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Comment No comments on Acer Aspire One so far? (Score 3, Informative) 284

I'm quite surprised to see nobody has yet recommended an Acer Aspire One for this use case. I got my first AAO in 2008, when they were still little crappy 9", 1024x600 screens, and when the keys were actualy not at a standard distance. From the period when "Netbook" was being defined. It was far from perfect, but I loved it. Back then, I also had a 12" Dell XPS, wayyyyy heavier and bulkier, but of course, terribly more powerful. I took the AAO with me to way more places than the Dell.
Five years later, it was time for an upgrade. I got a new AAO; its models by 2013 had improved to a 10" 1366x768 screen, full-sized keyboard, but kept basically the same weight (the computers are quite thinner than the older generation).
I have recommended and bought seven such computers for friends and family. Never regretted it. As the original poster says, I'm after portability much more than power-- And having a US$300 computer that travels with me... Is just great.
Of course, I never had a hiccup recognizing all of its modest hardware with Linux.

Comment Re:Bring back oppressing the poor (Score 1) 279

Though that said, I'd be less than shocked if I found out that a bunch of Cubans had also escaped to Cancun. And I'm sure some did flee to Jamaica and Haiti and whatnot, though that would have been more difficult with Guantanamo (and US military presence) right there in addition to dodging the Cuban military.

I was born and live in Mexico. Over the years, I have met tens of Cubans who came here for different reasons, some exiting legally, some... much less so. Most of those exiting legally returned to Cuba. Yes, not everybody was allowed out — but it was not as dire as you imagine. Now, out of those who left ilegally, basically all of them either had emigrated to the USA (and I met them later, as USA citizens) or were on their way to do so.
Mexico is far from a first-world country, but it's also a place where an educated and skilled person can surely make a very good living. Many cubans have stayed here, of course, but there's nothing like Miami — I'd say, just an average Cuban community comparable to other Latin American national communities.
As for Haiti and Jamaica... No, that's highly unlikely. In fact, it's way more probable for Haitians to try to immigrate into Cuba.

Comment Re:It was bound to happen. (Score 1) 106

which is why the REAL Issue is that Mexico has a pay of $3.00 PER DAY.

Average manufacturing wages in Mexico are more than $2 per hour or about $17 / day. That is low compared to America, but the cost-of-living is low in Mexico, so money goes further. The maquiladora close to the US border usually pay even more.

Nope. No, not by a long shot.

I am a Mexican. I work as an academician at a university, and have a quite comfortable lifestyle. I earn about US$20 a day.

Many of my students work part-time to get through life, although the university itself is free. They usually earn between a quarter than what I do.

Basic income (~US$3.5 a day) is not uncommon. Often, those jobs allow for extra income (say, tipping), but that's far from the norm.

Comment Re:The skill they need to teach in IT school... (Score 4, Interesting) 332

Fifteen years ago, I was offered a job at Yahoo, in California, making close to four times my then-current salary in Mexico City. About US$70K a year. That money, even today, is a shitload of money for me.
Of course, I declined. I declined even being unaware of the ridiculously high costs of living in the San Francisco Bay area — I declined because I didn't want to stop living at a city I love, close to my family and life-long friends. But yes, digging a bit deeper into what US$70K a year would be for a living there... I never looked back.
Currently, I have been employed for 11 years at the same place. The peso has slided against the dollar, so I still make slightly over US$20K a year. I live a very nice life in a house very well located. I don't have much savings, but then again, I did have something to fall on when my kids were born. Have never had a loan. My wife does not currently work, but we estimate she can go back to doing so in 2-3 years, and then we will get some savings again.
What would there be in there for me going for a life at a country that will always see me as a foreigner? Not much, I guess.

Comment CompSci in the classroom (Score 4, Insightful) 68

When people argue that we have to teach computer science to kids, it's Papert's approach we should be following. It's worth nothing to teach in cool new technologies, as grade school is not meant for work enablement. We don't need kids learning the concept of the fad-languge-of-the-week. We need kids to start learning algorithmic thinking, to understand how to translate a tangible problem into a computer program, and see a mathematically-described result. Many of us got that as kids, and I'm sure that's what sparked so many of the bright minds that pushed the free software movement from a pipe dream into a thriving reality. Programming can be fun. Programming teaches us new ways to think. It's not about marketability of our kids in 5, 10, 15 years - It's about teaching them tools to think, to create.

Thanks for all of your great work, Dr. Papert.

Submission + - Seymour Papert, creator of the Logo language, died aged 88

gwolf writes: The great educator, creator of the Logo programming language, and the enabler for computer education in the 1980s has passed away. Listing his contributions is impossible in an article summary, but the ACM has published a short in-memoriam note for him.
Papert is, without exaggeration, one of the people I owe my career and life choices to.

Comment Re:Nexus Devices (Score 1) 340

I have owned at least three different cheap Android phones (one with Android 2.2, one 4.1 and one 4.4) from three different cheap brands (ZTE, BLÜ and VeryKool), and they all offered a FM radio application. The second one had quite bad reception, but worked. They all used the same application (with the same silly "five favorite stations only" cap).
I don't know if Android does not offer a standard API for FM radio, but it does offer a standard app at least — which, I guess, is left out or disabled by those that want /not/ to offer it.

Comment Color me surprised... (Score 1) 340

I believe that all of the (not so many) cell phones I have bought since my first one, around 2003, have had FM radio capabilities. And it's always been one of the features I have most used. Except for the Nokia N95 I bought in 2008, my phones have always been at the cheap end of the category — I currently have a "Verykool" (yes, that's the brand) that costed under US$80, bought it because it's a dual-SIM, unlocked, decently-recent-Android, decent-camera phone.
Anyway, a FM chip is probably one of the cheapest functions to implement in a phone. I never doubted that every phone should carry it, as it brings value that many of us still use. One more thing to check when my phone finally gives the ghost — hopefully a couple of years from now.

Comment There is also a quality gap (Score 2) 352

I use my mobile data very seldom, so I have little experience on this. Also, I am in Mexico, which might have somewhat inferior infrastructure — although I understand that, in major cities at least, it is very close to what you get in the USA.

I don't like mobile networking. It is quite laggier, and its quality variance (both in bandwidth and in latency) is much higher than wired Internet. Of course, it can be easily explained with many people walking into or out of my cell, with the antennas having to synchronize with all of the devices and whatnot.

Maybe it's not so annoying for people that don't use interactive sessions... But given the nature of most Web pages (and darned apps), every day interaction gets closer to "real" interactive sessions.

Comment Re:FSVO "defeating" (Score 1) 72

brute-forcing is not defeating. Building a computer that can outperform any previously existing architecture is not defeating. The Enigma still works, given its security parameter. RSA at 384 bits was enough in 1995, but is brute-forceable today - It does not mean it is broken, only that it's too weak.

Comment FSVO "defeating" (Score 1, Insightful) 72

Encryption (even more in such general terms, not even mentioning which algorithm or basic representing problem) has not been and cannot be "defeated" as such. It can be circumvented. And, besides some weak cryptosystems that have been proposed and found lacking after analysis (i.e. the knapsacks implementation), the only "useful" general attacks on cryptography are attacks on the implementation: Circumventing cryptography rather than breaking it.

Comment Re:Apple genuii (Score 1) 106

That, or maybe the fact that the phone was left unplugged on a drawer until somebody's grandchild connected it after January 2038 just to see what is that thing.

Of course, your comment still applies: It's probably impossible to travel back to 1969 and have working wifi and NTP. But I think it's highly unlikely that by 2038 we will have Wifi networks compatible with today's standards, or NTP servers compatible with today's implementations.

Then again, today's Wifi is still compatible with what 802.11b, which I first used in the late 1990s, and NTP operates at least since 1985. If Wifi has survived for 20 years and NTP for 30, who says it won't last 22 more?

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