Would You Like to Play a Game?
Everyday we see how technology is used to better our lives. It allows us to do things we couldn’t do in the past. It helps us overcome our limitations. We’ve also seen how folks use it to game the system to their own advantage. Another example of the latter has surfaced in France, where three chess players were caught trying to…game the game:
The French chess federation has suspended three top players for violating sporting ethics at a chess olympiad in Siberia last September.
The trio are alleged to have used an elaborate scheme involving text messages and computer software to help beat opponents at Khanty-Mansiysk
How did the scheme work? Like so:
According to the French federation, while international grand master Sebastien Feller, 19, was involved in a game, Cyril Marzolo followed developments over the internet and used computer software to establish the best next move. The answer was then sent by means of a coded text message to the third member of the team, Arnaud Hauchard.
The third member would then sit himself at a particular table in the competition hall. Each table represented an agreed square on the chess board. This, according to French media reports, was the most delicate part of the operation.
Not sure how that third part worked. How one would do that without drawing attention to oneself is beyond me. All three players deny the accusation.
Carnegie Mellon Changes its CS Program
An interesting change at Carnegie Mellon is occurring. The school is eliminating OOP entirely from its basic curriculum, as stated by one of the CS Professors in his blog, Existential Type:
Object-oriented programming is eliminated entirely from the introductory curriculum, because it is both anti-modular and anti-parallel by its very nature, and hence unsuitable for a modern CS curriculum. A proposed new course on object-oriented design methodology will be offered at the sophomore level for those students who wish to study this topic.
A report from the Department’s Dean provides the following rationale:
The School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University is planning major revisions to its introductory course sequence in ways that will affect not just our own students, but also the many students from across campus who take computer science courses. Major changes include: 1) revising our introductory courses to promote the principles of computational thinking, for both majors and nonmajors, 2) increasing our emphasis on the need to make software systems highly reliable and the means to achieve this, and 3) preparing students for a future in which programs will achieve high performance by exploiting parallel execution.
I remember when object oriented programming was the cool kid on the block. Oy vey.
So can I use OMG in Scrabble?
So the OED is now adding acronyms esuch as OMG, LOL, and IMHO to the official lexicon:
OMG! The exclamatory online abbreviation has won the approval of the Oxford English Dictionary.
The term — short for “Oh my God” or “Oh my gosh” — is one of dozens of new entries in the authoritative reference book’s latest online update.
Editors publish updates to the online Oxford every three months. The Internet version of the dictionary, which launched in 2000, gets 2 million hits a month from subscribers and may eventually replace the mammoth 20-volume printed Oxford English Dictionary, last published in 1989.
By the time the lexicographers finish revising and updating a new edition — a gargantuan task that will take a decade or more — publishers doubt there will be a market for the printed form.
I think my old-school English teachers are probably wondering WTH.
Firefox 4 Essentials
Firefox 4 recently made its debut, to great fanfare. One pre-release article gave us 10 Things to Drool over in FF4.
One of my favorite websites, Web Worker Daily, has posted its list of 11 essential add-ons.
Eye in the Sky…or Ear that’s always Near
Finally, a disturbing report from Germany provides a glimpse into the data collected by telecoms. From the article:
But as a German Green party politician, Malte Spitz, recently learned, we are already continually being tracked whether we volunteer to be or not. Cellphone companies do not typically divulge how much information they collect, so Mr. Spitz went to court to find out exactly what his cellphone company, Deutsche Telekom, knew about his whereabouts.
The results were astounding. In a six-month period — from Aug 31, 2009, to Feb. 28, 2010, Deutsche Telekom had recorded and saved his longitude and latitude coordinates more than 35,000 times. It traced him from a train on the way to Erlangen at the start through to that last night, when he was home in Berlin.
“We are all walking around with little tags, and our tag has a phone number associated with it, who we called and what we do with the phone,” said Sarah E. Williams, an expert on graphic information at Columbia University’s architecture school. “We don’t even know we are giving up that data.”
The fabled “expectation of privacy” is getting narrowing all the time.