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Comment Arduino-alike (Score 1) 106

>just how simple is this new device?

I reckon an Arduino-alike. Possibly something as simple as other low-end ATMega or ATTiny werables like Adafruit Trinket, Flora or even Adafruit Gemma, only with a 5x5 LED array and two switches built-in.


In some respects, these things are even less powerful than the original BBC Model B; 8k of flash & 0.5k of RAM on the Trinket compared to 32k of RAM on the Beeb. In other respects, they're a little bit more powerful; 8MHz or 16MHz RISC on the Trinket compared to 2MHz 6502 on the Been (compare that to 900MHz quad-core RISC on the latest $35 Raspberry Pi).

Either way, they're not going to be running a graphical desktop and almost certainly will need to be programmed bare-metal (i.e. pre-compiled programs only, no interpreted languages, no operating system). You'll probably need another "proper" computer (such as a PC, Raspberry Pi or mid-range tablet) to program it with. TCP/IP stack (internet connection) is almost certainly out too, but a Bluetooth serial connection is a goer.

Really what we are talking about, in modern terms, is a microcontroller, not a computer.


I'd guess the BBC Bit would have a retail value somewhere between five and ten quid (US$8-15).

Comment Cheating in singleplayer doesn't matter (Score 3, Insightful) 473

(disclaimer: this turned into a general letting-off-of-steam rather than a direct focussed reply to your specific points)

What does it matter if there is cheating in singleplayer mode?

I backed this game to the tune of around a hundred quid on the basis that there would be a singleplayer mode; I bought Beta and Lifetime Expansion Pass. And there still will be a singleplayer mode, it's just that it will require an internet connection. That's fine for as long as the game remains profitable enough to keep the servers running (and for as long as I don't move back to the sticks or join the armed forces; the latter is unlikely, the former is possible).

The problem is that it was funded as a one-off-purchase game, not a subscription game, and therefore I'm having trouble identifying how they will keep the money coming in to fund the servers past the initial, say, 18-month sales peak. As I've mooted elsewhere, Frontier need to commit to releasing the server modules as freeware on or before the day the servers inevitably become unprofitable. I appreciate the servers are cloud-based with multiple interdependencies, but it's not like the Elite fanbase is short of technical skills - the community WILL be able to manage it, even with near-zero documentation.

As far as the "it was always obvious it was going to be an MMO" goes, I disagree strongly.

I backed this because it was Elite, and not because it was Eve Online Plus. If I'd wanted an Elite MMO, Eve Online already exists.

I have neither the patience to deal with the minority but significant number of griefers, spammers and general idiots that proliferate in online games, nor do I have the time required to grind my skills up to the level required to participate fairly against those who can put 20+ hours a week into the game. I used to be one of those 20+ hour/week gamers (what I don't know about TFC:Badlands isn't worth knowing), they're mostly lovely people, but now I have kids and a mortgage, which was my choice, and a choice which informed which Kickstarter games I backed and which I didn't.

I backed a singleplayer game with up-front paid lifetime pass.

Now it looks like "lifetime" means the lifetime of the game, and with that lifetime is looking pretty short.

(And while I'm having a moan, have I just forgotten how steep the original's learning curve was, or are all the available control systems in E:D really, really hard, or is this just another symptom of me not being a 20+H/week gamer any more?)

Comment Er... BBC is a government agency, not profit (Score 1) 239

>When you have a "press" that is either owned outright by corporations or heavily subsidized by corporation

Um, this is a story about the BBC.

You do know they're a British government agency, right? Categorically prohibited from any involvement with private corporations or any kind of profitmaking in their onshore activities, and with a board of trustees appointed by democratically-elected ministers?

Comment French privacy laws are quite different (Score 5, Informative) 138

It's worth noting why the French team in particular, so vehemently object to drones, in a way that other nationals might not, or at least might do so less outspokenly.

In France you have ownership of your own image. A photographer needs to have your permission if they want to take a photo that has you as the main subject.

Obviously they don't need permission if you're just an incidental bystander or a face in a crowd. But if you're one of the primary subjects, then in France, you have to give your permission.

This also applies to merchandising and the law is often used in a similar way to trademarking or endorsement.

Comment Re:fsck you Jono. (Score 3, Informative) 62

As plugs for your new book go, that was beyond subtle.

Good luck matey. And don't forget us coders back in Blighty's Midlands that you left behind for a new life in... ooh, look, it's actually not raining outside! What were we talking about again?

(Jono's new book is called "Dealing with Disrespect" and is available wherever your search engine takes you. No, I'm not affiliated.)

Comment Re:Street Performer Protocol (Score 1) 394

The answer to most of those questions is "...and that's why Charles Dickens' novels were so very, very long."

SPP has been tried with varying success, usually for works that are provided in installations. For example, Charles Dickens' novels were serialised in newspapers; a single newspaper paid the bounty for each chapter, but there was no way to enforce their exclusivity after they hit the press. Horror writer Stephen King tried it and gave up after only a few chapters.

The UK's Linux Voice magazine operates on a variant of SPP; it had a kickstarter for subscriptions and also offers a printed newsstand edition, but all content is released under free licence after 9 months.

You're right about it theoretically relying on reputation for repeat business.

Comment Street Performer Protocol (Score 2) 394

BoomBoom wrote:
> So what's the incentive to create works? How is an author paid?

The author proposes a work. He finds customers who want it made. He sets a bounty level. The customers pay the bounty (if not, author revises his bounty or moves on to another idea). The bounty is held by an independent third party (escrow). The author makes the work. The author releases the work TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC and receives the bounty.


I'm not saying it's a perfect model (in particular there is controversy about non-paying users benefiting from other's payment), but unlike RMS, I am at least answering your exact question. ;-)

Comment UK has Islamic extremist problem in prisons (Score 5, Informative) 220

The UK has a problem with Islamic extremist gangs in prisons. Printed material from external well-wishers and visitors is a huge contributory factor. This problem is far, far worse than any right-ring white gangs in US jails.

For example at the high security prison near Evesham, there is a large gang who slash the faces of anyone who refuses to convert to their brand of Islam. This isn't widely acknowledged by the prisons service, but it leaks out through staff such as prison nurses, who have to deal with the end results.

Comment Funny thing about chips designed in Cambridge (Score 3, Interesting) 116

Funniest thing about backdoors is that almost every mobile device in the world has an ARM chip, designed in Cambridge, UK. That's Cambridge as in MI5 open recruiting ground and MI6 clandestine recruiting ground.

Devices manufactured in China, using a British-designed chip, routed through British Telecom using Huawei equipment... as you said, what could possibly go wrong?

If I were the conspiratorial sort, I might have reason to suspect Cambridge-recruited personnel of working for the other side.

Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun.