* Posts by John

4 posts • joined 12 Jun 2007

Dell touts Windows XP to 2009 - and 'likely longer'

John
Gates Halo

@Show of Hands

I've paid for Windows licenses since Win 2K. In fact, I think I've bought 5 XP Pro licenses in total. I was, and am, happy with XP Pro.

Vista sucks.

O2 PR calls Reg readers 'techie nerds'

John
Boffin

re: Sorry from the O2 press office

While your apology seems in order, of course your remark will influence people's view of O2. Surely you can't imagine that it won't?

I'm sure you've told Bill you have a lot of respect for The Register and its readers previously; what price your credibility on that front now, though? I rather expect your remark will influence Bill's view of your sincerity in future. Certainly I know how to judge PR statements from O2.....

American gamble or bluff: WTO members bet on Antigua

John

The Great US Firewall

Charles, the US may be blocked from buying cheap software from Antigua by a US firewall, but I don't see the same firewall appearing in Europe. Sitting here in Europe I rub my hands with glee at the thought of being able to buy a bunch of digital format films and music, and maybe even some software from Antigua as a means of slapping the US administration on the nose for its bully tactics.

UK foreign language teaching hits all-time low

John

What's a GCSE for anyway?

Particularly regarding the Bootnote: It seems to me that the correspondent, clearly scarred by his language-learning experiences*, is suffering from a confusion between the provision of basic practical language skills and the achievement of a level of language understanding that might be useful in an academic context.

Why should children do a GCSE in every damn thing? GCSEs are a marker of attainment in an academic context and should be helpful to getting further either in education, or in employment - neither purpose is served with rudimentary Spanish. Nor should it be.

Children being taught languages at a "phrasebook" standard in schools - whether that means Spanish or Arabic or Chinese or whatever other language - is a good thing. In my experience of foreign languages and travel, a little effort (please, thank you, yes, no, hello, goodbye) goes a very long way, and is well worth undertaking. But what does this have to do with GCSEs? It's a sad thing that our schools increasingly focus on getting meaningless qualifications for everything, devaluing the qualifications themselves, and failing to support pupils appropriately into the bargain.

This is the point of the main body of the article, isn't it? Thanks to a government policy which seems best described as "inject chaos; rinse; repeat" over the course of the last ten years or so, state schools appear to be falling behind the independent sector, regardless of the money that is nominally injected into the system. It shouldn't be that way.

Sad.

Incidentally, how is this Technology-related?

* I sympathise utterly: I also hated both my Latin and French learning experiences at school, for identical reasons. In contrast, German was taught brilliantly (thank you Mr Cadogan), and many years after learning these languages I can still converse in them. (Well maybe not Latin, it doesn't come up all that often...)

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