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Comment Re:*First post.. (Score 2, Insightful) 590

That's not true, most courses in the US use canned lesson plans that the district pays a small fortune to obtain. My father is a school administrator (and has been for districts large and small) and I can tell you a significant portion of the budget goes to buying lesson plans*. Look into it and you'll learn that "entrepreneurs" have been making a lot of money off of educating your children.

In many (all?) states school teachers are supposed to be given planning periods. But these periods are often illegally filled up by administrator demands and meetings.

My English teacher wife would love to share her lesson plans, or even do collaborative planning with her high school teacher peers. But the entrenched refuse to change what they're doing, even if it's obviously poor or lazy teaching. She's left doing her own planning on her own time. She couldn't give her plans away to her colleagues. But I'm not surprised that there's a national market for packaged plans for those that need new material.

Comment What is a good programmer? (Score 1, Interesting) 836

That Doctor in my handle is a doctorate in computer science.

I'm a decent coder, and I work with those that are better, and by God I work with others that are worse. Those that don't have as much formal training with coding usually can get the job done but often are a little too pragmatic and short-sighted. While those that have a lot of formal training accidentally become architecture astronauts and make things too complicated in the goal of making things simple.

I don't know too many hiring managers that would prefer an egotistical genius over a team player that is willing to make things happen. Code quality, saddly, doesn't matter. In a simple interview or resume it's hard to tell if a person writes good code or bad--even in interviews that look at code. Obfuscated or bad code can look clever and complicated so the author must have been smart since he understood it *cough*. While good clean code looks so simple and obvious that it must not have been a hard problem *uh huh*. A degree says that in theory the candidate has seen a lot of different types of problems and is probably a decent coder.

Comment Re:Stop "helping"! (Score 1) 932

Making them watch you as you fix their computer is a good idea. But one better, which I've done myself, is make them drive while you direct. Theoretically they learn how to do it, even though we know they're going to forget. Next time they'll have to decide if they want to do the work with you watching or start looking for an easier mark.

This doesn't work well for phone support though.

Comment Balancing your jerkiness (Score 1) 932

I applaud the belief that the older ones are still trainable, but it's clear that they're not going to change and any videos you find will be wasted. Accept that they're happy with the arrangement and they will not spend the necessary intellectual energy to remember anything you show them. They're codependent upon you. Use a little tough love and start cutting them off. Then they'll do one of two things: Learn, or find someone else to be dependent on. Hopefully the former, probably the latter. That 9-year-old will probably inherit the mantle as soon as he/she is ready, and I'm guessing he/she will be a lot more willing to learn from you and you won't need flashy videos.

If you've got the stomach for it, you can do as others have been suggesting and become a jerk when it comes to technical support. Not an in-your-face-I-think-your-an-idiot-jerk, but give enough push-back so that they realize that you're the last option, and not the first option, when something goes wrong. With my own mom I was able to wean her off my tech support by saying (semi)-gently, "You need to learn to do it for yourself." What happened instead is she switched to my younger brother, and when he left home, the next door neighbor. I still end up helping her on holidays, but I no longer get random phone calls to get pictures off her camera when I've never seen her camera before, or her latest computer setup, and she doesn't know how the pictures are being saved to her camera in the first place ("Does it have an SD card?" What? I have a charge cable that goes into the wall, will that help?).

Macs may reduce the spyware, but it's not going to eliminate your problem. I was visiting my grandmother last year who has a Mac and she couldn't figure out why her printer was doing weird things. In the printer tray was a sheet of paper that said, "Your computer has been HaXoRed by...." Grandma calls Apple tech support and loves them. But then she's also got the cash to do that kind of thing.

Don't install Linux or an alternate OS unless you WANT to be the only go-to-guy for tech support. Keep it Windows and the pool of other people to help them is larger. Anyone that embraces the concept of Macs in a Windows world, or the geek-factor of Linux, usually has some desire to learn things on their own, which doesn't sound like your group.

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