This picture is not of a Martian lost temple. It is actually a severe case of dust on a motherboard.
Yesterday, my desktop computer started turning off by itself whenever I tried to open Firefox while I also had two LibreOffice documents open. Although it was not as bad as the one in the picture, it turned out that the CPU of my desktop PC also needed some inside cleaning...urgently. きれいにしてくださって、ありがとう、ハードウェアの女神様！！
Now everything is fine. My desktop is not choking to death anymore.
The community members are discussing at the MEPIS forums that, since Debian will move Wheezy to their archives, support of MEPIS 11 will stop as well. Since MEPIS 12 never left its beta stage, this pretty much means the end of MEPIS as a distro...unless Mr. Woodford surprises the world with a sudden MEPIS release. That is extremely unlikely, of course.
It's sad to see that the distro that brought me to the land of Tux is about to disappear. But I have seen other distros fade and go extinct...distros I loved. Mandriva was one of them. Pardus was another.
The good part is that, even if distros stop being developed, there are always successors and alternatives. MX will continue the path of MEPIS, Mageia has done a great job filling the space that Mandriva once left, and OpenMandriva is also there. Similarly, although it has been a long time without news of Pardus (and this distro is not officially dead), Pisi is making progress slowly but steadily.
When talking about effective education, most people think of students as the ones being empowered with knowledge and new skills for creating new paradigms.
I've taken all that with a grain of salt. Why? Because I've always thought those who hold that optimistic view often miss something important. Sometimes they have a too idealized view of students or education, or they do not consider very important variables, or fail to create a methodology according to the target culture, among other possible factors.
For the most part, all the optimistic talk is about students. But what about teachers? It is impossible to form free, empowered students if the teachers are slaves.
How are students supposed to become creators of knowledge if their teachers do not create anything? It's even worse when such teachers are happy by simply recreating patterns (because these teachers have been trained and programmed to think those are the "empowering/liberating" patterns.)
This is more evident in the case of technology in the classrooms. Most teachers have been literally programmed to think that technology education means using a couple of tools (mostly designed by Microsoft.) For instance, a teacher who is incapable to say the concept "multimedia presentation" and instead says "Powerpoint" is simply too strongly enslaved to be talking about "empowering, liberating" technology. For those who think I am exaggerating, let me ask: Why don't teachers say, for example, "OK students, please open your Larousse/Petite Robert" instead of "dictionary"? How is it that in the case of technology, such metonymy is acceptable?
But today I learned a refreshing piece of news. Mr. Santiago Camblor, an IT professor at IES Pedro de Tolosa de San Martin de Valdeiglesias, in Madrid, Spain, has become an example of the creative power of truly liberating knowledge in the hands of empowered teachers. He took GalPon MiniNo Artabros and tailored it into "LekitOS": a version of the distro designed as an OS for high schools. The details are here (in Spanish).
When a teacher is able to do this (and has the tools and freedom to do it), his/her example will be more effective to show students that they can also become free and find the tools they need. It will also let them create their own knowledge to forge a new paradigm.
To my colleagues in education and education policy-making: Please, try to do the same, especially if you say "Powerpoint" instead of "multimedia presentation" or if you keep mandating your students to use "Word format."