The data: URI scheme

The data: URI (RFC 2397) allows the inclusion of small data items like images, text etc inline. It is quite useful for embedding small bits of data into scripts, as no external source needs to be referenced. In fact, I had come across the data: URI through a Greasemonkey script named Smilize which substitutes the usual smiley texts with images (embedded in the script using the data: URI).

There are a few sites which convert small images, html etc to the data URIs. There is one major drawback with the usage of the data: URI – it is not supported in Internet Explorer. So, for the time being its utility is mostly restricted to Greasemonkey and Opera scripts, till IE support is available (maybe in version 8?).

I came across a new addon for IE 7 – IE7Pro – which provides userscripting functionality plus some other features like Ad blocker, mouse gestures etc.

Computer resistant game

I was going through the wikipedia page for Deep Blue (which I had followed through one of my feeds), and came across the game Arimaa (official site). The game was apparently developed by Omar Syed following Garry Kasparov’s defeat at the hands of Deep Blue. The game layout is quite similar to chess, and is played on an 8×8 board, but with different looking pieces, and different rules and objectives. There is also a wikibook for the game, plus a downloadable program.

Omar Syed designed Arimaa as a game which would be difficult for computers to play well, and there is a prize (valid upto 2020) for the first computer program which defeats a top ranked human player. The results so far have been quite convincingly in the favour of human players so far (2004-2007), with even low ranked players dominating the computer challenger.

One of the reasons behind this could be that not too many challengers are lining up. Another reason is likely to be the usual brute force approach used in chess programs does not work too well in this game due to its design.

So, for now we can easily say machine smart, but humans smarter.