UMBC global game jam live video feed

January 30th, 2010

Via Marc Olano: The Global Game Jam is into its second day at UMBC with 41 registered participants working on seven games. Keep up from home with our live video feed and games list.

Global Game Jam at UMBC, January 29-31

January 28th, 2010

UMBC will be the Baltimore site for the Global Game Jam. This is a 48 hour event, where teams from around the globe will work to each develop a complete game over one weekend. Last year, the UMBC site fielded five teams as one of 54 sites in 23 countries. This year promises to be even bigger, with 124 sites in 34 countries.

The Baltimore site and open to participants at all skill levels. It is not necessary to be a UMBC student to register. Thanks to generous support by Next Century , there is no registration fee for the Baltimore site, but you must register for this site in advance at The jam will start at 5PM on Friday, January 29th in the UMBC GAIM lab, room 005a in the ITE building. At that time, the theme for this year’s games will be announced, and we’ll brainstorm game ideas and form into teams. Teams will have until 3pm on Sunday, January 31st to develop their games. We’ll have demos of each game and selection of local awards, wrapping up by 5pm Sunday.

Last year’s theme was “As long as we’re together there will always be problems”, and we had games developed using a combination of XNA, Flash, Maya, Photoshop, and the Unity Engine.

For more information, visit

cfp: two special issues of the Journal of Web Semantics

January 23rd, 2010

The Journal of Web Semantics has announced two new special issues. Heiner Stuckenschmidt and Jeff Heflin are editing a special issue on web-scale semantic information processing with a deadline of 1 July 2010 for submissions. Grigoris Antoniou, Mathieu d’Aquin and Jeff Z. Pan are editing a special issue on semantic web dynamics with submissions due 31 May 2010.

How lotteries like Spain’s El Gordo enhance social ties

January 3rd, 2010

The economist has an article, Gamblers united, on Spain’s lotteries, like El Gordo (“the Fatty”) will will pay out €2.3 billion this year. What I found interesting is that this and other Spanish lotteries are events that enhance social ties.

“Loterías y Apuestas del Estado, the government agency that runs El Gordo and other lotteries during the year, encourages mass participation by dividing each €200 ticket into décimos, or tenths, which sell for €20. This, in turn, allows players to improve their odds by buying small shares in many tickets, often by forming syndicates with friends and colleagues. … All this has transformed the lottery from a glorified tax on the poor, as it is in most countries, into part of the social fabric. Sharing tickets at Christmas has become a way to reinforce social ties, says Roberto Garvía, a visiting professor at Georgetown University. The practice of forming syndicates, which initially started in the 19th century when lottery tickets became too expensive for working-class folk, has become a tradition among all classes. As one banker says, “I don’t want to be the only idiot who has to turn up to work if the office number wins.”

Spamassassin 2010 bug

January 1st, 2010

Shades of Y2K! Mike Cardwell reports on a rule in Spamassassin that judges any message sent in or after 2010 as “grossly in the future” and treats this as evidence of it being spam. I just checked and found that our mail server’s Spamassassin is using this buggy FH_DATE_PAST_20XX rule.

If you are using Spamassassin, or think your mail server might be, check the source of mail you have received today. Here’s an example from one of my messages this morning.

X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 3.2.5 ... on
X-Spam-Level: *
X-Spam-Status: No, score=1.6 required=5.0 tests=AWL,FH_DATE_PAST_20XX
  autolearn=disabled version=3.2.5
Received: from (
  []) by (8.14.3/8.14.3) with ESMTP
  id o01DjJUn011187; Fri, 1 Jan 2010 08:45:19 -0500 (EST)

If the message exceeds the local spam score threshold for, you may find a block with more details in your message header, like this example.

Content analysis details:   (6.1 points, 5.0 required)

 pts rule name              description
---- ---------------------- ----------------------------------
 3.4 FH_DATE_PAST_20XX     The date is grossly in the future.
-4.0 RCVD_IN_DNSWL_MED   RBL: Sender listed at,
    medium trust [ listed in]
 1.8 SUBJ_ALL_CAPS  Subject is all capitals
 4.2 FORGED_MUA_OUTLOOK  Forged mail pretending to be from MS Outlook

As a workaround until your server updates Spamassassin, the points that the rule adds to a message’s spam score can be lowered to 0.0 in Spamassassin’s configuration file ( or your own user-prefs file.

score FH_DATE_PAST_20XX 0.0