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Comment CrossFit (Score 1) 635

The company I work at (really, the best place I've ever had the privileged of working) gives us a fitness credit and we are encouraged to go to CrossFit at any hour of the day. For a while, my team would all go at about 11am, but after switching teams, it turned out to be more conducive to our schedule to go at 8am. The team building is great and working out with your cohort is extremely motivating. Had I been spending the last (nearly) two years working out on my own, it would not have continues. Having a team that helps keep you motivated (and in turn, you help keep them motivated) is essential.

Comment Unlimited Sick Days (Score 1) 670

At my work, we have "unlimited sick days" -- however, we are encouraged to work from home those days if we are up to it. If we show up sick to the office, just about everyone tries to kick you out and go home. There is never the feeling or pressure of "I must work this day even though I'm sick." It is more the feeling of "I really want to get some code out today even though I'm sick." I know there is the sentiment on ./ that you should not go over and beyond for your work for they will not do that for you, but our work really does do a lot for its employees.

Comment Re:System76 (Score 4, Informative) 260

I've been developing on a System 76 for about a year and a half now (the then Serval model). I absolutely love it. I've become hooked on the finger print scanner for sudo commands. The only problem that I recall having was trying to upgrade from 10.04 to 12.04 for Ubuntu. A bunch-o-things got all fubar. Reinstalling 12.04 worked like a charm and my overall experience got even better than before. I ended up having to put a windows dual boot on it for some windows/mac only video conferencing software for work, and System 76 provided all the drivers to make the windows installation work as expected. The bizarre "windows experience index" gave me a seven point something which is apparently good. I highly recommend System 76, but I have yet to try the other vendors.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: One Framework to Rule Them All (iana.org)

ittybad writes: I work with a small web based company, and, for some new web applications, we are looking to possibly change frameworks if it will be a benefit to our developers and our customers. We have experience with PHP's Symfony 1.4, and are not happy with what we are experiencing with Symfony 2.0. We have some Ruby guys who would love us to implement a Ruby on Rails solution, and our backend is Python powered — so maybe Django is the way to go. So, I ask you, Slashdotters, what web framework do you find to be the best and why? Why would you avoid others?

Comment Re:Khan Academy = math/science for dummies (Score 1) 92

On the note of forgetting about half of what you had learned, it reminds me of a pedagogy that I am a fan of: learn the underlying concepts and how to apply them, and you no longer have to "remember" because you "know." With your example, I cannot rattle off hardly any of the trig identities -- but I can derive all of them quite easily.

I think that this is a major issue with our education system when it comes to math: memorization. For example, in my daughter's math class, when going over exponent laws, the teacher said, "anything to the 0 power is 1. Why? Because that is the way it is; it is just one of those things we need to memorize." The same kids who learn this way find themselves in a math class a few years later and cant remember if it is 3^1 = 0 or 3^0 = 1. I wrote him showing how bloody easy it is to learn the correct way -- by looking at what exponents are (repeated multiplication) and that if we work backwards from 3^4, to 3^3, 3^2, we see that we are dividing by three each time, so it is easy to see why 3^0 has to be one. Better yet, this lets students understand why negative exponents are what they are. With this proper understanding, the student can re-derive the exponent laws anytime they may need them.

I completely agree with you that Khan is not a replacement. There is something to be said for us social beings being, you know, social when learning.

Comment New Paradigm (Score 1) 92

The system that I envision, at least as far as math is concerned, is something that I dub "modular math" -- though, that term should not be confused with modulus. I think the curriculum should be broken up from arithmetic to calculus in models (sets, pods, mods, levels, whatever).

A student meats the material at their level, and progresses through each model. This allows a student to quickly move through material that is easier for them and to have the time required for material that is more difficult. I imagine a system whereby students participate in a math curriculum whereby they progress on their own through CORRECT (yet to be defined) use of online lectures and quizzes and tests.

A teacher is ever present and provides the one on one work that the student requires when they hit a topic that they have trouble with, or need further or alternate explanation. The puts the teacher as a facilitator that needs to be familiar with all levels of math from basic arithmetic through calculus -- and by familiar, I mean able to actually teach the concepts. A teacher may have a student in model 4 and model 10 in the same room, and when each student has an issue, the teacher would need to be able to step in at that topic and work with the student.

I have begun development of the requisite online tools for this, but Khan has, by far, a lead on videos and lectures -- and even presence. I thought of this way before Khan was popular enough for me to have heard of him, but, with most things, it comes down to who implements it first. I think that it could be an exciting next step for the Khan Academy.

Comment Low Tech (Score 2) 249

Bury a mattress in the ground -- "Quick Sand." Chainsaw sans chain. Pretend to be a decoration, {move|jump|scare} at people that happen by (note: may get punched in the face). Hang fishing line from the trees/eves (feels like cobwebs) Get a ghillie suit, pop out of bushes (again, may get punched) .... Meh.... Google is your friend.

Comment System76 (Score 1) 708

I have the Serval laptop from System76. They vet the hardware and guarantee that everything works with Ubuntu (Ubuntu comes pre-installed and fully loaded with drivers). Awesome computer. The biggest issue is dual monitor support -- but this is an Ubuntu thing, not System76. Oh, and my System76 sticker came off the cover from sliding in and out of my backpack :(

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The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.