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Comment: Re:Learning programming through motivation. (Score 1) 315

by hamster_nz (#49443877) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Introduce a 7-Year-Old To Programming?

Gosh, in my day proto-programmers would quibble those facts:

"But I never drink water, only Jolt cola, yet I'm still alive!"

"But I wager that I can go longer than 7 days with water - Soup is a food, so food alone it is for me"

"Is an ice cube food or water - it is after all a solid", quickly followed with "well, I'ld like to see you last longer than 7 days on just steam".

"Can I drink from the dehumidifier i my room? Can I use evaporation to purify my urine?"

"what do you mean 'and' in 'without water in 7 days, and without food in 14 days? Don't you mean or? After all you can only die once"

"Sorry Dad, I've learnt how to pick locks at the geek club - do you want me to show you?"

"But If you eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, you can replace lost moisture from just your food alone, and never need to drink" ....

Comment: The obvious answer (Score 4, Insightful) 488

by hamster_nz (#48503919) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Non-Coders, Why Aren't You Contributing To Open Source?

Could I contribute while mountain-biking? Could I contribute by ballroom dancing? Could I contribute while driving miniature steam engines in the park on Sundays? Could I contribute while acting in local Shakespeare plays? Could I contribute while woodworking? Could I contribute by going to the movies?

It is simple, most people have hobbies that they enjoy spending their spare time on.

Just because some people have a passion for Open Source and others find utility in it doesn't impart any sort of onus to assist development. Isn't that the ethos of Open Source - you can use it with no strings attached?

You might as well ask the opposite - Why are there so few FOSS coders just dropping in at rest homes to talk to the elderly? Why are no FOSS coders painting murals in public spaces? Why are no FOSS coders picking up rubbish in the park? Why are no FOSS coders building mountain bike trails in the weekend?

Comment: Well done team! (Score 1) 31

by hamster_nz (#48106737) Attached to: Axiom Open Source Camera Handily Tops 100,000 Euro Fundraising Goal

I've had a few short chats with one of the members of the team, and the tech is simply gobsmackingly droolly. The data bandwidth required for readout from the sensors alone is massive - 300 fps of 4k video, even without deep colour is 20 x that of 1080p.(around 60Gb/s).

Congratulations for what has been years of effort!

Comment: Been there, done that.... (Score 2) 191

by hamster_nz (#47743563) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

We had a 7.1 10 kms (6 miles) down the road...

We had plenty of food and water, we were a bit cold as we didn't want to light the woodburner until we checked it out properly. Had a nice BBQ with the neighbours and enjoyed a bit of quiet time and early nights as power was out for three days.

It hit at 4:35 am. However I still don't sleep approriately attired for running out of the house in the night, nor do I have shoes by the side of my bed for walking over broken glass. Most probably the two most important lessons right there (oh and don't put your bed beside a brick chimney, not that we do...).

Comment: Re:Limited utility. (Score 1) 136

by hamster_nz (#47626037) Attached to: Parallax Completes Open Hardware Vision With Open Source CPU

Sure, but it is a big bonus for people who need a few custom periherals and a nice, open, stable controller with a good toolchain.

Video processing? Audio processing? Driving oodles of servos? Driving oodles of Neopixels? Does your design need really tight feedback loops (e.g. high speed power control)?

Comment: I think that they are two overlapping domains. (Score 1) 241

by hamster_nz (#47488585) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

The best book I have ever read on DSP is "The Scientist and Engineer's Guide to
Digital Signal Processing" - pdfs are on All of the sample code is in BASIC - yes, BASIC! I have successfully then gone on and implemented many of the ideas presented in many languages, and even in hardware. This highly useful maths can be presented in the what is arguably the worst of programming languages, and it is still very informative,

Some important areas of programming have very little maths at all. For example math does not care if you just name all your variables "aaaaaa" through "zzzzzz" - the answer is just the same.

In short both sides of the argument are wrong. Programming and math sit beside each other, with quite a bit of overlap. When working on problems that are in this overlap, you have a bias towards seeing it as solving maths with a programming tool, or programming with maths as a tool.

+ - Frakenchips - Xeon and FPGA doubles throughput but not power

Submitted by hamster_nz
hamster_nz writes: Over at The Register there is talk of Intel's new Xeon/FPGA hybrid chips. Looks to be compelling: There's evidence the company may be right. Earlier this week Microsoft announced a scheme named "Catapult". With this system, the company added FPGAs to over 1,600 servers used by its Bing search engine and, in doing so, had almost doubled throughput while only increasing power consumption by ten per cent.

If you want to get in on the ground floor I guess you could always look at a Kickstarter AVR+FPGA hybrid.

Science and religion are in full accord but science and faith are in complete discord.