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Comment needing to use a web browser can be a chore (Score 1) 177

That's why I'm really looking forward to the thick-client version of slashdot. This web browser nonsense is rubbish, I really want to install a separate app for each website that I use, and I hope all of these thick clients implement the same features in a consistent manner such as back button browser tabs etc.

Comment ICDL or open ICDL (Score 1) 364

For basic computer literacy starters you could look at the International Computer Drivers Licence ICDL or open ICDL.
Google "open ICDL" or see

ICDL uses Windows XP, Internet Explorer & MS Office
open ICDL uses Ubuntu Linux, Firefox & Open Office

Both office suites include a mini database (Access or OO Base), which is used to explain some DB fundamentals.

Neither course attempts to introduce any sort of programming.

Comment Copper wire in South Africa (Score 2, Interesting) 338

Here in South Africa copper wire has been a country wide problem, some areas being hit time and again 1 week after the lines have been restored.
I definitely agree that fiber is the way to go, especially once you've replaced the same line more than 6 times....

Problem is that they go after the electricity cables too, and those can't be replaced with fiber.
Occasionally they end up self fried, but it doesn't seem to be a long term deterrent.

Comment cms or wiki (Score 1) 369

AFAIK Confluence is open source but not free, I recall Atlassian providing source code with their enterprise licences. I'm completely unfamiliar with Plone, but I've investigated a fair number of Wiki's and CMS's. From what I learned a while ago when looking into this, there is a distinction between a wiki and CMS, with CMS being a bit more complex. One of the basic CMS requirements was workflow publishing, i.e. content is changed but not made available for public consumption until the necessary parties had reviewed and authorised it. I was very impressed with XWiki and Alfresco

Comment Let him have a wooden copy for a good few years. (Score 1) 417

As a professional programmer, I naturally have a keen affinity for various computer models including those that we put in our pockets.
However as a father of two, I firmly believe that computerised or televised entertainment is harmful to childrens development, and must be restricted as much as possible during formative years.
Its much too easy leave it to barney the baby-sitter to entertain the children.
I have seen how children get mesmerised my the screens and stop interacting with the rest of their under-developed senses.
So for now let him copy your behavior with preferably a wooden non-toxic imitation.
Let him develop the skills and senses that you can now take for granted.
At 18 months he's barely mastered the tactile sense, and should be experimenting with surfaces of different textures, especially with his mouth.
In years to come when the basic skills and senses are developed, he can start attaining specialised computer skills if so desired.
Baby-hacker might be a cute idea, but seeing as so many adult hackers have imbalanced development, typically below average in either social or physical development, try to lead the kid towards a balanced development.

Submission + - The World's First Full Face Transplant (

Dave Knott writes: "A thirty member Spanish medical team has achieved the world's first full face transplant. There have been ten previous similar operations, but this is claimed to be the first total transplant, replacing all of the face including some bones. The unnamed recipient originally injured himself in a shooting accident, and received the entire facial skin and muscles — including cheekbones, nose, lips and teeth — of a donor. The complex operation involved extraction of the donor's face, followed by removal of the jaw, nose, cheeks and parts of the eye cavities. Then the medical team took all of the donor face's soft tissue, including musculature, veins and nerves. In order to transplant the face, the medical team has to connect four jugular veins, extract bones and join all the musculature and blood vessels. The recipient has had a chance to see himself in the mirror, and is reportedly satisfied with the results. It is unknown whether he now looks more like John Travolta or Nicolas Cage."

Submission + - LHC finds Beauty quark ( 2

z4ns4stu writes: On Wednesday scientists at the LHC "found a particle called a beauty or bottom quark. Cern scientists have a wishlist of particles they want to measure in the experiment, and the beauty quark is the first on the list that they have found."

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