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Comment PowerGlove was good for Garage VR (Score 2, Interesting) 135

The PowerGlove may have been a failure as a game controller, but it was a boon for those of us trying to create Virtual Reality systems with our home equipment. Rend-386 was the software only rendering engine that let us create a virtual handshake coast to coast with powergloves. 3D Rendering went on a MAJOR growth rate curve in the 90s (doubling every 6-9mo). Unfortunately 3DUI didnt do so well. The professional gloves were better than the P-glove, but still not all that great, even 10yrs later. I've still got my dual-glove PC controller. I just dont have a working 386 computer anymore.

Comment Domes been around, not for conversation (Score 1) 122

The domes have been around for a couple decades I believe. I recall seeing them back in early 90s at some conference. The parabolic dome works really well for playback sound isolation. They have been used in museums, music stores, etc to keep the playback very isoloated -- only those under the dome can hear. Reflecting surfaces like table tops, especially if sloped, might bounce the sound out of the column, but generally they were pretty good. However, they do NOT isolate conversation under the dome. You can still hear and be heard by others outside the sound column... well maybe not hear them as well, since the playback might overwhelm outside sounds.

Digital Distribution Numbers Speak To Health of PC Game Industry 192

An anonymous reader writes with this quote from PC Authority: "Over the years many voices have declared PC gaming dead. We have seen developers abandon the platform for consoles, citing piracy as the cause. Game stores have slowly relegated PC games from prime shelf position to one tucked away in the back corner — even Microsoft dumped AAA PC game developers from the company. It seems, though, that the demise of the PC as a games platform has been exaggerated, because until very recently sales data ignored digital distribution, with the latest data released by US company NPD revealing that 48% of PC unit sales in the US in 2009 were digital. That translates to 21.3 million games downloaded in the US. Interestingly, although 48% of games were sold online, it only worked out as 36% of the revenue. This highlights the fact that it isn't just convenience that has PC gamers shopping online; it is also that games are generally cheaper than in stores."

Comment Apple bought a Cray, Seymour bought a Mac (Score 1) 247

Once upon a time Apple decided they needed the best fastest computer to design their next generation. The fastest thing around was the Cray, so they bought one. When he heard this Seymour Cray sent them a thank you and that he was returning the favor - using a Mac to design his next supercomputer.

That a Cray was not all that useful for electronics design (E-CAD) is besides the point. Steve said buy the fastest computer available, and they did what steve says!

Comment Cray did Last Starfighter, iPhone/Android better (Score 5, Interesting) 247

Back in 1983, I worked at Digital Productions where we had one of the very few commercially owned Cray (X-MP) computers. We were doing 'proper work' of making some of the earliest CGI for film and advertising. There was a bit of film before (Tron, Westworld, Looker, JPL stuff, etc) but The Last Starfighter was the first major film to use CGI exclusively for its spaceships, etc. in flying sequences. (Robert Preston drove a mockup car for ground scenes.) Each minute of film took (on rough avg) an hour of CPU time. All the rendering code was written in FORTRAN and ran on the Cray, outputting to film on a custom digital film printer.

Today, the games you can play on your iPhone/Android or even the aging Nintendo DS have better graphics!! Resolution is a lot lower (not 3000x5000!) but at the screen size it certainly looks much better - and rendered in real time!

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