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Apple launches coding camps for kids in its retail stores (techcrunch.com)
250 points by pavornyoh on June 21, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 171 comments



I took my kid to one of these last year. It was fairly useless. They drag around little action-icons into a list to make an animated character move around and do stuff. My 11-year-old was bored stiff.

Edit: PS the Apple Store employee who ran this thing (he was a very nice guy) admitted he had zero coding experience himself


When I was a kid I learned programming by going to the library and borrowing books on programming. This was, of course, before the days of the Internet where you can use google to find those resources. My biggest challenge was trying to find the tools I needed, i.e. a C/C++ compiler, PASCAL interpreter, assembler for my Commodore 64, because it wasn't like I could go on the internet and download them, and there were fewer free open source tools that I could get my hands on. So I would have to had the money to buy them, as well as find a store were I could purchase them because it wasn't like I could go online and order them.

Anyway, the point I want to make is that I was a pretty self motivated learner, I didn't need someone telling me what to do, but it would have been nice to have the resources I needed, and an "expert" I could go to who could help me when I had questions or didn't understand something.


I wonder how the change in scarcity of resources will affect people's relationship with these subjects. Similar to yourself I grew up in an environment when information and software was hard to come by and thus highly prized. Books read beginning to end, games played to completion (often repeatedly), things like programming tutorials from print magazines completed then picked apart over several hours.

Part of me worries that making it all easily available will actually kill off kid's interests in subjects/skill sets that require some level of devotion before you see real rewards.


I think that the easier, and more affordable, access to these resources is absolutely beneficial. It is hard to say how many more people get into the field (and stay) because of it versus not having it.

I also don't believe it would alter or diminish someone's internal self-motivation to learn. Actually, it would only serve to fuel the urge since there are always greater and greater challenges once you are making some progress and learning beyond the basics.


If you're looking for something a bit more advanced, but still not jumping right into the deep end check out our iPad app hyperPad (https://www.hyperpad.com). We never intended it for teaching kids to code, but schools and teachers from the around the world love it for introducing younger kids to code.

It has a lot of the the coding principles applied in a visual even driven environment making it fun and easy to create cool interactive games.

We're also working on adding other cool things like HTTP requests and sockets so users can connect to servers to send/receive data.


Would you agree your then 11 yo (12 now?) may have been more advanced than this course catered to?

Maybe some 8-9 year olds who don't have parents with a programming background would be more the target market.


Was the programming language Scratch[0]? Because Scratch is flippin' awesome. My 8-year-old programs a new game in it every week, without prompting or coaching from me. They're getting progressively more sophisticated, with variables, loops, and everything.

And yet his first exposure to it was dragging little icons into a list to make an animated character move... which is exactly the right material for a 90-minute course presumably designed for total neophytes.

[0] https://scratch.mit.edu/


It will be interesting to see if Swift Playgrounds on iPad changes the landscape here.

Simple intro courses, but it's got real Swift compiler + runtime, and you can call straight into all the native APIs if you jump out of the guided tour.


With the recent Game Center APIs for live streaming, you can apparently do live streaming of Swift Playgrounds on services like Twitch as well.

Might be nothing, but opens up a lot of possibilities for people just getting started.


That's how the Harvard CS50 course starts (using Scratch).


The Harvard CS50 course was redesigned because the previous version appealed to much to condescending people like GP who had no patience for classes that teach beginners.


Sounds about what I expected. If there's anything kids hate, it's being patronized.


Yes, given the level of competence of the staff at Apple stores, it seems unlikely there could be a worthwhile coding camp at that venue. Apple would need to bring in some much higher caliber people.


Urgh, it is basics of coding course for 8 year olds. What do people expect? Albert Einstein giving lessons?


In my experience, 8 year olds often ask more penetrating questions than adults. If they take an interest in understanding something, they often desire to understand it on the deepest level possible for them - quickly exceeding the capacity of their parent or teacher to explain (unless the adult is a 'renaissance person'). (Edit: or a competent teacher with adequate training relevant to the subject)

If the 8 year olds are really encouraged to explore and ask questions (vs 'jump through these hoops, follow instructions), the staff at apple will most likely be unable to answer their questions.


Have you ever met 8 year olds? Care to give some examples of "more penetrating questions"?


In elementary school we had philosophy classes, some got filmed for a documentary about it. It's all in french though, but I remember some very existential questions got asked (mostly once we got slightly older, I remember discussing life and death as well as suicide). Obviously we had never been taught anything about fallacies and critical thinking in general, but the simple exercise of open minded dialogue was pretty great for forming curious kids and we asked ourselves pretty deep questions.


Maybe jshevek means that they tend to ask "why" type questions which can be difficult to answer, as opposed to "how" type questions which are less difficult to answer.


Yes. The way that children use "why", it can mean "with what motive" but also "by what mechanism" or even "which events necessarily precede that" depending on context.

I would say that most adults are often simply unable to answer those questions because they just don't know. Children are naturally curious to levels which exceed the average adults ability to answer. Even educators are often inadequate to the task, if the question falls out of their areas of study. Some educators try to condition their students to focus on the limited prescribed domain of 'material they are to learn' and not ask questions that cross outside of that domain - in part to avoid acknowledging their ignorance.

But I would go further and say that children often also ask perfectly reasonable questions beginning with "how" and "what if" which stump adults. You can see this very readily when the topic is anything related to the natural world, as most adults are ignorant of basic science.


> Urgh, it is basics of coding course for 8 year olds. What do people expect?

Teaching neophytes (and, especially, neophytes who are also children) the basics of anything -- especially in ways that will engage them and not leave them both without knowledge and with less interest than when they encountered the teaching -- takes nontrivial knowledge of both the subject field and teaching methods.


No, but I'd imagine that they would expect a competent instructor to be leading the class.


These books used to be used by children:

http://www.atariarchives.org/

http://www.worldofspectrum.org/books.html

So if 8 year olds could grasp Basic, Z80 and 6502 Assembly, I guess adults in a computer shop should know their stuff.


I don't speak German and I already know Swift but I'd go to see that!


It'd be nice if they made an area available for random mall-goers who are also software engineers to come voluntarily hang out and instruct / help out random kids or teens that stop by, with potential for networking or further tutoring services for those really interested or who want to do something more interesting. Unfortunately I bet if a lot of us just camped out unofficially for a couple hours we'd be branded as child predators or something, and escorted out by mall security in any case...


Which is really unfortunate. Because most adults are really, really nice. But if they express any interest in helping kids they are assumed to have a nefarious motive.


These aces are called schools and community centers and they welcome volunteers


A professional programmer isn't likely to work for whatever Apple is willing to pay to teach classes it isn't charging money for. Programmers who want to teach are probably charging a lot of money for it, or volunteering to teach through nonprofits rather than through Apple.


A few years back my daughter went to movie camp at the Apple Store. It was really well done and they taught the kids all about making movies, how to edit, and at the end they had a big screening of all the movies the kids in the class made for all the parents. She even got a nice apple t shirt and usb keychain.

Glad to see they are now expanding it to coding.


It seems like a lot of folks don't give Tim Cook enough credit in the post-Steve Jobs world for a lot of the philanthropic work Apple has done for education (as well as for the LGBTQ community.) Kudos to them for this initiative - and I'll be excited if this expands to adults at some point.


When I was an intern at Apple I asked Tim what the hardest part was about filling in Steve's shoes and he said:

"Steve was my friend, and I don't believe a friend could ever replace a friend, so I chose to run Apple like Tim."

I've always respected that answer.


what did you intern as, at Apple?


Can't talk about it ;)


I'm sure Cook and team do great philanthropic work. But this sounds like it's at least as much marketing as philanthropy. I think Microsoft has learned that despite near ubiquity, their platform didn't cross the chasm to mobile computing devices well/at all. They know it was due to the fact that the engineers who targeted those devices preferred to work with linux/BSD.

Apple has invested in LLVM+Swift as a part of this strategy and wants to drive new waves of software development for their platform. These coding camps are part of that effort.


And people say on HN advertising doesn't work :))

It's all to make you buy their products, my friend. No big company is doing philanthropy just for the sake of it.

Instead of paying taxes honestly (yrs, it's legal what they are doing, but not ethical), they bribe you with LGBT campaign. Bufff.


I wouldn't really call it philanthropic. Tech companies do this sort of stuff because of labor costs.


What do you mean because of labor costs? Do you think they're going to hire 12 year olds?

If anything this will increase labor costs because now they need Geniuses to cover these classes (as well as costs for possible damage to the iPads used) in addition to normal Apple store staffing.


If they're playing the long game, then the more people that are interested in developing, the lower their wage bill will be down the track. I'm not sure if that's what the GP is talking about, but it's one way this could help.


I am pretty surprised by the general lack luster comments bordering on negativity here. Personally, I think it is great to see a major retailer take even a misguided stab at improving child tech education which has quickly fallen behind demand (in America).

Do I think the approach is more than a little bit wrong? Sure, GUI programming a non-useful task wouldn't be my choice.

Would I prefer a more robust longer-term program? Absolutely.

Does this fall well short of actually being useful/addressing the original problem? More than likely.

But despite of all that, I would much rather have Apple try this and hopefully improve on the offering pending demonstrated interest than not have it at all.


I'm reading "Bringing up Bébé" – a book written by an American woman who raises her child in Paris. When they take their toddler girl to swim lessons, everyone is in the pool swimming around together. Occasionally the instructor swims up to them and says, "hello". Eventually, on the third class she finally says, "Excuse me, but when are you going to actually, you know, teach my kid to swim?". The instructor smiles and tells them, "We don't teach toddlers how to swim."

She realizes that one cultural difference is that french parents don't expect their kids to learn things super early the way that Americans do – instead, they prefer to 'acclimate' their kids to various activities.

Not everyone lives in Silicon Valley where their parents are engineers, their neighbors' parents are engineers, they build drones and fly them in the park... Part of fixing inequality in education is at least acclimating kids to the idea of coding – hopefully sparking an interest that stays with them and grows.

Apple has long known that a way to build their customer base is to get them early in schools, so of course this is at least in part commercially motivated. But at the end of the day, companies can do things that help their bottom line and at the same time make a positive cultural impact[1]. Personally, I think we should applaud efforts to acclimate kids to things they might not be aware of, to help make them aware of what's possible in their lives.

1: https://www.gatesnotes.com/media/features/books/Bill_Gates_J...


That's super interesting! I had no idea but definitely worth considering/knowing. Thanks!


I had a swim class like that in USA. The French exceptionalism is a tacky gimmick to hang a book off of.


The point is not that kids are going to learn how to program in two 90 minute sessions, rather the point is to spark a kids imagination and maybe that kid decides to explore the subject further.

My eight-year-old loves making movies on his iPad using iMovie and I'm so happy that Apple is offering a course.


For me, it has the feeling of being more of a PR stunt than a sincere effort to help education. Plus, its an opportunity to build brand allegiance at a young age.

I would rather Apple donate an equal amount of money to any of those entities out there which help to bring technology to the youth.


I don't see this as a PR stunt at all, this goes to one of Apple's core values. Apple's very good at marketing, if this were a PR stunt they would have large brand building ads and little substance, whereas this initiative requires a lot of resources, logistics and investments to run and are offering it for free.

Since Tim took over Apple's been doing a lot more towards "We want to leave the world better than we found it". Eventually I expect it will be good for Apple's bottom line long-term, but this follows their theme (e.g. Swift playgrounds, WWDC Scholarships) of helping teach more kids how to code. Personally I think Apple wants to attract students, because they prefer that demographic. There would be a lot more money to be made going after Enterprise wallets than spending it on free programs for cash-poor students.

Basically under Tim's leadership I'm expecting Apple to invest a lot in: Green Energy, Kids Education, Privacy, Diversity. Not because it's good for their bottom line, but because they think it's the right thing to do.


> Not because it's good for their bottom line, but because they think it's the right thing to do.

I agree with the op but want to take this one step further.

When you're apple's size, perhaps what's good IS good for your bottom line, in the long term.

Can you really grow a company when most people are too poor to afford your products? No, you really can't.

Will apple do better if there are many more people with disposable income enough to buy more apple products? I think so.

Maybe spending money on education and fixing the environment are necessary for them if they want to keep growing. I'm not saying this to be cynical - i'm saying this because if it's true, it doesn't actually matter whether this is a dollars and cents calculation.


Going after the educational market is an ancient tactic of Apple's. If you get people using your product in schools, then when they get out into the real world and purchase their own $thing, they'll likely choose the one they're familiar with. Educational discounts for tech companies aren't really altruism - they're usually considered a loss-leader.

This happens in other arenas as well - for example, part of the reason why the religious right is so strong in the US at the moment is due to a lot of grass-roots work done in the 80s and 90s on school boards; playing the long game with the next generation. It's a tactic that was openly acknowledged in the 80s, and it's paid off for them.


Perhaps add privacy to that list as well. Hopefully.


Updated, thx. Yeah that's definitely one of their core values.


While your skepticism is easily justified and I share it, I would just point out that:

> Plus, its an opportunity to build brand allegiance at a young age.

If this leads to other vendors like Microsoft, Google, etc. launching their own coding camps geared towards youth I think it's a net win and results in competition in an area which is currently under served.

I also think it's a little unrealistic to expect a corporation to just throw money at philanthropic endeavors...as nice it might be to think about/wish for.


> I also think it's a little unrealistic to expect a corporation to just throw money at philanthropic endeavors...as nice it might be to think about/wish for.

Google gave 190,000 - and possibly much more that I'm unaware of. [1]

> launching their own coding camps

I think what apple is doing right now is 'mostly harmless'. The strategy is flawed and antisocial, but the reach and impact is minimal. However, if all the major players started competing in this area, I think it could quickly became a significant net loss for our society. Established for profit tech corporations with eco-system oriented agendas are not well suited for the role of designing or choosing educational programs for our youth, their self interest is too narrow and all consuming.

[1] http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/google-donate-...


> Google gave 190,000 - and possibly much more that I'm unaware of

Also don’t forget things like the Google Summer of Code: $6k per student x 1000 students x 11 years = $66M so far.


Yes, and that raises questions for me about Google's bias in the summer of code. Obviously, apple has a massive culture of extreme bias from top to bottom.

I'd be curious to know if Google supports projects that benefit the ecosystems of competitors.


Google and Microsoft have been working together on TypeScript since Google decided on TS for Angular2, https://techcrunch.com/2015/03/05/microsoft-and-google-colla...


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “We can’t leave anyone out. We’re proud to make this $75 million investment in computer science education to create new opportunities for students across the spectrum of diverse youth and help build a tech talent pipeline that will spark new innovations for the future.”

http://news.microsoft.com/2015/09/16/microsoft-expands-globa...


Microsoft already does this at their stores with YouthSpark. https://www.microsoft.com/about/philanthropies/youthspark/yo...


Seems very reminiscent of classroom iMacs in the late 90s. Not 100% altruistic but nothing to complain about.


Do you know what "those entities" do? They teach Scratch just like Apple's program.


Why do I get the feeling that they'll only teach swift (or maybe scratch in order to lead into swift)...


I'd expect them to only teach Swift, they're making Swift a great beginners language and are investing heavily in Swift Playgrounds and surrounding learning content resources.

Apple's other Obj-C/C/C++ languages are terrible for teaching kids how to program with.


I would hope that they would teach swift as they created it, it runs on all their hardware and it is open source so it also can run on Windows and Linux. And imagine if Google adopts Swift for android as an alternative to Java? Then you have it spanning all major platforms.


What is wrong with that? It is a great beginners language and why should Apple not focus on what they know best and which can benefit them in the long run. Is is wrong for a company to think about their own well being? Apple technologies are seldom taught at University. As an iOS developer that has sort of been a blessing as you get in such high demand compared to Android guys since there is so much lower supply of iOS developers. People typically have to learn it on their own while Comp Sci people out of college today seem to typically be familiar with Android.

Anyway Java has been a preferred beginner language for many schools and it is a horrible beginners language, so Swift is certainly an advancement.


Ironically, I sometimes fear Apple would be the harbinger of programming's death, what with how much can be done via consumer-friendly app and touch-screens. It didn't help hearing about OSX becoming macOS, which would be well in line with a dystopian future in which the only people who need to know about plaintext and file systems are the full-time Apple programmers.

But this sounds like a great initiative...and also, one that seems to be nearly all upside for Apple. Great PR, good benefit to society, increased buzz at the brick and mortar stores, and the cost of running these camps seem like it would be more than paid for by kids who are not only buying the programmable peripherals (anyone have experience hacking the Sphero?), but Apple products for all of their coding lives.


Can you expand on why you thought the OSX -> macOS change would lead to anything in particular like that? I don't really understand how.


Sorry, I don't have much reasoning on the specifics of OSX to macOS as they've been recently revealed, just the general skepticism that one operating system could achieve the best of both systems...in the same way that Windows 8.1, in my limited usage, was a fairly compromised experience. But I'm saying that as someone who can't imagine how skilled engineering could satisfactory thread the needle...and I'm giving short shrift to the potential greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts experience of a combined touch-and-desktop experience that perhaps a later iteration of Surface Book will achieve.

Mostly I'm bitter that not only can I not memeorize any of the 3+ finger gestures on iOS, I don't even know how customize/deactivate them, and I have a sneaking suspicion that more such touch magic will be part of the desktop experience.


They've renamed OS X to macOS. That's it.

Always read past the headline before getting upset.


I did read past the headline. My impression is that OSX as I know it will largely be the same in the first iteration of macOS, but the big consumer-facing changes are things that integrate the experience of my iOS device with my desktop, such as Siri and copy-and-paste. In terms of technical achievement, obviously the new file system seems to be the biggest change, but I don't see anything that will drastically impact what I do day to day (which is fine with me of course). Going off of Apple's own preview page [0], it's very hard to shake off the impression that what Apple thinks is most exciting about Sierra is that it brings over iOS's most signature features...and the most prominent of those, Siri, is a bit far on the other side of the spectrum from the typical Desktop dev tool.

I don't have a problem with these iOS features being brought over...I like all of these features even if I don't use them often on my phone or iPad. My problem has been the relative dearth of features that are desktop focused...the improvements haven't been bad, but they haven't signalled a desire on Apple's part to overhaul the desktop experience the way that Microsoft has with Windows.

But you can disagree with my assessment, maybe you think OSX is nearly perfect as is (personally, I love it, but that's as a developer), or that the changes since 10.6 have been as significant as Windows 7 to 8 to 10.

But I find it ironic that you accuse me of being too simple-minded to read past a headline when you've apparently already forgotten the public proclamations of Apple officials that the iPad Pro can be a desktop replacement. For fucks sake it's in the iPad Pro's product page right now:

> iPad Pro is more than the next generation of iPad — it’s an uncompromising vision of personal computing for the modern world. It puts incredible power that leaps past most portable PCs at your fingertips. It makes even complex work as natural as touching, swiping, or writing with a pencil...See how iPad Pro can be your next computer

Sure, push it off as fancy marketing talk if you want. I almost felt the same way when they sad the iPhone would replace the camera, despite far more in pro camera equipment than I have spent on computers in my lifetime...and Apple has been right on the ball on that. The full-size camera has its uses, but for all intents and purposes when it comes to photos produced and ecosystems affected, the iPhone (and Android) own the way we take images.

Why the hell should we think that convergence of desktop and mobile device won't and/or shouldn't happen? Microsoft Surface is already very impressive. iPad Pro does decent despite lacking desktop applications. Moreover, looking at past quarterly reports, there is no reason to think the desktop ebb will reverse.

I never said that I thought this iteration of macOS is the turning point...I only meant that if Apple intends to consolidate, the the branding and feature set of macOS is a logical iteration toward that goal. Consolidating the best of iOS and the best of OSX makes good business sense, but convergence will always have a few drawbacks for the edge case users. But don't take me as a total hater of change...my photography experience and experience has been made mostly obsolete by the ubiquitous of high quality cameras in the form of smartphones, but the fact that so many more people can capture and share beautiful memories (and important events) at a scale unthinkable in the pro-DSLR days, far outweighs what monetary damage had been done to the pro photography sector.

[0] http://www.apple.com/macos/sierra-preview/


I don't think macOS is targeting touch screens -- and it's not a combination of OSX and iOS. It's simply a renaming of the OSX system.


Specifically because iOS TEN is coming out, so they have to get rid of OS TEN


I don't disagree...such an evolution would be too drastic and unnecessary given the desktop and iPad Pro ecosystem...but to presume that Apple might someday make macOS and iOS intertwined doesn't require a drastic reading between the lines:

- the top feature in the Apple macOS preview is the porting of an exclusive iOS feature (Siri)

- there weren't any huge new features in Yosemite, though the top billed feature is split screen, which was subsequently introduced to iOS9. You can notch that as a victory for the Desktop-worldview...but the other big feature I remember in Yosemite was bringing over Metal, which was introduced in iOS 8.

- for Mavericks, which had many more changes, the two top What's New features are iBooks and Maps...two iOS apps that do not particularly change up the Desktop experience.

- Other developers might disagree with me, but while I've been mostly happy as a developer on OSX, I can't recall the last time Apple added something that hugely changed my experience as a developer...Bash on 10.11.5 is still the same Bash as on 2007...almost a decade ago. The freeing of the Office apps was very nice, though I don't use them so can't say how well they've been maintained. I do know that iTunes and iPhoto continue to be a disruptive shitshow, and nearly every app that I use on a daily basis, from Chrome, to Dropbox, to Google Chrome, to Steam and Atom...are third-party.

For fucks sake, one of the small things that would bring me daily happiness is a built in version of flux. But not only did Apple steal flux's thunder by blocking the iOS flux app and then adding Night Shift, they still haven't added it to OS X, which is where flux originated...and I don't see it as part of macOS.

- And then there's the hardware. I don't pay enough attention to PCs to know whether Appple is still outpacing them, but the rate and quality of new first-party peripheral does not feel like Apple is pushing hard on this front. I love the trackpads (a feature that has followed innovation on iOS), but I want a mouse, and the Apple first-party mice are terrible. I do love my several-years old aluminum keyboard...but the new one didn't seem to be a worthwhile improvement for the price jump.

- and of course, there's the Apple Display situation. No other Apple product would more greatly improve my computing experience and I am more than happy to pay the premium...the amount of time and money I've wasted in researching and buying third-party monitors that for whatever reason, aren't as seamless as the 5 year old Thunderbolt display, had more than exceeded the Apple premium sticker price.

- the iOS App Store has its problems...but the Mac App Store does not feel like an ecosystem that Apple has put nearly as much effort in helping out developers (or consumers)

- the iPad Pro is marketed as "your next computer"

Oops, meant that to be a simple list and not a rant. But typing it out on my iPad was slow enough that I kept thinking of other signs of non-desktop-enthusiasm for Apple :)...you can argue that Apple isn't overtly hampering the desktop...but it's hard to argue that Apple sees as much potential from desktop, based on its recent product releases.


> dystopian future in which the only people who need to know about plaintext and file systems are the full-time Apple programmers

We're heading into a dystopian future where the only people who need to know about manual transmission and fuel injectors are auto mechanics.

There are plenty of non technical people who benefit from increased abstraction. I'm personally happy as long as it doesn't impact productivity for power users.


>> dystopian future in which the only people who need to know about plaintext and file systems are the full-time Apple programmers

> We're heading into a dystopian future where the only people who need to know about manual transmission and fuel injectors are auto mechanics.

To be fair, "auto mechanics" is a wider class than "Ford technicians".


I think the invention of the GUI killed the dream of mainstream programming.

If computers had to be interacted with in ways that resembled programming - like a UNIX prompt - then people would be more used to the way computers actually work, with functions and parameters instead of icons and settings menus.

I really hope that raspberry PI gets more mainstream appeal as time goes on. I fear the separation between coders and users is creating parallel worlds of echo-chamber wizards and ignorant commoners.


I believe as you do and in basically the same terms, but, having had forms of this discussion for much of my life, I've encountered a counterargument that I thought I'd bring up as a devil's advocate:

> the way computers actually work, with functions and parameters instead of icons and settings menus

Isn't "the way computers actually work" at a fundamental level about electrical engineering, or at least about machine instructions? If you're using Unix commands, hasn't a whole lot of work already been done to create the abstractions of pipes, file descriptors, files, filesystems, and so on? Is it clear that there is some sense in which these abstractions are faithful and true to the machine and technology, where other software abstractions are not?


I got a ton of upvotes on this, but nobody has replied to it! I wonder how many people who upvoted me noticed that I claimed to be expressing an argument against my own opinion. :-)


I noticed, but I'm sort of mystified about why you wouldn't agree with that opinion. Clearly the command line is an order of magnitude more abstract than practical electrical engineering.

We need different people to understand different layers, and as long as there are enough people paying attention to each layer, there's no problem.


> Isn't "the way computers actually work" at a fundamental level about electrical engineering, or at least about machine instructions?

I agree, which is why sometimes I think perhaps a toy assembly language might be a neat experiment from a pedagogical point of view.


Without a GUI, mainstream computing probably wouldn't even exist let alone mainstream programming.


> Without a GUI, mainstream computing probably wouldn't even exist let alone mainstream programming.

As a child growing up, learning to function in society by speaking, reading, writing, and generally understanding English was a much harder task for me than learning to program in BASIC. BASIC is simple, predictable, logical and downright easy compared to English.

We take learning to read and write for granted, but its a messy, difficult, and often illogical affair. We have such high literacy rates because we start kids on it so young, and because its everywhere.

Its easy to imagine a version of our world in which children learn to interact with computers without GUIs, if CLIs were the norm. Children would learn them faster than adults.

Consider those children for whom learning a CLI was prerequisite to playing video games. All of those kids who I knew quickly memorized the requisite commands.


> Consider those children for whom learning a CLI was prerequisite to playing video games. All of those kids who I knew quickly memorized the requisite commands.

Ah yes, I still figuratively remember all the commands for loading Sinclair Spectrum and Commodore 64 games, and their "FastLoad" variants, typing in those PEEKs and POKEs from magazines for cheating/hacking, then the fiddling with AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS while trying to juggle HIMEM and EMM386 and whatnot to be able to play DOS games..

It definitely piqued my interest in the workings of computers, spurred on by the generally more technically-inclined (not to mention humorous! oh how I miss CRASH and ZZAP!) magazines of the time, and it did get me into programming.

BUT, all that CLI voodoo was just a routine ritual to my other friends, in the way of what they really wanted (games.) They just had all the commands written down, and would rather ask someone than consult a manual when something needed to be done differently. They already had other interests. It didn't make all of them programmers.

So as with everything else, you can't really make a general statement that "X will make children do Y." People who are inclined towards doing something, will do that thing, on their own. I think what we (the adults) should focus on, is making things easier for them after the fact, after they've decided to get into programming.

Let's start with why the major operating systems of today require separate downloads and online research to get started with programming. macOS comes with that Grapher app, Windows comes with Paint, why can't they come with a nice coding app and some tutorials? So kids can just start poking away on their $500+ tablets and computers out of the box, like we used to on the C64, 20 years ago?


> Its easy to imagine a version of our world in which children learn to interact with computers without GUIs, if CLIs were the norm. Children would learn them faster than adults.

Do you want those children to hate CLIs because they are boring and they have to learn it just like all other boring stuff such learning how to read and write? If we offer children a way to enjoy what they are doing (i.e. make it fun to use/learn it), they will look forward to learning how to program. And making a task harder while it could be easier is not the answer (and children are not stupid, they would realize that a GUI would also be possible these days).

Furthermore, CLIs are hard to use in many environments. Would you want your waitress type "start paying; add product NAME [QUNANTIY]" instead of just touching the symbol a few times? There are many advantages with CLIs, especially when doing "traditional computing tasks" but in the real world, which is becoming much more digital, CLIs are not useable and a touchscreen with buttons is quicker. So why should the general public know how to use them – there are outside of our "edge cases" not really useful.


I'm responding to the claim that GUIs were probably necessary for coding to become commonplace. They were absolutely not necessary, though they certainly accelerated it.

In this context, most of your post seems unrelated to mine.


My argument is that without GUIs, computers would have either never become common or would gain adoption at a substantially slower pace than they have with the general public. With no/slowed adoption of computers, it's not possible for programming to become more common than it is today.


We are likely to use words like "common" and "substantially slower" somewhat differently, given the subjectivity of the terms. However:

> With no/slowed adoption of computers, it's not possible for programming to become more common than it is today.

"Not possible"? That's false on the face of it. You appear to be making unwarranted assumptions about what is possible in the relationship between (a) the amount of 'computing' in today's world and (b) the number of people who program.

The only non-cultural factor which really limits the possibility of coding is the availability of machines on which to program. I believe there were only around 20 million devs worldwide at the beginning of 2014. More PCs were shipped in the mid 80s in the US alone.

It is absolutely possible that a world in which the GUI was never invented could have more coders coding than a world in which the GUI had been invented. And the reverse is also true, of course.


This seems like a really elitist attitude. I like windows and buttons and menus. I also really like the command line, my development environment is a fullscreen terminal window.

Programming nowadays is easier than ever to get into. All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and the drive to learn.

If you bought a car in the early 20th century, you had to know how to work on it. Now, that's not that case.


> I fear the separation between coders and users is creating parallel worlds of echo-chamber wizards and ignorant commoners.

Isn't that how a society works? The vast number of diverse human activities are only possible because of the echo-camber, of people who specialise in one area while remaining ignorant in almost all the others.

Also computing, and programming, is much much more than a unix prompt.


Not everyone likes the UNIX prompt.

Some of us rather enjoy the way Xerox PARC envision the future of computing.

On that vision IDEs and REPLs like the Swift Playground are the way it should be, no need for a UNIX prompt.


Why do people think that having programming skills is something that people of the future need? It's useless for most of people, and for many people who know how to program, is also useless for them too, as most if not all their needs are already fulfilled by someone else.

I think it's more important for the younger generation to learn about other things, some of them I do not know.

Things like agriculture, law, music theory, etc. are much more important than programming.


That's a pretty limited way of thinking about programming, which is basically the capability to translate intent to an autonomous, tireless machine.


I don't think the GUI has anything to do with it.

> If computers had to be interacted with in ways that resembled programming - like a UNIX prompt

Maybe programming should start resembling GUIs more, instead of the GUI resembling programming more?

The only reason I got into programming was by messing around with HyperCard as a kid. HyperCard had an excellent learning curve. You could just use the pre-built stacks (stuff like an address book). Then you could start editing the controls (adding a field to the address book), then start using the prefab button generator or copying pre-coded buttons from sample stacks (say, to add a button to go to your own card in the address book). Then start hacking away at the scripts in the buttons (scripts that resembled english better than any language I've seen since). And this thing came with every Mac.

Today, you have to decide "I want to learn to program", look up resources, maybe do a tutorial. The only thing we have today that's close to "tricking" people into programming without them deciding to start programming is Excel spreadsheets. That's probably the #1 programming environment today.


Could you elaborate on why the GUI killed the possibility of mainstream programming? I'm not exactly sure if the concept of what programming is (in an abstract sense) should be bound to the idea of a CLI.

In my opinion the use of a GUI vs CLI is more of a preference and doesn't explicitly assume the user is ignorant.


> If computers had to be interacted with in ways that resembled programming - like a UNIX prompt - then people would be more used to the way computers actually work, with functions and parameters instead of icons and settings menus.

Yes. That's exactly how it would be, for whatever small fraction of current computer users were able and willing to adapt to that paradigm.

You're absolutely right about the separation between people who understand how computers work and people who only use them. Your second sentence in this comment is a brilliant example of the "echo-chamber wizard" school.


GUIs allow things to be done by people who otherwise would not be interacting with a computer. They are huge enablers! This is true of the arts with computer graphics, music software. Granted really advanced users of computer graphics packages often end up doing some kind of programming via Python scripting or even Action Script back in the days of Flash. However there are plenty of people that are pure artists and just digitally paint of sculpt.


What kind of weird dream is that? Do people also have dreams about mainstream odontology or mainstream plumbing? WTF is wrong with the programmes that they want to turn entire population into lookalikies?


Of course there are upsides for Apple. Otherwise they couldn't do it (even if Tim wanted it, the stakeholders have the final saying). But I'm not really worried about that a lot. Sure, people will learn how great it is to program with Apple, and how easy you can do certain things in the playground sandbox (that's where you will code on your iPad. You give the program simple instructions such as move or draw an object in Swift but the heavy lifting is done by Apple's GUI Frameworks).

But as the kids grow older (and hopefully become more interested in programing), they will also learn the limitations of the playground. And this is where they will start looking in other alternatives. They might explore proper iOS development but at some point, but eventually they will have to deal with other platforms or programing languages. Some will probably stick to iOS, and the soon-to-be programers will prefer iOS because they have more knowledge in iOS programming but in general, there will be more programers for all languages.

I started programing about 6 or 7 years ago when I was 12 or 13. When I first started programing, I loved the PHP IDE I was using on my first windows laptop – it was so helpful and offered so many helpful functions and I was soon locked into it. At that time, I couldn't think about using another editor or os. But as I grew more passionate about programming (and started to see the limitations of PHP), I started using other languages, and I had to explore other editors. Long story short, right know, I'm mostly using VIM (although I would not call myself an VIM export – I just loving using it and because it is so quick, lightweight, modular and works everywhere). I prefer developing on Mac but last month I used Linux (Fedora) for over a month and enjoyed it. There was nothing I couldn't do on Fedora but I'm glad to be back on macOS again (I just prefer the platform as a whole and their integration with my other devices).

What I'm saying is that it doesn't really matter if you are locked into one language as long as you you are curious about things (which children generally are). You will soon discover that there are many things that are sometimes greater or just fun to use. Those things will not go away. I don't see many Swift webservers anytime soon and there will always be a need to use other languages. At some point, those kid will realize that their iPad is not sufficient and will switch to a PC. This path is certain better then scare kids away especially because many kids need immediate feedback when they type something (and "hello world" on a console won't cut it).


I remember going to Apple Camp as a kid (around 2006). At the time, they had different sessions teaching kids how to "edit movies", "make music", "build websites" etc. They were showing us how to use iMovie, GarageBand, and iWeb.

After attending those camps, I so badly wanted a Mac.


As much as I want to cheer this it leaves me with the sour thought that modern Apple robbed kids of the joys the original Apple afforded. Growing up with the Apple II+ in our home I was programming from an early age because that was the primary activity you could do with one right out of the box. Look at the loops you have to run through to unleash the power of the iPad. Developer accounts, EULAs, closed APIs. Where is the modern equivalent of computer clubs where most members could code or at least were interested?


I find this program ironic since Apple locks down iDevices pretty hard - their App Store rules prohibit coding[1] on iPhones & iPads. If anyone were to attempt to make an interpreter/port Scratch or Python to iOS, the app would not be approved.

1. §3.3.2 An Application may not download or install executable code. Interpreted code may only be used in an Application if all scripts, code and interpreters are packaged in the Application and not downloaded.


Perhaps you haven't heard about Pythonista, which is a full Python programming environment available on the App Store. Now there's also Playgrounds, which is a Swift programming environment that comes with the iOS 10 beta and runs on the iPad (you can even invoke iOS frameworks, apparently) — yes, this is from Apple itself, and yes, they're bending their own rules. But your original statement is not strictly true.


Pythonista can invoke iOS frameworks too[1].

1: https://files.grid.in.th/7KXJ4O.jpg (from Pythonista's examples)


There has always been things like Codea as well, for a long time now:

[1] http://twolivesleft.com/Codea/


In what way are they bending their own rules? The application comes with it's own Swift compiler and exposes only the public APIs.

Nothing Pythonista couldn't do already.


Pythonista cannot open code from other apps so all code has to originate in the app (other than copy-paste).

Swift Playgrounds can round-trip with XCode.


That seems like a bit of a red herring. What does blocking the downloading of code have to do with offering coding camps?

Regardless, I don't think the kids need to worry about that until they offer the Corporate Strategems Bootcamp. Until then, pretty sure if the kids want to create apps that download executable code, they can install them on their device directly with xcode.


> That seems like a bit of a red herring. What does blocking the downloading of code have to do with offering coding camps?

How does a kid share? This type of thing is important. Everyone can see the athlete play, hear the singer singing, but how does a young coder get notices if no code can be shared?

Ideally, one kid should be able to "flip / slide" his/her project onto another kids iPad with a option to put a link in the iCloud. Otherwise, its just a solitary activity with no social reward.


> How does a kid share? This type of thing is important. Everyone can see the athlete play, hear the singer singing, but how does a young coder get notices if no code can be shared?

For the very specific case of apps that download executable code off the network. So it's more like, athletes that play a specific sport, or a singer that sings very specific class of music.

> if no code can be shared

Now that's just either fud or a lie.


There's also Codea, which runs Lua. The company that built Codea also made a game with it called Cargo Bot.


People often suggest that we should be teaching programming in primary/elementary school to kids.

I'm skeptical that that would encourage kids to code. This opinion is particularly espoused by politicians who can't code but want to be seen as technically progressive.

I think part of loving programming is discovering it on your own and seeking it out. Events/Sessions like this and CoderDojo that we have here in Ireland are more effective at evangelising kids to code because it endows a greater sense of autonomy to the individual that what you get in a classroom and I think thats a more conducive environment to encourage coding.


I've long felt that the utility of learning to code was less about vocational training but more about analytical thinking.

Ie, figuring out how to solve problems by analysing a task and breaking it into small and discrete bite-size pieces that can be understood by a computer's rule set.


Hopefully a course like UC Berkeley's "CS10: The Beauty and Joy of Computing" can point the way: http://cs10.org/su16/

"But this course is far more than just learning to program. We'll focus on some of the "Big Ideas" of computing, such as abstraction, design, recursion, concurrency, simulations, and the limits of computation. We'll show some beautiful applications of computing that have changed the world, talk about the history of computing, and where it will go in the future. Throughout the course, relevance will be emphasized: relevance to the student and to society. As an example, the final project will be completely of the students' choosing, on a topic most interesting to them. The overarching theme is to expose students to the beauty and joy of computing. This course is designed for computing non-majors, although interested majors are certainly welcome to take the class as well! We are especially excited about bringing computing (through this course) to traditionally under-represented groups in computing, i.e., women and ethnic minorities."


>I think part of loving programming is discovering it on your own and seeking it out.

Agreed. Schools kill joys of learning. I hated history in school, but now I am big ancient history enthusiast. Most of my friends associate history with boring stuff taught to kids.

Programming should be discovered by kids and adults on their own


That's a really good idea to make the future developers learn the Apple platform. But Microsoft had a better one; to buy Minecraft and add it to Visual Studio.


Microsoft already does one day events in their stores. My SO who's an elementary school teacher took her class to one of them.


I didn't know that. I found the link to the MS summer camps.

https://www.microsoft.com/about/philanthropies/youthspark/yo...


I like Apple's initiative but why use a third party application instead of their Swift Playground? It seems more appropriate and based on what's shown on WWDC, it's not that hard to learn.

This is a possible sign that Tynker can be bought by Apple soon to be integrated with Swift Playground.


Swift Playgrounds only runs on the iOS 10 beta and is itself still in a prerelease form.


It's possible that it still runs on iOS 10 beta, but based on their sample templates and what they have used in WWDC16, it's already a fully functional app. Better implementation than Tynker. And it's also a good preview for future coders to use.


Yeah, and it might even be the best choice to use it. I'd guess it would be. But it feels against Apple's "house style" to use unreleased software in that way.


The answer given by the article:

However, that app [Swift Playground] is aimed at slightly older children – those aged 12 and up.

But I have no idea if that's the real reason.


If you have tried the Swift Playground, you'd realize even 6-8 years old can actually use it.


It would be more useful to teach them an ultra-simple language like BASIC (there was an article posted about it recently -- the early DOS version -- still being the best language/IDE to teach kids), or even a stripped down version of javascript. Imagine the advantages in pure thought that would come for those kids that are able to grok functional programming at age 8?


Why do you want to expose kids to the horrible mess called JavaScript? And you can teach functional programming with Swift, thank you very much.


Can I do the coding camp? I'd like to learn...


Does anyone else ever wonder if this is part of a long term strategy to reduce costs by inflating the pool of developers? Corporations can think long term.


for a second i thought it said walmart in the beginning


Why aren't there any white people on the pictures?


Because you need glasses?


I don't think it's necessarily fair to call this program "philanthropic." It's teaching kids how to use proprietary and commercial software, like iMovie, iBooks, and Tynker, when completely free alternatives exist like Blender and Scratch.

This is essentially building a new generation of future Apple customers.


We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11946924 and marked it off-topic.


Yeah, it's a shame the skills you get from learning how to program on one platform don't translate to any other platform.


The industry would do well to better absorb the underlying point here (seriously, people, if Emeralds on Trails was really that great of an abstraction, a decent QIQ programmer with Orchestra framework experience would probably be able to pick up the important bits in the time an Emerald dev would be learning the domain specific portions of the app). But unfortunately, there are still costs to switching platforms and if you want to learn about or do anything other than learn new platforms, there's a limit to how much of that you can do.

And since we're talking about Apple here, it seems pretty safe to say that those costs are going to be higher than, say, a shift between Ruby and Python.

A language whose current practical use and reason for existence is entirely about developing for a single platform owned by an entity that has repeatedly demonstrated an indifference (or outright hostility) to outside use is not a language I'll likely use as an early one for learners.


Apple released a Linux port of Swift and its standard library when they open sourced it[0], indicating they are neither indifferent nor outright hostile to the language running on other platforms outside their ecosystem.

[0]: https://swift.org/blog/swift-linux-port/


If a widely distributed open compiler for Objective C and GnuStep (and other related efforts) had resulted in thriving Cocoa cross-platform development, I might be heartened by Swift's port and standard library.

As it is, even after NeXT had started down a cross-platform development road, Apple made several decisions that were indifferent to it (and a few that were hostile). Why will Swift be different?


By hostility you mean open-sourcing it and setting up prety nice framework which allows everyone to participate in its evolution?


It is also teaching kids that there are more ways to do low level stuff and cool games than being forced into pure C culture.

Having a new generation being brought up in compiled safe languages like Swift will be a great improvement for the mainstream coding.


Exactly!

I gave up on programming in high school when my borrowed C++ textbook started getting into memory management and I couldn't stop my head from spinning. I didn't even know simpler languages like Python existed until I started college.

I'm all for learning the hard stuff, but programming is such a different way of thinking from most things that it's hard enough to get beginners into the mindset, let alone be comfortable and confident with the syntax.


This will sound like one-upmanship and I definitely do not mean it that way.

When I was a kid I wanted to code to be like the cool dudes I heard about on the internet. The only book I could get was a book on COBOL, with a compiler which would only run on DOS.

COBOL is a horrible language and I never learned to code, now I'm 26 and can do the basics with python.. I'm a sysadmin, maybe that would have been different with a language that actually functioned in the modern day (at the time).

I feel somewhat similarly for swift/rust and the younger generation, there is a very high barrier to entry for C/C++, which flavour should you use? C99 or C11, what compiler, and what flags are needed for compiling your flavour?.. how do I google errors "C null dereference" when "C" is short enough a letter to be ignored by most search indexes?

Personally, I see initiatives such as Apples as a good thing and something I wish I'd had as a kid, even if they have a more sordid agenda.. it's not like coding skills and critical/logical thinking are not transferable skills.


It's still better than nothing.

If Uncle Ben's rice donates its branded rice to victims of a natural disaster - provided the containers say "Uncle Ben's Rice" - would you refuse it for a generic?


This is more akin to a church providing help to victims of a natural disaster... provided you agree to convert to its religion first. Uncle Ben's Rice is not an ecosystem.


Straw man - you misrepresent the argument. Uncle Ben's is merely a brand. After you've gotten used to one brand of rice, there is truly zero switching cost to switch to another brand.


Teaching a for/while/if loop in Swift is useless in all other languages \s


The existence of similar structures doesn't making switching costs zero, therefore the Uncle Ben's comparison remains a straw man fallacy.


If I were a relief agency, and those were the terms of their donation, I would refuse it. If they aren't willing to donate without making it a marketing opportunity, it's not really charity/philanthropy.


Wow. You would rather people starve than look at a logo?

Wow.


No, they would rather let people starve than not look at their logo.


Then I am glad you are not a relief agency...


Swift is free and cross platform. I'm sure after 6 months of Swift, that C#, JavaScript, etc will be much easier to learn.

The syntax isn't as important as the concepts: loops, conditionals, functions, types, etc


Tynker and Sphero aren't owned by Apple though? and Using blender for what iMovie does is nuts! Why on earth would you do that? Blender is a really complex piece of software and not at all the same as iMovie. Maybe you could say that about Swift playgrounds on iPad but even swift is open source so I don't know what you are talking about?


Yes, absolutely. There is nothing philanthropic about what apple is doing, just like there is nothing philanthropic about Google's efforts to bring effective, low cost computers into schools.

Both companies are fully aware of what they stand to gain in the years to come by familiarizing young people with the corporation's own technology.


I'm not sure I see the relevance of the program's proprietariness vs. its philanthropic value


I don't see the issue as being fundamentally about whether or not it is proprietary per se, but Apple's choice of technology makes it clear that Apple's actions are self interested, and not philanthropic.

Philanthropic means "seeking to promote the welfare of others, especially by donating money to good causes; generous and benevolent".

It does not mean "selfish action which happens to also benefit others"

There are several ways apple could have been less obviously self interested, not purely by choosing FLOSS.


People are often incentivized by providing philanthropy, if not monetarily, then simply by feeling better about themselves or guilt they might feel. In my humble opinion, if someone has a selfish reason to give, they're still giving.


This is as philanthropic the Apple II educational program under Job's Apple.


Honestly it seems like (nearly) everything they do appears narcissistic and self-serving.


   "when a thief looks at a saint all he sees is pockets"
I am not saing Apple is a saint, but too many look at it with a thieve's attitude.


Why surprised? This is HN


I suppose I anticipated a more open reception to the idea of Apple leveraging it's brick and mortar locations for something like this from a tech oriented community.

Not that you have to like the course, there is a lot to dislike about it, but the melding of Apple's store location infrastructure for providing accessible child bootcamps certainly is an interesting concept.

I was surprised everyone chose to focus on the course content instead (at least when I wrote the comment originally).


Please don't post about how bad HN is while making it worse yourself.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11948160 and marked it off-topic.


[flagged]


We've banned this account. Creating throwaway accounts to break the HN guidelines with is an abuse of this site.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11948160 and marked it off-topic.


So what are you going to do about it? I'm not being uncivil: I'm merely pointing out HN's hypocrisy when I see it.


[flagged]


You've repeatedly posted uncivil and unsubstantive comments to Hacker News. Please stop doing that.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

https://news.ycombinator.com/newswelcome.html


You've repeatedly censored dozens of people and fostered an unwelcome space for people who are smarter than you and people with different opinions than yours. Please stop doing that.


[flagged]


We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11948160 and marked it off-topic.


By that logic Apple's users could have purchased cheaper non-Apple products and donated the remaining money to non-profits. This entire line of moral reasonsing just doesn't work. Charitable causes do not trump the entirety of the rest of human endeavour and for-profit entities are not intrinsically amoral.


> Charitable causes do not trump the entirety of the rest of human endeavour and for-profit entities are not intrinsically amoral.

These are trivial near-tautologies addressing irrelevant and extreme positions. For example, some "charitable" causes are outright corrupt.

> By that logic Apple's users could have purchased cheaper non-Apple products and donated the remaining money to non-profits.

Most of us buy expensive hardware because we want expensive hardware, not because we want to pretend to be doing good in the world. Anyone foolish enough to think that they are making the world a better place by buying apple products would be appropriately subject to the same criticism: it would be far better if they bought cheaper hardware and used the difference in some intelligent way to make the world a better place.

> This entire line of moral reasonsing just doesn't work.

That's what happens when you apply slippery slope style reasoning unnecessarily. There is nothing illogical about looking at both (a) what one actually does and (b) what one could do - especially if there are entities praising your questionable actions as socially benign.

You are correct that one 'could always do better', but that is not a 'get out criticism free' card. Further, it needn't by itself change anyone's choice of where they draw the line for "more helpful than harmful". I believe that apple's actions here are more harmful than helpful, and the fact that their actions increase the divide between haves and have-nots is part of that evaluation.


You're still not making sense. You seem to believe that Apple should not be running coding camps out of their stores, which exist whether or not they're used for coding camps. That's silly.


> You're still not making sense.

Maybe you could be more specific. You could ask pointed questions, or quote the line or lines which you find confusing.

> You seem to believe that Apple should not be running coding camps out of their stores, which exist whether or not they're used for coding camps. That's silly.

Apple is a machine for making money for their shareholders. They can do whatever they like, as long as it is legal.

Apple should emphatically not be praised for running coding camps out of their stores.

The fact that apple's stores exist regardless of whether coding camps are run has nothing to do with anything in this conversation. Maybe you thought someone was making an argument about the allocation of real estate resources?


If all you're saying is that Apple shouldn't get extra kudos for running (Apple-tech-focused) programming camps at their own stores, fine. I might even agree with you. Super boring point, but, whatever.

But your original comment suggests you believe Apple is doing more harm than good with the camps. That point is interesting because, as I said, it seems silly.


If by 'original comment' you mean one of the grandparents in which I mention "social justice", I wasn't exactly trying to say "they don't deserve kudos" in that comment, and I wasn't exactly trying to say "they are doing more harm than good".

I would extract: "there is an additional axis to consider when considering the degree of social benefit and social harm caused by apple's camps - and that axis is suggested by the question: Does this increase or decrease social inequality?"

I think that the camps necessarily will increase social inequality, but not on a scale that I find concerning at this point. By itself, modestly increasing social inequality wouldn't mean that apple is doing more harm than good, as there is a good to be found in educating children, even if those children are not always the most disadvantaged children. It all depends on how one personally assigns weight to each factor under consideration.

As an aside (and this surely colors my tone, but not the argument intended) it happens that I do personally consider the camps to be 'more harm than good' (but only marginally so) when everything is weighed together, but I wasn't trying to make that suggestion in the grandparent.


[flagged]


You've repeatedly posted uncivil and unsubstantive comments to HN. Please stop doing that.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11947087 and marked it off-topic.


Apparently not everyone...


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