Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Microsoft study is the tip of the iceberg. (Score 4, Informative) 387

It doesn't take long on Google to come up with a potload of studies with the same conclusion:

My wife is a teacher and every couple of years some numbskulled administrator comes up with another brainstorm that boils down to thinking that throwing some more computers into the mix will fix everything. Of course computers are going to be part of these kids' world, so they need to learn about them, but figuring that kids learn better just because a computer is in front of them is a wrong-headed notion that's not borne out by the research.

Comment All your eggs in one basket. (Score 4, Insightful) 212

Wow. And how long do they think their magical key will remain secret? If a single key can open all the doors, finding that key will become more important and the resourced dedicated to discovering it will be increased. The secrets that are being protected are not only -- or even primarily -- the secrets of criminals. There are millions of bank accounts and private medical records along with political dissidents.

Every weakening of security aids not only law enforcements but criminals as well.

Comment Re:If this thread is like all the others... (Score 2) 216

can you explain what about CS is different from maths, English, physics, chemistry, biology, foreign languages, history, wood working, underwater basket weaving etc etc?

It's all about the concept of a core subject. A core subject is a basic set of skills on which other skills are built. Math and English are core subjects because there's very little you can do in life without using them to some extent. Wood working and basket weaving are not because they are secondary skills which are built on core skills and you can get along fine without them. (Provided you're not trying to build a cabinet or make a basket.) You could argue that computer science qualifies provided you don't confuse it with learning to code. Virtually everyone will require some level of computer skill in order to make a living because that particular tool has become essential in modern life, but that does not necessarily require learning to write code.

Comment And how many of these people will need to code? (Score 1) 216

A "core" subject has multiple levels and is the basis for other knowledge. Basic math is fundamental to many jobs; you can't be a plumber or an architect without it. Ditto for reading and writing. If you excel on one of these disciplines you may need advanced skills; like trigonometry in math or learning the difference between composing a novel or a newspaper article if you're a writer.

Programming doesn't qualify for the same sort of focus. You can operate a computer without programming it the same way you can drive a car without being a mechanic. Programming computers is more of an end than a means and many people, both now and in the foreseeable future, will be able to make a life without having to write a single line of code. Calling it a core subject will just create a loss of focus on what core subjects are all about.

Comment Re:Advanced is good enough (Score 1) 220

I waffled on the same problem since I've been doing code professionally since 1981, but I can't do the kind of legerdemain that someone with deep knowledge of the system internals can pull off. Does that make me advanced? Expert?

Finally I settled on "Good enough to criticize everybody else." You don't have to know anything to criticize.

Comment Re:It's a Disney movie. (Score 1) 53

Disney can't make a movie without pasting on a happy ending. They even stuck a happy ending onto the Hunchback of Notre Dame. They got to the part where everyone is hopelessly falling into a black hole and they just couldn't help themselves. They stuck on a happy ending. It doesn't have to make sense, it's Disney.

Comment The correct answer should be "none". (Score 5, Insightful) 279

There should already be backups in place and security safeguards to keep such an employee -- as much as possible -- from causing harm. Employees leave all the time, planned or unplanned, willingly or not. Certainly you want to make sure all their uncompleted tasks are turned over to someone else, but preparations should have already been in place in case health problems or personal issues cause a sudden departure.

Comment The bank I work for would just love this. (Score 2) 385

The specific rule the FBI is targeting outlines the terms for obtaining a search warrant. It's called Federal Rule 41(b), and the requested change would allow law enforcement to obtain a warrant to search electronic data without providing any specific details as long as the target computer location has been hidden through a technical tool like Tor or a virtual private network.

Everything my employer does is via a VPN. This little change would be carte blanche for virtually all corporate communications within the United States. Even the company's internal networks would be laid bare if they're remotely accessible. The opportunities for abuse are staggering.

Comment For one mile? (Score 5, Interesting) 784

A mile? That's still 1760 yards right? Geez, my walk to grade school was longer than that. The local grade school here in Massachusetts doesn't require the school to provide bus service if the kid lives within two miles of the school. Maybe Maryland should come up here and arrest the school board.

Comment Define "retire". (Score 2) 341

I'm defining it as when I have enough saved up that I don't need the income from working. Whether I actually stop working or not is another matter. After my dad "retired" he was an associate professor, headed up two startups and participated in SCORE. Eventually his health made him slow down, but he made the decision based on what he wanted to do, not on his bank balance.

A bit of advice to you young folks from one of the old farts: do the math. The "rule of 72" is that dividing 72 by your interest will tell you how many years (roughly) it will take to double your money. At 10% it doubles every seven years, at 7% it doubles every 10. Tossing even small amounts into a 401k now will give you a lot more cash at the end than throwing in a lot more later in life.

Comment All part of "No Child Left Behind". (Score 2) 529

This is inevitable under the No Child Left Behind Act. The law states that all children have to meet a single standard. The intended consequence is to raise the abilities of the less able and the disadvantaged. The actual result is that the gifted and average, who meet the standard easily, are considered "done" and ignored after that point. All the resources go into raising the abilities of the less able; sometimes an impossible task.

The end result is that the actual potential of most children is what gets "left behind".

Slashdot Top Deals

Work continues in this area. -- DEC's SPR-Answering-Automaton