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Comment Re:But here comes Valve! (Score 2, Interesting) 124

I have been gaming on 64-bit Linux in GL mode since 2004. There aren't many titles to choose from, but everything that I have tried--Enemy Territory, UT2004, and a few others--run flawlessly and at higher framerates than they do in Windows XP, not to even get started with Win7. I have never had a video driver crash. I have been running NVIDIA 64-bit binary drivers the entire time.

At one point, I had a problem with ET not liking sound since it is Quake 3 based and was written to use OSS, but I was running Gentoo and of course had to spend a half hour trying to figure out how to restore sound. It runs flawlessly out of the box in Ubuntu.

The problem is not drivers and is entirely the selection of games out there. We will hopefully see some good Source-based games for Linux once Steam makes its way in.

Comment It's not just Sony... (Score 5, Insightful) 292

Sony does tend to have that "sucks to own next year" thing going on (as does Toshiba), but there are manufacturing problems all across the board. And the biggest one?


Electronics have been soldered together for close to a hundred years with leaded solder. Then, the Europeans decided that it would be a really good idea to just pull the lead out of everything. Good move.

What can you replace the lead with? That's a really tough question, and companies have been trying to figure this out in the aftermath. You can't just throw silver or copper into the mix and expect everything to be the same. It ends up that when you do, the solder has a significantly higher melting point (i.e. ever tried desoldering RoHS process solder?) and is incredibly brittle. Where lead would stretch or distort, RoHS solder snaps. And here is your problem.

With IC package miniaturization, consumer electronics now use chip packages without leads. Cellular phones, portable devices, video cards, and many more now use BGA packages, where there are hundreds of balls of solder on the underside of the chip. Each ball has very little mechanical stability as the balls are so small. When the chip's CTE is not exactly matched to the board's CTE, one expands (or contracts) more quickly than the other, and BAM! you have a cold solder joint.

So in the end, what is worse for the environment? Throwing away a Sony product and buying another every year rather than three? Or dumping/recycling the product after three?

RoHS: Planned Obsolescence
Hardware Hacking

Suggestions For Learning FPGA Development At Home? 185

Doug writes "I've recently been inspired to take up amateur electronics, specifically with FPGAs. I have an understanding of the basics, plus a solid programming background. From my research so far I've concluded that I should start with a simple FPGA development board and a couple of books on Verilog and/or VHDL and go from there. I found this Ask Slashdot discussion on Verilog vs VHDL very useful, but it focuses more on the development language rather than hardware. I'd be very interested in hearing peoples' recommendations for an entry-level kit that is simple, flexible, and affordable (sub-£200), and preferably Linux-friendly, and indeed any other wise words that experienced FPGA developers (professional or amateur) might have for a novice just starting out in the world of circuit design."

Wells Fargo Bank Sues Itself Screenshot-sm 445

Extreme economic problems require extreme solutions, and Wells Fargo Bank has come up with a good one. They have decided to sue themselves. Wells Fargo holds the first and second mortgages on a condominium that is going into foreclosure. As holder of the first, they are suing all other lien holders, including the holder of the second, which is Wells Fargo. It gets better. The company has hired a lawyer to defend itself against its own lawsuit. The defense lawyer even filed this answer to the complaint, "Defendant admits that it is the owner and holder of a mortgage encumbering the subject real property. All other allegations of the complaint are denied." On the website The Consumer Warning Network, Angie Moreschi wrote: "We've apparently reached the perfect storm for complete and utter idiocy by some banks trying to foreclose on homes."

How To Teach Programming To Kids, Via XBox 124

An anonymous reader writes "Chris Wilson reviews Kodu, the new XBox game that he calls 'Logo on Steroids.' The game allows you to build a world and program every object in it with an in-house graphical language, making the game a primitive example of 'reactive state machines' in a 'multi-agent concurrent system.' It sounds like what we call 'application specific integrated circuits' in engineering, where every line of code runs in parallel."

Sahimo Hydrogen Vehicle Gets Over 1,300 mpg 453

Mike writes "Students from Turkey's Sakarya University have unveiled a remarkable attempt at creating Europe's most fuel-efficient vehicle. Dubbed the Sahimo, their pint-sized hydrogen car is cable of eking out an incredible 568 km on 1 liter of fuel (about 1,336 miles per gallon). An aerodynamic carbon-fiber construction keeps the vehicle's weight down to less than 110 kg (243 lbs), and the designers hope to push the Sahimo's performance even further to a full 1,000 km per 1 liter of fuel before participating in the Global Green Challenge in October."

Tech Or Management Beyond Age 39? 592

relliker writes "So here I am at age 39 with two contractual possibilities, for practically the same pay. With one, I continue being a techie for the foreseeable future — always having to keep myself up-to-date on everything tech and re-inventing myself with each Web.x release to stay on top. With the other, I'm being offered a chance to get into management, something I also enjoy doing and am seriously considering for the rest of my working life. The issue here is the age of my grey matter. Will I still be employable in tech at this age and beyond? Or should I relinquish the struggle to keep up with progress and take the comfy 'old man' management route so that I can stay employable even in my twilight years? What would Slashdot veterans advise at this age?"

Toyota Builds a Patent Thicket For Hybrid Cars 307

Lorien_the_first_one sends along a WSJ piece reporting on how Toyota is hoping to benefit from new Obama Administration regulations for automobiles here in the US. "Since it started developing the gas-electric Prius more than a decade ago, Toyota has kept its attorneys just as busy as its engineers, meticulously filing for patents on more than 2,000 systems and components for its best-selling hybrid. Its third-generation Prius, which hit showrooms in May, accounts for about half of those patents alone. Toyota's goal: to make it difficult for other auto makers to develop their own hybrids without seeking licensing from Toyota, as Ford Motor Co. already did to make its Escape hybrid and Nissan Motor Co. has for its Altima hybrid."

Comment Re:Let it collapse (Score 4, Informative) 376

The "small rancher" is a myth, just like the "family farm".

On what grounds do you say something so daft? Living in Georgia, I get all of my buffalo meat from a rancher with thirty head of buffalo in exchange for a little computer work every couple of weeks. If he offers beef, sometimes I'll take a little longhorn. Another friend gives me angus by the truckload because his parents have a small farm in Tennessee with a few dozen cattle. I know a lot of people with small active farms and ranches and do not personally know anyone who works for one of the big outfits. When I was a kid, we had a few hundred head of holsteins on our farm and were able to break even with milk sales. The truck came by from farm to farm to farm to fill up at these little dairies. Corporate "farming" may be the mainstay of our food supply, especially in the poultry industry, but please do not be so ignorant about this. The buffalo rancher was breaking even at $2.50/pound for ground bison but with the USDA inspection, he already has to mark it up to $4.00/pound after taking into consideration both inspection and transportation. Any such regulation on cattle does hurt the small man because not only does he not own his own slaughterhouse, but he has to transport his cattle elsewhere and has to deal with a lot more overhead per capita than the corporation.

Besides being one step away from tagging humans--say prisoners guilty of certain crimes--this program would unquestionably harm the many small farms out there.


Intel Eyes Smartphone Chip Market 84

MojoKid writes "Intel has been rather successful at carving out a large percentage of the netbook market with their low power Atom processor. Moving forward, Intel's executives believe there's a good potential to increase Atom's traction in adjacent markets by targeting its low-cost, energy-efficient chips at various multifunctional consumer gadgets including smartphones and other portable devices that access the Internet. Code-named Moorestown, a new version of the chip will offer a 50x power reduction at idle and reportedly will deliver enough horsepower to handle 720p video recording and 1080p quality playback. It is with this upcoming chip that Intel will begin targeting the smartphone market In 2011. Intel also plans to introduce an even smaller, less power-hungry version of the chip known as Medfield, which will be built on a 32nm process with a full solution comprising a PCB area of about half the size of a credit card."

DTV Transition Mostly Smooth, Windows Media Center Problems 223

dritan writes "While most of the transition to digital seems to have gone smoothly, those who use Windows Media Center saw their screens go dark. Users are complaining that Media Center did not pick up changes to channel assignments that took place on Friday. Someone forgot to update the static channel lists distributed with the program guide. Users either have to wait for Microsoft to fix the problem, or manually edit the configuration files." Reports indicate that the FCC received upwards of 300,000 calls on Friday from consumers seeking late help with the transition, but they were prepared, with over 4,000 operators available to handle problems. The FCC's DTV website also had over 3 million hits on Friday. Both phone and Internet traffic have now tapered off, and supplies of converter boxes appear to have held out just fine.

Swine Flu Vaccine In Production 147

ravjen writes with news that "Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG said they have successfully produced a swine flu vaccine weeks ahead of their expectations. The vaccine was made in cells, rather than grown in eggs as is usually the case with vaccines." This announcement came just a day after the World Health Organization declared H1N1's spread to be a pandemic. The vaccine has not been tested in humans yet, so the first batch is set to be used in clinical trials and pre-clinical testing. If all goes well, the new production method would allow Novartis to get the drug to market in large quantities by this fall. Other drug companies, such as Baxter International, have confirmed that they're in "full-scale production" of H1N1 vaccines as well.

Scientists Wonder What Fingerprints Are For 347

Hugh Pickens writes "The BBC reports that scientists say they have disproved the theory that fingerprints improve grip by increasing friction between people's fingers and the surface they are holding. Dr Roland Ennos designed a machine which enabled him to measure the amount of friction generated by a fingerprint when it was in contact with an acrylic glass at varying levels of pressure. The results showed that friction levels increased by a much smaller amount than had been anticipated, debunking the hypothesis that fingerprints provide an improved grip. Ennos believes that fingerprints may have evolved to grip onto rough surfaces, like tree bark; the ridges may allow our skin to stretch and deform more easily, protecting it from damage; or they may allow water trapped between our finger pads and the surface to drain away and improve surface contact in wet conditions. Other researchers have suggested that the ridges could increase our fingerpads' touch sensitivity."
Hardware Hacking

A Twitter Client For the Commodore 64 177

An anonymous reader writes "Johan Van den Brande has developed a Twitter client for the Commodore 64, allowing 140-character messages to be posted directly from this TV-connected 1982 home computer. This YouTube video shows how the Twitter client is — slowly! — loaded from a 5.25" floppy disk, how the latest Twitter messages are downloaded and shown on the TV screen, and how this tweet is posted. All that is needed is a C64, a TV, and a C64 Ethernet card. The Twitter client is implemented with the Contiki operating system, which otherwise is used for connecting tiny embedded systems to the Internet."

The Macintosh is Xerox technology at its best.