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Good Language Choice For School Programming Test? 407

An anonymous reader writes "The Australian Informatics Olympiad programming test is being run in a couple of months. I'm an experienced programmer and I'm thinking of volunteering to tutor interested kids at my children's school to get them ready. There will be children of all levels in the group, from those that can't write 'hello world' in any language, to somewhat experienced programmers. For those starting from scratch, I'm wondering what language to teach them to code in. Accepted languages are C, C++, Pascal, Java, PHP, Python and Visual Basic. I'm leaning towards Python, because it is a powerful language with a simple syntax. However, the test has a run-time CPU seconds limit, so using an interpreted language like Python could put the students at a disadvantage compared to using C. Is it better to teach them something in 2 months that they're likely to be able to code in but possibly run foul of the CPU time limit, or struggle to teach them to code in a more complicated syntax like C/C++ which would however give them the best chance of having a fast solution?"

Comment Re:read the soltion here (Score 1) 58

Yeah, that's totally the right idea. I just scanned through the PDF and it seems more geared towards desktop PC use, and it even talks about the gateway running on a commodity PC. Rather, I think we need to think more about cheap, single use computers. Take something small like a gumsitx board, put two ethernet ports on it and load OpenVPN and a key onto it, then plug in the existing smart device into one port and the existing internet connection into the other port...suddenly the device can't be seen (and hacked) by the world at large, and is on a private network for the utility.

Comment Re:No, you are BLATANTLY wrong. (Score 1) 180

It's rather the point though. Small games have a much lower break-even point. If you make a small game in a couple of weeks and a thousand people buy it for $5, you're doing okay. If ten thousand people buy it, you're doing really well. The game cost around $5k to make, including online distribution costs. Now scale that up to a game that costs $50m to make and you've got to sell a million copies at $5 to break even. Or a hundred thousand copies at $50, but both are pretty hard. Now look at the small game again, and imagine it selling for 50. Now it's in the impulse by category; it costs about as much as a pack of crisps. Now you need ten thousand people to buy it, but you can do that pretty easily.

Blockbuster games, like blockbuster movies, have a huge investment cost. If you've got $50m in capital to invest, then it makes a lot more sense to finance a load of smaller games than a single big game. The single big game may flop and you lose everything. The smaller games are all likely to break even, because they have to please a lot fewer people to do so, and a few of them may end up doing spectacularly well.

PopCap is doing incredibly well by realising this.


Submission + - Linode Clarifies Involvement in Google Hack Claims 2 writes: "In the interest of full disclosure, I am an employee of Linode. As many in the Internet hosting and security communities are aware, extensive media coverage of Chinese hacking activity has implicated the Linode network as being involved. We've released a public statement regarding this matter; essentially, the VPS in question was not under the control of malicious parties."

Comment Re:Tapped out, eh? (Score 1) 325

What's more important is variety. Are you really going to get both Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2?
I haven't played that particular series but if I like a game and find it completable then i'll amost certainly buy the sequal (sometimes if I like it enough i'll buy the sequal even if I can't complete the first one), heck the last two consoles I bought (PS3 and XBOX 360) were bought primerally because I wanted to continue following a series (R&C for the PS3, GTA for the 360)

Comment Re:Are you serious, or just killing time? (Score 1) 268

I don't deny that they exist, but your sample group was insufficient to determine if all cheap switches are really switches.

I never made that assertion. I was merely offering a single data point to disprove your assertion.

If you can get 5 ports for $20, it's a hub.

My data point showed that this statement is not true in all cases.

I could make a chart for you if you like. :)

Comment Re:Johnny Cab (Score 2, Insightful) 609

The lack of a steering wheel might increase the risk of back and neck injury in an accident, however, due to the increased space you'd have to move in (even with an airbag).

Compared to the alternative of my body trying to occupy the same space as the steering column (or vice-versa)? Assuming a shoulder belt and head rest, the middle seat in the back is generally the safest seat in the car, precisely because there is less chance of a piece of the car intruding in your personal space.

Comment Re:I am a firefighter (Score 1) 133

I disagree. Certainly the 'resolution' isn't as high, given the level of ambient noise and the muffling of your voice caused by the facepiece, but it's still useful. A quick shout can give you a pretty good impression of the size of the room you're in, and any immediate obstacles. Paying attention to sounds (of both the passive and active origin) is a very important aspect of situational awareness in low visibility situations.

Of course, life may be different for you water boys on the end of a hoseline. :p

Manlius FD, 32 Truck

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