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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 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?

Comment One more improvement... (Score 1) 326

Make all those interactions more interesting by having people sitting together. Offer them some beer, wine, coffee. Maybe even food. You can also even charge some extra money for such amenities, people are known to be willing to pay for VIP treatment.

Suddenly, you will realize you are no longer stuck in the silly "you are the product" business. You are offering real goods and services.

Congratulations! You have reinvented the ages-old "restaurant/bar" concept.

Comment Re:No longer any reason to get smog checks? (Score 1) 90

Besides being too expensive, as malditaenvidia already pointed out, they are permanently exempt of the twice-yearly verification every other car must undergo.

Note, however, that they are *not* zero emissions, much less negative emissions: Except for hydroelectric plants, all other electricity generation schemes also carry some sort of pollution tag. Yes, it's usually "freed" in a much less polluted area (is that good or bad?) and I understand it's much more efficient than burning fuel in the motor. But it's not "effectively negative".

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