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Comment: Re:Now I wish.... (Score 1) 60

by Dogtanian (#47522547) Attached to: Raspberry Pi Gameboy

The point that he is a humorless old bastard? Yeah, we all got that point. There was nothing wrong with your original comment. Some people just hang here that are not really nerds.

Not sure how you come to that conclusion. If anything, I'd expect nerds to be the ones more likely to care that the underlying tech was the authentic original, beyond its external appearance.

Or perhaps this is one of the differentiators between a "nerd" and a "geek".

Either way, whatever one thinks of this sort of thing, it isn't really a story. People have been shoving small-form factor PCs inside old computer cases for years now, leading to stupid headlines like "upgraded Commodore 64 runs 10,000 times faster" when it should say "midrange Micro-ATX PC shoved inside gutted and mutilated Commodore 64 case (with holes cut for ports and slimline DVD drive) runs at its usual speed, supports C64 emulator like every other PC, doesn't even use the original keyboard".

I doubt this is even the first time something like this has been done with a Raspberry Pi. I'm not attacking this submitter in particular, and I don't dislike it as much as I would had he destroyed a much rarer retro device for such purposes, but it's still not news.

Comment: Re:Too long (Score 1) 161

by Dogtanian (#47481253) Attached to: Microsoft's Missed Opportunities: Memo From 1997

Kinect was bought from PrimeSense.

That rings a bell; I think someone made that point the last time I referenced that article- as I mentioned, that post above is mostly just an unmodified cut-and-paste of the original one I made years back, but still pretty relevant. I should have updated that part, but as I said I'm at work just now. :-)

Comment: Re:Too long (Score 2) 161

by Dogtanian (#47481185) Attached to: Microsoft's Missed Opportunities: Memo From 1997

Myhrvold's role was essentially to be the futurist at Microsoft. He was their forward thinker and gave them the geeky excitement that allowed them to make many of the right choices throughout the '80s and '90s. Ignoring him and concentrating instead of the business and litigation-driven path resulted in the gradual slide to the barely relevant, spiteful and fading dinosaur, shedding workers and market share we're saddled with today.

I'm at work, so haven't had the time to properly read the articles et al. However, it's been known for years that MS *have* been doing a lot of serious research with talented people- the research they needed to avoid the position they're now in. The problem is that the vast majority never made its way out for short-term business and political reasons, and they're reaping that failure now. Here's a post I originally made in early 2012 in turn referencing someone else's *very* informative comment (itself dating back to 2010):-

"It's been commented on for *years* that Microsoft have labs stuffed full of very clever and innovative people, yet still seem to end up churning out mediocre, uninspiring crap. One explanation is that internal politics are responsible- this article comment from someone who claims to have worked at Microsoft (click link for full version) is informative:-

There have been many instances at Microsoft where genuine innovations have sat on the shelf or been half-heartedly brought to market [.. In 2002 MS had..] a prototype smartphone that had (essentially) all the useability features of an iPhone, including a trick interface, accelerometer and multi-touch. It was cobbled together and not very pretty, but as a proof of concept, it worked. Yet it never saw the light of day. Why?

Brass’s tablet project was well advanced in the labs too, but somehow never got the traction it deserved internally. [..]

Microsoft has a Darwinian internal structure. Each business unit has to fight for scarce resources, - they compete with each other and only the strong survive. Succeeding in that environment involves more than just having a good (or even great) product or project. Unless you’re Office or Windows, you have to build symbiotic relationships with other business units (preferably the big guys) just to ensure your survival. You have to make their success (at least partially) dependent on yours

[..Secondly..] in its youth, Microsoft could afford to hire only the best and the brightest. Smart people are flexible and innovative in their approach and this reflects in the company’s culture. As the enormous growth of the late 90s took hold, we couldn’t keep up with the demand for more employees and as a consequence, the quality bar dropped. We started employing people who were merely good, not outstanding. These new people were less flexible, less able to handle organisational ambiguity and less passionate about what they were doing. They started to build bureaucracy as a safety-net and as a structure in which they were comfortable operating. Goodbye to dynamic decision-making and rapid market responses.

Anyway, bottom line; the "smart" people starting work there know (or must be really, *really* blinkered not to know) of this reputation, so why are they working there? Silly money?

I'll grant that they came up with Kinect recently, which was pretty innovative (albeit as a response to the Wii controller) and smacked of research turned into a workable product. But that was pretty recent (so couldn't have inspired any but the newest recruits) and probably benefitted from being an XBox product that was out of the way of the entrenched interests and politics of the main Windows-focussed divisions, and in an area where MS had more to gain than lose from innovation."

Comment: Re:Come now. (Score 1) 104

by Dogtanian (#47414185) Attached to: How Japan Lost Track of 640kg of Plutonium

According to another post [] this plutonium could not be used to make a bomb, and the explanation makes sense to me. So even if they change the constitution they won't be making any bombs, at least not with this plutonium.

This story rang some bells with me, and yes, it does appear to be the same case already reported on Slashdot (the figure given in the linked article there was also 640kg).

That time, however, the slant was on the Chinese being concerned that the Japanese may have been "stockpiling" this missing plutonium for weapons.

Which begs the question as to why, if it couldn't be used to make an atomic bomb?

Comment: BOOM! Take that ye scurvy bilgerats! (Score 1) 203

my old $500 epson is not as fast as a $50 cannon, but it renders images better

To be fair, I wouldn't expect a cannon to render *any* images very well. On the other hand, it probably does better than an Epson in defending ships against pirate vessels. (Well, perhaps not a $50 model...)

Comment: Re:Boards or ROM's (Score 2) 133

When I was about 15, there was a Laundromat down the street with an old Asteroids game where the vector monitor worked fine except that the beam never turned off, so you could see how it sat dead center in the screen most of the time, then drew a line from one asteroid to the next, to the next, etc. as it rendered a frame.

Let me guess... eventually it burned a hole all the way through the centre of the screen until one day it got through and (a) blasted the woman whose job it was to collect the change from the machines' head off or (b) lasered her, segment-by-segment- via an early-80s pseudo-computer-effect- into the Asteroids machine itself where she was forced to play life and death computer games and interact with anthropomorphic, sentient realisations of abstract computer concepts, while finding some way to prove that she *was* due the five hours overtime they'd refused to pay her?

Comment: Re:But the Tokyo area is so crowded (Score 2) 133

Secondly, even in Tokyo proper if you travel to any point in the city that is more than a 10-15 minute walk from a station(and there are plenty of them) you will find plenty of run-down and abandoned buildings. Property in Tokyo seems to follow an inverse square law, the value is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the closest station.

Which begs the question- would it be worth someone's time to buy some of these unwanted out-of-the-way buildings and then fund (possibly fully) the construction of a line and station covering that area?

That quite obviously wouldn't be cheap- to put it mildly- but given the ludicrous value of some buildings and land in Tokyo, the returns could be huge.

Comment: Intel have done this before... and here's the snag (Score 3, Informative) 80

by Dogtanian (#47275757) Attached to: Intel To Offer Custom Xeons With Embedded FPGAs For the Data Center
Intel has already come up with an Atom CPU with integrated FPGA, but only for the embedded market.

I'd already been thinking about the possibility of end-user-accessible, on-the-fly-reprogrammable FPGA functionality as part of a "regular" computer before I heard Intel had produced an integrated CPU/FPGA (though it's not clear how easily configurable the FPGA was there). I raised the issue in that previous thread and got a *very* interesting and informative response (thank you Tacvek) that pointed out some major problems with the concept of general access to such functionality.

The issues raised there explain why Intel are unlikely to be making an easily-reconfigurable hybrid product like this available to the general public any time soon, however smart and exciting the idea sounds.

Comment: Fish are vegetables too!!! (Score 1) 39

by Dogtanian (#47270353) Attached to: Fish-Eating Spiders More Common Than Thought

'Flesh Eating Spiders' would have made this story worth posting.

What do you think fish are made of, tofu?

One of these spiders was going around telling people "Actually, I'm a vegetarian."

When I pointed out that it was eating a fish, the spider replied "Oh yeah, I can eat fish, that doesn't count."

"Also, I'm permitted to eat Carrot Top."

Comment: Re:BTW: Only way to prevent digital source-trackin (Score 1) 240

If you're implying the use of steganography, then you're a moron.

Given the existence of undocumented- and more seriously, undisclosed- yellow marks output by various laser printers which have in at least one case been proven to be steganographic markings *and* decoded, it's certainly not "moronic" to consider that a similar scheme could in theory exist hidden in some digital cameras.

Frankly, in the wake of the Snowden revelations I wouldn't even consider this possibility ludicrously paranoid any more. Of course, digital cameras can have giveaway signatures like naturally-occurring hot pixels (and other signs) anyway, so in a sense it's already there. I don't think it's plausible that a non-GPS-advertised device would have a hidden detector inside, or even any method (e.g. WiFi triangulation) of detecting its location if that wasn't already designed into it.

A camera on a GPS-enabled smartphone though? If my life depended on it, I wouldn't bet against the possibility.

Comment: Re:The actual appeal (Score 1) 240

Call me when I can buy a DSLR back with 100 megapixel resolution for less than an insane price. Until then, I'll stick with [a Rollei medium format camera].

People who berated digital as being convenience-over-quality compared to their 35mm cameras a few years back (back when digital wasn't as good as it is now) seemed to forget- or didn't realise- that 35mm film itself was always a convenience-and-cost compromise over quality compared to medium and large film formats.

Images shot properly on larger format film have always been able to knock spots off their 35mm counterparts purely because they're starting with a massive technical advantage. Unfortunately, though one can buy a film-based medium or large format camera for a very affordable price, their digital equivalents- or more specifically the sensors that can deliver comparable resolution and performance to those formats- are, as you imply, prohibitively expensive.

That aside, as the other reply said, it's unlikely that the students in question are using 4 x 5 cameras and the like, and more probable that they're using bog-standard 35mm film cameras, so this is ultimately a red herring...

Comment: Re:Practice. (Score 1) 55

what's great and unique about SMS is you can send a SMS message to any cell phone and it will chime and the user will get a notice. maybe if you know that a person has snapchat you can snapchat your butt or whatever. but snapchat will die, so will everything else. sms as a technology isn't going anywhere.

True, the universality is a benefit, and that's why SMS will probably remain as a "baseline" service for quite a long time. OTOH, it *is* very limited, even by the standards of the late-90s when it first became *really* popular. (The 140 character limit is more reminiscent of limits imposed by the tiny RAMs of late-70s computers!).

Also, rather obviously, you can't SMS text a photo of your butt(!), and most of the end-users of other services are probably only doing so for ephemeral use- let's face it, that applies to text messages as well! In Snapchat's case, the whole *point* is that it's (supposedly) ephemeral. (Of course, I never trusted that as far as I could throw it, and apparently Snapchat were in trouble for retaining images themselves, which makes it even worse, but that's beside the point here).

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James