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Hardware Hacking

The Chipophone — an 8-Bit Chiptune Organ 84

adunk writes "Linus Åkesson has built an 8-bit synthesizer inside an old electric organ case. 'All the original tone-generating parts have been disconnected, and the keys, pedals, knobs and switches rerouted to a microcontroller which transforms them into MIDI signals. Those are then parsed by a second microcontroller, which acts as a synthesizer.' The Chipophone is perfect for playing classics such as the Super Mario Bros in-game music or Rob Hubbard's Spellbound. A description of the build process, with photos, is available."

Submission + - Why are digital hearing aids so expensive? 4

sglines writes: Over the last couple of years I've been slowly getting deaf. Too much loud rock and roll I suppose. After flubbing a couple of job interviews because I couldn't understand my inquisitors I had a hearing test which confirmed what I already knew, I'm deaf. So I tried on a set of behind the ear hearing aids, wow, my keyboard makes clacks as I type and my wife doesn't mumble to herself. Then I asked how much: $3700 for the pair. Hey I'm unemployed. The cheapest digital hearing aids thy had were $1200 each. WYF? If you look at the specs they are not very impressive. A digital hearing aid has a low power A to D converter. Output consists of D to A conversion with volume passing through an equalizer that inversely matches your hearing loss. Most hearing loss, mine included, is frequency dependent so an equalizer does wonders. The "cheap" hearing aids had only 4 channels while the high end one had 12. My 1970 amplifier had more than that. I suppose they have some kind of noise reduction circuitry too but that's pretty much it. So my question is this — when I can get a very good netbook computer for under $400 why do I need to pay $1200 per ear for a hearing aid? Alternatives would be welcome.
Programming

Submission + - Computer system makes best sports bets (itnews.com.au)

schliz writes: Researchers have created a computer ranking system that consistently predicts US basketball rankings more accurately than polls of sportswriters, coaches, currently used formulas and computer models, and even the tournament seeds themselves.

The new method is said to have proven itself by correctly picking all four of the 2008 finalists for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament.

Feed The Register: Wikipedia scores $3m donation (theregister.com)

Which is nice

Wikipedia, the people's encylopedia, has trousered a $3m donation from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, to be paid in equal chunks over three years. Which is nice. Even nicer, the money comes from a charitable foundation, and not this from philanthropic venture capitalists who may or may not have commercial designs upon Wikipedia's ads-unsullied pages.


Sun Microsystems

Submission + - Sun takes over MySQL (forbes.com)

ggpauly writes: "Sun announced the acquisition of MySQL for $1 billion. They can have my copy at a fraction of the price. Sun explains the move as "accelerating" their position in enterprise IT and the $15 billion database market. Sun now claims to be the largest commercial open source contributer."
Space

Submission + - Meteor may have hit international space station (yahoo.com)

adnd74 writes: "Two astronauts on the International Space Station will make a spacewalk next week to find out if a micrometeoroid strike damaged a critical part of the outpost's power system, officials said on Thursday. The station is not in any danger and is still producing enough power to support the arrival of a Russian cargo ship this month, said station deputy program manager Kirk Shireman."
Enlightenment

A Review of the $200 Wal-Mart Linux PC 235

bcrowell writes "Wal-Mart's new $200 Linux PC has generated a lot of buzz in geek circles. Although they're sold out of stores, I bought one for my daughter via mail order, and have written up a review of the system. The hardware seems fine for anyone but a hardcore gamer, but the pre-installed gOS flavor of Ubuntu has a lot of rough edges."
Google

Submission + - Is google not keeping a cached copy anymore ?

izzix writes: "Why almost always when you access a google cached page it shows the current version of the page and the sniplet on the search page shows the correct(old) version of the page, Probably that one google crawled. And shows a message like: "These terms only appear in links pointing to this page" Why Is google not keeping anymore this kind of data ? Are they using this wasted space to host another space hungry google services, like gmail, youtube ?"

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