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Comment Re:Cobol (Score 1) 120

No, technically he was a famous mathematics professor. Only years after Dijkstra left [that university] CS (well, informatics) was introduced as a separate bachelor+master. Still, ever since the 1960s there were mathematics and electronic engineering departments that focused on computer science (or applied mathematics, as it was sometimes still called).

Comment Re:Kudu is insulting to 8-year-olds (Score 1) 49

I do agree with you that children are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for. I do think that programming is seen as difficult my most adults in the education business (teachers, parents and publishers alike) because they themselves did not have had any experience with it as a child and are not interested in it as an adult. (I see similar responses to math, science, and technology) Can children learn to program in a verbose procedural programming language? Yes, definitely; however we have to guard for over optimism in this regard. Hacking a program together by trial and error is not the same as learning to program. Some children will really grasp concepts as variable, syntax rules and maybe subroutines but most -- even those children that are able to create working programs -- will have a superfluous understanding. Making the step from creating a simple fun program of sorts to cognitively being able to write a program for some problem will be difficult. There is even research suggesting that a (large) portion of students is unable to learn to program (as in understanding its concepts and applying them to different (new) situations). Summarizing: there will be children like you and me were that are able to program on some level from an early age on. At the same time learning to program might be too difficult for many. Add to that the problem of motivation and programming in a 'real' programming language becomes hard. Writing programs that output text is easy but quite boring. Given their access to graphical superb computer programs children will want to create similar good looking programs. Creating graphical programs is difficult unless you have a special environment (turtle logo, alice, sketch, kudu, ...) that simplifies access to graphical objects. There definitely is need for more research on programming for (young) children and learning to program in general. I would like to see our children be educated to be minimally able to use, understand and adapt computer systems and programming of some sort should be part of that.

Comment Re:I tried to access the floppy drive (Score 1) 739

My first Linux install was also in 1998. At that time I couldn't afford good hardware and Windows barely worked on my computer: it crashed regularly an I couldn't get my sound card working. Installing Linux wasn't easy but once finished it worked without crashing. Enabling sound took me some months tinkering with compiling the kernel and trying tips and tricks from the Linux manuals. Eventually I succeeded: my computer was working flawlessly.

Some time later I bought a CD-writer and, as stated in the manual of the drive, I installed the drivers for Windows to get the drive up and running. It wasn't a success. Somehow I wasn't able to burn a CD-ROM and finish the disk. I tried disc after disc -- those were quite expensive at that time -- and almost all became part of my collection of coasters.

Of course, having had some success with Linux in the past, I started to get my CD-writer running on Linux. It turned out to be easy. Since then I am using Linux.

Comment Re:Attention all personnel (Score 1) 530

I've always wondered about that myself too. I thought I was the only one translating BS to bull shit. But then the bachelor-master structure was introduced only a couple of years back here in Europe and the abbreviation BS was already taken ...

On top of that, as the bachelor degree didn't exist before, it has almost no value. Who in his right mind would call himself a bachelor of science (or arts, for that matter)? You would be admitting you failed your academic education.

Comment Re:Doesn't really matter what *WE* think, does it? (Score 1) 412

A nice idea indeed! I think it would only work if there is a huge amount of advertisers so that advertisements are indeed random and no large corporations get a large share of the total number of advertisements.

If we assume that a large company, like Microsoft, Sony, GM, etc. buys a substantial part of the advertisements (>=1%). Chances are you will be often confronted with the advertisements of this large company and as a result you (probably unconscious) are influences, conditioned to prefer, know, choose for this company or product.

Now, you will say that that is exactly what happens in the real world and you don't have a problem with that either. However, you came to wikipedia to get some objective information, not to be conditioned for some company or product.

Comment Re:Doesn't really matter what *WE* think, does it? (Score 1) 412

For every `innocent' example you can give, I'm certain an `unwanted' example can be found.

For example: In a lemma about computer memory is an ad for one producer of computer memory. The lemma and the ad are only slightly related but a connection is made and chances are some people will be influenced by it. Is that bad?

Maybe not, but then imagine advertisements attached to all lemma's. Whatever you are looking for, there are also some relevant advertisements. Are you sure you aren't influenced by them? Do you want these advertisements by medical topics, by topics targeting children, by controversial topics , etc.?

Furthermore, why do you think corporations want to advertise on wikipedia? Because they want to subsidize this nice project?

Comment Re:Doesn't really matter what *WE* think, does it? (Score 1) 412

There is another worry: advertising works. So if you are looking for some medical information do you want to be confronted with context specific advertisements? Do you want to be influenced by the medicine the advertisement is offering? Or do you only want ``objective'' information you then can take to your doctor?

There is only so much space for advertisement: who decides which product, corporation or organization is advertised on a particular wikipedia page? We can't put advertisements from all competitors, unfortunately.

And what about our children? Do we want to confront our children with advertisements when they are looking for information? Are we sure they aren't influenced by these advertisements?

The longer I think about this idea, the more aversion I have against it.

Comment Re:Doesn't really matter what *WE* think, does it? (Score 5, Insightful) 412

No ads. No influence of Large Corporations, no influence of nation states either. I prefer my encyclopedias to be as free and transparent as possible: I want to be able to be the judge of the quality of the content. And beware for subsidies from international organizations like the EU or, heavens forbid, the UN. I prefer no encyclopedia over a sponsored encyclopedia with an agenda.

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