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Comment I think it's difficult. (Score 1) 1095

There are a couple of reasons that it's getting harder to teach languages.

1. Languages are moving away from knowing fundemental coding constructs (loops, if statements, etc) and towards knowing an API. You can't really do anything with a modern language without knowing what the libraries are. I suspect these things are frustrating for the learner programmer. I'd pick something with as simple an API as possible.

2. Back in the day, a junior programmer could write something in a couple of hours that was almost as good as the games, etc you purchased. This is no longer the case. I think it's difficult teaching the basics of programming when no child is going to produce anything that comes close to the games they play or the programs they use.

If I were to try and teach programming, I'd look at something like scratch or Hackety Hack

Good luck.


Submission + - Blogger excised from popular blog. (

seanyboy writes: In a move which has libertarians and anti-cencorship types angrily scratching their heads, Boing Boing have, without explanation, excised all references to well known sex-blogger Violet Blue. This from the company that regularly likes to call out others for similar behaviour [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]. As of now, there's a complete wall of silence over this issue at Boing Boing. Comments referencing Violet Blue are aggressively deleted and as yet Cory, Xeni or any of the Boing Boing "celebrities" have yet to give an explanation.

Feed Engadget: Japan's face-authorizing cigarette machines no match for Bruce Willis photo (

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets

Remember those Japanese vending machines that use face recognition to scan for wrinkles and saggy skin before authenticating cigarette purchases? Surprise, they're so easy to circumvent that even a nicotine-addicted kid can do it. Turns out the cameras will authenticate "a 15-centimeter (6-inch) wide magazine photo of a man who looked to be in his 50s." Smaller clippings work too as demonstrated by a successful cigarette vend using a 3-inch photo of a woman in her 30s -- a 1-inch wide photo failed, however. Still, only 4,000 of Japan's 570,000 cigarette vending machines feature the cams and these are due for a software update in response to the flaw -- the rest use RFID readers to check the smoker's Taspo age-verification card. Nevertheless, we don't think it's much of a stretch to predict that this system, like that of DRM controlled music, is destined to fail.

[Via The Raw Feed]
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Feed Shell House provides cheap, radio-equipped housing for homeless (

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets

Hey, we can't all live in the pimped out mansions or nicely appointed lodges, but an NYU graduate student is making it her personal mission to do something substantial about it. The living portable project has yielded a cardboard-based Shell House contraption that requires just $35 worth of material, a bit of time, and a hearty dose of generosity. The DIY project allows interested citizens to build collapsible houses for homeless individuals, and moreover, gives them an opportunity to experience ubiquitous computing by way of an integrated radio network. Moreover, you can couple this with a homegrown solar heater, and you've got yourself a date with nature.

[Via Core77]
Read - Instructions on building a Shell House
Read - Shell House homepage

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Office Depot Featured Gadget: Xbox 360 Platinum System Packs the power to bring games to life!


Submission + - Why use wordprocessor?

iveqy writes: "Word processors like MS word or OO writer belongs to the most used software programs in office enviroments today. They have evolutionized the paper handling and is very flexible.

But when are they the right tool to use? I can't figure it out, because they are never best on anything.

When writing plain text, many texteditors are much better. Textpad, vim, emacs and textmate are just a few examples on texteditor that are very good in handling text.

When it comes to fancy papers, like posters, school newspapers etc. Other programs like MS publicher and scribus are a much better tool.

When it comes to textlayout, longer texts, theises etc. latex or docbook are to prefer for a good and flexible format.

Despite this the wordprocessors are still very popular. Why? Because they can be used to everything with a good (but not best) result? Why do you use a wordprocessor?"

EMI May Sell Entire Collection as DRM-less MP3s 188

BobbyJo writes "According to the Chicago Sun-Times, EMI has been pitching the possibility of selling its entire music collection to the public in MP3 form ... without Digital Rights Management protections. According to the article, several other major music companies have considered this same route, but none as far as EMI. The reasons, of course, have nothing to do with taking a moral stand; EMI wants to compete with Apple. 'The London-based EMI is believed to have held talks with a wide range of online retailers that compete with Apple's iTunes. Those competing retailers include RealNetworks Inc.,, MusicNet Inc. and Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks. People familiar with the matter cautioned that EMI could still abandon the proposed strategy before implementing it. A decision about whether to keep pursuing the idea could come as soon as today.'"

Submission + - Vista has a speech recognition security hole

NorbrookC writes: The BBC is reporting that there is a security hole in Vista's speech recognition feature. Apparently, when the feature is activated, it is possible for a sound file to delete files and folders. Microsoft doesn't seem too worried about it. FTA: Microsoft said the exploit was "technically possible" but there was no need to worry. The firm has pointed out that in order for the flaw to be exploited the speech recognition feature would need to be activated and configured and both microphone and speakers would have to be switched on.
The Almighty Buck

Scientists Offered Cash to Dispute Climate Study 668

w1z4rd writes "According to an article in the Guardian, scientists and economists have been offered large bribes by a lobbying group funded by ExxonMobil. The offers were extended by the American Enterprise Institute group, which apparently has numerous ties to the Bush administration. Couched in terms of an offer to write 'dissenting papers' against the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, several scientists contacted for the article refused the offers on conflict of interest grounds."

Submission + - Don't blame the Russian mafia for cybercrime spike

BobB writes: "Eugene and Natalya Kaspersky, sort of the first couple of computer security (well, they are divorced, but work together), on why China is the real threat and the need for anti-anti-antivirus software to stop the bad guys. A wide-ranging interview with the Kaspersky Lab duo. rsky-cybercrime.html"

Submission + - Is Your Domain Registrar Free Speech Friendly?

WebHostingGuy writes: "In an interesting follow up to the recent censorship performed when GoDaddy shut down a site because of a complaint without a court order, CNET interviewed all major domain registrars concerning their policies about shutting down sites. In the survey CNET found that the French registrar and New Orleans-based DirectNIC offered the most extensive guarantees against unnecessary domain name suspension. The rest refused to respond or left much to be desired."
Linux Business

Submission + - Help with Linux Backup and Archive Solutions

earlshaw03 writes: "I work for a small independent phone company and have a few questions regarding one of our Linux boxes that is our customer email server. We are running Debian and are having some issues backing up every users email. We had about 90GB worth of mail on the server, so we deceided to implement a new policy that all email that was not popped would be deleted after 90 days. We scoured sourceforge, freshmeat, and google to find a good archiving program that would allow us to accomplish this. The only one we could find was archivemail, which worked somewhat well, but we keep getting an error that stops the program about half way through, on the same user. It also stalls on other users as well. We have managed to work around these accounts and get the size down to 55GB worth of email. We are currently using Vembu Technologies StoreGrid product to backup this server. The backup usually took anywhere from 3-4 days for a full backup. So finally I am asking the Slashdot Community what do you use to Backup and archive/delete mail?"

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