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+ - The Legacy of CPU Features Since 1980s

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "This is a response to the following question from David Albert:

My mental model of CPUs is stuck in the 1980s: basically boxes that do arithmetic, logic, bit twiddling and shifting, and loading and storing things in memory. I’m vaguely aware of various newer developments like vector instructions (SIMD) and the idea that newer CPUs have support for virtualization (though I have no idea what that means in practice).

An article by Dan Luu answers this question and provides a good overview of various cool tricks modern CPUs can perform. The slightly older presentation Compiler++ by Jim Radigan also gives some insight on how C++ translates to modern instruction sets."

+ - IBM Researchers: Old Laptop Batteries Can Power Slums

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "Old laptop batteries still have enough life in them to power homes in slums, researchers have said. An IBM study analysed a sample of discarded batteries and found 70% had enough power to keep an LED light on more than four hours a day for a year. Researchers said using discarded batteries is cheaper than existing power options, and also helps deal with the mounting e-waste problem. The concept was trialled in the Indian city of Bangalore this year. The adapted power packs are expected to prove popular with street vendors, who are not on the electric grid, as well as poor families living in slums. The IBM team created what they called an UrJar — a device that uses lithium-ion cells from the old batteries to power low-energy DC devices, such as a light. The researchers are aiming to help the approximately 400 million people in India who are off grid."

+ - Intel Invests Billions in Mobile Ambitions->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "The allure of mobile devices has led Intel to take some uncharacteristic moves, partnering with Chinese companies to build some smartphone and tablet chips, and relying on third parties to manufacture those chips. Intel is betting the partnerships will accelerate its business in China, where smartphone shipments are booming. But the company wants to regain complete control over manufacturing, and on Thursday said it was investing $1.6 billion over 15 years in a China plant for mobile chip development and manufacturing."
Link to Original Source

+ - The Orion Spacecraft Runs On 12-Year-Old Computer Tech->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "While NASA's Orion spacecraft, which blasted off on a successful test flight today, may be preparing for a first-of-its-kind mission to carry astronauts to Mars and other deep-space missions, the technology inside of it is no where near leading edge. In fact, its computers and its processors are 12 years old — making them ancient in tech years. The spacecraft, according to one NASA engineer, is built to be rugged and reliable in the face of G forces, massive amounts of radiation and the other rigors of space."Compared to the [Intel] Core i5 in your laptop, it's much slower — much less powerful. It's probably not any faster than your smartphone," Matt Lemke, NASA's deputy manager for Orion's avionics, power and software team, told Computerworld. Lemke said the spacecraft was built to be rugged and reliable — not necessarily smart. That's why there are two flight computers. Orion's main computer was built by Honeywell as a flight computer originally for Boeing's 787 jet airliner."
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Comment: Let down (Score 1) 41

by tyggna (#48534415) Attached to: Ultrasound Used To Create Haptics That Can Be Touched and Felt
Went and read the article (hey, someone on slashdot had to put up the $15). Anyway, at the end they had participants see if they could correctly guess the shape, and about 90% of them could. The haptic field produced here is no where near strong enough to stop or hinder hand movement. I imagine that the closest sensation to this in real life would be running your hand under a balloon and feeling the shape by how your hand hairs respond.

+ - Robo-Wars: The regulation of robotic weapons->

Submitted by Hallie Siegel
Hallie Siegel (2948665) writes "Robotic weapons, whether autonomous or remote controlled, have generated widespread controversy in recent years.
Alex Leveringhaus, author of a recent Oxford Martin School policy paper titled Robo-Wars: The Regulation of Robotic Weapons discusses the ethics of autonomous weapons, urges governments to recognise the increasing prominence of these weapons in contemporary and future forms of warfare, and proposes steps towards suitable regulation. This article is part of a series on regulating robotics."

Link to Original Source

Comment: There's a solution: (Score 1) 522

by tyggna (#48170571) Attached to: Debian Talks About Systemd Once Again
Break up systemd into its components and let certain functionality of it be augmented or replaced by sysvinit. The ONLY problem with systemd is that it's rather monolithic and breaks the *nix paradigm of do one thing an do one thing well. We break out the features of systemd, and let each one work in a stand-alone way, then great.
One binary for parallelized boot
One binary for syslog database
One binary for daemon chroot
and in one kernel module for interface!

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