Principal says students can’t keep blogs or MySpace profiles

Wow, it’s hard to imagine a more idiotic or wrong-headed school policy than this one. At Pope John XIII Regional High School, principal McHugh decided that students should not have blogs, and have threatened those who oppose the ban with suspension.

The primary impetus behind the ban is to protect students, McHugh said. The Web sites, popular forums for students to blog about their lives and feelings about their teachers and schools, are fertile ground for sexual predators to gather information about children, he said.

Can anyone else spot the irony of this statement? Anyone?

Said EFF attorney Kevin Bankston:

“It’s an incredible overreaction based on an unproven problem,” Bankston said. “If they’re concerned about safety, they could train students in what they should or shouldn’t put online. Kids shouldn’t be robbed of the primary communication tool of their generation.”

Amen.

Cleaning up old video…

While I was encoding videos over the weekend, I wrote a simple little filter to average consecutive frames to produce less noisy versions of title cards. I tested it on 25 frames from the titles of The Vampire Bat.

It looks a little soft because I haven’t worked out the registration, but it nicely eliminated various frame artifacts like dust and scratches. I’ve got the silly idea that relatively simple processing like this can make relatively bad prints such as this one into more attractive prints, if not actually good ones. I’ll have to work on it some more in the future.

Addendum: This might be a good place to start with a more sophisticated version.

The MINIX 3 Operating System

How did I miss this? Minix, the small OS designed by professor Andrew Tanenbaum to teach operating systems concets, is now in its 3.0 revision. From their webpage:

MINIX 1 and 2 were intended as teaching tools; MINIX 3 adds the new goal of being usable as a serious system on resource-limited and embedded computers and for applications requiring high reliability.

Neat. I’ll have to check it out.

Reprogrammable Genesis cartridge

Raphael Assénat created his own reprogrammable cartridge for the Sega Genesis so that he could give a try at writing his own homebrew games. I’ve seen his webpage before, in particular, his experimetns with webcams. Good stuff.

Hardware-wise, the Genesis is kind of a cute computer: It’s got an 8Mhz 68000 processor, 64KB of dedicated video ram, and a separate Z-80 chip to control the sound processor. A veritable super computer compared to the machine I’ve been playing with.