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It's funny.  Laugh.

New Singer Sewing Machine Uses ... Game Boy 151

Spooticus writes: "I kid you not, your Game Boy can now sew using Singer's IZEK System! Excerpt: The Singer Sewing Company has teamed up with Nintendo to create a new sewing machine system using Game Boy technology that automatically sews stitch patterns, buttonholes and lettering. The system, called Izek, includes a sewing machine, Game Boy, connection wire and special cartridge that contains stitch pattern designs." I don't know what to say. My jaw has hit the floor.
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New Singer Sewing Machine Uses...Game Boy

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  • Man.. that sure sounds like slave labour.

    Hey, we could resell them to Martha Stewart of Cathie Lee! Think, kids all over the world will be cranking out clothing with technological rewards.

    Probably the only way most third world kids will ever be able to play one, for that matter, since they cost half a year's salary in some countries.

  • This is really fantastic. Now all I need is to hook up a Game Boy emulator to the sewing machine instead, and make the sewing machine sew anything I want rather than just the preprogrammed things. How about a sewing machine that knows PostScript?

    But seriously, one of the things that frustrates me the most about many embedded systems like sewing machines, microwaves, car stereos, and so on, is their lack of programmability. It frustrates me that my car stereo prefers to show me which CD track I'm on by default rather than what time it is. I'm a programmer, I could fix that... but I can't get at it. The more flexible and programmable these systems get, the better.
  • How bout a Sewing icon on top of the main page?
  • Next up is Siemens, who from 2Q next year will be shipping their top model refridgerators with an interface to the new Nintendo GameCube [nintendo.com].

    "This is the best way to controll that macaroni and cheese dish who has been in there for just too long" a sales representative claims.

    There will also be an option for online connection against a global server, wich lets the users peek into what others have in their fridge, getting tips for keeping the fridge clean, and even help neighbours and friends out keeping their fridge under control while they are out of town. "How many times have you not been away, and suddenly rememberd that you forgot to throw away the last piece of lasagna?" the sales rep. asks.



    ---
  • > I kid you not
    yes, me grown-up, ugh
  • PC driven sewing machines have been around for a long time. Im sure the hardware is the same.
  • I believe the Japanese Famicom (8-bit) actually did make use of the expansion port. Apparently, the controllers for the machine were hardwired, and the expansion port allowed for third-party controllers, or whatever. I guess the port was included on the US/European NES merely for maximum compatability.

    Which isn't to say that it couldn't have also been used to hook a sewing machine up to, just like the parallel port on earlier model PSXes had multiple uses, but food for thought, I suppose.

  • Isn't this the reason why computers are nifty? That they are [b]such[/b] general purpose devices that you can take a games machine and use it as a sewing machine controller. As you get cheaper and cheaper computing devices they'll become more and more ubiquitous. We're gonna see such wonderful things....
  • hmm.. talk to the ladies. I recently read an article about people swapping knitting patterns, and producers not being happy about it. Quite a lot like the RIAA...

    //rdj
  • For as much as we may laugh at such ideas (or feel a bit shocked), I'm just happy there's people who still dare to push new ideas and don't just rely on fighting and racing games to make a buck. I used to laugh at the first 'musical/dancing games' that took Japan by storm, but once I tried one I got hooked... (agreed, me jumping on one of those things is maybe not such a great idea for a game!) But yet, I can't but praise such people...!
  • whoa...score 3 funny? I was not intending to make a joke about those quilters or the sewing machines... I was serious about the machines they had...and all these newfangled lights and stuff....it should have been rater +5 scary or something.


  • Sounds like the Will Smith movie Enemy of the State...

    No patent for you!! Prior Art!
  • What, they want to convice geeks to sew?

    This seems pointless from a technological perspective, but think of the recycling potential for the bulkier Game Boys they were selling years ago :)

  • I once got a peek inside that *secret* briefcase carried by one of the President's aides, you know the thing they call "the football".
    Guess what...all it had inside was a can of coke, some chips, and Gameboy with Duke Nuk'em Ver 1.

    Going on means going far
  • ..why not? Think of some people who do a lot of sewing: Housewives. Or Housepeople or whatever you want to call them to be PC. And these types of people have kids.

    Is it so much of a stretch to imagine that a lot of houses out there have a Game Boy? It may be one the most successful portable game console ever.

    If you don't need to reinvent the wheel, then don't do it! Sewing machines cost a lot anyway, a cheap old or new Game Boy doesn't add that much cost, and if it does the job, let it do the job.
  • I remember seeing a Gameboy cartridge along time ago that had a calendar and contacts with memory. It basically made your GB a PDA.

    The processing power and the cheap cost due to high production makes gameboy more viable to do other things. Decode MP3's, probably not. But what about a addon cartridge that acts as a universal remote? A cartridge to download small texts (shopping lists, DeCSS, etc.) to read later? I'd like to see a small device that does certain things for me that I don't need an full-fledge computer for ("You have e-mail", "Network is down", "Packages delivered") that would sit on the side and act as a mini console.
  • this to get another piece of the market

    gameboys are popular at nearly every age level: elementary school through college, and many adults still play, especially now with the GameBoy Colors....

    but the one market that Nintendo has not been able to hit was the elderly...This is their attempt to make a product that old people will find useful, will want to buy because it's the "stylin'" thing (since they see all their grandkids playing it....and they can tell their golf buddies how they're getting into the high tech age...

    just shows that Ninetnendo really -is- trying to take over the world...

    just my theory

    (mods: funny, not a troll)
    --------------
  • by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @02:08PM (#713620) Homepage Journal
    Singer sold point-of-sale systems that it obtained from purchasing a company called Friden in 1963. The computer branch of Singer was sold in 1976 to ICL [icl.com]. Here's a German page with a listing for an old Singer computer [debitel.net], as well as another listing in English [digiweb.com]. This article on Computer Weekly [findarticles.com] describes Singer and NCR as being the kings of the point-of-sale terminal market in the mid-seventies.

    Second Law of Blissful Ignorance
  • by bataras ( 169548 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @02:08PM (#713621)
    As one who bought the 4k$ PFAFF high end hoop machine for my wife, I can tell you these machines are AMAZING works of hardware and mechanics. They're like a very large Rolex. Totally programmable. You can code up patterns in windows and store them on a pcmcia like memory card that plugs into the machine. Then clip up the fabric and watch the thing sew the exact pattern perfectly. I've wanted to digitize a face and translate that into a 4 color pattern then looks photorealistic when embroidered, but haven't had the time. Remember the base color of a piece of thread looks different depending on which way the light hits it and which direction the thread is going across the material. I believe with just a few colors and threads laid down in the right patterns with a precision machine like this, you can get amazing picture quality. Beyond the embroidery function (the hoop portion), is the basic sewing ability which is breathtaking. the thing moves fabric forward and backward with thousandth of an inch precision, can stick intricate patterns, 2 needles at the same time, through thick leather, yada yada. Anyway, I took a weekend and satisfied (almost) my engineer lust with the machine, then gave it to my wife. Haven't touched it since.... :)
  • and thus... "Stichster" was born... the peer2peer sewing pattern version of Napster.
  • This is novel, but it doesn't surprise me. I probably would have predicted Palm sewing first, but it's still not a shock. My mother owns a sewing machine that is more computer than machine right now, and it's a few years old. In fact, she bought a computer as an accessory to her machine!

    Just imagine a Beowulf cluster of sewi... **BLAM!** thud

  • 80 hours times 44 bucks an hour is $3520. That's almost double what I take home in a month. I find it hard to generate much sympathy for that kind of money.

    --
  • Hanzie writes:

    I'd bet they wanted to plug it into a windows95 pc at first, (usb or serial) until they thought about unlicensed software sharing. From there it was a short step to a cheap, proprietary hardware only solution.

    What good would an unlicensed copy of the software be if you haven't already purchased the sewing machine to go with it?

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @01:48PM (#713626)
    way back when I first started working with computers (for real pay) - back in the early 80's - I worked with a lady who told me about her experience with Singer the computer manufacturer! yes, same one who makes those sewing machines. I was told these were mainframes or; minis at the very least.

    I never did see the user manuals for this mythical machine, but she assured me that it was a real box and was quite well deployed in its day (1970's I think).

    anyone ever run into one of these beasts?

    --

  • Why is it that every time I try to sew pattern #4 from the Nike GB Cartridge, it keeps embroidering the words, "Help! I am a prisoner in a child slave labor camp."? Is this some kinda bug?
  • Sewing machines are just the start. Soon we'll see Game Boy interfaces to sheet metal cutters, lathes, drop forges and welding robots. You'll be able to buy blueprint cartridges for the latest model Ford, plug 'em in, and watch it all whirl.
  • I remember reading, a while ago, about these copyrighted designs being shared on the internet. To order the patterns was mind-boggingly expensive, so all the sewing enthusiats began sharing their patters.

    The rabid lawyers went to work, managed to destroy a few people's lives, made a bunch of money, and were compleatly unaffective.

    Im just picturing grannie with her l33t 0-d4y s3w1nG w4reZ.

    I think shawn fanning (napster) said this..

    if you are selling water in the desert, and it starts to rain, you better start selling something else.. like umbrellas.

  • great, now i'm gonna have to fight with mom for my GameBoy.
  • ... no matter what narrow purpose your embedded system is meant to perform ("This is for playing games", "This is for surfing The 'Net", "This is for IP routing") someone's going to look at your box, and say, "Hey, that's a general purpose computer!" They'll try to install Linux on it, or otherwise use it in ways that you never thought of.


    ---
  • Seriously, if the Sewing Machine uses Game Boy tech, it would be super cool to plug in a Pokemon Yellow cartridge and get a sewing machine in Jigglypuff Hot Pink or Pikachu Electric Yellow pattern/color.

    And just provide an LCD for the game, so kids could be rewarded for doing sewing. You know, do an hour of sewing, play Pokemon for an hour. Parental control device (key enabled) to activate same.

    I sew you, Pikachu!

    [caveat - I own shares of Nintendo NTDOY]

  • And the three year olds would sew their clothes to the machine while playing "Super Mario Sewing Bros."

    Definitions:
    XML: Leading the way to make the web a ebiz thing
  • by ENOENT ( 25325 )
    I, for one, refuse to provide any kind of physical armament to my video games. It's bad enough when your spaceship gets hit by an asteroid on screen. Now your computer can give you realistic puncture wounds to simulate micrometeroid damage.

    And I still fear the ferocious Furby...

  • Computer controlled sewing machines are extremely expensive. The one-of-a-kind hardware is a pain in the butt, and big bucks all around.

    I'd bet they wanted to plug it into a windows95 pc at first, (usb or serial) until they thought about unlicensed software sharing. From there it was a short step to a cheap, proprietary hardware only solution.

    I doubt if there's enough interest to reverse engineer this to hack it to a PC, but you never know.

    Even if reverse-engineering happened, though, I'm sure singer would still be happy to sell the sewing machines.

  • by photon317 ( 208409 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @02:11PM (#713636)
    Back in the day of the Nintendo (I think the SuperNintendo/SuperFamicom was out at this time, but I'm talking about the 8-bit Nintendo I and others still owned/used), I was living in Singapore, and I remember hearing stories that some freinds-of-freinds-of-freinds(....) in Japan actually had sewing machines hooked up to that huge ugly connector on the botoom of 8-bit Nintendos.

    That rumor was never confirmed, but it seemed plausible that the expansion port was meant for _something_. If so, maybe it was a Singer sewing machine, and maybe it was the start of the relationship which brings us this Izex thing.

  • Why the HELL does this make the front page, when the article I post every day this week, No More Overtime for California Programmers, is outright rejected??
    If you want News for Nerds, not much hits closer to home than your paycheck. I'm beginning to join all of the whiners that say Slashdot is drifting from it's slogan.
    1. The bill [ca.gov], signed by Governor Gray Davis [ca.gov], insures that professional software developers making more than $44/hour will not be guaranteed overtime (which was originally initiated to prevent "conditions injurious to the health and efficiency of workers [msn.com]". I don't know about you, but the 80-hour weeks I've done would definitely not be considered good for my health or efficiency.
  • Sadly, most moderators seem to mod down anything with the phrase "Beowulf Cluster". Even if it is used *somewhat* in context. I don't care too much about Karma anyway.
  • to not make a 'funny' reply.

  • The system, called Izek, includes a sewing machine, Game Boy, connection wire and special cartridge that contains stitch pattern designs.

    What's next? The Vic-20 powered washing machine?

    Oops. Too late; I already did that when the washing machine blew its timer. Now, a bank of relays and a machine language program in ROM controls all the washing machine's functions.

    For Singer, this is a great idea: integrate technology into their products, and using mostly off-the-shelf items.

    Can it embroider game screens into T-shirts, though? Immortalize that high score into cotton? That's the *real* question.

  • There's a book, called "Game Over" (can't remember the author) which has alot of intesreting info about the Famicom.

    One thing is that amused me is that Nintendo started off as a playing card manufacturer....

    Tom.

  • Using AutoCAD to design stitching patterns and using a DXF2IZEK utility to port them to your Singer.
    Then stitch pattern trading goes on to the 'Net. From then the obvious problem of 0-day St1tchz and p@tt3rns copyright violations surface....
    "Hey D00dz! I g0t this k-rad T0mmy H1lf1g3r st1tch, l00king fer L@c0ste cr0c0dil3 or G@P l0g0 for tr@dez! L3v1s lamerz need n0t @pply."
    ---
    Vote Inanimate Carbon Rod in 2000
  • Actually it is 40*44 = $1760 Regular Pay + (40 * (44 * 1.5))= $2640 (Over Time rate of 1.5) for a grand total of $4400 week or $17600 a month. Now Let say you a smuch working tech support (I used to be/am a smuck) getting $8.50 to $10.00 that comes out to be 17680 to 20800. I feel sorry for the guy who would be making as much as my first IT position made in a year. Boo freakin woo. Get a life.
  • This is nothing to do with child labor laws beyond the fact that they deal with the work force. You are an adult. If you do not like your work conditions go some where else. If you are truely worth more then $44 dollars an hour you shoulds be able to find a job easy enough. You make more in a year then most people make in two or three years. grow up and get a life.
  • This is Slashdot.org News for Nerds: Stuff that matters. Not Slashdot.org News for IT professional. There are plenty of news forums for that. Go hang out at ZDNET or what ever they want to call themselves these day.
  • Slashdot.org News for Nerds. Not News for Linux Professionals. Nobody ask why the internatioanl space station isn't running Linux.
  • All sorts of companies have tried to make it in other fields. Zenith made computers for a while. Tippman (manufactur of sewing machines) also makes paintball guns. Kind of strange that my mother goes to the same home page I do to get to the sewing machines as I do poaint ball guns). Sorry for the off topic post. Just though you might want to know.
  • whine whine No More Overtime for California Programmers whine whine...

    What, you think the rest of us programmers outside of California get overtime?

    Just this morning my boss asked when I would have a program done. I said, "I'll have it done before I go home." He said, "Great! I'll mark it as being done by the end of the day!" "No, I said I'll have it done before I go home. That's not necessarily the same thing!"

  • >If I ever see a Sega Master System in my proctologist's office, I'm leaving.

    I'd be more worried if I saw the robot from the NES Family Com.
  • by Kris_J ( 10111 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @02:27PM (#713650) Homepage Journal
    I have the PDA cart you speak of, it does have a learning IR remote. Try the GameBoy Dev'rs [devrs.com] site for more stuff. There's a MIDI cart, an MP3 player cart [song-pro.com] and someone even managed to get a robot running using a GameBoy and Lego...
  • OK, get cranking on making a Robot Wars welding robot with a Pokemon cartridge!

    Do you get points in Robot Wars if you use your opponent's components to make your own robot bigger? Maybe there are points for "assimilation".

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Singer also made B/W tv's in the 60's. I had one that ran off 12V in my camper.
    It's quite a diversified company.
  • I don't know about you, but I just like my Pokémon Red and my Super Mario Bros. Deluxe thankyouverymuch.

    Definitions:
    XML: Leading the way to make the web a ebiz thing
  • give me a break... how many people that are reading this can thread a needle let alone use it...

    oh yah.. I watch Martha Stewart everyday...

  • It's nice to see that Nintendo is focusing on aiming their 10 year old hardware to the 80 yrs. and up grandmother market instead of wasting money on *new-fangled* technology.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Yeah, i remember hearing something about that a long time ago and was hoping that somebody on here would make mention of it so i knew i wasn't out of my mind

    well more than normal anyhow :)
  • This idea is sew good! They have really got the market stiched up. Hey you could even play games while you sew.
  • Time for a slightly OT tangent story:

    Man... that's weird. Where I work, in the shop the lathes are P133s (I think.) They run Windows NT. It was really weird the first time I saw them, this machine the size of a van, with a desktop showing on the side.

    (The operator was locked out once because he'd been playing in the control panels. This is my official endorsement for L0phtcrack. It's awesome! It had the lathe running in a couple of hours.)
  • To put a different spin:
    What's the big deal here? We take an 750mz P3 with 512MB of ram and a graphics card that would have singlehandedly doubled NASA's computing capability back in the Apollo era, and we use that as a glorified gameboy! (I'm going to go play Half Life when I'm done writing this).

    Face it -- The Game boy is a computer. Just because it's normally used to play cute games doesn't mean that it's not able to do anything else. Where's your hacker ethic? The 4Mz Z80-lookalike [nevada.edu] that runs it was one of the mainstays of hobby computing until the IBM PC overran the competition (remember CPM or the TRS-80 [geocities.com]? And with up to 2MB of ROM, it's got the program storage of a small hard disk of the era. (4K of RAM is a bit small, but quite livable -- equivalent to a VIC-20.).

    With an external floppy (ooh! 1M of storage, I'd be in HEAVEN!) or some flash RAM, and a 1200 baud modem (no K there!), it'd make a quite respectable early-80s BBS. Your average home hobbyist would have been scandalized about using that MUCH processing power (mostly because of the hundreds of K of available storage) 'just' to run a sewing machine.
    `ø,,ø`ø,,ø!

  • You never can tell. I have a sewing machine. Of course, it's a completely analog type that wouldn't work with this. However, I've been thinking the I need to write a Linux program to convert GIF files into cross-stitch patterns.

    And along those lines, especially in the area of cross-stitch patterns (which for those that don't know usually consist of a grid filled with symbols to denote colors), there are widespread piracy/IP issues causing havoc in the crafts industry. The pattern makers are screaming because the advances in the internet, home scanning, etc have made it much easier to share pirated patterns which were formerly limited to xeroxing from a friend's book (and obviously lost quality after the first generation).
  • Actually I'm not so sure about this. I think that the Singer car company was a British enterpise unrelated to either the American sewing machine company (or the Polish-born writer, for that matter).

    Now, does anybody know if Singer-Link is part of the same company?

    I would like to see more corporate history. Often even the employees of a firm have no real idea of the company's past, which is a shame. Sure, sometimes the history is something the company would as soon bury, but often it's proud, or at least interesting.

    Of course, it can get complicated, what with divisions, sales, etc. I had reason a couple of years ago to explore ITT, and found that it had become a hotel conglomerate, leaving behind its communications roots in various spin-offs and sales. Rolls-Royce the car company is now owned by VW, while Rolls-Royce the airplane engine company is owned by BMW (and, last I heard, owns the rights to the name "Rolls-Royce" after 2002 or something, leaving the car people somewhat screwed). (The ironies here are left to the reader, but for those who have forgotten, BMW made engines for, among other things, Focke-Wolfe fighters, at the same time that Rolls-Royce made mills for Spitfires and Mustangs).

    Back when I worked at Sears I kept trying to get the store manager to issue each new hire with one of those repop 1902 catalogs. I found it kind of inspiring to work for a store that once sold cars, houses, and barns, as well as a number of clearly quack medical devices (some of which looked suspiciously like "marital aids").

    When I was programming at AmTote, I was surprized to find out that the company had played an important, albeit back-handed, role in the Univac story, but I had to find out somewhere else (yes, on the street, and whispered conversations on the playground).

    How many guys turning wrenches in Detroit remember that Ford once made airplanes? Did you know that at various times Canon, Nikon, and Minolta were parts of the same company?

    Here's one for the the gif-burners in the house -- toss your Remington razor, because you're practically in bed with Unisys (Remington-Rand -> Sperry-Rand -> Unisys), and you're related to the gun company as well. I'm not sure if there's any connection with the (in)famous think tank, though.

  • I put in pacman and it ate my sweater
  • Actually if you get the mission impossible game boy cart. It has a universal remote control built in. Now if we can just get that robot to work.... -peel --computers never make mistooks--
  • Heh. I wonder what they'll be able to do with the GameBoy Advance [gameboy.com] that's due out soon. Already, just with the basic GameBoy and GameBoy Color, they've released a camera, a printer, etc.

    Interact, the company that makes the ever-popular Gameshark cheating system created a device that lets you send and receive email through your GameBoy much like a Pocketmail [pocketmail.com] device. Looks like all of those jokes about PalmOS devices looking like GameBoys can be applied the other way around as well.
  • Imagine throwing this thing on the network.

    Solarwinds SNMPSweep:
    IP Response Time System Name Machine Type Description

    192.168.1.1 20ms Data Center Ancillary Synoptics BayStack 350F HW:RevA FW:V1.01 SW:V1.2.0.10
    192.168.1.2 0ms DCServerBDC Windows NT Hardware: x86 Family 6 Model 7 Stepping 3 AT/AT Compatible
    192.168.1.3 0ms Threadmeister1 Singer/Nintendo 150 stitch pattern Game Boy

    THAT'D raise some eyebrows!

  • No, that would be using Nintendo to fight Sony.

  • Everything has just reached a new low... Once more my faith in the human race is gone.

    --

  • by Mr. Protocol ( 73424 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @02:40PM (#713668)
    As some other posters have pointed out down below in the +1 area, current high-end sewing machines tend to be highly computerized and highly expensive. They're like special-purpose milling machines. They tend to use docking cables to laptops to handle the importation of sewing patterns, stitching patterns, whatever.

    The obvious problem with this is that laptops are WAY expensive, and, let's face it, the overlap between the sewing machine crowd and the laptop crowd is not 100%.

    The non-obvious problem is that sewing and stitching patterns are copyrighted, and the software on the laptops likewise. This led to some ferocious encryption stuff. The protocols spoken by the machines were highly proprietary and had to be run through printer-port dongles. It was fierce...and inconvenient.

    The GameBoy solution solves so many things, it just has to be elegant. The cartridge amounts to a dongle. The GameBoy provides all the computing smarts needed - a laptop was extreme overkill in this department. Also, you get to cut down on the solid state stuff in the sewing machine itself, and take advantage of the immense economies of scale of the Gameboy, which has got to be the most immediate benefit here.
  • Think they did make typewriters as well at one point.

    And for that matter, they're just more famous for sewing machines. [singercars.com]

  • Hey, at least it ain't the GBA or the N64 in this darned contraption. Personally, I'd expect something this crazy out of Sony or Microsoft, but the idiot who designed this thang must have also been the same idiot behind the Virtual Boy and Mario Brothers Movie. I mean, the GBC's popular and all that, but interfacing with a sewing MACHINE!!!??? Come on, if this is a sales attempt with the demise of the PS2 (reads massive shortage, $400+ USD) it's almost as bad as Sega's 32X system. AND BTW, I AIN'T NO F***ING COWARD!!!
  • argh it's late...

    should be: And cars [singercars.com] for that matter....etc

  • What? That was the most stupid statement I've read all day, shut your mouth and stop posting your non sensical jabber...
  • And furthermore, you can now print your own designs on silk with just about any decent wide-format inkjet printer, using a little RIP software to translate, so you could actually design the fabric, print it yourself, and then use the Gameboy-Singer to sew it up. (Look at what Jacquard [inkjetfabrics.com] is doing for an example.) Now if only they'd come up with something cheap to cut out the pieces in the correct shapes for sewing.

    Of course, I also see this as a way to solve the CS gender gap, that is, if anyone sewed any more. In the urban technostate, we've lost most of those homesteading skills beyond gardening.

  • by fjordboy ( 169716 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @02:44PM (#713674) Homepage
    At the camp I work at, every year, a group of Quilters come in to quilt for a weekend using our facilities. They come in and quilt till 1 or two in the morning....they are insane quilters...and their sewing machines are simply incredible! Several of the quilters have high-end sewing machines with LCD, backlit displays and accept 3.5" floppy disks to program in stitches and such. This gameboy cartridge thing doesn't seem nearly as portable and as useful as a simple floppy! These women were incredible..they would go home and program stitches and download the latest stuff off the net so they could stitch some stronger seams and such. And that was more than a year ago....


  • Sewing machines are just the start. Soon we'll see Game Boy interfaces to sheet metal cutters, lathes, drop forges and welding robots.

    About 3 years ago, I designed a Gameboy cartridge which interfaced with the Benshaw RSD series [benshaw.com] of soft starters (I'm the lead designer) and worked with the unit to provide preventative maintenance and other goodies. The director of engineering said it was a toy and nobody'd use it.

    Now I'm working on the Palm version and people have been demanding it for the last eight months. I'm going to email the link to this guy and see what he says now. :-)

  • Wait, why would you hate that? That would be great! Imagine how you could terrorize people...

    You: Yeah, it's been acting up a bit, I'm wondering if maybe you could take a look at it...
    Sewing Machine Repair Guy: Okay, well, let me see if I can--*CRUNCH* AAGH! MY HAND!! IT BIT MY HAND!! I'M BLEEDING!
    Demon Sewing Machine: *growl* I WILL SWALLOW YOUR SOUL *snarl*
    You: *gales of laughter at SMRG's expense*

    Okay, maybe I've just been programming in JavaScript too much today, but there are endless possibilities for a demon-possessed sewing machine!

  • I worked in a mall computer game shop in the 80s and there was an automated knitting machine peripherial announced for Nintendo. It turned out to be vapourware, at least for the North American market.
  • this was announced months ago, but i dunno when if the release date is/was accurate. game boys are also used as medical pdas and some other stuff as well

    must not, ARGGGGGGGGGGHHHH!!

    can you imagine a beowulf cluster of these? if beowulf clusters run linux and gbc is just an overclocked modified z80, technically i'm sure it's possible...
    --
    Peace,
    Lord Omlette
    ICQ# 77863057
  • But can I drive my 1965 Singer Gazelle car remotely?

    When I can expect that plugin?


  • According to Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, essentially no salaried computer programmer or related technical worker is entitled to overtime:

    29 CFR 541.3 - Professional. [dol.gov] The term employee employed in a bona fide * * * professional capacity in section 13(a)(1) of the Act shall mean any employee: (a) Whose primary duty consists of the performance of: [... snipping other fields...] (4) Work that requires theoretical and practical application of highly-specialized knowledge in computer systems analysis, programming, and software engineering, and who is employed and engaged in these activities as a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer, or other similarly skilled worker in the computer software field, as provided in Sec. 541.303; and (b) Whose work requires the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment in its performance; and (c) Whose work is predominantly intellectual and varied in character (as opposed to routine mental, manual, mechanical, or physical work) and is of such character that the output produced or the result accomplished cannot be standardized in relation to a given period of time; and (d) Who does not devote more than 20 percent of his hours worked in the workweek to activities which are not an essential part of and necessarily incident to the work described in paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section; and (e) Who is compensated for services on a salary or fee basis at a rate of not less than $170 per week ($150 per week, if employed by other than the Federal Government in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or American Samoa), exclusive of board, lodging, or other facilities: Provided, That this paragraph shall not apply in the case of an employee who is the holder of a valid license or certificate permitting the practice of law or medicine or any of their branches and who is actually engaged in the practice thereof, nor in the case of an employee who is the holder of the requisite academic degree for the general practice of medicine and is engaged in an internship or resident program pursuant to the practice of medicine or any of its branches, nor in the case of an employee employed and engaged as a teacher as provided in paragraph (a)(3) of this section: Provided further, That an employee who is compensated on a salary or fee basis at a rate of not less than $250 per week (or $200 per week, if employed by other than the Federal Government in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or American Samoa), exclusive of board, lodging, or other facilities, and whose primary duty consists of the performance either of work described in paragraph (a) (1), (3), or (4) of this section, which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment, or of work requiring invention, imagination, or talent in a recognized field of artistic endeavor, shall be deemed to meet all of the requirements of this section: Provided further, That the salary or fee requirements of this paragraph shall not apply to an employee engaged in computer-related work within the scope of paragraph (a)(4) of this section and who is compensated on an hourly basis at a rate in excess of 6\1/2\ times the minimum wage provided by section 6 of the Act. [38 FR 11390, May 7, 1973, as amended at 40 FR 7092, Feb. 19, 1975; 57 FR 46744, Oct. 9, 1992]
  • It has everything to do with child labor laws. The whole concept of the FLSA was to insure that workers were not put in unconscionable situations. That ranges from people working for less than the cost of living, to 10 year olds, to people required to work 120 hours in a week (yes, I've done that).

    Overtime was the FLSA's attempt to make management think a little bit before making the employee work that time. That and compensate the employee for something that was obviously more effort than anyone could be expected to put out. But certain software developers (keep in mind that if I made more than $44/hour, but was a software developer in the movie industry, I would be required to get overtime, or if I required constant supervision... why these exemptions?) do not have these protections anymore. The governor has signed them away.
  • The link hasn't been broken in any of the article submissions. It broke when I was formatting it for the post. The correct link is:
    The bill [ca.gov].
  • That is correct. Earlier this year, however, California's Governor had signed a bill that restored programmers the right to overtime, something which was recently removed from the FLSA. He has now been pressured to remove his support for the citizens of California, and support the position of the corporations.

    Undoubtedly, they offer more campaign dollars.
  • Then you are a fool.

    This is exactly what is happening. The government is creating the perception that there is this "evil class" of workers that make too much. Do you know how hard I've actually had to work to get to this position? And everywhere I look, I'm considered to be subhuman. To have "too much money to have my sympathy".

    It doesn't matter what position we have in life, the point is that we are all human. I don't look at you and say, "Oh, well, he makes 25 dollars an hour, he doesn't deserve voting rights", or "Oh, he makes more than minimum wage. He must not need insurance."

    The point is, where does it end? America is beginning a new kind of segregation. One of money. And it is quite hostile to people that actually work their way to the top.

    I may not have your sympathy, but you have my pity. America deserves the socialism that it gets.
  • Hey - why isn't the international space station running Linux? I mean - it's soo superior!

    You asked for it ;-}
  • $170 per week is the minimum cap?!? That's under minimum wage!!!

    This issue is meaningful to me. The company I work for is pressuring us to up our hours even more because of the hole they got themselves into. They aren't consulting the people who know on their decisions, and they aren't hiring competitively to replace the ones who leave in disgust. There's going to be some sort of bonus attached if we pull this off, they claim. Oh, and we're being "encouraged" to do those extra hours earlier in the morning! Before 7:00!!

    Fortunately, if this goes any further, most of the techs are quite employable elsewhere. Shooting themselves in the foot, the company is...
  • Friden made wonderful mechanical calculators from 1935 until 1972. These were mechanical behemoths - heavy monsters with keyboards of 100 keys (10 columns of 10 digits each) They used twelfth-horsepower motors to turn gears, ratchets, and pawls. One version even mechanically calculated square roots! Physics departments were happy if they owned one of these! Here's a photo of a mechanical Friden calculator: http://www.hpmuseum.org/big/friden.jpg During the 1950's, Friden made many mechanical calculators & adding machines. They were also the prime contractor to make mechanical rotor-based crypto machines for the NSA. In 1962, Friden introduced the all-electronic calculator. It used reverse Polish notation, a 10 button keypad, and 7-segment displays on an oscilloscope-style screen. It was actually the second electronic calculator (a British firm beat it by a year) but it revolutionized calculations: silent, fast, and with space-age styling. Here's a photo: http://www.hpmuseum.org/ec132.jpg Friden began making printers and disk drives, eventually making computers in 1966. In 1964, Friden was sold to Singer - the same folks who made sewing machines. It was a disaster. Friden had been run locally (in San Leandro, California -- just up from the future Silicon Valley). Suddenly lots of New York City consultants descended from Singer -- quasi-executives who repeatedly reorganized the company. Friden failed to take advantage of their immense market lead in electronic calculators; worse, they continued to develop and sell mechanical calculators even after they (and their competitors) had made cheap electronic calculators. By 1972, Friden-Singer was about dead. All their good engineers were leaving (often to printer and disk drive companies in Silicon Valley: Diablo & Seagate & Shugart). The mechanical plant was useless, since nobody wanted motor driven adding machines. And Singer never integrated Friden's mechanical expertise into the sewing machine business. Friden-Singer closed in 1976, leaving behind a factory site in San Leandro which was recently studied for PCB contamination in its underground water. How do I know this? Oh, I've been working with the engineer who designed the Friden 130 electronic calculator. He's pushing 80 years old, and still remembers the excitement of developing the world's first electronic calculator. Zooks, but he remembers the schematics to it (which is handy, since we're rebuilding one!) -Cliff Stoll 12 Oct 2000
  • Singer has always been a diversified and innovative company (let's just ignore their past in WWII for a moment, shall we?) It's great to see folks breaking through the "appliance" marketing vehicle box and really free themselves to be creative with tools..... What else can we think of for game boys? Firmware programming? Automobile electronics testing?
  • My Mom will buy me that Game Boy.

    :-)
  • True. Out of the five stories I've submitted, only two have been accepted. Compare the two stories in terms of newsworthiness. I understand that Nerds could be fascinated with electronic sewing machines.

    But to be segregated by our own government as being a class of workers that do not deserve compensation for extra-ordinary working conditions... protections that are EQUAL to child-labor laws. Heck, they are in THE SAME ACT... This is equivalent to reducing the age restrictions of textile works allowed to be ten years of age.

    Why are professional software developers "different" than movie-studio software developers? If you read the bill, the latter are exempted. This is a clear case of corporatism segregating the working programmer class. And if this isn't of interest to a majority of Nerds, you are lying.
  • Sewing machines are pretty darn sophisticated these days. A typical automated embroidery system (about the same size as a regular ol' sewing machine) have color LCD touch-screens, a considerable amount of internal RAM, and use floppy drives or flash-cards to transfer data. They're pretty impressive. If Nintendo wants to try and make a mark in this area I wish them luck. -Bryan
  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @01:51PM (#713702) Homepage
    ...are downloadable blueprints for those DeCSS T-shirts! ;-)
  • by Undocumented ( 225683 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @01:52PM (#713703) Homepage
    You can only use black thread until you pay $300 to upgrade to the Gameboy color.

  • by MWoody ( 222806 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @01:54PM (#713709)
    A neat, if decidedly weird, idea; just be careful you don't mix up your game packs.

    I'd hate to accidentally stick Castlevania in there, and suddenly have my sewing machine possessed by a demon...
    ---
  • Remember all the ROM sites?

    A really cool new pattern, or new functionality could be distributed for profit in another cartrige.

    Think Microsoft and win95 beta, 95, 95 osr2, 98, 98se, Me (aka win98 third edition)

    Or better, office95, 97, 2000

    Not trying to Hammer MS, just showing how insignificant changes can inspire sales.

  • I was at an electronics store the other day, and I saw a magazine (Elektor, Oct 2000) with an article about a new use for a gameboy. Basically, you plug in this cartridge, and connect cables to it, and you gameboy becomes a hand-held oscilloscope! I found a website about it [demon.co.uk], which also has a ROM image available for download if you want to try it out on an emulator! Pretty cool if you ask me...
    -MSD.dyndns.org [dyndns.org]
    "Sucks to your ass-mar"
  • by pb ( 1020 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2000 @01:55PM (#713734)
    Well, we've just gone full circle now, haven't we?

    Starting with the punch cards inspired by the textile industry, and using the icons inspired by embroidery... Now we're using a pocket gaming system to do the original functions we copied!

    I guess that's a tribute to our history, albeit a sick one.
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • That does ring a bell, yes. It's not quite as bizarre as it sounds. I don't recall how Singer did it, but if you look at the inside of a sewing machine and then the inside of a manual typewriter you'll see that the path from sewing machines to office equipment isn't as strange as it sounds (Didn't Commodore begin with typewriter repair? And of course Brother still makes sewing machines.)
  • Singer was also involved in the first lab trials of packaged macaroni and cheese. Funny ol' world, innit?

  • A few years back I was writing software to control tufting machines (like big sewing machines for making carpet). I almost used the GameBoy as the platform because it took almost zero processing power (the GameBoy has an 8Mhz Z80 clone - which is quite reasonable) and needed only about 64K to run, including the code and buffers to display a graphic of the patter. The GameBoy can actually address about 16MB of memory via page-flipping.

    The real benefit of the GameBoy is if you try to price an industrial control with a few buttons and a nice LCD, you quickly exceed the $50 in small quantities that a GameBoy at Toys'R'Us costs.
  • Nobody else believes me, but I once took my bike wheel to a bike shop to have them calibrate it (ie, bang it back into shape). In order to make sure the wheel was perfectly "true", they hooked it up to some sort of electronic measuring device.

    There were a couple of wires leading from the device into a Nintendo catridge, which was plugged into a NES that was displaying some sort of digital readout on the TV screen.

    Cool, huh? I like this Singer/GameBoy story, since maybe now people will believe my bike calibration/NES story.

    If I ever see a Sega Master System in my proctologist's office, I'm leaving.

  • Wasn't this posted here months ago? I know that I read about it a while ago, where a cartridge could take kids pokemon and stitch them out. Perhaps I read it somewhere else. Cool anyhow.

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