909 posts • joined Tuesday 10th April 2007 06:11 GMT
The title pretty much sums up what I've experienced so far with "modern" computing courses... some things they really should consider but never do because they don't align neatly with incumbent monopoly practices and pointless government statistics:
* At least at school level, stop calling it "science". Yes, technically it is, but there's still far too much dogma regarding the word science and geekiness that this puts off some pupils. Sad but true.
* Teach the basics, not the high level specifics of particular OSes and applications - they can be farmed out to a later stage or a different course. Want to learn Word Processing? Take a business course - that's what they're there for. Oh, and teach Word Processing, don't teach Microsoft Word Processing.
* Start from fundamentals and engage the pupils in how things work, rather than rhetorical parrot speak "teaching". Once pupils understand the basics on how something works they find it much easier and less daunting to understand the later concepts. Details don't have to be gone into, just the concepts.
* Show the basic history of all computing, not just Wintel. There's a whole history of computing there and it's good to see progression, evolution of components and how we got to where we are now. This doesn't have to be dull, there are piles of old computers still around and even a history of consoles is interesting and informative in how they evolved to what they are now.
* Don't teach idiotic stuff that every kid has grown up with, i.e. how to use Internet Explorer to browse the web. Don't teach kids how to make web pages - leave that to a design course. Teach them the basics behind how they work, but having them fire up DreamWeaver (or worse, FrontPage) to knock up pointless pages doesn't help them at all - those interested would like to host their own content, and this is far beyond normal GCSE level computing.
- I know plenty of GCSE level kids that are interested in computing but are daunted and frustrated by how little they know and how little of it is useful. Most, even the most keen, are in reality capable of little more than clicking icons.
At least they're trying...
At least they're trying - it's better to try new things and see what value can be made from them than sticking with the same old crap and avoiding all forms of innovation. (i.e. MS Outlook - still featuring many of the same bugs and savage usability problems as it did 10 years ago)
So some things don't work out - lessons can be learnt, better plans made next time and anything useful in it may be useful in the future. This is much better than stagnation.
HTC is known for great build quality and outstanding usability?
"HTC is known for great build quality and outstanding usability"
Really. News to me and the scores of suffering users with HTC Touch Pros... which are horrible to use and have a nasty habit of falling apart of stopping working.
OK, to be fair to HTC, Windows Mobile is a huge factor of the unusability and somewhat behind the unreliability of the hardware (a narked user who hates their phone tends not to look after them well). However there have been other device based problems that in various versions have rather quietly required changed from a "there's no problem" stance to a quiet and no-further-questions-asked replacement policy.
Sale of Goods act
Next time just throw the "Sale of Goods act" at them. If it's not fit for purpose - i.e. doesn't do what it's meant to do or doesn't last a reasonable amount of time then the *seller* must replace it or recompense you. Note, this is the seller - it's not the original manufacturer, so when the store tells you that it's nothing to do with them and you have to go to the manufacturer, they are lying and breaking the law.
Naturally this applies to both XBOXen and PS3s...
It's very easy
Step by step
1) Present iPhone so you can see the signal strength bars
2) Hold it in your left hand, with the bottom left corner resting in the palm of your hand (or, more naturally, the lower part of your palm - i.e. so it's comfortable.
3) Unless you have odd (or just non-conductive / very dry) skin, your skin will electically bridge the two metal bands that, in the lower left of the iPhone, are separated by a small bit of black plastic.
4) Watch the signal strength bars plummet into nothingness.
It doesn't matter how the signal strength bars are displayed on screen - the antennas no longer work very well.
It did look a bit dated...
It did look a bit dated... well, very dated in places.
However now it looks *very* cluttered and is much harder to skim read. Which, after all, is what the majority of readers do when looking at a website.
Now we have 3 "main" menu bars, an annoying animated new ticker thingy, and everything else seems to be larger than before and still in a retarded fixed-width vertical band.
Dark stars... why is this kind of nonsense so common?
i.e. You can't see it, but it must be there - it's magic. As in "we can't think of a sensible or more plausible explanation and we don't know what is causing it so rather than admitting that we have no idea we'll instead make up something invisible to believe in instead".
Rings a bell in other fields of humanity as well.
...all that will happen is that road charging is added, there will be no drop in VED or tax on fuel and everybody will wind up paying more.
The comment about paying for the roads already through the usage of fuel is a good, but as noted, damn unpopular one.
Also, comparing the UK other countries by way of simple metrics when it comes to road building just isn't possible / sensible. The UK has a much higher population density than most other countries in the "top road" list therefore the stresses on the road network and the availability of land to build roads on is very different.
Why simulate the sex? After all dear, just lie back and think of your country...
@AC @AC who is wrong
Competition isn't stupid. It drives change and improvements.
Whatever anybody may feel about Apple, iPhones and the nutters who fanatically support them (compared to normal users) is that they have substantially changed the mobile market for the better.
What I'd like...
Performance killers in windows:
The registry. A diabolical idea in the first place, badly implemented, insecure, prone to write-through problems and an absolute bugger to support when a system fails. Which they do. The continual growth and fragmentation of the registry rapidly hoses a system's performance. An OS provided standard way of storing settings in sensible locations, now that would have been a good idea, as long as the files generated are small, efficient, text based and independently accessible just in case a user with a death with (or a techie) needs to make manual changes.
The file system. Already mentioned to death, but there should be no need to tie an operating system so tightly to a given file system that they cripple each other. Even a proper journalled file system would be a nice start and would help to reduce the large number of spuriously failing machines that have a small but important file knackered on the disk.
App store. Reasonable idea, but in the real world - (a) many users don't want to pay the "Microsoft Tax" and get tied in even further into inexplicablly crippled yet intermingled applications from a single supplier and (b) from the corporate point of view - forget it. Completely. Unless it's "done right". An open, *sensibly* documented and designed app-store interface that can link to multiple stores, controllably centrally on a domain if necessary, now that could be useful for an IT shop. This way a corporate IT department could easily list the applications possible, with easy install, re-install, un-install and accounting. Except this kind of thing has been possible for years but now has to be called an "app store" for the public.
.Net. .NET is the worst DLL hell possible. MS took the existing borked DLL scheme, added a ridiculously inefficient dlocument exchange technology, renamed it a few times, updated it a couple of times more, made the repository even slower and more prone to problems than conveivably though possible and then called it .net. We are now on version 4 of this monstrosity. Running a .net application is a "quick" way to lose huge numbers of CPU cycles doing nothing much useful. What ever happened to releasing new applications that were more efficiently coded and faster, rather than only happening to be marginally faster or often the same speed if the user upgrades their hardware to something twice as fast as previous kit.
Bugs. Would be nice if Microsoft fixed bugs in the existing OSes rather than release a new version with the same bugs and more "features".
Hardware. The installation hardware really must be optimised so unnecessary drivers and support can be easily removed from a system, never to clutter and slow it down. There's a reason that VMs (not MS-VM of course) tend to boot so much faster than hardware based PCs. This is because the legacy junk is not present and therefore a PC doesn't have to wait 4 seconds for a response from a "possibly installed" old Compaq ISA raid card thingy that was most likely uncommon in the decade that it was released.
Shell. Not drawing things twice on the screen would make the OS run rather faster than before (themes). Disable the naff animation effects that's sole purpose is to make a rather fast respond as slowly as any other slower computer. We don't need fading menus, scrolling or zooming windows or other inane fluff that slows the user down when it comes to getting to the information that they want to see. There are ways of putting in tarty effects that don't make a system slow.
..and that's just what I can think of for now.
So much work for nothing...
So much work for nothing: the ruskies could have just offered chocolate bars to the administration staff who work for the target company or departments and they'd have gladly given them their passwords. Simples.
They were a bit lack in their procedures though. If the laptop was configured as a standard vanilla windows system, it would have been open to the world and that's an easy defence of "I had no idea what windows was doing". The contact taking the info should have used a different MAC address rather than a fixed one or just passively recorded to the communications rather than establishing a connection. Amateurs.
So now we know what google was doing with their street-view wi-fi spy scanning global network!
Re: I changed my mind
You've missed the point slightly:
A CV is a very important document therefore it should treated as such and the writer must ensure that to the best of their abilities and theire resources it is, as much as possible correct.
Checking a CV for grammar and spelling mistakes and rejecting those that have bad mistakes weeds out those candidates that are either (a) too stupid or lazy to use a spell checker or (b) don't care enough about their CV to ensure that it is correct. Friends, family and professionals are all available to check a CV prior to submission, failing to do this is a good indication that the candidate is not serious enough about working.
Re: I always find it funny....
A CV is a candidates first opportunity to make a good impression on a potential employer. If they can't manage to get this very important document right, what does this say about the quality of their work or attention to detail.
Of course it doesn't mean that they are unemployable, but it does mean that they do not take the level of due care and attention that is required for an important document.
Me? I've rejected CVs because I don't like the look of them. For example, if a candidate has just found that they have 15 fonts and 40 available colours in their word processor, there's no need to try to use as many of them as possible in a single document such as a CV. My rationale on this was that if their CV annoyed me, then their work probably would as well. I admit that this isn't a perfect way to filter candidates but when you have 50 CVs a day to wade through, you have to start somewhere. One thing I always made a point of doing was to provide feedback on every single one. There's little ruder than never receiving a reply, even if it's "no".
Appalling. That's generally the level of literacy I come across from the so called best educated and most successful exam passing generation.
Not that they've dumbed the examination questions down or made it easier... never! Thoughts such as these are not to be entertained as it might pyschologically impact our highly stresed school children who are proud to have the better results than the previous year, and the year before that, and so on.
Any mention of the fact that A-Level questions now cover topics no more taxing than those that used to be found at GCSE / GCE-O level is strictly not permitted either. Won't somebody think of the children? Belittling a child's achievements because they're rewards are the same for less effort is something that is not permitted.
Aside from the dumbing down of the examinations, the further problem is that all schools do now is teach children how to pass the next test/examination. They are no longer there to provide a rounded education or a broad general knowledge to give the child a good start in life and the foundation for further study.
The situation's so bad, there are now a growing number of schools that don't do examinations as they're frequently not worth the paper that they're printed on. These schools instead pride themselves on providing children with a good education and knowledge.
Just wait... Silverlight will soon be "required" for windows updates, msdn access, hotmail or cunningly mingled (mangled) into office so office won't quite work correctly without it...
Who'd have thought that may happen?
I did hear a story a while back that one woman had "cracked" the enigma code before the computers at Bletchley Park did. However the establishment didn't believe her or persue the matter because it didn't believe that cracking the code could be so simple that one woman could do it.
Can't find anything on this... anybody know if it's true or not?
Problem with old system not patching, or not being allowed to patch?
Disable EVERYTHING that is not required for it to operate. And that specifcally includes all the "features" in "file and printer sharing" that MS commingled together in a splendid effort to make their systems as insecure as possible. This may not utterly prevent infections, but it reduces the chances hugely.
LitePC... a good tool of choice for disabling everything that isn't required.
Just install FlashBlock add on in FireFox. That way you have the choice to run some useless advert / flashing media thingy or just browse in peace.
...back to the topic.
A 64 bit FF scares me - the 32 bit one chews up enough resources without giving it the option of taking even more... still nicer and safer to use than IE though.
What is this country coming to?
What is this country coming to? What next?
Next a nationwide gambling scheme will be proposed, tendered and given to friends of the government officials who will change to law to allow more gullable people to take part. Such as changing the minimum age of gambling down to 16. Could it ever happen?
...was wondering what had become of Captain Cyborg.
I'm still amazed (shouldn't be really), just how much pointless cash they've already spunked up against the wall for these olympics. All in the name of the greased-palms and committees of course.
The millions wasted on the logo when they could have just used this one instead: http://blog.case.edu/james.chang/2007/06/07/favorite_2012_logo.jpg is just staggering (IMHO it's definitely the best alternative produced)
And now some naff rendered characters that appear to have no charm or personality at all? I hope they transfer better when animated because at the moment all I see is 1980s quality raytraced images... all they need is a black and white checked tile floor and the look will be complete.
...and there you have it.
...and there you have it. Perfect arguments as to *exactly* why patents on sofware are bad for the industry and cripple innovation.
Aside from the legalise fluff, none of MS's "patents" appear to be in any way revolutionary and are there purly to stifle.
For example pat 5845077 (software update) is extremely obvious, not revolutionary in any way and describes pretty much the only sane way to perform a client/server based software update check. The vagaries are there to cover many similar-but-not-quite-the-same takes on the approach.
Patents - in place to protect the small inventor from unscrupulous corporations.
Hey, why don't MS try to lock in users to proprietry document formats as well as the long suffering business sector? Ah, yes - that's what this appears to be. Wonder when we'll start seeing anti-trust / anti-competetive actions against MS when it comes to "free hotmail this, free hotmail that" all over a new system?
Largely a return to the ghastly MSN mess which attempted to replace a browser and all other junk into one end-user "friendly" application.
"Notice even though it's all Flash, the URL changes with each asset page. That's for SEO."
No, that's for bookmarking but is more likely to help a "little" with reducing the huge size of the initial download by splitting it into more manageable chunks. Yes, SEO does use the URI, but that's only if there's something in the content of the page (HTML) that's indexable.
There is a very important point in all this though.. HTML5 is not yet ready for mainsteam use as the uptake of user agents that actually support it are too low for viable mainstream use (aside from HTML5 not being formally completed). Until this situation is fixed, alternatives for rich media need to be used.
Oustanding keyboard??? The arses STILL stick the damn Fn (function) key in place of where the damn Ctrl key is on every other damn keyboard. You get used to it, but it causes a lot of keyboard usage mistakes when switching to normal systems.
Stuff that... what was the tech that interpreted a speach and reduced it down to what the liar^H^H^H^H politician was saying?
“The ultimate aim of the legislation is to shift people’s behaviour from the unlawful to the legal.”
There's nothing wrong with this aim, it's what policy should be about. Of course, discussions have to be had about what is legal and what isn't, and whether the boundary is in the correct, fair place - for both producers* and consumers of the products.
* Not "music producer", the whole series of people involved. The balance of fair payments between those involved is another matter altogether.
"The code agreed will be put into practice for a year, during which the outgoing government hopes lots of new music services will appear, and casual infringement will fall. As BIS wrote in an explanatory note earlier this year:"
This is where the government is dreaming. New music services, in this economic climate, that the public want and use and (although technically not a requirement) are fair? Not likely. No VC is going to throw money into this kind of thing right now, especially given the virtual stranglehold certain companies hold, the costs involved compared to the return and time for a return and the free alternatives. The free alternatives may start to attract risks, but they'll be so small for now that most users will ignore them. Look at driving while using a mobile as an example - everybody knows they mustn't do it and the penalties for doing so, but how many do you still see doing it?
kill -9 mandelson
FAIL.... and you know why I *know* this is a fake story? There's no mention of collaptic im/explosions and therefore it's obviously a total fake.
Next time get your facts (and terminology) correct Mr Page - your reputation as a world class reporter on high level physics will suffer otherwise.
Download and install the MS VM. Then download and install VMWare player and have a virtualisation environment that doesn't bring the host OS to it's knees, integrates better and feels much faster and more usable. VM even has a special "import XP mode" option in the menu to make this as easy as possible.
Less bloat would be good to...
Less bloat would be good to... Acrobat used to be a document *reader*. Now it's a security nightmare sub-system in it's own right. Quite how it's expanded from a small, light document reader to a 37MB exercise in bloat and inefficiency is another good question to ask as well.
Erm... slight design flaw?
Well, not exactly a design flaw, but stupid anyway...
Tilt the wheel on this and the screen tilts, meaning you have to tilt your head to get the same angle of view of the screen.
Tilt the Wii Wheel and the screen stays the same orientation and so does your head.
And in other news...
Our beloved dictators, knowing that their time is now short, are pushing forward with an expensive white elephant so they can dare the new guvment to cancel it and "waste money" on a scheme that is already in operation and will, by then, have proven* it's worth in PREVENTING TERRORISM. Using politician style "logic", anybody proposing to cancel it in 6 months time will be saying "! SUPPORT TERRORISM" and will be showing their out-of-touch-with-the-people credentials by "THROWING AWAY VALUABLE TAX PAYER MONEY".
You can just see the headlines now...
* "proof". For proof, please see "statistics"
Jesus Christ (the saviour or the prophet, depending on your leanings) was never born in December. This was just a hijacking of the much more fun and pertinent (for an agrarian nation) celebration of winter solstice. Read the story... lambs ain't born in December, not even in the middle east.
So apart from the wrong year, the day is wrong as wrell. Now PLEASE can we bring back the true meaning of the holiday now celebrated as Christmas?
Amendments to the DP Act altered it from machine readable to *any* data in a retrievable form. The reason? Probably because of departments full if eejits who decided to switch from computer to paper storage because that they didn't want to have to bother with complying with the DP Act.
So, whether you encode your data using knots on a bit of string, sung in a falsetto voice onto an analogue tape cassette, scribbled in shorthand on a notepad or written to a hard disk (using encryption or not), it's ALL covered by the DP Act.
Gotta love the crazies...
Gotta love the crazies... after all, where would we find all these lovely new words that can sporadically find themselves in IT documentation. Hell, with enough of them we can create a few more meaningless T.L.A.s just to make things more "interesting".
Of course, the funny thing about the LHC is that the energy of the collisions is *still* less than that resulting from of the particles that are continually bombarding the atmosphere. At last check, the Earth's atmosphere hadn't vaporised the Earth's core, created a trans-dimensional gateway to hell (or Slough) or even spontaneously collapted. Nature is so so boring sometimes...
IE8 and google
MS have cunningly ensured that google is always on the 2nd page of the "select a search provider" and considering that most users just press "next", "next", "next", "next"... until the annoying prompts go away and let them get on with downloading porn. They've also rigged it so that google is worse reviewed than the others, even some of the utterly inane and unused search engines.
Seriously, anybody have an idea as to how much it would cost a company such as Intel to prototype a new chip in this way? Apart from the raw material costs and design costs, is it expensive these days to produce a single wafer of a custom design or is it something that is now relatively cheap?
Just curious really...
Re: This is what happens
"This is what happens...when you destroy my beloved Paint Shop Pro"
They've destroyed it? I had no idea, I'm still waiting for it to load up...
The open .pst formats will be introduced as a new format with MS Outlook 2010. They'll be more bloated than the existing format, perhaps even named ".pstx" and will be exceedingly heavily MS Outlook orientated with obscure functionality defined as "handle like MS Word handles it". Asides from this, from an business point of view, allowing users to have local .pst files is suicidal compared to using .ost files and providing a level of data protection.
They'd do better to implement a working, sane, open communication protocol for MS Exchange server, but that would open up competition in the mail client / calendar / organiser client and MS would have to actually do some work on Outlook rather than just sticking a different skin on top of identical bugs.
This said, a good, new MS Exchange server version that is accountable, stores data in something other than an enormous amorphous blob pseudo database and actually includes the features that every other mail server includes as standard would give people a REAL reason to buy it and install it rather than just the usual locked-in-to-a-single-supplier "justification".
Do the cows care?
Do the cows care? While regrettably I'm a touch short on dairy herd experience these days, I honestly don't remember a single instance of seeing a cow check her watches or standing around clock watching. Standing around chewing cud and looking stupidly oblivious to the entire world, well they do that with aplomb, but not time management.
Roads, roads, roads
A few randomly strewn points regarding road safety and speeding:
* Speed doesn't kills. It's the sudden stops that tend to do this.
* It is more dangerous to drive inappropriately than it is to drive fast. 60mph on a 70mph road in the snow is considerably more dangerous than 80mph on a clear, dry day.
* When joining a motorway and dual carriageway, you're on what is called an "acceleration" lane - as in, it's meant to allow you to get your car up to ROAD SPEED. This, strangely, is the speed of the road that you're joining and not some arbitrary speed 30 mph less than it. Anybody attempting to join a faster road at a slower speed in front of traffic should be shot. Twice. Then given a fair trial. Of course, brain dead town planners who have no driving licence should not be allowed to design road junctions with acceleration lanes that are so short or blind that any locals with a degree of self-preservation avoid them.
* Good road design lends more to safety than arbitrary speed limits. You only need to visit Hertfordshire's newest accident black spot (the A414/M1 junction near Hemel Hempstead) to see a spot on example of brainless road layout.
* Too much information causes overload and the more important information is missed. This is why there are studies that prove that junctions with dozens of signs (doubtless to cover the ass of the licence-free road planner) figure with a lot more accidents and near-accidents than clearer, simpler junctions.
* It's a SPEED LIMIT. It's not an indicator of the the target speed of a road. You should moderate your speed as is appropriate for the road and the conditions.
* The Renault Twingo (probably the worst car I've ever had the mis-fortune to drive), has a speedo so far out of the line of sight of the driver that it takes half a second to turn your head, re-focus, read the ghastly orange LED bar display, move head back to driving position and then re-focus on what you're about to drive into. The rev-counter, of course, is exactly where the speedo should have been. To be fair though, because the ride of the Twingo is so vomit inducing at speeds above 50mph, an experienced Twingo could judged their speed by the level of bile about to erupt through their nose. Serious point though - good car design, as well as good road design helps considerably. I've driven many cars where the pillars are so thick there are noticable blind spots when looking round at junctions.
* The driving test should not be yet another metric-driven statistics measure like most modern school exams - it should test your ability to drive, calmly, safely as well as your knowledge or the rules of the road. I also believe that everybody should have to retake their test every 4 years to ensure that our bad habits are kept in check and we're still safe to be allowed to propel a 1 ton lump of metal at 70mph only feet from another lump coming the opposite direction.
* Rather than trying to make money, the police should invest in more unmarked cars with real police in them, who's job it is to catch the twatts that like to drive 2 feet behind everybody else and weave in and out of traffic, pushing their vehicles into spaces between cars that, admittedly too short, barely fit their vehicle in as well.