DWITE — an online computer programming contest that Dan and I run has announced another season!
A new season of the DWITE programming contest is starting and we have picked the dates for the 5 rounds. This year we will start off with our first contest on October 23rd, which should give students enough time to get started in school, and learning, refreshing the programming skills, as well as us some time to get the site and judge up to shape for the new season.
What’s new for this season is that this year we’ve got stuff to give away — namely I’ve got a hold of 5 copies of Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. That’s one for each round of the contest. What is Little Brother all about?
Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.
But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.
When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.
Little Brother is the 1984 for the new generation. Surveillance, hacking, Japanese popular culture, Firefox, TOR, RFID… and that’s just the first chapter!
Cory Doctorow is a co-editor of BoingBoing.net and the former European Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (a kind of organization that we need to keep ourselves out of trouble), so he really knows this material well for his book. I think you guys will really enjoy this.
What’s super awesome is that you can download a copy of Little Brother for free (in just about every possible file format). The entire book is licensed under Creative Commons.
Though to get a hold of a hard copy, signed by the author, as well as Dan and myself, one has to take part in this year’s DWITE programming competition (you must be a Canadian high school student to be eligible to win). There are 5 rounds; 5 chances to win. Paul Butler has previously wrote a guest post with tips for preparing for a programming competition to check out.
So make sure that your high school (or some high school that you know of) knows of this.