Tag Archives: open source

The Value of a Higher Education

I’ve been kicking back and forth whether or not to write this article, but this concept has been weighing on my conscience for far too long.  Being a student in Computer Science, I am beginning to notice the students around me more, and their level of competency when it comes to the narrow topics that are being discussed in class.  For the most part, everyone tries their best and gets things done, and as adults tend to actually attempt to understand all of the material.

But there are a select few students that either are just not getting it, or are relying on the “No Child Left Behind” mentality to simply skate through the college experience and earn their degrees.  One problem with this set of students is that they are going to be completely shocked and overwhelmed when they reach a real work environment, and not all requirements and steps are set in stone and handed to them on a silver plate.

This is where my problem with the state of higher education stems.
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Podcast Episode #5 – Apple Updates, The Linux Action Show, Mysterious Universe and More!

The fifth episode of The Worthless Genius Podcast is here!

Today I talk about 3 news items, a couple of Worthless Genius topics, and I ask for the help of the online community.

Here’s some links to what I talk about:

News:

Worthless Genius Stuff:

And also, if anyone out there has some ideas for a library organization system that is:

  • Free
  • Open Source (so that I can monkey around with the internals)
  • Easy to Use

Let me know here in the comments, so that I can go check it out.

Thank you for listening, and feel free to discuss this episode here in the comments. You can also email me suggestions or comments at worthlessgenius [at] gmail.com, or hit me up on Twitter, @stroz. Also, check out my FriendFeed, with username strozykowski.

Or you can download it here: mp3 format

The Fear of Using Windows – Part 3: Windows Alternative: Linux

In the last entry of this series, I discussed the true cost of owning a Windows-based computer.  Although the one-time upfront fee may sound like a great deal, in order to keep your computer running for years to come, you must invest a large amount of time, money and effort.

In this entry, I would like to discuss an alternative to the Windows operating system: Linux.
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The Fear of Using Windows – Part 2: Cost of Ownership

This is Part 2 of “The Fear of Using Windows.” Please read Part 1 if you have not already.

There is a lot more to owning and maintaining a PC than just picking one up from the store and plugging it into the wall. I think the overall lifetime cost of a PC should be considered when purchasing new hardware. Continue reading

The Fear of Using Windows – Part 1: The Three Types of PC Users

I’ve harped heavily here before about how Windows doesn’t work well for people who are just starting out with computers. I’d like to go into a bit more detail about thoughts I’ve had recently and give a little background to what I’m talking about.

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To Upgrade or Not To Upgrade

As some of you may know, Ubuntu Linux 8.10 “Intrepid Ibex” is set to be released in a few days. Since I last reinstalled Ubuntu, I decided to go with the 32-bit platform, even though my hardware is 64-bit capable.

At this point, I only run with 3.5Gb of RAM, so using 64-bit isn’t a must for me, but I, like other Linux users, like to squeak out every last bit of juice that my machine is capable of. The issues that I had with 64-bit are not mine alone, and I’m not too sure whether or not the next release of Ubuntu will in fact cure any or all of these issues.

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Project Visions: iGoverness – Part 3

Part 3 of our feature on improving our education system using modern technology and the iGoverness idea comes straight from Part 1 and Part 2. If you have not read Part 1 and Part 2 yet, please go back and read them so that you know the motivations for the following article.

The way I see it, there are a few major flaws with the way classes are handled in schools today:

  1. Classes go as fast as the slowest student. This alienates the faster student, and causes them to perform lower quality work.
  2. Classes are strict structures with defined times, schedules, deadlines and pre-scheduled exams.
  3. The 30 students to 1 teacher ratio does not ensure that our children’s needs are met.
  4. Class material is often taught “to the test” to get a passing score on a standardized exam, rather than teaching real-world problem solving skills and basic human functionality.
  5. A student is forced to learn the subjects that are set aside as required. A student has no leeway to learn the subject that he or she has the most desire to learn.
  6. The parents are increasingly being removed from the learning process.

Alright, so what does this mean in terms of solving these problems using technology? Continue reading

Goodbye Nostr.us

I have decided to let yet another of my domains pass through the re-registering process and go back out to the public domain.

Nostr.us was, for a short time, the homepage of my open-source PHP-based blogging and website management software. I ran into quite a few issues while trying to get the code base into a place that was on par with the other platforms out there.

First of all, I had an extremely small userbase, limited only to friends and family. This is a circular issue, as it completely depended on the maturity of the codebase.

Next was the issue of spam. Spam is a completely ridiculous concept, and yet it is an inherent part of modern digital life. I wish I could say that it wasn’t so, but that’s just wishful thinking. I was unable to put the time and effort into a simple monitoring and administering system for my non-techy users to delete thousands upon thousands of spam messages that would creep into every facet of the software.

This lead me to work on a CAPTCHA system that simply confounded my userbase. Though CAPTCHAs are now a normal part of online life, at the time, they were almost unheard of.

The maturity of the up and coming WordPress and Movable Type blogging software systems pushed me over the edge. I ended up installing WordPress for myself and my other hosted sites. This was a no-brainer for me, and I still don’t regret the decision.

Working on this software afforded me quite a few insights into taking a product from concept to completion and beyond. While it was quite powerful, and I knew the code inside and out, in the end it simply came down to ease of setup and use for an end user.

I had kept the domain around for the simple fact that I had planned on doing something new with it. I own more than 30 domains right now, most of which are just stubs for unfinished projects. I’ve let this one go, and hope that someone can use it for good in the future.

Not having money for extravagant properties helps put things in perspective. I can’t afford to just hang on to these domains if I’m not going to put some work behind each and every one of them. Perhaps the future will afford me more insight and time to work through some of these stub projects, but only time will tell.