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Journal: [Z80] Pressure sensors, and further meddling 2

Journal by Alioth

Well, the good people on NEONIXIE-L knew of the pressure sensors I was looking for, so now I've found a choice from the cheap (about $20) to the not so cheap ($200). The latter sensor is very clearly for measuring atmospheric pressure. The cheap ones do from about 150mb to about 1100mb, so the resolution in the area of interest (approximately 900 to 1050mb) is pretty poor, but reading the datasheets for them, it looks like the minimum voltage step is good enough for 1mb resolution (although f

Businesses

Blackberry Owners Chained to Work 210

Posted by Zonk
from the jacob-marley-in-a-suit dept.
seriouslywtf writes "New survey data suggests that Americans are split over whether Blackberrys are chaining them to work. While people who own Blackberries feel 'more productive', those with Blackberrys are more likely to work longer hours and feel like they have less personal time than those without. A Director of Marketing Strategies who owns a Blackberry pointed out that many employees feel obligated by employers who have handed out the devices. 'While being always on in a social context is a natural for young people, many of those in the 25-54 age group with families and corporate jobs are struggling with work-life blending. There is a need for the mainstream workplace culture to offer ways to counterbalance.'" Is the constantly connected, often mobile nature of the modern workplace a good thing, or not?
Games

'Losing For The Win' In Games 159

Posted by Zonk
from the ftw-as-it-were dept.
simoniker writes "Designer Ben Schneider (Empire Earth, EyeToy: AntiGrav, Titan Quest) has written a new article exploring the possibility of enticing your players through the power of defeat. From the piece: 'Some of the most memorable moments in games depend heavily on reversals to kick their dramatic arcs forward, from Planetfall to Fable to Beyond Good & Evil to Deus Ex. And yet, as an industry, we clearly have a lot to learn — and a lot to invent. So, then, how do you draw a clear line between player failure and dramatic reversal? It is a question well worth pondering.' In other words, if the game forces the player to get his ass kicked, can the player ever forgive it, or is it the key to some really interesting moments when used in a positive way?"
Handhelds

+ - Linux-based iPhone killer to ship in March

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "FIC has announced an on-sale date for its Neo1973, expected to be the first low-cost, high-volume phone with a user-modifiable Linux-based operating system. Like Apple's iPhone, the Neo1973 is a GPS-enabled mobile phone with a high-resolution screen, but no hardware keypad. Unlike the iPhone, it'll cost $350 instead of $700, and have an open rather than closed Unix OS."
Links

+ - Free Linux Course for Beginners

Submitted by
Stefan Waidele
Stefan Waidele writes "Free Linux Course for Beginners
===============================
Feb, 22nd, 2007

LinuxBasics.org, The community that helps people to run Linux, offers
their third free Linux class, An Introduction to Linux Basics.

This course is designed to give a foundation of understanding of Linux
to a beginner who wants to know a little more about the system. More
advanced Linux users will find an opportunity to dig deeper into some
areas they always wanted to know more about or discover gaps in their
knowledge that they didn't know existed.

The study guide used will be LBook, an edited version of Introduction to
Linux: A Hands on Guide by Machtelt Garrels which is distributed under
the GNU FDL. You will need to join the LBo-course mailing list in order
to participate in the course
(http://linuxbasics.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/l bo-course/).

The class is set to begin on Febuary 22nd. You can also join after that
starting date.

For more information, visit http://www.linuxbasics.org/course/start.

About LinuxBasics.org
=====================
Feb, 15th 2007

LinuxBasic.org (short: LBo) is a community project with the goal to help
people to install and run the Linux^(TM) operating system. It was founded in
May 2004 and is growing ever since.

LBo offers a free Linux Course for beginners, which runs about 6 months
as well as tutorials and links to sites that offer information needed to
install and use Linux. They also run a friendly mailing-list for
Questions that arise when people start using Linux. An IRC-channel
completes the list of things you can find at LinuxBasics.org.

As a community, LBo offers the possibility to get involved. There are
many ways to contribute: You can answer questions on the mailing-list,
you can write a complete tutorial or just a step-by-step documentation
on how you completed a specific task using linux."
Handhelds

+ - Are eInk displays the future?

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "This week a company called Polymer Vision, which used to be part of Philips, unveiled a fully functional and soon to be commercially available eInk display. What makes this display special, though, is its ability to be rolled up so that you can store it in a smaller package than current large screen handheld devices. The problem, however, with eInk displays is that they can only display greyscale at the moment and they don't support video either. This begs the question, will consumers be put off by non-colour screens that don't play video or will the extra battery life, small form factor and easy-to-read functionality prove too tempting an offer?"
Role Playing (Games)

Why Computer RPGs Waste Your Time 476

Posted by Zonk
from the argh-my-life-she-has-been-wasted dept.
spidweb writes "RPGVault has an editorial about two particularly noxious qualities of computer role-playing games. Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel goes off on a tear, discussing how you work forever to earn the right to do anything exciting, and must 'prove yourself' by expending tons of your time. From the article: 'So now, thinking about playing an RPG just makes me tired. I'm tired of starting a new game and being a loser. I'm tired of running the same errands to prove myself. The next time I enter my fantasy world, I want it to not assume that I'm a jackass.'" I think Oblivion handled this well, scaling the world as you went and giving you really interesting things to do from the get-go. What other games dodge this bullet? Do you see this timesink as an inevitable part of the RPG genre?
Portables

1 Million OLPCs Already On Order 158

Posted by Zonk
from the lots-of-happy-kids dept.
alphadogg writes "Quanta Computer has confirmed orders for 1 million notebook PCs for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project. The article goes into some background on the project, and lays out the enthusiastic adoption that the project is seeing overseas. The company estimates they'll ship somewhere between 5 and 10 Million units this year, with 7 countries already signed up to receive units. The machines currently cost $130, but with that kind of volume the original goal of $100 a machine may be viable. Even with the low cost, Quanta expects to make a small profit on each machine, making charity work that much easier."
Programming

+ - Zero-config for Java

Submitted by
BlueVoodoo
BlueVoodoo writes "Simple Persistence for Java is an open source object-relational persistence library that uses a custom query language and built-in database support to simplify object persistence in Java applications. In this article, software architect Sami Salkosuo introduces the library and walks you through its zero-admin, zero-config approach to object persistence."
Operating Systems

+ - OpenBSD: Linux's "Free Driver Offer" is a

Submitted by microbee
microbee (682094) writes "KernelTrap reports that Greg Kroah-Hartman's offer for free GPL drivers has caused criticisms from OpenBSD developers, including founder Theo de Raadt who calls it a farce. Their reason is that this move will make companies even more reluctant to provide open specs and will hurt free software in the long run. Greg is not convinced, but given his track record of being wrong once, maybe the OpenBSD folks have a point?"
Editorial

+ - Rounding Up the Modern Homebrew Scene

Submitted by
AKAImBatman
AKAImBatman writes "As The Pensive Gamer points out, the latest generation of game consoles represents the first time in history that consoles have provided features that allow the average joe to create his own games. While homebrewing is not a new concept, it has traditionally focused on out of date systems like the Atari 2600 and the Sega Dreamcast. i.e. Systems that no longer matter enough to manufacturer to prevent homebrewing. Yet the features of today's console systems may be changing everything.

The Sony PS3 provides programmers with a full-up development environment for the Cell CPU and Bluray drive by not only allowing, but encouraging users to install a Linux variant on it. While this creates a huge number of game creation opportunities on the PS3, the resulting game ends up being difficult to distribute. Fellow homebrewers might happily install Linux on their PS3s, but convincing the rest of Sony's target market to do so may be a bit difficult.

The next best option — supported by both the PS3 and the Nintendo Wii — is to run web-enabled games in the console's web browser. Flash games in particular have become a very popular way of playing homebrew content on a console system. Yet here, the Wii has a distinct advantage. The in-built ability for the Wii Remote to act as a mouse allows for a wide variety of Flash games to be played out of the box. So many in fact, that Wii-specific gaming sites like Wiicade have been popping up left and right.

Even more exciting is the fact that the keycodes for the Wii Remote buttons have been decoded by enterprising individuals, but only through Javascript. While experiments with Javascript to Flash communication are underway, the first Javascript game to use the Wii Remote controls has already appeared, with promises of more exciting Opera Canvas games on on the horizon.

While the XBox 360 lacks a web browser, it does have perhaps the most exciting feature of all. Microsoft's XNA Game Studio allows for complete games that take advatage of the underlying hardware. (In direct opposition to the Wii and PS3 options.) The only downside are that Microsoft charges a subscription fee, and that the homebrews must be redistributed in source code form. (Though the latter limitation may please the OSS community to a certain degree.) Undeterred, the 360 community is embracing this new support with many new games on the way.

Altogether, the amount of audience participation available in these consoles is wholly unlike anything seen before. With any luck, this bodes well for the future of the homebrew community and the casual gamer alike."

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