With the loss of updates for Windows XP and Microsoft’s floundering on Windows 8/10, many have started to consider alternatives. The MacOS is of course an option, but I believe Linux to be an even better one. Not only is Linux a good alternative to Windows, but for makers, hackers, tinkerers and homeschoolers especially, Linux is really the only operating system (OS) worth considering.
Without a doubt, Linux is the ultimate low-cost operating system. It is absolutely free. How many times have you had a computer where the OS needs to be reinstalled? With Windows systems so vulnerable to malware infections, it is a regular occurrence. When you do need to reinstall, do you still have the original disks? Can they still be read?
What about upgrades? If you get a new computer (without an OS), and you want to install your latest version, do you have the full version, or just an upgrade version? If it is just an upgrade version, do you have the original version disks? If not, Microsoft’s DRM will not allow the installation.
Have you ever thought about building your own computer, but are stymied by the prospect of having to shell out … Read the rest
Also posted in Tech
Tagged linux, raspberry pi
While many universities have been offering some of their courses online for a few years now, none have offered actual degrees (aside from dubious “professional” colleges). Georgia Tech is first to have taken the leap. In collaboration with Udacity (which I have written about before), they are offering an accredited masters of computer science degree for $7,000.
Of particular interest is the fact that the actual courses are free. It is only the degree that costs money. This is nevertheless good news. There are a number of positive things to note:
- An actual college degree can be obtained online from home without having to move and live near or on a campus.
- The cost is much less than tuition for the same degree is normally; not to mention the considerable savings in living expenses.
- The actual education is free for everyone in the world.
- The degree is obtained via proctored exams offered at 4000 Pearson locations around the country.
That last item also points to another positive trend – certification by exam. Currently, the primary value of a college degree has nothing to do with education. Its main value is the piece of paper that opens doors into the world … Read the rest
Posted in Education
Tagged collge, education
Here at ProvideYourOwn, we believe one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your children is to teach them at home. If you need yet another reason to do so, take a moment to watch this telling interview with Michio Kaku on how children’s intellect and desire to learn are crushed by the schools:
Of course, homeschooling is not a panacea if it duplicates the public school model. Set your child free – let him or her direct their own learning. That is what children are designed to do, and it makes your job as a mom or dad that much easier.
Thanks to PCBHeaven for the link.
Posted in Education
Have you ever wondered what a far away place looks like, but can’t find the means to go see it? Now you can. Google (who is constantly releasing new stuff that no one ever knows about) is now adding Street View panoramas of the world’s wonder spots.
This blog post from Google highlights their latest addition – the Grand Canyon. I gave it a spin, and it is pretty wild stuff – you can pick where to start and then hike down the trail, looking around as you go. It does get a little old after a while, so it might be nice to offer a side-by-side map view as well. Maybe they do, I just don’t know about it.
Google probably has lots of other scenic places photographed as well, but how you find them is up to you dear reader. Happy treasure hunting.
Posted in Education
Recently, I wrote about how anyone can use Khan Academy to obtain a top class math education from the basics to advanced calculus. The handwriting is now on the wall for over-priced college education. Just as the Internet has been a great equalizer for independent journalism, it is now poised to do the same for education – even college education. Sebastian Thrun, a prominent Standford professor is aiming to do just that. This Forbes article describes his vision for a college degree available for only $100 that anyone anywhere in the world can obtain.
His education initiative Udacity is now online. You can see the course offerings here. While it doesn’t offer many courses yet, his vision is bold, and he has the credentials to make it happen. While online learning has been with us for awhile, a major stumbling block has been certification. That obstacle will soon be overcome, and Udacity may just pave the way.
The other major innovation by Udacity is integrating the course material into real world problems and their solutions. Instead of long, isolated, boring lectures, you actually work on a project as part of the course, learning what you need to know along … Read the rest
Also posted in Tech
Tagged college, computers, education, math
Whether you are a student, have school age children, or have used math at all in your life, you have no doubt struggled at some point with mathematics. Math is one of those things that can be difficult no matter how good you are at it. I know – I am very good in math but I still struggle.
I wanted to share two excellent resources that make that struggle much, much easier. So much easier that, for many of us, math may cease to be a struggle.
When it comes to solving and visualizing mathematical problems, good math solving software can make a difficult task significantly easier. Unfortunately, the mainstream offerings such as Maple, Matlab, and Mathematica are way too expensive for casual use. Now there is an alternative called Sage.
Sage is open source, and you can both download it (and run it on just about any OS) or run it from a browser. It has a simple interface, and is fast and powerful. This video gives a history of the project and at about 38:45, you can see a short demo.
With Sage, you don’t have to toil over an algebra or … Read the rest
Also posted in Tech
Tagged education, homeschool, math
How would you like to buy dozens of gadgets and other useful equipment totaling over $1,000 for only $30?What’s the catch? There is no catch. It is simply the tremendous inherent value in today’s smart phones. Because of their built-in sensors, clever developers have created a large collection of apps, that replace a whole slew of equipment. Best of all, the controls and displays of all this equipment is far superior, often includes data logging and is completely self-contained in a small gadget that fits into your pocket.
I have wanted a tablet computer for over twenty years. Now that they have finally arrived I have been viewing them with a keen interest, but high-end tablets are too expensive for me. The Kindle Fire looked really attractive, but I recently discovered an app that I couldn’t live without that requires bluetooth (more on this app later), which the Kindle Fire lacks. Mulling it over, I had an idea – what if I put the tablet on hold for a while, and instead see if I could buy a cheap, used Android phone.
I have heard about all the amazing things people could do with iPhones and Android … Read the rest
Steve Jobs was best known as a man who followed his passions. With his recent passing, I found a commencement speech that he gave to Stanford University graduates provided an interesting view on his accomplishments. In his speech he reflected on his life, his successes and his failures. You can either view his address or read the transcript here. It is worthwhile reading or viewing.
Gary North recently wrote about his own impressions on Job’s speech. I have some of my own observations to offer as well.
Regarding college education, Jobs found it to be:
- extremely expensive
- most of the courses to be of little value yet required in order to graduate
- some courses were very useful and could be taken for free if not concerned with getting credit for them
These observations mirror my own regarding college. Now I know that education, especially college education is considered to be sacrosanct in this country, yet I find its value similar to what Jobs found it to be. The sole reason to pay for an expensive college education is not for the education value, but for the piece of paper that opens doors into the job market. The truth … Read the rest
…can change your life. No, this is not meant as a trite phrase. I really do mean it. This idea was inspired by a short but sweet TED talk by Matt Cutts called Try Something New for 30 Days. After listening to the talk, I started brainstorming about what 30 day challenges I would like to do.
Here is my short list:
- Clean room/office for 15 minutes every day
- Practice my violin for 15 minutes every day
- Work on learning Spanish for 15 minutes each day
- Do something to give someone an emotional lift or encouragement
- Work on a goal for 15 minutes every day, even if just to think about it
The last one – working on a goal, would actually be multiple 30 day challenges. Each one would be a goal I have wanted to do for a long time, but never got around to it, or can’t figure out how to accomplish it.
If you look at my list, most of the items are things I have always wanted to do, but never have done so – things like keeping a clean organized room, learning to play violin decently, learning Spanish, and other big goals. As … Read the rest