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Education

Submission + - CS Profs Debate Role of Math in CS Education

theodp writes: Worried that his love-hate relationship with math might force him to give up the pursuit of computer science, CS student Dean Chen finds comfort from an unlikely source — the postings of CS professors on the SIGSE mailing list. 'I understand that discussing the role of math in CS is one of those religious war type issues,' writes Brad Vander Zanden. 'After 30 years in the field, I still fail to see how calculus and continuous math correlate with one's ability to succeed in many areas of computer science...I have seen many outstanding programmers who struggled with calculus and never really got it.' Dennis Frailey makes a distinction between CS research and applied CS: 'For too long, we have taught computer science as an academic discipline (as though all of our students will go on to get PhDs and then become CS faculty members) even though for most of us, our students are overwhelmingly seeking careers in which they apply computer science.' Frailey adds that part of the problem may be that some CS Profs — math gods that they may be — are ill-equipped to teach CS in a non-mathematical manner: 'Let's be honest about another aspect of the problem — what can the faculty teach? For a variety of reasons, a typical CS faculty consists mainly of individuals who specialize in CS as a discipline, often with strong mathematical backgrounds. How many of them could teach a good course in cloud computing or multi-core systems or software engineering or any of the many other topics that the graduates will find useful when they graduate? Are such courses always relegated to instructors or adjuncts or other non-tenure-track faculty?' So, how does this jibe with Slashdotters' experience?
Music

Submission + - Why we should buy music in FLAC (blogspot.com)

soodoo writes: "We have plenty of HDD space and broadband internet. Why don't we demand full CD quality audio in an accessible format from online music stores?
The advantage of lossless is not only the small audio quality improvement, but better future proofing and converting capabilities. FLAC is a good, free and open format, well suited for this job."

Facebook

Submission + - Does Facebook Kill Authenticity? 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Steve Cheney writes that the problem with tying internet-wide identity to a broadcast network like Facebook is that people don’t want one normalized identity, either in real life, or virtually. "People yearn to be individuals. They want to be authentic. They have numerous different groups of real-life friends. They stylize conversations. They are emotional and have an innate need to connect on different levels with different people," writes Cheney adding that the recent decision by a number of sites, including TechCrunch, to adopt Facebook commenting highlights the problem where the integration of the formatting and fonts is so strong that when you're reading comments you actuallyfeel like you are on Facebook, not a tech focused vertical site. "Facebook’s insistence that you have one identity across the web is both short-sighted and asinine, and people I talk to are starting to realize this," concludes Cheney. "Fact is, one social network will not rule the web... People are simply way too social to allow that.""

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