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Comment: Re:edu-babble (Score 1) 206

by TheRaven64 (#49558665) Attached to: The Future Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher
Really? Wikipedia tells me that kindergarten in the USA means up to age 6. By that time, I had been taught to read, write and do arithmetic (though I sucked at long division and found long multiplication hard until I was taught a third method a few years later). My handwriting is not much better now than it was then, though it did improve a bit in the middle as a teenager when I was writing on a regular basis.

Comment: Re:Z80 was in TRS-80 (Score 1) 84

by TheRaven64 (#49558639) Attached to: When Exxon Wanted To Be a Personal Computing Revolutionary

God I miss 80's computing.

I don't, but if you want to get the same fun without all of the old annoyances there are two things I'd recommend:

The first is to get an FPGA dev board. BlueSpec is a nice proprietary high-level HDL that is free for academic use, but if you don't qualify for that then CHISEL from Berkeley is also not bad - they're both a nice step above Verilog / VHDL.

The second is the mbed boards from various ARM partners. Some ARM folks handed me one of these to play with a few months back. These are aimed at getting embedded development to people who don't normally do it. They've got all of the fun I/O stuff from the BBC micro (plus some new stuff like USB and Ethernet) and a nicely put together development environment.

Comment: Re:Ah the Z-80 (Score 2) 84

by TheRaven64 (#49558617) Attached to: When Exxon Wanted To Be a Personal Computing Revolutionary
They're increasingly hard to justify though. Cortex-M cores are really, really cheap (M0 and M0+ especially) and a modern 32-bit instruction set can be a significant win. You can't justify a 16-bit microcontroller on cost grounds anymore, let alone an 8-bit one. The main places Z80s are used is in systems designed in the early '80s that would cost too much to change, but which need periodic repairs.

I've seen a few things recently that have taken an amusing middle ground and bought ARM cores and used them to run a Z80 emulator, because it was cheaper to get the associated peripherals to attach to the ARM core.

Comment: Re:Google+ failed becuase it's GOOGLE (Score 1) 154

by TheRaven64 (#49558559) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed
I don't understand why Microsoft wants to go down that path. Their big money comes from businesses. They should be trumpeting private clouds (buy Windows server, install on a rack, run all of the cloudy stuff that you want under control of your company) and privacy to actively differentiate themselves from Google.

Comment: Re:Google Streams (Score 1) 154

by TheRaven64 (#49558545) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed
I've spent a depressing amount of the last couple of weeks looking at hotel web sites to find somewhere to stay for a business trip. About a year ago, almost all of them would have used Google Maps for their location page. Now about half used Bing Maps. I was quite surprised by this, though I vaguely remember Google starting to charge businesses for using GMaps (it could also be that Google highlights all of the competing hotels in the map, which probably isn't something that hotels want...). I didn't find the Bing map any worse than the Google one. Both were annoying in different ways.

Comment: Re:What we are seeing is ... (Score 1) 154

by TheRaven64 (#49558537) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

I expect Google to die in the same way that IBM died: it will still be a huge and influential player for a long time, but won't be the company that defines an industry that people care about. The same sort of path as Microsoft.

When I interviewed at Google a few years I was reminded of something that JWZ wrote about Netscape, claiming that it started to decline when it started hiring people who were there because it was a cool place to work, not because they wanted to change the world and believed in the things that the company was doing. Everyone I met at Google told me that I should would there because it was a cool place to work...

Comment: Re:Dell, HP, Panasonic (Score 1) 415

by Dog-Cow (#49553223) Attached to: We'll Be the Last PC Company Standing, Acer CEO Says

Just because you act like a fucking piece of shit on slashdot doesn't mean you are one. But we may as well treat you as you yourself act, so there's little practical difference. PC is a term that refers to computers which run Microsoft operating systems on x86-compatible architectures. That some few people use the term differently does not change reality. Idiot.

Comment: Re: Dell, HP, Panasonic (Score 1) 415

by Dog-Cow (#49553201) Attached to: We'll Be the Last PC Company Standing, Acer CEO Says

Also, there's no longer any such thing as "running natively" - today's x86 actually takes every instruction and translates it into microcode - in other words, the cpu is really just an x86 emulator.

For the purposes of discussing computing hardware -- if the CPU executes the instruction, it is native. It doesn't matter how the CPU goes about the business. Idiot.

Comment: Re:The same as ever: Android (Score 4, Interesting) 442

by lgw (#49553039) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are the Most Stable Smartphones These Days?

Most of the stuff you highlight can be handled by a feature phone, though, except reading books. I use my 6-year-old Android, doesn't seem to crash or need to reboot unless the battery is on empty (and shocking the battery still works pretty well after 6 years - will go 12+ hours between charges). You don't need anything fancy - what you want is something stable.

I'm really struggling with what to get next - the screen on my phone has been cracked for a couple of years now, so I should probably replace it one of these days. But now it's all these damn giant phones that don't fit in my pockets, don't have replaceable batteries - what ever happened to cell phones getting smaller?

When someone sends me a text or an email, there's no "he said - she said" disputes over what was said. Try doing that with your home phone.

If you have that problem often enough to care, you need better friends, not a better phone!

Comment: Re:Kludgy Mess Requires Kludgier Foundation (Score 1) 44

by lgw (#49552163) Attached to: Mystery of the Coldest Spot In the CMB Solved

Inflation was cooked up to explain most of that after the fact, though, so it's unsurprising that it does. The fundamental problem with inflation is that too much is tunable. Penrose's cyclic cosmology explains all the same stuff, and at least has the decency to make some bizarre (and very likely false) predictions outside of the early universe.

Theories of the very early universe that require new fields that there's a way to detect today are interesting. Certainly there are ideas to explain dark energy as an extension of inflation that fit that bill. But theories that propose a bunch of cool new physics that all conveniently vanished early on are a bit sketchy, at least until we can somehow make an equivalent of WMAP for the neutrino background radiation, and observe the very early universe directly. I hope I live to see that!

Comment: Re:me dumb (Score 1) 154

by lgw (#49552095) Attached to: Wormholes Untangle a Black Hole Paradox

If you can avoid traveling in normal space-time, then you've just potentially solved the problem entirely.

That doesn't help in the least. It doesn't matter how you travel: two events, separated in space, that happen "at the same time" in my frame of reference don't do so in another. If I depart A and arrive at B "instantly" in some reference frame, then I have travelled backwards in time from another. There's no getting around that: we live in a relativistic universe.

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