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Kids Can Swipe a Screen But Can't Use LEGOs

matria Nothing new (351 comments)

Nearly 40 years ago one of my kids' Kindergarten teachers told me she was getting more and more kids in her classes that didn't know how to hold a pencil or how to use a crayon, and couldn't handle a simple over-sized 6-piece puzzle. Also more and more of the boys were just running out the door to pee in the yard instead of using the bathroom.


44% of Twitter Users Have Never Tweeted

matria Re:It's a good service (120 comments)

I'm certainly notified of any interesting developments in fields I'm interested in and follow, with links provided so I can follow up if I want to. It has to a large degree replaces newsgroups and mailing lists in those areas. I occasionally even "tweet" any new things I've done in those same areas, and have a handful (78 as of last check) of reasonably dedicated followers. While it's by no means a replacement for various blogs and forums I frequent, it's a good notifier that there's something interesting going on. Also helps when at conventions I want to find out which pub everybody in the other hotel is going to for the evening ;)

3 days ago

44% of Twitter Users Have Never Tweeted

matria Re:I wonder (120 comments)

Oops... I hadn't even noticed that I wasn't logged in when making the previous comment! My eyes are getting worse all the time.

4 days ago

To Reduce the Health Risk of Barbecuing Meat, Just Add Beer

matria Re:What if you don't like beer? (179 comments)

Use it as a hair rinse or setting gel. Works great, and believe it or not it doesn't leave an odor.

about two weeks ago

To Reduce the Health Risk of Barbecuing Meat, Just Add Beer

matria Re:Bunk! (179 comments)

My father-in-law in Lubbock, Texas ate back-yard barbeque almost every day, and despised what he called "rabbit food" - that is, anything green. Grilled meat, mashed potatoes, and bread-and-butter and beer pretty much made up his diet. He died of stomach cancer before his 55th birthday. Anecdotal, yes, but the agony of the last few months of his life was educational, and the rest of the family has taken care to eat a better diet since then.

about two weeks ago

How a 'Seismic Cloak' Could Slow Down an Earthquake

matria Re:Slashdot unusable at work (101 comments)

AdBlock rule |http://slashdot.org/*.mp3?*

about two weeks ago

Red Team, Blue Team: the Only Woman On the Team

matria Re:Blah Blah Blah (247 comments)

Yes. Girls were not allowed to take certain classes. Girls in other male-dominated classes were harassed to the point of having to drop out of the class, thus reinforcing the position that obviously girls just can't do the work. The entire community would make it socially awkward for the parents of a girl taking an interest in "male" occupations. Frequently remarks were made about the only reason a girl would want to go into something like that was to chase the boys. Parents would forbid girls to study or even engage in such activities as a hobby. I was personally told that working with computers was "not something for girls to do", unless I wanted to take typing or data entry classes. My father slapped me when I pointed out that Ada Lovelace was a woman. Not everybody grows up in a liberal, open-minded environment - and I grew up in California. Look at the media. How often is it portrayed that women who are serious about any non-traditional feminine interests are either "butches" or "bitches".

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Command Line Interfaces -- What Is Out There?

matria /rdb (383 comments)

/rdb - definitely not free, but a fascinating use of the shell and shell extensions as a database management system. Don't know if it's even still available. The NoSQL developer Carlo Strozzi said that he was inspired by it. Used to be at http://www.rsw.com./ An excellent white paper, "The UNIX Shell As a Fourth Generation Language" describes it, and there was a book too - "Unix Relational Database Management". I used it nearly 20 years ago for a retirement home's database when their DOS/dBase system broke down. Slackware Linux version 1 ran fine on their old PC. In fact, that was my first Linux kernel compilation.

about 4 months ago

How One Man Fought His ISP's Bad Behavior and Won

matria Re:Use public DNS (181 comments)

Rather amusing. The six top recommended servers were exactly those posted above.

about 4 months ago

How One Man Fought His ISP's Bad Behavior and Won

matria Re:Use public DNS (181 comments)

Thank you very much! Over the years I have gotten many useful apps and utilities from posts like this.

about 4 months ago

How One Man Fought His ISP's Bad Behavior and Won

matria Re:Use public DNS (181 comments)

Well that was interesting. I don't know exactly what was going on, but when I changed by router's DNS from the default (ISP-provided) to one of these, there was a startling improvement in initial page load speeds for several sites that I checked.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Will You Start Your Kids On Classic Games Or Newer Games?

matria Learning typing skills (285 comments)

All three of my boys learned to touch-type quite well playing the old Hero's Quest game. So there is definitely some benefit at least to the old text-based games. "Pick up rock" "Throw rock" and the faster you got at typing the better you took out the monsters.

about 4 months ago

Prime Minister Wiretapped — Vast Corruption Upending Turkey's Government

matria Re:They named a country after a bird? (123 comments)

Actually it is fully named "taregol hodu", meaning Indian chicken. If you can find any country in the world where there isn't rampant corruption and bribery and other shenanigans, I'd like to hear about it. Try reading the Miami news for a while.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Working With Others, As a Schizophrenic Developer?

matria Re:Difficult Subject, but here's some advice (218 comments)

Maybe because I'm a woman who got sick of being abused by men who never matured beyond puberty. I shall hope that you were joking here, but I've had to deal with all too many men who would say such things in all seriousness. Like my father, "that's not something for girls to do" or my school counselors, "you'd be more comfortable taking typing or home economics" - actually girls at that time and place weren't allowed in the woodworking or auto mechanics shop classes and the new "computer" classes, mostly data entry, were kind of iffy - or my first husband, "what do you need something like that for". The owner of the shop where I bought the parts to build my first PC told me to go home and knit booties for my grandchild. Six months later he offered me a job. Since then, I've been working with men - and women - who have respect for my capabilities as if I were a real person instead of a penis accessory.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Working With Others, As a Schizophrenic Developer?

matria Re:Difficult Subject, but here's some advice (218 comments)

I hired a woman with mental health problems to work in my computer shop. I told her that as far as I was concerned it was no different than if she were diabetic and needed to take medication to control her blood sugar. Unfortunately she did not keep her doctor's appointments, even though I ended up marking them on the shop whiteboard and reminding her, and she did not take her medication regularly. After eight or nine months, and some pretty unhappy clients, I had to let her go. She was very bitter and tried to cause problems. So I can understand why many firms might be reluctant to hire someone with such an issue.

about 4 months ago

Diet Drugs Work: Why Won't Doctors Prescribe Them?

matria Re:I lost weight the old fashioned way (670 comments)

I never had a television, but I remember a Beverly Hillbillies episode I saw at my grandparent's house, something about "Doctor Granny", The granny ended up "office-sitting" for a doctor, and told one overweight woman to get some tennis shoes and walk, and another one who had trouble sleeping to get down and scrub her floors. Everyone was horrified, except the two women who found the advice to work.

about 4 months ago

PHP.net Compromised

matria Re:Uh oh... (189 comments)


about 6 months ago

How Data Analytics In Education Could Create a New Class of Haves and Have-nots

matria Re:The Age of Three (268 comments)

Indeed. My first two read fluently by the time they were 4 - I read beyond high-school level in the first grade - and aside from attitude problems did quite well in school. The third wasn't able to read, so I put him in a pre-school, which did nothing for him. By the time he was in first grade, the teachers were making snarky remarks about his home environment. Apparently they missed the part about his siblings' abilities, with one of them even in the gifted and talented program. He was finally diagnosed with learning disabilities after two miserable years of fighting the system, after he was also diagnosed with a mild form of epilepsy, and in spite of barely passing most of his elementary and middle school classes and failing the rest, was judged "not disabled enough" to get any special help other than what I could give him. We persevered, and he finally went on to make the Dean's list in a local community college, majoring in accounting of all things, and manages a large health food store's warehouses, while one of his brothers didn't even finish high school and runs a forklift in a Rubbermaid warehouse thanks to his wife's parents' influence, and the other who was in the gifted and talented program ended up flipping pizza dough.

about 6 months ago



Hialeah Shooter Downloaded "Anarchist Cookbook"

matria matria writes  |  about 9 months ago

matria (157464) writes "Reports on the possible motivation of Pedro Vargas, who shot six people before being killed by police, appear to make much of his accessing the "Anarchist Cookbook". Even the name of the page of the article emphasizes this — "at-former-job-hialeah-gunman-downloaded.html"

...an investigation into Vargas prompted by his poor work performance found he had downloaded a slew of inappropriate files onto his office desktop, including a so-called “Anarchist Cookbook,” which includes instructions on making explosives at home, counterfeiting money and killing someone with your bare hands...

Of chief concern to Vargas’ supervisors was a file titled “1000 hacking tutorials,” which, according to the university, included an “Index to the Anarchist Cookbook IV, version 4.14.” The Anarchist Cookbook is a bomb-making manual first published in 1971 during the Vietnam War.


Link to Original Source

MODx Revolution - Building the Web Your Way

matria matria writes  |  1 year,11 days

matria (157464) writes "MODx is a free, open-source Content Management System and Framework, developed and supported by MODX LLC and a global community. The latest iteration of MODx, called Revolution, is entirely object-oriented. To take advantage of the power of MODx, the developer needs to learn how MODx works and how to use its building blocks to extend it to satisfy his purpose. While there is official documentation and a number of websites with tips and tutorials, as well as an active and friendly forum, for the dedicated developer one of the publications that it is good to be aware of is W. Shawn Wilkerson's MODX Revolution — Building the Web Your Way.

Known to the MODx community as "sottwell", I've been a developer and contributor to MODx since its beginnings, so I'm well-familiar with W. Shawn Wilkerson's contributions to the MODx community over the past six years. He is the founder of Sanity LLC, a technology integration company, and holds 9 degrees in programming and web design. His book on MODx Revolution, subtitled A Journey Through a Content Management Framework, was published in August of 2012 by Sanity Press, with ISBN 978-0985853204. It has some 600 pages, with 19 chapters divided into 5 sections.


This begins with the obligatory introduction to what MODx is (and is not). Use MODx as it installs for nearly instant, fully-functional sites, or turn it into a framework for complex web applications.

The second chapter introduces the Manager interface. This is an excellent place to start for new MODx users. We are taken step-by-step through the Manager, with each feature and function explained. Of special importance is the tree structure that lists the content Resources that provide the main content elements for each page, this tree structure reflecting the overall site structure.

Shawn explains how the Manager itself is built on the core MODx framework, and so it is customizable and even totally replaceable

The next five chapters discuss the basic building-block elements that are used to build a MODx site. The coverage of these elements is by no means superficial, everything from customizing the Manager forms for creating and editing them to how they are stored in the database to how to format and manipulate their final output on your web page is explained. Plenty of actual useful code samples and in-depth explanations make it easier to understand how MODx builds up a site using these modular blocks of content and content-generating elements. One entire chapter on Output Modifiers caught my attention here, as it covers a topic often overlooked or, conversely, overused.

Live Projects

The Quick Start chapter walks through the simple procedure to create a basic website after installing MODx, from a few basic System Settings such as a name for your site, through setting up the Template for your pages and assigning it to the Resources that will provide the main content for the pages, using Chunks, Snippets and Template Variables to add dynamic content to your pages, and installing and using third-party add-ons via the handy Package Manager. A complete site, with a dynamic menu structure, search functionality and a contact form can be set up in less than an hour, using any one of thousands of free HTML templates as the base Template.

The rest of this section goes on to show how common Web essentials such SEO, AJAX, friendly URLs and .js and .css minification can be easily arranged, to how a full-blown blogging platform can be added to your site with the Articles package.

One of the more frequent questions that comes up in the forums is how to use JQuery or other libraries, or how to handle AJAX in MODx. Basically, MODx doesn't interfere with your css or javascript in any way. But there are speed and optimization considerations in how and where Javascript links and code should be inserted, and MODx APIs can make processing AJAX requests or inserting data into Javascript functions clean and easy. A chapter on Javascript, CSS and JQuery works through several examples of how various features of MODx can be leveraged to automate best practices for everything from a simple JQuery slideshow to a complete AJAX-driven web application.


The MODx Revolution user management system is a complex network of users, user groups, roles and policies, based on the ACL model of user management. This section is vital to understanding how to control and manage user access to both protected sections of your front-end site and limit Manager functionality. With plenty of screen shots and examples, the reader is gently guided through the whole inter-related subject of organization and controls.

The chapter on Contexts explains how this feature can be used for dividing the site into sections. Contexts can be used to manage separate domains, allowing multiple websites to be managed from one MODx installation. They are also used to provide virtual subdomains or subdirectories for easy management of multi-language sites. Again, plenty of screen shots and examples open up the possibilities of using Contexts. Some of the limitations and pitfalls of using Contexts are explained and resolved.


Since this is not exactly a beginner's tutorial on OOP, the section begins with a brief overview of what OOP is, with some useful links to OOP and OOP in PHP tutorial sites. Then it continues by describing the fully object-oriented MODx Revolution API and the basic $modx object. MODx, like most CMS applications, relies heavily on the database, so there is an emphasis on understanding the database access methods and how MODx stores and caches data. Using the API simplifies just about every facet of MODx development, and the explanations and examples here make this a good reference to keep close at hand.

The foundation of MODx Revolution, the xPDO ORB/ORM object library, is extensively discussed. Coding best-practices are discussed. Real-world, complete, functioning and useful examples abound.

The section ends with how to install and use third-party add-on packages, and how to create your own packages.


Everything from MODx Revolution terminology through system settings and how the MODx parser works, ending with an interesting set of "rules", shared nuggets of hard-won programmer philosophy, make the Appendix another useful resource.

The book is clearly based on a deep understanding and love of programming, web development, and of MODx Revolution itself. One thing I especially appreciated about the layout of the book is the extra large font used for the code examples. It does't make for a pretty layout, but it's a great improvement in usablity over the usual prettier blocks of small, often hard-to-read text. This is even more significant when considering that Shawn is the founder and CEO of Sanity/Sanity Press. While typos and grammatical errors are common, this was understandably explained by the need to get such a book published and available before the fast movement of the web development world in general and MODx in particular make it at least partially obsolete. A year later, it's still covering material well within the leading edge of MODx Revolution functionality. The occasional personal ramblings actually give us an insight into Shawn's programming philosophy, and make the whole book seem more like a personal message, almost a conversation, than a cold presentation of facts. Overall, this is an excellent book, I very much enjoy it, use it, and recommend it.

The book can be purchased from Sanity Press and Amazon. A Kindle version is in process."


matria has no journal entries.

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