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User Journal

Journal Journal: I'm Signing Off 9

I've come to Slashdot probably 340 days a year for the last eleven years or so. I used to get my news from it, but since Digg and now Reddit appeared, there hasn't been much point to that. Instead, I read the comments, which were filled with Goatse, Diarrhea trolls, and useless memes, but which had some really bright and insightful people posting.
The place used to be caustic, but donning a protective suit was worth it.

I don't get that anymore. As one poster put it yesterday, "Has Slashdot become Yahoo! Answers? Kill me now!" I totally agree. "There are no stupid questions" has replaced "Read 'How to Ask Smart Questions' or GTFO!" I liked the old way. Slashdot isn't a support forum where we need to have a code of behavior, is it? We're geeks: If you do, say, or ask something stupid, own up to it, learn, and move on.

Anyway, I'm one of the last few of the old guard from the '97-'98 era still frequenting this place (this is my second ID). I don't think I have it in me anymore.

Does anyone know a site where jerky curmudgeons like me sit around and discuss the news? I don't, and recommendations like Reddit don't really pass muster.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Google Apps Certification is Pointless

I just got my Google Apps for Education Qualified Individual certification, which cost US$90, and which includes the most useless set of tests over nine hours. I have been married to Google Apps for fours years now and admin two basic domains, and yet very few of the questions had any relevance to administrating or using the products. They were multiple choice, T/F, or cloze.

Google really needs to give us a demo domain and ask us to complete various tasks, similar to how the RHCE works. People respect that cert. Instead, I got a cert modeled after the useless and disrespected MCSE.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why so much NIH?

I'm still confused as to why Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google don't agree amongst themselves to use their own services + XMPP + some plugins to openly replicate Facebook and immediately become big players in the social business. When your competition is eclipsing you like FB is, you need to start making some hard choices. There's no collusion if it's an open platform, right? Old and slow. Old and slow.

User Journal

Journal Journal: How bad is the U.S. public school system? 5

I started working in the worst school in one of the worst districts in the U.S. a few months ago, and the level of brokenness of the entire system is shocking. I won't go into too much detail, or talk about the insane assumption that teachers will purchase supplies for their classes, something I have never witnessed in other professions. Instead, I'll talk about something that makes we want to cry.

I got a new student last week: she's a refugee from a Central American country. Her father was killed by the gangs there, and when her family fled through Mexico, they were kidnapped and raped for weeks. She speaks no English at all, yet she makes more effort than 98% of my other students, and I can teach her algebra and geometry in half the time it takes the other kids. Wonderful, right? The only problem is that she's going to be deported in a few weeks because her family has applied for refugee status, but they won't get it because the people who want to kill her don't work for the government.

Meanwhile, about 15% of my students are known undocumented aliens (read that as illegal), but schools aren't allowed to talk to immigration.

Summary? The kid who really needs and would profit from staying in country won't be able to (and will likely be killed when deported) because her family tried to follow the law, while people who didn't make any attempt to and merely sneaked into the country are staying.


Journal Journal: Computer Tech Club Suggestions? 2

I'm planning to start a computer tech club at my school, oriented around receiving donations of parts and putting computers together for poor families (possibly of other students). Of course we'll need to put a free OS on them.

Any suggestions on what organizations would be likely to donate or how to approach them? What pitfalls should I avoid? Do you think this is a reasonable way to get kids involved in the hardware side of computing? I've never done anything like this before.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Things I want 3

  1. I want a WYSIWYG HTML5 editor the uses two CSS files (one for print format and one for flow format) and a simple tar.gz or zip file to hold the HTML, images, and videos.
  2. I want XMPP and identity in my browser.
  3. I want NOT to have to race Slashdot's loading of more articles when I got to the bottom of my journal page in order to click "Write in journal."

Thank you.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Graphing Calculator Recommendations? 1

I've got to buy a graphing calculator for a teaching competency exam I'll be taking in about two months. Despite doing 2 years of engineering, I've never used one of these things (they weren't useful for my courses in the 80s), and I'll have to become proficient in that time, as well. Does Slashdot have any recommendations for an inexpensive, easy-to-learn graphing calc?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Goy's in Love with Firefly? 2

We just got around to watching Firefly for the first time, and Goy can't stop talking about it or whining that it got cancelled. She's not really a sci-fi kind of gal, normally. Quite strange.

User Journal

Journal Journal: What Does Ubuntu Need to Put in a Developer CD?

Quickly is a new(ish) platform to help developers get into developing Ubuntu applications,* but right now it's mainly a command-line program that calls Glade and an editor when necessary. I believe Ubuntu would profit from integrating Quickly, Launchpad PPAs, and Bazaar into GEdit, supplying all the necessary documentation and Python modules*, and putting the resulting system on a special developers' CD.

If Ubuntu were to put out a developers' CD (specifically in order to attract new developers to the platform), what should they include in the distribution CD?

* Quickly isn't limited to Ubuntu or Python, but those areas are the main focus now.
User Journal

Journal Journal: TOEFL and the Neanderthals

I was listening to someone prepare for the TOEFL exam, and a practice listening question was about Neanderthal man and inter-breeding as a possible reason for extinction. I'm pretty sure (off of the top of my head) that this theory is no longer believed, but the listening selection made me think.

What if interbreeding became popular, the offspring were sterile, and they were excluded from the homo sapien society, but not the Neanderthal one? Or the breeding may have occurred primarily between human males and Neanderthal females, for whatever reason. The breeding rate for the Neanderthal group would be greatly reduced, and the population would drop precipitously within two hundred years. No DNA evidence would be evident in modern man.

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