[ExI] standard form for creating a test, was: RE: humanities plus schmooze

Mike Dougherty msd001 at gmail.com
Sun Dec 9 23:42:41 UTC 2012

On Sun, Dec 9, 2012 at 1:48 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
> Mike the problem I have with the computer science industry in general is
> that it is too faddish.  Every other year there is a new latest and
> greatest, and sure I could run like hell just to stay in place, learning
> each new protocol, but mathematics doesn't do that.  You learn new skills in
> math, but you don't need to learn a new protocol every time.  It is
> standardized and it stays that way.  You computer gurus need to figure out
> some language or programming protocol, get together and standardize it, then
> arrange for first and second graders to learn it, then leave it alone
> forever.  Add cool new stuff, such as we do in math, the matrix algebras and
> so forth, but leave the basic protocols alone, learn it once and be done
> with that phase of learning, so we can move on.

I understand your frustration.  However, I think you would disagree
with yourself if we applied this sentiment to another field:  The
culinary arts we had back in 1970 were sufficient to keep plenty of
Americans well-fed at meal time.  The food pyramid was a good idea.
Meat & potatoes + "a starch" + dinner rolls/bread + some over-cooked
veg = "wholesome."  There was no reason to change that plan, it could
have stayed static forever.  We should probably have kept those
console televisions and hi-fi stereos too... Yes, I'm being facetious.

A great deal of "computer science" is severely outdated but still
in-use.  IPv4, the protocol for Internet numbers is 50+ years old.
Our notions of "password" security comes from timesharing mainframes
and is completely inadequate for the modern world.  The motif for
"files" and "folders" in the "desktop" filesystem are all transitional
concepts to help office workers from half a century ago cope with
content management - but we haven't exactly transitioned TO anything

Typing (a la qwerty) is an old protocol you learned once and have
forgotten was an acquired skill.  Your google-fu is an acquired skill
you forget that many people (still, sadly) lack.  I suggested you
learn SQL because it actually IS a language of math (set theory) and
we DO teach Venn diagrams in first and second grade.  Even if you
never translated any of your Excel programs to SQL, learning SQL
(structured query language) would be at least as useful a mental
exercise as that Stanford AI course.  The version of SQL I'm using at
work every day hasn't changed since 1992 - if 20 years of stability in
the language is a fad, then I'm not sure you could be convinced any of
it isn't a fad.  :)

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