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Comment: Technologic Systems (Score 1) 173

by Jon Abbott (#47423407) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Dedicated Low Power Embedded Dev System Choice?

The embedded ARM boards from Technologic Systems are worth looking at also. I used a TS-7260 with a large enough SD card to install Debian with gcc and it worked great. It booted nearly instantly and consumed something like 100mA of current at 3.3V IIRC. It was quite a robust little box. There are newer and faster models than the TS-7260 at the link I provided above.

Comment: Re:I remember watching the disaster on television (Score 1) 207

by Jon Abbott (#45982301) Attached to: Previously-Unseen Photos of Challenger Disaster Appear Online

I watched the final Challenger launch in person in Kindergarten from Orlando, FL. The teachers and aides let all the kids outside to watch the launch and then brought us all back inside without explaining what happened. At the time I thought that the SRBs were just taking a different path than normal. It wasn't until that evening that I found out from my parents and TV what had happened. To this day I have disdain for situations where misinformation or lack of information is happening.

Comment: A good target for mobile platforms? (Score 1) 160

by Jon Abbott (#45861251) Attached to: Development To Begin Soon On New <em>Star Control</em> Game

From the Ars Technica article it looks like they are targeting PCs, Macs and console platforms for the new release of Star Control. To me it seems like mobile platforms would also be well suited for this game, as it shouldn't need the latest and greatest graphics capabilities. When SC2 was released, it could actually run on an underpowered 286, even though 486s were popular at the time. At the time that seemed to help its popularity, as pretty much anyone with a PC could play it.

Comment: Re:Is camping necessary? (Score 1) 173

by Jon Abbott (#44456761) Attached to: Camping Helps Set Circadian Clocks Straight

Why not just open the blinds before bedtime and turn off the lights progressively at night... or whatever the magic is... that does this?

It may not be as simple as staying indoors and opening blinds or reducing lighting at night. The article I read yesterday (here) said the test subjects were exposed to 400% more sunlight when camping outside compared to their usual indoor environment... so sun exposure may also play a role. Considering that Vitamin D (which the body synthesizes in the form of cholecalciferol from sun exposure) acts contrary to melatonin levels (which spike during sleep), perhaps sun exposure provides a strong natural cue for the body's melatonin level to surge at sunset.

Comment: Re: nature and consumers (Score 1) 358

by Jon Abbott (#44407315) Attached to: GMO Oranges? Altering a Fruit's DNA To Save It

Artificial banana flavoring is synthetic isoamyl acetate, amyl acetate and other compounds, whereas actual bananas likely contain hundreds of distinct flavor compounds. Isoamyl acetate by itself is often described as tasting like banana and pear, or Juicy Fruit. My guess is that artificial banana flavoring just isn't as complex as what bananas produce (no pun intended).

Comment: Re:Autodesk Inventor (Score 1) 218

by Jon Abbott (#43195221) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best 3-D Design Software?

Better yet, if you have a Mac you can download Autodesk Inventor Fusion from the App Store for free, and it doesn't expire. Inventor Fusion is quite limited compared to the normal version of Inventor, but it's certainly powerful enough to create interesting/useful objects and export them to STL format for 3D printing. Trimble Sketchup is useful for starting to learn 3D modeling, however it isn't a solid modeler and as such isn't well-suited to 3D printing without using something like CADspan to convert the models to STL. The 3D warehouse in Sketchup is really impressive though and provides a great playground for downloading and working with preexisting models.

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