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Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

Reapy Re:Tactile interaction? (353 comments)

The problem people have with tablets is their lack of tactile presence. This will not change, we may get used to it, but it will never feel as nice as a raised button. There is a reason some people still want their cherry switch clicky keyboards still too.

There is also a really great rise in board gaming in the past few years because people do enjoy engaging their brains, but still crave the enjoyment of the tactile feel of having physical pieces move around as well as sitting across the table in other people's presence while they play.

If anything look at the rise of how technology that allows us to be social when we otherwise couldn't be has exploded and taken over. People love other people and love being able to talk to them at all times. If anything in the past we all lived extremely introverted lives and were forced to only interact with those in our neighborhood and surrounding town.

Now, not only do I have access to that, but most of the entire world can be reached, day or night, at any time. I can show pictures, videos, speak to them in voice or indirectly interact with them through games. At all points in times we are now able to be connected, and I don't get why this is such a horrible thing for people?

Staying apart is what leads to confusion and ultimately wars as it is easy to alienate people that are disconnected. It is quite easy to ignore things going on in a foreign country that appears disconnected from your day to day life, but perhaps you know someone from their and game with them regularly or talk to them on a forum you frequent. Suddenly that global problem you would never have heard of in the past is a very real part of your life.

I don't understand this anti technology backlash I keep seeing, especially here.

3 days ago

Student Records Kids Who Bully Him, Then Gets Threatened With Wiretapping Charge

Reapy Re:Rewarding the bullies... (791 comments)

Some teachers roll over and let it happen and don't care. Others don't tolerate it in their class and solve it, it is a mixed bag.

I recall in 7th grade this guy used to verbally pick on me all the time. We had a class designated for reading, I was the only one reading in the class so it made me a big target. One class the kid decided to flick a rubberband into my back, the first few times I ignored the drive by snapping on my back, but one time he just kept doing it over and over again.

I finally just lost control, stood up, and kicked him right in the hip. I really don't even remember having control at that point. The kid visibly staggered but immediately called to the teacher that I had kicked him. Now before this I had some contempt for the teacher because she let 'everything' happen in that class, but as soon as he called out she said "Good, you deserved it!" Kudos to her for this at least. I could easily have been punished for losing control first.

That was the last time that particular guy harassed me.

Sometimes the old ways are the good ways.

4 days ago

Your Car Will Tell You How To Hit the Next Green Light

Reapy Re:Hypermiling (364 comments)

I have an intersection like this I hit everyday. For me it makes sense to cruise up to the light slower so I don't have to stop and the light will be red anyway. But there is also a left turn lane there that you can only make a left on under the green arrow, else too much traffic and you have to wait. If i mosey up and the guy behind me is turning, he gets screwed, and I can even prompt an accident if they decide to cut left past me and straddle the yellow line out of impatience.

Because of that, and because I care about traffic around me flowing as smoothly as possible, I hammer it up to the light as though I am making a left to help any drivers behind me on those few times I'm in the lead at the intersection. Being polite and conscious of other people doesn't always have to stop when you get in your car.

about two weeks ago

Your Car Will Tell You How To Hit the Next Green Light

Reapy Re:Its called paying attention (364 comments)

Never heard of these before... though I think I like how new jersey does it best... essentially you just have a bunch of jug handles on the right.

So to make that left turn, i would overshoot the road, and rather than pulling that left through a median, across 2 lanes, and off to the right... you just stay to the right, pass the street you want to make a left on, and immediately enter a jughandle turn on the right. This bends to the right and hits the street you want to be on, with you pointing across the same intersection at the light, in which you just go straight through when the light changes. Very simple and easy to navigate, especially with a lot of traffic.

I grew up in a small western MA town that is full of left turns and uncontrolled intersections and I have a much more relaxing time driving in NJ with a much denser population.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

Reapy Re:I am one of those guys (373 comments)

Wow thank you.

I am just like yourself, although only 11 years in now. I intentionally write things to be as clear as possible. I avoid trying to use any 'tricks' that are particular to a language like the plague since I will often times have to swap between languages for different periods of time and it reduces the time it takes me to understand what I've been writing. Not to mention that passing the code out to someone who does not primarily use that language or is just learning, there is less of a chance they will misunderstand that part of the code if they have to use it or modify it.

I like to write things straight and simplistic on purpose, but I also get that same feeling of contempt for not getting 'fancy' with what you I write.

But I guess this is like anything, when some of the great minds explain something amazingly complex in just a few short sentences, is totally clear, and makes the concept seem like that with which a five year old could understand, it is easy to dismiss it. Yet getting to that simple explanation was anything but simple.

about three weeks ago

Facebook Introduces Hack: Statically Typed PHP

Reapy Re:Sarcastically Typed (230 comments)

Perl can be extremely frightening sometimes. Still useful though!

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: How Can I Prepare For the Theft of My Android Phone?

Reapy Re:Android Has Full Device Encryption (374 comments)

Not that I have a smart phone yet, but my kids only get their hands on my phone for about 5 to 10 seconds before I realize it since my phone is usually in my pocket or out of their reach while charging. If they do grab it if it falls out of my pocket they typically hand it to me as we've been through the motion of me immediately removing it from their hands and they just skip the step. They know they can use it when I hand it to them when grandma/grandpa is on the phone or someone else to talk to.

Same with the ipad, my 2 year old knows to have myself or my wife 'set up' the ipad for him before he uses it and will bring it over to us if we leave it somewhere in his reach. Sure like anything it took a couple times to establish the routine, but once locked in, they pretty much follow it as normal. The kids slip up and get curious/drop milk etc on things, but typically I just let them use electronics in very specific ways like powering them on or off to remove the 'untouchable' curiosity factor and establish some ground rules about specific things and it works out for the most part.

But every kid is different, some just don't listen, and they all act out at some point or another from what I've seen and talked about with people. Still, most kids know what they can and can't do in the house as long as you establish rules, and 95% of the time they seem to abide by them or cover their tracks well enough that you don't notice ;)

about a month ago

Does Relying On an IDE Make You a Bad Programmer?

Reapy Re:Anecdote (627 comments)

I find prints still useful. If you need to check something in a loop, it is nice to get an instantaneous printing of it all in sequence, it is very easy to see it go sour, and all the sequence of it getting there is sitting on the screen to reference again later rather than having stepped past it and missed it, though I guess you can step back... just easier to print it out sometimes, but maybe that is just old habits die hard on my part.

If it is someone else's tools, I usually go to the IDE debugger since I'm probably not going to know exactly what I have to look at.

As for learning tools, I had the same sort of experience, except they started us with VI in a unix terminal. That was probably a little too hard core of a switch for me, I had to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to type things in as well as learning what was going on in code. Once I figured out how to use a rich text editor to 'ftp save' up to our computer lab and compile there, life got way, way easier for me.

about 2 months ago

Does Relying On an IDE Make You a Bad Programmer?

Reapy Re:IDEs are good. UI builders are bad. (627 comments)

That was the biggest thing I got out of switching to an IDE. I don't know why but I started writing java in ultraedit (have moved on to sublime text, good stuff) for a long while, but I finally got to the point where I had to refactor a mid sized program and finally got everything going in eclipse.

I guess I've always been a bit scared of older IDEs and what they might change or move around if I don't know what all the buttons are, but I guess now a days they are great. The refactoring is huge, it feels much safer to rename something knowing the IDE also understands its scope rather than a find and replace and my brain. I used to have to judge how long it has been since I'd worked on some code, or how big it is, against whether it was worth the 'risk' of renaming a variable or function. Usually unless I had just written it that week, I let it go, but since moving to an IDE i'm able to keep past things consistent with new things much more quickly.

Auto complete is pure awesome, I'm not sure how I lived without it. I used to copy things I had to frequently reference right in to where I was typing just to speed up typing them, much nicer now to get a drop down list that will fill it out as you type.

But yeah as everyone has been saying, they are powerful tools, and while you should understand what is going on under the hood as much as possible, it is important to know how to be as productive as possible too.

about 2 months ago

How Jan Koum Steered WhatsApp Into $16B Facebook Deal

Reapy Re:Rags to riches... (136 comments)

I like the part where they paint the guy as a food stamp collecting dude, but later in the article he 'lived off the 400,000 he had saved'. That is definitely not a poor person who has 400k laying around in bank accounts, at all.

about 2 months ago

E-Sports Gender Gap: 90+% Male

Reapy Re:Huh? (320 comments)

I think there is a certain type of age and genetic traits that are predisposed to succeeding in certain games, much like sports. I mean like any sport I'm sure most can achieve a certain high level of play, but those special people that sit above most others just tick at a different rate than the rest of the competitors.

Also now that competitive gaming has been around a while you can definitely see the effects of age slowing down previously top players to the point that they aren't even competitive anymore.

As for the article, seems like just bad statistics. They say 50% of gamers are female, but I'm sure they are counting casual social gamers, not core games. Just take a look around any 'core' style game and you will see all guys still, and these core games are what drive esports, not farmville and candycrush.

about 2 months ago

The Moderately Enthusiastic Programmer

Reapy Re:Passion is an overstatement ... (533 comments)

I feel the same as you about programming, when I don't do it for a week or so if I'm on vacation I get this weird itch to make something in my spare time...however, after I come home, I like doing other things too. I enjoy gaming, I enjoy movies, books, tv, or just going out to eat and talking with my family, making little miniatures, or working on a project around the house.

I recall a phone screening for a job where the guy asked what kind of PC set up I had at home, and I could tell he was dissatisfied when I told him I had one windows pc. I know I was supposed to say that I have 8 linux boxes with 15 servers automating my toaster and everything else in my home, I wasn't truly passionate about computing in his eyes, which is ludicrous since I have been on a computer everyday for the last 30 years. The guy seemed out there anyway so I thought of it honestly as dodging a bullet, but still.

about 3 months ago

30 Minutes Inside Valve's Prototype Virtual Reality Headset

Reapy Re:Good, looks good (59 comments)

I've always enjoyed escaping into games from time to time. As I get older and have more control over whom and what I surround myself with, it is less of a problem, but still at night time when everyone is in bed, or those moments when you feel down, it is great to escape for a bit, either with a good movie, game, book, or whatever.

VR exploration is really something I look forward to, it will allow a feeling of a sense of scale and weight that you can't convey with a screen, yet not be bound by the laws of physics. I can already think of a huge number of incredible creations I've seen in games, and just the thought of them being recreated in much greater detail and sense of scale with a VR headset is pretty exciting.

I also think that soon enough it will bring people closer over a long distance. Recently my wife was across the country for a week, yet we were able to get her on the TV via video chat so the kids and myself could talk, and honestly its is a good substitute for a person not being there. If we were all able to throw on VR helmets and have real time 3d video chat going on, even better.

I don't see why this has to be something that will isolate and move people apart, when it could very well bring people closer.

Can't wait for this tech to fully arrive, and it is one of the most exciting things I'm looking forward to within the next few years.

about 3 months ago

Historical Carbon Emissions From Dragons In Middle Earth

Reapy Re:Excuse me but (69 comments)

Magic is science we don't understand yet.

about 3 months ago

New Zealand Schools Find Less Structure Improves Children's Behavior

Reapy Re:that wasn't 'no rules' (127 comments)

That was our big playground upgrade in a small western MA town in the 80's, 2 giant spools with a bridge connecting and a few tires. I think a kid fell off the bridge thing though so they eventually closed it down and got a more modern plastic set up that you see now a days.

about 3 months ago

Anti-Polygraph Instructor Who Was Targeted By Feds Goes Public

Reapy Re:The article makes this an intriguing issue (197 comments)

Not to mention that washing your fruit will result in roughly the same amount of pesticides remaining on your food.

If anything you miss out on specifically engineered and probably more effective pesticides with less environmental impact by choosing to only use natural poisons that may target and harm more than the is intended.

about 3 months ago

Valve's Steam Machines Are More About Safeguarding PCs Than Killing Consoles

Reapy Re:consoles are going to kill PCs this round (296 comments)

PC will continue to dominate for me due to the amount of game sales available now a days. It is still a new thing, but I have such a huge backlog of games to play through that were purchased 10 dollars that it will be a long time before I run out of things to play. Couple this with several alpha funded projects that proved entertainment periodically as they are updated, PC gaming has never been better imho.

Meanwhile on the console, as game complexity increases, they suffer similar bug problems, are harder to patch due to certification issues, and provide less options to fix or work around them than on a PC. In addition console releases do get ported over to PC more and more, usually their controllers work with a PC easily, and things like steamOS's streaming feature can get you easily on a couch with a console like experience, playing 60 dollar games that you got for 7.50 in a steam sale on your couch.

And you don't have to pay for multiplayer.

I'm hoping to avoid a console this generation and stick to the PC.

about 3 months ago

Brain Function "Boosted For Days After Reading a Novel"

Reapy Re:Cumulative? (110 comments)

Totally anecdotal, but when I get the bug to read a book and really get into it, it sort of reactivates my my imagination. I start writing a few more random things and will pull out a pencil and doodle in my 'design' book, or I just have much more clearly defined thoughts about stories to write or things to make. I've always just associated this with any kind of excitement, but thinking about it, reading definitely gives a different kind of 'awake' feeling than a good game or movie would.

Coding doesn't really jolt my imagination, i typically feel good when a section is done and everything works well and is neatly organized, but have expended most of my energy in doing that, there isn't much left. When I read a book it is more coasting through someone elses work, so I feel awake mentally, ready to do something, rather than needing to randomly mash buttons in a game or something post coding.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Will You Start Your Kids On Classic Games Or Newer Games?

Reapy Re:Apparently Pac-Man is confusing... (285 comments)

Man half way down the page before we can get past all the judgement and hate of video games and technology. I thought I was on slashdot for a second.

I think good games are good games. Teenage mutant ninja turtles emulated was something they loved playing, but skipped over a lot of other games. My oldest is 4, and he's been playing a lot of mario kart 64 on an emulator. It is not that I am holding him back, my pc doesn't quite handle emulating double dash, and I never had it when i had my gamecube. We tried the SNES version but he wanted to go back to the n64 one, though after a bit he wanted to try the SNES one again, which he did for about 30 minutes before sticking with the n64.

He's played and seen AAA newish games with great graphics, but it is just that great art and gameplay is eternal. Still, I would try to get them the best versions of everything, and pull out the old stuff as a novelty. The best part though is emulators can run on anything, so if they like an older game you can pretty much get it anywhere to play instead of having to sacrifice a main PC or TV or whatever else.

I have loved games my whole life, board games, video games, outdoor games, they are all great and all have merit, and I really want nothing more than to share of that with my sons. We read books all the time, but I only really am seeing interest and confirmation in his reading/writing when we play gams and he has to pick the correct menu option, or even playing scribblenaughts, he wants to know how to type and spell out words so he can spawn them in.

But yeah on topic, I'd say just hold each game up for its merits, some old ones do have a certain magic that holds up beyond nostalgia and are worth looking at, but really, just get em the new fun stuff, no sense messing with their realities unnecessarily to recreate your own childhood for them.

about 4 months ago


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