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Comment Re:Dippy bird and motion sensor (Score 1) 249

While I was an undergrad student the department installed these in our labs, it is very frustrating to have the lights go out on you while soldering surface mount components. Late one evening (or early one morning) I decided I'd had enough so I poked around in the ceiling and bypassed the lighting controller.

Not quite as simple as a drinking bird but very effective.


Amazon Launches 'Flex,' a Crowdsourced Delivery Service 145

sckirklan writes: Amazon has rolled out a new service called Amazon Flex. It lets people sign up to deliver packages using their mobile phone and their car, earning $18-25/hr while doing so. Think Uber, but for package delivery. Their goal is to fully support one-hour delivery within certain cities. The service is available in Seattle to start, and it'll soon expand to Manhattan, Baltimore, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and Portland. No news on what they think of bicycle couriers, but given their focus on being green, I'd imagine something is in the works.

Comment Re:Three main types of bad jobs. (Score 1) 474

> A peer and I once made the same comparison. We called ourselves digital maintenance men, because by and large that's what it is.

Myself and a friend of mine frequently refer to ourselves as code janitors, we are both well educated and work for Fortune 100 companies.

Unfortunately this is an easy position to get socked into. Companies generally want to make money, this generally requires staying on schedule, this means you get to inherit this lump of awful code/infrastructure $lastGuy left and beat on it until you meet your deadlines. No idea why $lastGuy left, he probably got a job at a competing company for $salary*1.2 where he will beat on some similar, yet different code for a while before moving again.

Comment 1 employee? Not the entire story. (Score 5, Informative) 158

I live in Hillsboro and have no complaints, though I have hardware in one of those datacenters so I may be biased. I think these articles are failing to account for the jobs created indirectly. I know a few folks that work for companies that have hardware in one of these local datacenters, in addition to traditional sysadmin jobs their duties include being on-call for hardware failures and the like. A at least one of these companies is fairly large and chose to come to Hillsboro and hire techs here because of the space available.

Comment Re:Not news (Score 3, Interesting) 89

Same here. I took VLSI Winter 2009 and we spent an inordinate amount of time studying and working on sub-threshold designs. Part of our final project (and final exam) was to produce a simulated and laid-out circuit using a sub-threshold supply. It's not very complicated, you just lower your clockspeed and source voltage, most of your existing circuits work just fine. The major problem is that they are now working at very low clockrates (KHz as opposed to MHz) which doesn't make too many people very excited.
PC Games (Games)

Civilization V To Use Steamworks 295

sopssa writes "2K Games today announced that Civilization V will be using Steamworks for online matchmaking, automated updates, downloadable content and DRM for the game. Steam's Civ V store page is also available now, revealing some new information about the game. There will be an 'In-Game Community Hub' for online matchmaking, communication, and for sharing scenarios between players. While including Steamworks might put some people off, it might also indicate better online gameplay than in the previous Civilization games, where it was almost impossible to have a good game without playing with just friends."

Comment Re:This will fail (Score 4, Insightful) 227

I passed over both Assassin's Creed II and C&C 4 due to the DRM (both of which resulted in canceled preorders). After hearing the horror stories about the more recent DRM "innovations" the vast majority of my gamer friends have followed suit.

Personally I won't purchase Assassin's Creed II until a crack or patch is released that resolved the DRM problem. If that means waiting until the game is a $5 steam special I'm fine with that, I don't have to play a game the instant it comes out.

What is so annoying about this entire affair is that I am not a thief, pirate, rampant violator of intellectual property, etc. I just want to be able to use the software I purchase without my crappy Comcast connection compromising my single-player gaming experience. Is this too much to ask?


Secret Service Runs At "Six Sixes" Availability 248

PCM2 writes "ABC News is reporting that the US Secret Service is in dire need of server upgrades. 'Currently, 42 mission-oriented applications run on a 1980s IBM mainframe with a 68 percent performance reliability rating,' says one leaked memo. That finding was the result of an NSA study commissioned by the Secret Service to evaluate the severity of their computer problems. Curiously, upgrades to the Service's computers are being championed by Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who says he's had 'concern for a while' about the issue."

Comment Re:Hell no! (Score 1) 512

How do you explain something like Mirror's Edge then?

I love how people keep trotting this out as an example of how EA is not really as "boring" and formulaic as the community makes them out to be. That is the exception, not the rule. And they're making another one, so really EA just gained another formula to churn through every so-often.


Hollywood Sets $10 Billion Box Office Record 276

kamikazearun sends in a TorrentFreak analysis that begins "Claims by the MPAA that illegal downloads are killing the industry and causing billions in losses are once again being shredded. In 2009, the leading Hollywood studios made more films and generated more revenue than ever before, and for the first time in history the domestic box office grosses will surpass $10 billion. ... [N]either the ever-increasing piracy rates nor the global recession could prevent Hollywood having its best year ever in 2009. With an estimated $10.6 billion in consumer spending at the US and Canadian box office, the movie industry will break the 2008 record by nearly a billion dollars."

Comment Re:Awesome! (Score 2, Interesting) 124

Unfortunately the Intel 4004 is much less sophisticated than even the simplistic models I studied as an undergrad. Not to mention that real chips suffer from real compromises and real problems, something our academic fantasy-land models never had to deal with. The simple models allow the students to learn the important concepts (such as multi-cycle instructions, pipelining, caching) without having to worry about why it was implemented a certain way, the concepts are what counted.

In my computer architecture classes we at least looked at the IA32 architecture but it was more of a space-filler and not a primary focus, our professor was heavily into MIPS.

NVIDIA To Exit Chipset Business 185

The rumor that we discussed a few months back is looking more real. Vigile writes "Once the darling of the enthusiast chipset market, NVIDIA has apparently decided to quit development of future chipsets for all platforms. This 'state of NVIDIA' editorial at PC Perspective first highlighted the fact that the company was backing away from its plans to develop a DMI-based chipset for Intel's Lynnfield processors due to legal pressure from Intel and debates over licensing restrictions. That effectively left NVIDIA out in the cold in terms of high-end chipsets, but even more interesting is the later revelation that NVIDIA has only one remaining chipset product to release, what we know as ION 2, and that it was mainly built for Apple's upcoming products. NVIDIA still plans to sell its current offerings, like MCP61 for AMD platforms and current generation ION for netbooks and nettops, but will focus solely on discrete graphics options after this final release."

To downgrade the human mind is bad theology. - C. K. Chesterton