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Slashback

Slashback: Pricedrops, Honor, Games 278

Slashback (below) is chock full of updates to recent (and not recent) Slashdot stories, including some good news for AMD fans, and a last drizzle of news from E3.

Making your computer worth even less. Acid-F1ux writes: "Advanced Micro Devices has slashed prices of its desktop and mobile Athlon processors just days after a similar move by rival Intel. The cuts range from 17 percent to 52 percent for mobile Athlon XP chips and between 11 percent and 32 percent for desktop Athlon XP chips. On Sunday, Intel dropped prices of its Pentium 4 processors by as much as 53 percent."

Progressive Education strikes a blow. darnellmc writes: "According to this Atlanta Journal-Constitution news article GA Tech had so many students violate the school's "honor code" that they have decided to change it.

"In the wake of the investigation, Tech officials have decided to allow students in introductory computer science courses to share information and collaborate on homework, previously prohibited under the school's academic honor code."

Of course code sharing also teaches the value of Open Source ;o) . Maybe now some young Computer Science student can spend more time on developing a good overall program, instead of spending a bunch of time writing simple things like their own sorting routine."

How many letters will the next big threat have? matthew writes: "LWN is carrying the notes from the Broadcast Protection Discussion Group (BPDG) conference (more info at the EFF). The BPDG is the body that will be suggesting future technological control measures; they make the DMCA and CBDTPA seem like trivial problems. The BPDG conference was last week and it was open to the public so anyone could call in. You can read about what the FSF's Bradley M. Kuhn digitalspeech.org's Jonathan Watterson thought of the conference. The basic summary is that we're screwed if people don't start fighting against this kind of injustice."

This is what's called taking license. infochuck writes "Back in January, this story on Slashdot focused on Borland's licensing PR fiasco, and how they promised to remedy the situation (in short, their license permitted them to search at any time any of your computers looking for stolen software). Well, here we are, five months later, and their license hasn't changed one bit - at least not the two most unreasonable clauses, 12 and 14.4, and not in the license included with the Windows version of the Personal Edition. Download for yourself to see, but be warned, you'll have to register, which involves many questions and no less than 5 checkboxes to uncheck, as well as at least a 25MB DL. I believe pr@borland.com is still the place to write..."

Playful is good. If the last month of pre-hype hype, pre-hype, actual hype and post-hype weren't enough, you'll be pleased to read that E3 coverage continues, at Gamespy (some cool reviews), Gamegal (good photos) and other sites beginning with "Game."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: Pricedrops, Honor, Games

Comments Filter:
  • by konichiwa ( 216809 ) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @08:03PM (#3613921)
    If enough people break the rules, they'll change em!
    • It is a great message. Because the message a little more clearly stated is this,

      "The status quo is not universal law. It can be altered if enough people work together to force that change. Stupid rules, that help no one and harm everyone should not be blindly accepted."

      I try to get that message out all the time.

      .
    • According to a acquaintance who works for another university considering the same thing (in Europe), their decision to allow students to share work was very contentious. It was ultimately decided when a professor (my friend didn't know the name) pointed out that

      1) most students take classes over and over again until they pass, making failure meaningless, and therefore cheating meaningless, and

      2) undergraduate degrees are not useful even for the purpose of getting a job. The fact that most people work in fields that are not related to their degrees proved that.

      Can you believe that?
      • ) most students take classes over and over again until they pass, making failure meaningless, and therefore cheating meaningless, and

        Maybe the reason they pass eventualy (after taking the class over and over) is that they eventually LEARN something.

        But if I can pass first time, without learning anything, by cheating, whats the use of taking the class in the first place?

        I may as well just _buy_ a degree.

    • Isn't that what is called civil disobedience? If there is a law/rule that nobody wants or thinks is important don't you think they should re-examine why they have the law/rule in the first place.


    • Treason never prospers,
      What's the reason?

      For if it doth prosper,
      None dare call it treason!

      I've forgotten who said it and I'm too tired to go search for it.

      • Treason never prospers,
        What's the reason?

        For if it doth prosper,
        None dare call it treason!

        I've forgotten who said it and I'm too tired to go search for it.

        That quote would be from Sir John Harrington, I believe.
    • For one, this is actualy something that has been a part of human culture for as long as we can remember. I believe it was Therou (sp?) who talked about if the people did not agree with the laws, they should protest and not follow such a law. But the only reason to do so was if you truly felt the law was wrong, not just because it was an inconvenience.

      Later prohibition was repealed becasue the majority of america would not follow the law.

      Later Civil Disobedience was preached by Ghandi (sp?) and MLK.

      Even directly in the structure of the government is the concept of laws not nessesarily having ultimate say. No law passed by congress can be enforced unless the President (or more often an office of the executive branch) enforces said law.
      • It's "Thoreau," and the essay was called "Civil Disobedience," which he wrote after willingly going to prison for refusing to pay the poll tax, in protest of both slavery and the Mexican war.

        What you're wanting to attribute to Gandhi is most likely "passive resistance," basically any nonviolent but noncooperative form of protest (in his case, against British rule over India), which could include civil disobedience. MLK borrowed this idea for the civil rights protest marches, boycotts, etc.

      • I believe it was Therou (sp?) who talked about if the people did not agree with the laws, they should protest and not follow such a law. But the only reason to do so was if you truly felt the law was wrong, not just because it was an inconvenience.

        Oh your killing me with that one. That would be Henry David Thoreau and I believe you are referring to his essay "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" which inspired both Ghandi and King. Perhaps the most definitive quote from the essay follows:
        If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government let it go, let it go; perchance it will wear smooth, certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring or a pulley or a crank or a rope exclusively for itself, the perhaps you may consider whether the rememedy is worse than the evil.
        But if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I must do, is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.
        I find it hard to believe that any University Honor Code would cause one to be "an agent of injustice to another" in the manner Thoreau was proposing. Indeed, this would certainly be a "necessary friction."

        In all actuality, since there isn't a social contract between a University and the students (instead a more formal contract), civil disobedience is entirely irrevalant.

        I still can't believe you mispelled Thoreau...
      • People quietly protest sodomy laws and other sex laws by the millions on a daily basis, but the laws are still on the books. Next time you get a hummer, chalk one up for civil disobedience and give Thoreau a thumbs-up.
    • Hopefully that's the message Congress will get, after the music-listening public finishes beating them over the head with it...

    • What a great message!
      If enough people break the rules, they'll change em!


      Well - maybe they do this with some college rules. But laws generally don't get thrown away when nobody obeys them. They just tend to not get enforced.

      The problem is that this puts you at a whim of policement, judges and anyone willing to sue on obscure laws. That's not how a judicial system should work.
  • "Back in the day", they used to have one of the friendliest licenses out there (the "treat this software like a book" license) and a great many people bought their stuff because of the low price and reasonable license. You could even install it on a another computer, and as long as two people weren't using the software at the same time, it was ok.
    • Personally - I've been very carefull to aquire legal copies of Borland software for each of my computers due to the good vibe of the company in the past. They sold good, inexpensive, software and trusted me to do the right thing.

      Now.. with their draconian licencing, and serial numbers and almost-forced registration, I'm starting not to give a ratt's ass.

      Am I the only weirdo that treats companies the way they treat me - or is locking down all users so profitable that pissing off a few people like me is worth it to Borland?

      • by Catiline ( 186878 ) <akrumbach@gmail.com> on Thursday May 30, 2002 @08:27PM (#3614067) Homepage Journal
        Am I the only weirdo that treats companies the way they treat me...

        No. The major companies attitude extends from the tiny, "insignificant" difference between the words customer and consumer. A customer is someone who you have an extended business relationship with because your product is used multiple times. In constrast a consumer is someone who buys your product and uses it once; they may buy other, likewise disposable, products from you, but they do not require maintenance.

        This explains the attitudes of many "vicious" corporations or organizations such as the RIAA, MPAA, and BSA-- they view you as a consumer, with a one-time disposable product (market forces to the contrary). OTOH, the "good" businesses like RedHat, IBM, and so forth understand that when they get your money they have started, not ended, the relationship.

      • They haven't used that "like a book" license in a long time.
        I don't know anyone who's used their products in a long time.
        They haven't made money in a long time.

        Coincidence?

      • Am I the only weirdo that treats companies the way they treat me

        Not by a long shot. Quite arguably, this same thing is going on between the RIAA and a hefty chunk of the p2p-using population. There is a chain reaction between the RIAA mistreating its customers and the customers thanking the RIAA by refusing to play by their rules, and this chain reaction is fueled by exactly what you mentioned. IANA Business Major (IAA EE Major), but even I know that one of the most fundamental principles of business is that your customers will treat you more or less the same way you treat them. Unfortunately, the RIAA doesn't seem to have grasped that concept yet.
    • I have to wonder whether the license is actually enforceable.

      If Borland runs software that conducts a potentially illegal search on a user's machine the illegality is likely criminal in nature. I don't think that many State Attorney Generals would consider a clause in a shink-wrap license to consider 'informed consent'. I cannot see much value in Borland attempting to litigiate the matter in court, it is the type of case which a state AG might easily take to the SCOTUS. Borland's costs in lawyers fees and reputation would mount for several years.

      Even if Borland succeeded in court, a state could easily reverse the judgement by simply legislating such clauses to be unenforceable. While the US congress has been successfully bought off on the privacy issue to date, the states are quite a different matter. And in any case 50 states are hard to bribe all at once. It is in the interests of the parties to defect every so often to keep the contributors dishonest.

      Sounds to me like the type of behavior that some pipsqueak lawyer engages in when not being closely watched.

  • by lkaos ( 187507 ) <anthony@nospAM.codemonkey.ws> on Thursday May 30, 2002 @08:08PM (#3613962) Homepage Journal
    All the software I wr[oi]te at my school includes the GPL copyright notice. The nice thing about the GPL is that you can share with fellow students to your hearts content but if the students use any of your code, they have to clearly mark that it is your code if they use it.

    As far as I can tell, this protects me in the event that a student is accused of cheating while still allowing me to show anyone my code. I personally think that software licensing should be a part of every CS program and the GPL should be encouraged to be used for all assignments.
    • When the college says "Do not share code", they mean "Do not share code." It's their curriculum and their decision as to who is cheating or not. No amount of licensing or fine print on your part will get around that.
      • When the college says "Do not share code", they mean "Do not share code."

        But how far do they want to take it? Can't use libc because you're "sharing code" written by the glibc authors? Can't use GCC because you're "sharing code" generated by the compiler?

      • when an institution of learning says "do not share code" they really mean "do not share ideas because that's why you pay us -- to gently place them in your vacuous skull neatly dove-tailing w/ your societally-induced blindness to your own ability to go out and do the Deed (i.e., Learning) on your own w/o our premeditated premediated premedicated pablum".

        if that's the kind of message you want to pay for, there's a cheaper method: watch TV.

        thi

    • "Maybe now some young Computer Science student can spend more time on developing a good overall program, instead of spending a bunch of time writing simple things like their own sorting routine."

      It is actually rather ironic that timothy chose sorting algorithms as an example. After a few seminars on bubble sorting, quicksorting, etc. the exact assignment of my current CS class is to create a sorting program. Personally, I find it a rather simple process. However, there are many people in my class whom it is painful to watch attempting to write this basic sort. They spend 10 minutes trying to figure out what I have just coded in as many seconds. Now, if they had just copied it, it might not make a big difference in terms of there completion of that assigmnent, but I definitely feel that figuring it out for themselves is an important problem-solving step that helps weed out some of the numbskulls in the class.

      The GPL may be nice and the method would likely benifit the majority of the students, but in the end I think that the opposing benifits are worth more than some time saved by my peers.
      • However, there are many people in my class whom it is painful to watch attempting to write this basic sort. They spend 10 minutes trying to figure out what I have just coded in as many seconds.

        The question is: are these individuals allowed to use books to solve the problem? If so, then how is a published sorting algorithm any different from an algorithm written by another student?

        Are you really suggesting that these people are so incompetent that they can not look at a book, yet are able to comprehend someone else's code enough such that they are able to reproduce the algorithm without copying it verbatim? If so, then our public school systems really do suck :)

        I'm not saying that during a test or something when someone is put on the spot, it is ethical to "share" code. What I am saying that it is silly to allow a text book to be a resource while not allowing another student to be a resource especially with something like coding where there is rarely a single correct solution.
    • So should I have a GPL for my hello world program? :)
  • by dtd201 ( 220624 ) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @08:11PM (#3613977)
    When you are writing software for a company or a non-classroom project, reinventing the wheel is usually a bad idea. However, in the context of learning how to program, I think it is important for students to do their own work and not just copy code from the Internet or from the smart student down the hall.

    The new rules are just a license to cheat.
    • I question whether or not that's exactly the case, and it really depends on exactly how far they are carrying the new rules.

      Verbatim copying is obviously a no-no, but who hasn't sat over lunch(or with a tutor) trying to figure out a problem, or discussing a research paper, etc...? This is part of what education is all about. (That doesn't mean that I believe students should have free license to copy each other's algorithms/code.)

      I also wonder whether or not this is a purely pragmatic issue. If a teacher gives out a variable naming scheme, spacing scheme, and then tells you to a function named Foo, which will sort an array using a buble sort, chances are 99% of the class is going to turn in code that is VERY similar. At this early stage it is doubtful that actual cheating, and independent projects would look very different. (Much the same as someone trying to solve a simple math formula using standard principles...) Computer Science in the lower levels should be treated more like mathmatics than Writing. In higher levels, after learning the language, then it is definately more comparable to Writing, and REAL cheating is easy to spot.

  • I can understand GT's reluctance to allow "student-student assistance" when I consider the reputation that they have as an engineering school (and not just computer / electical engineering, either). I seem to recall hearing that the Textiles lab at GT came up with about half of the specialty cloths used in NASA's spacesuits. I'm sure that with that sort of history they thought that clamping down tight on the CS students was a good PR move-- not only do we have brilliance, but we pull it out of one student at a time.

    Maybe this was good PR. But it was a stupid educational move. And I don't care how good a business they do with NASA or anyone else, or what sort of press they put out; above all else, isn't college supposed to be about learning?
    • I disagree. Having taken the introductory CS course at Tech, I've got to tell you the rules for cheating were downright insane. They number so many and are so complex that they devote an entire lecture to explaining them. See a problem?
      Student's litterally could not help each other at all! This is pretty bad considering that kid's that really have no business taking a programming class have to take it - try being a first year college student with very minimal computer experience, no programming experience, no knowledge of programming or what it takes or the mindset it requires, basically no preparationf rom your previously schooling or life experience and being thrown into a course were you are expected to write stupid sorting routines which sometimes have only vague differences, with very crap materials, with a language which has a very crap syntax (scheme..the crap syntax thing is just my opinion) and no real help from anyone when you have a problem with the materials because there is 200 people in your lecture, and then your TA is very limited in how he is allowed to help you. Hmm. See a problem?
      • Of course I see a problem; at the same time, I can understand that maybe the administrators were thinking only about the public perception of their actions and not the practical consequences-- exactly like congress and big business do. Which is where my objection comes from-- universities are supposed to focus on teaching students, not making money off of post-graduate projects or refining & polishing their public image.
  • by gregfortune ( 313889 ) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @08:16PM (#3614009)
    Maybe now some young Computer Science student can spend more time on developing a good overall program, instead of spending a bunch of time writing simple things like their own sorting routine."

    Noooo!!!! I don't know how many "groups" you've worked in at college level, but almost every group has one or two people that do the work and understand the material. The others don't have a clue or are freeloading. Even if I do understand the material, jumping into a group and only doing a portion of the work sets me up to not know part of the material very well come test time or when I'm working at a real job.

    For large projects, working in groups makes sense in a couple of cases. First, the project is cool, but too large for one person to complete in the alloted time is a prime candidate for a group project. Second, group projects teache the group members to deal with the frustration of working on software with another person. (yeah, cheap shot...)

    But please, oh please, don't make it a policy to allow group projects at every level. You'd think we didn't already have a job market saturated with poorly trained CS people.
    • by peterdaly ( 123554 ) <petedaly&ix,netcom,com> on Thursday May 30, 2002 @08:44PM (#3614159)
      I don't know how many groups you have worked in as part of a business, but in my experience, the 20/80 percent rule holds just as true. It is usually for the same reasons too, the 80% either doesn't really know the material, or just doesn't care. It is easier to for many larger businesses to make a hiring mistake than a firing decision.

      Other than that, I agree with the above posts.

      -Pete
    • Noooo!!!! I don't know how many "groups" you've worked in at college level, but almost every group has one or two people that do the work and understand the material. The others don't have a clue or are freeloading.

      The reason professors like to assign group projects is because its *less for them to grade.* Sometimes they are necessary if there is an expensive resource (software, hardware, etc0. But usually the prof/ta is just lazy. While doing my CS degree, I *refused* to work in groups several times.

      A kind of an anti-arms race develops in group situations -- students who care the least about their grades wait for the students who care the most about their grades to do their work for them.

      Some projects are also very difficult to break up into pieces a group can do ...

    • but almost every group has one or two people that do the work and understand the material. The others don't have a clue or are freeloading.

      Yup, like the blurb says, this will teach them all about open source. One or two people write the apps and the rest do nothing but complain about the lack of precompiled packages for Obscurnix.
  • by mizukami ( 141102 ) <tonygonz@ g m a i l .com> on Thursday May 30, 2002 @08:17PM (#3614010) Homepage
    Personally, I am sorry to see that Ga Tech has decided to back off on its no-collaboration policy for the classes in question. The policy was only in place for "Intro to Programming"-type classes, where learning basic programming techniques, not group-environment programming skills, is the purpose of the course.

    Can you imagine the hell of being given a group assignment in a higher level class where half of the members can't remember how to create a for() loop or use pointers, because they "collaborated" that part of their work in the intro classes?

    It looks like GaTech will now be offering different Intro-level courses for computer-related majors and non-computer-related majors, but it looks like they won't be enforcing the "no-collaboration" rules even for the comp-sci major classes. With a shift in emphasis to quizzes and tests, rather than actual coding, I can only see this as working to lower the quality level of students' programming skills.
    • this could actualy weed out some of the people that really shouldn't be in the course because the less they know, the further behind they will fall and eventualy they will drop out.

      But also, more often then not, if I colaborate with another person on a simple program it's for one of two reasons

      1) The program isn't doing somethign right, and I for the life of me can not see it (syntax is a pain in the ass, you can read the same line over and over again and not realize you put a : where you should have put a ;

      2) Because my function works, but rather poorly. If that's the case, I will often ask another student how they wrote theirs, and if any of it seems to work nicely, I will try to incorporate it myself. While I could do that simply by cut and paste, I would think most people (like myself) would try to understand why the new implimentation works better, and ask if they don't eunderstand.
  • I Beg Your Pardon? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lethyos ( 408045 ) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @08:22PM (#3614047) Journal
    Maybe now some young Computer Science student can spend more time on developing a good overall program, instead of spending a bunch of time writing simple things like their own sorting routine.

    You're missing the point of a CS education. Students are supposed to learn how to write "simple" things like sorting routines. (Of course, if you think sorting is simple, you're either inexperienced or you're extremely well versed in computer science.) That's why professors always tell you to not use libraries for assignments you're supposed to do yourself. Otherwise, we're talking about short typing exercises. The more simple algorithms you write, the more experience you gain for making the jump from higher complexity algorithms to code.

    Students should not be swapping code on assignments. That's called cheating. These kids need to write as much code as possible, even if it's been done before.
    • That's why professors always tell you to not use libraries for assignments you're supposed to do yourself.

      Are the professors saying you're supposed to master talking directly to the kernel for I/O in every little program, without even using the abstraction of #include <iostream> (or its equivalents)? How far are the professors willing to take their "no libraries" stance?

      • No, the no libraries policy is typically simple. If the assignment is about building a data structure (hash table, trie), it is not appropriate to use a library that implements that data structure for you, or allows you to do it without understanding what you're doing. There's no trick here, just common sense.
  • > E3 coverage continues, at Gamespy (some cool reviews), Gamegal (good photos) and other sites beginning with "Game."

    So, am I the only one who misses all the obligatory pictures we used to get from these conventions of 3dfx's latest Lara Croft booth babe? ;-)

    They may have fallen behind in the video card market before their demise, but they sure had *showmanship*. Teenage girls in skimpy fantasy-wear and video cards the size of...
  • I dont care if its Gamegal or Gamespy!

    If she managed to shoot a pic of the "Harry Potter" booth, she damn well could have managed to snag a pic of the DoomIII booth! Fscking chic!

    Yeah! I could go to some other website, but still..

  • My E3 photos [chadsdomain.com]. Note, there are more than just E3 photos there, but some 60+ of the show.
  • Maybe now some young Computer Science student can spend more time on developing a good overall program, instead of spending a bunch of time writing simple things like their own sorting routine.

    Strange, that a similar statement for, say, an English course would be that now English students can more time plagiarizing Shakespeare, and less time learning the difference between "your" and "you're". The thing about a CS course, is that it is meant to give you a good theoretical underpinning to your coding skills. Knowing there is a black box called sort you can use is worthless. Knowing how the black box works is not.

    Learning to use others work is a useful skill, sure, but unless you have something in your own brain that you can put into the process, you will never get anything but rehashes of previous work out. Maybe that's ok for an English student looking to write middle-of-the-road sitcoms, or a CS student who is going to churn out the same web application for the rest of their lives.

    Summary, there are some things you need to learn for yourself. It's no good knowing that a calculator can add, if you don't know what addition is.

    not_cub

    • " Summary, there are some things you need to learn for yourself. It's no good knowing that a calculator can add, if you don't know what addition is."

      Oooh, bad analogy. I sure as hell don't know how to manually calculate the sine or cosine of an angle, but that doesn't prevent me from using a calculator to do it, and doesn't prevent me from using sine and cosine to help solve problems.

      The fact is, a lot of this "vital" information you think everyone needs to know is simply a measure of someone's short term memory. Saying "this is how a bubble sort works.. now write a bubble sort routine" doesn't teach anyone anything.

      But teaching the students why a bubble sort is slow and crappy, that's something that is A. useful, and B. something they may actually retain. You won't "ruin it for them" if you give them the source of a bubble sort routine. The lesson isn't in the code, it's in the theory.
      • no calc 2 for you? (infinite series in particular, wherever that fell in your calc series)

        i remember learning (and quickly forgetting) how to manually calculate sines and cosines, and i know theres a relation between the exponential function and sines and cosines (thats why e^isomething translates into cos (theta) + i sin(theta) (or something))

        • "i remember learning (and quickly forgetting) how to manually calculate sines and cosines"

          Actually, that's exactly what I was talking about. It doesn't actually teach you anything.. it just tests your short-term memorization abilities.

          But, I'm probably biased since I think college is completely worthless in most areas except for the social experience. Especially in computer science, where experience is everything.
  • by Have Blue ( 616 ) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @09:05PM (#3614278) Homepage
    No two ways about it. If you insert a solution into your homework that did not come from your own mind, then a) you haven't learned anything b) it will just bite you in the ass later on an exam where (I assume) you are still not allowed to look at your neighbor's paper.
  • This is ridiculous. At my school [msstate.edu] the honor code is shoved down our throat. And I mean shoved. Every class I take the professor takes a whole class meeting to tell everyone that even if you 'see' someones code, for a minute, you are cheating.

    Look, I don't like it when one guy does the work and everyone else cheats either. Guess what though, that's how the world works. I'm sorry, but we pay these professors quite a good deal, and a lot of them give me little to no direction, and I am going to talk with my classmates as much as possible. No, I am not going to *copy* their code, but I see absolutely no problem with cooperation.

    And then there is groups, this is perfect. Yeah, there is always some guy who does all the work. I say too bad for that guy, because if he let's everyone do the work now, he'll be doing all the work for the rest of his life. Go talk to the teacher and tell him/her what's going on, then leave it up to the teacher to mediate. THIS IS HOW THE REAL WORLD WORKS.

    I'm one of those 'too old to be in college' guys, so I've seen both sides. In the real world, you almost always work in groups. You have to learn how to manage them, and how to be a part of them.

    Let student's cooperate and enforce more tracking on who is contributing how much, moderated by the teacher.
  • Arrgghhh!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pclinger ( 114364 ) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @09:06PM (#3614288) Homepage Journal
    Advanced Micro Devices has slashed prices of its desktop and mobile Athlon processors just days after a similar move by rival Intel.

    I purchased my new AMD XP 2000 just a week ago, and now the price drops. It seems like every time you buy any computer part, the next week prices go down.
  • by HydroCarbon10 ( 40784 ) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @09:11PM (#3614311) Journal
    We had a similar sitution in regards to my physics course. The homework was turned in over the internet. This lead to several groups forming. Each group, however, ended up with several people doing the work and the rest 'collaborating'. Out of the 40 people the class started with, 12 remained at the end of the semester and only half of those students passed. It seems as though the students who were 'collaborating' didn't fare all that well on the IRL tests. Strangely, the one test conducted over the internet had an excellent pass rate ;-). Collaboration has great value in teaching students why it's not a good idea to screw yourself over by taking the easy road.
  • My old school deteriorated even further than that. Last year's "Student of the Year" who hardly ever attended classes, was caught using website cut and paste (without referencing) to supply almost all the material for his final report. Other students did the cut and paste thing all year. Some were caught.

    Nobody was disciplined. None. It didn't make me feel all that much pride in my degree to know my school handed them out that indiscriminately.
  • Yeah! (Score:3, Troll)

    by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Thursday May 30, 2002 @09:26PM (#3614378) Journal

    Maybe now some young Computer Science student can spend more time on developing a good overall program, instead of spending a bunch of time writing simple things like their own sorting routine."

    Yeah! Last thing we need is fresh grads who actually know how stuff works. Give 'em to me thinking everything is a black box. Why, best thing is if they view the computer, the company, the government, the whole world and everything in it as a mysterious black box. That way Mr. Scorpio and I can fill their heads with our Mantra of Death(TM) while they lounge in their business hamocks. I sure hope this works better than our last endeavor.

  • E3 Pictures (Score:2, Informative)

    by eqteam ( 322882 )
    I noticed others talking about the robots behind Sony, and haven't seen anyone post pictures. So here they are (along with some others):
    http://www.eqteam.com/e3/

    If you want to see something at higher rez, let me know...
  • I came across this one day and book marked it because it was worth it. It sort of pertains to the licensing story and to the college story:

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html
  • Like GaTech, the UW-Madison CS department used to have strict "no collaboration" rules and policies for intro level CS courses. They had code analysis tools to find copied code among student's assignment submissions.

    They found that cheating was so rampant, it could not be enforced. They got sick of dealing with it.

    The new policy (which has been in effect for a couple years at least), is that collaboration is permitted, but assignments make up a smaller portion of your overall grade now.

    Typically, there are ~3 big exams counting for ~90 % of your final grade. The last ~10% is made up of several assignments given throughout the semester (YMMV depending on the course).

    The rationale is that if you collaborate in a bad way (to the extent that you're not learning the material), you will surely fail when exam time comes. Seemed fair to me, though I personally never collaborated (didn't know anyone, didn't trust others abilities, etc.)
    • The problem with this is, exams arent the best way to test someone's knowledge. By definition, they only test a limited subset of knowledge and skills, and they are usually timed, which imposes a different set of demands on the student. Assignments are much closer to a real-world evaluation.

      If the school can't enforce no cheating, it is their own fault. All you have to do is start handing out Fs or kicking kids out, and things will change rather quickly.
      • All you have to do is start handing out Fs or kicking kids out, and things will change rather quickly.

        It's not quite that easy. There was a lot of red tape to go through each time. Also, even though students saw other students being caught, some assumed that they just cut-n-pasted code. They thought they could just change a few variable names and comments to get away with it, not realizing that the code analysis software would still detect the cheating. Over time, this could be alleviated perhaps. I'm just betting that it's much more difficult to enforce than we could imagine.

        I agree with the general sentiment of your post, however. The exams certainly weren't a true test of knowledge. There were usually code-writing sections near the end of the exam that were worth a lot of points, though. My biggest complaint is that I believe some professors had difficulty coming up with good questions for the exams, resulting in an exam with questions that would be much more practically answered in the real world by looking it up.
  • Maybe now some young Computer Science student can spend more time on developing a good overall program, instead of spending a bunch of time writing simple things like their own sorting routine.

    Yeah, that's great. Maybe now all the new CS grads will be so clueless that I'll have more job security.... </sarcasm>

    Unfortunatly this isn't a perfect world, and if students stop learning the basics like writing a good sort routine it just means that in a few years I'm going to have some really obnoxious coworkers, and I'm going to end up doing a higher percentage of the work. Good job Georgia tech!

    If you learn what you are supposed to from a computer science education, you learn that all the problems can be broken down to layers of simple soultions. Then you learn to understand the simple solutions. If you really understand the simple solutions, you already know how to put the parts to gether into a good whole. If you can't understand the simple stuff, what good are you? It's important to make CS students prove they understand the simple stuff. The rest isn't nearly as important.
  • Many people have lamented the fact that American students are educated in a school system that refers to students learning to cooperate on a task as "cheating".

    Maybe we'll have one exception now.

    Yeah, right.

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold

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