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Comment: Bay Trail NUCs are lousy: Buyer beware (Score 3, Insightful) 48

My first D54250WYKH couldn't even get through the OS install. It had IO errors that were unrecoverable every time. The second NUC would consistently take a Kubuntu install but has intermittent kernel panics and reboots for seemingly no reason. And it near bricks using any kind of suspend mode in Linux - everyone is having that problem. You have to disassemble the whole NUC and pull the CMOS battery to get it to boot after any sort of suspend. Suspend is pretty important because these small cases use small, loud fans. Just a modern desktop, an idling modern desktop, is enough load on the GPU to throttle up the fan to full RPM.

I posted about my troubles on the NUC forums, along with many others. Intel says they don't officially support Linux so it's on you to fix. That's interesting because they sell the NUC with no OS. If it's intended to be windows only they should sell it with windows. Also in the firmware notes they talk about fixing a bug that was effecting Openelec, so obviously Linux is part of their testing.

Comment: Re:I like Turbine, and I expected a new MMORPG (Score 1) 50

by Big_Breaker (#48020667) Attached to: Infinite Crisis' Superhero Origins Story

Asheron's Call (the first one) was great. I really wish they hadn't wasted so much the time and so many resources on a sequel. AC had a good loot system, crafting, genuinely novel lore, real PKing, a full open world, in game guilds, in world housing, a functioning economy (ok sometimes money was worthless). I moved onto to WoW and it was much more polished but didn't have that wide-open, it's your world feel of AC. WoW felt like running around Disneyland. You could get lost in AC.

You haven't lived until you've done a Chakron's quest (including the run through the Direlands) or the Aerfalle quest to get your recall scroll. Morningthaw server here. Crowning achievement? Trading for one of the rare sets of PPGSA. That and getting a villa... good times

Comment: Re:Intel NUC (Score 1) 183

Celeron J1800 and J1900 boards are passively cooled, low power and cheap. Consider them as an alternative to a NUC

I bought this board:

It's more expensive than the ASUS, Gigabyte, etc J1800 boards but mine does 12V dc-dc conversion on board and has many more SATA connections. That sames me a traditional PSU and SATA card/expander.

Comment: Re: So you can reuse the PC board? (Score 4, Informative) 122

by Big_Breaker (#47393451) Attached to: New Single Board Computer Lets You Swap Out the CPU and Memory

I built a baytrail server and its amazing for the cost and power budget. The Intel HD graphics aren't for gaming but it can serve and render media on a sip of power. The HDDs are by far the biggest power hog. I struggled with these ARM chips and their custom distros enough. The ability to be on x86 with well supported peripherals is well worth it - gpu especially. Need to run some wintel stuff now and again? Virtualbox works fine. On the other hand ARM chips always have their issues with proprietary gpus and their binary blob drivers rife with kernel compatibility problems. And you find yourself stuck in a back alley of "mostly" compatible software and patches.

You might hate sucking up to Intel but at least the drivers work. I might be burning 7 watts instead of 5 but that's nothing in the overall power budget. And baytrail is much much faster than IMX6.

Comment: Re:Digital is only digital if analog is right (Score 1) 236

by Big_Breaker (#47229581) Attached to: Are the Glory Days of Analog Engineering Over?

Totally true. A for effort!

But I'll say FPGAs are a niche technology. Many products have no FPGAs and effectively none have only an FPGA and no supporting circuits. Commonly FPGAs are used for ultra high bandwidth applications where a traditional microprocessor can't hang. All those high bandwidth buses and external I/O interfaces press right up against analog. Maybe you are using a stock dev board and programming the FPGA over USB. So congratulations - your analog issues have been abstracted away but someone made the dev board, and when your design doesn't work you'll be pulling out a o-scope that costs more than a car to debug. And I some point I promise you'll be analog scoping waveforms.

Comment: Digital is only digital if analog is right (Score 5, Insightful) 236

by Big_Breaker (#47228833) Attached to: Are the Glory Days of Analog Engineering Over?

Part of "Digital", the lowest level of digital, is a contract concerning how signalling between transistors occurs. This includes timing, rise and hold times, voltage thresholds and current. I'll include avoidance of race conditions, clock distribution, refresh cycles on DRAM and temperature effects as a side car. These are all design constraints that make sure the 1s and 0s working properly. It's only when you have a 99.99999999% solid digital contract that you can begin the digital side of the design.

All of this digital design is solidly analog and will NEVER go away.

I could make another whole post about the absurdity of traditional "analog" going away. All these mobile devices have some amazing RF design going on from the antenna down to the mixed signal SoC. Analog is everywhere and at the core of every electronic gadget.

Comment: No pre-ignition, ultra high variable compression (Score 1) 234

Comments about mechanical simplicity are missing the key advantage. There is no risk of pre-ignition bending a piston rod if if fuel is introduced too early in the cycle. Direct injection also solves this - there is not fuel in the cylinder until it's safe. This is the solution for diesel engines and allows for higher compression. But a crankshaft makes it hard to change an engine's compression ratio, which can be useful, especially in a multi-fuel setup. A crankshaft dictates how far the piston can rise towards the cylinder head and determines a fixed volume at top-dead-center, the highest point in the piston's travel. In a free piston engine the piston is free to top out closer or farther from the cylinder head.

Comment: Re:Less apple more ISO standard interface please (Score 1) 194

by Big_Breaker (#46763227) Attached to: How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry

3rd party GPS is gimped due to a lack of wheel rotation data from the car which OEM GPS get's "for free". This wheel rotation data helps update direction, speed and position far more frequently than GPS can. If CarPlay gets access to the car's telemetry feeds to pickup wheels rotation data, it will make a huge difference in accuracy. From there on out OEM is a dead. For sure you will be stuck in a walled garden though... renting your map data at $3 a month. But that's better than an over priced, 3 years out of date system that only gets worse as time goes on. Updates are very much the exception and not the rule in OEM electronics.

Comment: Re:Better to make a hand extension for dangerous w (Score 1) 91

I know about push sticks but sometimes you need more dexterity. Also people will accidentally reach for something reflexively, through distraction or fatigue, and hurt themselves even when a push stick or whatever is nearby. -- I was going to say handy but didn't want to make a pun.

Comment: Better to make a hand extension for dangerous work (Score 4, Interesting) 91

Once the fingers are lost, no prosthetic will be as good as the original. Why not let a "prosthetic" hand take the injury in the first place? As a bonus you have the intact, unmaimed hand to drive the actuators on the device. Use the sacrificial hands for dangerous work around saws and such. It could be like this:

But better... If it was good enough people would use it out of habit. Old school special effects guys used cable setups to animate puppets in live action scenes, sometimes down to the individual fingers.

Take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously; and do not take what happens either to yourself or your work seriously. -- Booth Tarkington