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Old 04-13-2011, 10:05 AM   #21
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Default Re: How involved should the government be with computers and electronics?

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aside from the fact that access is used in the real world, in some horrible little corners of the corporate world, teaching access, (at least when I learned it) wasn't so much about using the program as it was learning how to construct relational databases.
It depends how you define the real world - yes there are some companies that use it, but if they do it's a) for legacy reasons or b) it's all they've ever heard of or c) it provides a cuddly interface so they can hack something together and hope it works. I've never come across a good reason for a corporation using it, probably because there isn't one! I suspect the majority of corporations using it are going down that route because of a GCSE IT syllabus actually...

The teaching was geared towards constructing relational databases, however it was done in the worst possible way known to man, using the worst possible tool for the job known to man. Yes, access is graphical but there's graphical designers out there for SQL that show things better and more clearly. Interested students also have the possibility of digging down with this approach and looking at the code underneath. This approach has advantages through and through in my opinion, it's more visual, uses tools that are readily used in the real world, software is free and it provides a good basis to work up from.

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Though if I'm honest I think that the use of paid for software pretty much shouldn't be in use at all in public institutions/education. honestly think of how many computers that there are in an average school, even with educational discounts, and bulk buy discounts how much money could be saved by just switching to open office?
how much by switching to Linux?
Completely agree. In fact I'd go further than that and say that switching the entire public sector to open source software would save billions whilst producing the same, if not better results. Sure there would be a small initial training and setup cost, but after a year or two the cost would easily be made back.

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to be fair that's due to a glut of applications written for ie6 that won't work on newer browsers, so the government has chosen to not spend to redevelop apps until now...
But again, this highlights further incompetence IMO. If they were more forward thinking they would have developed the apps according to W3C standards, not IE6 bodged mishaps. If that was the case they could upgrade to whatever browser they liked without having to spend spend spend each time they did, saving time, money and improving security. Besides, why are they just upgrading to IE7? Why not now it's out, why upgrade to another older browser rather than the latest?

If this was stuff that only the best of the best could see coming technologically wise, then I could understand it. But when anyone with a clue can look at the government and say that they're technological morons, it's very worrying indeed. People have been talking about running out of ipv4 addresses since before the internet caught on in the 90's, no-one ever really used access because it does less than SQL and costs a heck of a lot more, and everyone with a brain knows that if you develop something just so it works with IE6, it sure as hell ain't gonna work anywhere else.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:19 AM   #22
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Default Re: How involved should the government be with computers and electronics?

Okay, here's a tidbit from the American government side.

Open-source scares bureaucrats. They have been convinced that since the "bad guys" have seen all the code, then they will be able to hack into those systems at will. Add to that the theoretical security of having a corporation to provide support when needed and the 'standard' which has been delivered by Microsoft's near monopoly of the desktops of the world on both OS and office suite fronts. That is part of why the US government prefers to buy commercial.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:59 AM   #23
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Default Re: How involved should the government be with computers and electronics?

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They have been convinced that since the "bad guys" have seen all the code, then they will be able to hack into those systems at will.
Yet more examples of governments being pushovers to big corporations without researching any facts...

Geez, I hope no-one in the government actually ends up writing any software, it seems security through "not letting people know the holes in the code" is the only "security" they know about!
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