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Comment Re:Teach 'em the basics (Score 1) 462

Why? Most of these kids aren't going to be programmers, they are going to use the computer as a tool to get their jobs done. If I'm going to drive a nail, why should I have to know how the hammer is made? If they are interested in being programmers, they'll learn on their own, like many of us did. The education should be more general, even leaving out the big three Microsoft Office products. Not everyone uses Microsoft Office at home, so why teach them the specific keystrokes, etc. Teach them some rudimentary troubleshooting and the concepts of how the computer works, so that they're not helpless when something goes wrong. Beyond that, teach them the general techniques that they can adapt to whatever software they have.

Comment Re:Are they all tuned to the same channel? (Score 1) 539

They may not be switching the local OTA channels to digital. I think that the FCC requires the "Must carry" channels to be available via analog. Comcast did that to us last year, but they didn't charge for the boxes. We found that channels above 22 were gone, but all channels below 22 were still available via analog. That suited us just fine because all of the OTA and local PEG channels, are all below 22. So the boxes are still sitting in a closet.

Comment Businesses Like Identity Theft (Score 1) 44

Identity theft is good for the bottom line, that's why. You can sell lots of things to an Identity thief, plus it's recession proof! If you're Best Buy (or some other vendor), you get to sell more stuff. By the next month, you've already posted the profit so then you can hang the loss on the credit card company, who then gets a bailout from the government. It's a perfect scam, all the way around!

Comment Re:Strange... (Score 2, Interesting) 290

All the kids in my neighborhood spend hours staring at their tiny Nintendo DS and DSi screens and do some amazing things with them, so the tiny screen is going to be no impediment to them. My 10 year old daughter is creating short animations and videos using her DSi, and is learning the principles of storytelling, drawing and editing? Why shouldn't that hardware form factor be adapted to educational software? Better still, why not use the DS/DSi as the platform instead of a cheap knockoff? For the cost of 3 PCs, an entire classroom can be outfitted with these "educational DSis". That is within the reach of most school systems, even in these rough times. That is, assuming that Nintendo allows third party apps.

Comment Why Should the Users Know the Innards? (Score 1) 876

When you go to the doctor, do you say "Doctor, my Interior Vena Cava isn't processing the volume of blood that it should"? No, you say "my chest hurts". The innards of a computer are just as mysterious to the average user as the insides of the human body. Why should a user be able to tell a hard drive from a cable modem? We, as IT professionals are paid to diagnose and fix the problem. We rely on users to report symptoms, then we figure out what the problem is. Our first question should not be "What part is broken?", but rather "What is happening?"

Comment 20 Feet Underground in the Dark (Score 1) 1127

We were running a geophysical survey inside the Croton Aqueduct. The PC, a generator and the geophysical equipment were all mounted on a 7 foot cube shaped PVC cart. The custom software we were using didn't transfer the data to a backup disk properly, so the whole thing stopped about two hours into the project. We were a mile from the nearest entrance, I was in water up to my knees, with water dripping on the PC. The only lights were two shop lights which were hooked up to the generator. I had to cobble something together in DOS to scan the available space on the drive and to move the files when there was 10% left on the drive so we could keep working. A picture of me doing it was on the company web site for about 5 years.

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