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Tuesday 30 August, 2011
#[linkfarm] Kids today need a licence to tinker - What is happening is that the national curriculum's worthy aspirations to educate pupils about ICT are transmuted at the chalkface into teaching kids to use Microsoft software. Our children are mostly getting ICT training rather than ICT education. And if you can't see the difference, try this simple thought-experiment: replace "ICT" with "sex" and see which you'd prefer in that context: education or training? ... The current curriculum undermines the authority of the education system by revealing to tech-savvy children how antediluvian it is. But, more importantly, the curriculum is disabling rather than enabling for most kids, because it is preparing them for a technological world that is vanishing before their eyes. Training children to use Microsoft Office is the contemporary equivalent of the touch-typing courses that secretarial colleges used to run for girls in the 1940s and 1950s – useful for a limited role in the workplace, perhaps, but not much good for life in the modern world.
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#[linkfarm] David May, parallel processing pioneer - "It's very distressing - I'm watching almost with disbelief. The Americans cannot get it out of their heads that if you're trying to build machines with lots of processors, you don't assume that they all share a common memory. The world doesn't have a common database. We pass messages to one another." David May, professor of computer science at the University of Bristol, is talking about the current trend in chip design that proliferates cores - Intel's 'Knights Corner' currently runs to 50 processors on a single chip - but has them all dipping into the same memory pool.
May was one of the chaps behind the Inmos Transputer. My first programming job was writing Occam2 code targetting a Transputer embedded in a robot grabbing tool.

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Thursday 25 August, 2011
#[linkfarm] War, What is it Good For? Learning from Wargaming - “To a wargamer,” writes Greg Costikyan in the just published collection Tabletop: Analog Game Design, “wargames are not abstract, time-wasting pastimes, like other games, but representative of the real. . . . You can learn something from wargames; indeed, in some ways you can learn more from wargames than from reading history”
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#[linkfarm] Why Amazon Can't Make A Kindle In the USA - Galina Hale and Bart Hobijn, two economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, did a study showing that only 2.7% of U.S. consumer purchases have the “Made in China” label. Moreover, only 1.2% actually reflects the cost of the imported goods. Thus, on average, of every dollar spent on an item labeled “Made in China,” 55 cents go for services produced in the United States. So the study trumpets the finding that China has only a tiny sliver of the U.S. economy. So no problem, right? Well, not exactly. The tiny sliver happens to be the sliver that matters. What economists miss is what is happening behind the numbers of dollars in the real economy of people.
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#[linkfarm] Samsung cites Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' movie as prior art against iPad design patent
The patent Apple say Samsung has violated protected their claim to "the ornamental design for an electronic device". The ornamental design? That's a trademark at best, and it's ridiculous that this patent was accepted in the first place. I'd be embarrassed to have my name attached to something so flimsy.

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Wednesday 24 August, 2011
# The CycleStreets Android app hit 4000 active installs today. I don't think anything else I've ever written got past double figures (and I'm including something that was shrinkwrapped and cluttered up the PC World catalogue).
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Thursday 18 August, 2011
#The Quest Begins Anew!

Just as it ends, it begins again ...
390-054 Alstom Pendolino
390-054 sitting at Euston station shortly before heading off to Manchester. One pendolino does look very much like another, I'll grant you, but you can't ignore that branding. Didn't see the nameplate, but 390-004 was recently renamed Alstom Pendolino, so it can't be that. Perhaps it doesn't have a name?

Anyway, now I need to ride it ...


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#[linkfarm] It's Sexy A-Levels! - A blog exploring the hypothesis that UK newspapers believe that only attractive girls in low cut tops do A-Levels.
I got my A level result when I stopped at a payphone half way through cycling home from the builders merchants I was working at for the summer. My brother told me I'd got a D (not entirely unexpectedly) and that the university had phoned. He then stumbled and wasn't sure if I'd got in or not. The next ten weren't the most fun miles of cycling I've ever done in my life.

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Sunday 14 August, 2011
#[elsewhere] CycleStreets Android app: join our code team
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