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Topics - app103 [ switch to compact view ]

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126
Living Room / Bit.ly is Harmful to Your Reputation
« on: April 18, 2010, 03:33 PM »
If you tweet links on Twitter, retweet links from other people, or have a website in which someone might tweet a link to it, you are going to want to read this, because this can potentially affect any or all of us and harm our reputations.

It started with me trying to promote DC a little, to a writer on TechCrunch, which lead to a discovery of how Bit.ly blacklists links shortened by other services, adding an interstitial page that calls the target site harmful, malware, a forgery, spam, and phishing.

When the writer retweeted my link I sent to him, DC was flagged as a bad site, just because I choose to use a competing URL shortener and his twitter client automatically shortens all links with bit.ly (whether they need it or not).

I contacted bit.ly about it, attempting to get the flag removed from the DC link, and their response and attitude were quite alarming.

For the full story, read my blog post about the whole thing;


127
Living Room / Which prize would you choose?
« on: April 15, 2010, 06:54 PM »
Either choice is a free ticket, not only for you, but everyone else involved, too. There are two drawings, and you can only choose to enter one of them. Whichever choice most people make reduces the odds on winning that prize.

I am most interested in the justification behind your choice. Why would you choose the prize you did?

128
Living Room / How I'd Hack Your Weak Passwords
« on: April 01, 2010, 06:14 AM »
Stop whatever you are doing and read this article. Then go fix your password issues. Don't wait till tomorrow or next week, do it now.

   * You probably use the same password for lots of stuff right?
    * Some sites you access such as your Bank or work VPN probably have pretty decent security, so I'm not going to attack them.
    * However, other sites like the Hallmark e-mail greeting cards site, an online forum you frequent, or an e-commerce site you've shopped at might not be as well prepared. So those are the ones I'd work on.
    * So, all we have to do now is unleash Brutus, wwwhack, or THC Hydra on their server with instructions to try say 10,000 (or 100,000 – whatever makes you happy) different usernames and passwords as fast as possible.
    * Once we've got several login+password pairings we can then go back and test them on targeted sites.
    * But wait? How do I know which bank you use and what your login ID is for the sites you frequent? All those cookies are simply stored, unencrypted and nicely named, in your Web browser's cache. (Read this post to remedy that problem.)

And how fast could this be done? Well, that depends on three main things, the length and complexity of your password, the speed of the hacker's computer, and the speed of the hacker's Internet connection.


129
Living Room / Yahoo Primary Source of Malware and Doesn’t Care
« on: March 24, 2010, 04:14 AM »
You usually expect to catch an infection of malware from some shady unknown website that you shouldn’t have clicked on, but a study done by Avast! has uncovered something disturbing. Popular advertising networks are now being infiltrated by malware and you don’t even have to do anything special to get infected. You don’t even have to click on anything. According to CNet:
   
Found in ads delivered from those networks was JavaScript code that Avast dubbed “JS:Prontexi,” which Avast researcher Jiri Sejtko said is a Trojan in script form that targets the Windows operating system. It looks for vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader and Acrobat, Java, QuickTime, and Flash and launches fake antivirus warnings, Sejtko said.

    Users don’t need to click on anything to get infected; a computer becomes infected after the ad is loaded by the browser, Avast said

Where will you find these infected ads? On some of the most popular websites like TechCrunch, The New York Times, The Drudge Report, and Whitepages.com. How could such well-known websites get infected with malware? It seems crazy to think about. They’ve got to be screening their websites and code thoroughly, right?


130
Found Deals and Discounts / Greenbox LogoMaker: Free
« on: March 23, 2010, 06:01 AM »
Greenbox LogoMaker 3 is normally $29.99, but I found a page on Avanquest's website where you can get the older v2 for free if you register for their mailing list. Additionally, through this mailing list Avanquest will tell you when they have other offers for free software.


I just tried it out and it's a rather nice application for the graphically challenged, much nicer than the Sothink logo maker that is being offered free on GAOTD today.

131
We had a feeling this might happen and what do you know? We were right. While the PC port of Assassin's Creed 2 is not yet available here in the US, Ubisoft's SINGLE PLAYER ONLY open world action game is available in Europe. And it looks like Ubisoft's DRM servers, which were supposed to protect against the game being pirated, have instead kept legit consumers from playing the game across the pond.

132
Living Room / This Car Runs on Code
« on: March 06, 2010, 08:20 AM »
The avionics system in the F-22 Raptor, the current U.S. Air Force frontline jet fighter, consists of about 1.7 million lines of software code. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, scheduled to become operational in 2010, will require about 5.7 million lines of code to operate its onboard systems. And Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner, scheduled to be delivered to customers in 2010, requires about 6.5 million lines of software code to operate its avionics and onboard support systems.

These are impressive amounts of software, yet if you bought a premium-class automobile recently, ”it probably contains close to 100 million lines of software code,” says Manfred Broy, a professor of informatics at Technical University, Munich, and a leading expert on software in cars. All that software executes on 70 to 100 microprocessor-based electronic control units (ECUs) networked throughout the body of your car.

Alfred Katzenbach, the director of information technology management at Daimler, has reportedly said that the radio and navigation system in the current S-class Mercedes-Benz requires over 20 million lines of code alone and that the car contains nearly as many ECUs as the new Airbus A380 (excluding the plane’s in-flight entertainment system). Software in cars is only going to grow in both amount and complexity. Late last year, the business research firm Frost & Sullivan estimated that cars will require 200 million to 300 million lines of software code in the near future.


133
Developer's Corner / The programmer as (starving) artist
« on: February 21, 2010, 08:05 AM »
Discussions about code as poetry and how code and art differ from each other are not new, but the growing popularity of free software among both developers and users may make software developers more like artists than they have been in the past in one very important respect: A majority of programmers may end up writing code without getting paid directly for their work. Perhaps, before long, "starving programmer" will be as familiar a phrase as "starving artist" is today.


134
Running on just sugar and caffeine, 32 teams of students worked non-stop for 18 hours to develop applications that they hoped would blow the judges’ socks off. This was at the UC-Berkeley Hackathon, last weekend. Indeed, many teams succeeded in their mission. They built some amazing software: to provide server-side rendering of games, convert website mockups to HTML/CSS, create sophisticated playlists for Youtube videos, and to analyze Twitter streams. One team even built a gaming interface for a neural headset.

There were so many cool tools that the seven judges, who included representatives from Zynga, Facebook, Y-Combinator (and me), had a hard time picking a winner in each category. The exception was the “social good” category. There was only one team worthy of receiving this prize. The team built a system to enable villagers in developing countries to send SMSs to volunteers across the globe who provide emergency medical advice. But the Silicon Valley judges couldn’t see the value of this technology. One commented, “If the villager has a cell-phone, why doesn’t he just call 911? This is really dumb”. (Most of the judges didn’t understand that 911 services don’t exist in most places in the world, and that SMSs have become the internet of the developing world). Instead, the panel awarded the prize to a team that developed a polling technology for university classrooms and for conferences. The rationale for this decision? “Helping universities is a social good.”

This brings me to the point of this post. What if we challenged these students and Silicon Valley to build businesses that do good for the planet and make a healthy profit doing so? Today, the world faces more problems than perhaps at any point in recent history. The economy is on the brink. Greenhouse gases threaten to turn Earth into a giant steam room. Scarce resources such as food, water, and oil have already become international flashpoints as the developing and developed worlds jockey for position to sustain or improve their standards of living. Drug-resistant bacteria threaten us with doomsday plagues. Yet we have the greatest minds and the deepest pool of investment capital in the world focused on building Facebook and Twitter apps.


135
Living Room / Boxed PC games market 'gone by 2011'
« on: January 13, 2010, 04:06 PM »
1C’s international publishing director Darryl Still has accused retail of failing to support boxed PC games.

The industry veteran says that by refusing to stock certain games and moving PC titles to the back of the store, retail is forcing publishers to head towards digital distribution. And that PC games software will be sold entirely through digital channels by next year.

“In the PC market at the moment the growth in digital is phenomenal,” said Still.

“If PC games manage to get listed at retail, then they’re rarely getting any exposure because they’re appearing at the back of the store.

“There is still demand, but retail is forcing PC games out. Digital is fantastic, and we’re very pleased with it. But it is not us as the developers and publishers driving products to digital – it is because the options for the PC at retail are so limited.


136
N.A.N.Y. 2010 / NANY 2010 Final Release: Startup Bully
« on: January 01, 2010, 01:18 AM »
NANY 2010 Entry Information

freddy_krueger_256.png

Application Name Startup Bully
Version 1.0.0.2
Short Description Removes Startup folder shortcuts made by misbehaving applications
Supported OSes Win-All
Web Page (page not created yet)
Download Link http://appsapps.info...ads/StartupBully.exe
System Requirements
  • Windows (any version)
  • A misbehaving application
Version History
  • 1.0.0.2 Initial release
Author app103


Description
Every once in awhile you come across an otherwise good application with one single nasty little fault: Every time you run it, it insists on sticking a shortcut file in your Startup folder and has no option to opt out of this behavior. You delete the shortcut and the next time you run the application it comes right back.

I have found plenty of utilities that can handle preventing this sort of behavior when the application tries to add itself to startup through the registry, but none to handle when it is making actual shortcut files in the Startup folder.

Startup Bully will opt out for you by removing this unwanted shortcut each time you run the offending application.

Features
  • Launches the application
  • Waits a specified length of time
  • Deletes the unwanted shortcut and then exits


Planned Features
none at this time



Usage
Installation
Copy StartupBully.exe to a folder somewhere on your hard drive.

Using the Application
Edit the original desktop or quicklaunch shortcut (not the unwanted startup folder one!) to the misbehaving application as follows:

  • Right click and select properties.
  • In the target box, edit the text as follows: [path to StartupBully.exe] [original target] [text of unwanted shortcut] [seconds to wait]

Screenshot - 1_1_2010 , 1_30_22 AM.png

Example:

  • The original target for this particular misbehaving application was "E:\Programs Installed\Friendfeed Notifier\FriendFeed\FriendFeed.exe"
  • The path to my StartupBully.exe file is "E:\Programs Installed\Startup Bully\StartupBully.exe"
  • The text of the shortcut the misbehaving application keeps making is "FriendFeed"

Screenshot - 1_1_2010 , 1_25_38 AM.png

  • I want it to wait 10 seconds after launching before it deletes the unwanted shortcut.

So my desktop or quicklaunch shortcut target will be this:

"E:\Programs Installed\Startup Bully\StartupBully.exe" "E:\Programs Installed\Friendfeed Notifier\FriendFeed\FriendFeed.exe" "FriendFeed" 10

Make sure to use quotes around any paths that contain spaces, quotes around the unwanted shortcut text,  and to leave a space between each parameter.

I would start with 10 seconds to give the misbehaving application a chance to load and create the unwanted shortcut. If that isn't enough time, then adjust it as necessary.

If you want the desktop or quicklaunch shortcut to have the original icon of the misbehaving application, then before you close the properties box, click the "change icon" button, browse to the original exe file of your application, select it and choose the correct icon.

When you are finished, click "Apply" and "OK".


Uninstallation
Delete StartupBully.exe and any shortcuts you made that point to it.

Known Issues
none, I hope

137
I’m running my Mac indie software business for more than 3 years now. For the first 2.5 years all my sales went through Kagi and later I decided to switch to PayPal. The sales were not high, PayPal worked well and all was good.

This year, me and my partner Kosta decided to do some creative marketing for our application, ImageFramer. We decided to partner with several other developers of graphics software for the Mac and to sell all the software together, as a bundle, for 2 weeks. After months of preparations, negotiations and development, finally, MacGraPhoto bundle was launched on Nov 16.

We, at Apparent Software, were responsible for all the execution of the sale and part of it included handling all the money related issues, such as collecting the payments and distributing to other developers their shares. There were 6 other developers in addition to us. We corresponded over email, sent them a Terms and Conditions document and got their agreement to it by email.

We chose PayPal as our payment processor for several reasons but the main were low fees, the fact that we already knew how to integrate it to the sales backend and that it should be easy to pay them and to affiliates. We used our regular PayPal account, which we used for regular sales. We didn’t expect what happened next.

The launch was successful and we were pleased with how the sales progressed in the first days. Three days into the sale I’ve got a phone call from PayPal and the person on the other side asked me about nature of the spike in account activity. I explained that we had a 2 week sale, a special promotion and it looked like the call went fine.

What happened next and what they put these poor developers through can only be described as a complete nightmare. Paypal has since resolved the issue, but what happened to them could happen to anyone.


138
Google just launched the Google Public DNS. Just like OpenDNS, Google Public DNS will allow users to bypass their ISPs Domain Name Servers (DNS). DNS servers are, in many respects, the backbone of the Internet. DNS allows you to type a domain name like www.senate.gov into a browser instead of a machine-readable IP number like http://156.33.195.33/. Google argues that it wants to give consumers an alternative to their ISPs' DNS services in order to make the Internet "faster, safer and more reliable."

According to Google product manager Prem Ramaswami, the company's engineers have been working to improve DNS over the last few months. Instead of performing DNS lookups on an ISP's DNS server, Google will use its data-center and caching infrastructure to resolve these domain names.

After SPDY (an which augments HTTP), this is Google second major project that touches upon the core infrastructure of the Web.


139
Living Room / 74% of the world, Google's Chrome OS is not for you
« on: December 01, 2009, 11:21 AM »
Google made a huge splash when it announced its plans for the Chrome operating system, a web-centric OS where essentially everything is run through a web browser. One great promise of Google’s Chrome OS is the arrival of low-cost, lightweight hardware, since most of the storage and other data handling is done in the cloud. Perhaps that 100-dollar computer will finally become a reality.

But there is a problem. A rather big one. The strength of the Chrome OS, that it makes maximum use of online resources, also limits its potential adoption. To have any real use of the OS you need a decent Internet connection, and that has some significant implications we need to look at.

5 billion without Internet access

Before we even discuss broadband, let us first get one piece of statistic out in the open: 74% of the world population doesn’t have Internet access. At all.

In other words, 5 billion of the world’s 6.8 billion people will have little use for Google’s Chrome OS because they don’t have Internet access.

140
Someone I know is looking for a well versed ActionScript 3 Programmer for a very large project.

I have no other details about the project. If you want to know, you have to talk to him directly.

If you are interested, send me a PM and I'll put you in touch with him.


141
Living Room / Anyone have an xbox they don't want any more?
« on: November 13, 2009, 07:03 AM »
Long time friend and fellow coder, Krishean, who has helped me quite a bit over the years with coding and inspiration, is in a bit of a jam.

For the past 3 years he has been hosting his website on an xbox (original, not 360) and it no longer works.

He is in need of a new (used) one for hosting his website.

If anyone has one in good working order that they do not need any more, that they would be willing to donate, it would be much appreciated.

draconislabs.net has been gone for quite some time and i think i should explain why
for close to three years, if not three years, draconislabs had been running continuously on an xbox (original, not 360)
at the beginning of this past october, the xbox started to overheat, it had reached the end of its lifespan
it was never designed to run for such a long period continuously and finally said no more.
currently, the server is being run out of a virtual machine, but hopefully soon i will have a new server for it.

142
General Software Discussion / Looking for a difference tool
« on: November 04, 2009, 01:15 PM »
I need a tool, either desktop or online, that can show me the difference between 2 blocks of text.

I just want to be able to paste them both into boxes and click a button, rather than having to create files from them in order to compare.

It can't compare line 1 in box A to line 1 in box B and say they are different and leave it at that. It needs to be able to highlight why they are different.

  • Has something been added?
  • Has something been removed?
  • Has something been moved or rearranged?

And it should color code the highlights so I can know what the deal is. And it can not highlight the whole line. It needs to highlight only the differences within the line or block.

I am looking for comparisons like this:

0989878677656545435798-09-9-09-0886675654543544798987978968756754654
0989878677656545435798-09-9-09-0000075654543544798987978968756754654

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
WXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUV

oiuhuyeekggtdfdsfgesfddhhlkjlokuhyhgffgdfgkjnlk
oiuhuyggtdfdsfgesfdboodhhlkjlokuhyhgffgdfgkjnlk

jfchkjsjhsaflk1234jahbflkjhalkjfhalkjfnakj9000kjhdkjghkjdhgkjdhkjfdhjkd
jfchkjs5678jhsaflkjahbflkjhalkjfhalkjfnakjkjhdkjghkjdhgkjd1234hkjfdhjkd

The quick red fox jumped over the lazy brown dog.
The quick brown dog jumped over the lazy red fox.


So far I haven't found one that can do this with comparing a very long single line string to another, and without me having to make files out of them first.

143
Volery is a cool new service created by two programmers in San Francisco who believe that installing software shouldn’t require work. It’s simple to use and has a large selection of popular freeware and open source applications. Just pick the apps you want to install, download the Volery installer, then walk away and do something fun while it does all the work for you. The service installs the software with default settings and says “no” to any extra crapware (like browser toolbars) the installers might try to sneak in. Volery isn’t even installed on your system, you just use a stand alone executable to begin the install process.



Invite code and link are at end of the article.

144
Living Room / Diagrammr: Create and share diagrams by writing sentences
« on: September 19, 2009, 08:11 AM »
Diagrammr is an interesting web application that will allow you to make auto-generated diagrams by simply typing in sentences. The first word becomes a block, the last word another block, and they are connected in the direction in which they are written, with the middle of your sentence alongside the arrow.

Typing in the same block name again will create a new relationship with that object.

Every diagram has its own unique URL which can be shared. Whoever you share it with can edit it, adding and removing items. This makes it possible for a group to work on the same diagram together, or you can come back later and make edits, yourself. (make sure you save the image to your computer and share just the image, if you don't want anyone editing it.)





And if you want to see something really scary...

here's my social flow, yo!
socialflow.png



145
Living Room / Happy Programmer Day! 1111 1111
« on: September 13, 2009, 01:45 AM »
Q: When is Programmer Day?
A: Programmer Day is the 256th day of every year, September 13th or the 12th on leap years.

Q:Why the 256th Day of the year?
A: A byte can have 256 possible values, bytes are very important to programmers. Not because they are required for programs to work, but because the payroll system and Krispy Kreme doughnut cash registers require them.

Q: How is Programmer Day celebrated?
A: Anyway you want! Here are some suggestions:
  • Speak in code (or pseudocode) all day - Thanks to Sam Pospischil!
  • Decorate a tree with zeros and ones to make a binary tree
  • Make Happy Programmer Day cards using ASCII art
  • Have a contest for the best binary pun / programming joke

Q: Your logo has 1111 1111 that's 255, not 256, right?
A: While 1111 1111 = 255 as a direct conversion, it's the 256th value so it is correct. January 1st is 0000 0000 so if you celebrate Programmer Day on the 255th day you're guilty of an off by one error.


146
Developer's Corner / Make your javascript a Windows .exe
« on: September 13, 2009, 12:29 AM »
These days an average web developer needs to have a broad matrix of skills in order to do his/her job. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AJAX, XML, some server side language, some linux skills, some apache, some database skills, standards, accessibility, SEO, the list goes on. Parts of the list are also multiplied by (or raised to the power of?) the number of browsers you want to support. Crazy, isn't it? We're such optimists trying to make stuff work in such an environment.

There's gotta be an easier way to write code that does something meaningful! Yes, there is, it's called JavaScript. You learn JavaScript, you learn it well, and you don't need to learn anything else. Isn't that cool? JavaScript is, practically, everywhere. Learn JavaScript and you can:

    * create rich and powerful web applications (the kind that runs inside the browser)
    * write server-side code such as ASP scripts or for example code that is run using Rhino (A JavaScript engine written in Java)
    * create rich media applications (Flash, Flex) using ActionScript which is based on ECMAScript, which is JavaScript
    * write scripts that automate administrative tasks on your Windows desktop, using Windows Scripting Host
    * write extensions/plugins for a plethora of desktop application such as Firefox or Dreamweaver
    * create web applications that store information off-line on user's desktop, using Google Gears
    * create Yahoo!, or Mac, or dunno-what-type-of widgets
    * create Windows apps (those that end in .exe) and libraries (.dll)

I'm sure the list above is not even complete.

OK, it's a joke that with one programming skill only you'll be employed for life, but it's a fun thought anyway. Off to the main topic of the post.

JScript

This is Microsoft's version of JavaScript (yep, the thing that annoys us *sometimes* in IE) and can also be used to create server side pages (ASP, ASP.NET) or desktop applications. Apparently JScript is now called JScript.NET and can be compiled to create .exe files. Let's see how.


147
Developer's Corner / Javascript Framework Matrix
« on: September 12, 2009, 10:38 AM »
The Javascript Framework Matrix shall give you an overview of popular JavaScript frameworks and their functions. There are various examples for the frameworks and every snippet contains links to the official documentation. The choice of a framework depends on many factors and can't be made of this document only. The matrix shall solely demonstrate the different API styles and functionalities of the JavaScript libraries.

148
Living Room / Are Gamers More Evolutionarily Advanced?
« on: August 18, 2009, 03:20 PM »
A new study suggests there is a correlation between video gamers, depression, and being overweight. According to the CDC, the average American gamer has a higher body mass index than his peers, and also tends to be more reliant on the Internet. Female respondents to the 500-person study, which was carried out in the Seattle-Tacoma area, had a higher correlation of depression than their peers.

Outlets like PC World and TG Daily have reported the news with appropriate caution, careful not to insinuate that correlation means causation. But the suggestion seems to be that there are only two factors at play--lifestyle and level of health--and that one of them has to be altering the other. Either fat, depressive people like gaming, or gaming makes people fat or depressed. But what if the real culprit is brain chemistry?

According to an article in Slate, part of so-called Internet "addiction" is rooted in an ancient brain mechanism that rewards discovery. Human beings, it seems, are engineered to reward themselves with shots of dopamine when they find something new, and the Internet has become a kind of dopamine drip--sites like Reddit and Digg, and the chance for new emails and texts, open up the possibility for endless "discovery" highs.


149
Living Room / All Wordy and Junk: A brand new multi-author blog
« on: August 16, 2009, 10:47 PM »
Let's face it, anyone that has ever tried to maintain a blog all by themselves knows, blogging is tough. Having to come up with something to write about on a regular basis isn't the easiest task. Not to mention all the other things that go along with blogging, such as promoting it and stuff. This is why so many writers just give up and abandon their blogs.

All Wordy and Junk was an idea conceived on Friendfeed. A group decided to band together to make a single multi-author blog. Figuring that the more writers you have, the less pressure you have to come up with something to write, lets the authors relax and take their time, putting forth their best work by only writing when they feel compelled to do so. With up to 100 authors (that is the max it will have) there will always be someone writing something to keep it fresh and alive.

'All Wordy And Junk' is the home for some bloggers who aren't that great at keeping up a blog on their own. We figured we'd band together and rely on everyone else to keep the content flowing when we had writer's block. Other than that, there is no theme here. Posts and topics will be random, because that's the way we like it.


I have had conversations and discussions with  lot of the authors of this blog on Friendfeed and they are an interesting bunch with a lot to share. I have a feeling this may become one of my favorite blogs to read.



Edit: added link to Friendfeed discussion where the idea was born.

150
Living Room / When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom
« on: August 04, 2009, 04:40 PM »
College leaders usually brag about their tech-filled "smart" classrooms, but a dean at Southern Methodist University is proudly removing computers from lecture halls. José A. Bowen, dean of the Meadows School of the Arts, has challenged his colleagues to "teach naked"—by which he means, sans machines.

More than any thing else, Mr. Bowen wants to discourage professors from using PowerPoint, because they often lean on the slide-display program as a crutch rather using it as a creative tool. Class time should be reserved for discussion, he contends, especially now that students can download lectures online and find libraries of information on the Web. When students reflect on their college years later in life, they're going to remember challenging debates and talks with their professors. Lively interactions are what teaching is all about, he says, but those give-and-takes are discouraged by preset collections of slides.

He's not the only one raising questions about PowerPoint, which on many campuses is the state of the art in classroom teaching. A study published in the April issue of British Educational Research Journal found that 59 percent of students in a new survey reported that at least half of their lectures were boring, and that PowerPoint was one of the dullest methods they saw. The survey consisted of 211 students at a university in England and was conducted by researchers at the University of Central Lancashire.

Students in the survey gave low marks not just to PowerPoint, but also to all kinds of computer-assisted classroom activities, even interactive exercises in computer labs. "The least boring teaching methods were found to be seminars, practical sessions, and group discussions," said the report. In other words, tech-free classrooms were the most engaging.


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