Cringely’s Rules for Home Schooling in the Age of COVID-19

My first job out of college was teaching biology, chemistry, physics, and vocational agriculture at Triway High School in rural Wooster, Ohio. I lasted for six weeks. The school environment was such a downer, from the smoke-filled teachers’ lounge to my young co-workers who were teaching mainly, it seemed to me, to avoid service in Vietnam. So when a reporting job became available, I jumped on it, leaving Ohio forever. Years later I returned to teaching, this time at Stanford University, where I worked for six years. Now, 37 years after Stanford, I’m teaching my kids at home thanks to COVID-19. You may be teaching your kids, too. This […]

The H-1B visa program is a scam

h1b visas by companyThis is the second of three columns relating to the recent story of Disney replacing 250 IT workers with foreign workers holding H-1B visas. Over the years I have written many columns about outsourcing (here) and the H-1B visa program in particular (here). Not wanting to just cover again that old material, this column looks at an important misconception that underlies the whole H-1B problem, then gives the unique view of a longtime reader of this column who has H-1B program experience.

First the misconception as laid out in a blog post shared with me by a reader. This blogger maintains that we […]

Georgia Tech’s $7000 polyester masters in computer science

Productivity is good but wage stagnation is not. This trend will only be exacerbated by the trashing of U.S. education standards.

In case you missed it, the Rambling Wrecks of Georgia Tech will next year begin offering an online masters degree in computer science for a total price of just under $7000 — about 80 percent less than the current in-state tuition for an equivalent campus-based program. The degree program, offered in cooperation with AT&T and courseware company Udacity, will cost the same no matter where the students live, though two thirds are expected to live and work outside the USA. Time to complete the degree will vary but Georgia Tech thinks most students […]

Geek Idol: A Competition to Promote Competitiveness

A couple weeks from now we’re going to start serializing my 1992 book Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date. It’s the book that was the basis for my 1996 documentary TV series Triumph of the Nerds and ultimately led to this column starting on pbs.org in 1997.

What goes around comes around.

We’ll be serializing the complete 1996 paperback edition which is 102,000 words in length, pumping the book onto the intertubes at around 2,000 words per day. In about 51 days, give or take a bit, we’ll put the entire work on the web with no ads and no subscription fee, just lots and lots of […]

What’s a WeJIT?

This is the third in a series of columns about interesting new technologies.

Every few years something comes along to fundamentally change how we use the World Wide Web, whether it is online video, social networking, dynamic pages, or even search, itself. This week a new technology called WeJIT was announced that looks like something small but is really something big because it extends collaboration from specialized sites like wikis to everywhere HTML is used.  WeJITS are collaboration in a persistent link.

WeJITS come from Democrasoft, a company here in Santa Rosa that is best known for Collaborize Classroom, a cloud-based service used by more than 30,000 teachers to interact with students, deliver lessons from a global peer reviewed library, and even give […]