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Comment Re:Not a minicomputer (Score 1) 40

First, thanks for taking the time on this. I'm grateful for the detailed info on the guts of the thing.

They are a *lot* more expensive. The RPi doesn't come with much out of the box. You need a PSU (many USB ports don't give out enough juice), an SD card, and probably a screen and keyboard to get going. This device is much more arduino like. They're not really comparable at all.

Yes, I'm aware of that. Actually these are being pushed 'free' in limited numbers. But, actually, in pre-history the BBC Acorn computer (which was the beginning of ARM) was expensive too. I feel that qui peut le plus peut le moins who can do the most can do the least is a good way to do it, too.

Comment Re:Not a minicomputer (Score 2) 40

And a magnitude more of a pain in the ass to set up. To use this Pi, the pupil would require - a monitor or TV, an HDMI cable, a USB mouse & keyboard, a network connection or wifi dongle, a PSU, a charger, an SD card, and a very patient teacher and set of parents capable of setting this all up and transferring files for grading and exercises.

Actually I worked last year with one school that was successfully doing this. You don't really want switched-on smart phones in class, anyway, so you're obliged to hook the micro:bit to a 'computer' (of some kind), as with the Arduino if you want to do any programming.

Also to continue being ranty, Microsoft has had a good look in this time, not surprising since the last two technology heads were biased in that direction. If they want to 'develop', everything, yes, everything (the thing itself and associated ecosystem) needs to be open source, because it's public cash.

I did freelance work for the BBC in the early 2000s, but have stopped (my own choice) now.

Comment Re:Not a minicomputer (Score 4, Insightful) 40

I think it's a micro-controller actually. One program at a time, no operating system, just load/run. It's therefore similar to the Arduino.

As a Brit, I'm very annoyed by this, they could have just got behind the Arduino (for example) but no that was apparently NIH (Not Invented Here) so they've spent a lot of public money on this.

I do a certain amount of school volunteering and this is another thing that fragments attention and class time. I would have preferred full-fat pupil owned Raspberry Pis for example, a little more expensive but an order of magnitude more capable. Still the BBC is a law unto itself.

Comment Yes let's build Elysium (for the rich, of course) (Score 1) 64

I'm not actually sure that the maths works out for large, luxurious, permanent, private space habitats, but I see this as a step in that direction. Makes it easier to countenance wrecking this one, for anyone that can afford it. For example, as Neal Stephenson wrote in Seveneves: (in a different context, the moon disintegrated) 'we' could just go up until things straightened themselves out a bit. Alternative 3 looking less and less like a joke or a piece of conspiracy theory now. Everyone seems to want to rush to Mars now, too, although, that seems to me to be a lot less realistic than near-earth habitats.

Comment Re:Blame Microsoft. (Score 1) 172

Agree. Now got Linux Mint on my ex's (who used to phone every other day for support) and also a small office that I do voluntary work for (no money and fairly ancient laptops). There's a learning curve and a bit of push-back and after a couple of weeks everything settles at a much lower support intensity. No Windows virus infections either. OK, I probably don't have a huge sample there.

It's not a case of being a complete fanatic, but the practical reasons and aspects look pretty good, nowadays. The blocking factors tend to be specialised Windows-only software (Wine sometimes solves, sometimes not), hardware (drivers) but mainly 'fear' driven by brand (non) recognition.

Comment Re:overreach (Score 1) 248

Nope, not sure at all. Weak antibacterial properties will leave populations of higher resistance bacteria in your 'kitchen colony'. We were a lot dirtier (in many ways) in the 1960s, it hasn't harmed us (I can see the flame comments already building under this!) and may have been of benefit to our immune systems. Don't clean that basement (every week, anyway).

Comment Making Python and even Perl look good (Score 1) 427

I'm old enough to have programmed in COBOL, and Java is the COBOL of the 1990s, bloated and ugly. The licensing is 'murky' and therefore subject to the current Google/Oracle 'discussions' and probably more of the same later.

However, as a Perl person and increasingly a Python person who 'sometimes' does Java, it makes both look good. I'm expecting some flaming for the mention of Perl, but, when you're used to it, it's nifty, just over-comment. Admittedly APL was probably 'too' expressive, but Java makes one die of boredom before the first finger hits the keyboard.

Comment Financial 'Industry' and generally too. (Score 2) 349

See for example. It's endemic. They'll probably derail civilisation as we know it eventually, bridges falling, weapons launched. Then, when we're back to the caves/trees and eating nuts and berries (not a bad life outside the cubicles, really), we will curse the evil god Ex-cel and provide blood sacrifices on altars (inscribed with A1, C2 etc.) to keep him away?

Comment Re:Why do people still go there? (Score 1) 348

Thank you. Exactly, I haven't been there since 1989 and I'm 65 now, so I won't be going. Shame, good conferences and there's lots I like/admire about (some of) the 'common people' but your government is as bad as ours in the UK now. We're probably sneakier and more hypocritical though, that's the British way.

Comment Re:Yes, and maybe (Score 5, Funny) 225

Whoosh! Please accept a hug from 'an ignorant old fuck'. I was funning, hey, I even know what 'Facebook' is. Remember too that you will be 'an ignorant (you're that already!) old fuck' someday unless you'd prefer to die before reaching that exalted state. Normally, I don't feed trolls, but today, on behalf of my decrepit sisters and brothers and polite people everywhere, I'm making an exception.

Comment Yes, and maybe (Score 5, Funny) 225

I remember it, at 65, actually I remember huge batch only mainframes. On a more serious note, I have a lot of time for Gopher, Lynx and all the 'simpifiers', I'd prefer everyone to have knowledge and communication at a low bandwidth rather than adverts, emojiis (whatever they are) and pictures of cats. My vision, going forward is goodbye port 80 and port 443, let's start again.

Comment Steampunk in a Good Way (Score 1) 133

As as child in the 1960s, I went to the Science Museum in London. There were lots of handles to crank and buttons to push, and the science tended flow out of that. Taking my own son in the early 1980s, it was somewhat the same and rather enjoyable, crank something and see what happens.

Also (one of) MONIAC, the Philips Hydraulic Computer was there: and currently there's a reconstructed Difference Engine (also in Mountain View, I think?). These objects make computing very 'visible' and kids (quite wisely) are not very abstract. Besides they can now get all the coding lessons etc. in school, so a musueum shouldn't be more of the same.

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