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Comment Re:Apple made a rod for their own back with Obj-C (Score 1) 158

The only thing that sucks is Apple dropping OPENSTEP / Obj-C for Windows.

What in God's name are you talking about?

Back when Apple's aquisition of NeXT was first announced, Apple had indicated that they'd continue to support OPENSTEP Enterprise (the Windows implementation of OpenStep). But it was killed off pretty quick.

Comment Re:Guns in lego are new? (Score 1) 193

The first batch of the original 1989 pirate sets did have the firing cannons even in the US. My 6285 Black Seas Barracuda (awesome set) and 6270 Forbidden Island (not nearly as nice) both had them.

Later batches of those same sets had the disabled cannon, and later pirate sets (and the western sets) had the no-moving-parts cannon in their North American versions.

Comment another data point (Score 1) 921

I'm 31 (32 in October) and grew up in southern California. Like most Americans my age, we learned to "print" in Kindergarten. (Well, I and many of my fellow students could already write our letters before we started school, but we were taught the "correct" way and had to practice it in Kindergarten and first grade.)

For you non-Americans who are still confused by the terminology, we use the word "print" to mean "write letters which look like Helvetica, but usually quite a bit messier." (Except for the lowercase "a" ... I guess a font like Futura would be a bit closer to what we were taught.) So if you see "please print" on a form, that doesn't mean you should stick it in your printer. Just write using your best impression of a sans serif font. :-) They just want each letter written separately so the OCR software can tell where each letter begins and ends. Usually it's best to use all uppercase on forms, just in case their OCR software is dumb. (The US Postal Service has magic OCR which can read anything, whether typed, printed, or written in cursive. But other government agencies don't get to use the USPS's OCR, and typically have complete crap instead.)

In second grade we were taught to type. (Did anyone here else learn to type with the Wonderful World of PAWS on an Apple //e? That was the one where you had to type in order to get the cat across the screen so it could reach the ball of yarn, or whatever.) I don't think learning to type before learning cursive had any effect, but maybe it did. I don't know.

Finally, in third or fourth grade (I can't remember which) they taught us cursive (what the teachers called it) or handwriting (what most students called it). Ours was an old-fashioned loopy kind. I can't find any examples of it online, but it was written on a long green strip of plastic, mounted above the chalkboard in all of our classrooms. Some of the capital letters are different from any of the modern samples I can find in Google image search. All the modern samples I've seen have a separate crossbar on the capital "F", for example, whereas ours had the swoosh in the bottom left continue across the stem, like the ones in the Declaration of Independence. No wonder so many people get confused by my "F"s.. I hadn't realized that most people don't write them that way anymore. Note that not all of our letters looked like they were from the Declaration. We didn't have those funny tall "s"es, for example. :-)

After they taught us cursive, we were supposed to start using it (pretty much overnight) and write everything in cursive using ballpoint pen. (In the lower grades we had to print everything in pencil.) That abrupt transition is probably why people hate it. Imagine learning to type on qwerty for 3 years and then having to switch to dvorak overnight. (Or the opposite.. the direction doesn't matter, it's the abrupt switch which people hate.) We'd all have better handwriting if they'd teach us one system and stick with it.

Most of us sucked at it. Some of the girls practiced it nonstop and ended up with pretty nice handwriting (except for those stupid hearts on their "i"s and "j"s, of course). The other girls and nearly all of the boys never developed very good handwriting. The 4th-6th grade teachers all insisted that we'd never be allowed to print again and that it was vital that we improve our cursive. But of course at the junior high (7th & 8th grades) only about half of the teachers cared. And in high school almost no teacher required cursive (aside from English teachers on the verge of retiring), so at least half of us reverted to printing for tests and such. By my junior year of high school we were expected to type all of our papers anyway.

In college I reverted to printing. College caused my printing to mutate quickly, as speed gained importance, as well as the ability to write while not looking down at the paper. As a result, it is illegible to most people, except a few who have learned my quirks. It is now rather difficult for me to print legibly, unless I write in all caps. (My high-speed printing has almost no caps, so forcing myself to write in all caps, eg. on forms, slows me down enough to make it somewhat legible.) As a result, my cursive is now more legible than my printing, which was certainly never the case before college. In fact, I never would have expected this before I tested my writing on a piece of scratch paper a few minutes ago. All that cursive practice back in elementary school must have stuck in my muscle memory, where it remained pretty much untouched, even while I was destroying my ability to print.

Now it's rare that I write anything. (No surprise there. Who does write anymore?) My girlfriend insists that my writing is illegible and always fills out forms and applications and such for me, but I think that's based only on my printing. I think my cursive isn't too bad. At least not compared to most Americans under 40. But no one ever gets to see it.. I pretty much only use it when writing checks. And as a 31-year-old, how often do you think I do that? :-)

Comment Re:The C Programming Disease (Score 1) 216

This is the language that thinks it's a good idea to redefine boolean to be YES and NO.

You do realize that Objective-C was designed before C had a boolean type, right? (C didn't have a standardized boolean type until C99, but Objective-C has been around since the mid-80s.) So they weren't redefining anything. Everyone else at that time was just using a char or int and had a "#define TRUE 1" at the top of their programs...

Comment Re:Why bother? (Score 1) 479

Well I also have a analog television set so I bought a converter box thinking that it would receive the same channels the digital television set did but it did not receive any channels at all.

The digital converter boxes only have over-the-air ATSC tuners. As far as I know, none of them have QAM tuners for the signals used by most cable TV providers. So a digital converter box does nothing useful when attached to cable. It's only for use with an antenna.

Although some older digital TVs have only ATSC tuners, many recent TVs include both QAM and ATSC tuners, allowing them to receive digital signals with either a cable connection or an antenna.

It's a similar situation to the 1980s, when some TVs had only VHF/UHF NTSC tuners, but some TVs were starting to include CATV tuners as well. (Marketing materials usually referred to such units as "cable-ready".)


Submission + - Winnie Wrote a Math Book

SoyChemist writes: Hollywood is not known for providing a wealth of positive female role models. Danica McKellar, the actress that played Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years and Elsie Snuffin on The West Wing, has written a math book for teenage girls. Math Doesn't Suck is in the style of a teen magazine. It even includes a horoscope, cute doodles of shoes and jewelry, and testimonials from attractive young career women that use math at work. It focuses on fractions and pre-algebra and uses mnemonics like calling a reciprocal a "refliprocal", because you just take the fraction and flip it upside down. Wired interviewed McKellar about the new book and her crusade to eliminate the achievement gap between boys and girls in math courses. McKellar graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCLA. While studying there, she co-authored a proof and presented it at a conference. After she and Mayim Bialik — star of Blossom and a PhD in neuroscience — appeared in a 20/20 episode about intellectual actresses, several literary agents came knocking on her door.

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