Hacker Newsnew | comments | ask | jobs | submitlogin
Blank screen if kids yell too much (superuser.com)
221 points by ivoflipse 438 days ago | comments


SoftwareMaven 438 days ago | link

I'm don't have enough information to know whether I like the attempt to silence his kids. It would be easy to see kids that age getting out to control to the point that damage to the computer occurs and noise is almost always the first step towards that.

But holy crap! Half of this place seems like they want to be raising robots, not individuals who all have their own needs and will need to be taught and treated differently. Worse, I have a strong feeling most of them haven't talked to a kid in years, much less ever raised one.

And these people are not just giving advice, but being highly judgmental. Saying the father is wrong. I raise four kids with my wife. Two kids as a single dad would be twice as hard at least.

Go walk a mile and see how your "build a robot" methodology works for your kid.

(Sorry about the rant. I take fatherhood and other people judging it very seriously. I came from an abusive household, and that is the only kind of environment I would openly judge a father for. This is not abusive, even if it offends somebody's sense of logic.)

-----

ChuckMcM 438 days ago | link

This. Got into a moderately long discussion with a co-worker about filtering out access to MySpace (it was a while ago :-) and chat access for my kids when they were younger. They were of the opinion that I was really damaging my kids by creating this barrier between them and the 'real world' and it wasn't like they weren't going to get there eventually. The conversation meandered into manners, swearing, all sorts of things. It was only then that I realized they didn't actually have kids, and said as much "So, you don't actually have kids do you?" and they sputtered a bit and admitted that no, they didn't. But they had a couple of nieces and nephews they knew pretty well and kids were kids. I just thanked them and ended the conversation.

If you are not a parent, evaluating parenting strategies is not possible, just like evaluating sexual positions if you're a virgin just doesn't work out. You need to be 'experienced' as Jimmy Hendrix famously said, to flip the bit in your brain associated with that experience before you can effectively evaluate different choices. Sad but true.

-----

neumann_alfred 438 days ago | link

"No, but I was one."

And frankly, most of the criticism has nothing to do with parenting but with intellectual honesty and how much you yourself understand about the world. If you teach your kid 2+2=5, I will be sure that is wrong, and "but you don't have kids" is a hilarious rebuttal.

-----

Cushman 438 days ago | link

Until you talk to a few parents and they say, "2+2=5? Yeah, we tried that. It worked pretty well up until 6 or 7 when we were able to have a real conversation about addition. Why do you think that's wrong?"

Then you might realize that, yes, not knowing anything about parenting actually does mean you have no basis to evaluate parenting decisions.

-----

neumann_alfred 438 days ago | link

Until you talk to a few parents and they say, "2+2=5? Yeah, we tried that. It worked pretty well up until 6 or 7 when we were able to have a real conversation about addition. Why do you think that's wrong?"

I would ask what did they mean by "working"? If the kid doesn't understand addition anyway, and asks what is 2+2, why not tell them 4? What would be the rationale to say it's 5, what is "working" here? It answered the question, but so would the correct answer.

Then you might realize that, yes, not knowing anything about parenting actually does mean you have no basis to evaluate parenting decisions.

If that parenting knowledge gives people expert insight, why don't they share it? Why hide behind "only parents would understand" (even ignoring that some parents disagree with them)? Why not refute the so obviously wrong armchair amateur advice with the correct facts? I see lots of talk, where is the money?

not knowing anything about parenting actually does mean you have no basis to evaluate parenting decisions.

It's cute, but sadly I saw what you did there: What or who, other than asexually reproducing life forms, or maybe those that lay eggs, does not know anything about parenting?

-----

Cushman 438 days ago | link

Let me take a step back here and lay this out in a more reductionist way.

There is an scientific approach to parenting. We can take a testable metric like body weight, and apply rigorous analysis of contributing factors, like eating habits and exercise, and arrive at a more-or-less objective conclusion like, "Feeding kids lots of sugar will make them fat." That's not a conclusion that's amenable to subjective analysis, and non-parents are as capable of drawing them as parents are (and in fact, non-parents may be better, because...)

There is also an intuitive approach to parenting, which is how most parenting decisions actually get made, because once you get the little details of keeping your kid alive and healthy taken care of, you start running into abstract problems like, "I want my child to have a happy and fulfilled life," for which really actionable scientific evidence is thin on the ground. Parents develop this intuition over the course of years of near-constant exposure to their children, where every single little thing they do has some consequence which they have nowhere near enough time or energy to seriously consider. It's the sort of problem our brains are made to solve, and generally it works out okay.

Consider that if you aren't a parent or full-time-plus childcare professional, you have something like one one thousandth that level of interaction with children, and much less in a custodial role. So let's swap out some nouns and see if this makes sense to you:

There's a question about a programming language. In the discussion are a layman, who has never used the language, and an amateur, with fifty thousand hours of subject matter experience. Somewhere are educated people studying the language rationally, but they are not here.

The amateur says, "Look, I know you have your own opinion and all, but I don't think you're really even qualified to discuss this if you haven't done any programming before."

The layman says, "Why not? This stuff is just common sense."

The amateur replies, "I understand it looks like common sense to you, but, in the nicest way possible, you just don't know anything about this."

The layman protests, "Of course I know about it! I use computers almost every day, and so does everyone here."

The amateur is frustrated. "That's... not really the same thing as programming at all."

The layman feels challenged. "Okay, if you're the big expert here, why don't you just share some of this so-called expertise with the rest of us?"

The amateur is perplexed. "...that's what I'm doing."

This discussion will never arrive at a productive result. There is just no path from here to there.

-----

neumann_alfred 438 days ago | link

Funnily you ignore that everybody who was a kid usually has about 10 years of all sorts of adults trying all sorts of things on them. And some of them were bright, separated the wheat from the chaff right then and there, and do remember. Sure, if you know that AND parenting, I'd like to hear your advice. But if you don't have the faintest clue what that even means, you could raise 10 kids and I would not be impressed.

Look, I know you have your own opinion and all, but I don't think you're really even qualified to discuss this if you haven't done any programming before.

Yeah, but if the programmer actually does have the experience, he CAN prove it, albeit in language the layman may not understand or follow. I don't see this happening here in this particular case. And therefore...

The layman feels challenged. "Okay, if you're the big expert here, why don't you just share some of this so-called expertise with the rest of us?"

The amateur is perplexed. "...that's what I'm doing."

This discussion will never arrive at a productive result.

Where are you guys doing that, sharing the expert knowledge? You skip INSTANTLY to "only parents would understand", AND you ignore the facts that some parents disagree, which is rendering your entire argument zilch -- that isn't hard to get, I already mentioned that and am now repeating; will you repeat with an even bigger wall of text every time I point out that flaw? Are you treating me like a kid, perhaps? No need to explain, just keep using big words and bloat it up? Pah.

-----

Cushman 438 days ago | link

The fact that your intuition is deceiving you is expert knowledge. The lesson, as has been reiterated by parents several times in these comments, is: Parenting decisions in the real world are hard, complex, and individual. It's treacherous enough for one parent to judge another's decision; if you are not a parent, stop now.

Maybe I should make it explicit that I'm not a parent; I've just heard enough experts say that to believe it. I am flattered you think I talk like a grown up, though.

-----

neumann_alfred 438 days ago | link

So you're not a parent, but say the following... that's hilarious and not worth further comment. But here's the reply I would have made to a parent, anyway.

The fact that your intuition is deceiving you is expert knowledge.

Nah, it's gotta have slightly more substance than that; no matter how often you repeat it. Just literally telling me to shut up won't cut it either.

Riddle me this, how is it not possible to tell your kid you want them to be not yell so loud when playing computer games impossible, and in what situation is it preferably to deceive them? If they actually respect their toys more than their parents, that's clearly a FUBAR situation.

You might say you don't know, because you are not familiar with the details. Well then, what of the stuff you do have experience with would lead you to say "hands off, it's 'their' children"? I mean, by this logic you also give carte blanche to any and all abuse, too: after all, nobody should judge what people do with 'their' children. I say bollocks to that, and am still waiting for a single argument that actually applies to this situation, instead of just hiding behind generalities, strawmen and logical fallacies.

-----

CodeMage 438 days ago | link

Riddle me this, how is it not possible to tell your kid you want them to be not yell so loud when playing computer games impossible

Oh, it's possible. Nobody claimed it's impossible. The question is, what do you do when (not if, when) it doesn't work? And by "doesn't work", I mean that they stop yelling for 30-90 seconds and then they start again.

and in what situation is it preferably to deceive them?

What people have been telling you over and over is that these decisions aren't as clear cut as

  if A and B and C then deception.preferable = true
What's going to work best depends on a lot of factors: age and psychological makeup of the kids, environment they live in, etc.

If they actually respect their toys more than their parents, that's clearly a FUBAR situation.

That statement reveals a profound lack of understanding of the subject matter, which is why so many people are criticizing you.

I say bollocks to that, and am still waiting for a single argument that actually applies to this situation, instead of just hiding behind generalities, strawmen and logical fallacies.

Which just goes to show you haven't actually bothered to look for those arguments. If you had, you would have found an explanation I offered, based on my experiences with my son, on observing other kids and on talking to other parents and educators: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5155974

Feel free to disagree with the explanation, but please stop throwing hissy fits because people called you out on your lack of credibility.

-----

neumann_alfred 437 days ago | link

Which just goes to show you haven't actually bothered to look for those arguments.

No, it means I got a LOT of replies goin on and on about strawmen. I consider those replies to my posts, imagine that.

please stop throwing hissy fits because people called you out on your lack of credibility.

Well, I appreciate the irony and the projection. Mocking non-sequitur arguments repeating what they missed isn't throwing a hissy fit just because I'm not going out of my way to read the whole thread over and over, and your argument boils down to "believing in Santa doesn't hurt anyone either". Well, that still makes it an undesirable, unnecessary, mediocre thing at best. And I don't buy the whole "kids at 4 are super egotistical" either, some are rather protective of their baby sibling for example, so they clearly know what being disturbed is. Actually, I remember one thing my father told my when I was a kid, that you can't lie to babies, they always notice... I took that literally, and told my baby brother I'd go to the toilet, thinking "I will go to the kitchen instead". When I left the room and he failed to cry, I was disappointed, I was already planning on using him as lie detector. You see, the fact that you shrug off the myth of Santa, the uttering of which would have been like crapping on the carpet for my family, just tells me we experienced and live in different worlds. And I couldn't care less about the additional credibility which the "parent" flag would give me, it's just not relevant; if I have kids they might turn out to be completely different persons who I was. But instead of speculating about a kid who is not me, even if it's "mine", I actually do remember. As you say so ironically, "Feel free to disagree", feel free to claim I remember wrong or whatever; but don't throw hissy fits just because your kids don't notice that shit.

-----

reinhardt 438 days ago | link

I'm just going to leave this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vRhr502wIc

-----

001sky 438 days ago | link

If you are not a parent, evaluating parenting strategies is not possible

As devil's advocate, i would argue this is not true. There are externalities to any strategy. And one can judge the impact of strategy X on people outside the immediate family. This is perhaps a caveat outside the scope of the context, but when evaluating things generally is worth pointing out.

-----

abstractbill 438 days ago | link

I think it's not quite literally true, but if you wanted to evaluate parenting strategies and were not a parent, you would have to put a lot of effort into observing parents (as opposed to just thinking about it a lot).

-----

neumann_alfred 438 days ago | link

Since it's all just anecdotal anyway, I also like to think back to teachers and other adults. As a general rule, those who treated me "as an equal" (not an actual equal, but without condescension or trickery that wasn't for the purpose of humour or pain/fright relief), I loved to learn from, did never mind to be corrected by. The rest? I found holes in their facade and had at them. Nature abhors a vacuum, and strong children abhor fake authority. Weak parents think disrespect is the problem, when often enough it's their own weakness. Children aren't "programmed" by nature to be a pain in the ass, far from it. They are "programmed" to learn, to be curious, and to love even. It actually takes quite a bit of fuckery to destroy that, but our society is good at it. And then those kids become parents and perpetuate it.

-----

dllthomas 438 days ago | link

Right, something like "and you're not a parent [or a scientist studying child rearing]"

-----

larrys 438 days ago | link

"As devil's advocate, i would argue this is not true"

I could argue either side of this but I would simply like to add that as a parent perspective also depends on the particular of your kids. Parent in situations "that work" who observe situations that don't work sometimes fail to see reasons out of anyone's control as to why a particular strategy may or may not work with a child.

In a sense someone with no children at all actually might have less of a bias ironically. (I have children..)

-----

ChuckMcM 438 days ago | link

... as a parent perspective also depends on the particular of your kids

+1 to this too, so when my first child was born I was very scientific, I watched her reactions to things, trying to understand her needs and her wants, how to interpret a cry of frustration from a cry of pain, etc. I was so totally an expert. And then my second daughter was born and she was different, literally from the moment she popped out of the womb. Her response, her verbalization, her responses. It was there and then that I realized that and advice about any specific kid, was likely as not completely worthless to parent of some other kid. All you could do is discuss 'strategies' for understanding or responding. Even simple things like 'cloth' vs 'disposable' diapers vary on their effectiveness between different kids.

Parenting has easily been both the hardest and most rewarding thing I've done with my life. And I came to realize early on that every parenting journey is unique. I think other parents figure this out too.

-----

hackoder 438 days ago | link

Thank you for that voice of reason.

You make two very good points here and in your other post.

1) Kids are different. There is a whole spectrum of right and wrong decisions depending on what your kid is like. Would anyone suggest that the same methods would work with a kid who is stubborn and one who is easy going?

2) These decisions depend on a kid's age. A 2-5 year old is not logical or rational, and can do outrageous things just to see how you would react. Don't deceive them, let them be kids, yadda yadda are almost funny to read. Like you said, walk a mile in the parents' shoes.

Anyway, getting back to the original post, I do see an issue with this approach (to parenting, not the technical solutions): I'd rather solve the bigger problem of the kids not listening to what the parent is saying rather than fixing this single instance. On the other hand, it is easy for kids to get rowdy without realizing it and this method seems to fix that particular issue well.

-----

neumann_alfred 438 days ago | link

Don't deceive them, let them be kids, yadda yadda are almost funny to read. Like you said, walk a mile in the parents' shoes.

Or, have had the luxury of having great parents who never bothered playing such mind games with you. Of course, since such gifted parents are rare, it's easy to simply dismiss such a high standard. But once you go non-bullshit, it's just hard to go back.

-----

incision 438 days ago | link

>Or, have had the luxury of having great parents who never bothered playing such mind games with you. Of course, since such gifted parents are rare, it's easy to simply dismiss such a high standard. But once you go non-bullshit, it's just hard to go back.

It's interesting that you're responding from the perspective of a child to a statement from the perspective of a parent.

Do you have children?

-----

neumann_alfred 438 days ago | link

It's interesting that you're responding from the perspective of a child to a statement from the perspective of a parent.

Yeah, it's almost as if it's a relationship between two humans, instead of a one-way input pipe.

Do you have children?

What makes you ask? That I respect kids more than quite a bunch of folks who are actually raising some? Or is that just an attempt to dismiss what I said without addressing it? That shit is getting real old.

-----

CodeMage 438 days ago | link

What makes you ask?

I don't know why @incision asked, so I can't speak for him or her. However, I know why I would ask you the same question: I would be curious whether you were simply speaking out of profound ignorance and entitlement or whether there was actually any credibility to back up your stance.

That I respect kids more than quite a bunch of folks who are actually raising some?

This has nothing to do with respect and a lot to do with hard-earned experience, which you don't have. And I say hard-earned because there's no decent parent out there that doesn't regret a whole lot of mistakes they made while they were bringing up their kids. Your attitude of moral superiority is not only undeserved, but it's also quite insulting.

Or is that just an attempt to dismiss what I said without addressing it? That shit is getting real old.

Is it? Funny, from where I stand, it looks like you were coming up with criticism and theories you never bothered to verify in any way, just because you feel entitled and I can tell you: that shit has been ancient before I was born.

I suggest you read Steve Yegge's "Have you ever legalized marijuana?" [1] or, if you're short on time, a relevant XKCD [2].

[1]: http://steve-yegge.blogspot.com/2009/04/have-you-ever-legali...

[2]: http://xkcd.com/793/

-----

neumann_alfred 437 days ago | link

from where I stand, it looks like you were coming up with criticism and theories you never bothered to verify in any way

?

"have had the luxury of having great parents who never bothered playing such mind games with you"

And I run into PLENTY of adults who just tried to use their privilege, or lies, for shortcut solutions. I know how they fared. So what exactly don't I have experience with, other than doing it to someone else?

"I suggest you read Steve Yegge's"

I suggest you actually address the content of my posts.

-----

incision 438 days ago | link

That's what I thought.

You're a troll.

You haven't said anything. No content, not even an anecdote. You just spat out a couple of emotional, condescending quips, likely in hopes of teasing out another abstract argument [1].

1: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5156930

-----

neumann_alfred 437 days ago | link

That's what I thought.

You're a troll.

Maybe stop thinking that for a second and pretend you are actually supposed to give me an actual answer. I mean, it's neat and easy and all that, I understand, but you're flat out wrong and that you are just looking at an exit while being unintentionally ironic. I am not teasing these abstract arguments, I am time and time telling you stop with the logical fallacies and generalities, give me the argument for this situation. I also love how you hold exactly the BS responses I complain about, including yours, against me.

You haven't said anything. No content, not even an anecdote.

Right, and while you're lying you think you might just keep on with it, huh? Nope. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5156988

So you would rather talk about the messenger, than the message, also ignoring that some people with kids say the same fucking thing. Well, I already established that, too, the question is how often are you going to repeat proving it?

-----

ahupp 437 days ago | link

Or, they did the same stuff when you were 4 but being an irrational 4 year old you never noticed.

-----

incision 438 days ago | link

>...individuals who all have their own needs and will need to be taught and treated differently.

So, so true.

I find it's a common source of frustration and tool of rationalization to blindly apply what appears to have "worked" for one kid to all of the rest, expecting if not demanding the same result. Kids aren't uniform data ready for predictable processing.

>Worse, I have a strong feeling most of them haven't talked to a kid in years, much less ever raised one.

Child-rearing is such a magnet for expert advice given from a position of zero practical experience. There are all sorts of things in life that would be more applicable to speak authoritatively on with only theory to work from, but I rarely see the same kind of absolute assuredness anywhere else.

I'm thinking folks tend to take their own childhood as years of "factual" evidence and experience in the matter.

-----

SoftwareMaven 438 days ago | link

I forgot to mention, all parenting aspects aside, this is a really cool hack. I love seeing what can be accomplished with just scripts, pipes, and the occasional file.

-----

Cushman 438 days ago | link

Hear, hear. The way people second-guess everyday parenting decisions is annoying, but the way people here are reacting to this one is mind boggling. This is a clear and obvious win all around: Dad's happy, the kids are happy, and all because Linux saved the day. Let's ship it and go home, folks.

-----

kmfrk 438 days ago | link

That's just the weird cargo-cult "hacker mentality" intersecting with parenting.

People would submit articles entitled "How I hacked my children", if it weren't because there was a nagging feeling in the back of their skull that something wasn't right about this attitude.

Doesn't stop people from applying it to everything else, though.

-----

bnegreve 438 days ago | link

I saw this yesterday and run this script all night:

while true; do sox -t .wav "|arecord -d 1" -n stat 2> /tmp/tmp; echo -n `date +"%Y%m%d%H%M%S"` " "; cat /tmp/tmp | grep "Maximum amplitude" | cut -d ":" -f 2 | tr -d '\n'; cat /tmp/tmp | grep "Midline amplitude" | cut -d ":" -f 2 | tr -d '\n'; cat /tmp/tmp | grep "Rough *frequency" | cut -d ":" -f 2; done

and got this: http://i.imgur.com/oD6ZKIg.png?1

Interesting things: When my neighbor walks in his apartment above mine, it creates a amp peak with low frequency.

I have no idea what are those approx. one hour long periodic variations in the frequency, maybe my computer's fan or me snoring.

Anyway, pretty useless...

-----

elteto 438 days ago | link

I look at that command line and feel amazed at what you can do with a command prompt. These are the two things that strike me as incredible:

* You didn't write a single line of code (well technically you did write one), nor researched about sound APIs or any kind of sound analysis algorithms or theory.

* You used several tools that just seamlessly shared their inputs and outputs and each one worked as supposed.

Granted, you need to know some bash and figure out how every utility works and the right command line switches to use, but still, pretty impressive.

-----

dllthomas 438 days ago | link

This is the advantage of living at the command prompt. If you're mostly working through GUI (or CUI) interfaces that hide those details it can be somewhat convenient in the short run but you trap yourself: the effort needed when you want to do something complex that requires that knowledge is now suddenly much greater, because first you need to learn how to talk to each of the components of that pipeline before fitting them all together. I'll still need to check a man-page or two for less familiar functionality or a less familiar utility, but that's much better than checking five (the number of commands in the above pipeline that are passed at least one switch) and that's assuming you know which commands you'll want to be using in the first place.

-----

Camillo 438 days ago | link

Two things to note, though: 1) the script as given doesn't actually generate graphical output, just a text file; 2) something like Quartz Composer would be perfect for doing this with a GUI.

-----

elteto 438 days ago | link

I have used Automator before (I think this is what you refer to) and also graphical programming languages as LabVIEW (not for scripting, of course ;) and I still feel very constrained when compared to using a command line or writing a script. I feel that the gain in simplicity comes at the expense of flexibility: when chaining program blocks/elements together you are constrained to what the original designers of the language thought were the most common use cases.

-----

Camillo 438 days ago | link

You need to do less thinking and more listening, friend. When I say Quartz Composer, I mean Quartz Composer.

-----

bnegreve 433 days ago | link

Regarding 1), the plotting is also done with a (gnuplot) script.

-----

phaemon 438 days ago | link

Nice line, but you don't actually need all those separate greps and cats. You can do:

while true; do sox -t .wav "|arecord -d 1" -n stat 2> /tmp/tmp; echo -n $( date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S ); grep -e "Maximum amplitude" -e "Midline amplitude" -e "Rough *frequency" /tmp/tmp | cut -d ":" -f 2 | tr -d "\n"; echo; done

Shortening a line like this reminds me of a discussion on a forum about picking a random movie to play. It started off with loops and scripts of all kinds, and eventually ended with "shuf" :)

-----

DenisM 438 days ago | link

That looks rathe cool! Do you know by chance what it takes to get something like this running on a Mac?

-----

dllthomas 438 days ago | link

sox and arecord, or equivalents, it looks like...

-----

anigbrowl 438 days ago | link

Fast forward to 2030...

  ...
  for (int month = 1, month <=12, month++)
  {  
    printf ("You never call. I'm your Dad you know. :-( ");
  }

-----

blazingfrog2 438 days ago | link

This is appalling. Without knowing the OP's life circumstances or much about the dynamic of human relationships for that matter, jumping to this kind of conclusions only make for a witty post, at best.

Raising kids who will want to "call their Dad" once grown up is hardly about letting them make as much noise as they wish at age 4.

I sometime envy how some people view life as a simple If-Then-This-That... Much easier to sleep at night that way.

-----

anigbrowl 438 days ago | link

Well, that's how I feel about automating the parenting of 4 and 5 year olds. I'm not saying he should let them make as much noise as they wish - although he probably should, some of the time, I'm a quiet-loving person myself. I am saying that he's better off telling them in person. If he's tired of doing so and automates that task away they're learning something from the experience, but not necessarily what he intends.

-----

kmfrk 438 days ago | link

I'm afraid I can't let you eat that icecream, Dave.

-----

skreech 438 days ago | link

It seems wrong to teach your children that the machine is a person.

Why not tell them "I put a script in the machine that will shut down the screen if you yell too loud"?

Same result, more truthful method.

-----

CodeMage 438 days ago | link

Because the "truthful" method doesn't get the desired results.

I'm a father (and I also remember something about being a kid) and I can tell you that 4 year old kids are unbelievably egocentric. A lot of the rules adults try to impose that are perfectly reasonable to anyone with enough empathy seem completely arbitrary to a 4 year old. So, "don't yell because that distracts/bothers me" is an "arbitrary" rule coming from a "cranky" dad. "I put a script in the machine that will shut down the screen if you yell too loud" gets translated into "I don't want you to yell", which is, again, an "arbitrary" rule kids don't care about.

On the other hand, "computer doesn't like loud sounds" is a perfectly "reasonable" rule, because the computer is "in charge" of letting you play the game. You disturb the computer, the computer reacts. And you can't argue with it or try to manipulate it. Crying at it or throwing a temper tantrum won't do any good. It has no mouth, so you can't have a conversation with it. In short, you have to follow its rules.

If you want to avoid having the kids jump to the "logical" conclusion that the machine is a person, you can formulate it differently: instead of saying "the computer doesn't like loud sounds", you can say "the computer is a machine that doesn't work well when there's a lot of yelling".

Then again, someone else already pointed out that kids believe that an old, fat man can come down their chimney and leave gifts in a matter of minutes -- and do so for every kid in the freaking world -- without suffering any psychological scars from an "untruthful" method of influencing their behavior (because Santa brings gifts only to kids who are "good"), so I don't see what the big deal is with going through a short period of believing the machine is a person.

-----

andrewflnr 438 days ago | link

Actually, if you just say "it doesn't work well when there's a lot of yelling", that's basically a true statement, even if the only reason is the script you added. ;) But it doesn't work to just say "I put this script there because I, not the computer, am in charge of letting you play the game"?

-----

CodeMage 438 days ago | link

Depends on what you mean by "works". If you want it to have any effect whatsoever, you have to follow through and actually turn off the game. And you'll have to do so until the lesson sinks in. And you'll have to deal with the kids that are crying and idle in the mean time. And they'll probably resent you for that rule because they aren't able to identify with it.

None of the above is a bad thing or an insurmountable obstacle, but there's nothing seriously wrong with making the computer take the blame either. In my opinion, it ends up teaching the kids to be considerate to others (even if it's just a computer), with less suffering all around. YMMV, etc.

-----

maeon3 438 days ago | link

When I discover anyone has deceived me successfully, my shields are up around them, forever, because a deceiver is always a deceiver, I always have to spend more cpu cycles to wonder: "Are they deceiving me now"? This could be an elaborate lesson for the kid to teach them about deception. But it looks to me like this is a dysfunctional family in the making. When you break the bond of trust, it takes YEARS to get it back, and for me, it's like 5 years. Father is playing with fire here, and I'd kick that guy in the shins and post an image to reddit for all to laugh, why? Because it's FUNNY!

-----

SoftwareMaven 438 days ago | link

I think you are 1) applying a different age's mental model onto a much younger one and 2) describing a much stronger deception than what actually exists here.

People anthropomorphism objects all the time. Kids do it even more than adults. This action isn't going to cause psychological damage and, if it does, it is only because it existed already from something much more serious.

-----

stch2 438 days ago | link

So how many years did it take for you to recover from finding out Santa wasn't real?

-----

maeon3 438 days ago | link

My parents didn't tell me Santa was real, unlike most families, they have NEVER once lied to me. As such I am a highly productive citizen about to retire to entrepreneurship early 30's.

I find your response stemming from a false assumption as evidence that you are spending too much of your neural network trying to deal with the deceivers in your life. Instead of having success, coming to right conclusions about things, you instead come to false conclusions, evidence of failure, can't get things right the first time. I find it disturbing and yet an addition to my understanding of how present-emotional people work. Without automations for the lower classes our society would not run as is.

When you get back into work Monday morning, you did your thing wrong, you'll have to correct that as well.

-----

stch2 438 days ago | link

"I find your response stemming from a false assumption as evidence that you are spending too much of your neural network trying to deal with the deceivers in your life."

Really, you got all that because I assumed your parents lied to you about Santa Claus, just like the majority of parents in the US?

Honestly, I'd love for you to continue ranting. I'm all ears, it's a lot of fun to read. I promise I'll read it.

-----

blazingfrog2 438 days ago | link

I never trusted the tooth fairy again after that fateful day she "forgot" to pay me.

-----

maeon3 438 days ago | link

Church is full of deceivers as well. Lying about God, Lying about Jesus. Trying to get your money. We have to teach the kids about deceiving for personal gain. But you treat kids like a member of society as early as they can take it. Overpowering them psychologically is the wrong answer, and is part of the reason why most families are broken. My mom/dad is one of the most tight relationships I have ever seen, and I've seen many relationships. They are built on trust, and what this person is doing is exchanging a little bit of trust for some temporary pain relief, a bad exchange that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The lesson for deception should occur simultaneously on the lesson that your actions have consequences, and if you piss off your friends, they will retaliate. It's complex and I have a hard time describing it, but it's the glue that makes families happy and productive. It doesn't feel right to me at all.

It's teaching the kids to be passive aggressive. Can't get what you want? Work behind the scenes to cause the people you love to do what you want. Do it to the kid, the kid does it back to you. It's not something to trifle with. You're configuring the personality of the kid with these interactions, and these choices have huge consequences about how the kid interacts with society, family and friends. There are only a couple people in the world I would trust with my life, whom I could give them power of attorney over me and I could rely on them not to loot me and leave me powerless. And that relationship is built on one of trust, one of never deceiving. The father is deceiving the kid, that trust-relationship I have may not materialize with the person who plays these mind games.

The relationship I describe is the most valuable thing on Earth, people KILL for it, literally, and I'm trying to comment here about how to get that thing, and I see these articles are pooping all over it, and I have to give my 2 cents. These ideas I have aren't silly, it's the operating principles of the most valuable thing in the world: Love and trust. The only thing worth more than money.

-----

koide 438 days ago | link

0. Your whole viewpoint stems from thinking that any deception, regardless of how well intentioned or small, is actively and hugely harmful. I don't share that view. Small and well intentioned deceptions can be handled well by most people which do not then learn that you can't trust or love or know that actions have consequences or that serious deceptions are not to be done.

1. A zero tolerance policy on "lies" does have a psychological cost on both the parents and children (not just convenience) and, while it's great that has worked alright for you, that's not a proof that it can be generalized and get it working well for everyone.

-----

neumann_alfred 438 days ago | link

But of course, it's easier to mod you down than to address even a single point you raised ^^

-----

Camillo 438 days ago | link

That sounds exactly like the workaround a mildly autistic person would come up with after being lied to a couple of times. Where are you on the autism spectrum?

-----

simonh 438 days ago | link

It sounds exactly like the sorts of thongs my daughters say to each other from time to time. "You LIED! I'll never ever believe anything you say ever again!" And then 2 minutes later they're laughing and joking and whispering secrets to each other about which boy likes which girl at school.

-----

angersock 438 days ago | link

You must be a riot at parties.

So, if a deceiver is always a deceiver, what do you do if they tell you they are a deceiver? beep boop does not compute

-----

dllthomas 438 days ago | link

> So, if a deceiver is always a deceiver, what do you do if they tell you they are a deceiver? beep boop does not compute

Stupid word games. The word "deceiver," as used by the parent commentator, is quite reasonably used to mean "one who is noticeably more likely than baseline to choose to deceive" - your example gives no trouble: you accept it at face value. Disagree for reasons, if you disagree.

-----

maeon3 438 days ago | link

Most families have no control over their kids, they are spoiled rotten, and they don't know why, they will grow up leeches on the system, open your eyes they are all around us. Beep boop does not compute.

-----

stch2 438 days ago | link

"Most" families children grow up to be "leeches on the system" ?

Can you please tell me what your definition of "most" and "leeches" are.

-----

chakalakasp 438 days ago | link

Son, I hate to tell you this, but I invented the Internet to keep you preoccupied as a child. It took me a good half year of coding in my off time, but I finally got it right and, well, your posts and this response are the only human-input things you've read on this screen since you were 7.

Love, Pa

-----

neya 438 days ago | link

Brilliant reply, sir!

-----

critium 438 days ago | link

when i first read this, i thought you put in SIRI not SIR!

That would have been more awesome :)

-----

cnvogel 438 days ago | link

The idea of changing behaviour, conditioning living creatures, to obey rules enforced my machines feels very disturbing to me. Even though I understand that in this case it is for sure a pretty harmless feedback mechanism (stopping the computer game), I don't like the idea at all.

Furthermore, on the technical side, it's not too easy to calculate some number corresponding to the perceived loudness level, especially not as some answers suggested to parse the RMS-signal number output by the command-line tools "aplay"/"arecord". You'd need at least to take the (non-linear in amplitude, dependent on frequency) weighting curves shown on the wikipedia-page for "Loudness" into account:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness

Then, you'd have to take into account how annoying a sound is, which is obviously highly dependant on the circumstances: A colleague might drive you mad with only very quiet squeeking of his chair, but a lound regularly humming machine you might be able to completely mask out mentally so that you don't even remember if it was turned on or off at some day.

Putting these technical things back to the (morally questionable) problem at hand: If you don't "punish", "educate" or "feedback" your children according to a quantity that they can actually perceive and whose magnitude they can judge, they will experience this apparatus to be highly unfair.

And, additionally, if I would put such a machinery to use, my children would with absolute certainty become masters in creating the most appallingly unpleasant and annoying sounds one can imagine that just don't reach the threshold of the machine. And they would be completely right doing so ;-).

Edit: Typos, "tools aplay/arecord".

-----

dsr_ 438 days ago | link

   The idea of changing behaviour, conditioning living creatures, to obey rules enforced my machines feels very disturbing to me. 
Do automated traffic lights bother you?

-----

ordinary 438 days ago | link

Traffic lights do not condition humans. Traffic accidents, driving instructors, parents and policemen do.

I find myself sharing the grandparent's discomfort. I'm an avid gamer, yet sometimes, when I lie awake at night and mull over the events of the day, I find myself wondering if I've truly mastered the game or if the game has only taught me what succession of button presses and mouse movements give me the highest levels of dopamine.

-----

X-Istence 438 days ago | link

If that is so worrying to you ... maybe it is time to put down the controller and pick up a tennis racket, or golf clubs and go outside. Either you are getting better and can master the game and win tournaments, or you can't.

-----

ctbeiser 438 days ago | link

"The idea of changing behaviour, conditioning living creatures, to obey rules enforced my machines feels very disturbing to me."

I've made use of this technique on myself; I've got a concentration app that, when turned on, will make an abhorrent piercing noise if I go on Facebook/Twitter/Hackernews/ read RSS feeds / etc. It's helped me train myself to focus when I'm working.

I will grant that using this on someone else without their knowledge is more questionable, but I wanted to say that it's sometimes legitimate.

-----

neumann_alfred 438 days ago | link

I will grant that using this on someone else without their knowledge is more questionable

If you set that alarm, you know why and what for you are conditioning yourself, and that is even true if you know how and why someone else set it; but when it's just a faceless event that you learn to adapt to, possibly while even having a narrative about it that has nothing to do with reality, that's not just slightly different or worse, for me that's worlds apart.

-----

skriticos2 438 days ago | link

Children are told that a fat man climbs down the chimney on Christmas to deposit presents under a tree and other stories that are total lies. It's probably better that they get a chance this way to figure out not to believe everything without question.

-----

Jach 438 days ago | link

I second the idea that it's good for kids to be able to learn things on their own and not have all the answers immediately given to them. However if I had a kid I'd try my hardest not to intentionally lie--if they pick up the Santa lie or other lies from other kids, I'll neither confirm nor deny them and let them figure it out. (I might give hints toward avenues of testing a belief, though... but especially the importance of making beliefs pay rent in anticipated experiences...)

-----

jjsz 438 days ago | link

Off topic:

I disagree, when I have kids I will tell it everything my wife tells me not to tell it, if this includes telling it Santa Clause is not real- I'm going to do it. I rather have him learn from me then some snob egotistic kid who thinks he knows the secrets of life preaching about how unfair it is that other parents are lying to his friends or another ignorant kid, who is figuring it all by himself, confusing my kid. Having a kid who is aware might pay off..or not, like someone in the top said, us without kids don't know how the robot methodology isn't going to work.

On Topic:

Putting the tv to a certain volume level and a tablet, with a voice monitoring application- if it passes a certain threshold it will change the channel to a 1 minute pre recorded message telling him not to yell, sounds more productive than a white screen and a notification for you to go to the room and explain to him why that keeps happening or sending him to the room for yelling to loud after a few warnings. We can all agree there's a certain level of yelling one can stand from kids!

-----

abstractbill 438 days ago | link

I will tell it everything my wife tells me not to tell it

Good luck staying married, with that attitude. If you don't parent as a team, you'll fail in much worse ways than doing the "wrong" thing wrt Santa.

-----

lilsunnybee 438 days ago | link

> I will tell it everything my wife tells me not to tell it

It? Please never have kids.

-----

jjsz 437 days ago | link

I was battling between saying him/her because I'm really biased towards saying him since I want my first child to be a boy. Sorry for the dehumanization!

-----

ajuc 438 days ago | link

> It seems wrong to teach your children that the machine is a person.

In 2100 your comment will be evidence of wild anti-AI sentiments popular in our backward times.

-----

reinhardt 438 days ago | link

Check your meatspace privilege, human.

-----

angersock 438 days ago | link

ahahahahhahaha yeah okay

when duke nukem forever is ported to common lisp running on the hurd

suuuuure

Edit: More seriously, trends in AI seems to be running towards statistical analysis and away from anything that might resemble actual "sentience"--even were we to define such a thing. I doubt that an overgrown Bayes engine would take offense at anything I do.

-----

Evbn 438 days ago | link

Brains also tended to run towards statistical analysis.

-----

onlyup 438 days ago | link

No it won't.

-----

damian2000 438 days ago | link

I don't think its wrong, its just stretching the truth. Kids know its a machine, but believe that its sensitive to noise.

-----

rytis 438 days ago | link

I agree. Furthermore, if you think about it, why are we sensitive to noise? In simple terms, because we have sensors, processing "circuit" and some sort of analogy of "code" that has this primitive logic - "high sound pressure -> pain".

Now looking back at a machine - it has microphone, and sound card. So the input mechanism is in place, the only missing bit is the logic that determines machine's reaction to stimuli.

Without the scrip, the machine cannot be "upset by the noise", but with the script it actually can be, IMHO. So there is some grain of truth in what the guy is saying to his kids...

-----

Evbn 438 days ago | link

Yes, but if you intentionally altered someone's brain to add a sensitivity, and then say ”gosh, it seems sensitive for some reason...”

-----

kawera 438 days ago | link

An interesting book by Donald Norman on the subject: http://www.amazon.com/Turn-Signals-Facial-Expressions-Automo...

-----

gregpilling 438 days ago | link

I have noisy kids. Three of them. They make lots of noise when playing games, when watching TV, and right now are making lots and lots of noise (at 7.33am on a Saturday morning) by playing in a cardboard box that holds a bathtub (we are remodeling a bathroom, it goes in Monday).

Kids are noisy. I have dealt with it by installing a solid door at the end of the hallway. No scripting required. Occasionally I tell them to quiet down if they get out of hand. Kids are noisy, that is just part of the experience.

-----

CodeMage 438 days ago | link

I have dealt with it by installing a solid door at the end of the hallway.

Read the comments on SuperUser. He's a single dad. Being unable to hear what your 4 year old kids are up to is a bad idea when there's no one else to monitor them.

-----

angersock 438 days ago | link

My parents suggested that it was when we had gone quiet that they started to worry. My recollections of childhood seem to confirm this heuristic.

-----

X-Istence 438 days ago | link

I was recently talking to my boss, and my dad confirmed this, it is absolutely true that when suddenly the kids are quiet that you start worrying as to what they are up to =)

-----

mtoddh 438 days ago | link

Yeah, my experience as a father has been the same. When it gets quiet, it may mean your kid is no longer playing with his toys and instead has just pulled up the floor vent to chuck his poop filled diaper into your ventilation ducts. Fun times.

-----

kmfrk 438 days ago | link

A lot of people clearly haven't played a 4-player game on their Nintendo 64. :)

-----

shortlived 438 days ago | link

Greg speaks the truth. Let kids be kids. Stop acting like an old lady.

-----

gruseom 438 days ago | link

Many "old ladies" are experts in letting kids be kids. They're the ones with the most experience, after all.

-----

shortlived 438 days ago | link

Sorry to the old ladies on hn. I should have used the word crotchety. This is a hot topic for my wife and I as our immediate family is not happy when are kids are noisy, even in our own house. They have a valid argument in places outside of the home, but let us be, in our home. They equate noise with illmanners.

-----

Tichy 438 days ago | link

Great answer: "You have done this so many times manually that you feel you need to automate it... Doesn't that suggest to you that this method isn't working? "

-----

Evbn 438 days ago | link

Yeah, I feed my kids every day and they still want more. Feeding must be wrong.

-----

More



Lists | RSS | Bookmarklet | Guidelines | FAQ | DMCA | News News | Feature Requests | Bugs | Y Combinator | Apply | Library

Search: