Categories
it could be called work

is my exile over?

I may once again join the ranks of the paid (and insured) working class. I’m not going to slay the fatted vegetable calf just yet, but perhaps next Tuesday I’ll be able to muster some honest enthusiasm.

Categories
family fun

more a celebration than a musical performance

Seattle Symphony

Beethoven Ninth Symphony
Gerard Schwarz, conductor
Seattle Symphony Chorale
Seattle Symphony
Beethoven: Symphony No. 8
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, Choral

I have seen this performed once (Roberto Abbado leading the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus) and listened to it on radio and recordings countless times.

Astounding to think Beethoven was deaf when we wrote it: or perhaps the lack of external sound helped him hear his own music better?

Categories
education observations

technology in the classroom: help or hindrance?

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Analysis | Mr Chips or Microchips?

Computers have been hailed as the transformers of education, a dazzling technology that changes the whole nature of learning, reduces the burdens on teachers and equips everyone for the modern economy.

Yet disturbing evidence is emerging that computers may harm, rather than help, educational progress. There is still much debate among even the most enthusiastic supporters of high technology about how computers can best be used.

Interesting story here from the BBC. Thanks to Wade who saw it on slashdot.

The most insightful quote comes from the reporter, Frances Craincross:
After all, girls in Britain
increasingly outshine boys in core subjects such as English. So
might more time at the keyboard improve boys� performance? Or
might it be that girls do well because the use of computers brings
few benefits to most pupils?

That’s a really good question: is there a difference between how boys and girls learn that can be attributed to time spend at the keyboard?

My two younger learners got LeapPads this christmas, and I think these are as appropriate a technology as you can find for kids that young (4 and 5).

It’s a folding plastic shell that holds a paper workbook and a rechargeable cartridge that explains and drills the user based on the page being displayed. Some pages are to be written on (the book is laminated) and other are just used as a touchscreen: there is an attached stylus.

What’s missing from this is an operating system, a keyboard, and a display: in other words, it’s not a computer (though the kids call them computers). It’s expandable: simply add a new paper book and cartridge and work with different or more advance subject matter.

What I like most about them is that they’re engaging enough for kids to like them and as as result the hardest part of learning — drilling and repetition — becomes much mess painful.

And for less than $40, it’s hard to beat.

Categories
observations

“I’m young, I’m rich and I can do it.”

Glass Panes and Software: Windows Name Is Challenged

The single person most responsible for Microsoft’s selecting the name Windows, according to court documents, was Rowland Hanson, a marketer who came from Neutrogena, the soap and cosmetics maker. Until Mr. Hanson arrived in May 1983, the new software was called Interface Manager, which the programmers liked.

Understandably, Mr. Hanson scrambled for an alternative. He had scant knowledge of computers at the time. “I recall that windowing or something like that had been used by somebody,” Mr. Hanson said in deposition testimony, “and that’s what triggered me to think about it as windows. . . . I looked at our product, and ours was clearly, had windows on the screen.”

So Microsoft Windows it was.

So the name was no more carefully thought-out than the product itself . . . . .

Actually, not to toss rotten tomatoes at the usual target, I’m amused that Michael Robertson is doing this. I don’t know that it’s unfair to call him a “serial opportunist” as MSFT has done: but so what? It’s not as if what Mr Gate’s team hasn’t aped what they couldn’t come up with on their own.

I would never have guessed MP3.com would end up making anyone $372 million dollars. If that gives him the wherewithal to stay in the game longer than Be, I say good for him.