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Lego To Produce Three Box Sets Featuring Female Scientists

burnttoy Have you tried? (208 comments)

Serious question - have you _TRIED_.

Me and my son have. We made all sorts of things. We had 2 sets - one had a beach buggy style car (with kick ass big wheels) - the other was a motorbike (with even bigger kick-ass wheels). We made a kick-ass Trike.

Yeah - we kick ass.

The way I remember it from 30 years back is I had only a small selection of things. Blocks, roof tiles, window frames, doors and some sort of fence. Fine if you want to make a house.

Now we do have an entirely pre-fabricated chassis and several pieces that make a bonnet. However, that bonnet piece can make a car roof, a lid for something (just attach a hinge) or even a breast plate for a monster robot.

If anything the curse of choice is rearing its confusing head!!

Not to mention the number of little coloured pieces and what have you - we even made a nice blue pond surrounded by all sorts of plants (actually the plants we made were originally supposed to be flames for a monster truck but made damn fine red-hot-pokers like plants).

I think the point is to use your imagination.

'nuff said.

about 2 months ago
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Twitter Capitulates To Governments, Censors Users

burnttoy The old days of the Internet seems so far away... (91 comments)

Flame wars with white supremacists, generally antagonising and goading friends, and enemies, on Usenet. Pointless navel gazing arguments about the nature of nothing and everything. Using rude words, racial epithets, the shout down, the noise... maybe even anarchy.

Now everyone seems to be out there busy judging everybody, involving the authorities and more.

Frankly, possibly unfairly, most of the peeps on the net in the early 90s and before understood it was the wild-west of communications... If someone was being a cunt you told them so. If it turned out to be you several folks would probably tell you. These folk were different - I guess, maybe, it went with the territory. It was new and the folks out there bleeding edgers.

It was no place for bruisable egos, political correctness et al - yet, to me, it felt right. People didn't get fired over righteous indignation from some pointless corner of the net. 140 character vomit was not front page news.

The media at large really think that one persons opinion on Twitter is worthy of news... in the old days it was just flotsam and jetsam... if they were being an arse they got called that and that was, usually, that. Either that or the media just see a cheap story in repeating someone's anally generated hyperbole.

*meh*

about 2 months ago
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Mystery MLB Team Moves To Supercomputing For Their Moneyball Analysis

burnttoy Re:The Million Dollar Question (56 comments)

Not quite.

Sadly the problem with baseball is it doesn't really give you enough time...

I mean - At least with cricket I get the prerequisite 4 or 5 days to get which is _just_ about enough time to get properly drunk (and eat cheese sarnies)

about 4 months ago
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Great Firewall of UK Blocks Game Patch Because of Substring Matches

burnttoy Re:Great Firewall of China is bad enough ... (270 comments)

A good friend of mine got into a "conversation" about the Janet Jackson nip-slip incident.

It went roughly like this:

Antagonist: "But what if my children saw it"
My Friend: "But nipples are for children..."

Touche.

about 6 months ago
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Augmented-Reality Contact Lens Prototype Coming To CES

burnttoy Allow me. (38 comments)

OK. One last time.

These are small.

But the ones out there are far away.

Small... far away.

Ahh... forget it.

about 7 months ago
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The Quest To Build Xbox One and PS4 Emulators

burnttoy Re:Doubt (227 comments)

Yes - this helps.

What helps even further is the differences between "old" and "new" style coding. No longer do engineers have to go looking for that "1 crazy hack" - that register bit - undocumented, left alone - it gave me 4 MORE PIXELS ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE DISPLAY!... What happens if I take all the $76's out of the framebuffer - crickey! 40 column text... what if... and so on.

These guys write to specs - DX, OGL - probably with a metric shit ton of "insider info" and plenty of extensions - but that can be reverse-engineered out. Posix, WinNT interface - it's all there - mostly public. Mostly these guys develop on PCs.

Getting faithful reproductions of something that outputs 24 bit RGB data over HDMI (and therefore obeys their rules) is many orders of magnitude easier than, say, getting pixel perfect output of a SNES or GBA - a system in which the programmer can hack and bash almost anything at clock cycle accuracy. That concept has vanished too (it just isn't easy to count cycles anymore)

It is unlikely one will need to emulate a BONE at GPU transistor level (or even just plain old bus level). Instead one says "this is mostly going to be DX - let's see what is added/changed". Of course the ideal machine to emulate that on is one with a DX$version graphics card.

about 8 months ago
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Are Windows XP/7 Users Smarter Than a 3-Year-Old?

burnttoy My Boy + iPad then Playbook(!) (537 comments)

That looked incredibly fiddly. Invisible corners (I use 'em on my mac but only for multi-desktop). Tricky start "screen". Why do I want to stick things to the side of the screen? Why does the weather app need to take over the whole screen?! Anyway... I'm sure it will improve and I'll get it. Damn, I've changed UI so often another change means nothing to me - maybe I'm commonly using half a dozen UI's a day. Lemme count - WinXP, Gnome, Blackberry, Playbook, iPad, HTC One X, plain Android not to mention a variety of applications and there UIs... then there's the ones I create!

I think that the sort of $stuff being done there is much more suited to a touch screen.

However, my lad has been using his mummy's "Tap Tap" (iPad) for a few months. He's just turned 2 and accomplished those tasks being shown there in a fraction of the time - in large amount because the device is that easy and the touch screen allows for direct manipulation which little 'uns get much more than mice and gamepads (he hasn't figured out the Nintendo DS yet which annoys him as he loves Yoshi) . He knows what the home button does, knows about Youtube "cows, cows, cows", old Pingu and steam trains!. He tries to play Angry Birds, World of Goo, Bad Piggies but really he likes sit on daddy's lap and watch (that's me BTW). He gets to the pictures and scrolls them around etc. I put Geometry Wars on there... he tried to play it but that's HARDCORE!!! (and nothing beats 2 analogue sticks anyway).

I do wonder about what effect this will have on him but, TBH, as a parent I've learnt if it isn't one influence it's another and this one doesn't seem bad at all. He's been playing on it for about 5 months I suppose and pretty much has it nailed although he will stick all his fingers on the screen then be a bit baffled when the task manager appears.

He's learnt that whenever he gets lost or confused that he should go for the home button. My mama-bear pointed that out a few times - he understood.

He loved it till I got a Playbook - which has excellent speakers (compared to iPad). Now he wants "daddy tap tap" so we can listen and dance to Surfin' Bird!

Anyhoo... Gotta crack on with work so I can go home and play with my boy!!!

Any other geeky mum's and dad's got a story about tech and their little ones?

about 2 years ago
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Why One Person Thinks Raspberry Pi Is Unsuitable For Education

burnttoy Transputer... (133 comments)

I was at the Multicore Challenge at the UWE in Bristol, UK on Monday.

I went last year. It was fascinating.

Anyhoo... David May was there talking about multicore parallelism. It turns out that the last patent protecting the Transputer designs has lapsed.

SOoooo... if you want some open hardware get cracking! You can probably run them fast enough these days to bit-bang an LVDS/HDMI/CSI interface with little more than an amp.

Make mine the one with the 16 by 16 array please....

Seriously. Anyone got the balls to try it? I'm in!

about 2 years ago
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Hubble Discovers 5th Moon of Pluto

burnttoy Re:Flyby nice, but we need a probe in Pluto orbit (137 comments)

I am intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

But seriously, Mankind really needs to take a leap into a deep space network seriously.

Automated drones (lots of technology, blasted into space) sent on crazy-long orbits through the Solar System (and beyond?) bringing multi-scopic, n-D views of the heavens in every colour of radiation for less than a round of bankers KY errr... Quantitive Easing. Pfft, write it off as Job Creation.

about 2 years ago
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Backdoor Found In China-Made US Military Chip?

burnttoy Re:Sun Tzu (270 comments)

"Now, you must remember: the enemy has only images and illusions behind which he hides his true motives. Destroy the image and you will break the enemy."

That one?

X

more than 2 years ago
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1Gbps Wireless Network Made With Red and Green Laser Pointers

burnttoy Unlicensed Spectrum? Unbelievably Reckless!! (157 comments)

For a start, visible (and invisible) light has a frequency of between 400 and 800THz (800 and 375nm), which is unlicensed spectrum worldwide.

My God! They're broadcasting my movies over an unlicensed, unregulated carrier! This MUST be stopped! This "visible" light will aid paedophiles, piracy, terrorists, drug dealers and all manner of criminality!

more than 2 years ago
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Experimental Virtual Graphics Port Support For Linux

burnttoy Re:Aureal3D (74 comments)

I think the bee demo was from Sensaura. I worked up there for a few happy years until Creative ermmm... 'nuff said.

Maybe both companies had a bee demo...

more than 2 years ago
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Autism-Vax Doc Scandal Was Pharma Business Scam

burnttoy Re:OMG save the children (541 comments)

I have done the same with my boy. Me and the missus weighed up the risks and it was a no brainer. He's 3 months and already had plenty of vaccinations. TB being one oft he most important for now. I knew several older people who had polio as children when I was a child and it radically and not pleasantly altered their lives.

MMR jabs will come soon (at around a year old) and I have NO hesitation in taking these...

OK, I hesitate for just a few seconds. I'll admit that every time I see someone approach him with a needle my instinctive reaction is to punch them in the back of the neck.

I suspect this is true of many people and maybe, in some way, when parents/guardians here about a correlative link they can use that to justify not sticking poor little Charlie with a needle.

If I could vaccinate him against many other vile diseases I would (assuming a very low risk of side effects). For example... cancer causing virus and bacteria, strep, all forms of clap, HIV, malaria, food poisoning... I mean... why not?

more than 3 years ago
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The Care and Feeding of the Android GPU

burnttoy Re:Doesn't Optimizing for GPU Exacerbate Fragmenti (307 comments)

Ahem...

Add to that this... Most SoC's run a fairly narrow and slow memory bus. Also, GPU's tend to be WAY slower than CPUs...

Fancy racing a 4 * 150Mhz pipe GPU against a 1 Ghz, superscalar CPU with 64/128 bit SIMD extensions?

Who will win?

Answer... the memory bus. You can TRY and get the CPU and GPU to work together but all that will happen is that the memory bus will get swamped and everything slows down.

GPUs can render polys with straight edges. UIs frequently want curved, rounded objects with complex gradients and complex blend modes not supported by GPUs.

TBH the article is nonsense. Android composites using OpenGL. Individual applications render with SKIA for 2D. The SKIA API is deliberately immediate mode to reduce latency (GPU's do not multitask and have rubbish MMUs). All applications are back buffered so they cache bitmaps pretty well. Bitmap copying is minimal.

Maybe a scene graph would help - but you'd increase latency greatly and (if GPU accelerated) you'd make the GPU task switch - not quick on many (most) GPUs.

Also - Poly throughput isn't the problem - fill rate is... (see Memory Bus above).

Burnttoys.

more than 3 years ago
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CIA Launches WTF To Investigate Wikileaks

burnttoy Re:How much more ridiculous does this have to get (402 comments)

I'm afraid my language is going to be blunt.

The USA, UK and Italy are prime examples that you can fuck a population sideways, remove their rights, lock a bunch of them up for no apparent reason, allow massive unaccountable kakistocratic companies to buy and do whatever the hell the like in the most inefficient way possible and piss off nearly everyone so long as there's plenty of food, oil and housing.

Cover that and that's all the general population give a damn about. I mean... why the hell would I rebel? I make just about enough to keep me, the wife and kids going, pay the bills... what else do I want? Why should I give a damn that students will have to pay huge amounts of tuition fees very likely making university education the preserve of the elite. Why should I care that my way to "the top of the tree" is blocked by funny handshakes and old-boy networks. Why should I care about the dismantling of the social state. Why should I care that the President owns and corrupts all the media, gets fucked up with coke and whores?

Why should I try and see the future when I'm feed and watered today with a leather chair in the car to absorb my well fed arse...

Why should I give a fuck? I'm alright jack...

more than 3 years ago
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Gamers Abandoning DS, PSP In Favor of Smartphones

burnttoy Problem with the TV? (305 comments)

That doesn't impact the rest of "us"?

Yeah, My girlfriend watches it!

*ZING!*

My computing (big towers + Linux stuff) is relegated to the back room along with the musical gear ('cept the acoustic, natch) for wandering around "computing" I've got me MacBook. That's pretty typical.

When the boy gets a bit older then we'll probably play games together on the TV. Till then... I just use my DS

more than 3 years ago
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The Coming War Over the Future of Java

burnttoy Re:Alternatives? (583 comments)

LOLCODE

Don't make me laugh...

more than 3 years ago
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Computer Scientists Grow a Better Virtual Tree

burnttoy The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants (126 comments)

By Aristid Lindenmayer and Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz. Absolutley stunning book. Several (many) of the renderings (the palms in particular) are verging on realistic. It's out of print now and you definitely can't have my copy. I won't give it up!

It turns out it's available here http://algorithmicbotany.org/papers/#abop on the interweb for free.

Sadly Lindenmayer died the year before the book was published and the book itself is dedicated to him. It's one of those rare science books that makes a good coffee table book too.

more than 6 years ago

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