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Porting Lemmings In 36 Hours 154

An anonymous reader writes "Aaron Ardiri challenged himself to port his classic PalmOS version of Lemmings to the iPhone, Palm Pre, Mac, and Windows. The porting was done using his own dev environment, which creates native C versions of the game. He liveblogged the whole thing, and finished after only 36 hours with an iPhone version and a Palm Pre version awaiting submission, and free versions for Windows and Mac available on his site."
Operating Systems

Behind Menuet, an OS Written Entirely In Assembly 419

angry tapir writes "MenuetOS is an operating system written entirely in assembly language. As a result it's extremely quick and compact (it can even fit on a floppy disk, despite having a GUI). It can run Quake. Two of the developers behind MenuetOS took time out to talk about what inspired them to undertake the daunting task of writing the operating system, the current state of Menuet and future plans for it."

Windows 95 Almost Autodetected Floppy Disks 334

bonch writes "Windows 95 almost shipped with a technique for detecting whether a floppy disk was inserted without spinning up the drive. Microsoft's floppy driver developer discovered a sequence of commands that detected a disk without spinup — unfortunately, unspecified behavior in the floppy hardware specification meant that half the drives worked one way and half the other, each giving opposite results for the detection routine. Microsoft considered a dialog prompting the user to insert a disk to 'train' the routine, but the idea was scrapped."

Sacrificing Accuracy For Speed and Efficiency In Processors 499

Skudd writes "Modern computing has always been reliant on accuracy and correct answers. Now, a professor at Rice University in Houston posits that some future applications could be revolutionized by 'probabilistic computing.' Quoting: 'This afternoon, Krishna Palem, speaking at a computer science meeting in San Francisco, will announce results of the first real-world test of his probabilistic computer chip: The chip, which thrives on random errors, ran seven times faster than today's best technology while using just 1/30th the electricity. ... The high density of transistors on existing chips also leads to a lot of background "noise." To compensate, engineers increase the voltage applied to computer circuits to overpower the noise and ensure precise calculations. Palem began wondering how much a slight reduction in the quality of calculations might improve speed and save energy. He soon realized that some information was more valuable than other information. For example, in calculating a bank balance of $13,000.81, getting the "13" correct is much more important than the "81." Producing an answer of $13,000.57 is much closer to being correct than $57,000.81. While Palem's technology may not have a future in calculating missions to Mars, it probably has one in such applications as streaming music and video on mobile devices, he said.'

Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy" until you can find a rock.