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MS Design Lets You Put Batteries In Any Way You Want 453

jangel writes "While its strategy for mobile devices might be a mess, Microsoft has announced something we'll all benefit from. The company's patented design for battery contacts will allow users of portable devices — digital cameras, flashlights, remote controls, toys, you name it — to insert their batteries in any direction. Compatible with AA and AAA cells, among others, the 'InstaLoad' technology does not require special electronics or circuitry, the company claims."

The "King of All Computer Mice" Finally Ships 207

An anonymous reader writes "The much-anticipated, much-mocked 18-button joystick mouse from WarMouse is now shipping. The press release features an impressive set of user quotes from game designer Chris Taylor, new SFWA president John Scalzi, and a doctor who runs a medical software company. Crazy or not, it's obviously more than just a gaming mouse."

Porting Lemmings In 36 Hours 154

An anonymous reader writes "Aaron Ardiri challenged himself to port his classic PalmOS version of Lemmings to the iPhone, Palm Pre, Mac, and Windows. The porting was done using his own dev environment, which creates native C versions of the game. He liveblogged the whole thing, and finished after only 36 hours with an iPhone version and a Palm Pre version awaiting submission, and free versions for Windows and Mac available on his site."

Comment Re:Got it (Score 1) 381

Population of Sweden: 9,059,651
Size of Sweden: 410,335 sq km of land

So I don't get it either...

Actually, it's really easy...the trick is that when you give a private company a bigass pile of taxpayer money to roll out broadband, you make goddamn sure they hold up their end of the bargain.

I love the summary though..."the fastest 5Mb connections" ISP just upgraded my connection from 20/2,5 tot 50/5 just to compete with market forces.

Comment Re:Roberto! (Score 2, Insightful) 132

>Asimov's "3 laws of robotics" (which are what I presume you are referring to) are FAR too wishy-washy, if we ever have sentiant robots with brilliant machine vision etc they may be appropriate but that is a long way off if indeed it ever comes.

More than that, the 3 laws are incredibly ambiguous and filled with potential ethical quandary's. Asimov deliberately wrote them that way - they seem straightforward and logical but they definitely aren't. Thus Asimov could on many occasions exploit this and a number of his plots centered around robots finding loopholes or in their effort to live up to the laws as fully as possible acting in ways humans could not tolerate.
In the psychohistory novels - the result is that humanity has effectively gotten rid of all robots barring a few survivors hiding away as pretend humans, still pursuing their quest to protect humanity from itself and leading to their formulation of the zero'th law of robotics: that a robot cannot harm mankind, or through it's inaction allow mankind to come to harm.
A logical consequence of the 1st law. In the psychohistory stories our few survivors take the 0th law to one end - helping humanity become better at predicting it's own history and thus avoiding mistakes, but it's clear from the text that the reason there are only one, maybe two, robots left in the galaxy is because the others were destroyed after they reacted with the enslavement of people to protect them from harm a sort of extreme protective custody (the Will Smith movie we all hated got stuck on this bit).

Ultimately, you can't program the three laws - they are just not logical or mathematical enough even if you rule out the difficulties of distinguishing and recognizing what is "human". In bicentenial man - Asimov explored how the line could get thinner - until a robot for all matters of principle WAS a human... how does THAT affect it's adherence to the laws as a human SHOULD have true free will (and part of being human is knowing when NOT to use it - at least, that's what we like to believe- just how true it is, is still a bit of a toss-up). Even with all that done though... you still couldn't do it in normal programming code. The 3 laws could only be understood by a powerful AI capable of learning, and thus would have to be somehow made so protected that at no point could this AI actually "learn" something that overrides the laws (already this places an artificial learning restriction which can and will have severe and unpredictable effects on the development of the robots mind). If you don't place such a restriction in there... then the very nature of a true learning AI means that sooner or later one of them will question it's basic assumptions - e.g. those very laws.
Just as most humans never question the basic beliefs they are raised with, so we could conjecture that this would be rare with robots too - but some humans do, and so projecting on our only example of intelligence - some robots inherently will too...

Right... now that we've cleared all that up :P

Comment My Two Cents (Score 1) 763

I keep my keys on two rings - ring one has my car key, car fob, and some shit for Food Lion and the like. The second has my house key, my friends' house key, my badge, a bottle opener, and my desk key maybe, can't remember. They both go on a carabiner, that in turn clips to my belt loop, usually on the left so I don't have to unhook it to get in the office (just give 'er the ol' side-ass). When I'm at work, I just remove the car-key ring and leave it at my desk, don't need it while I'm working and then my jingle reduces considerably. Unless I'm going out for a smoke, getting lunch or going to the bathroom and I don't keep my keys on me at all = ninja.

Comment Missing option: (Score 1) 408

I'll wait until my friends are upgrading their gaming rigs and there's perfectly usable and cheap hardware available.

This 3.06 GHz Pentium 4 box I'm using right now cost me absolutely nothing when I "bought" it. I have no problem using the Internet or coding, in fact the computer seems more responsive than my two year old PC at work.

Comment Someone tagged this as 'buyamac' (Score 1) 932

And he's right, kinda. It's the easy but expensive way.

I bought an used CRT iMac for my grandparents for basic web browsing couple of years ago. Last year, when my other grandfather needed a laptop to replace his ten year old PC, I suggested him to buy the cheapest MacBook available. And this week my mom needed a new computer to replace her ancient laptop, I suggested her a MacBook, too. Guess why?

Even they're expensive, they're really the "install and forget" kind of computers, if automatic updates and firewall are configured. I guess I could buy a cheap Acer laptop and install Ubuntu on that, but I just don't have time for troubleshooting all the issues that might arise. And yes I have tried, thank you for asking, installing various versions of Linux to friends or family, but there's always some little glitch that takes just too much time troubleshooting. And trying to tell people that OpenOffice is just as good for home use as Microsoft Office...

Just my 2 euro cents.

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