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Comment Re:We aren't the target audience... (Score 1) 47

Is the performance limitation you mention about the number of wireless connections, or the processing power?

I tried several such devices with the intention of prototyping my own software, but either their CPUs were underpowered or they were unreliable. I got Debian on a GK802 for instance, installed in the internal SD-card so leaving the external slot free, with a USB WiFi dongle in addition to the internal WiFi so that it could work as a gateway to certain web content while serving its own applications. The problem I had was that it did not boot reliably, maybe because the file system got corrupted occasionally when powering off: it does not have a power button.
Another limitation is the number of simultaneous connections, which was not important for me in the prototype phase.

At the time there was a device developed for that usage, serving a whole classroom, called the SMILEplug:

It used a separate WiFi chip from Marvell that supported up to 60 simultaneous connections, with applications running on NodeJS on what seems to be a standard Debian system.
I haven't heard about them in a while and suspect they just abandoned the project:

Is there some way I could follow your project?
I'm very interested in the subject, specially in the difficulties and needs found in actual use.
You can find my e-mail address at my website:

Comment For Javascript, what about Plunker? (Score 1) 265

What about Plunker?
You can point people directly at their online editor, ready to write and run Javascript applications:

On the left, select "script.js", type something like alert("hello") then click the Run button at the top. Template projects using jQuery, Angular and Bootstrap are available in the green "New" button dropdown; they are not limited to basic Javascript.
If they want to download their creation, use the button at the top right (next to the blue GitHub button): "Download your Plunk as a zip file"

You could use that to show newcomers to the club that they can write and run programs with just a browser and internet access, then organize other activities based on their feedback.

Comment Re:Better than you think (Score 2) 253

Is it the Algebra module for Moode?,,

I worked nine years on such a system, called "ActiveMath" then and now "Math-Bridge", where I designed and implemented precisely the exercise system that does the answer evaluation:

There you can apply different tests to the student's answer, and one common use was to first check for the exact correct form, like "1/2", with a "syntactical" comparison of the expression tree parsed from the textual input. You would get the "Correct!" feedback for that one.
Then you could compare it "semantically" with the expected answer, which sent the expression to a Computer Algebra System for simplification in a specific context (set of simplification rules, depending on the task), so if you answered "2/4" you would get the feedback "That's correct, but not fully simplified. Please give the irreducible form.".
The exercise author can include any number of such classifier expressions to catch different forms of the correct answer, different half-done answers, and wrong answers, giving adequate feedback for each.
Feedback is not just text, but a complete "exercise subgraph" that could be entire sub-exercises intended to correct the misconception corresponding to the wrong answer given by the student.

Comment Re:Originally designed for mobile phones??? (Score 1) 213

There was an article on The Register some months ago on ARM development history (can't seem to find it now), and if it's to be believed they were investigating a series of mysterious crashes in the prototype ARM CPU, and in debugging they found the power on their dev kit wasn't actually connected to the chip - it was running entirely on leakage current and if there weren't enough 1's going into the chip to provide current, it wouldn't have enough power to run.

I think you mean this article, "ARM creators Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber Part Two: the accidental chip":

Comment Re:Wow. I could write a book (Score 1) 568

What do you think of that initiative in the US to have all textbooks be digital in five years?

I guess books could be loaded on the devices, not needing internet access for most functions, but still I'd like to know if you have some take on this.

Comment Re:Unit 1 should have been offline since February (Score 1) 769

I had no idea that Japan used two different power grid frequencies.

I searched for the reason behind it, and while I could not get any good results from Google, following the leads from the Wikipedia image you linked brought me to the page on "utility frequency" where it says how it happened:

This originates in the first purchases of generators from AEG in 1895, installed for Tokyo, and General Electric in 1896, installed in Osaka.

AEG being a German company had its generators produce at 50 Hz, while the USA General Electric delivered 60 Hz.

Comment Cluster them by laptop usage. (Score 1) 804

What some professors do now at the University of Saarland (Germany) is to define three zones.
If you want to use the laptop for taking notes in class, you sit in the first rows, and if you want to do whatever else you sit in the last rows way back.
In the middle there is a DMZ without laptops at all.

The idea is to avoid getting distracted by flashy graphic stuff happening before you when you want to pay attention.

Comment Re:Viva La Libre Office! (Score 1) 648

More or less: in Spanish, "libertad" means "freedom". The word for the adjective "free" is indeed "libre", like in French. In Italian "freedom" is "libertà", and "free" varies with grammatical gender and number: masculine singular is "libero", while femenine is "libera", and plural is "liberi". (Well, while I'm at it, in Spanish the plural form is "libres", and I guess in French it might be the same)

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