Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Events: LCA Talks and ChefConf 2020 CFP

Filed under
OSS
  • The dark side of expertise

    Everyone has expertise in some things, which is normally seen as a good thing to have. But Dr. Sean Brady gave some examples of ways that our expertise can lead us astray, and actually cause us to make worse decisions, in a keynote at the 2020 linux.conf.au. Brady is a forensic engineer who specializes in analyzing engineering failures to try to discover the root causes behind them. The talk gave real-world examples of expertise gone wrong, as well as looking at some of the psychological research that demonstrates the problem. It was an interesting view into the ways that our brains work—and fail to work—in situations where our expertise may be sending our thoughts down the wrong path.

    Brady began his talk by going back to 1971 and a project to build a civic center arena in Hartford, Connecticut in the US. The building was meant to hold 10,000 seats; it had a large roof that was a "spiderweb of steel members". That roof would be sitting on four columns; it was to be built on the ground and then lifted into place.

  • Poker and FOSS

    He introduced poker with a definition: "Poker is a gambling game of strategy played by people for money, using cards". The order of the terms in that definition is important, he said. In online poker, though, the "people" element is weakened because you can't see and directly interact with the other people you are playing with. So, unlike real-life poker, online poker is more about sociology than psychology; serious players track the trends of the player base as a whole, rather than trying to recognize the quirks of a particular person.

    That means online poker is "really about money". In order to succeed, one has to develop some weird views of the value of money. Even in games with relatively small stakes, players can win or lose a few thousand dollars in a session; in games with "nosebleed stakes", a player could be up or down by a million dollars in an evening. The game is particularly popular in the US, UK, and Australia, he said; it is played online and in face-to-face games in people's homes or at casinos.

    Poker became mainstream in the late 1990s, largely due to the "Late Night Poker" television series in the UK. There are a lot of different kinds of poker games, but the show focused on no-limit Texas hold 'em, which is the most "high drama of poker games" so it was well-suited to television. The show pioneered the use of a hole-card camera, so that viewers could see the two unseen cards each player was dealt. That innovation allowed viewers and commentators to analyze the choices that the players were making; without seeing the hole cards, watching other people play poker is about as interesting as "watching paint dry", Kuhn said.

    He did not go into the rules of poker much in the talk; a lot of it is not really germane to his topic. The important things to note are that it is a zero-sum, partial-information game where players are playing against each other and not the house (as they are in most other gambling games). It is a game of skill—better players win more over time—but there is a huge element of chance. In order for the house to make any money (casinos are not charities after all), a small percentage of the bets are kept by the house, which is usually called the "rake".

    All of that made poker an ideal candidate for online play. He put up a screen shot of a online poker game from 1999 and noted that all of today's poker sites have a similar look. It features a simple user interface that allows players to quickly and easily see the cards and make their bets. Most online poker players do not want sophisticated graphics and the like.

    So poker is relatively easy to write an online system for; there are a few "tricky bits", but in comparison to, say, an online multiplayer role-playing game, there are only minimal timing or network-delay issues to handle. It is completely turn-based and the state of the game is easily maintained on the server side. In addition, the client does not need any secret information, so the ability to cheat by extracting secrets from the data sent back and forth is eliminated—or, at least, it should be. The main problem for these systems is scaling them to accommodate as many tables as there is demand for. Serious players want to play in multiple games at once and the house maximizes its revenue by the number of games it can run.

    The "watershed moment" for online poker came in 2003 when Chris Moneymaker—his actual birth name, as has been documented—joined into a "satellite tournament" for the World Series of Poker (WSoP). Moneymaker paid $86 to enter the tournament and ended up winning the $10,000 entry into the main WSoP event in Las Vegas; he won that tournament and received $2.5 million for doing so. That created a huge boom in online poker, Kuhn said.

  • ChefConf 2020 CFP – Make the Work Flow

    So hopefully you’ve taken the time to submit something. Lots of folks have, and thank you! Maybe you’re still not sure what you could talk about at ChefConf? Maybe you’ve got some interesting people stories from your time in the automation mines.

    Over the years we’ve categorized these talks as “DevOps” or “People, Processes, and Teams”, but the real guts of the discussion centers on how tooling helps people get their jobs done better, as well as how new theories in teamwork and product delivery impact technical teams. How we work together sets the stage for how we succeed together.

More in Tux Machines

Security scandal around WhatsApp shows the need for decentralised messengers and digital sovereignty

The recent security scandal around WhatsApp and access to the content of private groups shows that there is an urgent need for action with regard to secure communication. Links to private chat groups in the proprietary WhatsApp messenger can be used to show the communication and private data of group members, even if you are not a member. The links could be found on various search engines. Even if they are removed from search results, links still work and give access to private group communication. Among these groups are also administrations like civil servants of the Indonesian Ministry of Finance. This case shows again that digital sovereignty is crucial for states and administrations. The security breach was first reported by Deutsche Welle. In order to establish trustworthy and secure communication, governments need to strengthen interoperable Free Software solutions using Open Standards and enable decentralisation. This helps administrations as well as individuals to protect their privacy and empowers them to have control of the technology they use. The software is already in place and was used by most of the internet users before Google and Facebook joined the market: XMPP! This open protocol, also known as Jabber, has been developed by the Free Software community since 1999. Thanks to Open Standards it is possible to communicate with people who use a completely different client software and XMPP server. You are even able to communicate with other services like ICQ or AIM - some might remember. XMPP has also been used by tech enterprises like Facebook and Google for their chat systems, but both eventually switched to isolated proprietary solutions, so XMPP has been forgotten by many users. Read more

Android Leftovers

Nvidia 440.64 Driver Released with Initial Support for Linux Kernel 5.6

Nvidia 440.64 comes about a month after the previous release, Nvidia 440.59, which added PRIME synchronization support for Linux kernel 5.4 LTS and later, as well as support for audio over DisplayPort Multi-Stream, and support for Nvidia High Definition Audio (HDA) controllers. This new version released today is only a small update that only introduces support for the Nvidia GeForce MX330 and Nvidia GeForce MX350 GPUs, as well as initial support for the upcoming Linux 5.6 kernel series by fixing some compilation bugs that prevented the Nvidia kernel module from building correctly. Read more Also: NVIDIA 440.64 Driver Released With MX330/MX350 Support, Linux 5.6 Compatibility

HP Linux Imaging and Printing Driver Now Supports Linux Mint 19.3

HPLIP 3.20.2 is out with support for new HP laser printers, including HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1200n, HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1201n, HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1200nw, HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1202nw, HP Neverstop Laser 1000n, HP Neverstop Laser 1001nw, HP Laser NS MFP 1005n, and HP Laser NS 1020n. Additionally, the new version supports several HP ScanJet scanners, including the HP ScanJet Pro 2000 s2, HP ScanJet Pro 3000 s4, HP ScanJet Pro N4000 snw1, HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow 5000 s5, and HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow N7000 snw1. But, what’s probably more important for Linux users is that the HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.20.2 driver adds support for the Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” distribution. So if you’re running Linux Mint 19.3 and have a HP printer or scanner, you’ll have to install HPLIP 3.20.2 to make it work. Read more