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Gunnar Wolf - Nice grey life - page 2

Showing posts 11 – 20

The stuff games are made of
What do we consider the “stuff” that makes up a video game? Is it interesting gameplay? Compelling graphics? Lifelike effects and fast-paced first-person shooter (FPS)? Deep strategy? Engaging mechanics that don’t let you go, that glue you to your favorite gaming device? How simple can a game be without losing its essence as a game? Pippin Barr, in a short and easy-to-read text, approaches these questions in a very novel way, and brings surprising and fresh answers. The book begins by setting up the narrative of a weird, minimalist video game where the object of the game is to manipulate...

There once was a miniDebConf in Uruguay...
Meeting Debian people for having a good time together, for some good hacking, for learning, for teaching… Is always fun and welcome. It brings energy, life and joy. And this year, due to the six-months-long relocation my family and me decided to have to Argentina, I was unable to attend the real deal, DebConf23 at India. And while I know DebConf is an experience like no other, this year I took part in two miniDebConfs. One I have already shared in this same blog: I was in MiniDebConf Tamil Nadu in India, followed by some days of pre-DebConf preparation and...

Humble AI
While readers of Computing Reviews are more aware than the general population when it comes to whether artificial intelligence (AI) is a magical panacea or the probability of a general intelligence that will develop thinking capabilities and make decisions on its own, we are actually aware of AI’s greatest strengths: finding patterns, probably hidden to the naked eye, and arriving at inferences based on said patterns. That ability has made AI-based systems a tool of choice to make statistical predictions and estimations, learning from enormous datasets, about human behavior. AI tools are often applied to risk assessment for financial operations....

Debian@30 — Found the shirt I was looking for last month
Almost a month ago, I went to my always loved Rancho Electrónico to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Debian project. Hats off to Jathan for all the work he put into this! I was there for close to 3hr, and be it following up an install, doing a talk, or whatever — he was doing it. But anyway, I only managed to attend with one of my (great, beautiful and always loved) generic Debian or DebConf T-shirts. Today, when going through a box of old T-shirts, I found the shirt I was looking for to bring to the occasion....

A free press, if you can keep it: What natural language processing reveals about freedom of the press in Hong Kong
The British colony of Hong Kong was ceded back to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, after 150 years of occupation, under the “two systems, one country” principle. Given the Chinese is widely known in the West for its tight grip on its press, this short book takes as a goal to use computational analysis in the field of natural language processing to assess changes in press freedom over the 25 years of Chinese rule over Hong Kong. The author states that, by doing a mixed-methods comparison of news published about the various Hong Kong protest movements that have surfaced since mainland...

Interested in adopting the RPi images for Debian?
Back in June 2018, Michael Stapelberg put the Raspberry Pi image building up for adoption. He created the first set of “unofficial, experimental” Raspberry Pi images for Debian. I promptly answered to him, and while it took me some time to actually warp my head around Michael’s work, managed to eventually do so. By December, I started pushing some updates. Not only that: I didn’t think much about it in the beginning, as the needed non-free pacakge was called raspi3-firmware, but… By early 2019, I had it running for all of the then-available Raspberry families (so the package was naturally...

Back to online teaching
Mexico’s education sector had one of the longest lockdowns due to COVID: As everybody, we “went virtual” in March 2020, and it was only by late February 2022 that I went back to teach presentially at the University. But for the semester starting next Tuesday, I’m going back to a full-online mode. Why? Because me and my family will be travelling to Argentina for six months, starting this October and until next March. When I went to ask for my teaching to be “frozen” for two semesters, the Head of Division told me he was actually looking for teachers wanting...

Road trip through mountain ridges to find the surreal
We took a couple of days of for a family vacation / road trip through the hills of Central Mexico. The overall trip does not look like anything out of the ordinary… …Other than the fact that Google forecasted we’d take approximately 15.5 hours driving for 852Km — that is, an average of almost 55 Km/h. And yes, that’s what we signed up for. And that’s what we got. Of course, the exact routes are not exactly what Google suggested (I can say we optimized a bit the route, i.e., by avoiding the metropolitan area of Querétaro, at the extreme...

Democratizing domain-specific computing
As computer professionals, we mostly envision computers as general-purpose tools by default. Over the past decades, Moore’s law and Dennard scaling have, year after year, given us consistently better “toys”: faster computers, larger storage spaces. With these tools, computer science has changed the face of humankind. However, most computing professionals focus on building software. Can software developers work to produce domain-specific accelerators (DSAs), that is, purpose-built computers (application-specific integrated circuits, ASICs) that, at the cost of losing generality, can deliver much better performance and energy efficiency than general-purpose chips? The authors’ main focus is to present AutoDSE, a design-space exploration...

Cheatable e-voting booths in Coahuila, Mexico, detected at the last minute
It’s been a very long time I haven’t blogged about e-voting, although some might remember it’s been a topic I have long worked with; particularly, it was the topic of my 2018 Masters thesis, plus some five articles I wrote in the 2010-2018 period. After the thesis, I have to admit I got weary of the subject, and haven’t pursued it anymore. So, I was saddened and dismayed to read that –once again, as it has already happened– the electoral authorities would set up a pilot e-voting program in the local elections this year, that would probably lead to a...


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