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Comment Re:Reading, writing math, music and ball sports. (Score 1) 299

Oh, I agree the problem is not coding. But coding is *one* area where students would get to practice those skills. Additionally, the computer itself provides feedback for the students to help them determine the correctness of the solution. Programming can be a useful tool.

Yes, there are problems with education, but programming could be one of the steps towards fixing the issues. Something else could replace programming, but programming does have the advantage of giving you some ability to check your work without a teacher. Of course there are problems such as some students not being able to afford a computer or internet access to quickly be able to get references or help.

Honestly, I don't think learning the programming is, in itself, all that important. As you mentioned, the ability to synthesize is important. I just want people to have the skills that they could somewhat easily pick up programming if they desired. Not because I think the programming is important, but because many of the skills needed for programming are useful for other facets of life.

Comment Re:Reading, writing math, music and ball sports. (Score 4, Informative) 299

I worked as teaching assistant for the computer science at a college and I have to say that, for most people, programming is *not* something that they will just pick up. I worked the computer lab for the introductory programming course and the majority of the students had to work very hard to learn programming.

The point at which students initially had difficulty varied too. A surprising number had trouble with concept of a for loop. All of those students did make it past that though. What all of the students that had significant trouble with the course had in common, though, was the ability to generalize. They had problems with coming up with simple algorithms to solve simple problems. They could describe how to solve for very specific circumstances. Indeed, it seemed, most of the students could code a solution to a very specialize specific scenario, but, at least initially, not the general case. Many student improved greatly in this regard by the end, but a decent number still had issues (and I am only considering the ones that put forth effort in the course).

Most of the students having issues could somewhat understand logical concepts. They could debug simple implementation issues, and they could usually look at other people's working code and explain what the code was doing. These students lacked the ability to think abstractly and apply logic and their learning to new problems where the steps to solve the problem weren't laid out for them. I believe it is the same issue you see in middle/high school math classes where many students can manipulate equations just fine but have problems with solving story problems.

So, I do believe learning (proper) programming at an early age would benefit people. They would get more practice with thinking abstractly and have a venue for seeing practical and essentially immediate results.

Also, I don't thinking learning to program would have to supplant other courses. It could be be used in addition to other topics. For example, children could be give a code that performs math on single digits numbers and then modify to handle numbers with multiple digits. Imagine programming long division and handling remainders. I think implementing the code for this would allow children to understand numbers and math at a deeper level.

Ensuring programming was taught to everyone would have some benefits for employed programmers and to society in general, also. Right now, you see people in forums making comments about the sad state of some particular piece of software and how easy it should to fix an issue or how some problem should be easy to solve with a computer and why don't the programmers just code it up. People would come to realize the difficultly of creating a good program and what trade offs must be made for a program to be made quickly and relatively cheaply and perhaps they would decide for different trade-offs.

Comment Don't look just at specs (Score 1) 732

Looking strictly at specs can lead you astray in laptops, and unlike desktops, it is difficult to fix problems by replacing parts. Like others have mentioned you need to check the laptops out in person or, at the very least, read some reviews on the laptops you're interested in.

With your budget, you shouldn't try to investigate every possible option - the ratio of garbage to good is way too high. Start by going to some review sites and just picking the laptops with the best reviews and find the ones in your budget range with the specs you want. This should significantly narrow down the ones you need to research. Make sure you read the reviews though - you'll pick up on stuff that just looking at the typical specs won't tell you. Such as if the laptop has a crappy track pad (this is actually a fairly common problem). Is the battery run time short? You definitely can't trust the manufacturers on that spec. Does the keyboard feel good to type on? Does the monitor have good viewing angles? Does the monitor produce the proper colors? Does the laptop get hot? Is the SSD actually fast?

Macbook pros are one of the good options that would fit your constraints, although there are others( I hear that certain Lenovo and Sony models are quite good). Keep in mind that you can get refurbished macs that come with the same warranty as brand new macs at reduced prices from the apple website. You can also find new macs at reduced prices at various online sites. For example, is a reputable site that typically has good prices. You should also know that it is widely expected that Apple will be introducing at least one or more of the new macbook pros in June (expected at WWDC). They are rumored to have retina displays - even if you don't care about having the latest and greatest, if you can wait, you'll be able pick up the old models (the ones that are current at this moment) at reduced prices.

It would also be a good idea to remind your sister to be gentle with her laptop. It seems obvious, but I've seen people just drop their laptops onto desks or drop/toss the bag containing the laptop.

Comment This *should* be very good for the children (Score 1) 273

But it will probably be implemented in a way that won't. The computer programming should be able to enhance learning in other areas. They should use the programming in other classes, such as math and science, to put recently learned concepts to work. For example, teachers could assign a term project where students need to write a game that uses some physics concepts.

Additionally, this would test and strengthen skills that many are weak in - the ability to think logically and to devise and carry out a plan. Most of schooling really tests and enhances this shallowly, but writing a sufficiently complex program will truly exercise a student's mind in these areas.

If the programming is also taught as a tool to be used with other subjects, rather than a sole discipline that is divorced from the rest of schooling, then it truly could enhance education. But it will most likely be taught in such a way that programming will only ever be used in the programming class.

Comment Leaving is a good choice (Score 1) 735

They're been been in business for at least several years and they have higher management? Then they should be big enough to absorb the loss of any one developer at any time. Otherwise, they're not really run right. And in that case you should want to leave because that indicates poor planning abilities and you may be forced to get another job in the future anyway when they close down due to their poor planning.

Comment Solving the wrong problem (Score 1) 583

I think they're looking at the wrong place to solve the problem. In fact, they haven't identified the problem - they've identified symptoms and are trying to treat the symptoms. The problem is that many students are not equipped to handle somewhat advanced math. This is a problem with our educational system and our society. We need more people able to think abstractly and logically. I'd be surprised to find somebody who could be an excellent programmer who wasn't at least somewhat decent at math (able to do decently in college calculus courses, at the least), because the thinking skills required are common to both.

Comment Re:9x 'faster' Graphics (Score 1) 1118

If the developer can create graphics for different settings, it should be trivial for him to adjust the graphics automatically for different underlying Apple hardware. With a much smaller amount of hardware to target and test against (on iOS) this is something the developer should do and not force the user to experiment with to get acceptable performance. To a lesser degree this should be possible on the Android platform also.

Auto Incorrect 86

theodp writes "Combine smartphone auto correction and fat-fingered virtual keyboard typing, writes Rob Walker, and the results can be hilarious and even shocking. The website Damn You, Autocorrect collects the awesomely embarrassing text messages that you never meant to send. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to masturbate some chicken for bisexuals night!"

Comment It's all a matter of interpretation (Score 1) 236

"...All there is is bullshit, pardon my vulgarity here. Layers of it. One layer of bullshit on top of another. And what you do in life like when you get older is, you pick the layer of bullshit that you prefer and that's your bullshit, so to speak. "
- Bernie LaPlante (Hero)
So whose lawyer has the more preferred layer?

Comment Re:it's not ASCII to blame (Score 1) 728

if the editor allows Kanji, Cyrillic, Chinese and Greek, contributors are quite likely to type comments in Kanji, Cyrillic, Chinese and Greek. the end-result is that every single damn programmer who wants to contribute must not only install Kanji, Cyrillic, Chinese and Greek unicode fonts, but also they must be able to read and understand Kanji, Cyrillic, Chinese and Greek. again: you've just destroyed the possibility of collaboration by terminating communication and understanding.

This is a project management issue. Many managers might think code is code and programmers are interchangeable, but it is important that programmers can communicate (and thus need to speak a common language). Besides, source code repositories could be adapted for this - just specify what subset of unicode is allowed, and disallow check-ins of files that contain characters outside of this subset.

then, also, you have the issue of revision control, diffs and patches. by moving to unicode, git svn bazaar mercury and cvs all have to be updated to understand how to treat unicode files - which they can't (they'll treat it as binary) - in order to identify lines that are added or removed, rather than store the entire file on each revision. bear in mind that you've just doubled (or quadrupled, for UCS-4) the amount of space required to store the revisions in the revision control systems' back-end database, and bear in mind that git repositories such as linux2.6 are 650mb if you're lucky (and webkit 1gb) you have enough of a problem with space for big repositories as it is!

Seriously? In this day and age, the amount of space required for source code should never an issue. Storage space is cheap. If people are serious about a project, getting adequate space for storing the code repository should never an issue.

but before that, you have to update the unix diff command and the unix patch command to do likewise. then, you also have to update git-format-patch and the git-am commands to be able to create and mail patches in unicode format (not straight SMTP ASCII). then you also have to stop using standard xterm and standard console for development, and move to a Unicode-capable terminal, but you also have to update the unix commands "more" and "less" to be able to display unicode diffs.

Are there technical reasons why this would not be feasible?

there are good reasons why ASCII - the lowest common denominator - is used in programming languages: the development tools revolve around ASCII, the editors revolve around ASCII, the internationally-recognised language of choice (english) fits into ASCII. and, as said right at the beginning, the only reason why stupid obtuse symbols instead of straightforward words were picked was to cram as much into as little memory as possible. well, to some extent, as you can see with the development tools nightmare described above, it's still necessary to save space, making UNICODE a pretty stupid choice.

Those were good reasons in the past. Why can't we move past these reasons now, though?

Comment How about more than text? (Score 1) 728

Why should code be tied to text only anyway? I know there have been some experiments that never really took off, but even if we could expand programs to more than simple text just for comments that would be a huge help. A diagram or picture can often more accurately, and quickly, convey how a piece of code should work than a long piece of text. It would also be nice if we could reference non-code files from a code file. How about linking a class or method to a specification document (or part of it)? It would also be nice if you were alerted to check correctness of the linking code if the relevant section of the specification document changed.

We currently write source code as the compiler is the only consumer of the file that matters and that humans are some inconvenient aspect that we begrudgingly make the code accessible to. Thinking of people as first class consumers of source code may have a significant impact on programming.

Comment Re:Really odd circumstances (Score 2, Insightful) 390

Thought about this too but I thought it unlikely for the following reason: Most people wouldn't bother to check the registration of a site. Of those who would, it seems like if they went to the bother of finding out the sysadmin of the company they would go to the trouble of further investigation. This seems like it would defeat only superficial checking and therefore not much use to the scammer. Then again, maybe I'm over thinking it, since the company says it is sufficient to suspend him.

Comment Really odd circumstances (Score 5, Insightful) 390

Your id was stolen by someone to create a website that infringes on the trademark for a company that you work for? First, it's odd that somebody would steal your identity for the purpose of creating a website. But secondly, the website is one that infringes on the trademark for your company. And then your company actively looks for violations on this stuff? I think somebody wanted you fired. Possibly it is your own company - after all, they didn't need much 'proof' to suspend you, did they? If your company is big enough to have a legal dept, it seems they can afford to be (and should be) a little more thorough. Hire a lawyer.

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