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* Posts by Dr. Mouse

1140 posts • joined 22 May 2007

Judge: Apple must run ads saying Samsung DIDN'T copy the iPad

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Timing is perfect!

That's what I thought, too. In any other case, worldwide, Samsung would just be able to point to the official Apple UK page and newspapers for an admission that they didn't copy Apple.

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'Unfair' tariff tweaks yield networks £90m

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Don't sign a contract

"(did you know that texts cost so little to the operators that they can't actually calculate how little)"

I know that, originally, SMS were designed to fit in unused space in the GSM protocol (I don't remember exactly where, was years ago I read it). This would make text messages on the same network, effectively, free. Obviously this may have changed, but if you consider it is 140 bytes of data, proabably plus some headers/other protocol overhead, which means that even at a very inefficient 256 bytes and 4p/msg it's being charged at over £160/MB.

In the end, they charge what the market will allow. If enough people are prepared to pay £100 for something that costs you a penny, you will charge it and make £99.99 profit on each.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Putting the CON back into CONtract

"people have signed up to a contract which has in its terms the ability for the phone company to increase prices in line with inflation... Perhaps they should have taken more care when they signed up in the first place."

Maybe they should, but most people do not read the full T&Cs when signing up to these. I know "I didn't read it" is no excuse, but this is how it is.

Also, when a customer is tied in to a contract for a long time (e.g. 2 years), the fact that the price can be increased during this term without the option to cancel is unfair (IMHO). A fixed term contract should not allow mid-term price changes, as most people would have the expectation that the prices involved form part of the contract. Any terms which alter a contract from what would reasonably be expected should be made clear to the customer, not burried in the T&Cs.

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Dr. Mouse
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Glad I'm not on contract

I completely agree that they should be allowed to increase prices in line with inflation, but NOT in the middle of a fixed-term contract.

If I signed up for a contract with a "free"(tm) high-end handset, I would probably be tied to a 24 month contract. If I am tied to the contract, at the price designated at the outset, so should the operator. They should not be allowed to increase the price during that contract term without a reasonable get-out option for the customer.

Glad I'm not on a contract. If my operator increases the cost, I can leave immediately. I'd rather save up for the phone I want and buy it outright than be tied in (and I pay less in the long run, too).

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Is the Higgs boson an imposter?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Nah...

"Expect a flurry of these papers in the next weeks and months trying to explain"

Yep. Expect large numbers of physicists to pour over the data to test whether it can be explained using other theories. In some way or another, there may be many theories which can fit the data. Some will be more plausible than others, but it is necessary to compare with as many current theories as possible, as well as to examine it from a clean slate to attempt to construct additional theories, to determine if any alternatives are likely to be correct.

Just because they have discovered a Higgs-like particle does not necessarily mean it is the Higgs Boson. It may be that there is evidence to disprove the entire SM in there, or to allow some genius to find an alternative which turns out to be correct. We don't yet know. The CERN announcement is quite dull, really. The examination of the data may yet reveal something exciting.

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Boffins pull off room-temp quantum computing with home-grown gems

Dr. Mouse
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Re: diamond byte

Sorry, it was a (mis)quote from South Park. I assumed some people would get it. I was wrong, judging by the downvotes.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: diamond byte

Was it like a taco inside a taco within a Taco Bell that's inside a KFC that's within a mall that's inside your nanotube?

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AMD and Intel mainstream desktop CPUs

Dr. Mouse
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Re: OS's are increasingly reliant on graphics capabilities

"Consoles are, OSes aren't."

OK, I'll give you that. I'll rephrase: GUIs are increasingly reliant on graphics capabilities. I have spent too much time around windows users and slipped. Sorry.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: AMD still trailing

Several reasons.

First off, OS's are increasingly reliant on graphics capabilities. Even business workers want all the pretty (and sometimes usefull) effects on their desktops. A more powerfull embeded GPU helps them run more smoothly.

Also, a GPU embedded in the CPU can be more efficient, saving on power. This is a plus for businesses and consumers. For those who need more grunt, an APU can be paired with a more capable discrete card, and the discrete card can be powered down when only light graphical work is done, saving power, keeping things cooler, and prolonging battery life in mobile environments.

Possibly the more important reason is that GPUs areincreasingly used for non-graphic purposes. Even users who don't play games or use graphically intensive apps can benefit from a more capable GPU, and this is likely to become more prevalent as time goes on. So a nice APU would be of great benefit to low end systems where the workload is capable of uitilising it, and these workloads are expanding rapidly. Even something as simple as playing a YouTube video can gain in both performance and efficiency with a more capable GPU than has been available to integrated graphics users before the advent of the APU.

Finally, there is the trend towards integration. This has happenned throughout the developement of electronics, and usually leads to cheaper, better products. Moving the components from an add-in card, to the chipset, then into the processor is a logical progression which happens all the time, and usually benefits everyone.

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Dr. Mouse
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FAIL

Garbage!

This is one of the worst reviews/roundups I have seen on el reg. Very limited sample, quoting more old info than new... Not even worth reading.

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Brits get to fondle Google Nexus 7 slab in just a fortnight

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Too much ?

I have to say I agree with other comments here.

A tablet is not as serious a device, IMHO, as a phone or laptop. A laptop needs to be able to cope with at least semi-serious work, and a phone is going to be used all the time because you have it with you anyway. I see a tablet as a bit of a toy, mostly. It can't replace a laptop as it's not capable enough, it can't replace a smart phone as it's not portable enough. It's great for ebook, watching movies or surfing on the go.

For these tasks, an £80 tab as you can get from the likes of eBuyer/eBay etc. is more than adequate. Sure, the Nexus 7 has better CPU/GPU, and will likely be more responsive & perform better, but £80 better?

Had they included a 3G modem and an SD slot it may have been worth it at that price. Without, I'd go for a cheaper model.

BTW, this is the tab I'm thinking of by comparison: http://www.ebuyer.com/386278-sumvision-astro-7-tablet-pc-astro-7

OK, the processing and graphic capabilities are much less, but it's half the price. I've seen one in action and it performs more than adequately for the sort of use I'd expect people to put it to.

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Breaking: Megaupload seizures illegal says NZ High Court

Dr. Mouse
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"It looked like we had become the 51st state and at the call of the Americans for a while."

52nd... The UK is 51st, and our politicians are damn proud of it!

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'Inexperienced' RBS tech operative's blunder led to banking meltdown

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Work Blunders

"Imagine the bowel emptying horror when this chap realised what he had done."

I can't think of a better way to describe it. Well done :)

Yeah, I've committed serious errors in the past, although none on even the scale of yours Mr_Bungle. My most recent was when I was clearing up some log files, and then tried to restart syslog without checking the command line was clear. "rm /etc/init.d/syslog restart", followed by confusion over the error of "no such file: restart", followed by a panicked search for a backup.

Anyone can make a cockup when under pressure or not concentrating properly on a menial task. I hate to think of the panick the guy who did this went through. Bowel emptying indeed!

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Mensch pal Bozier defends Menshn security, dubs critics 'snippy geeks'

Dr. Mouse
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Re: politics

"A good enough reason to stop someone becoming a politician should be that they WANT to be one."

I agree completely. They are supposed to be there to represent us, the normal people. Yet wanting power makes them abnormal, therefore unsuitable for the role.

I know it's a gross simplification, but IMHO it fits.

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Brits spent £334 each year on games

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Consoles: Don't get it.

OK, fair enough, I take all your points. Many there I didn't know, not having been an avid gamer for a while.

I'd still take a PC over a console, but I guess if I was a heavy gamer and couldn't get the games I wanted on PC I may have a different viewpoint.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: £300 - It's not surprising really....

I've gotta agree. My main hobbies are motorcycling and home brewing, and I must spend well over £300 a year.

For the bike, there's about £150 insurance, £50 tax, £30 MOT and £30 service parts, so £260 before you even take into account the fuel to actually ride the thing. As for home brewing, you have to offset against what I would spend on shop-bought beer for the cost of brewing a batch, but in equipment I must buy £100 worth a year, continually improving my setup plus replacing broken/worn out parts.

So yes, I can see gamers spending that kind of dough on games.

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Dr. Mouse
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Consoles: Don't get it.

I have only ever owned one console. That was an original xbox which I bought for £30 from a mate (took advantage of his financial situation at the time... not a great mate am I?) and immediately chipped and put XBMC on. It was a media player to me, for occasional gameplay if a friend brought a game over. I never bought a single game for it.

I don't understand why people, especially techies, would buy a console when, for the same money, you can have a similarly-performing PC, which has the advantage of being a PC and doing things a console can't. Then, as time goes by, you can upgrade them. The overall cost of keeping up with the latest games' performance requirements is much lower, the performance and visual quality is better around this time (when all the consoles are getting old and coming up for a refresh), and it will do much more.

I can just about see the reasoning with a unique device, like the Wii, or for a non-techie who can't build their own systems. But for a techie... Why?

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Ofcom: High-speed hookups still a UK monopoly - except in London

Dr. Mouse
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Re: OK, but there are competition problems in retail markets too...

"why does broadband have to advertise in megabits per second, when files/downloads are megabytes/MBs"

Because that's how comms speed has "always" been rated. Look at your ethernet connection: 10Mbps, 100Mbps, 1000Mbps. Modems, similarly: 9600bps, 14400bps etc. This is because the modem/NIC transmit bits*, so that's how it is rated. Bytes are just a group of bits.

Also, to rate in "transfer speed", you would need to take into account protocol overheads. As these vary with the different protocols, this would become even more difficult.

*OK, I think GbE actually uses 8b/10b encoding, so is actually transmitting bytes, but you get my drift.

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GiffGaff in data spaff, goodybag gaffe: ICO says its 'avin a laff

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Giffgaffer Goodybag insider

That sounds like a rather bad experience. If I understand you, I'd have left having such service.

I have to say this seems rather opposite from my own experience. I haven't seen any GG forum posts deleted for complaining, and there are quite a lot. The only time I've seen posts deleted is when they have been offensive (e.g. bad language etc). I've also never had any problems with data connectivity except in low signal areas (like at my desk at work, which is annoying but hardly GGs fault).

Hope you find a network & package better suited to your needs.

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Dr. Mouse
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Eh?

"perhaps indicative of the operator's general business practices, which include bribing existing customers to recommend it to friends and family."

I guess you are not a fan of giffgaff.

Many companies offer recommendation bonuses. They are not bribes. Initially, with GG, the whole "payback" (rewards for recruiting new members or helping out those with problems) were a way to reduce support and advertising costs by having the customers do it for them. With recommendations/recruitment this is fairly common practice, and to call them bribes is inflamatory at best.

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Wraps come off UK super-snooper draft plans

Dr. Mouse
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What is an ISP?

I don't have time to read the doct in full, but what counts as an ISP in this regard?

For instance would a company, running it's own email services, be required to keep these records and/or pass the info to the govt? What about someone running their own mail server as an individual?

Although there are obviously privacy concerns in this, I am personally worried that it will end up forcing people, like me, who run their own internet services to keep such records, which would obviously be quite a large task to such individuals.

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Steve Jobs speaks from beyond grave: 'iPads are toys'

Dr. Mouse
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Re: LMAO!

Deffinitely trolling, but it's quite ironic seeing as Bill Gates was best at recycling other people's best ideas too, and Microsoft continues this tradition today (as I learned from a recent presentation by a MS rep in which most "new features" had been around for years on other systems, except Metro...)

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Richard Branson gets nod to strap rocket on SpaceShipTwo

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Lovelock a scientist?

"To combine Lovelock and Hawking on the same phrase is an offence to science."

I completely agree, and am ashamed to see such an affilliation in the Reg, without even a hint of sarcasm or a mention of the frivolous use of the earth's resources. This almost looks like copy-and-paste from a press release! Shame on both the "author" and the editorial staff (if such even exist anymore, which I have my doubts over considerring the number of mistakes I have seen over the last few months)!

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Wealthy Kensington & Chelsea residents reject BT fibre cabinets

Dr. Mouse
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Fair enough

"Eurgh! The boxes are ugly, you can't use them!"

"Fine, we won't. Enjoy your slow broadband."

It is pure NIMBYism. Just like the people who shout for more wind farms until you put them in an area they like. Let 'em do without (or pay significantly more)!

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The more science you know, the less worried you are about climate

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Skepticism does not mean doubt

In many ways I have to agree that this seems the most plausible explanation: Those of a scientific mindset understand things and express themselves in different ways to those without.

For example, to take your deity example, a non-scientific person may say they think there is absolutely no chance of a deity existing. A person with a science background would think about it and say that they think there is a negligible chance of a deity existing.

To a lay-person these would sound the same, but the "scientist" is leaving the door open to the chance, even though they don't think the chance is large enough to make any difference.

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Google in the clear on Oracle patents

Dr. Mouse
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Re: The BBC as ever has got wrong

Rather than just downvoting me for this, could someone please explain what I have got wrong?

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: The BBC as ever has got wrong

Unless I have missed something, Google HAS been found guilty of copright infringement by the jury over the APIs.

The caveat, of course, is that;

a) the jury could not decide whether they amount to fair use, and

b) the judge still needs to decide whether the copyright is valid (i.e. whether you can copright APIs).

So, technically, the BBC is correct. The descision could be overruled by the judge, though. Even if APIs are found to be copyrightable, Google will go for a mistrial (or something, IANAL) because they need an answer to whether the infringement was fair use.

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SpaceX does what it HASN'T done before: Dragon in close ISS flyby

Dr. Mouse
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Well done SpaceX!

There's still a long way to go, but they have made remarkable progress. Kudos!

But WRT:

"Such a launch abort capability is regarded as essential for manned flight, given the nature of launch rocket stacks (essentially huge lightweight towers packed with volatile explosive fuels, which will be set on fire and subjected to enormous stresses, heat and vibration)."

It often amuses me that, although we have come so far in terms of technology, we are launching things & people into space using basically the same technology as Chinese 10th-century fireworks: A lightweight tube filled with fuel and set alight. I know it's a lot more complex than that, but we send our astronauts into space using a huge firework.

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'Dated and cheesy' Aero ripped from Windows 8

Dr. Mouse
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Microsoft: Please U-turn!

I was at a recent tech expo and a bloke from MS previewed a load of their up-comming technologies. For a start, I was very surprised that they worked, and worked well, even though they were all in preview state.

Beyond that, I thought they were great ideas, even though they had all been done before (in other OS's etc), with one exception: Metro. It is great on a "slate" or anything with a touch interface. Using it with a mouse feels clunky and awkward, a bit like using Windows without a mouse attached. I could see the benefit of a single interface accross all their consumer platforms (phone, "slate" and PC), but this is not the way to do it.

I for one will be giving Win8 a miss till touch screen monitors for PCs come down to a reasonable price (and I've tried it out to make sure it's not too awkward).

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Button batteries BURN KIDS FROM INSIDE

Dr. Mouse
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Joke

"The incidents are no laughing matter"

I have to disagree, I nearly wet myself reading this article.

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Solving traffic jams with maths

Dr. Mouse
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Just within the surrounding cities I've seen light timings changed to unexpected values to cause idiots who think they are above the law or who don't watch where they are going to break the law

There, fixed it for you.

Although I will agree that road planner seem to spend more money trying to generate revenue than making an efficient transport network. They also seem to try to cause you to stop as often as possible, wasting fuel and generating more revenue for the exchequer.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Exactly

"I would caveat that one, no idea if sensors can pick up bicycles etc"

I'm sure some can. Most, however, cannot even pick up a motorcycle. I would know, the number of times I've been stuck at a red light for an extended (i.e. abnormal, much longer than I have ever waited in a car) period of time, to have the lights change a few seconds after a car pulls up behind me.

I now avoid such junctions on the bike when I know about them.

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Grab your L-plates, flying cars of sci-fi dreams have landed

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Power requirements

"The cost of buying and operating one of these things mean that they're only going to benefit the rich; so only a very small proportion of the population and no solution to urban congestion."

I'm sure a similar argument was made against cars in the early days. "They are too expensive, so they will only benefit the rich."

Except, as more rich people buy them, more are produced, production techniques improve and economies of scale start to have an effect. Soon (although it could be decades) people on "middle" incomes get to benefit, and eventually even the "poor" can afford a second hand one.

As for the rest of your argument, andvancement of technology would eventually improve the performance and power requirements. This is also likely to be decades away, but none of your arguments are good enough to say "Why not do something usefull" to those developing these vehicles.

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Germans hail Vulture 1 spaceplane

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Erm...

Yep, I had to have a bit of a chuckle at that. No offense meant, Lester, but you guys are not scientists. More like drunk reporters having a larf (Ang on, lads, we could make a paper aeroplane and send it into space! That'd be so cool! So who's round is it?)

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Princeton solar researchers take leaf from plants’ book

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Rough and Smooth

"covering the cell in a thin coat of transparent material"

I'm not certain, but I think that would cancel out at least some of the effects. From what I understand, the "roughenning" improves efficiency at least in part because it stops as much light being reflected due to it arriving at the wrong angle. If you add a layer of transparent meterial over the top, that light will be reflected still.

I have not read enough about this to know 100% if I am right, but it makes sense to me from this article. If I'm wrong, I'm happy for someone to let me know :)

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GCSE, A-level science exams ARE dumbed down - watchdog

Dr. Mouse
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Re: telling ?

"lets just approximate that 1.8 millions A level students per year... What is the statistical chance that from one year to the next enough of those 1.8 million are that much smarter than the year before. Statistically extremely unlikely."

That is why I said over 10 years. Maybe longer would be more accurate, but I was taking about a long enough timeframe that it would be possible for a significant shift in "ability".

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Dr. Mouse
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I'm gobsmacked! Over 25% get an A at A-level?!

Of course that only represents half the story. If the proportion of kid taking A-levels had reduced, so only the top 40% of those who used to were taking them, then this picture would add up to similar standards. However, I would suspect it has gone the other way, which is even more telling.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: The Bell Curve

I agree, to a point.

The problem is that this doesn't lead to equivalency in grading. If, over the course of 10 years, the ability of the students increases, it means an A grade is worth more. Similarly if the abilty goes down it is worth less.

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UK plc 'needs a chief engineer' - also a chief trick-cyclist

Dr. Mouse
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Re: There should be a cynic in the house of Lords

"12 people in compulsory employment to oversee government decisions. 3 months employment at a time, with people randomly selected from a list of registered voters"

I couldn't agree more with this.

I would consider it like jury service: Just pick a load of citizens, preferably from different backgrounds and areas of expertise, and have them oversee govt descisions for a few months at a time.

As for the article, I would say it was a step in the right direction. I would actually say that the Commons should not be the ones planning long term projects. They are only elected for a few years at a time, so the projects are viewed in terms of that. The Lords is the perfect place to have these long term projects dealt with, and would be the perfect place to have senior engineers/scientists etc sitting. They can take a long term view and plan things properly.

I think our current system has this fundamental flaw in that all plans must be made by the commons (who cannot see past the next election). Divide the labor between the two according to which is the most suitable place for it.

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Standing NEXT to an HTML coder is like standing NEXT TO GOD

Dr. Mouse
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LOL!

That's got to be one of the funniest articles I've ever read on the Registry! It even puts some of the BOFH stories to shame. Kudos!

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TV Now was too good, and that was its downfall

Dr. Mouse
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FAIL

I think this is absurd

I have set up this kind of service at home. Basically, I had a MythTV box, and all recordings were then available to me on any device (through a little custom jiggerypokery).

From what I have seen, they were providing this service but hosted in the "cloud". How can this be illegal? They may have added features the majority wouldn't have had access to, but that is just a feature of their site. In no way do I see that this is any more than providing a service which allows an individual to record something for their own personal use and play it back on the device of their choice.

If the law currently prohibits this, the law needs changing.

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Crytek: Schemes to strike second-hand games biz 'awesome'

Dr. Mouse
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Re: @Dr. Mouse I'm sorry

"You have mixed physical goods and the "intellectual" property crap all in one pot and are confused as the result."

Nope. I'm not confused about that. I am confused about all the downvotes I got.

I will say it again, I really don't like this turn of events, but how a product is sold and/or licensed is up to the person producing the product. Of course, if you get the game on a disc, you have the right to sell that disc. If the license prevents transfer of rights, you do not have the right to "sell" the license. Simples.

This happens in other areas of computer software. AutoCAD, for example: You pay, not to own the software, but for a license to use it. You are not buying a physical object. The same applies to many others. If the license states you cannot transfer it, you cannot transfer it.

If game co's want to go down this path, they are perfectly within their rights to do so. I, for one, will not be obliging them in this, and hope that the business model fails so they are forced back to "real" selling. It will actually make me more likely to pirate games, or not "buy" them in the first place. But it is still their right to use a different business/licensing model. Just because you and I do not like it doesn't remove their rights.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: I'm sorry

"What gives them the right to essentially ban second hand games?"

It's their product. They can sell/license it as they wish.

I'm not defending it, by the way. I dislike this as much as the rest, and I think it is a mistake.

However, if I make something, I have the right to determine how to sell/license it. How the market reacts to that descision will determine how successfull it is, but it's still my descision.

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Official: Britain staggers into double-dip recession doom

Dr. Mouse
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And you think the situation would have been better under Labour?

At the end of the day, everyone I know predicted that we would have shitty times for years after the last recession. This would have been the same no matter which govt was in power. Their economic policies were so similar (although they shouted differences, they were nearly identical when you looked at the figures) that they would have made virtually no difference.

What we actually need is for companies to start hiring. This would start an upward spiral as more people had more to spend. As things stand (and with media, politicians and my next-door-neighbour-and-his-dog scare-mongerring) things will be slow going because so many have no money to spend.

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Educating Rory: Are BBC reporters unteachable?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Err...

"I would argue that HTML markup is exactly the sort of thing that makes a good start for teaching programming."

I have to disagree with you there.

HTML is nothing like programming, so doesn't even come close to giving an introduction. The best it does is say "on a computer, if your type some odd-looking words and symbols it changes what happens".

This is where BASIC is actually very good as an introduction. Type PRINT "Hello World" and it does so. Very immediate results, but it is actually programming. I don't like BASIC myself, but IMHO it is the best available tool to teach an introduction to programming (although I think that's all it should be used for, with a view to moving on very soon afterwards).

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Beefy Fedora could use a dash of miracle whip

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Unified File System Layout

Thanks for the historical info, you learn something new every day :)

However, there is still a case for keeping the "Linux" way of splitting / and /usr. I have used it for those reasons for years and would be very uncomfortable moving a server to a "unified" layout.

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Dr. Mouse
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Unified File System Layout

"new unified file system layout: that is, everything now lives under /usr. The plan is to get rid of the separation of /bin and /usr/bin, as well as /sbin and /usr/sbin and so on. All files from the top level directories will now be found under their /usr equivalent."

Does this not sound like a bad idea?

I thought part of the idea of having separate /s?bin and /usr/s?bin was that you could boot a system with just the root FS, not needing to mount /usr, and have the essential tools available. So, if tools are moved into /usr and the root-level directories contain only symlinks, this functionality is borked, and your system is screwed if it can't mount /usr.

This may not be a problem for most desktop systems, which generally seem to be installed in a single root partition (eurgh!), but for those of us who do things the "right way" would be just as vulnerable to /usr corruption as the rest.

Hope this "improvement" doesn't happen to Debian any time soon.

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Gemini outs trio of budget Android 4 tablets

Dr. Mouse
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"the cream of the bottom"

You owe me a new keyboard! LOL

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Compulsory coding in schools: The new Nerd Tourism

Dr. Mouse
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Re: optional

First off, ensure your operators are correct. Yours aren't.

Second, I have known people who were not good at maths and science, but made good programmers (and engineers). They had to work very hard when it came to the mathsy bits, but their immagination and logical thinking allowed them to produce fantastic code.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Missed the point? or did I?

"What in buggery has that got to do with 15 year olds learning HTML?"

I think everyone here agrees that when we are talking about teaching programming in schools, we are not talking about HTML.

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