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Comments

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Raspberry Pi's $25 Model A Hits Production Line

VVrath Re:Cool but SLOOOOOOW (105 comments)

There seems to be a huge difference in the amount people are spending on supporting peripherals for the Raspberry Pi. I just bought a set of twenty for my classroom (breakdown below) and ended up spending GBP855 in total - around GBP43 each. TBH I could have trimmed this down further, as the USB Hubs and multiple sets of HDMI-DVI adaptors are to make it easier for pupils to switch between the Windows PC on their desk and the Raspberry Pi; they only have to swap two cables instead of three, and HDMI connectors are a lot more user friendly than DVI for frequent connections/disconnections.

Had it been available the model A would have been ideal for our usage - the Raspberry Pi's will not be connected to our network for security reasons, and the extra RAM and additional USB port are of no great benefit for our use case (teaching pupils about alternatives to the Windows OS they have been using since primary school, teaching programming in a sand-box that won't endanger the rest of the network).

Breakdown for those who care:
20 x Raspberry Pi @ GBP23.98 each
20 x Cases @ GBP4.20 each
20 x Micro USB PSUs @ GBP4.90 each
20 x HDMI Cable @ GBP0.80 each
20 x HDMI - DVI Adaptor @GBP 2.24 each
20 x HDMI - DVI Cable @GBP 2.71 each
20 x 4 Port USB Hun @ GBP1.32 each
20 x 4GB Sandisk SD Cards @GBP 2.60 each

about a year and a half ago
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On Demo, a $25 1080p Camera Module For Raspberry Pi

VVrath Re:Oh did you fix your supply problem? (101 comments)

I ordered 20 for my classroom last Friday. They arrived on Wednesday. What supply problem?

about 2 years ago
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Free Font Helps People With Dyslexia

VVrath Re:Uhhh well a different view... (151 comments)

I am not an English teacher, although of course all teachers have a responsibility for incorporating literacy into their lessons. Strangely enough, I take far more care over my lessons than I do with Slashdot comments.

Just in case you ever do consider teaching as a career, can I recommend that you look to improve your method of giving feedback? A snarky comment is humorous, but does not maximise the potential for learning. It would be much better to write something along the lines of:

"That was a good post, and expressed your point clearly. However, you have missed a comma and used an apostrophe unnecessarily in your final sentence. Please re-write the sentence with the grammar corrected below."

This sort of formative assessment rewards the learner (with praise) for their achievement as well as providing guidance on how to improve in the future.

about 2 years ago
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Free Font Helps People With Dyslexia

VVrath Re:Uhhh well a different view... (151 comments)

Probably replying to a troll, but anyway:

As a teacher, I can tell you that dyslexia is definitely not "an excuse". A pupil with dyslexia has been a member of my tutor group for the last four years. He struggles with reading, although use of a reading ruler is of tremendous help. His handwriting is difficult to decipher, and contains many mirrored letters (e.g. b/d, p/q, backwards s). However that difficulty aside he is one of the most intelligent and articulate 16-year-old's I have had the pleasure of teaching.

about 2 years ago
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Texas Opens Fastest US Highway With 85 MPH Limit

VVrath Re:It's all about trade-offs and priorities (992 comments)

About two years ago I got caught by a mobile speed camera doing 48mph under a 40mph limit. This was coming downhill from a bridge, where the road widens substantially, and they tagged me literally 50 yards short of the sign raising the speed limit to 50mph. Given that I was just driving with the traffic flow at the time, I felt rather unfair. They must have made tens of thousands in fines on that Sunday afternoon...

Anyway, my insurance company doesn't mind if I get one speeding fine, but for two-or-more unexpired offences they raise the premium substantially. So when I replaced my car later that year, I bought a Citroen C4 which has an optional speed limiter. You set the maximum speed and it won't let you exceed it (unless you kick down hard e.g. to avoid an accident).

So now I travel everywhere at the speed limit or below. It takes a bit of discipline, when other road users consider the legal maximum to be "slow" and attempt to tail-gate me, but a few brief taps of the brakes introduces them to the concept of leaving braking room. No more speed tickets for me (and I get much better mileage too - averaging 57.6 miles per imperial gallon for the last 5000 miles).

about 2 years ago
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MusOpen Releases Open Source Classical Music As Pro Tools Files

VVrath Re:Performances are not "source". (83 comments)

It's modifiable in that you have access to all the individual channels as they were recorded. This makes it much easier to extract individual instruments, put together your own mix, add or even replace parts with your own recordings (this recording of Eroica needs more cowbell...)

more than 2 years ago
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MusOpen Releases Open Source Classical Music As Pro Tools Files

VVrath Re:ProTools (83 comments)

OMF is a rudimentary version of that. There are successor formats (e.g AAF MXF) but they don't seem as widely supported.

more than 2 years ago
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MusOpen Releases Open Source Classical Music As Pro Tools Files

VVrath Re:ProTools is the antithesis of OpenSource (83 comments)

You won't be waiting long. FTA:

Please remember these are unedited raw recordings, so they will not sound nearly as good as the final music that will follow very soon.

more than 2 years ago
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MusOpen Releases Open Source Classical Music As Pro Tools Files

VVrath Re:ProTools is the antithesis of OpenSource (83 comments)

All the wav files I've downloaded so far are named sensibly enough that you can work out the instrument, take etc. which provides the context. They all sync up fine, so layout isn't a problem either.

I wouldn't say importing them into an open source DAW will be trivial, but they're not as worthless as you seem to think they are.

more than 2 years ago
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MusOpen Releases Open Source Classical Music As Pro Tools Files

VVrath Re:What is the definition (83 comments)

The pieces are out of copyright, but (until now) there weren't any copyright free recordings of performances of these works.

Regarding musical periods, "classical" was me playing a bit fast-and-loose: Bach was a late Baroque composer, Beethoven is arguably Late Classical/Early Romantic. Still I bet you'd find their work in the classical section in your local record store.

more than 2 years ago
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MusOpen Releases Open Source Classical Music As Pro Tools Files

VVrath Re:ProTools (83 comments)

True, but as the raw audio files are available there's nothing stopping any suitably talented person from creating their own edit/mix in the software of their choice.

I've spent the last half hour having lots of fun playing with the recordings of the Egmont Overture in Audacity. Sadly I'm no audio engineer...

more than 2 years ago
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MusOpen Releases Open Source Classical Music As Pro Tools Files

VVrath Re:ProTools (83 comments)

Given that ProTools projects aren't containers (they merely link directly to PCM WAV files), pretty much any Open Source audio editing tool will read these files.

more than 2 years ago
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Google Funds Raspberry Pi And CS Teachers For UK Schools

VVrath Re: to train 100 teachers (165 comments)

I didn't realise that there was a test as I haven't started applying for mine yet.

Exactly how each teacher training institution decides if your subject knowledge is good enough is up to the individual institution. Some have an entry test, some a list of specific degree title's they will consider, some assess it during an interview. I did my PGCE at St Martin's College (now part of the University of Cumbria) and they primarily looked at your degree, but if that didn't pass muster would discuss it with applicants during the interview.

I was basing what I knew on having a Science teacher with an English degree (at least that was what I heard maybe that wasn't true).

That doesn't sound ideal! I take it the teacher in question wasn't much use when asked difficult questions? As an ICT teacher I find my subject knowledge gets tested an awful lot more my pupils asking interesting questions than by the demands of the curriculum.

Thanks for the information. I've wanted to be a teacher since I was in Year 10 and definitely not for the high pay check, just liked the feeling of helping some one learn something.

It's the best feeling in the world. We've been teaching year 7s to program (in Scratch) for the last half term (great fun!), and to see how some of them just "switch on" at being able to make their own programs and simple games has been mind-blowing.

more than 2 years ago
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Google Funds Raspberry Pi And CS Teachers For UK Schools

VVrath Re: to train 100 teachers (165 comments)

Tbh I think it's almost criminal how the PGCE currently operates. That you can teach a subject with out even a related degree just seems wrong.

I am afraid you are mistaken: to begin a PGCE you need to demonstrate suitable subject knowledge - the easiest way to do so is having a degree in a related subject. If your degree is not relevant , there exist two-year conversion courses where the first year is spent at university learning the requisite subject knowledge. If you don't have a degree you can't become a teacher in the UK.

Of course, once you are a qualified teacher you can transfer to teach other subjects at the discretion of your school - If an otherwise skilful teacher wants/needs to change to a subject where they lack the necessary knowledge it is not unknown for schools to send them on a conversion course.

I'm a comp sci student planning to go onto teach at a Secondary Level but I didn't realise how few teachers had actual comp sci backgrounds or even experience until I started doing placements in schools. Hearing a Head of ICT say he hates programming really was a shocking thing to hear.

Comp Sci graduates teaching ICT are in the minority in the UK, but there are valid reasons for that. I have a MEng in Software Engineering, and my Sixth-Formers frequently ask why I'm "wasting" my time in teaching - even they are aware that I could double my salary if I worked in industry. Of course teaching has non-financial rewards, but it's completely understandable that the vast majority of Comp Sci graduates would rather work elsewhere.

The Head of ICT you quoted almost certainly doesn't need to teach programming at the moment, so I suppose it doesn't much matter if he hates it. Be thankful that people like this exist, however; in a few year's time (once the curriculum fully changes to Computing instead of ICT), you'll be replacing them!

more than 2 years ago
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Voyager and the Coming Great Hiatus In Deep Space

VVrath Re:We sure don't make stuffs like they used to (238 comments)

boot times where 5+ min. never worked right. plug and play didn't work, no standards on HW.Drivers sucked.

Those things may have been true of (IBM Compatible) PCs in the early 1990s, but my Amiga would definitely beg to differ.

more than 2 years ago
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Canadian Mint To Create Digital Currency

VVrath Re:A better name (298 comments)

It's not French for anything - Nova Scotia is Latin.

The French call it Nouvelle-Écosse, meaning New Scotland.

more than 2 years ago
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I prefer to listen to recorded music ...

VVrath Re:Anything but (334 comments)

40Khz dynamic range

Frequency is measured in Hertz. Dynamic Range is measured in dB.

Just in case you weren't trolling: if you can notice a "loss of fidelity" in an mp3 you listen to in the car there is something wrong with your encoder. LAME -v2 (~192kbps) is almost impossible for even those with Golden Ears to ABX under ideal circumstances. In a car with 70dB of background noise you'd struggle to identify a 64kbps encode.

more than 2 years ago
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Is Poor Numeracy Ruining Lives?

VVrath Re:Trial and error (489 comments)

She was playing the lottery. That's more evidence of a lack of numeracy skills than the resultant conversation, IMHO.

more than 2 years ago
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Raspberry Pi Has Gone To Manufacturing

VVrath Re:so, where's the apps? (374 comments)

I don't think the removal of Ethernet from the Model A is just about building down to a price.

I know that if I approached the network manager at my school and said "I want to buy 30 linux computers that pupils can use to write and execute their own code. Oh and by the way they all need network access", he'd have a blue fit!

I could see us buying a few model B's to teach the sixth-formers about networking, but for general use in my school the model A would be a much easier sell to the powers that be.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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MusOpen Releases Open Source Classical Music Stems

VVrath VVrath writes  |  more than 2 years ago

VVrath (542962) writes "Following Monday's story about MuseScore releasing its open source recording of the Goldberg Variations, the Musopen project has released ProTools files (http://archive.org/details/musopen) from its open source recording project. The final edited recordings are still being worked on but it seems we're living in very interesting times regarding open source classical music."
Link to Original Source
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VVrath VVrath writes  |  more than 7 years ago

VVrath (542962) writes "Independent developers (and bedroom programmers), Introversion are releasing their third game, DEFCON at 6pm GMT today. As the successor to the sleeper hit Uplink and the IGF award winning Darwinia, this is one of the most eagerly awaited indy games of this year. Based on the game of thermonuclear war played in the film WarGames, DEFCON gives you the opportunity to nuke the hell out of your friends (and enemies), with the player who loses the least crowned victorious. With this being Introversion's first game for sale by download only (it's available on Steam as well as through their own website), does this mark the end of indy games being sold in shops?"

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