Tuesday, October 04, 2005

UTCS: Good or Bad?

When you see a name you know on Slashdot, it's a little crazy. Doug Burger and Steve Keckler are these two amazing tenured professors at UT who do a couple of honors courses and crazy research like this. I don't know Burger personally or anything (yet), but I hope to take CS 352H in the Spring if possible since I'm getting screwed right now in CS 310. Anyway, their TRIPS project is basically a system that should drastically improve performance on the newer chips today that make rapid parallel processing possible at the expensive of more intricate code. It's hard to do a lot of parallel processing code and this project handles the concurrency in a way that will probably go above the heads of most (I only barely grasp it myself). Now that's the kind of stuff that puts UT CS in the top 10 consistently. So why the latter part of my topic? I don't like how the department treats FoCS members better than its students (namely, ahem, student organizations). I understand the need for money but it just seems like they cheapen themselves, especially when they assert their overbearing authority over us without merit. I'm not going to go into details because I don't want to get into trouble, but I just wish they'd be more supportive of the people who try to make the Department look good. Nonetheless, I'm still proud to be a CS major at UT.

Click to enlarge..kindaThere's actually a lot of other great technology news today so I'll be brief. This pretty little device is the GameBoy Micro and it's a lot smaller than it looks (think iPod Nano size). Ars Technica has a well-written review covering the most important points and the $100 price tag even tempts me to succumb to it. The Xbox 360 launch is sneaking up on us and the New York Times is finally pointing out what I've been saying all along: where are the games? Supposedly, journalists will get a closer look at some playables in the next couple of days so it had better be pretty damned good for Microsoft's sake. I'll give them props for coming up with single-use DVDs though, which could make services like Netflix even cheaper (and easer) and ease the movie industry's woes just a little. It looks like they're backing off from music though as they have ended licensing talks with some big labels because they were demanding too much in royalties. I don't know whether Microsoft is being cheap or the labels are getting greedy, but I don't think we need another online music service anyway. Lastly, Intel seems to be playing the reasonable role in the next-gen DVD war and only asks for mandatory managed copy from their Blu-ray camp to give them equal support, which means that you could copy content to your home servers if you wanted to, for example, watch something on-the-go. Now things are getting interesting.

The only movie news today is stuff I'd usually skip over in favor of more important stuff, which is good because I have immensely stupid, tedious CS 310 homework to get back to. Peter Jackson is going to be producing Halo, so there may be hope for it yet. There are some good-looking pictures from Curious George over here. If you want to get an idea of what Wallace and Grommit will be like you can check out a bunch of clips here. And the last thing is really book news: Stephen King has released a more condensed (and cheaper) novel today called The Colorado Kid and apparently it's a mystery novel. At only $6 I wish I didn't already have four of his books already on my shelf that I haven't read yet.

Now for a difficult Ten on Tuesday because I haven't been to the movies in a while:

10 Best Movies You've Seen Lately
10) The Village (I had low expectations at first)
9) Half Baked
8) Better Luck Tomorrow (rewatch)
7) Fight Club (rewatch)
6) Reservoir Dogs (rewatch)
5) Sin City
4) Wedding Crashers
3) Cinderella Man
2) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
1) Batman Begins (duh)

It's a sad list because I've been too busy to watch the movies I really, really want to watch.

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