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Comment Re:So many negative comments (Score 1) 368

Every programming language leads to its own types of laziness. I.e., there are unique types of laziness associated with assembly programming.

I've noticed this in the projects I've worked on in assembly. In several cases, I've later done a C version of the project targeting more powerful hardware, and the result is more robust. Yes, you could argue that the experience gained doing the assembly version aids the later development of the C version, and you would probably be correct. But it's just so much easier to do things in C, and this includes error checking!

Every assembly programming task is time consuming, and this can lead people to take shortcuts. Think there aren't any buffer overrun issues? Why? In C, all you might have to do is type something like "if (index>=length) {/*don't write to buffer or whatever*/}" There! Buffer overrun issue solved! In assembly, the same fix takes longer, and you might be less likely to implement it before the problem surfaces.

One thing I think assembly programming does give you is a very intuitive understanding of how a processor works, which in turn will help you avoid errors when programming in higher-level languages in the future. It helps to understand, for example, the sheer number of instructions required to perform extended precision floating point arithmetic on a fixed-point 8-bit processor!

Programming in assembly is not productive. It is educational, it is sometimes necessary, and I think it can be fun, but it is definitely not productive. I'd like to see a variant of C that exposes more of the low-level capabilities of the typical microcontroller (and that explicitly supports Harvard architecture processors, for that matter), but even in its current form, C seems to me an appropriate compromise between performance and productivity for low-level and bare metal programming.

Comment Another great package opening tool (Score 1) 398

I have a pair of these Open-It shears, and they're one of my more frequently used tools. Work great:

We once bought 30 micro-SD cards for a project at work, which came packaged in annoying, hermetically sealed plastic clamshells. I used our laser cutter to slice around the actual card in each package. Voila!

Comment Fine the way it is, but why not support both? (Score 1) 574

I use Chrome. I like the current placement of the tabs above the location bar very much. I and most people who agree with me would never have thought to comment on this "bug" because we don't consider it a bug. If 99% of people (for the sake of argument) like the status quo, should you really be up in arms because a company ignores the 1% of people who complain?

On the other hand, perhaps an option to change the arrangement for those who want the tabs below...

Comment Maybe just use a wire? (Score 1) 103

Does one really save weight by transmitting laser power through an optical fiber versus using a lightweight electrical cable (maybe silver?) at a relatively high voltage? Even after the losses involved with converting the light back to electricity at the copter (probably about 50%)?

Serious question, is the power density of optical fiber really that high?

I've seen this technique used for sensors (, wouldn't have thought it would work well for something like this.

Comment Pretty generic to start with (Score 1) 549

To be fair, the name of the app is "Wi-Fi Sync", and the icon is arrows in a circle (used for the Time Machine icon, for example) with Apple's own wi-fi icon in the middle. I'm thinking there's some sampling going on in both directions. Ironically, if Mr. Hughes' app hadn't been around, Apple might have come up with a more creative name and icon.

Apple may have ripped him off to some degree, but they may have already been planning this feature. As other posters have pointed out, also, they rejected his app because it didn't meet their guidelines, which is a separate topic.

Comment This seems really important (Score 2, Insightful) 121

Hey, I've got an idea. How about we stop acting like ready access to TV shows and movies is an inalienable right? Or like we're being repressed as a people when movie and TV studios make watching their content more difficult or comcast decides to limit access to the latest episode of your favorite show?

Comment ...except for the uControllers I use. (Score 3, Interesting) 249

I watched about half of his presentation. I was amused because on a lot of the slides he says something like "except on really low end embedded CPUs." I spend a lot of my time programming (frequently in assembly) for these exact very low end CPUs. I haven't had to do much with 8-bit cores, fortunately, but I've been doing a lot of programming on a 16-bit microcontroller lately (EMC eSL).

I suspect the way I'm programming these chips is a lot like how you would have programmed a desktop CPU in about 1980, except that I get to run all the tools on a computer with a clock speed 100x the chip I'm programming (and at least 1000x the performance). I am constantly amazed by how little we pay for these devices: ~10 Mips, 32k RAM, 128k Program memory, 1MB data memory and they're $1.

But they do have a 3-stage pipeline, so I guess some of what Dr. Cliff says still applies.

Comment Hard to make this transparent and cheap (Score 1) 55

This is a neat piece of technology. It looks to me like they've used a grid of electrodes + FSR ink to create an array of force sensing resistors.

I'm guessing: isolate a pair of electrodes (an X and a Y), and measure the resistance between them to get a reading of the pressure applied at that point. Scan the entire pad to get a pressure map.

This would be really cool for a touch screen interface, except for the fact that IT WOULD BE TOTALLY OPAQUE! The FSR ink is black. Maybe a thin enough layer could be used to be transparent and ITO electrodes could be used. I'm not sure. Sounds more expensive.

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