microsoft's latest platform. That kind of lock-in will leave customers in the lurch, subject to their vendors' bottom lines, as ISVs that can't afford to rework code to keep up with Microsoft's latest platform will begin dropping services, and customers will have little choice but to accept the new terms of service their vendors send along."

Poll Finds 23 Percent of Texans Think Obama is Muslim Screenshot-sm 562

A University of Texas poll has found that 23 percent of Texans are convinced that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is a Muslim. Only 45 percent of the people polled correctly identified Obama as a Protestant Christian. Nationwide, the number of people who believe in the "Secret Muslim Conspiracy" is about the same as those who believe that the moon landing was faked (5-10 percent), which makes the high numbers in Texas unusual.

ASUS and Intel Launch Collaborative PC Design Site 85

Jupix writes "There's an interesting new community by ASUS and Intel called WePC. It enables anyone to post their dream PC including not only function, but form as well. You can draw up your dream and describe it in words, and also fiddle with some predetermined properties. No doubt the two companies are looking for common configurations so they can implement them in future products, but according to the press release, even individual designs may get the two companies' backing."

Google Sheds Light On 'Dark Web' With PDF Search 78

CWmike writes "Google this week took another step in its effort to shed light on the so-called Dark Web, announcing that its search engine can now search scanned documents in a PDF. In April, Google announced that it was looking for ways for its search engine to index HTML forms such as drop-down boxes or select menus that otherwise couldn't be found or indexed." An announcement is available at the official Google blog, and it contains some demonstration searches.

Fraud Threat Halts Knuth's Hexadecimal-Dollar Checks 323

Barence writes "You may be aware of Donald Knuth, the creator of TeX and author of The Art of Computer Programming, who used to post checks to anyone who spotted an error in one of his books — one hexadecimal dollar, or $2.56. No one cashed them though. This blogger has two of them proudly on his wall, but the sad news is that modern day bank fraud has put a stop to Knuth's much-loved way of keeping his books free of errors." (Here's Knuth's own post about the sad change.)

Boeing 747 Modified To Act As Infrared Telescope 85

xyz writes "A joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center has developed a highly modified Boeing-747SP aircraft to carry a 2.5-meter (98.4 inch) infrared telescope. The project SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy) will observe radiation in the wavelengths from 0.3 microns to 1.0 millimeters, spanning the visible, infrared, and sub-millimeter portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The observations will be taken at an altitude of 40,000 to 45,000 feet (12 to 14 km) which is above 99.8 percent of the water vapor in Earth's atmosphere, thus giving it a greater range of observations." Update: 10/31 13:27 GMT by T : Mea culpa -- headline changed to reflect that this telescope is intended for looking out at space rather than down at the Earth.
United States

Examining the Role of Video Games In the US Election 81

Gamasutra is running an article discussing the influence of games and gamers on the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections. The connection, while minor, is continuing to strengthen, from allowing people to register to vote through their consoles, to in-game advertising, to games about and involving the candidates. However, it may still be an uphill climb as media-sharing becomes easier. From Gamasutra: "There are reasons games have grown slowly compared to other technologies for political outreach. The most important one is also the most obvious: since 2004, online video and social networks have become the big thing, as blogs were four years ago. Instead of urging voters to 'play my game,' as Loftus and I surmised, candidates urged their constituents to 'watch my video.' Online video became the political totem of 2008, from James Kotecki's dorm room interviews to CNN's YouTube debates."
The Almighty Buck

Game Makers Accusing Innocent People of Piracy In the UK 190

eldavojohn writes "It's a topic that a lot of game makers like Atari don't want the public hearing: game makers wrongfully accusing clearly innocent people of piracy. From the article, 'According to Michael Coyle, an intellectual property solicitor with law firm Lawdit, more and more people are being wrongly identified as file-sharers. He is pursuing 70 cases of people who claim to be wrongly accused of piracy and has spoken to hundreds of others, he told the BBC.' If only a few are coming forward after receiving extortion letters ('Pay £500 OR ELSE!'), what's the actual number of those out there being wrongfully accused?"

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