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Comment The Cost of College Books (Score 1) 419

My older siblings took calculus. Each of them had their own book. I took it in college, and the book changed during the year, so I have two. I tutor calculus these days, and I was horrified to see that a rather awful presentation of the subject was run off on tissue paper, weighed twice what my own tomes weigh, and cost $165 ea. Used books were frequently underlined and highlighted by the less-than-4.0 students, so those were more of distractions than assistance. A science-oriented freshman in the local college where I live can expect to pay nearly $1000 in books a year. I still don't see ebooks as having the ability to finger flip to relevant portions of a book as quickly as those in print; sadly, the technology in an ebook becomes an impediment to efficient teaching. Even homework is assigned and answered online, so there's little room for "showing your work." Don't get me wrong. I like ebooks...for novels, the occasional read, but not for serious study. They lack color, and the ability to provide tactile indexing to the subject, e.g. I feel / open the book 3/4 of the way through it, and I kinda know where I am in it. A bit harder with an ebook.

So, if we demand our student lug these voluminous compendia around a campus, can't we at least give them better quality, more precise content, and a cheaper cost? At least something to offset the price of the truss they're gonna need!

If the professors wish to change out books mid topic, fine, just give the students a massive discount for those affected by the change. Bolting on resource courses, and using opt-outs, etc, makes going to college feel more like buying insurance, what with all subtle disclaimers and fine print when you register for a simple course. Eventually, even basket weaving will require a waiver, because, "Caution: This Class Introduces Students to Potentially Harmful Reed. Contents May Be Sharp."

At least give the students something back for their "taxes," before an ebook tea party is started.

Comment Re:Linus (Score 1) 909

When people who tell me, "Programming is hard. I could never program," I respond with, "If you can make out a shopping list, buy the groceries and cook dinner, serve it on the table, and enjoy a good meal; then, you can design, write, implement, and deploy a program. Only the language is different."

Basically, I'm a c programmer. I tell people, "If I can do it, anyone can do it."

I leave out the part where I tell them I've been doing it for almost 30 years. :-) Most programmers I know, who happen to be really good at programming, lack that superficial ego. They have fun doing it, and love to share.

But that's just my experience.

Comment Re:Bad news for Amateur Radio (Score 1) 435

My biggest worry for ham radio is when people say they no longer need Morse Code. What's next? Giving up our bandwidth, since we don't practice CW as much as we should? I'm sorry, but I might not be able to hear speech, but I can make out CW a substantially less than 559, and even with a QRI of 1, -.-. --.- is still CQ. Think of the low sunspot activity as a chance to brush up on QRP, and try getting back to CW. Let's not lose any more bandwidth, because as long as we can work CW, we're useful for emergency communications, continued radio experimentation, and our bandwidth.


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