by Mike Masnick
Thu, May 24th 2012 7:59pm
by Glyn Moody
Tue, Mar 6th 2012 8:27am
from the hidden-benefits dept
The Raspberry Pi is a $25 credit-card sized computer that has succeeded in making GNU/Linux not just newsworthy, but downright desirable. The initial batch of boards sold out in minutes, and eager customers crashed the server where it was being sold.
The original vision of the Raspberry Pi was to promote amateur programming and to re-invigorate the teaching of computing in the UK (and elsewhere) by providing a very low-cost and easily hackable system. Naturally, though, its open source code allows it to be applied in many different situations. Here, for example, is a plan to create a secure chat system for activists that can be used in countries where communications are routinely under surveillance, using a program called Cryptocat:
Because of their low-cost and small size they can then be shipped to activists and NGO's in areas where free-speech is difficult.
An interesting consequence of Moore's Law and the ready availability of free software is that powerful computers can now be produced for just tens of dollars, and in an extremely small package. The low cost means that organizations supporting activists can send in many such systems to countries with human rights problems, and replace them if they are discovered and confiscated or destroyed. The size makes it much easier to import them discreetly, as well as to conceal them in countries that try to keep computing under tight control.
"This is especially useful for activist organizations, human rights organizations, any group composed of a few dozen people who need to have an internal secure communication service," said Mr Kobeissi.
Small, portable Raspberry Pi computers set up to run Cryptocat, he believes, may be a quick way to build such a service.
And it's not just the Raspberry Pi that will be making this possible. Its high-profile success is likely to mean that in due course other systems will be produced that are cheaper and smaller. That will ensure they are even more popular with the educational market and hackers -- and even more problematic for oppressive regimes.
by Michael Ho
Mon, Jan 9th 2012 5:00pm
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
- Chess used to be the game that could measure a person's cognitive capabilities, but StarCraft2 might be the new game that provides metrics for humans' abilities to plot and strategize. Meanwhile, the computers are wondering why we're wasting so much time on variations of Tic-Tac-Toe and Rock-Paper-Scissors. [url]
- Imagine a game that taught you how to program better video games, would that be a fun game? If only the result was actually a virtuous cycle for improving video games and programmers... [url]
- Previous studies that suggested video games can help improve human cognitive function may be seriously flawed. Experimental design is really critical for generating psychology conclusions that aren't biased -- and surprise, surprise: there are a lot of widely-cited studies that are poorly designed. [url]
- To find some cool online games, check out what StumbleUpon has found to play. [url]
by Timothy Lee
Thu, Mar 27th 2008 5:08pm
from the trust-but-verify dept
But a lot of non-technical folks seem to view things the other way around. Last week, for example, I noted a a Chicago law professor who thinks that "the future is surely with the touch-screen or some other form of online voting." The problem with this statement is that if our goal is security and reliability, which it should be, the added complexity of computers and touchscreens is a big disadvantage. But this isn't obvious if you've never looked under the hood to appreciate all the things that could go wrong. Computers are not magical boxes that always produce the correct answer, but unfortunately, a lot of people seem to think that they are.