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Re: Low Enrollments

Chuck Allison
Hello Arthur,

Saturday, October 15, 2005, 9:04:48 AM, you wrote:

A> It seems to me the issues here are all tied together quite neatly with some
A> of the discussion of the previous thread - small business vs. large
A> business, the impact of companies like Microsoft (well maybe mostly just
A> Microsoft)  in the marketplace and on traditional notions of the
A> relationship of large companies to educational institutions, etc.

Microsoft's affect on our CS department is noticeable. It mainly
consists of giving us Visual Studio and other software for free, and
that a small number of our faculty are stricken by Microsoft worship.

A> Suffice it to say that there is zero question, none -  that Microsoft's
A> tactics over the last 15 years have had the effect of stifling the impetus
A> of smaller players to direct efforts towards innovation in a very wide
A> swatch of the potential area for such innovation.  This isn't a quirky,
A> iconoclastic view of things.  The fact is certainly getting noticed in very
A> mainstream industry analysis. And at Microsoft, I'm sure. The days of the
A> creative, innovative, entrepreneurial developer allowing themselves to spend
A> their energies to become the uncompensated market research department of a
A> Microsoft are over. A whole vibrant market segment has simply dried up and
A> gone away.

I have witnessed this and agree.

A> Which doesn't yet touch on Microsoft's ability to influence agendas in
A> academic settings.

A> To the extent that the CS departments have allowed, and continue to allow,
A> themselves to be company towns for the major industry players, they deserve
A> what they get.  And if what they get is a lack of interest, maybe that is
A> saying something optimistic about who our kids are today.

I have been a force for company independence, and our department has
pretty much remained so. However, just Thursday we had our semi-annual
advisory meeting with representatives from local industry, including
small companies as well as Symantec and Novell. They are pretty much
unanimous in their excitement for .NET. They want more C# programmers.
Interesting.

They did get excited about my bringing up Python though - as a first
language, and also for workplace use (I teach Python at Symantec).

--
Best regards,
 Chuck


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Re: Low Enrollments

Arthur-27


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chuck Allison [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2005 12:16 PM
> To: Arthur
> Cc: 'Peter Bowyer'; [hidden email]
> Subject: Re[2]: [Edu-sig] Low Enrollments
> They are pretty much
> unanimous in their excitement for .NET. They want more C# programmers.
> Interesting.

The best thing that could happen, from my point of view, is for all the
major industry players to commit together to the wrong technology. Could
open things up, again. I am hoping that *that* is the role that .Net ends up
playing.

And by wrong technology, it doesn't mean that the technology is wrong.  Just
means that there end up being forces beyond their control (there still are a
few things like that ;)) that ending up working against its acceptance.

When the French revolutionists sort to decimalize time, they had both
absolute power and a good deal of logic on their side.  And failed
nonetheless.

Art




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Re: Low Enrollments

Arthur-27


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Arthur [mailto:[hidden email]]
 
> When the French revolutionists sort to decimalize time, they had both
> absolute power and a good deal of logic on their side.  And failed
> nonetheless.

Of course they only had such power within their own domain, and -
particularly since they were most definitely not playing nice with others,
not to mention a significant portion of themselves -  much of the monarchist
rest of civilization was quite in the mood to say black should they happen
to say white.  No matter how white and right they might have been on some
particular point.  So that decimalized time was stillborn.

If .Net meets an unhappy fate for no better reason that it is a Microsoft
initiative, and there are enough forces aligned (internationally) to reject
its adoption for no better reason than that - I'm OK with it.

Art





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Re: Low Enrollments

Kirby Urner
In reply to this post by Arthur-27
> To the extent that the CS departments have allowed, and continue to allow,
> themselves to be company towns for the major industry players, they
> deserve what they get.  And if what they get is a lack of interest, maybe
> that is saying something optimistic about who our kids are today.
>
> Art

Vilification of Microsoft is one way to go, certainly.  Not an especially
original approach.

As I sometimes think of you as an investor, I'm somewhat surprised that your
alternative to "bad companies" is "no companies" i.e. "because some
companies exert a negative influence in the classroom, classrooms should be
company-free zones."  

There's a leap in logic there, which a capitalist should not miss:  why not
just go with other companies?  Why not make schools freer to choose
collaborator firms, by ending any kind of top-down "district wide" or "state
wide" sweetheart wheeling and dealing?  That'd be a reform in the government
sector, which a governor might get behind and even get re-elected on (people
get suspicious of large bureaucracies with good reason).

Like, a board made up of Franklin High's teachers, parents, and principal,
might make a deal with Naked Ape, part of the POSSE here in Portland [1], to
supplement Franklin High's Scheme training (already well-known and prized)
with some Perl training (one of Naked Ape's specialties).  

Maybe a certified union teacher supervises the guest trainer, or maybe a
trainer is on part time payroll in a charter school, with more lenient
certification requirements, and is supervised by the principal.  Or maybe
the training is just for faculty (teacher in-service), and they pass their
new knowledge on to their students (a well-known design pattern).

As a small business with an interest in education, I have no problem walking
into a local school and putting my spin on things, as any parent would.
I'll openly talk up relevant community-based NGOs (e.g. Free Geek's Build
Program), but I'll also share history.  We're proud of our Oregon pioneers:
Tek, HP, ESI...  ISEPP/Wanderers wouldn't exist in its present shape without
Mentor Graphics.  Saturday Academy: another Silicon Forest creature and
valued institution within our ecosystem.

In my typical classroom gig, I'll talk about my adventures with Design
Science Toys and StrangeAttractors (I used Python to develop the packaging).
I talk up this or that Linux distro as being more user friendly and/or
intelligently designed (some distros come from for-profit companies, with
stock and everything).  

Maybe I'll mention my contract with Lawson and Associates, to do renderings
of Flextegrity (another Python project, shared about here).

And yes, I expect to talk about Microsoft technology, in the form of
IronPython, plus share my high opinion of where .NET and Mono are going.
I'm considering diving into IronPython with this group of 8th graders, maybe
in 2006, even as I talk up Linux as a kick ass developers' platform.
IronPython also runs on Linux.

Kirby

PS:  Notice all this autobio.  Makes more sense because yes, we really do
have a Franklin High that teaches Scheme, a Naked Ape, Flextegrity.

[1] http://www.possepdx.com/


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Re: Low Enrollments

Kirby Urner
In reply to this post by Arthur-27
> I am hoping that *that* is the role that .Net ends up playing.

Sounds like you're praying for a very expensive train wreck.  

Just to make education better?  Pretty high price tag.

If .NET is slated to go down the tubes, then kiss good-bye your online
eticketing and ebanking sites that use it (many already do, more will).  

Do you have any strong feelings about J2EE?  We should teach Sun's Java
exclusively?

> And by wrong technology, it doesn't mean that the technology is wrong.
> Just means that there end up being forces beyond their control (there
> still are a few things like that ;)) that ending up working against its
> acceptance.

That'd be bad for Python, given its great promise as a key dynamic language
in upcoming Novell distros, as part of the GNOME desktop, and running atop
Mono.[1]

> When the French revolutionists sort to decimalize time, they had both
> absolute power and a good deal of logic on their side.  And failed
> nonetheless.
>
> Art

Decimal time is not unfamiliar in many technical applications.  A common
mistake is to think either/or.  Not "astronomical OR atomic time" -- we can
have both standards in play.[2]

Kirby

[1] http://linuxdevices.com/news/NS7372554664.html

[2] http://worldgame.blogspot.com/2005/09/wanderers-200597.html



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Re: Low Enrollments

Chuck Allison
In reply to this post by Arthur-27
Hello Kirby/Arthur,

Saturday, October 15, 2005, 12:30:54 PM, you wrote:

FWIW, I see .NET catching on practically *everywhere*, and it doesn't
seem like it's because it's hyped like Java was. It seems like
developers and managers alike are genuinely happy with it. It seems
like Microsoft finally got something right (first time - took them
over twenty years). Personally, I'm happy with C++ and Python, but the
.NET framework is a good piece of work. C++ is woefully lacking in
support for threading, networking, web services, etc. Python is great
but not fast enough.

It was inevitable that Redmond would eventually do something good.
Their support for Web Services is hard to beat, and that's the way of
things these days.

--
Best regards,
 Chuck

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Re: Low Enrollments

Arthur-27
In reply to this post by Chuck Allison


> From: Kirby Urner [mailto:[hidden email]]
> To: 'Arthur'; 'Chuck Allison'
>
> > I am hoping that *that* is the role that .Net ends up playing.
>
> Sounds like you're praying for a very expensive train wreck.

What I happen to feel on these matters is actually quite complicated -
beyond what even I could justify trying to lay out here.

Points of note:

I have a good deal more expertise in some Microsoft technologies and
offerings than I do in, for example, Python. And that expertise contributes
much more directly to my ability to make a living than does, for example,
Python.

And...

I think that one of the major factors working against Microsoft at this
point in the game is a general anti-American sentiment - particularly in
Europe.  I feel much of that sentiment is perverse (let's *not* get into
it).  But I see a perverse silver lining in it to the extent it might help
level the technology playing field, by humbling Microsoft.

Given some of the complexities...

I should try to content myself by focusing on the concrete and unassailable
issues - like the notion that institutions that have charters and mission
statements should live within them.
 
But to lend evidence to the notion that even this concrete and unassailable
notion is no longer taken very seriously - when it comes to technology and
under the influence of Industry efforts -  would require a lot more chapter
and verse recitation than would be appropriate here.

But how seriously does this issue concern you?

Art






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Re: Low Enrollments

Kirby Urner
> But how seriously does this issue concern you?
>
> Art
>

I think I spelled it out pretty clearly already, in terms of my own
situation:  a small business aiming to make a difference in the education
sector.  

I'm not experiencing Microsoft as a big threat; have already mentioned how I
use its products in a hospital setting (plus Python); I pretty much share
Chuck's read on .NET and Mono.

You're way over there on the east coast, worried about Europe and such.  I'm
more Asia-facing.  There may be too wide a geographic difference between us
for a shared detailed analysis to make sense.  We're in different
ecosystems.

I'll continue reporting on my progress on edu-sig from time to time.  How
you want to arrange things or exert influence around New York is really none
of my business.

I just hope you're wrong about .NET, for Python's sake.

Kirby


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Re: Low Enrollments

Arthur-27
In reply to this post by Chuck Allison


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chuck Allison [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2005 2:52 PM
> To: Kirby Urner
> Cc: 'Arthur'; [hidden email]


> It was inevitable that Redmond would eventually do something good.

And wouldn't it be wonderfully ironic if it's the first time they fail, big
time.

Not making a prediction.

But some disruption to my online eticketing service would be worth the price
of admission to a view of such an event unfolding.

But if Kirby comes back with the argument that .Net is necessary to world
peace, the elimination of hunger, and the realization of my son's potential
- yes, I might bust.

Watching *that* could be worth the price of admission, as well. ;)

Art




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Re: Low Enrollments

Arthur-27
In reply to this post by Chuck Allison


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kirby Urner [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2005 3:19 PM
> To: 'Arthur'; 'Chuck Allison'
> Cc: [hidden email]
> Subject: RE: [Edu-sig] Low Enrollments
>
> > But how seriously does this issue concern you?
> >
> > Art
> >
>
> I think I spelled it out pretty clearly already, in terms of my own
> situation:  a small business aiming to make a difference in the education
> sector.

I am much more concerned about what is happening at the Unvirsity of
Virginia (just a name out of the hat) than in Kirby world.

But that's just me.

Art


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Re: Low Enrollments

Kirby Urner
In reply to this post by Arthur-27
> But if Kirby comes back with the argument that .Net is necessary to world
> peace, the elimination of hunger, and the realization of my son's
> potential - yes, I might bust.
>

I'd just like to keep my eticketing and ebanking services undisrupted,
thanks.  I use them frequently.

Your need to see Microsoft suffer disgrace is irrelevant in Kirby world.

Kirby


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Re: Low Enrollments

Arthur-27
In reply to this post by Chuck Allison


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kirby Urner [mailto:[hidden email]]
>


> Your need to see Microsoft suffer disgrace is irrelevant in Kirby world.

Well I happen to put some importance to small matters like the integrity of
institutions.

Not a story probably "relevant to the members of this list". But a Big story
nonetheless:

I had a pretty good ring side seat to the demise of Arthur Anderson - which
was indeed the Microsoft of the world I was then inhabiting. I felt for some
time it deserved to happen, and was - in the appropriate forums - vocal on
the matter. And was considered to have been pissing in the wind.

Yes.

I enjoyed the view probably more than I should have.

Left with nothing else, interests rallied to the defense of Anderson on the
grounds that disrupting it would disrupt international economics to
everyone's disadvantage.

Did you notice anything?

Art




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Re: Low Enrollments

Kirby Urner
> Did you notice anything?
>
> Art
>

The saga of Arthur Anderson is not topical on edu-sig @ python.org.  Maybe
you and I should take it to some other list?

How 'bout Geodesic @ University of Buffalo?  

Tends to be more financial thanks to Hutchings & Co., plus is sometimes used
by Fuller Schoolers, i.e. is actually relevant to Kirby world.

Kirby


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Re: Low Enrollments

Arthur-27
In reply to this post by Chuck Allison


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kirby Urner [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2005 4:09 PM
> To: 'Arthur'; 'Chuck Allison'
>
> The saga of Arthur Anderson is not topical on edu-sig @ python.org.  Maybe
> you and I should take it to some other list?
>
> How 'bout Geodesic @ University of Buffalo?

Cryptic to say the least. But perhaps more on topic in Arthur world then
intended - as I will be at the University of Buffalo next month to hear
Brian Greene (of The Elegant Universe) speak, and to visit a young man to
whom I have some attachment.

Should I being saying hello to anybody?

Art


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Re: Low Enrollments

Arthur-27


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Arthur [mailto:[hidden email]]
> > Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2005 4:09 PM
> > To: 'Arthur'; 'Chuck Allison'
> >


> > The saga of Arthur Anderson is not topical on edu-sig @ python.org.

Maybe it is, at least a little more than you suppose.

I happen to have been placed in a position to know that the industry body
whose charter and mission statement was exactly to oversee and regulate the
likes of Anderson (playing a role in the US economy proportional to that
scale of mission) had not long before the Enron shit hit the fan, put out at
an RFQ in connection with the revamping of its internal technological needs
that made the use of an all Microsoft solution a condition of the RFQ.  And
I know that it was not a decision based on anybody's perception of the merit
of the Microsoft solutions vs. alternative solutions.

That fact and the Anderson saga are not directly causally related, but they
are facts that I think are certainly substantively related, nonetheless.

But you would have to have seen 30 years of industry evolution close up, as
I had, to believe me, or even know what I might mean.  

Can't help it, that I did.

Art


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Re: Low Enrollments

Kirby Urner
In reply to this post by Arthur-27
> Cryptic to say the least. But perhaps more on topic in Arthur world then
> intended - as I will be at the University of Buffalo next month to hear
> Brian Greene (of The Elegant Universe) speak, and to visit a young man to
> whom I have some attachment.
>

I saw Brian Greene at the ISEPP lecture last year, including in the
subsequent dinner @ Heathman Hotel:
http://www.isepp.org/Pages/04-05%20Pages/Series04-05.html

> Should I being saying hello to anybody?
>
> Art

Geodesic is just a listserv hosted there:
http://listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu/archives/geodesic.html

E.g. I posted to this list earlier today, responding to a different Brian:
http://listserv.acsu.buffalo.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0510&L=geodesic&T=0&F=&S=&
P=8250

Kirby


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Re: Low Enrollments

Kirby Urner
In reply to this post by Arthur-27
> Can't help it, that I did.
>
> Art

I liked that documentary about the rise and fall of Enron OK.  Fascinating,
that undeclared war between California and Texas:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0413845/

Never mind about switching this thread to Geodesic.  I just realized I don't
care to think about it anymore.

Only so many stories I have the patience to care about at any one time.  Sad
but true.  Call me bandwidth deprived.

Computer giants are more fun to think about than accounting firms.

Kirby


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Re: Low Enrollments

Arthur-27


> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On
> Behalf Of Kirby Urner
>
> Computer giants are more fun to think about than accounting firms.


How about the intersection thereof.

As the world, not too long ago, turned:

http://www.itworldcanada.com/a/Network-World/c9da5e1f-7530-498a-bb1a-6d081ce
2f024.html

Art


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Re: Low Enrollments

Kirby Urner
> How about the intersection thereof.
>

Yeah, that's kinda interesting.  

I've been spelling it wrong I see:  Andersen.

Anyway, as you say, that's yesteryear's soap.

Kirby

> As the world, not too long ago, turned:
>
> http://www.itworldcanada.com/a/Network-World/c9da5e1f-7530-498a-bb1a-
> 6d081ce2f024.html
>
> Art
>



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