Khan Academy Seeks Patent On Education A/B Testing

theodp writes: The Education Revolution will be patented. USPTO records show that Khan Academy is seeking a patent for Systems and Methods for Split Testing Educational Videos. From the patent application: “Systems and methods are provided for comparing different videos pertaining to a topic. Two different versions of an educational video may be compared using split comparison testing. A set of questions may be provided along with each video about the topic taught in the video. Users may view one of the videos and answer the questions. Data about the user responses may be aggregated and used to determine which video more effectively conveys information to the viewer based on the question responses.” Now it’s up to the USPTO to decide if something like the test and control studies conducted 40+ years ago (pdf) by the PLATO system to measure the effectiveness of different teaching methods would count as prior art. In response to an earlier post on Khan Academy’s pending patents on learning computer programming and ‘social programming,’ Slashdot user Khan Academy said that the nonprofit is using patents for good, so not to worry.


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The Future of Node Is in Microsoft’s Fork

Node.js is a platform for running JavaScript (ECMAScript) that is powered by Google Chrome’s JavaScript engine, V8.
V8 pushed JavaScript forward in terms of speed when it was first released, but hasn’t been keeping up with the accelerated pace of the ECMAScript Standard.
We’ll likely see a new release of the spec every year, but V8 is lagging far behind Mozilla’s SpiderMonkey and Microsoft’s Chakra in terms of support for ECMAScript 2015 (aka ES6).

Node.js developers that have been eager for ES2015 features that V8 doesn’t yet support have turned to Babel.JS for compiling their ES2015 code into ES5 code, but this only works for syntax features like arrow functions.
There are features within ES2015 that Babel.JS can’t emulate because ES5 fundamentally lacks the ability accomplish these features in any reasonable way, namely the Proxy constructor and extending built-in objects like Array.

The Node.js Foundation would be wise to migrate to Chakra, because Google’s updates are coming in at a trickle while Microsoft’s are roaring in like a river, but that’s not really the point.
The point is that these features are coming regardless, and you can play with them now.
With an annual ECMAScript releases adding new features, Microsoft’s Node.js Chakra fork will continue to outpace Google’s V8 engine by months.
So long as Microsoft maintains their fork, we’ll be able to preview features that aren’t yet ready in V8.

In order to use Microsoft’s fork, you need a Windows 10 machine with the November update.
It’s a huge update, so just because you have auto-updates enabled doesn’t mean that you have it (this messed me up).
For the full instructions, look at an individual release on github, currently v1.3.

Once you have that working, you can play with features that V8 and Babel don’t support, like proxies in this example:

const someObject = {};

const someProxy = new Proxy(someObject, {
  get: function (target, property, reciever) {
    if (property.substr(0, 6) === 'happy_') {
      return Reflect.get(target, property.substr(6), reciever);
    }
    return 'sad';
  },
  set: function (target, property, value, reciever) {
    if (property.substr(0, 6) === 'happy_') {
      return Reflect.set(target, property.substr(6), value, reciever);
    }
    return false;
  }
});

someProxy.happy_x = 'happy';
console.log(`someproxy.happy_x = 'happy';`);
console.log('='.repeat(40));
console.log('someProxy.x:', someProxy.x);
console.log('someObject.x:', someObject.x);
console.log('someProxy.happy_x:', someProxy.happy_x);
console.log('someObject.happy_x:', someObject.happy_x);

Output:

someproxy.happy_x = 'happy';
========================================
someProxy.x = sad
someObject.x = happy
someProxy.happy_x = happy
someObject.happy_x = undefined

@kangax maintains an ECMAScript Compatibility Table where you can compare support for Node.js and Edge for several versions of ECMAScript so that you know what features to explore with Microsoft’s Node.js fork.

Feel free to poke me on Twitter @fritzy if you have any thoughts or feedback.

Update (Dec 31, 2015):

There are several people pointing out that Chakra isn’t open source. However, it is going open source in January, and cross platform afterward.

My main point is not that ChakraCore should be the new Node.js JavaScript engine, but that Microsoft’s fork of Node.js with ChakraCore in it is a pretty handy way to preview Node.js’s future, regardless.


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Linode Under DDoS Since Christmas

hol writes: Linode has been getting hit with DDoS attacks since Christmas Day, and it looks like their pain is set to continue. The attackers are rotating DDoS traffic through various regions of Linode’s service. They say, “All of these attacks have occurred multiple times. Over the course of the last week, we have seen over 30 attacks of significant duration and impact. As we have found ways to mitigate these attacks, the vectors used inevitably change. As of this afternoon, we have mostly hardened ourselves against the above attack vectors, but we expect more to come. … Once these attacks stop, we plan to share a complete technical explanation about what has been happening.” See their status page for updates.


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FlingOS: An educational operating system

OSDev.org is a great resource – don’t get us wrong!

But, it’s far from comprehensive, most of the articles are not written by native English speakers and often have significant gaps, untested or innaccurate
code and is hard to work from. Also, most of it is in ASM or C. FlingOS uses C#, so our code is much more accessible.

The latest version of Minix is no longer a true educational OS – it’s commercial. Most of their resources focus on Minix itself, not OSes in general and the
recommended book is very expensive and also out of date.

Nope! Not at all – we’re not trying to produce a commercial OS.

Our operating system is totally unoptimised, even the compiler isn’t optimised. Our OS is aiming to be a “learn by example” codebase so students can understand
the intention of the code. We encourage students to then apply their software engineering and algorithms knowledge to (massively) improve the performance of our
implementations.

For writing a real OS, we agree. We are not saying anyone should write a real time, embedded or large scale OS in C# – it’s inefficient at best.

But we use C# for other great reasons. Primarily, it makes understanding an OS much more accessible to existing high level developers (which most students
and developers are or will be). Please read more about why we use C# here.

We would love to continue our work freely and openly. This means creating more resources, an OS dev starter-kit for A-level and University students, adding
support for more architectures and, of course, continuing to develop and expand our codebase.

I’m Ed Nutting, founder and lead developer, and I’m a student at the University of Bristol, UK. My fellow students and I can continue to work on the project,
particularly over the summer break (3 months of dedicated work can get a lot done! Last summer, Roland and I added MIPS support, CI20 support, over 30 articles
and the 10 tutorial videos!)

Unfortunately, my team and I are students and, like anybody else in the world, we can’t afford to work for free forever. I did this summer, but I don’t have enough
savings to support myself without finding a job next summer. That’s why we’re looking for sponsors to keep this project moving forward!

We’re looking for companies or philanthropic individuals to sponsor interns to work on the project over the summer. We’re doing great work and my strong
connections inside the University can get companies great, direct exposure to some of the UK’s top CS/EE graduates. Our articles are read over 3,000 times per month
and our videos are watched over 1,000 times per month. We also write blog posts for our sponsors on a wide range of topics!

If you think you can help keep this project alive we’d love to hear from you! Any amount of sponsorship is welcome.
Please contact us via this form.


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What Apple could learn from Windows 10

Microsoft sought reinvent its flagship operating system with Windows 10 by backing away from some of the extreme user interface changes that characterized Windows 8. Windows 10 introduces the concept of Windows-as-a-service, bridges all manner of devices from PCs to tablets to phones, and introduced a range of new features when it arrived last July.

Despite years of being criticized for copying Apple and for some of the missteps of Windows 8, Microsoft has increasingly shown a real sense of creative design in recent years. I’ve spent the past few months living with Windows 10 as my primary desktop OS, and there are aspects of it that Apple should learn from and adopt in OS X and iOS.

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Original URL: http://www.computerworld.com/article/3018511/microsoft-windows/what-apple-could-learn-from-windows-10.html#tk.rss_all

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The Force Awakens Has Changed Star Wars Forever

The Force Awakens Has Changed Star Wars Forever

In the latest installment of the ‘Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy’ podcast, the panel discusses the new Star Wars movie and what it means for the franchise.

The post The Force Awakens Has Changed Star Wars Forever appeared first on WIRED.



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