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Comment Adapting teaching to make use of laptops (Score 1) 804

Part of the problem, in my opinion, is that a lot of teaching is geared toward a traditional lecturing style that is primarily focused on distributing information, not instilling knowledge and skills. For example, in programming lectures, there would be a lot of potential for students to get a much more concrete grip on what the lecturer is talking about if they could easily try things out as the lecturer proceeds. However, this would require a lot of changes to how the lectures are organised to avoid students being distracted from the content by what they are doing with their laptops.

Comment Re:Experience with hardware is different (Score 1) 122

- not to mention the fact that an emulation of the hardware is going to be imperfect.

This may not be much of a problem in many cases. For example, a 90s DOS game such as Warcraft or Doom (to take two of their examples) has to be able to run on a wide array of different PCs; much of the time, you can get away by reproducing only the behaviour that hundreds of VGA cards or CPUs, for example, shared. That said, there is always the potential for trickery involving undocumented features. For example, DOSBox only recently gained support for the palette switching trick used by e.g. Lemmings.

The important part of a preservation project, in my opinion, is collecting and verifying information on the accuracy of different emulators. This can then be used to improve their accuracy.

Comment Translation of article (Score 3, Informative) 223

Original article from

Headline: "I do not want to save Google searches"
Caption: Tiziano Motti now says he does not want to save Google searches. Photo: European Parliament

Italian Tiziano Motti, who was behind the proposal to save searches on Google says he has been misunderstood. Yesterday, his proposal got a majority in the European Parliament.

"It's not the colour of the cat that matters; it's that the cat catches the mouse. And I'm the cat."

This is how Tiziano Motti presented himself in an Italian TV programme when he was a candidate in the EP elections last year. He was a private entrepreneur without a political party who travelled around in north-east Italy and met young people to get their votes with the slogan: "Vote for me – I'm like you".

The campaign was successful. In just a few months, Motti succeeded in getting enough support for a Christian democratic party to "adopt" him three days before the lists of candidates were to be published, and in the election, he defeated the region's incumbent MEP.

Motti did not do his campaigning in marketplaces or party meetings. Instead, he went to night clubs, where he often stayed until six in the morning. "You have to be where the young people are, and they're at the discos. On on the Net", says Tiziano Motti.

He has a tan, a flawless smile, wears a jacket and jeans, which is unusual for a MEP, especially an Italian one. The election campaign is not the only connection to the Net in Tiziano Motti's case. He is the author of the high-profile proposal to expand the controversial data retention directive to include search engines as part of the fight against child pornography. "Another step on the way to a surveillance society!", critics say.

After Europaportalen wrote about Motti's proposal a few weeks ago, a few MEPs started to withdraw their support. They had not understood what they had signed, since the data retention directive was not mentioned in the proposal. Only the technical identifier, 2006/24/EC, was mentioned. Cecilia Wikström (Liberal People's Party, Sweden) sent a letter to alla 736 MEPs, warning them.

Tiziano Motti is aware of the Swedish debate. He feels it is unfair, but is not surprised. "I expected these reactions. Every time one discusses data retention and the Internet, it's like two worlds colliding: one that wants broad freedoms on the Internet and another that is of the opinion that the right not to be violated on the Net is very important.

And a defender of rights is what Tiziano Motti considers himself to be. He is the founder of the Europe of Rights movement with more than 100 000 members in Italy. Among the honorary members are several MPs, mostly from Silvio Berlusconi's party The People of Freedom. The movement aims to protect ordinary citizens' freedoms and rights.

How does the defence of citizens' rights go together with storing everyone's Google searches? "It doesn't", says Tiziano Motti.

He does not want to save all searches on the Net. "The proposal is actually about so-called 'content providers'; the people who let you put material on the Internet, such as Facebook, Youtube or blogging tools. They are the ones who should retain IP numbers, just like ISPs must do today according to the data retention directive.", he says.

Motti says that the debate is built on a misunderstanding of his initiative. However, the text is clear: "The European Parliament [...] Asks the Council and the Commission to implement Directive 2006/24/EC and extend it to search engines in order to tackle online child pornography and sex offending rapidly and effectively".

Why, then, did you write 'search engines' instead of 'content providers'? "I did this, in part, to ensure that the matter was addressed, but also because everyone knows what it's about if I write 'search engine', whereas they don't if I write 'content providers'".

The criticism against Motti and his proposal have also been about lack of information. However, he feels that it is strange that some MEPs have blamed not understanding what they have signed. "I never though 'somebody would not understand this'; that would imply malicious intent. Ordinary citizens might criticise him for not being clear enough, but not a MEP." Motti emphasises that "First you do your homework, then you sign."

Motti often returns to the fact that a so-called 'Written Declaration' is not a piece of legislation; it is a "stimulus to debate, a way to highlight an issue". "If it is passed, absolutely nothing changes from one day to another. Many have missed that."

The 15 allotted minutes grow to 25, then 35. He is keen to get his message through. In the end, he reaches a conclusion; what he calls the overarching purpose of the initiative: "It should not be possible to surf the Internet anonymously. I want to introduce the so-called 'protected anonymity'", he says, drawing out the two words.

According to Tiziano Motti, one must find a balance on the Net, and this must be done through 'protected anonymity'. For someone to gain access to the Net, he must identify himself by sending information to the ISP.

Then, every upload of text, images or video clips can be tracked by the authorities. However, one must continue to be anonymous with respect to other Internet users. "I am a defender of freedom of speech; I don't like censorship. Today, someone who is defamed or accused of something on the Net cannot defend themselves properly."

How is this supposed to be implemented, from a purely technical point of view? "I'm not a technician, don't ask me", he says, and lowers his gaze for a second for the first and only time during our conversation.

He also wants to introduce an 'early warning system'. The purpose is to create a European bureau for paedophilia which will co-ordinate all the member states' work with the issue and send out warnings as soon as paedophile networks are detected.

Tiziano Motti is very proud over his campaign in the parliament. The newly printed brochure proudly proclaims in red letters on a yellow background: "315 signatures in six days! You sign, too!" He calls his homepage for the initiative 'unique'.

However, his methods have been criticised: some MEPs have felt that they have been harassed outside the plenary session assembly room. This went far enough for the Deputy Secretary-General, Francesca Ratti, to prohibit this type of lobbying outside the assembly room.

The day after Ratti's ban, Motti's co-workers are there again. Motti thinks the methods are reasonable. "You have to use advertising-like methods to succeed. It is important to be visible, create curiosity. With manifests, with an email, with anything that can help."

And the methods were successful. After going from 330 down to about 290 signatures last week, the proposal reached 369 signatures yesterday, far before the lapse date. Hence, the proposal will pass when parliament convenes in July. Tiziano Motti has yet again caught the mouse.

Comment Re:Textbook notes? (Score 1) 211

There is no Helsinki University of Technology. We are the Aalto University. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

Anyhow, the Otaniemi Exam Archive is entirely unofficial, but it should be noted that it is generally considered futile in Finland to try to keep exam questions secret after the exam. Technically, I suppose this violates the copyright of whoever wrote the exam (assuming exam questions can be copyrighted), but nobody seems to care, and I've seen several professors themselves go through previous exams to prepare students.

Comment Re:A great victory (Score 1) 302

Å, Ä and Ö are considered letters in their own right in Swedish, and should not be exchanged for anything else. That said, there are two approaches used when these letters cannot be used:

  • Drop the diacritics and use A, A and O. This is especially amusing in the case of the municipality of Hörby.
  • Use German/Danish/Norwegian-style substitution: Ö to OE, Ä to AE (similar to Danish/Norwegian Æ, the equivalent letter) and Å to AA (old-school spelling, only recently changed in Danish).

Comment Re:Careful what you say! (Score 2, Insightful) 385

There are a lot of motor skills that we take for granted as heavy users of computing technology that are actually quite difficult to learn, for example: clicking (or even worse, double-clicking) while holding a mouse still and pressing a key for less than 500 ms. I managed to diagnose quite a few weird problems (such as applications failing to start) my mother was having as a tendency to hold Enter down for slightly longer than the time it took for auto-repeat to kick in.

Comment Re:How many ways are there to do simple things? (Score 1) 694

Any detection software worth using is going to ignore whitespace and names and focus on structure, keywords or something harder to disguise using search and replace. The software I use converts the source code into a stream of tokens, like:

2:3(69)-3(91):FOR: for (int i=1;i<=10;i++)
The comparison is then done on the tokens (the part in all capitals), ignoring the exact names and such used.

Comment Re:How many ways are there to do simple things? (Score 1) 694

Using Plaggie in the same configuration I usually use, and assuming the code surrounding this loop is different enough, the answer is "no". Typical programming plagiarism detection tools compare entire source code files against each other to determine the extent of similarity, not small chunks. Naturally, you don't want students to circumvent the tool simply by reordering methods or such, so you look for chunks of code that are similar, but the verdict is based on how much of the code can be accounted for this way, not just whether a match is found.

Of course, responsible users of tools like these check anything they flag manually.

Comment Re:Boy you're going to get lots of replies (Score 1) 407

While the event-driven approach used by VB is often useful, especially in GUI programming, it is not really relevant for a programming competition that focuses almost entirely on designing and implementing an algorithm to solve a small, specific problem. Even the "interactive" tasks tend to be of the form "read a line of input, update data structures, output new state".

Comment Re:The retro PC gamer (Score 1) 387

This seems kinda similar to FreeDOS, except less useful. FreeDOS is a binary-compatible version of MS-DOS that some OSS devs put together, and actually works well. Except that no one really uses it, except for specialty things like boot/driver disks

and the sale of classic MSDOS PC games through outlets like D2D, and Steam.

You could begin building your collection with Commander Keen.

Actually, GOG and several DOS games on Steam use DOSBox, not FreeDOS; nobody is particularly interested in selling a game that would require most users to install a new operating system (and replace much of their hardware!).

Comment Re:How to do this? (Score 1) 183

As far as I can tell, Auto-Tune retains the timing of the audio; you shouldn't need to adjust the video speed. You seem to be using the old-school trick of speeding up or slowing down the audio.

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