Will changed rules help Cricket …?

Its all happening .. The ICC Chief Executive Committee approved the recommendations made by ICC’s Cricket Committe to bring new innovations to the quicker form of Cricket .. The One Day International (ODI) will now have different format of fielding restrictions and there is a new feature of player substitution in the approved changes ..

A Brief Summation of changes :

  • 12 Players now:
          The teams will be selected with 12 players instead of 11 players previously. One substitution can be made at any time of the match and any player could be replaced with another. The replaced player will be ruled out of the game and the new player will take his responsibilities .. This will change the whole course of the game .. Now India can bowl with Zaheer Khan and then replace him with Sachin in the batting inning .. along with having and extra player ..
  • Field Restrictions increased:
          The fielding restrictions will now be of 20 overs instead of 15 overs previously .. It will be applied in three slots: The first 10 overs will be mandatory plus two additional slots of five overs each which will be decided by the fielding captain on when to apply them ..
  • The specifications of the Cricket Bat:
          The ICC will create an expert panel group to work with Cricket bat manufacturers to review the existing rules governing manufacturer of cricket bats …

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Free CDs to support Open Source movement from Indian Govt

The Technology Development for Indian Languages started distributing free software tools and fonts in Hindi on June 20th. Earlier in April they started providing Tamil language tools on the cd . This CD contains open source alternatives softwares in localized language like BharateeyaOO.o (Office suite in Indian Languages, based on OpenOffice.org ) , Columba Email Client , FireFox browser, GAIM , Unicode compliant fonts and keyboard drivers et al … This cd is available for public freely upon registration. ..

      This move of the government seems to me inspired by Brazil’s earlier initiative PC Conectado to make the use of computers and Internet cheaper for the masses .. Brazil govt realised that to become such program feasible, it had to be Open Source .. The IT Minister of India, Dayanidhi Maran also declared in his Ten Points Agenda that he will put stress on Language computing as well as Internet connectivity in his policy .. All the points look pretty attractive and if he is really serious about it then we will soon get many new advances ..

      Now back to the CD .. It has most often used softwares like an office package, browser, email client and instant messenger but it lacks an operating system .. If the government is really serious about bringing the computers to common masses, it should also realise that most people cant afford to spend on softwares too .. This is the main point why piracy is so much on rise here .. If the CDAC can provide a localized version of Linux for India then I am sure it will be a huge success …

      Along with this government should introduce Linux as a part of computer courses in schools and colleges .. Most students graduate out of college knowing only Windows and related technologies and if they are taught about Linux right from the start, I am sure they will feel more comfortable with it and Open Source will strengthen more here …

      PS: I learnt that TDIL will also look forward for distributing these cds along with computer magazines .. So I am contacting Raaabo if he can get it with next issue of Digit ..

The Abolition of Entrance Tests — Boon or Bane ..?

Umm.. A Sunday looks good after a hectic week .. I aint getting much time these days as I am doing this lecturership .. Anyways .. Here we go ..

The recent announcement of doing away with Common Entrance tests for admission in Professional Courses by Tamil Nadu has rose many questions .. According to the new system, the admissions in professional courses will be made solely on the basis of performance in Plus Two exams and reservation system ..

Who will benefit ..?
   According to Ms Jayalalitha, it is aimed at benefitting students from rural areas. .. As the students from rural areas are unable to attend coaching classes which are specifically focussed on entrance exams, it will play as a levelling system .. Also as now students will have to concentrate only on their exams only, it will reduce the stress from both the students and their parents …

What can be the problems ..?
   The first thing that comes to mind is what will they do when there are many students with same marks ..? How will they decide the gradings then ..? Another problem is with CBSE students.. as the CBSE and local board have different systems, there must be a system that will correlate the performance of CBSE students with local board students ..
   Earlier students used to take a year drop for preparing for entrance exams but as now there will be no entrance exams, the students will have get only one chance in their board exams as there will be no grade improvement exams ..

So ..? Will it help or make the system worse ..?
   Umm… As most of the problems that arise are related to grading system, it will need immediate improvements .. When the student’s apprehension are removed, most of the people will consider the system favorably .. I myself liked the idea .. Cauz these entrance exams make students so much stressful .. Their concentration is diverted between board exams and entrance exams .. And entrance coaching centers have grown like mushrooms who have made this their business .. When there will be no entrance exams, the students will concentrate on their school syllabus .. This is the main point of the system .. What are we encouraging ..? These coaching centres teaches “tricks” to solve the questions in less time .. Most of the time, they focus only on sections of syllabus that are considered “scoring” .. This results in students who knows 100 formulas but dont know the basics of the subjects .. Getting rid of entrance exams will surely help in students taking more interest in the curriculam studies .. But there should be grading improvement exams too .. When you are putting so much on one exam, there can be chances when some unfortunate thing happen and student not performing well in the exam .. So it will be a lost chance for him .. If there will be grading improvement then they can try again …

I hope more States follow the lead and accept this system .. It will help reduce the stress burden from both students and their parents .. And it will give more credit to school exams too ..

Yahoo Messenger 7 Beta Reviewed

Yahoo started offering preview of its new messenger Yahoo Messenger 7 this wednesday. As most of my friends call it Yahell instead of YIM, I was really curious to experience the new offerings .. So here it goes ..

Whats new in YIM 7 :

  •    Apart from a few cosmetic changes, YIM’s newest feature is PC to PC calls .. Now YIM users can make direct pc to pc calls free over the net .. This move is due to increasing userbase of Skype and Hello! services which Yahoo! thinks it can attract .. The quality of voice mail was good indeed on my dialup line ..
    Voice Call
  • The looks are changed a bit too .. Now the messenger shows a pop up description of contacts and most tasks are available in the pop up …
    Profile Popup

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USA wants weapons in Space ..

In a shocking piece of news, NYTimes reported that US Air Force is seeking approval from President Bush for a national security directive which will enable the US Air Force to hold weapons in the space ..! It seems that Air Force is taking inspiration from Hollywood movies now .. But it should also look at the risks involved in the affair .. .

nbsp;  Further to the report it says that no treaty or law can forbid them from doing so apart from spacing weapons of mass destruction. .! So far we have heard things like spy sattelites ( I dont know if they exists or work sufficiently cauz if they could then Osama shouldve been caught by now ..) and many sophisticated techniques which go unreported but this one can give rise to many controversies .. .. .

   While the Air Force officials says its not about putting weapons in space, but to have free access in space ..! .. Oh yeah .. Now have a look at the things that will enable them to have “free access in space” : (Directly quoted from NYTimes)

A new Air Force strategy, Global Strike, calls for a military space plane carrying precision-guided weapons armed with a half-ton of munitions. Pentagon documents say the weapon, called the common aero vehicle, could strike from halfway around the world in 45 minutes.

In April, the Air Force launched the XSS-11, an experimental microsatellite with the technical ability to disrupt other nations’ military reconnaissance and communications satellites..

Another Air Force space program, nicknamed Rods From God, aims to hurl cylinders of tungsten, titanium or uranium from the edge of space to destroy targets on the ground, striking at speeds of about 7,200 miles an hour with the force of a small nuclear weapon..

A third program would bounce laser beams off mirrors hung from space satellites or huge high-altitude blimps, redirecting the lethal rays down to targets around the world. A fourth seeks to turn radio waves into weapons whose powers could range “from tap on the shoulder to toast,” in the words of an Air Force plan.

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Right to Information … Is it sufficient ..?

Hmm.. The Right to Information (RTI) bill was passed at last in the parliament .. I was following it since NAC recommended to modify the Freedom of Information Act 2002 … Now that it has been cleared let us have a close look at the act .. its features .. and its flaws …

   What is it actually ?
      Under this act, the people now have a legal right to access information in the form of files, reports and data about the government’s proceedings enabling them to question the government..The RTI act introduces Central Information Commission which is an independent appellate authority which will have the Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition on its appointment committee.. It will appoint Chief Information Commissioner and 10 Information Commissioners on the lines of Election Commission. There will be an Assistant Information officer for each department who will act as a bridge between people and the departments. The officers who fail to provide or delay the information will have to pay the penalty as a portion of his own salary .If he gives wrong information, there is another fine … People can have access to any record or document with an exemption of matters of national security .. The people living in rural or remote areas wont have to come to state capitals to get the information they want .. They will have to approach their local municipal authorities as Block Development offices to get the information they want.. So far it all looks good…

   How will it help ..?
      The biggest problem in our country is corruption .. Corruption stays because there is a lack of accountability and transparency in the government and bureaucracy … Lack of accessibility is another problem .. This right will strike on the roots of these problems .. And while as the concerned officer will be fined on a per day basis, there will be pressure on him to gather the information required in due time ..

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