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Pixel Inventor Goes Back To the Drawing Board

Brackney Re:TRS-80 Pixels (304 comments)

I'd completely forgotten about those pads of paper!

about 4 years ago
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Pixel Inventor Goes Back To the Drawing Board

Brackney TRS-80 Pixels (304 comments)

Square? Not on my old Trash-80! Heady days indeed, populating that 128x48 grid of monochromatic pixels. The aspect ratio really screwed with attempts to generate graphics using trigonometry.

about 4 years ago
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Lost Ends

Brackney Ashes to Ashes (955 comments)

The BBC series "Ashes to Ashes" also finished up over the weekend, and it was a far more satisfying conclusion to both that series and its predecessor "Life on Mars." Well done, and a great send off for DCI Gene Hunt. I highly recommend both BBC series to folks who enjoyed Lost. Avoid the American remake of LoM though...

more than 4 years ago
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Next-Gen Augmented Reality Rears Its Unreal Head

Brackney Re:I'm not sure I get it - (49 comments)

AR gaming is but one application. AR's real promise IMO is in fusing digital information with the real world to create a richer environment for people to accomplish various tasks more efficiently. The military has used this concept for years with fighter HUDs. There are smart phone apps that overlay real-estate data as you pan the camera across a row of houses. It's not just about games, and there are a lot of very interesting applications that come to mind for different industries if you start thinking outside the box.

more than 4 years ago
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50% Efficiency Boost From New Fuel Injection System

Brackney Re:Not just "similar" to a diesel (379 comments)

It would be better to have asked if the article describes a homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) or diffusion burn process. There's a huge difference between them in terms of emissions and thermal efficiency. In the traditional diesel cycle, fuel combusts along a locally "rich" flame front that propagates outwards from the kernel. Since it's locally rich, you get particulate and NOx formulation. In HCCI, you have a uniform (lean) distribution of fuel and air that combusts simultaneously with lower emissions and higher efficiency as a byproduct. Both are compression ignition processes, but one is far more efficient than the other. The trick with HCCI has always been air/fuel ratio and combustion timing control and the large number of variables that can affect both. Playing with inlet conditions including the equivalence ratio, EGR rate, intake temperature and pressure, and adding "exotic" diluents are all potential control options. This system may be using one or more of them to achieve HCCI.

more than 4 years ago
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Fuel Cell Marvel "Bloom Box" Gaining Momentum

Brackney Re:REq (562 comments)

Shame on you. You made me backwash...

more than 4 years ago
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Google Gets US Approval To Buy and Sell Energy

Brackney Re:Enron 2.0 anyone? (218 comments)

You've forgotten the Google Powermeter project - http://www.google.org/powermeter. It's not a stretch to think that if it gains traction and they put a solid analytics engine underneath all that data, Google would be well positioned to speculate in the power markets. I was puzzling over Google's business case for Powermeter a month or so back - long before the FERC application came to light. It certainly seems like it could be more ambitious than Microsoft Hohm's somewhat modest ad-based model. Enron's actions were somewhat localized. Google's reach could be much larger. I guess we'll see if they truly adhere to their credo...

more than 4 years ago
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The Worst Products of CES 2010

Brackney Re:Krave (214 comments)

I actually saw a kiosk for "electronic cigarettes" at a local mall last week. Definitely a WTF moment.

more than 4 years ago
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Is RCA's Airnergy Snake Oil?

Brackney Other Applications (271 comments)

I'm less interested in the technology's ability to charge mobile devices - I agree with other posters that it seems unlikely to work in a reasonable time frame. I do think it could have potential for powering wireless sensor networks though. Some of these devices require relatively little power, but the present need for batteries (and replacing them) is a show stopper for realistic deployment.

more than 4 years ago
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What SciFi Should Get the Reboot Treatment Next?

Brackney Re:Twilight zone (922 comments)

Armor

Thank you! We can get Steakley's Vampire$, but not Armor? The mind boggles...

more than 4 years ago
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Recipient of First Software Patent Defends Them

Brackney Re:Patents aren't the problem (392 comments)

What about embedded software? If I write code to perform a specific function in a physical device and someone else writes their own code to provide the same functionality in their own device then copyright protection is utterly worthless. Software patents for embedded applications (controllers, smart devices, etc.) make a lot of sense IMO.

more than 4 years ago
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Apple vs. Microsoft Multi-Touch Mouse Comparison

Brackney Re:Lifting fingers... (255 comments)

That's not actually the case w/ the Magic Mouse. It does have an internal button that is used in conjunction with the touch surface to determine if a click is on the left or right. That said, I'm frustrated that the device can't (currently) detect a simultaneous left/right click. There's no good reason why it can't do this - the software just hasn't been written to enable the functionality. Hopefully that will come in a near-term update, as it's the only thing I really dislike about the mouse. The momentum-based scrolling mechanism is fabulous though.

more than 4 years ago
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White House E-mail Scandal Widens

Brackney Re:Question for any Americans reading Slashdot. (839 comments)

Observing my neighbors and other folks my wife and I interact with here I think it goes beyond not caring. I think it also involves being uninformed. From my admittedly limited observation these people don't read newspapers, substantive periodicals or Internet content. When they do watch television it's almost without exception entertainment programming. It always saddens me when I attempt to have a conversation about national or world events and the people I talk to have zero knowledge on the topics or even the most cursory awareness. I could be mistaken, but I'm not sure people can care about things if they don't know about them. Apathy and ignorance are two of the worst things you can have in a democracy, and the US is burdened with an overabundance of both.

Note that I'm not even commenting on the relative quality of information made available to people by corporate owned media. That's another rotten layer of the onion that must be dealt with as well.

more than 7 years ago

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