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Comment Re:I don't code (Score 1) 515

This is why computer programming in school needs to be carefully targeted and introduced, not applied to every single student like history or math. As I've stated elsewhere, programming is art, not science. You don't require every last student to be a musician, so why require them to be a programmer? You want to expose every student to some sort of music, just in case they might like it and be good at it, but not everyone's cut out for it. Good programmers think differently from other people. They find the challenge of "thinking like a computer" isn't a challenge at all, but comes naturally. In the words of an old pop song by Al Stewart, "If it doesn't come naturally, leave it."

Comment 100 Percent Self-Taught (Score 1) 515

Bought a C-64 and 1541 disk drive back when they first came out and taught myself BASIC and Assembly Language with the help of books and articles from RUN magazine. Eventually wrote a few articles and programs (Runterm was one of mine) for RUN, as well as a couple of small commercial programs (Colorez was one of mine as well). Even to this day, I'm at my best when I teach myself a new computer language and start using it for a project, whether that language is Object Pascal (aka "Delphi"), C++ or C#. Today, I do work for state governments and large international corporations. I think I've got the whole programming thing down.

Programming, IMHO, isn't science. It isn't math (I'm terrible at math), it's art. You can't really learn to be a musician or an artist in a classroom. Sure, a teacher can instruct you in the techniques, but your heart and soul has to be in it first. Oh, sure, expose kids to computer programming early so they can see if it interests them, but don't ruin the experience by reducing it to "name the five ..." or "what is the difference between ..." questions. You either learn something to know and master it, or you learn something to take a test on it. You can't do both.I know that from personal experience.

Comment Disabling Windows Update in Home Edition (Score 2) 354

You don't need any special tools or programs to disable Windows Update in Windows 10 Home. Just go into Services and disable the Windows Update service itself. Best plan is to keep it disabled until a few weeks after each major update (when you know that the update won't bork your system), turn it back on, do the update manually, then turn it off again until after the next month's Patch Tuesday. Put an icon for Services on the desktop to make life easier. In addition, make sure you enable setting a restore point during a Windows Update in case something still goes wrong.
Remember: Paranoia means never having to say you're sorry!

Comment Delay Windows Update (Score 2) 203

I disable the Windows Update service until about a week or so after the release of a major update. Then, as long as I haven't seen any reports of people complaining about their machines breaking, I turn the service back on, get the update, and turn it back off again. It's a PITA, but it's better than the alternative.

Oh, I also changed the default setting in Windows 10 to create a restore point automatically prior to applying an update. Windows 10 has that turned off for some reason.

Comment The End of All Timelines (Score 1) 209

Ah, no, that's not our future. In ten years global conflict, greed, and social pushback will cause civilization to collapse, reducing the world to an agrarian economy similar to the mid-nineteenth century. Technology of all sorts will be condemned as the cause of our problems, to which the solution will be ignorance, intolerance, and cultural isolation. Anyone who disagrees with the opinion of the majority will be purged from society. As a result, all digital Timelines will simply ... end.

On a more positive note, at least the Net Neutrality debate will end as well.

Comment The Brick Wall Principle (Score 1) 323

No violence, no meanness, no cruelty. Teach kids that the world doesn't revolve around them. If they're polite, considerate of others, say "please" and "thank you", then the world may give them some of what they want. If, on the other hand, they're demanding, insulting, and inconsiderate of others, they end up kissing an unyielding brick wall. Sort of like the golden rule turned on its side: you get what you give, no exceptions. And you know what the hardest part of this principle is? Mom and Dad have to practice it themselves every day. Kids imitate the parents, so if you spank and yell at them, well, guess what? You're teaching them that violence is perfectly okay. You can do whatever you want to others as long as you're bigger or are in a position of authority.
Cause ... meet Effect.

Comment Keeping it Simple (Score 1) 240

I'm with you on this. As a programmer, the thing I hate the most is "Gee, Mom, look what I can do!" code -- obtuse code written to impress rather than be simple, obvious and functional. And yes there are indeed times when something mind-bendingly complex is needed to achieve the required goal, but by and large, the KISS principle applies. As to the article's main point, I have to ask what is the purpose of breaking backward compatibility: Making it faster to produce readable, easily maintainable code, being the first one on the block to use something new and shiny, or simply to appear to be one of the Elite? Always keep in mind, however, that programing is more an art than a science, and creativity often comes from the simplest of tools, not the most expensive or the trendiest. And creativity is why we fiddle with all these bits, right?

Comment Re:Why Math matters (Score 1) 241

Bur how often do you need to understand those things to implement a typical computer program that helps a user get something done? Oftentimes, you simply need to know one is better than another and get on with it. Of course, you'd need that understanding to, for example, work on the TrueCrypt sourcecode. But generally? I don't think so/

Comment Programming != Math (Score 1) 241

Programming isn't, strictly speaking, math. Not like calculus or algebra is math. It's something else entirely.

I have a rather annoying learning disability, and have suffered from it since I was in first grade: I have a great difficulty memorizing things. Now, even with that rather annoying problem, I managed to be near the top of the class in both grade school and high school. What happened is I learned early on how to analyze the patterns behind the subjects I was expected to memorize and when test-time came was able to reconstruct most of the required information based on those patterns. Perfect example of this is spelling. I figured out what phoenetic combinations ruled English, and used them to pass tests. Armed with those rules, I only had to remember one or two odd words per week. In history, I found myself being able to understand and explain historical trends and influences. Names and Dates, on the other hand, gave me (literally) a headache. Simple math was easy (just a small number of consistent rules, after all). Sort of. Word problems in math, on the other hand, were difficult at best.

After I graduated college, I bought myself a Commodore 64 (they were just on the market) and dove right into both Basic and Assembly language. Both were easy for me to analyze and comprehend. Logic may be a branch of mathematics, but to me it's more obvious than anything in the math textbooks. Calculus is (for me) as obtuse and illogical as it gets. "If a water tank with a height of 15 feet and a circumference of 20 feet is 2/3 full of water, with a 1/8 inch hole a foot above the bottom, how long will it take the water level to drop to the hole?" Just plug the hole, whydoncha? Jeez!

Interestingly enough, I also have problems with computer word problems. Just give me the code (any code -- C, C++, C#, pascal, basic, assembler, SQL) and a little time, and I'll tell you what's causing the bug you're seeing. Now, after all these years, I'm the one everyone comes to when faced with an intractable computer problem that no one else seems able to solve. And I still don't like math.

Comment Re:Not the phone (Score 1) 243

I'll do you one better. My dumbphone costs me $100 US a year for voice and messages (I turn text messages off, though -- the phone's too small to type on with my fat thumbs), and any money I don't spend on calls gets rolled over to the next year. The phone doesn't use data, and I don't need it to. Email and Internet's what my laptop is for. Why would I want to spend $35 each month when what I've got now is more than I need? Oh, and that $35 is just the starting point. After you add state and federal fees, it's more like $50 a month.

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