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Comment What's the plan to improve the software? (Score 1) 134

I've been leading some CoderDojo sessions on Raspberry Pi programming at the local library, and the Pi is a great teaching tool.

However, I feel like the software that comes with the Raspbian distribution is falling behind. Two key examples:

* Scratch - The 1.x version of Scratch that comes pre-installed is pretty ancient. While this is partly due to some bad technology choices the Scratch team has made, it'd be great if out of the box we'd have an option for Scratch 2.0 support (or some competing equivalent)

* Minecraft Pi - the mcpi library is a great teaching tool, but the problem is the outdated Minecraft that comes with the default install. It's stuck in an alpha version, with a lot of limitations. Not saying that we need the full "game", but it'd be nice if it didn't have arbitrary limitations like only 5 players in one server (I wish I could have the whole class in the same world) or lots of issues with mouse input/etc.

* python - IDLE3 is not a great python IDE. The auto complete seems very inconsistent, to almost non-functional. Also, why do we default to python2 instead of python3 in the terminal?

I know these projects are not owned by the Raspberry Pi team, but Scratch and Minecraft Pi are part of the appeal of learning to program on the Pi (which has almost nothing to do with the hardware). I was disheartened when a member of my Dojo stopped by asking if he could just do all his programming in python with Minecraft on his PC, I had a feeling there was frustration with its limitations, when I think this little piece of hardware should be the 1st choice a student should look for learning how to code.

Comment Resizing an image is not patentable (Score 1) 177

the camera screens have smaller resolutions than the photo so you will need an algorithm to downgrade the image, that part is patentable. icloud does something similar where the photo stream images are lesser resolutions than the original. so i guess apple could have ripped them off if they used the same algorithm

You can't patent the general concept of resizing and image, you could potentially patent a particular algorithm to do this, that is non trivial and not well known (like compression algorithms can be patented).

Comment Horrible idea (Score 4, Insightful) 130

I'm sure the money is tempting but I really dislike this. I'm trying to imagine a future where publishers stop printing books, and we end up with an all eBook world that requires you to have a particular platform or device to read said books!

Do we really want to follow an "exclusive for this platform" model like consoles for books?!?!?

Comment Facebook friend lists are a pain to use!!! (Score 1) 163

That's why;

a) A lot of facebook users are not aware of the feature
b) Few users actually interact with them

The Friend Lists feature is badly designed from a usability standpoint. It is also pretty well hidden by facebook, and I don't mean that lists are hard to create (they're a pain compared to circle) but just the gymnastics users have to go through to use them with the padlock icon make this feature unusable to most.

It's also inconsistent on Facebook mobile. On their mobile webapp, it's not available, but on the iOS native app it is (and it's actually easier to use than the desktop app), although it's not obvious.

I've seen people dismiss circles like this before so I put it in screenshots to make the point;


What Kinect Could Be, But Probably Won't 143

An opinion piece at CNN looks at Microsoft's Xbox Kinect, praising the system's capabilities not for gaming, but for what it does to the video viewing experience. "The idea of being able to ditch your table full of remote controls and just use your hands and voice to interact with the TV is compelling. It's much nicer than QWERTY keyboards, which are a terrible idea in the living room. It's also better than Wii-like remote controls, or even using an iPad or smartphone as your TV remote, a feature that cable companies are increasingly rolling out." The problem, as they see it, is Microsoft's inability to actually bring this into common usage for regular television viewing. "It seems like the company is tied too much to the Xbox's substantial gaming revenue to split the Xbox TV stuff off as a separate product — even though there's a huge population of non-gamers who probably have no interest in buying an Xbox." Perhaps this is something that can be addressed by others when the Kinect SDK is released.

Submission + - Pay for your trip to Mars with advertising revenue (

braindrainbahrain writes: Is it time to think out of the box for funding space exploration? Governments are reluctant to commit money, and even private space tourism will only get us to low Earth orbit, but what about beyond that? In this article from the Journal of Cosmology, the author argues for a commercial, sponsored approach to finance the trip to explore and colonize Mars using advertising, naming rights, and merchandizing to raise the cash, not to mention reality TV. FTA: "The Human Mission to Mars, can be marketed and sold as the ultimate sports and reality TV extravaganza ...What could be more "real" than a Human Mission to Mars, where Astronaut heroes must overcome a grueling, competitive ordeal, with the "survivors" winning the right to face death while taking part in the ultimate adventure of all time? "

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