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Comment: Re:Bennett Haselton on reality (Score 1) 18

Depending on the technology in question, it may not even be apparent to the special person(without domain specific knowledge that they may lack, or which may not even exist yet).

With something like an Oculus-style VR headset, the "Well, if we can put a screen in front of each eye and track acceleration and orientation, ideally with a fallback for recalibration when the drift from dead-reckoning with inertial sensors starts to creep in" concept is not particularly new. Relatively lousy versions even became just cheap enough to appear in modest quantities in video game arcades, and more expensive ones usually lurk around some academic and R&D operations.

However, unless they happened to have their finger on the pulse of the MEMs business, even an enthusiast of the technology would likely be inclined to dismiss it as a niche application at best(in largely the same way that, even among people who thought computers were pretty awesome and/or profited from selling them, it was hard to be too optimistic about their future ubiquity until transistorization and VLSI: even if the theoretical utility of building machines that do binary math was visible, there ain't no Moore's law for relays and vacuum tubes...)

Comment: What is the interaction with the OS? (Score 1) 18

As I understand it, the DK2 hardware interacts with the host computer at three points: there's an HDMI video in, which feeds the two screens(presented as a 1920x1080 monitor; but physically split into two 960x1080 panels), a USB interface for the in-device sensors and housekeeping purposes(accelerrometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, firmware updates, latency testing device), and a USB connected IR camera for head-tracking based on the IR LEDs on the head-mounted portion of the device).

How much OS-specific work needs to happen, and how is it distributed?

I'm assuming that the HDMI-in is fairly normal, unless they really broke the EDID/DDC or something(but obviously not going to be very pleasant unless the application drawing to the '1920x1080 monitor' knows that each of my eyes is only getting half of it).

Barring very good reasons(probably involving latency), I'd assume that the camera is just a UVC device; but that actually using it as anything but an expensive webcam requires the OR-specific head-tracking software to have access to it (the meat of which is presumably cross-platform; but DirectShow vs. V4L2 and other interacting-with-the-system stuff won't be).

The headset's USB interface presumably needs a specific driver, since 'read the outputs of a bunch of sensors and also firmware update' isn't exactly a USB Device Class; but would presumably be a comparatively lightweight 'wrap the sensor outputs and get them to the host as quickly as possible' thing, with the bulk of the motion and position tracking logic being mostly OS independent except for the layers it has to interact with to get headset and camera data.

Is this largely the extent of it (2 mostly standard interface, one device specific driver, plus having the motion and position tracking software running on Linux and interacting with the OS-specific interfaces to the drivers)? Do I fundamentally misunderstand how work is broken up within the Oculus system? Do I basically understand it; but it turns out that latency demands are so stringent that a variety of brutal modifications to the typical OS graphics system and GPU drivers are also required?

Comment: Re: Better solutions (Score 1) 46

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#48230827) Attached to: A Low Cost, Open Source Geiger Counter (Video)
Would you be able to compensate for poor linearity with a hybrid approach involving a silicon detector and a layer of one of the formulations used in scintillation counters?

I'm thinking by analogy to the approach for making 'white' LEDs: the output of the LED alone is atrociously unsuitable, so you add a phosphor blob that absorbs some of the output and emits at enough other energy levels to fill in something resembling actual white light.

Would a silicon detector, with a layer of scintillation material chosen for good performance in areas that the silicon doesn't cover applied on top, potentially provide a more adequate result?

Comment: Re:What? (Score 1) 216

by ColdWetDog (#48229951) Attached to: High Speed Evolution

Normally, the term "evolution" implicitly refers to super-long time frames.

Ummm, no it doesn't. Fruit flies, bateria, viruses and a host of other living things evlove on timescales that are observable by humans in near real-time. Taco Cowboy better stick to something other than commenting on biological processes that he knows little about.

It's not a well crafted sentence but yes, most discussion of evolution concern themselves of long spans of time. It actually has only relatively recently when we were able to clearly see evolutionary changes in macroscopic organisms that occurred over a period of just a couple of years. Of course, rapidly dividing little things have been the forefront of molecular basis of evolution for some time but some people have found it difficult to grasp that growing longer toes and creating antibiotic resistance are really the same thing.

Comment: Re:The crux of this discussion (Score 1) 210

by ColdWetDog (#48229839) Attached to: CHP Officers Steal, Forward Nude Pictures From Arrestee Smartphones

I want my my police force - the one I fscking pay for - to have restraint, respect, and integrity for the citizen-bosses they've been privileged and entrusted to protect.

Then use some better metrics in selecting, training and above all, paying for them. When you pay a police officer just a bit more than a fast food flipper, you're not exactly going to attract the best of the best of the best.

Comment: So? Ballmer ist not a real manager (Score 2) 197

by Opportunist (#48228739) Attached to: Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

Quite seriously, first he steered MS from having the muscle in any negotiation with whomever (from retailer to customer, they could say "my way or the highway" and their "partners" could only grin and bear it) to a mediocre company that has to accept setback after setback, only to blow the money he swindled our of piledriving MS on a mediocre (if that) sports team.

He'd probably be a great manager for GM, a bank or anything else that we have to prop up now because their managers are about as useful as monkey boy, but just like a company that makes no profit is no business, an idiot that drives companies into a freefall tailspin is no manager.

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray