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Comment Why this isn't necessarily a good idea (Score 3, Interesting) 49 49

There are a couple of things that make TI calculators different from your average hackable smartphone or Raspberry Pi device.

First, they have terrible specs. The TI-NSpire, which is the creme-de-la-creme of these calculators has 20 MB of RAM. Compare to a recent Galaxy S3 smartphone - 2 GB, or even a $35 Raspberry Pi - 512 MB. The CPU is also woeful in spec, as is the flash, etc. They're also locked down to their dumbed down operating system which is extraordinarily limited, even when you consider the lack of the device's hardware prowess.

Second is the fact that these TI calculators are allowed on the SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests. This in my opinion is the reason for the awful specs. That they are allowed is precisely because the calculators are limited. It would be much easier to put a whole bunch of cheating software on a Galaxy S3. Heck, I could see apps like that in the Android marketplace for sale for $9.95! Or imagine - you could "ask an expert" during the test and have the answer transmitted to you over the smartphone's 4G coverage. Doesn't it make sense that the TI calculators have no built-in-networking, not even Bluetooth?

TI has to balance the fact that people want to cheat their way through these tests or math class and yet give them a nice calculator, one that can aid students in relieving the drudgery of basic arithmetic and maybe even have features that make people's lives easier. But again, this cannot come at the expense of having a platform that's ready for cheaters.

So in my opinion, this concept of putting Linux on the TI N-Spire is probably not a good idea, for a number of reasons. First, TI will likely try their darndest to prevent the calculators from being loaded up with a custom OS that could then be loaded up with cheatware. Moreover, if cheatware became easy to load, the people that run the SAT and ACT test would look to disqualify the TI from being used on these tests. This would then hurt the people that are honestly looking to use the calculator as intended on those exams.

If you're looking to hack on a piece of hardware, buy a Raspberry Pi, load a custom ROM on your smartphone. You're not doing anyone any favors by hacking Linux to run on the TI calculators except cheaters, and even that would only last a short while.


DX11 Tested Against DX9 With Dirt 2 Demo 201 201

MojoKid writes "The PC demo for Codemasters' upcoming DirectX 11 racing title, Dirt 2, has just hit the web and is available for download. Dirt 2 is a highly-anticipated racing sim that also happens to feature leading-edge graphic effects. In addition to a DirectX 9 code path, Dirt 2 also utilizes a number of DirectX 11 features, like hardware-tessellated dynamic water, an animated crowd and dynamic cloth effects, in addition to DirectCompute 11-accelerated high-definition ambient occlusion (HADO), full floating-point high dynamic range (HDR) lighting, and full-screen resolution post processing. Performance-wise, DX11 didn't take its toll as much as you'd expect this early on in its adoption cycle." Bit-tech also took a look at the graphical differences, arriving at this conclusion: "You'd need a seriously keen eye and brown paper envelope full of cash from one of the creators of Dirt 2 to notice any real difference between textures in the two versions of DirectX."

NASA Wants Your Ambitious High-Tech Contest Ideas 128 128

In an effort to create future Centennial Challenges, NASA is asking the general public to come up with (and submit) ambitious contest ideas. For the next six weeks, the Innovative Partnerships Program will be accepting ideas for new contests, with all submissions becoming public domain information. "According to NASA, any idea can be proposed for a prize competition that addresses challenges related to the mission of NASA in aeronautics, exploration, science, or space operations. Crosscutting topics or those that also address related national or global needs are especially valuable. The challenges must require basic and applied research, technology development or prototype demonstrations."

Microsoft Exec Says, "You'll Miss Vista" 273 Screenshot-sm 273

Oracle Goddess writes "'Years from now, when you've moved on to Windows 7, you'll look back at Windows Vista fondly. You'll remember its fabulous attributes, not its flaws.' That's the opinion of Steve Guggenheimer, vice president of the OEM division at Microsoft. 'I think people will look back on Vista after the Windows 7 release and realize that there were actually a bunch of good things there,' Guggenheimer said in a recent interview. 'So it'll actually be interesting to see in two years what the perception is of Vista.' A dissenting opinion comes from Bob Nitrio, president of system builder Ranvest Associates, doesn't believe organizations that skipped Vista will ever regret their decision. 'I don't think for a second that people are suddenly going to love Windows 7 so much that they will experience deep pangs of regret for not having adopted Vista,' said Nitrio. If I had to bet, I'd go with Bob's take on it." My first thought was, Steve meant Windows 7 is designed to be virtually unusable as payback for all the complaints about Vista, but I might be biased.
The Internet

Beyond Firewalls — Internet Militarization 83 83

angry tapir writes "One of the discussions at the Source Boston Security Showcase has been the militarization of the Internet. Governments looking to silence critics and stymie opposition have added DDOS attacks to their censoring methods, according to Jose Nazario, senior security researcher at Arbor Networks, with international political situations spawning DDOS attacks."

Comment The religion of Apple (Score 0, Flamebait) 10 10

You know, I think you have a really good idea there. I've actually been doing something similar with my own foes list.

It is an interesting obervation that certain people are fanatical about a cause and will defend it to the detriment of reason and common sense. Apple is a company that managed to create this "cult of personality" around itself. In some regards, I think Apple's devotees are a more fervent crowd than the Trekkies. I wonder how many people would down cyanide fruit punch if Steve Jobs were to mix some up...

I think this Apple "cult of personality" unfortunately says something about the culture we live in. Perhaps it is because of loose societal bonds. People certainly need a place to belong - a family where they are accepted and loved. And sadly, some have chosen Apple as their clique of solidarity, something I think no company deserves.

Parkinson's Law: Work expands to fill the time alloted it.