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Comment Re:It's not bad idea in principle (Score 2, Insightful) 832

It's an interesting argument. Exactly the same argument could be made on both sides for commercial server software that is locked to given number of users. The comparison is very similar and I'm sure there are many people who would make the same counter argument in that case.

An early poster pointed out that it's common for cpu manufactures to hard lock features out (either because of defect or purely to create bigger range of product), do you object to this as well?

You argument that every cost that goes along with locked cores is already paid however just doesn't fly for me. The R&D costs of chip development are astronomical and it's exactly this portion of it that Intel are offering a compromise over.

Comment It's not bad idea in principle (Score 2, Insightful) 832

The physical difference between your uber cpu and a z80 is half a teaspoon of sand and some subtlety in the arrangement. You don't think you actually paying that much for the physical material in your processor are you? If a cpu manufacturer just sold their top cpu design at it's best configuration with the development costs spread evenly then they would find themselves priced out of the entry level market (sell far less chips and the top ones would end up being far more expensive). All the variations in cpu's are a way to spread those design costs around while not forcing people to pay for what they don't need. What's being proposed here is brilliant in principle, put the extra stuff on the chip (Which doesn't cost them much) and give people the upgrade opportunity, which should be far cheaper for all concerned than stamping out another piece of nearly identical silicon when the customer discovers the new generation of games aren't quite fast enough. My primary concern is that if this is a boot time driver update then Intel's "upgrade" only applies to whatever operating systems they deem fit to support.


Steampunk Con Mixes In More Maker Fun 50

California has once again been blessed with another steampunk convention, this time to be held in Emeryville, CA on March 12-14 as the "Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition." This year's event promises to mix in much more of the DIY/maker flavor for a greater hands-on feel. Steampunk has been gaining much broader appeal in recent months with the continued growth of maker communities, and the many delightful varieties of music and literature. The con will feature, among other things, a 2 day track of 2-hour how-to, hands-on, and interactive workshops gear towards makers, DIY-ers, mad scientists, and evil geniuses. Of course, if you are an evil genius you probably don't need a workshop except as a gathering for potential test subjects.

Spectrum of Light Captured From Distant World 32

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Cosmos: "Astronomers have made the first direct capture of a spectrum of light from a planet outside the Solar System and are deciphering its composition. The light was snared from a giant planet that orbits a bright young star called HR 8799 about 130 light-years from Earth, said the European Southern Observatory (ESO). ... The find is important, because hidden within a light spectrum are clues about the relative amounts of different elements in the planet's atmosphere. 'The features observed in the spectrum are not compatible with current theoretical models,' said co-author Wolfgang Brandner. 'We need to take into account a more detailed description of the atmospheric dust clouds, or accept that the atmosphere has a different chemical composition from that previously assumed.' The result represents a milestone in the search for life elsewhere in the universe, said the ESO. Until now, astronomers have been able to get only an indirect light sample from an exoplanet, as worlds beyond our Solar System are called. They do this by measuring the spectrum of a star twice — while an orbiting exoplanet passes near to the front of it, and again while the planet is directly behind it. The planet's spectrum is thus calculated by subtracting one light sample from another."

Can Video Game Accessibility Go Too Far? 164

A piece at GameSetWatch questions whether modern game companies are taking accessibility a step too far in their rush to attract people who don't typically play video games. This worry was inspired, in part, by the news that Nintendo's New Super Mario Bros. Wii would have the capability to play itself in order to let a human player get past a tricky part. Quoting: "Bigger audiences finishing more games is certainly a worthy goal, and Nintendo has shown that accessibility is the servant of engagement. History has rarely — if ever — dared to disprove the wisdom of Miyamoto's foresight. History has also never disproven, however, the principle that any medium and any message degrades the wider an audience it must reach. Art was never served by generalization, nor language by addressing all denominators. Entertainment for the masses ultimately becomes empty. There must exist an absolute point beyond which greater accessibility means less engagement. Making a game so easy it can play itself for you at the push of a button just might be that point."

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