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Pixel Qi Introduces a DIY Kit

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the good-reason-to-void-the-warranty dept.

Displays 74

jones_supa writes "Pixel Qi has just revealed their DIY kit for netbooks, planned to be out near the end of Q2 — sounds like June. This makes it possible to retrofit a screen to one fully readable in direct sunlight. In her blog, Mary Lou Jepsen says: 'It’s only slightly more difficult than changing a lightbulb: it’s basically 6 screws, pulling off a bezel, unconnecting the old screen and plugging this one in. That’s it. It’s a 5 minute operation.' She also talks about the 'laptop hospital,' a service depot started by kids in Africa."

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74 comments

"Unconnecting"? (-1, Redundant)

dannycim (442761) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394884)

I dunno, I'm not sure I'd trust any sort of electronic hacking procedure from anyone who's a bit shaky on the grammar of the procedure terms themselves.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/disconnect [reference.com]

Re:"Unconnecting"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31395032)

unhook
unplug
unlock
disconnect

Let's not pretend the rules make sense.

Re:"Unconnecting"? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31395104)

unconcerting

Re:"Unconnecting"? (1, Funny)

laederkeps (976361) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395460)

unconcerting, noun: The disconcerting tendency of musicians to abandon a live performance based livelihood towards the practice of recording an album every other year and expecting it to feed their agents for a hundred years. See also: Frivolous, Middle-man

Re:"Unconnecting"? (1)

Meski (774546) | more than 4 years ago | (#31407932)

And you know, I'd be happy with that, if it was a decent album, and not two good songs and 18 duds?

Re:"Unconnecting"? (0, Offtopic)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395264)

Yeah because grammar skills are exactly the same as electronics skills! Also, your interpreter seems to be buggy, since you mistook an undefined identifier for a language grammar error. ;)
If I would judge the technical skills of the Slashdot crowd by its social skills and manners, I would assume that they all use AOL. ;)

P.S.: I know someone will find an error in the grammar of this sentence. If you do so, go ahead, and answer me in my own native language: Luxemburgish! Good luck with that! ;)

Re:"Unconnecting"? (0, Offtopic)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395372)

P.S.: I know someone will find an error in the grammar of this sentence. If you do so, go ahead, and answer me in my own native language: Luxemburgish! Good luck with that! ;)

It's Luxembourgish (Lëtzebuergesch), you insensitive clod! (spelling, not grammar :-)

But don't let anyone nag you about your language skills - or your spelling skills. You should see some of my misplaced accents in my written French. It's like "I didn't really write that, did I?"

Re:"Unconnecting"? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395402)

See. There is already an error in it: I wanted to say: “...in the grammar of this comment”.

Slashdotted? (1)

gehrehmee (16338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394888)

Slashdotted before a first-post. That's unfortunate.

Re:Slashdotted? (3, Insightful)

xlotlu (1395639) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395118)

It's hosted on yahoo servers. That's more than unfortunate... it's sad.

Re:Slashdotted? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395944)

I've always wondered about that. How can a site be slashdotted when nobody here ever RTFA?

Re:Slashdotted? (4, Informative)

bpkiwi (1190575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31396380)

Only the people who comment don't read the article. This is mostly because of the moderation system - if you stop to read the article then your comment will appear to late to gather any mod points - thus you are lost in the +1 noise. Only by jumping in as soon as you see something posted and saying something pointless, uninformed, and inane will you have a chance of getting moded to +5 by your peers - who also didn't read the article.

Re:Slashdotted? (1)

Tynin (634655) | more than 4 years ago | (#31397612)

Interesting overview of the /. moderation system and its short comings. Seems like we would be best served by posting new stories and then not allowing any comments to be made for 24 hours or some arbitrary allotment of time. Something tells me that we'd just end up with craftier trolls, but that is its own form of entertainment.

Re:Slashdotted? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399716)

Apparently subscribers get to see articles a few minutes early so that they can RTFA and still post an informed comment. Another way to get an early post is to take advantage of threaded view: skim the article, then reply to one of the first top-level comments so that even though it's a late comment, it still appears near the top so that it garners replies and moderation.

Re:Slashdotted? (1)

mellon (7048) | more than 4 years ago | (#31397942)

Naw, all you have to do is tack your comment onto one of the ones that's on top, and it'll get modded +5. Of course, that requires you to say something that people agree with. The good news is that it doesn't have to be particularly insightful... :'}

Re:Slashdotted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31400604)

Okay bpkiwi, now you can go to read the flicking article.

Re:Slashdotted? (1)

maitas (98290) | more than 4 years ago | (#31405320)

Time will always be the more importan factor. Though I would like to see a single 6 Score to the comment that recieved more mod points in the first 24 hours.

ignoramus (2, Funny)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394898)

i thought their stuff was only black&white? won't you need some pretty severe UI changes to get something useful out of a netbook like that?

Re:ignoramus (3, Informative)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394930)

It's in B&W without backlighting / in the sunlight. It's in full color with the backlight on and at moderate to low ambient light, and somewhere in between as you reduce the backlight level and increase the abient level. Which is pretty good, considering that most laptop screens are fairly unusable in direct sunlight.

Re:ignoramus (2, Informative)

emj (15659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394982)

It's also better than the old OLPC screen, they posted a graph (image) [pixelqi.com] descrbing that. The blog post [pixelqi.com] can't be read but the image of the graph can.

Re:ignoramus (1)

naam00 (1145163) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400060)

I find that in absolutely direct sunlight I can turn off the backlight completely and read pretty good on my laptop. In indirect sunlight though it is hopeless.

Re:ignoramus (2, Informative)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394988)

Nah - it's full color and fast (good for video). If you use it as a drop in replacement for your existing display then what you're getting is the ability to use your laptop in full sunlight where your current screen would be all washed out.

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/01/the-pixel-qi-display/ [wired.com]

As opposed to those of us with regular notebooks? (1, Interesting)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394916)

No thanks, but I'll wait for when it can be done as a replacement for TN screens of larger sizes (14", 15", (17"?)) and proves to be better at quality than *-IPS panels.

Netbooks might be a proof-of-concept, but notebooks of larger sizes and higher quality would be a better application.

Re:As opposed to those of us with regular notebook (4, Informative)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395076)

This isn't a generic LCD display - that's not their market.

The big deals with the Pixel Qi display is that:

- It's totally usable in full sunlight
- It's full color and fast (OK for video)
- It has a reflective e-ink mode
- It's low power

It's really geared towards:

1) eBook readers that want color and video support
2) Laptops/netbooks intended to be used outside (which tends to mean smaller form factor)

They use the same production line as traditional LCDs though (there's lots of articles / videos on them if you Google), so they'll certainly be able to produce larger sizes if they want to.

Re:As opposed to those of us with regular notebook (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395508)

I'll wait for when it can be done as a replacement for TN screens of larger sizes (14", 15", (17"?))

With you on this - mostly because I don't have a netbook.

and proves to be better at quality than *-IPS panels.

What? You want to replace a TN-quality display with something that's better than the best on the market? And that's stand-alone display market - there are NO laptops on the market today, that has an IPS-display. There aren't even any that have MVA/PVA displays. Why the hell not settle for replacing it with something that's better than TN-quality?

Re:As opposed to those of us with regular notebook (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395902)

I've heard claims that 15.4" and 17" MacBook Pros have IPS displays.

Also, ThinkPad X201 Tablets have PVA displays.

Re:As opposed to those of us with regular notebook (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#31397522)

Mind that the iPad has IPS, proving that small IPS panels can be built profitably. The iPad might be a non-general-purpose device, but it puts Lenovo's arguments against it to shame.

As for the Thinkpad (X201/etc.) panels, is that just for tablet models, or is it for all of them?

Re:As opposed to those of us with regular notebook (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31397814)

The iPad doesn't qualify as a netbook/notebook. You said it yourself. And to be honest, I really want an IPS display on a notebook, but for some reason all manufacturers have seemingly decided "fuck it, we'll do cheap over good", which is completely stupid. There IS a market for expensive laptops in the business segment.

You can't do proper image manipulation on a TN-display - the colours are all wrong. That means you can't sell that laptop to people who do photo-work, be it professionally or in their spare time. You also can't sell the laptop to people who needs to change their working position constantly, because you constantly need to readjust the display. And before you ask, that'd be as a desktop replacement.

Quite a lot of photographers are yearning for the iPad. Not because it's an Apple product. Not because it's "fancy". Because it has an IPS display.

Guess I need a new screen to see them (0, Offtopic)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394934)

Sorry, Internal Server Error.
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, admin@yahoo-inc.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Additionally, a 410 Gone error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Please check the URL for proper spelling and capitalization. If you're having trouble locating a destination on Yahoo!, try visiting the Yahoo! home page or look through a list of Yahoo!'s online services. Also, you may find what you're looking for if you try searching below.

A similar link (2, Informative)

lazycam (1007621) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394944)

A quick google search turned up the same story: http://www.buzzbox.com/news/2010-03-07/Pixel_Qi:Q2/ [buzzbox.com]

Re:A similar link (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395054)

ppppfffftttt, complain first, wait for server load to even out, google last.
welcome to /.

only slightly more difficult than changing a light (2, Funny)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31394956)

Yeah. To change a lightbulb you have to change five screws and a bezel. What's one more screw?

Re:only slightly more difficult than changing a li (2, Insightful)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395222)

Not much apparently. If a five year old girl can do it, maybe you can too?! ;-)

Just a quick note to say the DIY kits from our distributor will be available towards the end of Q2. We will be announcing with them prior to distrbution. Thanks for your patience.

One of the reasons I'm personally committed to doing this goes back to my One Laptop per Child experience and girls in a poor rural part of Nigeria who helped us test the early beta-laptop builds. In their school they had slanted desks bolted to benches with 4-5 kids per desk/bench combo. When any kid fidgeted or bumped all the laptops would fall on the concrete floors. The laptops were designed to be rugged and didn't break usually, but in this early build one of the cables to the touchpad/keyboard was 1mm too short and could become "unseated". This meant the keyboard and the touchpad would no longer work unless something was done.

Luckily: An 11 year old girl decided to open a laptop hospital. Unfortunately the boys really missed out here, because in this part of Nigeria "everyone knows" only girls work at hospitals, she eventually recruited girls as young as 5 to help out in the hospital. This group of girls armed with screwdrivers starting taking apart the laptops and reseating the cables. Sometimes they'd change out a screen, or a speaker. They learned about the hardware of their laptops. They got to see what was inside. They got better and better at fixing things by learning as they went.

Ministers of Education had a tough time believing that these girls could fix the hardware, so they would visit - to see it with their own eyes - and start thinking differently about maintenance of hardware. We kept preaching that ownership was the best way to assure maintenance.

Yet, most people are scared to change their laptop screen. It's only slightly more difficult than changing a lightbuld: it's basically 6 screws, pulling off a bezel, unconnecting the old screen and plugging this one in. That's it. It's a 5 minute operation.

Re:only slightly more difficult than changing a li (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 4 years ago | (#31397242)

The OLPC must be built substantially different from every laptop that I've worked on (Acer Aspire One, Almost every recent Dell, Thinkpad, HP, or Toshiba). Almost all of them have the LVDS connector on the motherboard and fed through the hinge, requiring disassembling the base to some degree to get the cable out, then about 6 screws to open the bezel, then several more to get the screen module out, then several more to get the frame off the screen. I suppose you could re-use the LVDS cable to avoid opening the base, but it's usually fragile.

Re:only slightly more difficult than changing a li (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31397930)

The OLPC has the motherboard mounted behind the LCD. The bottom half just has the battery and keyboard. It's kind of an odd configuration, since it makes it rather top-heavy, but it makes disassembly relatively simple.

Re:only slightly more difficult than changing a li (1)

mellon (7048) | more than 4 years ago | (#31397962)

That's correct, the OLPC is built substantially differently from every laptop you've worked with. :')

Seriously, the CPU and the screen are on the same side of the hinge. The only wires that go through the hinge are a connector for the keyboard and the connections for the battery. It's full of win, except for the choice to use OpenFirmware instead of LinuxBIOS.

Re:only slightly more difficult than changing a li (1)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31397876)

Yet, most people are scared to change their laptop screen. It's only slightly more difficult than changing a lightbuld: it's basically 6 screws, pulling off a bezel, unconnecting the old screen and plugging this one in. That's it. It's a 5 minute operation.

Most people are scared to change their laptop screen because its so easy to break the bezek, which has strange little hooks and may be glued on at points so that it cracks and breaks.

I've taken apart laptops and I think they do things just to make us break it. Frankly I'm surprised my current thinkpad has the audio jacks on a daughter board that can be replaced (although you have to take apart the whole base part of the laptop to get it off.

Re:only slightly more difficult than changing a li (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399220)

I'm sure changing the screen on an OLPC is nice and easy. Problem is, TFA states you should do this to your netbook. For every laptop I've changed a screen on, it's been a fairly complex operation with significant risk of breaking something - levering off the bezel without snapping anything, taking the keyboard and rest of the top plastics off to get at the video connector on the motherboard, threading the resulting ribbon cable back through the hinge, and removing the screen from the lid. It's non trivial. Unless it turns out most common Netbooks are constructed otherwise, I can't see this being all that easy. Also, the ribbon connector to the motherboard isn't a standard, it varies and so again, unless all netbooks use the same interface (and I guess given the majority are Intel/Atom chipset this is more likely) I don't think one screen would fit all.
I'd do it to my own if I owned a netbook (they should do one with a touchscreen built in!) but I wouldn't recommend someone not used to dismantling laptops tried it.

Re:only slightly more difficult than changing a li (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400654)

Problem is, TFA states you should do this to your netbook.

Incorrect. It's TFS that does.

Re:only slightly more difficult than changing a li (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31451514)

Mods on crack again. Parent is correct - RTFA.

Re:only slightly more difficult than changing a li (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31397718)

At my house the dining room light needs 4 screws and a glass cover removed to change the 2 bulbs in it.

Dust? (1)

ultor (216766) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395058)

What about the problem of dust getting inside while changing the screen? Few people have the clean-rooms necessary to get factory-quality results. Sure, it'll take five minutes to change the screen, but it'll take three more hours of repeatedly taking the bezel off, spraying it with a can of air, and putting it back on to remove the inevitable particles getting in.

Re:Dust? (1)

shogun (657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395230)

A modern laptop screen is a sealed unit which you would replace entirely - open the bevel pull out the screen, put the new one in, close the bevel. The front of the screen is exposed to the outside anyway so it would be exactly the same as dust getting onto it in normal use.

Re:Dust? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31395244)

i guess you've never changed an lcd panel. dust is not an issue. the only conceivable place it could be is on the face of the screen... which you can see, touch, and clean whether the bezel is in place or not.

Re:Dust? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31395290)

Dust will be an issue with this. You must get into the layers of the LCD for some units. Not every laptop has the same filter layers so some people will fine them selfs getting into the heart of the package. ANY dust in the filter layers will show 100%. It's a real bitch to do if you have cats or a dusty warehouse. The layers tend to have some static to them so love to pull in dust and hair.

Re:Dust? (2, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395938)

No, you haven't had to get "into the layers of the LCD" for many, many years. It's a sealed unit, and a commodity one at that. Remove old panel, put new panel in.

Re:Dust? (2, Informative)

^_^x (178540) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395450)

All of the laptop screens I've disassembled have included the LCD panel, lighting tube, backlight reflector and diffusor assembly in one main assembly, so it may just be a matter of opening the case around the screen, popping a couple of cables off and swapping it.

She was joking (3, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395062)

Now we can begin our own "How many netbook owners does it takes to change a lightbulb" jokes.

ya-who? (1)

cfriedt (1189527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395070)

I think Yahoo has actually been slashdotted :o

Poor Africa (0, Offtopic)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395072)

Africa is in a terrible catch 22 situation. In order to have a stable economy, of any kind, they must have respect for law. In order to get that, they have to have a stable economy with sufficient wealth so that people can settle down and have a rule of law. One hopes that netbooks for Africa would help, but, I am not optimistic.

Re:Poor Africa (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31395158)

Kill the children, save the food,
They're nothing but a bunch of black jig-a-boos,
Save your money, let 'em die,
So we can snort dope and get fuckin' high.
Kill the children, save the food,
There is no future for a jigaboo,
We should execute them and use Africa for a zoo,
Send your money to Tom Metzger for some jigaboo stew.

How is the image quality compared to regular LCDs? (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395086)

I haven't seen any tests on this. I don't doubt it'll match a regular TN screen in all ways, but how do they compare to the better IPS, MVA, PVA technologies?

From what I understood about the PixelQI displays, they should be as easy to make as regular displays, so it ought to be possible to get them in high colour and viewing angle versions as well.

Website is down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31395168)

I think the website is down. Here is a cache version:
http://74.125.93.132/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=cache%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fpixelqi.com%2Fblog1%2F2010%2F03%2F07%2Fdiy-pixel-qi-kits%2F&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=

What kind of business model do they have? (1)

joh (27088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395210)

Seriously, their technology must be something all display manufacturers are after. So why have they to offer something like that which will be only of interest for geeks?

As far as I know there is nothing amiss with this displays. They are great, cheap, easy to produce and offer nothing but advantages. There's no reason they shouldn't be able to sell this technology to everyone building netbooks or notebooks or desktop displays. But there's not a *single* device you can buy with this display. What's going on here?

Re:What kind of business model do they have? (4, Interesting)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395756)

A whole bunch of Pixel Qi running devices were demoed at CES this year. We'll probably never see half of them again, but the rest are all presumably coming out sometime. This shit is friggin NEW. Hasn't really been time to integrate into most laptop lines yet. My bet is that the high-end laptops will start offering this as an option soon enough.

And there are a few downsides. I'm assuming that they are still more expensive than a plain LCD screen. But from what I can remember from the CES videos, there's a distinct yellowish tint to the display (in color/video mode). It was very much as if it was all printed on newsprint. Now, nothing wrong with that for what the screen does, but I cannot see manufacturers pushing out a yellow tinted display across all their lines. There would be... backlash.

Re:What kind of business model do they have? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31396002)

Honestly, I suspect that it's because they're not finding the interest they were expecting from the major netbook/device manufacturers. They've had to resort to selling directly to the enduser. This is something you generally want to avoid when you're in the position they're in. We'll have to see how it all pans out, though.

Re:What kind of business model do they have? (2, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | more than 4 years ago | (#31397970)

They don't *have* to sell the stuff to geeks. The reason that they are such heroes is that despite not having to sell the stuff to us, they've decided to do so anyway, even though we will no doubt be a major pain in their collective asses. Because they think that laptops shouldn't be black boxes.

Old technology (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395226)

Why notebooks in general don't come with transflective screen options is beyond me. It's an old and proven technology used on most PDAs and many smartphones now and the color gamut is actually pretty decent; perhaps not enough for color matching but excellent for gaming, movies, and the like (not to mention basic word processing, coding, etc. tasks). They are perfectly readable in all lighting conditions including direct sunlight, with full color reproduction. It is true that contrast and color gamut do suffer in direct sunlight but what does that matter, when you are looking at a screen that is incredible when backlight in normal viewing conditions, and very usable in sunlight?

I've seen only a couple of notebooks with that option over the years. I'd like to see some new higher-end notebooks with transflective screens.

Re:Old technology (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395966)

This isn't an ordinary transflective screen.

On a transflective screen, external light goes through the color filters twice, as they're in front of everything. On this, the color filters are between the backlight and the actual liquid crystal setup. Therefore, with the backlight off (or with ambient light that overwhelms the backlight,) the contrast is equivalent to a (quite excellent) monochrome display - but it IS a monochrome display at that point.

what about two screens? (2, Interesting)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395246)

If you could manage to mount the new screen to the outside of the netbook with a touch screen mod and switch the connections between the internal and external screen. It might be able to create a netbook/tablet. I know i'd find that useful.

Re:what about two screens? (1)

ejecta (1167015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395908)

The idea of a netbook where you can switch between an internal & external screen solution and have stylus/touch screen capabilities already exists.

http://www.asi.com.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=12bFjcDUlLQ%3D&tabid=182 [asi.com.au]

I have one of these, it's not bad for what it's designed for,

Humanity at its finest: (5, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31395366)

This group of girls armed with screwdrivers starting taking apart the laptops and reseating the cables. Sometimes they'd change out a screen, or a speaker. They learned about the hardware of their laptops. They got to see what was inside. They got better and better at fixing things by learning as they went.

5-11 years old. Not told by anything to do so but in their own interest. Sorry, but that’s humanity at its finest.
If I learned one thing about our abilities, it’s to simply assume you can do it. I see so many people who say and think that they can’t do this and can’t do that.
We all are incredibly intelligent. Everyone can fix electronics. Everyone can write software. Everyone can learn quantum physics!
It’s just a matter of allowing oneself to assume that one is able to do it. And then do it.
That one rule, worked for me my whole life. :)

Ministers of Education had a tough time believing that these girls could fix the hardware, so they would visit - to see it with their own eyes - and start thinking differently about maintenance of hardware.

And here we see that exact mindset of “we can’t”. Just as most people here would assume a 5 year old girl couldn’t fix a computer. Let alone one from a 3rd world rural area.
Turns out that’s bullshit! :)

Man, if everyone could just see the tiny box of social conditioned pointless rules that he is caught in... “You can’t do that! Only rich good looking men get girls! Obey! Buy, buy, consume and buy! You are ugly! There is another side, that is against you! Believe! You must do this, and must not do that! ... ”

Re:Humanity at its finest: (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31396102)

I used to believe everyone can learn quantum physics. That is what I literally said to people.

Then I started tutoring at a community college, and got hit with a big reality bat.

For a lot of these older people, they have an incredibly difficult time remembering to do the same thing to both sides of an equation. And don't even get me started on them figuring out how to manipulate negative numbers for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. *shudder*

The best they can do is try to memorize lists of rules and apply them. Developing an intuition for things is way beyond them now. Not only that, but they never learned how to think for themselves, so they will never teach themselves anything, ever. Which means they require constant hand-holding through every class. Their strategy is essentially to attempt to memorize how to do every possible problem that could be on the exams, instead of just learning the concepts and applying them dynamically.

Sure, maybe if they spent their whole lives using their brain properly, maybe they could learn this stuff now. But I seriously think that their brains just can't handle learning things much at all anymore. They let their minds atrophy and the best they can hope for is holding off dementia.

If you think you can teach them quantum physics, have at it. I'm not stopping you.

The lesson I got from it is that if you want to know how to do stuff, keep your brain active your whole life, and learn things as you go. Your brain can and will, in a way, forget how to learn things, if you don't exercise it regularly.

And this isn't even accounting for the people who have had physical trauma causing brain damage. I've tried to help people like that, one person who actually got real migraines after thinking for over a half hour. On the one hand, I applaud them, because they are trying their best to do what they can to make the best of the situation. On the other hand, it is just sad watching them, because they are never, ever going to do it, without some kind of specialized therapy.

Re:Humanity at its finest: (2, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31396948)

A dirty secret that most educators know is there are people that can manipulate abstract symbols and those that cannot. If you confront someone that cannot do this with a problem that requires it, no matter how hard they try to do it, they aren't going to be able to.

This does not appear to be learned skill but something the brain is either capable of or not.

This used to be pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of things. It became more important around the beginning of the 20th century, but was a pretty simple division - if you didn't have the ability you got a job in a factory or became a plumber or something like that. If you could, you could be a mathemetician. Engineering disciplines were sort of on the line, but probably require the ability.

I don't think it has anywhere near as much to do with age or training. But if someone does not possess the ability, trying to "make them" is futile and frustrating.

Re:Humanity at its finest: (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31397628)

Well, they are old. That something different. Your learning rate naturally falls with the age. Give them some drugs that raise the learning rate again, and see it do wonders. ^^ You know: The good stuff. ;)

Also for many people, it’s a really long walk from where they are to being able to think freely.
I know because I know how deep in the delusions I was. I was extremely introverted and always though I were the loser. Well, since I redefined what I am, I’m literally getting random strangers in the club nearly hugging me and wanna be friends. Even the boss and the DJ. It’s weird, and I totally don’t know how to handle it yet. ^^ But good to know that whoever you think you are inside: You can change everything of it. Declare it, and so be it!
Just one thing: You might get into trouble with old friends assuming you are still the same and pushing you into that role again.
I sometimes make fun by pushing people outside their roles. Like being the actual boss and your boss being the one coming to me to beg. ^^

I think young age and motivation are key.
Motivation as in: Finding the best possible balance between too easy and too hard. To drag you in the flow.
Then season with a bit of structural thinking (like memorizing things as differences of base patterns and grouping things in graphs) to be able to put more than 7-10 things in your head at the same time. ...and out you get a genuine genius. (There is no such thing as talent or people born as geniuses, according to a well done study I read. Instead what they found is, that the only ingredients are what I just described.)

Re:Humanity at its finest: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31397858)

In tutoring math I've noticed that some people need a different approach, a new angle... another way to look at a problem and they can be taught. But I'm talking about high school football jocks that everyone thought were illiterate morons. Though, I wasn't their English tutor, so maybe they are illiterate.

Re:Humanity at its finest: (1)

islisis (589694) | more than 4 years ago | (#31425452)

I have never wanted to mark anything "troll" more than this in my life.
If you can't see how propogating the goals of an educational system which filters its customers through provacation rather than observational is the very trap leading teachers like yourself to fall into that mindset then you'll be shunning the place honesty in communication forever after. The only reason to believe it is true is in order categorise your own self, after which the only honest point you have to make is that you have refused to consider any more about yourself being grouped in "another" or "the other" category.

Education is a dialogue not something you can make up on slashdot. No one has to believe the assumption you refer to, which is the only way to complete the internal logic of anecdotes like you make. Why make it an agenda? I'm guessing you have no idea who's agenda a divisive educational system serves in the end. If students are the paying customers, they should not be made to work for the providers. Categories should not be invented for them just to imagine some meaning to the statistics. No matter how it looks, you are not teaching them how to communicate with you, how to speak the same language you know. If you feel it is impractical to take the time to listen for language with which they can express their goals then that is all one needs to believe, and no more.

And then you should admire the fact you can judge so many of your personal human relations in the same manner, at which point that the teacher-customer view of looking at things break down. You simply cannot overlay a vast predictive mapping of wider social trajectories into the tiny space which immediately separates your personal outlook on life. Only a mindset described in your account secures the fate of learners who lend themselves to approximating their goals with words dictated by agendas of society. If you truly feel that you have known a student to some degree then don't use it to their disadvantage. You are only encouraging someone to someday use the very words you just spoke to your own disadvantage, once they are through analysing your brain structure.

Nobody ever thought to tell them they couldn't (1)

originalhack (142366) | more than 4 years ago | (#31397532)

Nobody ever thought to tell them they couldn't succeed at that.... so they just did it!

Bravo!

Some Questions (1)

Khith (608295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31396796)

Okay, so when will people be able to buy these things for their own netbooks, and how much will they cost?

Will the screens be compatible in all netbooks? (I know there is a resolution standard but unsure if there is a standard panel size.)

How would you switch between the 3 screen modes? You'd need a dedicated switch that your netbook doesn't have, or a special driver (hopefully there would be a Linux version) to select your mode.

I'd love to have one of these screens to replace the glossy display in my current netbook. It's completely unusable in direct sunlight. Hell, I'd love to see this kind of tech eventually be offered as an option in ALL laptop screens.

Re:Some Questions (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400014)

Will the screens be compatible in all netbooks? (I know there is a resolution standard but unsure if there is a standard panel size.)

It's not 100% clear but it looks to me like the article is actually about the OLPC, given that 1) the word "Netbook" appears nowhere in the article and 2) the involvement of Mary Lou Jepsen.

Another non-story/crappy headline.

Sign me up (2, Interesting)

davide marney (231845) | more than 4 years ago | (#31396908)

I purchased four XO-1s when they originally came out a couple years ago. I gave away two, boxed one for posterity, and am still using one for browsing (Opera) and note-taking (Zim) when I'm at conferences. I still get heads-turns and kids inching over to take a look over my shoulder everywhere I go.

The XO-1 has an early version of the Pixel Qi screen, and it is extremely functional. I'm still amazed every time I'm reading an ebook on the subway, and walk from the deep darkness of the subway tunnel into blinding, direct sunlight, and the XO-1 display is still completely readable.

The XO-1's processor, however, is quite slow, and that becomes a pain in the neck for browsing. A decently-performing netbook doesn't cost very much these days, but the screens are a disappointment. I'm really looking forward to snagging a Pixel Qi DIY kit, buying a cheap netbook, and fixing up my ride.

Bring it, Mary Lou!

It takes more than this to make an XO (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31399852)

It takes more than this display to make a machine as power-friendly as the XO. XO's wifi is provided by an external module with its own power management, and its processor is less power-hungry than any x86 on the market today. I still know of no one producing a product today based on the Marvell meshing AP in the XO, though if I am lucky enough to be wrong, I'd certainly like to know who is doing it. The processor situation will rectify itself shortly, and anyway, the XO is slow. I don't think I'm alone in wishing for an OMAP4-based Linux netbook.

Re:It takes more than this to make an XO (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#31400292)

I don't think I'm alone in wishing for an OMAP4-based Linux netbook.

While a bit smaller then a netbook, the http://www.open-pandora.org/ [open-pandora.org] is as close as you can get it for an OMAP4 based linux netbook right now (well, in 2 months, when it gets released)

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