[ARMedslack] Upset regarding raspberry pi - unsuported.-Opinion

rick frmrick at aapt.net.au
Thu Dec 27 20:57:41 UTC 2012

On 27/12/12 20:49, Stuart Winter wrote:
>>> sure how a 9/10 year old would take to running Slackware. I wanted the
>>> children to use Slackware because I use Slackware, but time was
>>> running short. and I did not think I had it right for a 9/10 year old
>>> child, so I thought 'hey why not just load the Rpi debian image?',
>>> checking the website I wrongly assumed they had gone commercial. This
>>> was further fueled by the conversation I had with my partner
>>> concerning lock ins and proprietary software ( iPods/kindles/android
>>> devices).
> The thing is that, based on my own experience alone, if the child has -for
> any reason- an interest in the device, they'll want to try and understand
> it and get inside it. My first machine was an Atari 520STFM which is not
> open source or open anything.  In fact, the reason I became interested in
> computers was due to the pirated software games disks.  The disks often included many other
> interesting tools such as 'packers' (on-the-fly decompressors so that the
> pirates could fit >1 game on a disk), and dissassemblers and so on.  I
> found the included tools more interesting than the games so spent more
> time with those!  As long as there are tools to create (development
> languages), and examples (open source software, or in the case of the BBC
> and RISC OS, most software was written in BASIC anyway (since it's
> probably the fastest BASIC in the world, without compiling) so you could
> just open it in an editor and start tinkering with small things to begin
> with)  to learn from, children -- anybody -- can learn if they have a desire and
> tenacity.
>>> My nephew is delighted with his RC helicopter, and the Boy
>>> wants only his XBox, the girl, however can't wait to write stories on
>>> the new computer . Now I have to teach her Vi.
> My nephews want to play on their X-Box and I think it's a total waste of
> life.  At least when I played on my computers, I was learning not just
> useful concepts (I found myself looking at some old BBC BASIC programs the
> other day as I remembered one in particular had a routine that I could
> potentially use in something I was working on), but also learning
> programming and (without knowing it at the time) troubleshooting.  If kids
> just sit infront of games consoles, they're not really learning much
> useful unless they're into lucid dreaming where they can act the stuff
> out again, as far as I can tell.
> Vi? heh. I wish '!Zap' could be ported to Linux.
> http://zap.tartarus.org/screenshots
> It was the best editor in the entire solar system.
This thread has gotten me thinking to when I grew up.

I'm thinking that perhaps something like the pi needs  programs geared 
towards young kids so that they can visually see a situation they can 
relate to and then be given a very "basic" programming tool set so they 
can "resolve that situation" and do it using something other than a 
stylish plastic box with a touchscreen or gaming controls attached.

I grew up near NYC in the 50'-60's and vaguely remember a kids TV show 
called Gumby where we could get a plastic sheet to place over the TV 
screen and "magic" crayon and interact with Gumby.  For instance, Gumby 
comes to a stream and needs a bridge, "Hey kids draw a bridge over the 
stream..." (maybe connect the dots) ..."and help gumby across the 
stream." I don't remember much more and my older sister always had the 
crayon but in general there was allot more DIY stuff around for children 
instead of amuse yourself stuff. We learned at an early age we could do 
things ourselves and it could be enjoyable and rewarding.

Children have to start early. To use an analogy, a cousin of mine works 
with kids with poor disadvantage urban backgrounds. She insists that if 
you don't get them to see, desire and realise they can achieve an 
alternative early ( pre 12-13 yo) they are very likely to gravitate 
towards the street corner dudes and dudettes with the flashy clothes, 
shiny cars, rings on their fingers and no visible means of support.

I'm inclined to think that in these days of instant electronic 
gratification via touchscreen and 3d games that most teens will not be 
interested in programming anything unless they also have 1) early 
successful (pre-teen) experience(s) of a do it yourself nature, 2) a 
current interest or inclination based something else, e.g. robotics and 
3) an understanding that they can actually do, i.e. program, something 
themselves that influences the outcome.

The pi may be great fun for some teens and some adults and I even know 
of a steel rolling mill which has been considering them for monitoring 
plant environment and processes. However, I think young folk who have 
yet to grow up need some interactive software where they can see some 
sort of "gumby" wanting/needing to do something and then have some 
simple way available to program a solution. They can learn how to 
install/maintain a system or master vi when they are older if they are 
so inclined but make things fun and easy for them now in the beginning

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