Microsoft

PPTA opposes courses because kids might get a job out of them

You really have to wonder about the state of mind of teachers who oppose literally everything in education, including the possibility of students getting jobs.

Russell Blackstock reports:

It is 7.40 on a humid Auckland morning and a dedicated group of wannabe IT experts is already lining up outside a classroom at Avondale College in the west of the city.

While waiting for their teacher to arrive, the students are busily updating their social media pages and browsing news sites on smartphones and hand-held tablets.

Most of their school friends are barely out of bed, still at home wolfing down breakfast.

The youngsters — aged 13 to 17 — are enrolled in the school’s new Innovation Programme, a partnership with United States giant Microsoft. The kids are hoping for a headstart into computer industry roles such as software and game designers, solution architects and project managers.

Bill and Melinda Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs — the computer whizzes of the past taught themselves to code at home in their bedrooms, but the geeks of the future will learn in the classroom.

The classes run from 8am every weekday before the regular school day starts.

The students also attend for three hours most Saturday mornings and even during the holidays.

So they even volunteer to attend classes outside of normal school hours…perish the thought that they might just be enjoying the courses.

David Officer is just 13 but is already devising a programme to help teachers mark students’ work.

Madeleine Day, 16, is developing a mobile asset-management system that she hopes will help the fuel industry make complex calculations about weights and measures.

“The course is fantastic and is geared towards preparing you for a job or further education,” Day says.

“I would like to become a software engineer or work in the gaming industry, ideally for the likes of Microsoft or Google.”

Sounds promising…but wait here come the whingers.

Not everyone agrees that public-private partnerships are a good thing. The Post Primary Teachers’ Association has expressed concerns at such ventures.

John Guthrie, senior lecturer at the University of Otago’s Business School, warns that large corporations like Microsoft can simply use such courses to capture future customers and headhunt employees.

“It is not unlike a bank targeting youngsters and encouraging them to save with them,” he says.

“The hope is that if they get them early enough, the kids will become customers for life. It makes good business sense.

So the kids might end up with a job at the end of school?  Yes, I can see why some would view that as be a disaster. The teacher unions wouldn’t want kids to succeed now would they?

 

Source/ NZ Herald

Unsurprising really, I haven’t used Microsoft products for years

I haven’t used Microsoft Office products in years.

I mostly live in the cloud and where possible use Google Apps and in the past have used OpenOffice as a viable alternative to Office.

Office applications became more and more bloated and the days of massive installations on hard drives to do basic things like simple spreadsheets and documents is long gone.

The advent of tablet and mobile computing has pretty much killed off applications like Office.

It may be one of Microsoft’s biggest squandered opportunities.

Tired of waiting for Office to be optimised for their mobile gadgets, a growing contingent of younger companies is turning to cheaper, simpler and touch-friendly apps that can perform word processing and other tasks in the cloud.

Take Artivest Holdings, a New York-based financial services startup that sells alternative investment products. The New York-based company uses an app called Quip, which combines word processing and messaging, to handle all but the most sensitive legal and financial files.  Read more »

Russell Brown on Labour’s propensity to aim for their feet

shoot-self-in-foot copy

Pots, pans and pannier bags blogger Russell Brown blogs about Labour’s dreadful week last week, almost entirely self inflicted.

I really don’t think Labour leader David Cunliffe had a cunning plan to hide the fine print print of his party’s Best Start policy from the public last week. Because, frankly, making a statement about how many families would be covered by the baby bonus that is contradicted by the policy paper you’ve posted on the internet is just too dumb to be a cunning plan.

Even Patrick Gower, who kicked off the story with a blog post declaring that Labour had been “deliberately misleading” and “dishonest” in not being clear that families already in receipt of paid parental leave (which Labour is promising to extend to six months) would not be eligible for the newborn payment of $60 a week subsequently started referring to it as a mistake. (After all, if you’re going to perform a bait-and-switch, it’s customary to wait until you’re safely elected, not do it on the same day.)

Allowing double-dipping would have have been inappropriate – indeed, that was the first criticism aired about the new policy by David Farrrar, when he thought that’s what the policy said. But although the URL for the full policy document had been noted in the material given out to journalists, the limit on eligibility wasn’t mentioned in the printed material or Cunliffe’s speech.

Thus, John Key and his ministers have had a week to smugly declare that Cunliffe couldn’t be taken at his word.  Read more »

Millions of New Zealanders attempt to access Child Porn sites – Ben Heather [UPDATED]

Yes, that’s what I though too:  What?

See for yourself:

mk

This doesn’t pass the BS test.  MillionS of Kiwis means about one in two, perhaps one in three of us are trying to access Child Porn web sites.

What the hell is going on here?   Read more »

The downfall of Apple

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Hypocrisy by Microsoft

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WhaleTech: Microsoft Blue: Good grief, Ballmer’s off his leash again

crazy steve

Via fakesteve.net.

Thanks to the flop of Windows 8, Steve Ballmer’s trying to tell us all that more frequent updates to the company’s flagship product is the new normal. Instead of admitting that the latest Windows is an abject failure and that this necessitated the fast-track of the ‘fixed’ version,  he’s been spotted jumping around at Microsoft’s developer conference declaring ‘Rapid Release! Rapid Release!’.

Be warned: when the Microsoft CEO romps, he means business. For those who haven’t seen what kind of a loon is in charge of the company, feast your eyes.

Steve’s claim that Windows 8.1, known to some as ‘blue’, heralds a new dawn of short cycles for product updates isn’t entirely unprecedented. While Windows isn’t exactly an iStore app (or, indeed, a Windows Store app…did I just see a tumbleweed blow past?), it does enjoy a long history of very frequent updates – except these have consistently focused on the many security problems in the shipped software.

Windows 8.1 is a free upgrade, of course, from a company notoriously unabashed about charging lots for its software. Rapid release! Rapid Release! Should have called it Service Pack 1, Steve, like you used to in the good old days.

Those unfortunates who have Windows 8 and are hankering after a ‘Start’ button, settle down. It’s not coming back, or at least, not as you have come to know and love it. Instead, the major changes include such arbitrariness as ‘better organisation and customisation on the Start Screen’, and ‘improvements to Windows Store and Start apps’. You can boot it into Desktop mode….and then the Start button kicks off that abominable Start Screen.

Windows 8.1 Beta preview is available as a preview from 26 June in the Windows Store.  As with all software, download and install at your peril; messing with operating systems is particularly risky and can bork your entire machine. If you’re going to do that, you might as well bite the bullet and revert to Windows 7. It is, after all, a far better operating system.

WhaleTech: Who is surprised at this, really?

via Boing Boing

via Boing Boing

Turns out the spies are hard wired into your email, Skype and other conversations.  All to keep the world safe from the nasty people, of course.

A leaked NSA slide-deck claims that NSA has “direct access” to servers at Google, Apple, Facebook, Skype, Yahoo, and many others.

The Guardian and The Washington Post have both been leaked a 41-slide NSA presentation on a program called PRISM, which — according to the slides — gives the spy agency (part of the US military) “direct access” to the servers of the biggest Internet companies in America, including Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo and Skype. The papers have released three slides (reproduced above). The presentation dates from April 2013, and is marked “top secret with no distribution to foreign allies” and is claimed to be part of training material for new spies.

Read more »

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Windows 8 has killed the PC market

Well well.  Windows 8 killed the PC Market.

windows8-deadGlobal sales of PCs fell 14% in the first three months of the year, the biggest fall since research firm IDC started tracking the industry in 1994.

IDC said 76.3 million units were shipped, a figure that underlines the appeal of tablets and smartphones as alternatives to PCs.

The firm said Microsoft’s latest version of Windows had failed to revitalise the industry.

Recession had also led companies to put back renewal of their PCs, IDC said.

Read more »

WhaleTech: Microsoft stuffed up its mobile strategy – Bill Gates

In an interview with CBS This Morning, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has admitted that the software giant didn’t nail the mobile market when it had the opportunity. “There’s a lot of things like cellphones where we didn’t get out in the lead early,” says Gates. “We didn’t miss cellphones, but the way that we went about it didn’t allow us to get the leadership.” Gates says this strategy was “clearly a mistake.”

Some refreshing honesty there.   Read more »