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First Crowdsourced, Open Data Address List Launches In the UK

Mprx Re:No reason for this (33 comments)

Navigation/route finding.

about two weeks ago

Designing the Best Board Game

Mprx Arimaa (155 comments)

I like abstract strategy games, but I don't like heavy memorization. Chess is popular so it's easy to find opponents, but memorizing the opening book is necessary if you want to get good. It's also very easy for weaker players to lose the game from a single blunder, which is unsatisfying for everybody. Arimaa was designed to be difficult for computers because of the very high branching factor, and that same property also makes it interesting for humans.

Arimaa can be played on a Chess board, and the rules are simple. Memorization is completely useless. You're forced to use intuition, in a way more like Go than Chess. There are no draws. Comebacks from inferior material are much more common than in Chess. It feels like Chess without the boring bits. It's still too new to tell if it's a truly great abstract strategy game, but people are already playing it at a very high level with no obvious flaw in the rules. I recommend trying it:

about 1 month ago

Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

Mprx Lamy Safari fountain pen (702 comments)

I've been using a Lamy Safari fountain pen every day for years, dropped it a few times, and it still works good as new. Most fountain pens are fragile and expensive, designed more for asthetics than functionality. The Lamy Safari is reasonably priced and extremely reliable. The grip section has an unusual design that's very comfortable to hold. Even the nibs are tougher than average and if you manage to destroy one (eg. by dropping onto concrete) they are replacable. There's good reason these pens are highly recommended for beginners by fountain pen user groups. It will easily survive long enough to save money over disposable ballpoints if you buy ink in bulk and use a refillable cartridge.

about 9 months ago

How the NSA Is Harming America's Economy

Mprx Re:tough love (330 comments)

There's a strong argument that the real reason for Japan's surrender was the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, which happened at the same time. You'll note that the Allies did a lot of damage to Japanese cities with conventional weapons without forcing surrender. The firebombing of Tokyo caused similar damage to the bombs. The bombs however were a convenient excuse to avoid losing face, because unlike the Manchuria campaign they couldn't be blamed on Japanese military incompetance.

about a year ago

Linux-capable Arduino TRE Debuts At Maker Faire Rome

Mprx Re:Finally... (47 comments)

Hard real time support, and greater electrical robustness. There's no OS or caches changing your timings unexpectedly, and interrupt latencies are very low and consistent. It also sources/sinks a lot more current, so you can do things like driving an LED directly from an IO pin without an external transistor.

about a year ago

Intel Launches 'Galileo,' an Arduino-Compatible Mini Computer

Mprx Re:Lots of little boards (130 comments)

Are you using the Arduino library? It's much faster if you access the AVR registers directly.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Does LED Backlight PWM Drive You Crazy?

Mprx Re:Sigh (532 comments)

Flicker become invisible at about 100Hz, but only when your eyes are perfectly still. As soon as you move your eyes the flicker becomes visible. Saccadic masking does not supress this. I have personally tested this using an LED and a 555 timer, and I can see flicker up to about 10KHz if I move my eyes fast enough. PWM lighting is extremely annoying to me, as well as multiplexed LED displays.

about a year and a half ago

Google and Adobe Contribute Open Source Rasterizer to FreeType

Mprx Re:Meh , fonts. Big deal. (77 comments)

The most legible font is the font you're most familiar with. I used to take fonts very seriously, tweaking Fontconfig settings, etc. I now use default sans-serif for everything. I literally don't know what font it is, and it's just as legible as my customized setup. Despite all the jokes about Comic Sans I doubt it would take more than a week to get used to it.

about a year and a half ago

One Boston Marathon Bomb Suspect Dead, Other At Large After Shootout With Police

Mprx Re:One Suspect Dead (1109 comments)

Stopped breathing doesn't kill instantly. It's not practical with 100s of people, but with only one there should be time to restrain that person and inject them with naloxone.

about 2 years ago

PeerJ, A New Open Access Megajournal Launches

Mprx Re:Charging authors is not much better... (61 comments)

You can do meaningful mathematics research with nothing but pencil and paper. Filtering out frivolous submissions is a worthwhile goal, but the fee should be adjusted according to the author's ability to pay.

about 2 years ago

Intellectual Property Rights: The Quiet Killer of Rio+20

Mprx Re:I know this won't be a popular sentiment, but.. (198 comments)

You make a Stradivarius the same way you make any other high quality violin, as shown by skilled musicians failing to distinguish them from modern replicas in blind tests.

more than 2 years ago

US Bans Loud Commercials

Mprx Loudness war comes to TV programming (289 comments)

Maintaining contrast with the adverts was the only reason networks didn't remove all the dynamic range from the programming. Now that the contrast is illegal, there's nothing stopping channel vs. channel competition for loudness. Just as election campaigns target the swing voters, TV producers care about the channel flippers, and being louder than the competition is an easy way to grab their attention.

This law has the perverse consequence of making *everything* sound as bad as the adverts.

more than 3 years ago

QT 5 Will Be Available For Raspberry Pi

Mprx Re:Which area of the market? (80 comments)

Running an operating system is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Hard realtime is much easier on an Arduino.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Ergonomic Office Environment?

Mprx Re:Start with your chair, monitor, keyboard setup (235 comments)

I also change my sitting position frequently. I removed my chair's arm rests to allow more flexibility.

I use a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000, which has a great layout but poor quality rubber dome keyswitches. Several people on the geekhack.org keyboard forums have modded these to use mechanical keyswitches, so maybe I'll do the same.

more than 3 years ago

Superior Anode For Lithium-Ion Batteries Developed

Mprx Re:Jaded (77 comments)

A good modern low self-discharge NiHM (eg. 2nd generation Eneloop) can survive more charge cycles than lithium ion, and has better self-discharge performance. Capacity is a bit worse than traditional NiMH, but it's still a lot better than NiCd. It would probably be possible to build a NiMH that meets your specifications for electric vehicles.

more than 3 years ago

AA batteries of any kind in my residence:

Mprx Re:Rechargeables? (297 comments)

Tried a low self-discharge NiMH? I strongly recommend the 2nd generation Eneloops. Excellent self-discharge performance and lots of charge cycles. Better high current performance than alkalines too. It's very rare to find something that won't run on 1.2V cells nowadays.

more than 3 years ago


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