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Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program?

snakecoder pygame (107 comments)

If you are willing to teach/learn yourself ...

I just started teaching my 8 year old how to write code. We started with regular python and wrote a text base high/low game (Game where computer picks a number and you guess. It tells you whether you are high or low or if you guessed it). Of course my son was thrilled to add a cheat where it always made him win when he entered his name as the player.

Next, I bought some graph paper, down loaded pygame and had him draw a tank, then figure out what polygons to use from pygame to draw the tank. We drew it with 3 rectangles. Just the power of changing the tank size and changing location thrilled him. Over the next few weeks we started demonstrating how to make a bullet move out of the cannon, then how to move the tank with up/down arrows, what rgb values are and how to research those colors on the web and create your own. I had to read ahead and learn this stuff myself first.

This stuff is simple but starts to introduce them to the level of detail required to write something that works. We finished with a game where you had a rocket launcher and two rockets. A tank would come at you at random speeds. You had to pick a fuse time and hopefully the detonation happened on top of the tank.

Don't pressure her. My son's interest comes and goes. I'm there to support when he's inspired. Good luck.

about a week ago
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CERN Experiment Indicates Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos

snakecoder Re:time travel.... (1088 comments)

steal... sigh

more than 3 years ago
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CERN Experiment Indicates Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos

snakecoder Re:time travel.... (1088 comments)

I love it. and I am going to shamelessly steel this.

more than 3 years ago
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British Aircraft Carrier For Sale On Auction Site

snakecoder Re:An odd object... (224 comments)

>Apparently, the Exocet would have been more effective earlier in the war, if it had been set up correct.

I think this is wrong. The Exocet did it's job. The Argentines only had a limited number. (I think 8 or less) by the time the war started. They were also hampered in there ability to search for ships due to equipment maintenance issues. Had they had the missiles en mass and the ability to correctly search for ships, the brits would have been in trouble.

The bombs going through the ships unexploded were dumb bombs. It was a testament to the Argentinian pilots that in a day and age of smart weapons, they still managed to get the job done using old fashion approach and drop methods. What failed them was what you stated. The fuses on these bombs were set for too long a time period. They hit one side of the ship and came out the other side without exploding.

more than 3 years ago
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Microsoft Trying To Appeal to the Unix Crowd?

snakecoder Re:Wow: Developers Developers Developers (468 comments)

You don't really gain anything with the NT kernel. The problem is developers. They want to learn technologies that don't lock them down to one vendor or a "licensed" solution. Because of that chosen career paths follow toolkits that are portable. Java, python,ruby, mysql, apache, etc.. . Automation and installation of these type of tools are best handled through the GNU or GNU like products.

Even though the developer doesn't have the purchasing power, they do influence. If someone says, I need you to implement XYZ for my business. If the developer says, I need 3 linux boxes, it's done (because it's cheaper too). The purchaser has no power. MS needs to get rid of this factor. Non-techy people who do the buying would feel much more comfortable with windows machines. They need to empower the purchaser to say, look, I'll buy what I want, since you can develop on either.

Personally, I think it's still a failed strategy. If they see the writing on the wall, they should just port windows GUI part to linux or BSD and move on.

more than 6 years ago

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