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Comment: slashdot ads (Score 1) 199

by mako1138 (#47148643) Attached to: To distress my enemies, I'd force on them ...

For awhile I had that "in thanks for your contributions, you can disable ads" checkbox available. I didn't really care since the ads were inobtrusive and I figured supporting the site was a good thing. Then Beta happened, and while that was annoying, I still didn't care about the ads.

But maybe a month ago, /. started having those overlay ads on the bottom of the browser frame. It was time to tick the checkbox. Everything was fine for maybe a week... then bam, ads again.

Short story is, I installed NoScript.

Comment: Re:Quite logical reaction (Score 1) 798

A former landlady told me something similar. Her daughter was being harassed at school, and the administration would do nothing. So she tells her daughter to fight back. Pushes the assailant down some stairs (!) and after a brief hue and cry, everyone lives happily ever after.

Comment: Re:toolchain? (Score 1) 66

by mako1138 (#45705879) Attached to: Want a FPGA Board For Your Raspberry Pi Or Beagle Bone?

>in the past i've had to deal with license servers, multi-thousand dollar licenses,
I've never had a problem with the Webpack edition not activating.

>being locked into windows
Apparently most serious folks run the tools on Linux these days. Works fine on RH.

>having to reverse engineer internal formats because the tools wouldn't work for me
Hasn't happened to me, knock on wood. Hopefully they've worked out more corner cases since your time.

>having day-long synthesis/test cycles because their routing was so abysmal, etc
I think this is a given once you get above x% utilization. Newer FPGAs have more interconnect, though.

By keeping it Spartan (heh) they at least avoid the stupidity in the Zynq tools. What good is a "critical warning" that you're supposed to ignore, Xilinx?

Comment: Re:Do not buy this (Score 2) 66

by mako1138 (#45705679) Attached to: Want a FPGA Board For Your Raspberry Pi Or Beagle Bone?

I'm going to have to disagree with you. If somebody already has a RPi or BB, then this board makes a whole lot of sense: it just stacks on top of your existing unit, both physically and logically. In Zynqland it'd take quite some effort to construct the abstraction layers that they seem to be building into this project; you have to do things like rebuild the FSBL and binfile and it gets to be a pain. There's a community of sorts but it's small peanuts compared to the RPi juggernaut.

I agree that the bandwidth between the PS/PL is really awesome and blows away the separate-chip solution. But lets get real: beginners don't need that kind of performance. It's better for them to have something that's encapsulated and somewhat friendly-fied so they can get their feet wet, rather than drowning them in arcana right out the gate.

I also don't think the MicroZed is a good idea for hobbyists, unless playing with Linux is all you're after. Most of the IO is on the high-density Bergstak connectors, which means that you either buy the official (limited) carrier board, or roll your own custom carrier. And since the main attraction of SoC/FPGAs like this is fast I/O and tight coupling, unless you're doing something relatively high-performance and willing to spend money on the requisite hardware development, it doesn't make sense to adopt this platform. I see MicroZed as a vehicle to speed up project development; not so ideal for the hobbyist.

Comment: Re:Cue the Unintended Consequences (Score 1) 372

by mako1138 (#45238491) Attached to: NYC's 250,000 Street Lights To Be Replaced With LEDs By 2017

Our city has LED traffic lights and even moderately strong FM stations disappear completely at intersections.

I very much doubt that LED lights produce output in the 90 - 110 MHz band. Switching supplies are generally 0.1-2 MHz.

But hey, call the FCC. They don't mess around when it comes to interfering devices.

Comment: Drivers? Resource utilization? (Score 1) 108

by mako1138 (#45083011) Attached to: Kickstarter For Open Source GPU

Software drivers are a challenge, and we will work on providing some level of drivers, with the hopes that the community takes them up and pushes them to new levels and provides problem reports to us.

I assume the #9 is not nearly as complex as a modern-day GPU, but this sentence really concerns me. As a hardware guy myself, I'd want some more experienced hands on board for the software side. And a Linux driver needs to be part of the deliverables at least.

Also, what's the resource utilization? If this thing only runs in large Virtex-class chips then it's not terribly useful to the open-source community.

It would be really cool to have a graphics core of this level open-sourced, but I think the audience for this project is kind of small. You could build yourself a PCI graphics card for kicks, I guess, but you'd still need a PCI motherboard. Where it gets more interesting is with the "generic interface" option. Then for example you could use a Xilinx Zynq (which is an FPGA+ARM), implement the GPU in the FPGA, and talk to it on-chip over AXI. However I have a feeling they won't get to the $600000 level needed to make this possible.

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan