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tom66
March 28th, 2011, 10:54 AM
I took AS Computing hoping it would further my education towards the world of computers.

However, it has been anything but.

First, the computers are slow and unusuable. They run Windows XP, which isn't bad, but it's still Service Pack 1!! Also, we're not allowed to right click (it's disabled) because of "security issues"???

We're using Delphi to write programs. Not so sure on it. Personally I would have preferred Python because it is about the same in terms of syntax but so much more usable. We use Embarcadero Delphi, which is too powerful, wayyy too complicated, unstable and expensive (70 x ~200 computers.) IT dept. doesn't want to use FreePascal, because it's open source and that's "a security risk." Also, we're about to do an exam. The Delphi IDE we are using has code completition built in. What does this mean in an exam? Just like we aren't allowed to use spell check, we shouldn't be using code completion. The IDE often crashes, losing work.

Another thing. On some of the computers Google Chrome is installed, this is because the computing department needed it. Great, it's much better than IE 7. However, our teacher tells us not to use it because it's "incompatible with Kerboodle" (the website we use for revision.) Kerboodle brings up another issue. Not only does it freeze and lock up in BOTH browsers (IE 7 and Chrome), it's often plain wrong or way too simplified.

We were told by our teacher how JPEG works. Apparently it works by looking for "things that don't matter, like trees in the background". I asked if it looked for specific objects, and she said "yes, it does." So that's how JPEG works.

I managed to score 97% in the Computing exam, because it is all memory.

I just needed to vent. I hope that's okay!

Sean Moran
March 28th, 2011, 11:02 AM
Seems there might be an S missing on the end of the first word in the title.

wizard10000
March 28th, 2011, 11:41 AM
...We were told by our teacher how JPEG works. Apparently it works by looking for "things that don't matter, like trees in the background". I asked if it looked for specific objects, and she said "yes, it does." So that's how JPEG works.

Then your instructor is not only an idiot, she's a bad teacher - since if she doesn't know the answer to your question she makes something up.

It's all zeroes and ones and compression algorithms. The application that created or converted a jpeg has no idea what a tree is, much less whether its in the background.

Sheesh.

Cracklepop
March 28th, 2011, 11:55 AM
Open source is a security hazard? Security by obscurity?

Copper Bezel
March 28th, 2011, 11:57 AM
Wow. That's kind of amazing. And, you know, I'm fairly impressed at that object-recognition .jpg codec, too. = ) And here I always thought it was a lossy indexing compression process.


IT dept. doesn't want to use FreePascal, because it's open source and that's "a security risk."

This is also priceless.

Edit: I've had this experience only once, and it was a class called "Grammar for Writers" taught by a journalist. I suggest you keep your head down and do everything your arbitrary dictatorial overlords tell you to do until you get your A.

wizard10000
March 28th, 2011, 01:53 PM
Open source is a security hazard? Security by obscurity?

Department of Defense believed that for years. It was only about two years ago that Department of the Navy published an order that said open source software had to be considered using the same criteria as commercial off-the-shelf software.

rich52x
March 28th, 2011, 03:32 PM
Kerboodle brings up another issue. Not only does it freeze and lock up in BOTH browsers (IE 7 and Chrome), it's often plain wrong or way too simplified.

Tell me about it, just the word Kerboodle reminds me of the agony of my two years GCSE French..

sydbat
March 28th, 2011, 03:50 PM
Possibly a stupid question for the OP...but...what is AS Computing? Obviously it is a UK thing, so for those of us not in the UK, what is it?

I know there are fly-by-night "computer" schools here, and they charge people a lot of money to teach them nothing and generate a useless diploma, so I wonder if that is the same thing as AS Computing.

If so, get your money back and go to a legit school. If not, what the hell is it?

Linux_junkie
March 28th, 2011, 04:08 PM
Possibly a stupid question for the OP...but...what is AS Computing? Obviously it is a UK thing, so for those of us not in the UK, what is it?

I know there are fly-by-night "computer" schools here, and they charge people a lot of money to teach them nothing and generate a useless diploma, so I wonder if that is the same thing as AS Computing.

If so, get your money back and go to a legit school. If not, what the hell is it?

Its an exam that students take at the end of their final years of school. G.C.S.E level for 16 year olds; A and AS level for 17 - 18 year olds. In the UK if you want to go to university you need good grades in these exams.

Hope that explained it.

LowSky
March 28th, 2011, 04:16 PM
IE 7 will not install on XP SP1

just saying

and if the computers are too slow talk to the head of the department to see about fundraising.

Exodist
March 28th, 2011, 04:50 PM
Then your instructor is not only an idiot, she's a bad teacher - since if she doesn't know the answer to your question she makes something up.

It's all zeroes and ones and compression algorithms. The application that created or converted a jpeg has no idea what a tree is, much less whether its in the background.

Sheesh.

I agree, and I hate to call anyone an idiot.

I would check that teachers credentials. Even a A+ qualification is a bare minimum. IMHO if she isnt at least CIW certified then she is not quilified period.

JDShu
March 28th, 2011, 06:08 PM
The British system is pretty terrible in general to be honest. GCSEs are a joke to pass and from what I know the A-levels have a similar problem with grade inflation. This particular example is probably a symptom of the system; the exam is really easy and the teacher is only there to make sure you do well in it, and so you don't learn anything at all.

tom66
March 28th, 2011, 10:41 PM
IE 7 will not install on XP SP1

just saying

and if the computers are too slow talk to the head of the department to see about fundraising.

Probably SP2 then, but still outdated. I heard the IT techs talking about them being SP1 but that was a while ago.

Our teacher has talked about upgrading the computers, but they say it will cost 10,000+, and with budgets being slashed, they don't have the money. Personally, I think XP can run well on the hardware given, but not with the bloatware installed as well.

Lucradia
March 28th, 2011, 11:44 PM
For a moment, I thought this was about ActionScript, which is acronym'd to AS.

Barrucadu
March 29th, 2011, 12:01 AM
Yes, it does. My school didn't offer it (not enough interest) so I did it in my own time and got an A in the exam (didn't bother with A2). The teacher who offered to 'teach' me computing insisted I use Pascal, despite teaching me nothing (as I was doing it all in my spare time) and, the one time I did go to him with a Pascal problem, he gave me the wrong answer.

I can honestly say that it was a complete waste of time and I wish I'd looked at a textbook before deciding to do it - the syllabus doesn't look so bad, but when you actually start learning it you discover just how low the level of understanding required is.

Dustin2128
March 29th, 2011, 02:40 AM
And I thought my school's computer policies were idiotic!

tom66
March 29th, 2011, 03:14 PM
Today I asked the IT tech why right click is disabled. He said it was for "security issues", but he couldn't remember exactly what. Does anyone know what possible security risk their could be through right click, given almost all options are otherwise available under file/edit... menus?

sydbat
March 29th, 2011, 03:23 PM
Today I asked the IT tech why right click is disabled. He said it was for "security issues", but he couldn't remember exactly what. Does anyone know what possible security risk their could be through right click, given almost all options are otherwise available under file/edit... menus?What I could glean from a quick Google is - your IT department has no clue.

I guess that they get their idea from the fact that if you right click on a networked file, a window pops up and says something like "This Page Has an Unspecified Potential Security Risk". They have decided that "right clicking" is somehow opening a suspicious file, while going through the menus negates any potential risk.

At least that is what my quick Googleing suggests.

mips
March 29th, 2011, 04:08 PM
Department of Defense believed that for years. It was only about two years ago that Department of the Navy published an order that said open source software had to be considered using the same criteria as commercial off-the-shelf software.

Source?

The DoD and other gov. departments (incl Navy) have been using linux for years due to it's open source nature.

jennybrew
March 30th, 2011, 08:36 PM
I did AS computing as well and was the only girl in my year to do so at our school.
However we did seem a little luckier than you (the OP) in so much as we all had a laptop for ourselves and the school network was really good and up to date. It was based on First Class.
No regrets about doing it.

Joeb454
March 30th, 2011, 08:49 PM
I did Visual Basic in my A level computing course (AS was VB macro's in office) *shudder*
A friend of mine did Pascal, I believe. We both agree something like Java would've been more beneficial.

As for the computers themselves, I think the ones I had were P3's/P4's and 15" CRT's. We got the only IT room that hadn't been updated :( Still, I learned quite a lot - our class was small at 6 people, and we often diverged onto various other subjects in every lesson :p We even played around on a BBC Micro that our teacher still had :D

sydbat
March 30th, 2011, 09:03 PM
So...now that I understand this a bit better...let me see if I get this right...

This is a high school course. This course is necessary for graduation. It is "taught" by a teacher who, most likely, has no clue about the subject matter. The teacher just reads from some prepared material in order to ensure you pass the test.

Am I right so far?

My question is - what is worse...the teacher being thrown into a situation where they have no idea what they are "teaching", or the students not getting proper information from said teacher?

It sounds like many school systems worldwide, where teachers are asked to teach a subject that they may have no clue about. Personally, I believe it is a disservice to the students.

wizard10000
March 30th, 2011, 09:31 PM
Source?

The DoD and other gov. departments (incl Navy) have been using linux for years due to it's open source nature.

Actually it was four years ago - time flies when you're having fun ;)

http://www.doncio.navy.mil/PolicyView.aspx?ID=312

I work for for an agency under DoD as an IT professional and Linux isn't in nearly as widespread use as you'd think. It had nothing to do with Linux being open source, it had to do with the right tool for the job. In the agency where I work Linux still cannot be budgeted for, procured or installed without approval of our agency J-6.

Also, Linux procurements must include paid vendor technical support, so that pretty much limits you to RedHat and SuSE.

As far as open source is concerned, DoD didn't completely embrace open source until forge.mil opened in 2009. A lot of agencies (mine included) believed that the DoD 8500.2 restriction against shareware and freeware also included OSS.

See also

http://cio-nii.defense.gov/sites/oss/index.shtml

jerenept
March 30th, 2011, 11:05 PM
The British system is pretty terrible in general to be honest. GCSEs are a joke to pass and from what I know the A-levels have a similar problem with grade inflation. This particular example is probably a symptom of the system; the exam is really easy and the teacher is only there to make sure you do well in it, and so you don't learn anything at all.

I'm glad to be doing CXC's exams then.

Johnsie
March 30th, 2011, 11:17 PM
AS level isn't really an important stage of learning about computers. It's at university level where you will get to work with the experts. Very few computer experts go into high school teaching because there is not alot of money, you don't get to do much programming and the workload is very high.

Microsoft applications are part of the national curriculum so that's why AS level students end up working with Windows. The only way to challenge that is by complaining to the exam boards.

Microsoft networks are hard to secure. Most companies that have secure networks pay alot of money for their IT infrastructure, but most schools are struggling with their budgets so it's hard to get pro's to do that.

AS level is more of a preparation for college level computer science or software engineering. It gives you a background and a simple knowledge of basic programming. It's in college (and at home/work) where you develop that programming/computer knowledge.

I did A level computer and BSc Software Engineering and understand how the A-level had it's place in the process. AS/A Level computing is not the be-all and end-all in computing, it's just a basic step in the right direction. You will probably do some Linux stuff at university, but mostly Windows, because there are more jobs for Windows experts and because most companies in the UK use Windows desktops.