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Rogue Roomba breaks all iRobot's three laws of Roombotics->

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Filed under: Robots

It's the stuff robotic room-cleaner nightmares are made of. According to The Onion, Ken Graney's third-gen Roomba (with Scheduler) is among the first known to have actually shattered iRobot's three prescribed laws of Roombotics:
  • Roombots must not suck up jewelry or other valuables, or through inaction, allow valuables to be sucked up.
  • Roombots must obey vacuuming orders given to it by humans except when such orders would conflict with the first law.
  • Roombots are authorized to protect their own ability to suction dust and debris as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second law.
The most important set of robotics rules since Isaac Hayesimov's Three Laws, apparently model 4260 actually climbed dresser and sucked up a pair of heirloom cufflinks, as well as keys and a wrist watch. 4260 has also supposedly been known to climb up and down stairs -- even walls -- hide its own virtual walls, and has since being detected gone missing entirely. Graney fears for the worst: that his Roomba knows the source of its households messes, the very human that occupies it -- him. We face a grim, immaculate dystopian future indeed.

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Hardware Hacking

+ - Bootable IDE ports disappearing- why & how to

Submitted by
wattsup
wattsup writes "It seems that bootable IDE ports are disappearing on newer motherboards.

I recently purchased an MSI G965M-FI motherboard for a system upgrade. Overall the board is pretty good with lots of features, but it had one "unexpected feature" that I didn't know about when I bought it. The PATA100 IDE port won't allow you to install an operating system from a CD-ROM attached to it.

While its on their website, MSI doesn't tell you this on the retail packaging, until you break the seal on the static wrap and look at the motherboard. There, with a tiny label placed over the IDE connector they inform you "This IDE does not support OS installation in hard drive".

This made my out-of-box experience rather maddening, as I had to get a USB based CD-ROM to install a fresh copy of XP. This seems like a pretty lame way to save money, disabling functionality on an IDE port that's included. Some research shows me that other manufacturers are doing the same thing. Why?

My question is; Does anybody know if this is an issue that can be fixed by upgrading the BIOS, or is this hard-wired in the IDE controller?"
Intel

+ - AMD vs Intel::Upcoming '07 Releases.

Submitted by
CptCheerios
CptCheerios writes "As it nears the summer we can see the release of Intel's Penryn and AMD's Barcelona chips nearing production. So with aproaching release of these processors we have little time left to speculate on what will be coming out. If you read through those two links, one from Intel's R&D link, and the other is a PDF from GDC 07 for AMD's Barcelona processor. When you really do your research you find only a few differences between these chips. Intel is 45nm, with SSE4 instructions, and Hi-K metal Gate technology. Then AMD has Single Die Quad core with the Memory controller built on the Cpu itself. Also the AMD supports Dual Socket Direct Connect and a 4mb Shared L3 Cache.
Intel and AMD both have new features for mobile, but Intel seems to win this with added performance features where power can shift from idle cores over to a core with a higher load on it, intel also features a deep power down mode for laptops where it uses almost no power for use with laptops sleep mode (does require a longer boot up time from this mode).
Really when it comes down to it for the Desktop CPU's its your opinion of a few features and which one will cause a higher increase in performance.
In my opinion with a strong push towards parrallel programing the AMD Barcelona will win out, that and the fact that the On Chip memory controller will allow an even higher transfer rate since motherbords will no longer have bus to the memory so there is one bottle neck removed so information can be processed even faster. Intels chips are faster and possibly will have a better core to core performance, but features like DSDC, directly interfacing Memory with the CPU, and then a Single Die quad core chip could easily makeup in total system performance, ram is already at 1.2GHz, any incentive pushing it past 1.6GHz ultimately renders it useless to Intel but mostlikely not for AMD. Intel still has a proven processor, so is all this magic and voodoo that AMD is talking about their processor really that impersive, or is Intel's penryn another Leap ahead of AMD?"

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