Monthly Archives: August 2008

Empowering Users to Map their worlds

Google is launching Google MapMaker for india, which will allow the rest of us to fill in the missing gaps in google’s map info for india.

In countries like India, great maps and comprehensive local data are hard to come by. And traditional mapping approaches are stretched to the limit in such environments, where infrastructure and local businesses are evolving at a furious pace.

This need inspired us in Google India to design and build Google Map Maker, which enables users everywhere over to create rich, deep maps and fresh local data. People can mark their favorite spots in their cities and hometowns, add features such as roads, parks, and buildings, tag small businesses to help users find them, and collaborate to map neighborhoods of interest. This product is motivated by the spirit of information democracy, where people can create information that are moderated and consumed by their peers.

This looks really cool and I’m going to try it out.

Here is the full article: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/08/empowering-users-to-map-their-worlds.html

Programming Workshop For Classes VIII to XII

A programming Workshop is being organized for the students of classes VIII to XI.

The workshop will concentrate on the building of logic and tactics to use when solving typical programming questions in competitions. The focus will be based on building, from the ground up, enough knowledge and opening of minds so as to help in improving both the quality of code produced as well as the algorithm used to solve problems. 
The basic logic program will focus on:
1.  Puzzles and Preliminary – type questions
2. Advanced Logic Standard structures (Magic squares, Eight queen problem, etc.)
3. Encryption / Decryption
We will have syntax explanation which will be language specific. The participants will be taught the basics of the language of their’ choice, i.e. among VB and C++. This will be done in two groups as required. In this session we will be explaining: 
1. Logical and Conditional Operators
2. Looping
3. Array Manipulation – 1D and 2D
4. String Manipulation
5. Basic Text – Mode graphics and how to achieve graphical effects (If time permits)
The workshop will be held on Wednesday, 10/09/08 in the stayback time, i.e. 1:30 to 3:30. Games Route buses will ply. The workshop may be attended by all interested, it is NOT necessary to be in Exun for the same.
Hoping to see all aspiring programmers – this will definitely prove to be a course that will open your minds and equip you with the skills to build yourself further.
Rahul Bhatnagar

VIRUS 2008

The results of VIRUS 2008, held at Bluebells International School on the 22nd of August are out, and they are as follows-

Web Designing(First)-

  • Tanay Padhi
  • Varun Dubey

Digital Imaging(Second)-

  • Shubham Goel

Programming(Second)

  • Shikhar Shrivastav
  • Sajal Jain

Congrats to all!

-Tanay

Participants for Matrix-Ecomm 2008

The Mount St. Mary’s School is organising an inter-school computers and economics symposium.The symposium is going to be held on the 28th and 29th August, 2008. The following is the list of participants:

QUIZ

  • Anuj Bharadwaj
  • Kritika Bajaj

GAMING

  • Arpit Mathur
  • Arjun Kumar

PROGRAM IT

  • Karanveer Singh
  • Pranshu Jain

MATRIX CHALLENGE

  • Tanay Padhi
  • Vishesh Kumar

COMPUTER CROSSWORD

  • Prachi Pandey
  • Aditya Jain

CARTOON MAKING

  • Shubham Goel
  • Rishabh Marya

ROBO RAGE

  • Deepak Chandra
  • Ankush Gupta
  • Anuj Bharadwaj

EXUN SESSION

There will be a session on Robotics on Friday 22nd August, which will be held by Siddharth Nangia (Exun batch 2006). He was the person behind the extremely well produced Exun video (2006) and his skills in photoshop and likewise are unchallenged. He was also part of Roboknights (the robotics club of D.P.S. R.K. Puram) and has received a certificate from IIT in the field of robotics.

It’s highly encouraged that Exun members and non-members alike come for the session as none of the previous batches have got such an exposure. The session will take place in the 4th and 5th periods. Interested students must reach the Web Resource Center (egurucool lab) as soon as the break ends.

IMPORTANT- EXUN MEETING

This is to notify all Exun members that there will be a meeting in the break on Friday 22nd August 2008 in Computer Lab- IV to finalize participants for the upcoming events, collect articles for the Underscore Magazine, organise Exun 2008 and other related topics.

This is a very important meeting and ALL exun members MUST attend it.

Regards,
Aviral Goyal and Kartikeya Asthana

Matrix-Ecomm 2008

The Mount St. Mary’s School is organising an inter-school computers and economics symposium.The symposium is going to be held on the 28th and 29th August, 2008 and will feature concurrent and general sessions that will focus on development of the field of Computer Science and Economics including:

Symposium

Quiz

Gaming

ProgramIt!

Matrix Challenge

Computer Crossword

Cartoon Making

Robo Rage

Ad-Enact

Art-o-nomics

Terphes-choronomics

Matrix Challenge

Details of all the events can be found here.
Note: – One participant may participate in more than one event, but no event will be delayed for the convenience of a participant.

Open Source considered Useful

Guest posting from Gary Phillips by the kind invitation of Mukesh Kumar.

Windows considered Harmful
Open Source considered Useful

Hello fellow computer geeks

I guess you are all masters of Windows or at least disciples of Guru Gates.

I’m making this effort to encourage you to start working with open source programs because I think it will make you a better computer engineer, make better use of your computer’s resources, allow you to contribute better to your country’s development and might even save you some money.

I’m writing this in an excellent word processor in a virus free operating system on a tiny, lightweight and cheap laptop expressly designed around open source. Top marks if you guessed I’m using an Asus Eee PC (512Mb RAM, 2Gb SSD, 900Mhz Celeron).

From a computer geek’s point of view, the best thing about my laptop is that I can see the original source code of every program, every driver and every library. I can examine the code in order to learn from it, I can modify the code to add a feature or fix a bug and I can even share my changes with other developers. You might think having this level of control over my computing environment might be very costly but the only cost to me was downloading the software over my broadband internet connection.

What is Open Source?

“A program in which the source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design free of charge.”

The Open Source movement began when a few developers wanted to have more control of their computing environment. They wanted the freedom to change programs to suit themselves. Their leader, Richard Stallman initiated the GNU (GNU’s Not Unix) project which was an attempt to replicate his favourite operating system (Unix) with code that could be examined and modified by anyone. Stallman started the Free Software Foundation (FSF) with the goal of supporting development of software which could be freely modified (the meaning of ‘Free’ for FSF is ‘Freedom’). Over the last 25 years the number of projects using an open source license has grown dramatically, most particularly through the success of the Linux Operating System.

The most well known Open Source applications are Firefox (web browser), Thunderbird (email reader), Open Office (word processing, spreadsheet, presentations), Apache (web server), MySQL (database), PHP (web programming language) but there are hundreds (or thousands) more. Many open source applications can run on Windows as well as Linux.

In India all software is free. Well yes but it’s only free in terms of initial cost. My pirate Windows XP CD from Nehru Place has 2 viruses on the disk. I can’t pick up security updates from Micro$oft so my computer is more prone to infection. In Leh this summer I had to repair 18 school computers which had almost ground to a halt from the infestation of viruses and worms. Open source software tends to have fewer security problems than closed source, most obviously because more people can look at it to find and fix security bugs but less obviously because the open source development model forces a modular approach to system building. A bug in Firefox does not affect my use of Open Office but a bug in Internet Explorer has implications for Microsoft Word since they are tightly integrated and share a code base.

Windows itself is a huge pile of poorly engineered and closely linked components. Most effort in new releases goes towards increasing the feature count, gratuitously changing the user interface and maintaining binary compatibility. Not much attention is given to improving system stability or run-time performance. You’ll know about these effects if you’ve tried to use the latest versions of MS Office or (horrors!) tried to run Vista on a system that handles XP perfectly. Open source systems tend to have different aims. For example, the Linux kernel has become faster and less resource hungry over the years.

The highest traffic web sites run on open source including Google, Amazon, Ebay, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, AOL.

Embedded systems often run on open source, this includes your TV set top box or satellite receiver, internet router, fridge and increasingly mobile phones (the most popular mobile phone software is Symbian OS which is being ‘Open Sourced’ next year).

Do you want to trust your life and your country to a huge monopoly whose idea of innovation is to buy any company that has a new idea? India has enormous potential as an IT development powerhouse but I hope it will not become just an outsourcing department of Micro$oft.

I encourage you to install some open source applications, perhaps from the TTCS CD-ROM of open source applications for Windows (that’s Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society, www.ttcsweb.org). This collection includes applications for office, games, multimedia and education.

You might also try out one of the many Linux distributions. My favourite is Ubuntu which comes in a live-CD version (boot your PC directly from the CD, run all the applications and decide later if you want to install it along with Windows) www.ubuntu.com.

I’m very interested to read any comments or questions you have and will do my best to help you.

All the best

Gary Phillips
Freelance Software Engineer