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Comment Hardware Specs (Score 4, Informative) 44

The hardware specifications alone are pretty impressive:

Computation The PR2 robot has two eight-core i7 Xeon system servers on-board, each with 24 GB of RAM, a 500 GB internal hard drive, and a 1.5 TB external removable log drive. The computers and most of the sensors communicate over a 16-port gigabit Ethernet hub with a 32-gigabit backplane. The robot also has an on-board, dual-radio router that can be bridged into a WLAN, as well as a secondary, stand-alone access point for laptop or smart phone access.

Also:

The PR2 ships with sensors in the head, arms, and base. The head contains two stereo camera pairs coupled with an LED pattern projector, a 5MP camera, a tilting laser range finder, and an IMU. The forearms each contain an ethernet-based, wide-angle camera, while the grippers have three-axis accelerometers and pressure sensor arrays on the fingertips. The base has a fixed laser range finder.

That's a fair bit of grunt to throw at the OpenCV libraries, which is listed under their Supported Projects in the Software section. No surprise either, Willow Garage has taken over hosting the project from Intel.

Comment enemy territory (Score 2, Informative) 460

I've not really played PC games since the Doom era so I'm really out of touch here. I don't have a real gamer box, just a simple video card. What do Slashdotters think I should try? A simple FPS or some type of networked game would do.

Sounds like you've missed a fair few generations of games then.

Try giving Enemy Territory a go.

Quite addictive in its time and a nice cooperative element to online play.

It was released back in 2003, and runs quite well on Linux. You did mention only having a "simple" video card but odds are better than even your system has sufficient support - even basic integrated video chipsets tend to have some degree of OpenGL support these day.

System requirements are: 600 MHz CPU, 128 MB RAM, 32 MB OpenGL graphics card, 56.6k Modem/LAN

Its not quite Open Source but it is (and always has been) free as in beer.

Businesses

Submission + - Convincing your company to go Open Source 1

Cycon writes: "No doubt asked previously, but what are today's most compelling arguments (pro or con) for a small company to release its software under an Open Source license, in particular the GPL? Current and future fund raising may be jeopardized or at least complicated. There may be fears competitors will more easily absorb your unique features, or a larger entity will leverage your work and push you aside. On the positive side is ethical merit — which beyond as its own end may offer community benefits such as code contributions, constructive testing and feedback, and perhaps some good press. Lawyers may be required for the finer points, but what should any realistic business consider?"

Comment Re:Intel counters with CPU+GPU on a chip (Score 1) 176

Microsoft wouldn't allow licensing dual cores on netbooks.

As far as I can tell, that's only regards Windows XP.

See this article (which, admittedly, its talking about a "nettop" box, not a netbook:

...first thing you see is that it runs on Windows Vista - XP under Microsoft's licensing terms for netbooks limited it to single core CPUs.

Got anything which specifically states that other OS's besides XP (which they've been trying to drop support on for a some time now) is restricted regards Dual Core?

Comment Re:Indefinitely (Score 1) 575

Hearing implants are apparently already pretty good. They went from "hear something" to "hear people talk but bit wonky" in a decade or so. The obvious huge difference here is that the implants are connected to I/O already present in the brain wetware and it's still extremely difficult to pull off. Your calculator example would require completely artificial interface layer to the brain ... Subvocalizing would be relatively straightforward to do, thought. You could have conversation with your implants hooked to your auditory nerve.

I'm assuming by "subvocalizing" you mean effecting speech without actually using the human voicebox, then transferring that speech information electronically to a "receiver" which is hooked up to a hearing implant?

So why can't I subvocalize "Computer, what's 63 * 14.69", pass through speech recognition, process the result, and transmit back to my own hearing implant?

In the long term, surely any "interface layer to the brain" would ultimately have to enter human consciousness in order to be perceived anyway. I don't think a wet-wired calculator would cause an imaginary physical calculator to suddenly appear into anyone's head - one needs a mental model for interacting with device. Speech and hearing seems an ideal, or at least achievable goal.

The next step would be to actually be to process an manipulate the visual stream between the eyes and the brain. Perhaps you could "draw" a calculator over someone's visual field, heads-up-display style. I would expect the level of precision and bandwidth would remain out of reach for our lifetimes however, and even then you still need a means of "pressing" the buttons.

Much more likely, easier, safer and possibly effective to display onto glasses - in which case the audio component can be built into headphones at the end of the glasses, and a direction mic could pick up whispering. Why tap into the brain at all? (c:

Comment Re:I want to see 'battery drop off centers' (Score 1) 369

the idea I would LOVE to see is where there are frequent stops (like gas stations) where you can swap your drained batt for a freshly charged one. they have that idea for propane tanks at supermarkets - you don't have to WAIT to have yours filled; you simply swap your empty for a full one.

The short answer to your question is the way any given battery is treated over the course of its usage has a drastic effect on the battery's ability to build and maintain a charge.

I've recently performed a complete electrics overhaul on a yacht, complete with solar panels, regulators, meters to measure amp input and output, etc. The goal was to build a system capable of powering a laptop (netbook actually) and a mobile phone using a constant 3G connection for 8-10 hours per day entirely off solar and the occasional (once every 3-4 days) 30-60 minute idle generation from the engine to make up the difference.

Without getting too far into technical details, you really only ever get to use 35% of a battery's rated capacity. At that point you need to recharge it or you risk permanent damage. You need pretty complex gear even to monitor how much energy you are using at a given time. For example, as you discharge a battery its voltage drops. But it doesn't do it immediately. You would have to wait approximately 24 hours after using a battery before a simple voltmeter would give you an accurate reading.

Bottom line, if you take a normal 12V car battery and wind it down to below 10.5 volts or so, you're effectively eliminated 50% of the battery's capacity on future charges. Do it a couple times and your car might start once or twice more, then probably never again.

The types of batteries used in these applications are many grades higher than the engine starting battery in your car right now of course, but the problems from repeatedly over-discharging still apply.

Are you willing to trust the person who had the battery in your car last to have treated it as well as you would have?

Red Hat Software

Submission + - Fedora 8 Released (fedoraproject.org)

Cycon writes: "Fedora 8 has been released. New features include PulseAudio, Codec Buddy, Compiz-Fushion, integrated Mugshot and Bigboard, IcedTea, and more. Take an online tour of the latest in line of Red Hat's community Linux distribution or download via torrent here."
Portables (Apple)

Submission + - Apple slashes iPhone to $400, Drops 4GB, & Ref

Cycon writes: "Apple has announced they will be dropping the price of the 8GB iPhone to $399 (plus contract), will be dropping the 4GB model, and in response to frustration from early-adopters, and will offer a refund in the form of $100 store credit to early adopters. "Our earlier customers trusted us and we must live up to that trust with our actions in moments like this," says Steve Jobs."
X

Submission + - XFree86 project releases 4.7.0

bushing writes: To quote the official site: 'Rumour is true and 4.7.0 has been released. Get yours now and be ahead of the curve.' Go on!
Operating Systems

Journal Journal: Is Vista the last major release of MS Windows?

There is general agreement that Vista will be the last major MS operating system release for some time to come. However, does it represent the last major release of the Microsoft operating system, period? Discussions are growing on the subject. Gartner Research predicts (http://www.investors.com/editorial/IBDArticles.asp?artsec=17&artnum=2&issue=20061229) this is the last major release as we know it. Future OSes from Microsoft will be modular and released incrementally. Other analysts a

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