Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Global Warming Has Made the North Greener

Toam "Towards the northern hemisphere" (398 comments)

It isn't heading towards the northern hemisphere, it's heading towards the north pole. There is plenty of "green" in the northern hemisphere already.

about a year and a half ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Name Conflicts In Automatically Generated Email Addresses?

Toam Re:fname.lname.incrementer (383 comments)

He gets jonathan.smith, obviously. But what happens when Jonathan Xavier Swift enrols?l

about a year and a half ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Name Conflicts In Automatically Generated Email Addresses?

Toam Re:fname.lname.incrementer (383 comments)

Example: jonathan.swift@domain.tld comes in first, gets this username. Then we have Jonathan Andrew Swift who gets jonathan.a.swift@domain.tld. When Jonathan Abbott Smith comes in, he gets the loathed jonathan.x.swift@domain.tld

What happens when Jonathan Xavier Smith enrolls?

about a year and a half ago
top

With 'Access Codes,' Textbook Pricing More Complicated Than Ever

Toam It isn't really the publishers fault. (400 comments)

If the professors are requiring that the students log in to some part of the text book publishers website to actually view a homework assignment, then that is very much the professors fault.

Writing assignments is not that hard. And I say that having just finished preparing the tutorial and assignment for the class I'm teaching tomorrow.

about 2 years ago
top

Anonymous Dumps Australian Telco Data Online

Toam Re:It not enough (87 comments)

People have to get angry. They have to understand they shouldn't be angry at the "hacktivists" but at the laws which require data collection and retention

This is the hard part.

When nurses strike over pay/conditions, people (generally) get annoyed at the nurses for risking peoples safety, not the goverment (or governing body) for not resolving the problems

When teachers strike over pay/conditions, people get annoyed at the teachers for disrupting the childrens education, not the government for not resolving the problems

When people protest in the steeet, people get angry at the protestors for the inconvenience, not for the government for not resolving the problems

more than 2 years ago
top

Patents On Genes: Round Two

Toam Re:Prior art? (85 comments)

Woosh!

(But a good post, otherwise...)

more than 2 years ago
top

Thomas Jefferson: Scientist, Inventor, Gadgeteer

Toam Re:Not signed on the 4th... (220 comments)

They agreed on the wording on the 4th. It was signed in August.

more than 2 years ago
top

X-Prize Founder Wants Ideas For Fixing Education

Toam Re:Easy to say. Hard to do. (479 comments)

So if you're in an area where children aren't "performing" due largely to the attitude of their parents, and your performance evaluation is bad, all the teachers should leave and go somewhere else?

What you're saying is that people who live in an area where most parents don't care about their childrens education (even if they themselves DO care about their childrens education) don't deserve to have a school.

Also, it means that a teacher who lives (works) in an area where parents are move involved in their childrens education will have to work "less hard" for a greater pay cheque than a teacher in a "worse" area would.

Not everything should be run like a business.

more than 2 years ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Who Has Been Sued By the RIAA?

Toam Re:Legal Threats (407 comments)

I guess it's pretty lucky that they only let people with college degrees set up networks and use the internet, then.

more than 2 years ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Who Has Been Sued By the RIAA?

Toam Re:Legal Threats (407 comments)

I'm generally ignorant to this issue, but I've always wondered how they would be persued...

I've had a few of those come to my household in the past, when I've been living in share houses. The notice would come to the person whos name was on the internet connection, but you might have 4 people using that internet connection, plus if its a wireless connection who is to say that those pesky neighbours haven't cracked your security?

What would the procedure be for them to actually follow up on an allegation of copyright infringement under such circumstances?

more than 2 years ago
top

Academics Not Productive Enough? Sack 'em

Toam Re:That'll work well. (356 comments)

Books and book chapters will likely contribute to "research output"

more than 2 years ago
top

Why We Should Teach Our Kids To Code

Toam Re:heart's in the right place, but (427 comments)

Oh man, I don't even know where to start...

Outside of academia, you believe this to be an important skill why? I can program spreadsheets for some IBM mainframe thing, Excel, Lotus and whatever Corel called theirs... and you know what? Once out of corporate almost ten years ago, I haven't needed or wanted to do it one time. That's how important that knowledge is out in the world. You're inundated with technology, so you see it as the answer to whatever question. It's not. Besides, Excel costs $120, ledger books are far cheaper. So they don't need to know how to program Excel.

I don't know what "the real world" that you speak of is. I use spreadsheets more in my "real" life (eg: at home) more than I do at work. I might have a spreadsheet keeping track of what I plant in my vegetable garden, how it worked etc etc, keeping track of batches of homebrew. I could do all these things in a ledger book (which is more expensive than, say, openoffice by the way) but I can't re-order the data once its input. A spreadsheet program is not the same as a paper spreadsheet. This is kind of the point.

So, you're speaking of computer literacy at a college level, an utterly different thing than computer literacy for generic Shirley. And I know good and damned well that where you teach requires an intro computer course (see my rant elsewhere on this post), so why weren't they educated there before you got them? Failing of the uni, looks to me.

Yes, I'm talking about "college" level computer literacy. All that means is the computer literacy of people who are in the particular classes I happen to teach. These classes have an enourmous range of students in them, from various different backgrounds and various different levels of education. There are a lot of "generic Shileys" in these classes.

And there is no "intro computer course" required so I don't know where you think I teach (I am at an Australian university - maybe American universities have a different set of requirements?).

Now... Define "useful" in terms of day-to-day living in the real world, not academia. When the time comes that they need a spreadsheet for something, they figure it out. Probably with help and one of those specialized spreadsheets for home budget or whatever. Or they use a ledger book.

Again, I use these generic software packages a lot more in my home life than at work. I will use Word/OpenOffice to write a letter, and to do that you need to know how to format it - and by format I mean more than changing the font to MS Comic Sans. At work I typically write most of my documents in LaTeX. At home I might use Excel/OpenOffice to create a spreadsheet. At work I write software to process data. The way I've used "useful" pretty much doesn't apply to (my area of) academia - and a vast majority of the students I'm teaching will not end up in academia, they will end up in this "real world" you keep talking about.

Maybe if you're a labourer or whatever and your job does not involve a computer then, sure, computer literacy probably isn't a problem. But if you have any job which does involve a computer (arguably most jobs) then computer literacy is a pretty big deal.

more than 2 years ago
top

Why We Should Teach Our Kids To Code

Toam Re:heart's in the right place, but (427 comments)

As I posted above, "knowing how to use ${PIECE_OF_SOFTWARE}" does not imply computer literacy, but computer literacy should imply "can probably work out how to use ${PIECE_OF_SOFTWARE}".

more than 2 years ago
top

Why We Should Teach Our Kids To Code

Toam Re:heart's in the right place, but (427 comments)

When we are teaching, especially in first year labs, Excel is a pretty handy way to tabulate and graph smaller amounts of data. However, when they have a short column (lets say 10 rows) of data and then the next column should be some function (eg: the square) of those values then a shocking number of those students will get out the calculator, square the number in the first row, write in the next column, repeat as required. At no point do they even think "hey, maybe there is a way to automate this task?". That is a problem, and it is a computer literacy problem. They see Excel (I continue to use this specific example but it is not specific to Excel, obviously) as being identical to a paper spreadsheet.

I don't use Excel for anything outside of teaching - but I know how to use it because it works in a sensible way. I write software (probably badly, see: various discussions on scientists writing code) in a small handful of languages to handle my data. Excel (or open/libre office equivilent since I'm running linux anyway) would be ridiculous to use.

Still, Excel is used by a lot of people in a lot of jobs... I very occassionally do some retail work on weekends (I'm a PhD student, extra money is pretty handy to have...). Last time I was there, my boss was working on the roster - which is done in Excel. She was manually updating each and every date and complaining about how long it takes. I sat down for maybe 10 minutes and set up the entire years roster (in terms of the formatting) with all the dates set up automatically. That spreadsheet can now be copy/pasted next year and so the formatting side of the roster for every year is now done. She was spending fucking ages doing this manually!

As another anecdote, a colleague of mine did some temp work in the administrative side of the university and, because he had a clue what he was doing, replaced like 3 people with an Excel spreadsheet. As is stated below, somewhere, being able to use Excel does not imply computer literacy, but computer literacy should imply being able to use Excel.

more than 2 years ago
top

Why We Should Teach Our Kids To Code

Toam Re:heart's in the right place, but (427 comments)

Is computer literacy for 14 year olds still an issue? Really?

I teach at a university. I've noticed this attitude from a lot of senior academics.

The assumption is that because almost everyone one of them owns an iphone and a laptop, that they are computer experts. However whenever we expect them to do anything work related on a computer (I am talking the most basic of Excel function) they collapse in a heap.

There is a very serious difference between being able to update your facebook status and being able to do something useful.

more than 2 years ago
top

DHS X-ray Car Scanners Now At Border Crossings

Toam Re:The CT Scan Claim from TFA (295 comments)

No benfit? What about all the terrorists that this thing is definitely going to stop?!?

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

top

Using social network sites for business promotion

Toam Toam writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Toam (1134401) writes "So my girlfriend was planning to present a proposal to her employers outlining several ways for them to better promote their business. Apparently someone there had heard of these 'facebook' and 'twitter' things and they now want her to incorporate promotion via social networking websites into her presentation which currently consists of some more traditional methods of promoting the business. Are any slashdotters employed by companies which use social networking websites to advertise, or otherwise communicate with the public? Have any of you been involved in implementing a similar type of thing? Have you had much success? Are there any pitfalls to be wary of when using social networking sites to promote your business?"
top

Plan to filter Australian internet

Toam Toam writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Toam writes "The Rudd government plans to require every ISP in Australia to provide a filtered internet service. Some have reported that users will have to opt-in to receive the filtered service, while others have reported that those who do not wish to have their service filtered will be required to opt-out. The Australian government already offers free, downloadable internet filters for home use."
Link to Original Source

Journals

Toam has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>