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+ - Linux on a Motorola 68000 solderless breadboard

Submitted by lars_stefan_axelsson
lars_stefan_axelsson (236283) writes "When I was an undergrad in the eighties, "building" a computer meant that you got a bunch of chips and a soldering iron and went to work. The art is still alive today, but instead of a running BASIC interpreter as the ultimate proof of success, today the crowning achievement is getting Linux to run:

"What does it take to build a little 68000-based protoboard computer, and get it running Linux? In my case, about three weeks of spare time, plenty of coffee, and a strong dose of stubborness. After banging my head against the wall with problems ranging from the inductance of pushbutton switches to memory leaks in the C standard library, it finally works! "


Comment: Re:I know this! (Score 1) 541

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#48436599) Attached to: "Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

To be fair to that scene, it actually takes a bit of awareness to realize that fucked up 3d UI was a filesystem wrapper.

And to be fair to the movie the fucked up 3d UI was actually a graphics demo made by SGI for IRIX. So it wasn't the usual Hollywood idea of how computers worked, but rather an engineers view of how computers could work. (Inspired by Hollywood not doubt). (

Comment: Re:Cost nothing to run? (Score 1) 485

Yes, since Vestas only makes wind turbines, they're the largest in the world by market share delivering wind turbines. (Your own reference puts them at no 1 in 2013...)

Now, that other smaller companies have started developing gearbox less turbines is interesting, whether they'll be successful we'll see. They're more expensive up front, and of course their promise of lower life cycle cost haven't been demonstrated yet (as there aren't any). Scaling since they depend on rare earth metals is also in question.

So, in summary. There aren't any yet, but we'll see what happens.

Comment: Re:Dumb idea ... Lots of assumptions .... (Score 1) 693

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#48377353) Attached to: US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

Ah, whole paragraph fell out: Should have been: You'd be surprised about the result. In the research that has been done, lethality when comparing handguns and knifes rely only on the proximity to the attacker. You see hand guns are very difficult to shoot accurately at range when under stress (which is demonstrated by the abysmal performance of US police officers, and that's taking into account that the average engagement range is only seven yards). So running away from an attacker works about equally well when running from either a knife or a gun. If you get only a few yards away, you're about equally at risk from either a knife or a (hand gun). You see, even though Hollywood does its best to make you think that guns are really dangerous and knifes aren't, in reality at the ranges where both are effective a knife and a gun is about equally deadly.

Comment: Re:Dumb idea ... Lots of assumptions .... (Score 1) 693

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#48377309) Attached to: US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

In scenario 1, man #1 has a gun, how much good will running away do man #2? In scenario 2, man #1 has a knife, how much good will running away do man #2?

You'd be surprised about the result. In the research that has been done, lethality when comparing handguns and knifes rely only on the proximity to the a

So, in the average case, running helps about equally well against either attacker. Funny how that works out.

Now, however, it wouldn't matter, because you wouldn't use the knife/axe etc. as your primary weapon anyway. China has some very strict gun laws and they still have mass killings. It's just that the attacker takes a galon (or so) of gasoline on a bus and sets fire to the whole thing (including himself). That has killed more than thirty people at a time on at least three separate occasions in the last years.

So, the knife/axe/club is only there to prevent you from being successfully rushed (much like the claymore in the army). It's there to make sure you have the opportunity to bring your main weapon to bear (flammable liquid would probably work very well for this).

So, until you bring your society in order, these things will continue to happen, gun control or no gun control (something which is much too late anyway, as there are simply too many guns to easily do away with, with a reasonable effort).

Remember, the statistics clearly show that: "Guns don't kill people. Americans with guns kill people."

Comment: Re:Cost nothing to run? (Score 1) 485

Sorry, that is nonsense. Modern wind turbines have no gear boxes.

Which ones are those? The biggest and most modern to date certainly has a gearbox:

As a gearbox is something you'd really like to get rid of, and since Vestas is the largest manufacturer in the world, you'd think they'd know what they were doing.

Comment: Re:Concern for high values? (Score 1) 356

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#48366983) Attached to: Pirate Bay Co-Founder Peter Sunde Is a Free Man Again

Add in the baseless claims against Assange and Sweden looks pretty fucking rotten.

That one is actually less clear, and I'd very much like to see that one in the courts (though granted, I'm not Assange, so I don't have quite as much riding on the result).

We have our share of feminist activist everything in Sweden, including prosecutors, so that could very well be the whole truth. While it is clear to me that there was American meddling in the Pirate Bay case, it's not nearly as clear here. (And if there was, the CIA must have had a bad day, as a covert OP this could have been handled a lot better). So again, not nearly as clear cut IMHO.

Comment: Re:Concern for high values? (Score 2) 356

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#48358109) Attached to: Pirate Bay Co-Founder Peter Sunde Is a Free Man Again

Sure in America that's called jail. However, not everywhere is in America and not everywhere else uses that terminology. Sweden happens to be part of the everywhere that isn't America and doesn't use that terminology.

And even though we have "jails" in Sweden, Peter Sunde still wasn't in our version anyway, as he was incarcerated having been sentenced. The Pirate Bay trial and all that...

He was arrested in May to serve his prison sentence. Police claims he's been hiding himself abroad, he claims he's been quite open about his whereabouts and weren't even told there was an international warrant out for his arrest.

Given how the trial was handled, and given that Peter Sunde is the one of the Pirate Bay founders that have always kept his nose clean otherwise, I'm more inclined to believe his account than the official one.

Now, regarding food, that's not the only instance where the Swedish prison authority haven't followed their own rules. And as Peter Sunde didn't just roll over and take it, but lodged several formal complaints, he's been treated rather badly. Not only put in a high security prison when he was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment, has no history of violence, is a first time offender, and was most definitely not sentenced for a violent crime. It even got to the point where the prison authority threatened that he would have to carry his father's coffin wearing handcuffs! This for a prisoner that has no formal complaints lodged against him and that were given leave at least twice to visit his father in hospital under much less strict security.

No, it pains me to say it, but there's something rotten in the state of Sweden. This whole thing from beginning to end, smells badly.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous, but so are college degrees (Score 1) 173

I hear ya! However, our field is also one in flux. While the guys that studied mechanical engineering in my school in the eighties would still recognise the teaching today, many of the techniques for programming in the large, management etc. weren't even (I hesitate to say, because it's not really true, but bear with me) invented then.

So I think things will probably move in that direction, slowly but surely. However, even those engineers needed to know about Euler's four cases of buckling, or what strain is, etc. Likewise a programmer worth his/her salt need to know about and understand algorithmic complexity etc. (Something I know these "learn X in three months" schools don't necessarily teach to a sufficient degree), so it's not a simple question of throwing all the "old" stuff out, either.

However, we do surely need to leave/make room for (unfortunately very time consuming) projects large and small during college. Damned if you do...

Comment: Re:Ridiculous, but so are college degrees (Score 1) 173

I was never able to take a single class on scalability, security, development methodology trends and how to evaluate them, management of large codebases, refactoring, etc.

And at Chalmers in Sweden (one of the top two engineering schools, "polytechnics") I had all those courses available in the late eighties, early nineties.

However, one problem is that in order to grasp those subjects you first have to grasp the basics. And those takes time to aquire. As I tell my students today; "Remember, it takes ten years, or ten thousand hours to become an expert. This is the first half of that" (our engineering degrees are five year programmes).

Now of course, you'll come across management issues as you mature (it's inevitable it seems), BUT if you didn't have the basics, you wouldn't get the junior position that would eventually lead to your current problems. So it's really a chicken-and-egg problem. We can't teach you everything at school, there comes a time when we just have to chuck you out and let you sink or swim, and learn on your own.

Comment: Re:Development effort not considered (Score 1) 217

by lars_stefan_axelsson (#48344485) Attached to: The Effect of Programming Language On Software Quality

You mean they don't have to have types at all? That's even worse...

Or is it just one of those tedious semantic confusions that are so common when discussing programming languages and types. Do you mean something else by "dynamic language", if so what exactly?

Comment: Re:Exxon Valdez (Score 1) 102

Definitely a lubber, I appreciate the info. There's never been any evidence to suggest that the radar was off, and at midnight in a totally unpopulated area prone to foul weather, it sounds extremely unlikely.

You're welcome. The elephant in the room when it comes to maritime safety is really twofold, alcoholism and sleep deprivation. The 6-by-6 watch keeping that is common means watch personell build up a sleep deficit that isn't helped by the rampant alcoholism (fueled by boredom and tradition). So more often than not, the reason ships run aground, esp. at night, is that the one guy on the bridge falls asleep at the wheel. Of course, no amount of radar or other currently available electronic navigation aids will help in that situation.

Comment: Re:true and faithful account (Score 1) 102

Only as long as you have an accurate chronometer that was correctly set. The sextant gives you North/South, but you need the chronometer for East/West

Well, that's close, in that you need time, but not necessarily a chronometer. That was what Harrison had against him, the committee favoured a celestial approach to measuring time as well. And that did work, but the calculations were so onerous that they took literally hours to complete, for less accuracy than could be had by Harrison's chronometers.

If Harrison's chronometers were the only way to determine longitude, then the committee would probably have come around a lot sooner. That Newton himself, as the chair of the board, wasn't all that keen, certainly didn't help. In fact while he didn't object to chronometers per se he did object that if it became unreliable, only celestial timekeeping methods could even hope to put it right again. Something that was true until the advent of radio.

So the chronometer is an item of (practical) convenience, rather than theoretical necessity.

Chairman of the Bored.