What We Have to do First

Is carefully assess our problem, which is this  – most people have dropped out of the world, and are not interested in it. Which means other people are now responsible for making things work.

These people have a powerful tool to help them – the Computer, and its Software. They can use the techniques of Software Development for Human Development. Don’t look at me that way – I am serious about this!

I am babysitting a new Windows 10 laptop – and and learning from the experience. The Chinese company that built it (for a low price, it is true) left a lot for me to figure out for myself. And Microsoft did not want anything Google on it. I had to be smarter than they are, to make it right for me – which was hard, but not too hard.

Now I can use Google’s apps (such as their Chrome browser) and learn to program in F#, using Microsoft’s Visual Studio. Mix and Match!

And there are other things I am learning, just by hanging around the Software community – and seeing what they are interested in.

For example – Microservices. People can look at how this is done, in software – and adapt it to almost anything. At least anything in the Developed world – which is used to the idea of development. 

You can learn from anything – even a computer.


How Google Took Over the Classroom

NY Times

“Companies are exploiting the education space for sales and public good will,” said Douglas A. Levin, the president of EdTech Strategies, a consulting firm. Parents and educators should be questioning Google’s pervasiveness in schools, he added, and examining “how those in the public sector are carrying the message of Google branding and marketing.”

Mr. Bout of Google disagreed, saying that the company’s outreach to educators was not a marketing exercise. Rather, he said, it was an effort to improve education by helping teachers learn directly from their peers how to most effectively use Google’s tools.

“We help to amplify the stories and voices of educators who have lessons learned,” he said, “because it can be challenging for educators to find ways to share with each other.”

Software Development is developing new ways of educating other developers – and, it appears, everyone else besides. I am on their mailing lists, for example – and they flood me with information.

This is the same thing researchers in many fields have been doing for years. Publishing their results to each other – in publications devoted to their specialty. That the Social Media are quick to latch onto.

Everyone who is anything, attends conferences where they can see and be seen.

This is where it is.

The Best Kind of Princess

NY Review

This quote will give you a taste for what this review involves:

At a time when fictive Disney princesses reign over pop consumer culture for girls—last summer the entertainment giant announced its first Latina princess, Elena of Avalor, for an eponymous animated television series, doubtless prompted by demographic trends—it’s difficult to remember that real princesses once wielded broad intellectual influence. Both of the incumbent Prince of Wales’s wives—the charismatic, doomed Diana and the tough, tenacious Camilla—struggled to complete secondary school and never considered going on to university, typical of most aristocratic British women of their generation.

How true this is of many recent American graduates also! They go to college, but take the easiest courses – and graduate with useless degrees. Once out, they find they have no money – but do not attribute that to their ignorance. Once again, try to find money, the easiest way possible – and wonder why this attracts so little money.

Microsoft Software, the Good and the Bad

When you are mixing with the Software crowd, you are mixing with the Good and the Bad, all mixed in together. And it is hard to separate the truth from the lies.

I have decided to reacquaint myself with the latest in Software Development – and my first decision was “Who do I want to get in bed with?” I’m going to be had, no matter what – but who will give me the best experience? Got the picture?

Microsoft is no guardian angel – it’s more like the other kind. But it has blundered into a position of market dominance. And has gradually realized that it has to help all the software developers, who are writing software, for everyone else to consume. Their users can barely count to ten, without using their fingers – and they need software to help them.

There are two classes of people in the world – those that produce content, and those that consume it. And the gap between them is huge. I have decided to be on the side of the producers – but not make too big a deal of it. I’m getting in bed, and doing what people do there – but doing it quietly.

I am taking Microsoft’s Visual Studio series of courses – for free. Using Visual Studio 2017 Community – the free version. You should be able to use it, right out of the box – but first you have to customize it, which isn’t too hard – but you have to do this, before you can take the courses.

These show you how to use the .net framework – a huge thing that Microsoft developed for its developers – and decided to make it available for everyone. And use the C# language – another big thing, that does everything – including everything Java does. Another big thing by a competitor, Oracle.

You must have noticed that I am using the word big here a lot. Software is the elephant in the living room – everyone is ignoring, even while it shits all over them.

I have decided to be on the side that does the shitting.

Hatred of Information

Americans are haters – as I have often remarked in these pages. And the range of their hatred is remarkable.

Recently, I was sent some genealogical information from a relative I didn’t know. We all have hundreds of those scattered across our family tree. I tried to share this with other family members – only to find they were not interested in this.

I could sympathize, this was a huge amount of information to absorb, all of a sudden. But then I expected them to slowly get used to it. They did not, and seemed to be offended by this intrusion of new information into their orderly lives.

They don’t realize they now live in an Information Economy – and they are incapable of being there.

I work at absorbing new information all the time, and consider this part of life. As my mother used to say “Live and learn!”


Lara Setrakian: 3 ways to fix a broken news industry


This gal calls herself an Industrious Optimist – and she tells us what she means by that.

She fights against irresponsible news. But judging by my own family – I can see they prefer the sensational and simple – and don’t watch TED at all.

I will even take that further – if our present course is destroying the World, they can’t see much wrong with that either. If it’s defective, they think – why try to save it?

User Experience (UX) Research and Design

Principles of Designing for Humans. edX has courses on this, presented by the U of Michigan.

If I were starting over again, this is what I would do. Every parent, in my opinion, should ask their children to consider this as a possible career choice.

It shocks me to see how many parents do not want their children be be anything.I’m sure this is not a conscious choice. but the results are there for anyone to see.