computers


According to Google Analytics, Zotero2GROKCodex is the second most commonly accessed page in all of groklab.org (64 hits in the last month). The main page, of course, is first (136 hits).

I’ve updated the software to work with the latest Firefox and latest stable version of Zotero (I haven’t tested with the 1.5 server sync preview yet). You can install Zotero2GROKCodex here.

Any new feature requests for this software?

This is something we’ve been trying to impart to our freshman. Maybe it will help if major, currently-cool, corporations say it too.

Official Google Blog: Our Googley advice to students: Major in learning

It’s easy to educate for the routine, and hard to educate for the novel. Keep in mind that many required skills will change: developers today code in something called Python, but when I was in school C was all the rage. The need for reasoning, though, remains constant, so we believe in taking the most challenging courses in core disciplines: math, sciences, humanities.

And then keep on challenging yourself, because learning doesn’t end with graduation. In fact, in the real world, while the answers to the odd-numbered problems are not in the back of the textbook, the tests are all open book, and your success is inexorably determined by the lessons you glean from the free market. Learning, it turns out, is a lifelong major.

A PhD Student at CMU has created a VR Head Tracking system using a Wii remote and an IR sensor bar.  The effect is pretty cool!

Using the infrared camera in the Wii remote and a head mounted sensor bar (two IR LEDs), you can accurately track the location of your head and render view dependent images on the screen. This effectively transforms your display into a portal to a virtual environment. The display properly reacts to head and body movement as if it were a real window creating a realistic illusion of depth and space.

YouTube video link

He’s made the software available on his Wii projects site.

Wii gotta get one of these!

Thought this would be an interesting discussion piece.

STSC CrossTalk – Computer Science Education: Where Are the Software Engineers of Tomorrow? – Jan 2008

It is our view that Computer Science (CS) education is neglecting basic skills, in particular in the areas of programming and formal methods. We consider that the general adoption of Java as a first programming language is in part responsible for this decline. We examine briefly the set of programming skills that should be part of every software professional’s repertoire.

The main argument here is that students are becoming programming plumbers – basically able to follow set patterns or string together libraries, but lack knowledge in fundamental computing areas to enable them to solve complex or large scale computing problems efficiently.  The article also describes some computer engineering skills/knowledge that programmers should have.

In the Iowa College of Engineering, first year students have a programming course in which they learn C.  However, the course skips pointers, references, and memory management in order to simplify the course and retain more students.  I’m not sure when, if ever, pointers and memory management are re-introduced into the engineering curriculum.  Perhaps somewhere in the EE track.  As a programmer, I hated having to deal with memory management and pointers, and I have been extremely happy to move from strongly typed compiled languages like C, C++, Java into scripting languages like Python and Ruby. But I think that a fundamental knowledge of memory management becomes like a common abstraction between languges that lets you learn new languages and techniques more efficiently.

Today I attended the 4Cast Conference on Social Networking and Campus Impact.  The purpose of the conference is to get people from around UIowa that are interested in social networking together in one place to discuss how to use social networking on campus.  I’ll try to blog about it as things go along.


9:00: Conference start.  Jon Winet gives an overview of social networking, web2.0, collaboration tools.  Gives examples of weblogs, facebook/myspace, Google docs, flickr, twitter.  Issues about privacy and data mining/aggregation.

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