A TEXT POST

Ascension.

"One of the really sucky things about this singularity shit, I mean, aside from the G45 effect, the Plasma conduit blowing half the [redacted], and THE FRANKLIN, is all these animals achieving ascension. Some fucking scientist, probably a goddamn furry, decided that all animals deserve equal intellect.

I ascended, but on my own terms. I kept my own body, just kept it regenerating and shit. So I look fresh all the time, after 60 years I’m still rocking 22. Not that it helps me anymore, but at least I’m not some weird spider shit like the other half of my friends, seriously, what the fuck. I know having 12 arms is cool, but what the hell- you look like something out of Alien. And the other half, Second Life? Seriously? Now Linden Labs makes a move? Whatever. Enjoy having a loading screen for your dick.

But the worst, I swear, is the goddamn ascension. I try to go for a walk in my neighborhood, now populated by poor people that didn’t grow up with tech or old folks strapped into the old regenerators, and it’s nothing but swearing from the animals. Between the solicitations of street venders and old folk begging to be unplugged, Feral dogs tell me they ‘want to sniff my fucking crotch and then fucking wreck my shit if I don’t hand them 50 credits for a hot dog.’ Spiders constantly quote Lovecraft. Cats, don’t get me started on cats. Bees are also a problem with their constant screaming of status messages, but technically they aren’t bees, they’re bdrones- bees died off 200 years ago. And the birds, holy shit, most of the time they’re spastic fuckers, but crows are the worst. Little fucking whiny bastards with a million neuroses. They will lose their shit at you for no reason, and they know you understand what they’re saying, so suddenly they’ll start swooping down for no reason screaming about you not paying rent.

What the fuck crows. If they weren’t full of nanites I’d apply the ALESSA decision to their black feathered asses. Fuck ascension. In 40 years when my next paycheck comes in, I’m moving off Mars.”

A TEXT POST

Orcs must die so that I can learn.

Listening to the soundtrack to Warcraft 2, a game I played obsessively as a child, I find myself wondering about the fantasy I had as a child- what if I were a masterful general, a skilled fighter, a seasoned warrior. I envisioned myself so many times as a silver clad footsoldier slaughtering untold numbers of orcish enemies. But these days, I’m a software engineer, and I envision squashing nasty bugs in the latest beta.

Honestly, I like being a software engineer. I enjoy living in an era where that’s an option. Going into pike based warfare would suck.

That being said, I was really good at that game. And a very small part of me does feel like a lot of General potential is going to waste.

Of course I’d probably be a terrible general, but thinking back on my video gaming experience, I got an early start on the following fields: Larceny, (Thief- Note, I’ve never stolen anything in my life aside from a lego man in 3rd grade, but that’s aside the point) Combat (Half Life and it’s numerous mods), Urban planning (Sim City), Tank Warfare (Bolo), Political oppression (Exile: Escape from the Pit), Military Tactics (Warcraft series, Starcraft, Red Alert, Etc.), and psychology (Spec ops-The line).

And suddenly I’m finding the value when people obsess about gamification. It allows for early access as well as a emotional connection.  Now I’m sure there’s some game to make being a software engineer interesting and edge of my seat, but currently, Uplink doesn’t cut it anymore, and honestly, twas just weird.

In time there will be options for everything. I just saw on Steam a car mechanic simulator. I’m wondering when steam will offer more vocational tech courses in the form of games.

A TEXT POST

Not the what, but the why.

I’ve been running a thought experiment in my head based on the diversity of skills IT workers have and the lack of a generalized curriculum that addresses it well in k12. Now with Gates pushing for CS in the Common Core, I’ve come up with two questions I want to run by anyone who is a tech worker, or is aspiring to become one.

1. If you could teach a group of kids three things about tech, what would they be?

2. To what end would you want to teach these skills, patterns of thought, etc. and why?

For example, given a bunch of kids, I’d teach them how to be digitally literate. I’d give them tech problems, and watch them figure them out. I’d show them what could be done- my raspberry Pi is now a retro gaming device. My phone is now jailbroken. I’m now running SteamOS. But I wouldn’t show them how I did it, exactly, I’d try to help them work it out by searching for information online and making a lot of mistakes, with the ultimate goal of technological literacy- once that takes hold, they’ll be ready for the future.

Which comes to the why. Technology keeps on speeding up. There are kids out there that are growing up without smartphones. Imagine in 15 years, when they stare at the wrong eyescanner drone without wearing retina masking contacts, and now some AI working for the Chinese mafia has their identity and bank account. It’s not about making singularity happen sooner. A small percentage of people are going to make that happen, and they’re probably well on their way. It’s for making the rest of the 99.7% of people able to survive, thrive, and not be left in the dust, nothing but, in best case, a walking wallet for the future powers that be.

And I kind of want to spend the next 10 years of my life working on trying to solve this issue.

A PHOTO

mothernaturenetwork:

Obama launches plan to save the bees and butterflies
The president steps up efforts to protect the pollinators — and their $24 billion contribution to the U.S. economy.

A relief.

A TEXT POST

CS in the common core

Interesting review of Gates’ involvement in pushing for CS in Common Core from Slashdot.

I have so much to say about the state of CS, and how it should be taught. In comparison with a lot of other fields, I don’t think there’s a real easy or coherent way to teach it, seeing as the field itself only became particularly mainstream in the past 25 years or so.

When I was trained as a science educator, we had an exercise where we looked at different types of scientists- a Botanist, a theoretical physicist, a neuroscientist, and a marine biologist. Very disparate fields, appearances, and methods, but they were held together by one thing- the scientific method, and that was one of the biggest things that should be taught to students- that these facts can be proven, and have been- and you can try it yourself. This is how the world works. We have more work to do, but here’s what we know now.

Now, let’s take a look at four different IT people. One’s a mobile developer, one’s a support tech, one’s a systems administrator, and one’s a network admin. You look at these four people in your mind, and you see someone sitting at a computer- you wouldn’t be able to tell apart the mobile developer from the sysadmin. However, the work they are doing couldn’t be more disparate- One is focusing on creating code to build and maintain an app, while the other is making sure a medium sized business has all it’s tech needs. So, what should we be teaching? Is putting Java into the hands of every kid k-12 going to fix everything? (No it isn’t.)

Another interesting thought experiment, or actual experiment. Go to 5 different IT people, and ask them, if they were to teach kids 3 things about technology, what would be they. I did this once, and got very different answers. Some people wanted to focus on network theory, others of basics of programming, others on security, others of troubleshooting basics, the list goes on. Now, I imagine you could do the same experiment with 5 historians, 5 mathematicians, 5 scientists, or 5 writers, but there’s been a lot more history of these fields to get it right and come up with something coherent as far as a curriculum goes. (Even though the current state of things wouldn’t show it.)

So the big question then is what is the solution for increasing CS education in schools? I have a feeling like there really isn’t any good solution, and the end result will be massive failure. Like any institution that is overworked and underfunded, addition of complex systems generally results in a lot of problems. (Which is why I am very wary of any k12 system that tries to do hybrid or online learning without proper funding and guidance.)

I’m also very wary of the idea that tech *needs* to be taught in k12. Many people in the industry currently, myself included, taught themselves tech. I grew up building my own gaming PCs so I could do LAN gaming with friends. I have a bachelor’s in psychology and a MEd in Education. The extent of my formal IT education amounts to an A+ cert I got many years ago. And yet I’m a software engineer for a fortune 500 company, and most of my work focuses on mobile security solutions- something that was not covered in the A+ exam, nor was it really a thing.

The reason I’ve been able to succeed at my job is a high degree of tech and digital literacy. The ability to intuitively understand what is going on with a complex system is not something that will be acquired by telling kids to memorize network diagrams or java code. The intuitive understanding and digital/tech literacy is the one thing that the IT/CS people of the future will need, and I fear that this is something that can not particularly be taught, nor will it be.

I don’t think everyone is cut out to be in IT. I definitely think there should be options, but I don’t think it should be common core. By forcing someone into IT, which is a very alien field to many, you risk alienating them from technology at an early age, creating the future headache users for tomorrow’s desktop support techs. Furthermore, teaching them esoteric things that will not exist in two years, you give them a sense of wasted time. Instead, focus on creating more tech electives. Let kids self select into it, as the kids that want to get into tech are going to get into tech regardless, I believe. Most kids in the Calculus class are going to grow up to be mathematicians, but they’ll use the mental rigor they gained in that class as an adult, presumably.

In the end, it’ll be interesting nonetheless. Personally, if you asked me what I thought kids should know about IT, I’d say being safe with your personal data. Aside from that, just give them opportunities to learn all kinds of stuff.

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ryannorth:

error888:

Boba Fett unmasked on the set of the additional Jabba’s Palace scenes filmed for the Star Wars special editions - Imgur

1000% supercanon

Reblogged from plastic is fantastic!
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Reblogged from Team Teachers
A TEXT POST

vespertineflora:

hawkules:

imagine a video game where you create a hero whose destiny is to save everyone, but throughout the game you start making harder and more questionable decisions, and the game gets darker and darker. and in the end you’re just standing there, clutching the controller and finally realizing you were playing the villain all along

   (via bluebird)

It’s called Spec Ops: the Line.