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Submission + - SmartThings home monitoring and automation on Kickstarter (kickstarter.com)

zormal writes: Monitor, control, have fun — SmartThings makes it easy to connect the things in your physical world to the Internet. You can monitor, control, automate, and have fun with them from anywhere — at home, office, or on the go. SmartApps give you control through your phone and connect your sensors to online services. SmartThings is looking for $250,000 to get production started, and give considerable discounts to early adopters.
The Internet

Submission + - Warner Brothers Abusing DMCA Takedown Rules (itworld.com) 1

itwbennett writes: "In a court case between Hotfile.com and Hollywood studios, Warner Brothers admitted they sent takedown orders for thousands of files they didn't own or control. Using an automated takedown tool provided by Hotfile, Warner Brothers used automated software crawlers based on keywords to generate legal takedown orders. This is akin to not holding the Post Office liable for what people mail, or the phone companies liable for what people say. But the flip side is that hosters must remove files when receiving a legal takedown notice from the copyright holder — even when the copyright holders themselves don't know what material they actually own."

Submission + - Crowdfunding for Science - Can it Succeed? (rockethub.com)

jearbear writes: "Can crowdfunding work for science? Having raised nearly $40,000 for scientific research in 10 days for projects as diverse as biofuel catalyst design to the study of cellular cilia to deploying seismic sensor networks (that attach to your computer!) to robotic squirrels, the #SciFund Challenge is taking off like a rocket. Might this be a future model for science funding in the U.S. and abroad? What would that mean?"

Submission + - Apple trying to fix 'autocorrect' feature (dailymail.co.uk) 1

An anonymous reader writes: The Daily Mail is reporting that there is a "fix" in iOS 5 to make auto-correct more Android like. The tweet from Sonny Dickson the self described ‘tech enthusiast’ that found it can be found here. There is a blurb about it over in the Geek.com as well. Website www.damnyouautocorrect.com has collected many of the best howlers. At the risk of starting a religious war which handheld OS do you prefer?

Submission + - Logitech Calls Google TV a 'Big Mistake' (latimes.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Logitech CEO Guerrino De Luca spoke bluntly about Google TV yesterday, referring to it as a 'beta' product and saying that relying on it for the Revue set-top boxes was a mistake. The company will stop production of the Revue, and plans to implement significant price cuts to get rid of their remaining inventory. 'He said there are "no plans to introduce another box to replace Revue." Further, he predicted that the "grandchild of Google TV" might succeed but not the current product. For now, that leaves Sony televisions with the Google software for people looking for the Google TV experience.'

Black Eyed Peas Member Joins Intel As Director 188

siliconbits writes "According to ITProPortal: 'Semiconductor giant Intel has announced that it has hired music artist Will.i.am as Director of Creative Innovation, which is a new post as far as we know. Will.i.am is one third of the popular music group, the Black Eyed Peas, and emulates the like of Lady Gaga, who is partnering with Polaroid to produce some groovy products.'"

Comment My take (Score 5, Insightful) 337

Don't skimp. Get a good one, name brand (Tek, Agilent, LeCroy, etc.) at least 100 MHz bandwidth (the higher the better), 4 channels if you can afford it, some way to get data off the scope and onto a USB drive/network. Everything else is fluff and you can pay for it if you want, but I'd say the above are non-negotiable.

Don't even think about a PC-based scope. A scope is a standalone instrument, always has been, always will be.

Comment My take (Score 1) 742

I'm not young but I tried to get into kernel driver development (out of necessity, not so much itch-scratching) and was thoroughly frustrated by:

1) Lack of useful documentation
2) Constant churn in the kernel

I wanted to allocate memory in a driver. Lots of memory (64MB on an embedded system). I read all of LDD (latest revision) and tried everything: memory mapping, kalloc, vmalloc, ioremap, etc. etc. Nothing worked, and the book was so i386-centric that on my ARM system the explanations didn't really make sense. Eventually (we're talking several DAYS) I made something work using mmap.

And don't get me started on interrupts. Where do they even start? Where's the interrupt handler? WTF is the difference between a hard interrupt, a soft interrupt, and a virtual interrupt? I spent DAYS trying to figure out the exact sequence of code that represents travel from the hardware event to the final driver code (because it was necessary in this case) and had to give up. Interrupts are just magic.

And yes, I can read source (and I did).

As for churn, it seems like every week there's a new scheduler, a new memory allocation strategy, a new filesystem, etc. etc. QUIT IT! Is it really improving things that much? Every major system that gets replaced in the kernel obsoletes a bunch of code that now has to be rewritten to keep up. Worse, it makes whatever documentation there is (e.g., LDD) out of date. It was no fun reading parts of LDD only to look at the actual 2.6.24 source and see that parts of the book were already out-of-date (I can't remember what now).

If the kernel devs are only interested in itch-scratching then their numbers will continue to dwindle and Linux will fade in favor of a system where people actually do hard work: proper documentation.

Comment RS232 is fee-free (Score 5, Interesting) 460

From a device manufacturer's point of view, RS232 is free to implement. No special drivers are required on the host.

Now, for USB, you have to either pony up $2000 PER YEAR to the USB implementers forum to get your own VID/PID and distribute a driver to your customers (and deal with the resulting customer service issues) or add a chip from FTDI (or similar) and piggyback on their VID/PID but then ask your customers to download and install a generic driver that does not specifically identify your hardware.

Gimme RS232 any day.

Comment Re:CAD (Score 1) 211

I will have to look at KiCad again (wasn't impressed last time) but I disagree with the Eagle analysis. The freeware license allows for 2-layer 4"x3.2" boards which is definitely enough for a lot of projects.

Even the completely full version for commercial use with no layer or size limitations is $1500 for schematic+PCB+autorouter. That's not the cheapest license, that's the most expensive one!

My university has the completely unlimited professional version site license -- it is NOT limited in board space or layers. And it was at a fair one-time no-yearly-fees no-dongles no-license-server price.

And I forgot to mention that Eagle doesn't screw you over with upgrade costs. When upgrading from version 4 to version 5 (which did include some major new features), the upgrade cost was very reasonable.

Comment Re:Not a fan of (P/NG/LT/Berkeley)SPICE (Score 4, Informative) 211

It's quite likely you've been doing something wrong :-) I was at the same place, getting frustrated because perfectly reasonable circuits refuse to simulate. 99.9% of the time it was my fault, and it was a great learning opportunity. "Reasonable circuits" are not necessarily practical circuits. For example, you can put in an ideal switch into SPICE and cause brittleness, because practical circuit voltages and currents don't change instantaneously like ideal switches do. "But wait!", you say, "Inductor voltages can change instantaneously! That's what it says in my textbook!". No, they can't :-) There's a reason SPICE lets you specify an inductor's parasitic parallel capacitance.

Also, another source of brittleness/bugginess is poor third-party circuit models. I've downloaded some MOSFET models that just plain stunk.

BTW, LTSpice is my favorite simulator, hands down.

Comment Re:School Computer Labs (Score 2, Interesting) 211

It's the changing college demographic. First, more non-traditional students that want to be able to work at home, at "work", on their own time, etc.

Second, more demanding traditional students that expect colleges to come with more amenities like better dorm rooms than what used to be the norm, private bathrooms, etc. The ability to work in the dorm room or "plug in" wirelessly anywhere on campus and do their homework is becoming an expectation.

We have computer-aided teaching studios now with no computers in them. Doesn't make sense when every student has a laptop. Soon we will not need any computer labs.

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