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Google Looked Into Space Elevator, Hoverboards, and Teleportation

TeknoHog Skateboard comparison = fail (21 comments)

How would you steer this imaginary hoverboard? A skateboard will continue rolling in one direction only, as long as you do nothing. The various ways of controlling a skateboard rely on high friction in other directions. Turn it sideways quickly and you can stop it, if you know what you're doing. A hoverboard would simply continue hovering sideways, and you'd have no way to turn it without a wall or something. Similarly, there would be much less room for tricks that rely on hitting the deck against something solid, as the hover mechanism would repel any direct contact. You'd need spacewalk-style thrusters to get where you want to.

(Disclaimer: a little something from my days of physics studies http://iki.fi/teknohog/physics...)

3 minutes ago

The Security of Popular Programming Languages

TeknoHog Re:python?! (158 comments)

Oh yeah? Well I was ranting about global warming before it was cool.

12 hours ago

Snowden Used the Linux Distro Designed For Internet Anonymity

TeknoHog Re:Why doesn't TAILS use TRUCRYPT (or similar)? (144 comments)

Maybe Trucrypt isn't available for linux distros but i am sure there are plenty of alternatives that do a similar full system os encryption.

I can think of one alternative on Linux, it's called Truecrypt with an "e".

12 hours ago

This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

TeknoHog Re:That drawing was a joke, but (260 comments)

We genuinely are bad at predicting the future of tech, but it's usually not because we're too fanciful. It's usually the opposite. Tech predictions usually fail because we're way too conservative. That's partly the reason behind this joke drawing in 1981. Now predictions about almost everything else - society, politics, and social adoption of tech - are usually way too optimistic. But tech predictions are way too pessimistic.

More precisely, futurists like Osmo A. Wiio have stated that people don't understand exponential growth -- they overestimate short-term progress, but underestimate long-term. There are lots of almost unnoticeable advances that make people cry "where's my flying car" and yet over time those advances add up, amplifying each other, and we suddenly find ourselves beyond the need to fly.

Technology advances because techies remember the past and build on it, learning from past mistakes -- politics, on the other hand...


Leben = life; lieben = to love :P I think I'll start using that term in place of "get a room".


Reviving a Commodore 64 Computer Using a Raspberry Pi

TeknoHog Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (157 comments)

Like Bash?

They say if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day... in the beginning, Linux was like teaching him to fish. Self-reliance and knowledge and skill are good things, but if you're just hungry and don't enjoy fishing, you just want the fish. Most people who use computers these days don't want to program - they just want to be given a fish.

I'm afraid you forgot the link: http://fishshell.com/


Reviving a Commodore 64 Computer Using a Raspberry Pi

TeknoHog Re:8 out of 10 for cool. 1 out of 10 for interesti (157 comments)

Boot into a system which allows you immediate programming

Like Bash? For me, Linux is what made computing interesting and fun again. It has easy access to programming tools, and none of this forced separation of users and developers.

(preferably with a modern OO syntax) and access to video, sound and peripherals. If there's anything that has suffered over the past three decades, it's easy access to I/O.

I admit it gets a little complex here, but for example Python (a key element in my "fun computing" experience) has nice libraries for these. For example, some of my electronics/FPGA work owe a lot to Python's serial port module. Not because the serial port is hard to program otherwise, but for making it easy to write all kinds of code around it.

I have no experience in modern graphics programming. However, I have the feeling that the bar for awesome graphics is a tad higher today than it was in "the year 64". Today's awesome is rather nontrivial at the direct low level we associate with C64 programming, so even professionals use higher level tools. (I think my background in physics and math helps appreciate 3D graphics, for example coordinate transformations using matrices are a basic (pun inteded) skill but I imagine there are lots of programmers with no need to do it.)

Nevertheless, I understand the point about recreating an environment in the '64 spirit. There are several projects around, the two I can think of at the moment being http://sol.gfxile.net/gp/ and http://pelulamu.net/ibniz/ .


Raspberry Pi's Eben Upton: How We're Turning Everyone Into DIY Hackers

TeknoHog Re:Am I getting old? (90 comments)

As with everything, it depends on (1) what you want to do now, and (2) your past experience.

IMHO, you need to separate the need for a media box from a tinkerable gadget. When you sit down after a hard day and grab a drink, the last thing you want to worry about is JTAG chains or something. I like having a few x86-64 boxes to just get something done, even though the idea of little-endian 4004 descendants isn't exactly elegant.

I still love tinkering with stuff programming-wise, but I've completely lost my ambition to tinker with hardware.

If you love programming, what's the problem? You're lucky to have something that excites you. However, it's nice to take hacking into new directions every now and then. Try to find an avenue from your software skills into hardware, or whateve else that might be remotely interesting. (As a teacher, I just have to mention http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z...).

For example, in early 2011 I got into FPGAs, which for me was the perfect union of software and hardware tinkering, having a smattering of experience in both electronics and programming. It was life-changing in some ways, but eventually it's just one of the tools to hack with. For example, designing circuitry to run genuinely in parallel has given me great insight in the software world as well.

The Raspi always seemed kind of meh, both because FPGAs were already established in the embedded field, and because you'd be programming a chip someone else designed, instead of designing your own ;) Also, having first learned to program on the 1980s BASIC machines, I imagine something like Python (another life-changer of mine) on a regular computer would be much closer to the experience than something that appears to involve hardware hacking.

about a week ago

Seagate Releases 6TB Hard Drive Sans Helium

TeknoHog Re:Why not? (147 comments)

No. drives are *not* sealed. Making a sealed drive that won't implode if you, say, take it on an aircraft in your laptop, or to ship it to the client (for example) is non trivial.

By "ship", do you mean a submarine? Because otherwise my head in plode (considering a roughly sea-level internal pressure vs. the mile-high club)

about a week ago

"Nearly Unbreakable" Encryption Scheme Inspired By Human Biology

TeknoHog Re:Hm. (179 comments)

You virtually always hit the noise limit before you get to the point where you have to worry about the fundamental discreteness of matter and energy. The majority of quantum experiments involve a lot of cooling and isolating of systems with very good reason!

However, due to the statistics, you can actually detect the effect of discrete electrons, without going to the level of single-electron measurements. But broadly speaking you're correct.


about two weeks ago

A Rock Paper Scissors Brainteaser

TeknoHog Re:50 percent of the time (167 comments)

Good point, the important specification would be "50% of what time?"

I've always had this problem about the whole idea of probability. If the odds of you dying in a car accident are 1/1000000, and you still die tomorrow, what good is the low number of one millionth? You either die or you don't. Probability is only a measure or a larger population, i.e. the fraction that gets the rock, death or whatever. The idea of a probability for a unique event is meaningless.

This is why I like the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. It gives real meaning to probability as the fraction of universes with the favourable outcome, even if the event is unique from our perspective (though with a total of infinite universes, the definition of a fraction can be tricky). On the other hand, changing the reality to suit a math concept is not necessarily the wisest thing.

about two weeks ago

Intel Releases $99 'MinnowBoard Max,' an Open-Source Single-Board Computer

TeknoHog Re:"Open source computer"???? (97 comments)

There's basically NO open source hardware out there. And if there were nobody would be in a position to do much with it, because it would take a fab to make any change.

  • 1. There is the good old solder-it-yourself scene, ham radio style, hardware with a hard H.
  • 2. There is a lively FPGA scene, with the complication of mostly closed-source synthesis tools (like compilers). I don't regard this as a huge problem, as long as I can make hardware do what I want. If you're new to the scene, I recommend fpga4fun.

about two weeks ago

Intel Releases $99 'MinnowBoard Max,' an Open-Source Single-Board Computer

TeknoHog Re:Lires, Capes, Shields - how lame (97 comments)

Even better, how come nobody ever thought about using "Sonboard"?

You swine!

about two weeks ago

Linux 3.14 Kernel Released

TeknoHog Re:Tomorrow they will release (132 comments)


  1. Donald Knuth called, he wants his joke back.
  2. Kernel versions are integer vectors. You may have noticed, after 3.8 and 3.9 we didn't have 4.0, but 3.10, which is "greater than" 3.1 despite the apparent decimal equality.

about two weeks ago

Linux 3.14 Kernel Released

TeknoHog Re:WOW! (132 comments)

I'm currently doing my daily emerge (update \in Gentoo) on a Powerbook, so obviously my testicles are larger.

about two weeks ago

Darth Vader Runs For President of Ukraine

TeknoHog Re:"the Darth Vader" (114 comments)

It makes sense when you watch it with Dutch subtitles, especially the part "I am your father".

about two weeks ago

Continued Rise In Autism Diagnoses Puzzles Researchers, Galvanizes Advocates

TeknoHog Re:Shifting thresholds (558 comments)

Being a robot is great, but we don't have emotions, and sometimes that makes me sad. (B. B. Rodriguez)

about two weeks ago



Startup by ex-Nokians will keep Meego phones alive

TeknoHog TeknoHog writes  |  about 2 years ago

TeknoHog writes "A team of former Nokia employees behind the N9 has revealed plans for an upcoming Meego phone. According to the press release, "Jolla Ltd. will design, develop and sell new MeeGo based smartphones. Together with international private investors and partners, a new smartphone using this MeeGo based OS will be revealed later this year.

Jolla Ltd. has been developing a new smartphone product and the OS since the end of 2011. The OS has evolved from MeeGo OS using Mer Core and Qt with Jolla technology including its own brand new UI.""

Link to Original Source

Microsoft worms to patch software

TeknoHog TeknoHog writes  |  more than 6 years ago

TeknoHog writes "According to New Scientist, Microsoft researchers at Cambridge, UK are studying the use of computer worms for spreading software fixes and fighting malevolent worms. From the article: "Software patches that spread like worms could be faster and easier to distribute because no central server must bear all the load." Not that there aren't other ways to avoid the server bottleneck, even from Microsoft itself."
Link to Original Source

TeknoHog TeknoHog writes  |  more than 7 years ago

TeknoHog writes "European scientists have developed a system for tracing the position of fingers on any surface. From the New Scientist article: "Two or more sensors are attached around the edges of the surface. These pinpoint the position of a finger, or another touching object, by tracking minute vibrations. This allows them to create a virtual touchpad, or keyboard, on any table or wall.""


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