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Comment Our Hackerspace uses chalk (Score 1) 387

We use a chalkboard all the time for sketching out open source solutions. Of course it helps that we painted a whole wall with chalkboard paint. Somehow a whiteboard is not as satisfying.

I can totally believe that Microsoft doesn't have enough creativity to make use of a chalkboard any more. It's sad if true.

Submission + - Brain shield brings neural network to the Arduino (

Paul Bristow writes: The Arduino has done a fantastic job in making things react, move and blink. Now are making the Arduino think as well. They're running an Indiegogo campaign to produce the Braincard, a neural network shield for Arduino that incorporates a CM1K 1024-node neural network chip. One variant includes a camera so that the Arduino will be able to do real-time image recognition. Oh, and they built in a stacking mechanism to you can expand to 9000+ neurons.

You could use it to teach a robot to read, or count the number of beers in a room, or get a drone to chase frisbees, or make a beer fridge that only opens for you and your buddies. The technology has been around for a while, but the scientists have only just realised that the maker movement could do some really cool things with this. The same board works with Raspberry Pi and PMOD sensors too.

Any ideas what you would make?

Comment Fictionwise (Score 1) 330

B&N bought Fictionwise - a great E-Book web store that sold DRM-free electronic subscriptions. I subscribed to Asimovs Sci-Fi magazine for >10 years there, reading it in Palm (originally), EPUB and PDF formats. I bought hundreds of books as well. A year after buying it, B&N closed it down, and said I had to transfer to their DRM'd formats.

Now I don't buy anything from them. Idiots.

Comment (Score 1) 409

You need to sign up to If enough of us do, perhaps the movie industry will take notice. Already the European Commission did (who regulates the entire online, TV and Cinema worlds in Europe), but they say they if they see 100k sign-ups they'll pay attention. Until then it's all ACTA and similar...

Up to you.

Comment I don't care what activision wants (Score 1) 344

I don't have time to even try to run a gaming PC any more. Just too much hassle. And no - to those that say "it got easier with whatever version of windows is out now" - I don't care. I have more important things to do with my life than buy graphics cards costing more than a PS3 & Xbox combined and find the drivers for all the peripherals and make it all work. Been there, tried it, had numerous favourite games stop working because of Direct X blah de blah... Had an entire force feedback steering wheel stop working because drivers were no longer made. You won't catch me again. It's over...

Comment See the impact of co2 for yourself. (Score 1) 715

Forget 'explaining' it. Did they test it?

IE, take your chemicals (you know, CO2, argon, etc.) and stick them in a container, and test the impact that sunlight has on them. Figure it out, contrive something. simply observe.

It's such basic science that you can do it in your kitchen. Take a look at and see a simple experiment you can replicate yourself

Comment Re:step one (Score 2, Interesting) 1354

I just came back from a conference in France including a maker faire element. Plenty of geeky/artistic women there, and you'll have a huge amount of fun. Just go with an open mind, and try things you wouldn't normally do. Another thing to try might be - kinda hard to describe - they do "strange things with electricity" but another creative/tech mix. Take a look and see if there is a group near you.

Comment Re:Why do we have a problem with Gates? (Score 1) 841

Embrace, extend, extinguish.

Of course no-one would complain if it wasn't for the fact that Microsoft has probably caused each individual slashdotter many many man-hours (months? years?) of pain and anguish trying to make a stupid DOS|Windows|Win NT|Win95|Win98|Win2000|WinXP|etc... machine work as it should do. Hell I remember how difficult it was to get the Network edition of Windows 3.11 to do TCP/IP!!! Even if we abandoned Microsoft for more reliable alternatives, it continued to cause us pain because of friends and family who needed our help and we couldn't refuse.

I repeat, if Microsoft had made a reliable fast product (I still feel sad that OS/2 died), no-one would be complaining. So, yes, given that Gates was personally responsible for running the company that made many many hours of our lives a misery with a thoroughly mediocre OS, I would say quite a few of us have a problem with him for good reasons.

And no, having made your money as a convicted monopolist, spending it in a philanthropic way does not remove the reasons to dislike him. I am glad that, having made billions of dollars, he is spending it in this way, but I would much rather he hadn't made it in the first place, and just maybe, we would have had a very different software industry based on sharing of code and tools that people in the third world could have afforded to join.

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