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Google Announces "Classroom"

Udigs Re:Why do we need this? (143 comments)

I'm pretty sure teaching also takes effort and know-how too.

about 6 months ago
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Google Announces "Classroom"

Udigs Re:Why do we need this? (143 comments)

[1] Create and collect assignments: Classroom weaves together Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly.

To "create assignments", I make a pdf in my favorite pdf-maker, then post it on the course website (a plain HTML page with links), then tell the students about it. To "collect assignments", I tell the students to email them to the course submission email -- shared between the lead instructor and the grader, if there is one.

They can quickly see who has or hasn't completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback to individual students.

I don't have the time to play policeman ("I see little Susie hasn't even started coding yet and the homework's due tomorrow"); if Susie wants my help she has my email.

[2] Improve class communications: Teachers can make announcements, ask questions and comment with students in real time—improving communication inside and outside of class.

I can best "improve class communications" by talking to the damn students. If they want to talk to me and I'm around, there's email or coming by my office; if I don't respond to either, then chances are I won't be reachable by google widget, either.

[3] Stay organized: Classroom automatically creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student. Students can easily see what's due on their Assignments page.'

They can easily see what's due by visiting the course website and seeing "Homework 4 (link) -- due Monday, April 14". Sorting things by assignment and by student is as simple as asking them to include their name and the assignment number in their submission, and running a perl script. For less technically inclined teachers, use whatever file-sifting features your OS of choice has.

I've seen highly-technologized courses run way off the rails, because there's a delusion that fancy computerization can take the place of talking to the students. It can't. The only instructional technology I really have a need for is:

1) The computers that we actually use (I teach computational physics) 2) A projector, so I can show them examples 3) A website, where they can download shit (pdf's of assignments and notes) and see what's due 4) Email

I so agree and you have my mod points. The only, and I mean only feature I actually like about these products is that I can see the grade distribution (as a student). For some reason I always like to see what the highest and lowest scores are, also, how much I beat the average by. The only blackboard one needs is an actual blackboard.

about 6 months ago
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Your StarCraft II Potential Peaked At Age 24

Udigs Alternate Hypothesis (103 comments)

Orrrrrrrrrr, perhaps the investment needed to maintain gaming skills is no longer maintained due to, you know, growing up and having many more responsibilities?

about 7 months ago
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The Book That Is Making All Movies the Same

Udigs Structure != Story (384 comments)

Let's everybody calm down. Nearly all drama follows a very small set of dramatic structures. Just like there are one act plays, movies tend to follow a three act structure. That's all this book is.

Just because there is a structure does not mean it's all derivative. The idea is that the story lives on top of the structure. It isn't the structure itself. I see people citing movies like "Back to the Future" as examples that do not follow this structure. It does. Almost everything does. I took classes at one of these types of places for about two years. One thing we used to do was analyze films and try to find their structure. Amazingly, even the most seemingly unstructured movies followed the three act structure. There are exceptions, but they are rare. One notable exception might be the movie "I am curious yellow." But it's also highly experimental.

Or to put it another way: structure is the bones, story is the skin.

about a year ago
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Compared to 2011, I expect that 2012 will be:

Udigs Re:Unemployed Veteran here. (309 comments)

Yeah, fuck off to YOU dude. Things aren't so black and white and you need to learn to have a little compassion for your fellow man. You SHOULD be mad, but you are mad at the wrong people. Be mad at the people who ordered these soldiers here. Be mad at the people who use our military as an instrument of not defense but for maintaining control of this capitalist hellhole machine we all live in.

more than 2 years ago
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Compared to 2011, I expect that 2012 will be:

Udigs Re:Unemployed Veteran here. (309 comments)

I see that no one replied to your comment but I wanted you to know that I read your whole comment and, for whatever it's worth, I wish you the best. I'm sorry that shit is fucked up for you, I really am. It makes me want to puke when I see those "support the troops" stickers -- support them until they get home, that is it seems. For seriously, hang in there. Take whatever you have and get in your car and move to the nearest big city and start over. Use your GI bill to get into the medical field. There will be more opportunities there.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Websites Friendly To eReader Browsers?

Udigs Use RekindleIT! (96 comments)

It's way easier to use --- I hate signing up for stuff, and it doesn't do any annoying spamy stuff like instapaper does. Check it: http://www.rekindle.it/

more than 3 years ago
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L.A. Artist Contemplates Future Traffic Flow, With Hot Wheels

Udigs Humans Weren't Meant to Live this Way (118 comments)

Seriously. However cool it may be, humans weren't meant to live this way... All packed on top of each other, so tightly that moving around one another is no longer possible to do with just a human brain... It's just badness, all the way down. In nature, overpopulation is naturally corrected for. Humans, ever so smart, are always finding ways to stick yet another finger in the proverbial dam. It's a beautiful piece of art in that it is totally, and utterly terrifying.

more than 3 years ago
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Oxford Dictionary Considers Going Online Only

Udigs Re:some records are best kept offline too (153 comments)

Books are totally awesome but have one fatal design flaw: they tend to burn. Burning of the library of alexandria anyone?

Let's face it. If the shit goes down we're f*cked either way. As someone else pointed out -- something like a book is useless when you're freezing your ass off. And it will most likely end up being used to start fires. Why not enjoy the life we have?

more than 4 years ago
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Oxford Dictionary Considers Going Online Only

Udigs Re:There is something familiar with analog (153 comments)

What do you think they store the source of the dictionary on? I doubt they retype the while dictionary when they do a new edition.

more than 4 years ago
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The Oldest Timestamp On a File I Created and Still Have Is...

Udigs Re:28.4.2010 (375 comments)

You have a file that's 10 years old but copy it from hard drive to hard drive? No backups? Way to walk on the razor's edge ;)

more than 4 years ago
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Mobile Game Trojan Calls the South Pole

Udigs Re:Every downloader is an app store police (195 comments)

The FDA approves drugs. The FCC approves electronics. Point is that widespread utilities like this should go through some sort of validation process. I'm not saying it should be apple, but it should be SOMEONE.

more than 4 years ago
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"Supertaskers" Can Safely Use Mobile Phones While Driving

Udigs Maybe this explains (388 comments)

Why I drive drunk so well? I'm an ultra-mega-super tasker!

more than 4 years ago
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What To Expect From HTML5

Udigs Re:End of Proprietary Formats? (272 comments)

Basically, for applications, Flash becomes redundant since you need to use HTM for other devices anyway and HTML 5 supports everything important Flash does. For video, Flash becomes useless overhead, since you can just specify a codec already used in Flash which will save the user's processor and using Flash limits your audience to a subset of what just specifying a standard codec or two does.

Yes, except we are glossing over the part where you use a tool to "create" the application. Flash is a format AND an authoring tool. Unless Flash starts somehow exporting HTML 5, I don't really see this happening.

more than 4 years ago
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What To Expect From HTML5

Udigs Flash isn't going anywhere... (272 comments)

Come on. It's bad enough that we can't get simple block elements to render consistently in all browsers, and how we're going to try to build RIAs in "pure HTML?" Sure, it'll work for video content. Anything more complicated? Let me know how that turns out.

Flash's biggest strength is that the Flash player is responsible for running it and therefore is consistent across all platforms. If you ask me, this is a huge clusterfuck waiting to happen.

more than 4 years ago
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Schooling Microsoft On Random Browser Selection

Udigs Who Cares? Get A Mac... (436 comments)

Or at least download a copy of Linux. There. Problem solved. Time for lunch.

more than 4 years ago
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What Knowledge Gaps Do Self-Taught Programmers Generally Have?

Udigs Re:Both Self-Taught and School-Taught Have Gaps (396 comments)

Couldn't agree more. The most valuable skill in a programmer is really the ability to quickly master new things---and to think creatively about them. Technology changes so far, fundamentals are very important, but not at the cost of not being able to adapt.

more than 4 years ago
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Apple's Trend Away From Tinkering

Udigs Ever Heard of DTrace? (965 comments)

Dtrace? Terminal? The reality is that you can do SO MUCH MORE tinkering in OSX than you ever could. Ever used OS9? Black box magic. OSX, by comparison, is like a playground....

more than 4 years ago
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Lines of computer code written in my life:

Udigs Easily over a million... (395 comments)

Jesus, my LAST project was ~150k. Over a million is nothing assuming you've been working for a while. Over a decade (which is about how long I've been professionally coding) you can rack up a million in no time...

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Florida GoogleX Team Offers to Send Your DNA to the Moon... For a Price

Udigs Udigs writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Udigs (1072138) writes "You might have heard of the Google LunarX Prize. It’s a competition where private, often non-profit organizations race to build a vehicle capable of completing a short mission on the moon. But one of the problems facing these private teams is the issue of raising money to make the trip. However, one Florida team is taking an interesting approach: they are offering to send your DNA to the moon for a price. For the inclined, they've started a kickstarter page, here. Prometheus anyone?"
Link to Original Source
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Who Moved My UI? Or: When is it Okay to Change Som

Udigs Udigs writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Udigs (1072138) writes "Nothing makes my nerd heart beat harder than good interface design. And one of the most interesting aspects about interface design is the issue of reinventing or improving well-established UI elements and conventions.

But while everyone agrees that designs can always be improved it’s not always clear what that means and more importantly, if it’s even possible.

I’ve overheard many heated arguments in which someone eventually says something like: “Everyone expects x to work like y, so you can’t change it!!” (This is usually the deathblow to the other person. They walk away, tail between legs, to go silently Facebook-stalk their ex-girlfriend.)

And you know what, this sort of system seems to work. Most of the time. But that’s only because most of the time we come up with terrible, terrible ideas. But sometimes new controls and ways of doing things do need to get designed. How to settle this age-old argument?"

Link to Original Source
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RekindleIT Instantly Sends Web Pages to Kindles

Udigs Udigs writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Udigs (1072138) writes "If you come across a web page you'd like to continue reading on your Kindle, you could "print" and convert it to PDF, grab your USB cord, and transfer it. Better idea: click the RekindleIT bookmark and send it instantly.

Written by the team behind the WordHustler submission platform for writers, RekindleIT is an easy-to-use JavaScript bookmark. Click it when your browser has something worth reading open, and you'll be prompted to either email the converted file to yourself, or send the page over the WhisperNet air to your Kindle. That's the easiest route, and the reason this tool was crafted, but there's a small catch—Amazon charges $0.15 per MB of transferred material. Read about it here or check it out yourself."

Link to Original Source
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A New Way to Read Web Pages on Your Kindle

Udigs Udigs writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Udigs (1072138) writes "I just wanted to write to announce a new online utility for the Kindle that's now available. The tools is called "RekindleIT" and you can access it via: http://www.rekindle.it/

RekindleIT is an exciting new way to read any content on the web on your Amazon Kindle.

Using simple tools, you can instantly send a web page from your web browser or iPhone for reading on your Amazon Kindle. It's simple, free, and opens up a whole new world of content for the Kindle!

I developed this because there's one killer feature I've always wanted in the Kindle. I love my Kindle, but I've always had the problem where I'll be reading an article on the web and have to run... but I still want to read the article! I've tried various methods for getting the articles on my Kindle, like converting to PDF, but none of these methods were quick and didn't display properly after I had done them.

I hope you all really like RekindleIT. It's totally free, of course. Please feel free to try it out and let me know what you think! Kindle-lovers unite!"

Link to Original Source
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WordHustler: The Web Back to Print for Writers

Udigs Udigs writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Udigs writes "London Times Journalist Nigel Powell did an an interesting write-up of a new application, WordHustler. From his article: "WordHustler is a really interesting new online application created by a couple of writers for writers. The idea is that writing is hard enough, without all the hassle of having to deal with markets and submissions, so they're trying to take all that stuff away. The normal process of submitting your prose usually revolves around lots of photocopying, stamp licking and market research, which WordHustler claims to do for you. So all you have to do is focus on writing that brilliant screenplay or short story and they'll do the drudge work. Sound good?" ... "It's all rather cool and inviting, and the interface looks great from a distance. There's a charge for all this of course, starting at around $3.00 for 4 pages worth of stuff, and the big fact of course is you have to produce stuff that is actually worth reading if you're going to make it pay off, but that said, anything which makes it easier for us poor scribblers to make an honest living gets my vote.""
Link to Original Source
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Udigs Udigs writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Udigs writes "Genetic testing is the ultimate utopian vision of the future: a quick painless medical procedure that could save your life, determine pre-natal disease risks, diagnose a disease before it happens, catch a criminal, indicate the best treatment path, or predict whether a cancer will spread or remain dormant. But is the promise of genetic testing living up to its hype?"

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