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Comment timing is everything (Score 1) 515

Our early programming experiences are dictated by the tech when we first start.

For me it was basic on apple ][+ in K-6 and then logo.

The real learning began in Jr. High when I wanted to do more than draw on the screen, and had to figure out how to get user input, and how to use procedures/functions.

Later in college I nearly quit programming due to a bullshit pascal course that was way to heavy on computer history, with the repeat I got lucky with a professor who didn't spoon feed us, but gave us enough so we could figure things out.

Those lucky enough to have gifted teachers/professors and/or who have the fortitude to put in the work will definitely benefit.

Comment Early exposure to programming (Score 2) 125

My school district provided early exposure via apple II computers. They showed up one summer with an extracurricular summer workshop and then one to two per classroom, and a computer lab in Jr. High. And while there was an Atari computer at home, I basically had all of my meaningful early exposure to programming via the school district, and the teachers who were willing to spend extra time learning about and then sharing how to use them. Starting at probably age 8 or 9, I used basic and then later logo. The logo continuing off and on until 8th grade when I was using functions/procedures, getting user input, redrawing the screen, etc. By 8th grade my programming was beyond the scope of the curriculum or programming knowledge of the teacher. These skills then lay dormant for 4-5 years resurfacing in college with the first two years of CS course work. Which then led to computer support employment and then high end systems/networking employment.

It is impossible to attribute my skills to nature v. nurture, but I believe that any meaningful early exposure to computer languages, problem solving, or independent exploration of programming to solve a problem or provide something new is a worthwhile investment.

Comment Vegetarian (Score 3, Interesting) 291

Hate to be the one to point out the obvious... but the solution is not in changing the meat it is in reducing and/or eliminating the meat. A very large part of world has done very well for a very long time on limited or no meat, eating beans and rice, lentils and rice, and tofu and rice. Meat requires vast quantities of water, creates vast quantities of waste, and is a huge caloric loss if you are feeding the animal grains or other foodstuffs that humans can eat directly. Beef being the worst offender for water use, and pollution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E...

Comment Thanks for all the Fish Wrapper (Score 5, Interesting) 1521

In 1997, right after Chips n' Dips had faded away, to be replaced by the enigmatically named http:///..org, all of us free software nerds hung on its every story, comment and poll like it was carved on tablet and flung from a burning bush. A year later I had started at hardware maker VA Research and /. was falling down for lack of machinery, so we rummaged through our returns piles and sent Rob and Jeff some 2u servers to help out. That was for me the beginning of some of the most important friendships in my adult life.

Its hard to explain how important Slashdot was to all of us 10 years ago. Indeed, without it it would be hard to imagine HN, Reddit, Digg, Fark or any of a thousand lesser sites. The editorial perspective of Rob and the other editors of /. is what kept people coming back and for a long time that perspective was Rob's, then Rob and Jeff and a bunch of us (some, like Timothy and samzenpus, still around!), but then Jeff left, now Rob. In some way I see this as a passing of an era in free software.

Throughout, while some have left for those greener shores, slashdot abided even while buffeted by the markets and the de/evolving internet news world, and it has remained a default tab in my and many others' browsers.

I didn't mean this post to be about Slashdot though, but about my friend Rob. I'll only say that while the site will be the lessor for you leaving, I firmly believe that computer science will gain my. While this note reads like an epitaph or the last pages of a book, it is really no more than a thank you note from me and many I know to your for your decade+ of work on the site. So...

Thanks.

Slashdot.org

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda Resigns From Slashdot 1521

After 14 years and over 15,000 stories posted, it's finally time for me to say Good-Bye to Slashdot. I created this place with my best friends in a run down house while still in college. Since then it has grown to be read by more than a million people, and has served Billions and Billions of Pages (yes, in my head I hear the voice). During my tenure I have done my best to keep Slashdot firmly grounded in its origins, but now it's time for someone else to come aboard and find the *future*. Personally I don't have any plans, but if you need to get ahold of me for any reason, you can find me as @cmdrtaco on twitter or Rob Malda on Google+. You could also update my mail address to be malda at cmdrtaco dot net. Hit the link below if you want to read some nostalgic saccharine crap that I need to get out of my system before I sign off for the last time.
NASA

NASA Discovers 7th Closest Star 137

Thorfinn.au says "Scientists using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have discovered the coldest class of star-like bodies, with temperatures as cool as the human body. Astronomers hunted these dark orbs, termed Y dwarfs, for more than a decade without success. When viewed with a visible-light telescope, they are nearly impossible to see. WISE's infrared vision allowed the telescope to finally spot the faint glow of six Y dwarfs relatively close to our sun, within a distance of about 40 light-years. 'WISE scanned the entire sky for these and other objects, and was able to spot their feeble light with its highly sensitive infrared vision,' said Jon Morse, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington. 'They are 5,000 times brighter at the longer infrared wavelengths WISE observed from space than those observable from the ground.'"
Real Time Strategy (Games)

Sports Bars Changing Channels For Video Gamers 351

dtmos wrote in to say that "This summer, StarCraft II has become the newest bar room spectator sport. Fans organize so-called Barcraft events, taking over pubs and bistros from Honolulu to Florida and switching big-screen TV sets to Internet broadcasts of professional game matches. As they root for their on-screen superstars, StarCraft enthusiasts can sow confusion among regular patrons... But for sports-bar owners, StarCraft viewers represent a key new source of revenue from a demographic—self-described geeks—they hadn't attracted before."
Security

Researchers Report Spike In Boot Time Malware 132

wiredmikey writes "In their most recent intelligence report, Symantec researchers pointed out a massive increase in the amount of boot time malware striking users, noting there have already been as many new boot time malware threats detected in the first seven months of 2011 as there were in the previous three years. Also known as MBR (master boot record) threats, the malware infect an area of the hard disk that makes them one of the first things to be read and executed when a computer is turned on. This enables the threats to effectively dodge many security defenses."
Businesses

MakerBot Gets $10 Million Investment 160

First time accepted submitter chrisl456 writes "MakerBot Industries, makers (hah!) of 3D printers / personal fabrication devices, just got a big boost in the form of $10 million from an 'all-star lineup.' Replicators, here we come!"

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