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Operating Systems

+ - Linux vs. Windows vs. OSX vs. [???] configurator

Submitted by FLJerseyBoy
FLJerseyBoy (948957) writes "A recurring theme to /. discussions is how best to make Linux succeed as a desktop OS. Most recently, in the "Countering the Arguments Against Unbundling Windows" discussion, many people brought up the difficulty for the average user in choosing an OS, even if a choice were possible. The blog posting which served as the basis for that discussion suggested that the solution is for OEMs to deliver with their hardware two install disks: a Windows Rescue disk, and a Linux installation disk. The purchaser would decide which (s)he wanted to install, and then proceed to install it (with a license purchase in the case of Windows).

I got thinking that even this would be too "scary" for people who are used to buying a computer, hooking up the various peripherals, plugging it in, and pressing the power switch. As an alternative, how about something like the APC "UPS selector" page? (Or the "configurator" at the Dell site, for that matter.)

What I'm thinking of would be a "Help me choose!" app at the manufacturer's site which basically holds the buyer's hand and asks a series of questions in order to lead them to a suitable OS: How long have you used a personal computer? Which of the following uses do you envision for your new computer? and so on. (I'm assuming one of the questions would be something like "How much do you want to pay for your OS?", ahem.) Based on the replies, the app would select the best OS. (With the buyer free to override, obviously.)

And then, once I thought of that, I thought it was so obvious that someone must have already done it. Any pointers to manufacturers doing something like this? Aside from an actual working "POS" application, can anyone provide link(s) to something like a decision tree?"
Robotics

+ - Robot walks - and learns about walking

Submitted by FLJerseyBoy
FLJerseyBoy (948957) writes "The BBC reports:

Roboticists are using the lessons of a 1930s human physiologist to build the world's fastest walking robot.

Runbot is a self-learning, dynamic robot, which has been built around the theories of Nikolai Bernstein.

...Runbot is a small, biped robot which can move at speeds of more than three leg lengths per second, slightly slower than the fastest walking human.

Bernstein said that animal movement was not under the total control of the brain but rather, "local circuits" did most of the command and control work.

The brain was involved in the process of walking, he said, only when the understood parameters were altered, such as moving from one type of terrain to another, or dealing with uneven surfaces.
Video at the site shows Runbot initially failing but then learning to walk up a ramp."

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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