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Comment The shop/home ec. model (Score 1) 141

When I was in 6th grade, we had a semester of shop class and a semester of home economics.
(In previous generations, the boys had a year of shop and the girls had a year of home ec.)
It all seemed kind of hokey: it was clearly a vestige of an earlier time, but, whatever.

Anyway, if you want to expose everyone to computers, that's the place to slot it in:
a semester or a year of computer class in 6th grade.

Comment The mother of all inner platforms (Score 1) 331

This is going to be an inner-platform, not for a platform, but...wait for it...for a programmer.

The Inner-Platform Effect is a result of designing a system to be so customizable that it ends becoming a poor replica of the platform it was designed with. This "customization" of this dynamic inner-platform becomes so complicated that only a programmer (and not the end user) is able to modify it.

Comment 27 heads of lettuce (Score 1) 331

This is the first numerical problem I ever did.
It demonstrates the power of computers:

Enter lots of data on calorie & nutritive content of foods.
Instruct the thing to maximize a function describing nutritive content, with a minimum level of each component, for fixed caloric content.
The results are that one should eat each day:

        1/2 chicken
        1 egg
        1 glass of skim milk
        27 heads of lettuce.
                -- Rev. Adrian Melott

Comment Run away! Run away! (Score 2) 90

I don't know what Atlassian will do with Trello, but their existing products are horrid.
We use JIRA (a bug tracker) and Confluence (a wiki). These suffer from
- poor use of screen space
- useless search
- crude and inconsistent text editing
- verbose, non-standard, and broken markdown

Atlassian products are built for shelf-appeal: they are designed to look good in sales demos, and to appeal the people who sign POs and checks: CEOs, VPs, and directors. But they don't actually work for the people who have to use them: programmers and first-line managers.

Atlassian puts their own bug database online. When you find a problem with Atlassian software you can search for it there. You will likely find that other people have found this problem before you, and opened tickets on it, which Atlassian has since closed, explaining either
- yes, it is broken, but fixing it would be hard, so we're not going to
- no, that's the way it is supposed to work, and we're not going to change it

Comment It's a primate thing (Score 1) 259

Pretty generally, among the social primates, individuals pay attention to higher status individuals.
High status individuals are the ones who might have something to offer you.
Alternately, they are the ones with the resources to attack you.
You need to keep track of where they are; what they are doing; what they are interested in; who *they* are looking at.

Just walking down the street, a rich person sees fewer richer people around him than a poor person, and thus, fewer people that he needs to pay attention to. Transport some of those rich people to, say, North by North West, or a political party convention, and you will probably see them paying close attention to those around them.

Comment Newsreels (Score 5, Informative) 348

It is happening as we speak.

Mid-20th century newsreels--an important history of the time--are sitting on shelves in film canisters, quietly disintegrating.

There are people who would like to copy them forward onto durable media, but they can't because the newsreels are copyrighted, but the copyright holders either can't be located or aren't interested in preserving them.

They will be dust long before they enter the public domain.

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