This week I was going to talk about anti-competitive shenanigans on the part of Apple and Comcast, but this news is more current, more important, and more just-plain-awesome. The reason is that there now exists an excellent smart phone that does not require a contract and allows unlimited data and messaging, plus some voice minutes for less than the price of the average cell carrier’s unlimited data plan alone. This phone’s name is Optimus V, and it is available on Virgin Mobile.
Welcome to the new year! Apologies for the lack of Tech Breaks in past Oredigger issues. Hopefully my schedule will allow for a weekly article again. For this week, let’s look at what’s hot in the wireless market, based on data that I collected late last semester and bolstered over the break.
Concealed carry for firearms was the primary topic of 2011’s inaugural ASCSM meeting, held on January 13. The issue was brought to light due to a court case between pro-concealed carry CU students and the University of Colorado, which has progressed over the last few months and may draw to a close by year-end 2011. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, the group representing the pro-concealed carry students, argues that students with state-issued concealed carry certificates should be allowed to bring their firearms onto campus, while CU’s policies stand contrary to this ability.
“Global yields are the lowest they’ve been in over a century. Arable land, water, everything is shrinking. Everything is in demand. Everything is expensive,” Bob Katsiouleris of Rio Tinto Minerals stated as an introduction to Tuesday’s Economics & Business graduate student lecture. “Rice yields in India today are the lowest they’ve been since 1950, “ he continued. “We’ll talk about why, what’s happening and how both from a socioeconomic, economic and marketing standpoint it’s critical to understand what’s happening and how we can step in and get the situation back under control.”
Put into Computer Science terms, each week the Oredigger selects from Mines a ‘pseudorandom’ geek and finds out more about them. So, without further ado, this week’s iteration of that foreach loop is, to our knowledge, the first person on-campus with a Windows Phone 7…erm…phone.
A word of warning. If you are into heavy racing simulations, the arcade-style mechanics and heavy traffic of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit may not be for you. Otherwise, another warning is in order: do not buy this game until after your last final; it is enough of a blast that unless you have a resolve of steel, you will spend an excessive amount of time playing this game. It is just that good.
“These are games where the idea is to learn ideas,” Dr. Clayton Lewis of the University of Colorado at Boulder stated to clarify the topic of Friday’s MCS Colloquium. “Not to learn a skill, but to learn some important concepts, concepts in math or science or something like that.” The presenter has for several years administered a Computer Science course on educational game design at CU, with an end goal of getting students to develop games that both engage the player and strengthen their understanding on hard-to-grasp concepts in evolutionary biology, parallel computing and other abstract areas.
At this fall’s “International Day” a state from the USA showed up, wielding a flag that at first glance might remind the hurried food-seeker of Chile. At second glance, however, the barbecue and Tex-Mex served at the table gave the identity of the attendees away: folks hailing from the Lone Star State.
“We have fallen behind,” President Barack Obama opined during a college-focused teleconference held Monday. “In a single generation we’ve fallen from first to twelfth in college graduation rates for young adults.” Still, the president proclaimed that, with better incentives on the part of the government and a more refined focus on the nation’s future, “by 2020, we once again [can be] number one and have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.”
“First of all, we’re making college more affordable,” Obama explained. “For example, we’ve changed the way federal student loans are administered. Instead of handing over $60 billion in unwarranted subsidies to big banks that were essentially getting this money even though the loans were guaranteed by the federal government, we’re redirecting that money so that it goes directly to students.”
A few weeks ago, Apple released the update to their smallest digital media player ever to have a screen, the iPod nano. The device stands as a radical departure from the previous members of the iPod nano family (and the iPod mini before it), substituting a tiny touch screen for Apple’s hallmark “click wheel” as a navigation method. The Mines Bookstore was gracious enough to loan me one last week, so I could find out for myself whether Apple’s newest form factor is a workable one.