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Comment Re:BASICALLY (Score 1) 170

Yes, when I was a kid we had a CPC 6128 as well. It came with a few games, and a big manual that explained everything about the machine. In that time, it wasn't easy to get new software or games. And as a kid I didn't have any money to buy them. So I followed the same path (except I luckily didn't end up doing JAVA/SQL).

Immediate access to a programming environment + a real manual. That made it really easy to start programming. Unfortunately it's something you don't see much anymore.

Best game I wrote on the CPC was a split-screen two-player math game, where you had to solve simple equations by entering the answer using the joysticks. Configurable difficulty level for each player (so I could play with kids of a different age), and background music. And all of that in the excellent Locomotive BASIC, no need for PEEK/POKE/OUTB/CALL.

Comment Make sure your project is ready for the real world (Score 4, Informative) 107

Make sure the silkscreen contains enough information so that populating the PCBs is as free from errors as possible.
If you are using polarized components (diodes, electrolytic caps, etc.), it helps if all components are oriented in the same way.
If not, make sure it is properly marked on the PCB.

Even if the prototype works fine, spend some time hardening your project for possible problems. Add diodes to protect against accidental reverse polarity connections. Your final design will probably run for much longer than your prototype ever did, so make sure it doesn't get too hot, and that everything is well within the maximum ratings of the components. Not every power supply is the same, add a capacitor and/or line regulator to the input. Maybe some components can be put into a socket instead of directly soldered on board. LEDs are cheap, add some to provide diagnostics.
Make it easy for an end-user to reprogram the Arduino/Rasperry/whatever.

Comment Gender and skin color (Score 5, Interesting) 90

Dear Zach,

I noticed that your comics feature a remarkable balance in gender and skin color of the people you draw. There are also many same-gender couples. How do you do this? Do you decide yourself for each comic, or do you roll some dice? Do you randomize other things this way as well, like glasses and clothes?

By the way, I noticed that you maintain a list of things you cannot draw. But don't worry, you're way better than that Randall guy who can only draw black&white stick figures.

Comment Re:Define 'observe' (Score 1) 223

I am a physicist. However, both physicists and non-physicists wonder about that. However, this is just some meaning we attach to the formulas. It is unlikely we can determine the "truth". Personally, I don't let this bother me, the answer will not change anything anyway. It's much more productive to use physics to get results people can use. If we can use physics to make quantum key distribution work, does it really matter if it is because of "spooky" action or by a more mundane interpretation of the physics?

Comment Re:Branching Universe (Score 1) 223

Well, you could argue that within each universe, the laws of thermodynamics hold. There is no rule that says that if you have an infinite number of universes, the sum of the energy contained in each universe couldn't be infinite.

But remember, what we are discussing here are just interpretations and simple descriptions. Things like "spooky action at a distance" or "collapse of the wavefunction" are just meanings we attach to the formulas, it is not truth itself.

Comment Re:Define 'observe' (Score 5, Informative) 223

The best definition I have heard is this: suppose we have an observer O in state A, and a system S which is in the superposition of the states 1 and 2. When the observer observers the system, the state of S does not collapse, rather the observer and system become one, say OS, and is in a superposition of the states A1 and A2.

You can interpret this in various ways; one could say that this means the observer, or even the whole universe for that matter, branches all the time, and/or all possible states of the observer/universe exist simultaneously, however that again is just a description, not what might really be the case.

Disclaimer: I am a physicist.

Comment DROD (Score 2, Informative) 460

Try the DROD (Deadly Rooms of Death) series, which are puzzle games with story lines and lots of humour. They are also very playable for beginners, you don't have to be a die-hard puzzle lover to play this.

You can play one or a few rooms per day if you want, the game will automatically save your progress so you can stop any time you want. They released the source code of the first game in the series, not unlike what id Software does.

Wireless Networking

Broadcom Crams 802.11n, Bluetooth, and FM Onto a Single Chip 174

Broadcom has managed to cram 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, and FM reception/transmission all into a single "combo wireless chip." Designed to be a better wireless implementation for portable devices, the chip seeks to lower chip counts and integration costs. "Broadcom is the second firm — following Atheros in a single-function chip — to announce a single-stream 802.11n product, in which one of 802.11n's advantages is shaved off in favor of a faster baseline performance and lower battery consumption. This move is meant to replace 802.11g in portable devices without draining a battery faster and providing other advantages that make up for what's become a slight cost difference."

Australian Judge Rules Simpsons Cartoon Rip-off Is Child Porn 612

An anonymous reader was one of several to note a bizarre story in which an Australian judge ruled that drawings can be child porn. In this case, it was knock off drawings of the Simpsons doing naughty things. Good thing they're going to be censoring the Down Undernet soon. Who knows what damage this could cause.

Google To Sell Truly Open Android Dev Phone 219

binary.bang writes "Google has announced an unlocked version of T-Mobile's G1 for sale at the same unlocked price of $399. The Android Dev Phone 1 is the G1, except being truly open: no SIM-lock, no hardware lock. Feel free to flash your customized Android build — the bootloader won't be checking for signatures. Don't be misled by the word 'Dev,' looks like all you need to qualify is an Android Market account. This looks like the Open Handset Alliance delivering the promised Open Handset: yes root, yes flash-your-build, no contract, no strings attached. Anyone else relieved & thrilled?"
The Courts

RIAA Sues 19-Year-Old Transplant Patient 663

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Just when you think they've reached rock bottom, it seems the RIAA always finds room to sink a little lower. This time they've sued an innocent, 19-year-old transplant patient, hospitalized with pancreatitis and needing islet cell transplants. Although the young Pittsburgh lady claims that she did not infringe any copyrights, she failed to answer the complaint in time, and a default judgment was taken against her. A Pittsburgh area lawyer has stated that he will represent her pro bono and make a motion to open up the default."

IEEE Says Multicore is Bad News For Supercomputers 251

Richard Kelleher writes "It seems the current design of multi-core processors is not good for the design of supercomputers. According to IEEE: 'Engineers at Sandia National Laboratories, in New Mexico, have simulated future high-performance computers containing the 8-core, 16-core, and 32-core microprocessors that chip makers say are the future of the industry. The results are distressing. Because of limited memory bandwidth and memory-management schemes that are poorly suited to supercomputers, the performance of these machines would level off or even decline with more cores.'"

Submission + - LiberTV has launched

Octavian writes: "LiberTV — the free video distribution platform launched Bucharest, Romania, March 05, 2007 — - — LiberTV, a high quality video distribution platform has been launched internationally, after 6 months of testing and huge success in Romania. The application includes a channel guide, a video collection manager and a built-in video player, all combined in an easy to use interface, which enables anyone to easily find, download and watch high quality video content. LiberTV supports all widely used video formats and implements a peer-to-peer data distribution technology, similar to BitTorrent. LiberTV was designed to be accessible to everyone — it's simple and easy to use, requires no additional installations and is efficient in terms of memory and CPU usage. "We have designed LiberTV for my grandmother, who is 84. If she can watch Internet video with LiberTV — everyone can", says Florin Braghis, company founder and development lead, who is also a TV producer and a comedian. "We wanted to create an alternative video distribution technology, so that independent artists, like myself, could share their work with the entire world and break the dependency on corporate TV stations without spending a fortune on bandwidth bills or having to sacrifice video quality", he adds. Currently, LiberTV aggregates hundreds of free internet shows, available as podcasts on the Internet. The company currently seeks contracts with TV and film producers around the world in order to expand their content. You can check out the application (still in beta) at Interview Contact Florin Braghis, Telephones: +40 31 808 82 91 +40 788 328 308 +40 21 326 63 40 E-mail:"

Submission + - AnyDVD updated, now removes Blue-Ray DRM

mariushm writes: "SlySoft has just updated AnyDVD HD, offering users the possibility of watching Blue-Ray media without DRM. This comes after only two weeks from the first release which was able to remove DRM from HD-DVD.

Version has lots of features but probably the most important one is stripping the evil DRM infection from Blu-Ray and restore your fair use rights.

The free upgrade can also remove region encoding, works on Windows XP-64 and Vista-64, and fixes a ton of bugs. You can get the update or a trial copy here."

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith