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Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

madmarcel Some random thoughts... (355 comments)

A tablet offers 'instant' gratification with a low learning curve and only requires minimal dexterity. Bored with that app? Here's another.

LEGO requires patience, spatial reasoning and planning, imagination and dexterity. Bored with those blocks, well, you're going to have to wait until your
next birthday. Can't fit the blocks together? You're going to have to keep trying until you get the hang of it. Can't find that yellow block you need to finish your duck? You'll have to keep digging around in the big pile until you find it.

You can see why kids spend more time on tablets right? It's laziness.It's easier. Effortless. Also, lazy parenting. Especially when kids are small they need a bit of help from mum and/or dad with LEGO and building blocks. Don't need much help with a tablet...

I'm lucky, both my kids love LEGO, but I still have to monitor how much time they spend on the tablet.
My youngest son is nearly 2yrs old and loves the CITY LEGO trucks, and watching his dexterity improve just from playing with those and pulling them to bits is nothing short of amazing.

Also, what they fail to mention here is that building blocks are not for all kids. Some kids just don't get it. Just not interested. And that's got nothing to do with modern technology because I saw that lack of interest in some kids more than 20 years ago.

Last but not least, there's been a big fuss in the media here (NZ) about kids going to school and lacking the dexterity to hold a pencil, being unable to recognize their own written name, etc. From memory technology got the blame as well. Not enough time spend interacting with mom and dad.

about 9 months ago

NZ Developers Win 'Koha' Trademark Case

madmarcel Re:Koha (26 comments)

Koha...is not quite a gift. It's many things.
Sometimes it's a voluntary donation, sometimes it is not and you'd better pay the koha.
Sometimes it is used as a blatant bribe to grease the wheels. (but koha sounds so much nicer than bribe doesn't it ;)

Traditionally it's food, but not these days. Cold hard cash thankyouverymuch.

(True story - koha in action ;)
There's a band that travels the North Island here and plays in the various small town pubs.
With each given pub they have a choice; voluntary door charge (koha) or, the pub pays them a flat fee up front.
This band always goes for the flat fee, with the exception of one pub not far from where I live.
When they play at that small town pub once a year, they always ask for koha at the door.

I asked the band members what was so special about that pub?
The answer:
"It takes us six months to smoke the koha"

about a year ago

Game Preview: Hearthstone

madmarcel It's a bit like... (131 comments)

Haven't played the game yet but judging from that advertisement,

If I compare it to Mtg:
- no interaction during opponents turn
- no resource management
- no trading of cards
So...the three things that give Magic it's depth and appeal are missing...hmmmm...not sure about this.

about a year ago

Chicxulub Impact Might Have Spread Life-Bearing Rocks Through the Solar System

madmarcel Cthulhu did it. I was there. (161 comments)

For some reason I read that as:
"Cthulhu Might Have Spread Life Through the Solar System"

to which the answer is: Probably not.

about a year ago

IE 11 Breaks Rendering For Google Products, and Outlook Too

madmarcel Has anyone actually confirmed this? (231 comments)

So here I am, with my Samsung laptop, just installed the 8.1 update. Almost everything works hunky dory,
(see my comment history - VLC broke, and I've got a stupid warning watermark on my desktop that I can't get rid of)

and here's a vague article implying IE11 messes up certain websites that I use often...

Let's check it then.

Start up IE11 (Second time I've ever used IE on this laptop. Huzzah. F*ck it's slow)
google - do a few searches...looks good to me.
gmail - log in, check email...can't see anything weird...
maps then? Nope, all good.

So what is supposed to be broken? Can anyone give me concrete examples?

I'm not going to create an outlook account BTW, stuff that.

(Disclaimer: I'm a Java/web dev. I am not a fan of MS. I'll probably get down voted as a paid MS shill because I'm not jumping on the slag of MS bandwagon - I wish, I could use the money ;)

about a year ago

Windows RT 8.1 Update Pulled From Windows Store

madmarcel Only one thing broken so far... (178 comments)

Upgraded my laptop the day the update became available in the store...have only noticed two odd things so far:

VLC is dead. Crashes immediately, then gives error about failing to send an error report. Yay. Uninstalling and reinstalling made no difference. Double yay.

Pictures used for wallpaper, screensaver, login screens, etc changed after reboot. Bizarre, but easily fixed.
I should note that I had to google how to change some of these back to original settings, as not all of these are changed from control panel. and the actual
setting I was looking for is hiding behind a GUI element that doesn't look clickable. That annoyed me more than anything else.

about a year ago

Kim Dotcom Resigns From Mega To Fight Extradition, Run For Office

madmarcel Not so funny when you live here... (109 comments)

Laugh and joke all you want...

The way the political system works here (NZ) it is actually entirely possible for him to become an MP.
We have a small population and the minimum threshold (under MMP) for a party to get seats in parliament is quite low.

It is unlikely he'll get there, but it is not impossible.

about a year ago

Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It's the Computer's Fault

madmarcel An old programmer... (637 comments)

An old programmer once told me that insurance companies run on OpenEdge (aka Progress), and old versions at that.

Gigabytes of proprietary spaghetti code <<shudder>>

I'm not putting my hand up to fix that.

about a year and a half ago

Altering Text In eBooks To Track Pirates

madmarcel Yes, but... (467 comments)

Haven't read the article, but at first glance I would say that:
It is inevitable that the unaltered document is pirated and made available online, and given the availability of both original and altered version, it should be trivial to detect the subtle differences, and undo them.

Or, better yet...
Would it be more interesting to start adding your own random subtle alterations to e-books when you re-distribute them?

about a year and a half ago

POTI, Creators of the Songbird Media Player, Call It Quits

madmarcel Killed by... (67 comments)

iTunes ...
pick one.

about a year and a half ago

Mars One Has 78,000 Applicants

madmarcel Genetic legacy... (355 comments)

I'm not sure which one bothers me more...

A) It is a scam. 78000 people fell for it. Thanks for your money.
B) It is not a scam, but the project never gets anywhere. Thanks for your money.
C) It is not a scam. They get to Mars. Based on some arbitrary selection process any one of these 78000 people may become responsible for a good part of the genetic makeup of all future Martians...

about a year and a half ago

Space Coffee, Just the Way You Like It

madmarcel I think I can spot the problem... (147 comments)

You put the Americans in charge of coffee?? I think I can spot the problem...

about 2 years ago

Why Working Remotely Needs To Make a Comeback

madmarcel Re:Working Remotely (455 comments)

Welcome to the wonderful international interwebs. Not everybody has English as their first language. Now get back in your cave.

about 2 years ago

Why Working Remotely Needs To Make a Comeback

madmarcel It requires... (455 comments)

Working from home requires a certain work ethic.
Not all of us possess this.

I've also heard from friends who do work from home that they struggle to distinguish between work/home and personal/business. It seems that the physical acts of leaving for work and coming home from work are required for some people to be able to keep the two (mindsets?) separated.

about 2 years ago

Samsung Laptop Bug Is Not Linux Specific

madmarcel Oh no. Guess what I just bought... (215 comments)

I bought a Samsung laptop at the start of January :( Not only that...I bought it specifically to install Ubuntu :( Bah.

Now what do I do?

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Buying a Laptop That Doesn't Have Windows 8

madmarcel Don't be so difficult (570 comments)

Meh. Why bother. You are being too difficult. You are artificially limiting your choice and possibly forcing yourself to make a sub-optimal purchase.

After all the horror stories I'd heard about Win8, I went shopping specifically to buy a laptop with whatever OS (preferably win7) so that I could either wipe it or make it dualboot and install Ubuntu/some flavour of linux. I figured I'd have a good play with win8 in the shops and see what the fuss was all about.

Ended up buying a Samsung laptop with Win8 on it at the start of January. (8Gb Ram and it was cheap ;) First time since DOS that I've had to watch a tutorial to figure out how to do basic stuff in an OS, other than that it's ok-ish. Win8 was $%^%$^$% frustrating in the first week, but now it only gets in the way occasionally. (Having said that, I haven't used it for development yet)

I was going to make it dualboot with Ubuntu, but slashdot tells me that this might brick the laptop, so I'm using VirtualBox to run Ubuntu 12.10 and next week I'll create another VM for the latest version of Fedora (honesly, how bad can it be ;)

I can see a point coming up where Win8 will start to annoy me, and then I'll wipe the whole thing and install some flavour of linux permanently.
It doesn't matter what version of Windows is on your laptop, you're not stuck with it and you can still install whatever OS you like.
Unless you buy a Samsung laptop like I did - but I believe there is a fix available, I'll wait for the next version of Ubuntu before I risk it :)

TLDR; Win8 is ok, it's not that different from Win7. Just buy a Win8 laptop with the specs that you like and get over it.

about 2 years ago

Why It's So Hard To Predict How Caffeine Will Affect Your Body

madmarcel US coffee or real coffee? (212 comments)

"The toxic level in humans, about 10 g, is roughly the equivalent of imbibing 75 cups of brewed coffee (in 8-oz mugs) or 120 cans of Red Bull over a few hours."

Is that 75 cups of US coffee or real coffee like we drink in the rest of the world?

about 2 years ago



Steve Ballmer to unveil a drastic restructure of Microsoft on Thursday?

madmarcel madmarcel writes  |  about a year and a half ago

madmarcel (610409) writes "

According to numerous sources close to the situation, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is poised to unveil his plan to drastically restructure the tech giant this week. And, while timing might change, sources said that the current plan is to make it public on Thursday.

This potential restructure would give even more control over the company to Ballmer, and the mash-up of the previously separately reported on divisions would allow the company to hide some of its money-losing units."
Link to Original Source


Nokia and Microsoft at Last Chance Saloon

madmarcel madmarcel writes  |  more than 2 years ago

madmarcel (610409) writes "There's something missing from this article though: Microsoft can just keep throwing money at this problem until they get it right...

"Microsoft and Nokia are loading up for their best — and possibly last — shot at denting a smartphone market dominated by Apple's iPhone and Google's Android mobile software.

If the new Lumia phones do not appeal to consumers when they are unveiled next Wednesday, it could mean the end for Nokia, and a serious blow to Microsoft's attempts to regain its footing in the mobile market, analysts and investors said.""

Link to Original Source


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