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Ask Slashdot: Can an Old Programmer Learn New Tricks?

hughbar I'm 63 and learn new things (306 comments)

The secret is probably that [like many anoraky people] I enjoy the new things, I'm a neophile. Also, I'm not afraid to be mediocre at some things, I enjoy, a luxury I have because I don't use everything I know 'professionally' nowadays. But, if you don't enjoy technical stuff and do it 'just for money', it's harder to learn.

A couple of open source projects, however small, probably help as well, to 'fix' knowledge. 18 years pfui, get off my lawn...but seriously, yes, you can.

about a month ago
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How the NSA Plans To Infect 'Millions' of Computers With Malware

hughbar Re:The Expert System (234 comments)

Sorry, I wasted some of your time. I know all that, I was being sarcastic.

about a month ago
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How the NSA Plans To Infect 'Millions' of Computers With Malware

hughbar The Expert System (234 comments)

I love the Expert System. Was it designed by the Really Clever Person? Is Dr. Evil working on the Really Stupid System to counter it? Go figure, or not, depending on the Really Mathematical System.

about a month ago
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The Neuroscience of Computer Programming

hughbar Listening, reading and writing (161 comments)

I'm a fluent French bilingual, but I learnt as an adult in Paris where they are about as patient as New Yorkers.

There's a huge difference between listening, where you have no control over the speed of delivery/level of difficulty and reading where you can take your time, look up 'words' [or pieces of unfamiliar syntax] and writing, harder than reading but you can still pace yourself and work around difficulties.

Otherwise there's anecdotal evidence that 'extra' natural languages are easier after the first one. I feel that's also true of programming languages, the first one is alien, lots of alien concepts [variables, file handles, operations] and the next few, in imperative languages contain the same thing with different syntactic candy. It's to do with memory, usage and repitition then, less with conceptual grasp.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Said To Cut Windows Price 70% For Low Cost Devices

hughbar Re:Whoop-de-do! (178 comments)

Thank you, my $15 is cash money, of course, I can meet them in the usual place.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Said To Cut Windows Price 70% For Low Cost Devices

hughbar Whoop-de-do! (178 comments)

If they pay me $15, I'll take a copy. Don't want it on any device I own or use though...

about 2 months ago
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Surrogate Database Key, Not Bitcoin Protocol Flaw, To Blame For Mt Gox Problems

hughbar Re:You are a debt serf (81 comments)

Agree, nearly everyone is a debt serf. If you have family, work for salary own a house, went to university and do most of the 'ordinary' things that people do in developed countries, you probably have substantial debt. People don't 'choose' to be unfree, the current arrangements compel them in the course of living their lives.

I personally have very little debt and, as a result [apart from being quite old] don't work all year, every year. Now just IMAGINE if people started doing that [actually, apparently a serf had about 100 days holiday, religious festivals included, in the middle ages] the SYSTEM would break down and people would DO WHAT THEY WANTED. Of course, they've been taught to want Facebook, Caca-cola and expensive sneakers, so maybe it wouldn't be too bad, would it?

Apologies for the sarcastic capitals in the post. We really need a 'new' financial system that serves the 'people' and not gov, large corporations, the banks and all these other layers-of-shit, to use the technical term. Meanwhile, people need to wake up to the fact that, every day, they're being gamed.

about 2 months ago
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James Dyson: We Should Pay Students To Study Engineering

hughbar Re:In the UK, we used to give grants to study. (321 comments)

More power to you. Also, I wanted to say in my first comment, many of the polys were very good, it was a mistake to mess about with them.

about 2 months ago
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James Dyson: We Should Pay Students To Study Engineering

hughbar In the UK, we used to give grants to study. (321 comments)

We used in the 1960s/1970s to give grants to study at university rather than the USA-style debt/indenture system we have now. At that stage, we had fewer universities, since we hadn't converted our polytechnics, many of which were rubbish, into 'universities'. Also, most of the degree were in actual subjects, science, maths, engineering and english, history, geography, for example.

Now we have media studies, we had kite flying for a while at Thames Valley. In short, the worst of all possible worlds, basically by 'financialising' the system and expanding it in a very thoughtless way. The debt and high fee make it difficult for working class kids too, in my time they would have had a full grant, though they would have probably had to work a little in vacation time. I did.

So I agree somewhat with Dyson. He's a little younger than me and probably remembers the older system.

about 2 months ago
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Bletchley Park's Bitter Dispute Over Its Future

hughbar Re:"Modernizing" museums is a blight on the world (99 comments)

So agree. Used to take my son there in the late 1980s, when everything was pretty similar to my childhood. Basically, wonderfully engineered things with handles and buttons. I went recently with my nephews and much of this is gone, gradually replaced by superficial, patronising displays.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Events Calendar Software For Local Community?

hughbar Re:it's been twenty years, or forty (120 comments)

Although, this is [without a doubt] young male troll-talk, I'm going to answer:

  • - It's a lot simpler to find software that's as 'near' fit as possible, cuts down on custom code
  • - You may have to maintain custom code, to keep up with changes in the core project, additional resource
  • - This is a volunteer gig, so I'm anxious not to write thousands of lines of code for it
  • - It's fun for everyone to exchange information about this, it's a very common problem
  • - If it's a small set of mods, I'm going to try and get some of the local kids to do them
  • - [in reply to the specific trolly-talk] Nope, I'm not asking for community custom mods

Good luck to you sir, but please grow up a little!

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Events Calendar Software For Local Community?

hughbar Re:Elgg (120 comments)

Yes, and used it for a while. Thanks for reminding me, may go back there. Last thing I used it for was a borough with tens of environmental projects that needed to intercommunicate, they migrated that to Ning, their loss, IMO.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Events Calendar Software For Local Community?

hughbar Re:how about a facebook page? (120 comments)

For me, that's not a solution, I want something that doesn't depend/share-data-with a large for-profit. Actually I don't even have a facebook account.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Events Calendar Software For Local Community?

hughbar Re:it's been twenty years, or forty (120 comments)

Thanks! I'm the submitter, I'm 63 and have spent most of my life in IT. There's several 'near' fits to this problem, usually using CMS software, but it's still interesting to look for 'closer' fits and, in general, learn from others. 'Learn from others' is always fun, almost more than shouting at the kids on my lawn.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Events Calendar Software For Local Community?

hughbar Re:civiCRM (120 comments)

Thanks for all of these. I'm aware of Drupal and CiviCRM too. I've used Joomla for more recent projects because end-users find Drupal management 'harder', actually both are non-trivial. CiviCRM is really great but used to be pretty hard to install.

I'm not aware of openatrium and redhencrm, so thanks for those!

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Events Calendar Software For Local Community?

hughbar Re:Joomla (120 comments)

Thanks. I'm aware of and use Joomla too, but I'm looking for 'close fit'. I think one or two are appearing further down the thread.

about 3 months ago
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White House Reportedly Dismissing Key Healthcare.gov Contractor

hughbar Re:Accenture? (284 comments)

Thank you. I'm 63, in the UK, have been alongside Accenture [Arthur Andersen as it was then] for about forty years during various projects. Every one has been a mess equally composed of their arrogance and incompetence.

I say this without bitterness, never worked for or been fired by them, for example. However a great deal of my tax money has been wasted by them, since, for reasons that no-one sane understands, they seem to be a darling of governments nearly everywhere, that does include the UK.

In the larger picture we badly need to fix the 'gap' between dot gov and sane IT, make a lot of stuff better, improve personal outcomes and save us a bunch of public cash. None of the big contractors seem to be very effective, but Accenture is surely one of the very worst.

about 3 months ago
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Searching the Internet For Evidence of Time Travelers

hughbar How about this? (465 comments)

Twin towers on Johnny Bravo: http://tinyurl.com/pvblodn, however I'm sure it's a cloud, something photoshopped/gimped or 'not meant to be that'. Intriguing to look at images that 'shouldn't' be too though.

about 3 months ago
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Soviet Union Spent $1 Billion On "Psychotronic" Arms Race With the US

hughbar How do you know? (230 comments)

That the research has ended? Maybe that's what they've made you believe using a late-model cerpan? Cue Twilight Zone music etc. etc. etc.

about 4 months ago
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62% of 16 To 24-Year-Olds Prefer Printed Books Over eBooks

hughbar Thanks goodness for that... (331 comments)

As a 63 year old, life spent in IT, I fear e-books: DRM, can't share, they will be very selective about texts [blockbusters, crowd pleasers], 'book' can be removed remotely etc. etc. That's apart from the pleasure of having a house full of book, trashy science fiction from the 60s and 70s, crime novels and even a few serious books too.

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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Starting on intermediate maths?

hughbar hughbar writes  |  about two weeks ago

hughbar (579555) writes "I haven't done any 'real' maths since university about 40 years ago. I wasn't useless, but not that great either, I had to do some elementary quantum mechanics and the kind of arithmetic that an empirical scientist always needs.

I'd like to start on a little more, but every entry in Wikipedia seems to lead to another entry. Can't find the end of this piece of string. Should I specialise? Is there a book or course that covers university entry and first year maths for non-mathematicians [for example, people switching major subject]? Any ideas on this welcome, I'm ready to start but just don't know where to start."
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Events Calendar for Local Community

hughbar hughbar writes  |  about 3 months ago

hughbar (579555) writes "I live in a London suburb that has many activities and classes, yoga, IT [of course], running, art, assorted volunteering and many others. With the help of the local council, we'd now like to make a centralised, searchable database of these, with a number of helpful features:
  • Easy to make submissions, otherwise the whole thing will always be out of date
  • Web accessible [obviously] but mobile phone friendly as well
  • Maybe, publish and subscribe, so people can 'subscribe' to yoga listings for example
  • Handles repeating events, like a classical web calendar
  • Maybe, can be consolidate with nearby events calendars

I'm aware of http://mrbs.sourceforge.net/ and webcalendar: http://www.k5n.us/webcalendar.... for example. But I'm wondering whether there are other suggestions, especially as this is a useful social application. And, yes, I'd like it done with open source, then we can tailor it."

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hughbar hughbar writes  |  more than 7 years ago

hughbar writes "The BBC is carrying this article [url:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6057734.stm] suggesting that the human race will split into an overclass and an underclass in 100,000 years time. Anyone else see evidence of this now?!"

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