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Comment: Re:$4.30 MSP430 Launchpad for starters (Score 1) 228

by javawocky (#42722631) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Electronics Prototyping Platform?

I started with arduino, and I had no microcontroller experience. The community, examples from the absolute ground up, and vendor (sparkfun, adafruit, etc) support is excellent. It all makes for a really enjoyable experience. Digikey and mouser get you parts fast. Ebay and random asian websites get you parts slow but cheap. If you want graphics (eg. TV, or monitor) though, best go with the pi. A pi costs less than an arduino graphics shield. Ethernet is doable at least.

Totally agree, Sparkfun and Adafruit are certainly Hobby friendly, I am still tempted to do some AVR work as they had a great tut on Sparkfun... Which reminds me of another reason I decided to dip my toes with the Launchpad - I do have a Pi and its GPIO voltage is the same as the MSP, so they seam to be a good fit. I haven't actually interfaced them quite yet, so I could still end up releasing the magic blue smoke.

Comment: $4.30 MSP430 Launchpad for starters (Score 5, Informative) 228

by javawocky (#42721953) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Electronics Prototyping Platform?
I recently starting wanting to fiddle with Micro controllers for this or that and stumbled across the Texas Instruments Launchpad. For $4.30 delivered (yes including shipping world wide) you get a complete development board, 2 chips, some headers and the USB cable. TI have a free IDE you can program it with, or if you are on Linux you can use the MSPGCC command line tools, which I use. Its ultra low power - 3.3V - which means if you want to interface to 5V systems you may have to do a little homework, but other than that, their is no risk in ordering one to try out with the money you would have wasted on Starbucks. Order directly from Ti -

Comment: Drupal is a good start (Score 1) 161

by javawocky (#42133933) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Web Platform For a Small Municipality?
Starting of with Drupal is probably good. It should more than handle the load on without too much trouble if you need more horsepower. You can pretty easily setup up and configure users to add content and its not exceptionally difficult to code extensions or find a developer to hack something together. I think the fact that power users can make it do 80% of the work means you will save time on all but the most complex stuff.

Comment: Re:A few things (Score 1) 151

by javawocky (#41406417) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Taming a Wild, One-Man Codebase?
I am fond on SVN and we use it at my current company - badly. If you have a choice I recommend git for a number of reason. 1) Git is way faster (on the command line) 2) Git has a single folder '.git' to do its bidding at the top of the project tree ( no .svn folder in every folder) 3) You don't need a central server. Each workspace is interested in itself and you tell it about other repositories. Typically you have an Origin for your code which is kind of like a central server but is just another folder. 4) Git commands and errors are way clearer than SVN - IMO You probably want to separate the tool out from the deployment plan. SVN or GIT can work equally as well for deployment, but you need a good plan. When it is well thought out golives are fun - not stressful. Git is cooler, they even wrote a song about it

First Measurement of Magnetic Field In Earth's Core 34

Posted by timothy
from the best-place-to-try-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A University of California, Berkeley, geophysicist has made the first-ever measurement of the strength of the magnetic field inside Earth's core, 1,800 miles underground. The magnetic field strength is 25 Gauss, or 50 times stronger than the magnetic field at the surface that makes compass needles align north-south. Though this number is in the middle of the range geophysicists predict, it puts constraints on the identity of the heat sources in the core that keep the internal dynamo running to maintain this magnetic field."

AMD Demos Llano Fusion APU, Radeon 6800 Series 116

Posted by timothy
from the onward-ever-onward dept.
MojoKid writes "At a press event for the impending launch of AMD's new Radeon HD 6870 and HD 6850 series graphics cards, the company took the opportunity to provide an early look at the first, fully functional samples of their upcoming 'Llano' processor, or APU (Applications Processer Unit). For those unfamiliar with Llano, it's 32nm 'Fusion' product that integrates CPU, GPU, and Northbridge functions on a single die. The chip is a low-power derivative of the company's current Phenom II architecture fused with a GPU that will target a wide range of operating environments at speeds of 3GHz or higher. Test systems showed the integrated GPU had no trouble running Alien vs. Predator at a moderate resolution with DirectX 11 features enabled. In terms of the Radeon 6800 series, board shots have been unveiled today, as well as scenes from AMD's upcoming tech demo, Mecha Warrior, showcasing the new graphics technology and advanced effects from the open source Bullet Physics library."

BP Caught Photoshopping Disaster Response Photos 560

Posted by kdawson
from the at-least-hire-a-decent-graphics-jockey dept.
An anonymous reader tipped a post up on Americablog revealing that BP Photoshopped a fake photo of their crisis command center and posted it on their main site. The blogger commented, "I guess if you're doing fake crisis response, you might as well fake a photo of the crisis response center." While this story was just being picked up by the Washington Post, an Americablog reader spotted another doctored BP photo on their website, this time of a "top kill" working group. How many others?

The REX Robotic Exoskeleton 53

Posted by kdawson
from the walk-like-a-man dept.
ElectricSteve writes "When Robert Irving was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, it was the catalyst for him and his childhood friend, Richard Little, to turn their engineering skills to the task of developing an exoskeleton that was a practical, standing-and-walking alternative to wheelchairs. The result is REX, an exoskeleton made of strong, lightweight materials that is designed to support and hold a person comfortably as he moves. Users strap themselves in to the robotic legs with a number of Velcro and buckled straps that fit around the legs, along with a belt around the waist. While most robotic exoskeletons we've looked at, such as the HAL, augment human motion, this is generally not an option for wheelchair-bound users, so REX is controlled using a joystick that sits at the wearer's waist level." The rig is expected to cost $150K when introduced later this year in New Zealand. Gizmag has an obnoxious timed popover subscription nag, so NoScript is indicated.

Every successful person has had failures but repeated failure is no guarantee of eventual success.