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Comment Re:Understandable (Score 4, Interesting) 165

Indeed - I still have my original Commodore VIC-20, and a second one, because I was careless with the first one day while poking around in it with a voltmeter as I executed code. Schematic and memory map were not only fun but really needed to do anything powerful beyond BASIC. I'd never want to go back to hand-assembling and poking machine code or laying out arrays of ASCII characters on the screen, then changing their bitmaps to plot graphics on screen, but having done so once was priceless.

Comment Too expensive (Score 3, Informative) 225

Quite simply, I wouldn't spend $100 + $50 insuring a $600 product. Especially one that depreciates as fast as a cell phone. Perhaps taking the 1 year agreement with your cell plan provider would work out better. It's usually not that much more, and you play the odds that you can make it out 1 year without doing something serious to your current phone.

Claimed Proof That P != NP 457

morsch writes "Researcher Vinay Deolalikar from HP Labs claims proof that P != NP. The 100-page paper has apparently not been peer-reviewed yet, so feel free to dig in and find some flaws. However, the attempt seems to be quite genuine, and Deolalikar has published papers in the same field in the past. So this may be the real thing. Given that $1M from the Millennium Prize is involved, it will certainly get enough scrutiny. Greg Baker broke the story on his blog, including the email Deolalikar sent around."
The Internet

The Puzzle of Japanese Web Design 242

I'm Not There (1956) writes "Jeffrey Zeldman brings up the interesting issue of the paradox between Japan's strong cultural preference for simplicity in design, contrasted with the complexity of Japanese websites. The post invites you to study several sites, each more crowded than the last. 'It is odd that in Japan, land of world-leading minimalism in the traditional arts and design, Web users and skilled Web design practitioners believe more is more.'"

MS Design Lets You Put Batteries In Any Way You Want 453

jangel writes "While its strategy for mobile devices might be a mess, Microsoft has announced something we'll all benefit from. The company's patented design for battery contacts will allow users of portable devices — digital cameras, flashlights, remote controls, toys, you name it — to insert their batteries in any direction. Compatible with AA and AAA cells, among others, the 'InstaLoad' technology does not require special electronics or circuitry, the company claims."

Slackware 13.1 Released 155

Several readers made sure we are aware that Slackware 13.1 release is out. Here's the list of mirrors. "Slackware 13.1 brings many updates and enhancements, among which you'll find two of the most advanced desktop environments available today: Xfce 4.6.1, a fast and lightweight but visually appealing and easy-to-use desktop environment, and KDE 4.4.3, a recent stable release of the new 4.4.x series of the award-winning KDE desktop environment."

MSI Will Launch iPad Alternative 756

itwbennett writes "Underwhelmed by the iPad? Don't give up on tablets just yet, says blogger Peter Smith. MSI has a tablet coming in the second half of 2010 that measures up on price and size and addresses a lot of the iPad's most noted shortcomings. 'The iPad runs iPhone OS while the MSI runs Android,' writes Smith. 'That means the MSI will multitask of course, and Flash support in Android should be a given by launch time (though that isn't certain). It has a camera. It's running on an Nvidia Tegra2 chip which Ars Technica suggests puts it on par with the iPad's A4 as far as computing horsepower. And of course Android doesn't live in a walled garden.'" The post notes that the MSI device does not support multitouch in its built-in apps. Still, would an Android-powered iPad-alike tempt you?

Update: 01/29 17:58 GMT by KD : Dave Altavilla suggests Hot Hardware's coverage of Asus's recently announced tablet, also based on the Tegra2 chip.

A Clever New Approach To Desalination 128

jbeaupre writes "The Economist reports on progress by a company called Saltworks on using saline gradients to do the heavy lifting of desalination. In essence, Saltworks uses solar energy or waste heat to concentrate sea water. They then use the ionic gradient between the concentrated brine and two sea-water streams to pull ions from from a 3rd sea-water stream. It appears to work with entropy by trading the reduced entropy of the desalinated water against the increased entropy of 'mixing' the brine and the other sea-water streams. The article only discusses Na and Cl, but even just removing these ions is a step in the right direction."

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan