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# Comments

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### David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

Re:And many, many more (942 comments)

I lived through the conversion as a kid, really it wasn't hard, school work (all those conversions, all that manual long division,) went away and got easier. We had dual speed limits up for 4-5 years.

in practice when you switch to metric you switch to natural units - a pound is about half a kilo a pint about half a litre (american pints are smaller) - you don't buy a quart of milk you just buy a litre, you go to the butcher and you ask her to cut you half a kilo of meat, no one asks for 0.23kg, that's silly

In the transition you use some useful equivalences: 2 inches are ~ 5cm - 3 yards ~ 1m, 30miles=50km 50miles=80km 60miles=100km (speed limits are easy unless for some weird reason you've chosen to use numbers that end in 5 rather than 0) 2pints ~= 1l (in the US) 1pint=600mL(in the UK, but half a litre will do for lots of day to day stuff), 2lb ~ 1kg

"cups" are am interesting issue: cups in the UK and US are different by about 20% (because the pints are different) so recipes sometime don't work well between them today, the metric cup used by everyone else is an intermediate size, as a result european recipes tend to work slightly better in the UK and US

as far as fluid ozs are concerned they're just such a mess they're best avoided

about 3 months ago
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### David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

Re:FP? (942 comments)

that's silly - he said that cm are not used - the basic epiphany you have to have is "a saw cut is about 1mm wide" after they you realise that most carpentry is easily done just in mm

about 3 months ago
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### David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

Re:FP? (942 comments)

firstly everywhere else on the planet calls it a "4x2" 'merkins are weird. As others have pointed out it's not really 4x2 anyway, but we buy 100x50s quite happily, 100mm is 4 inches to about 1% - it's exactly the same wood made on the same machine

about 3 months ago
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### NVIDIAs 64-bit Tegra K1: The Ghost of Transmeta Rides Again, Out of Order

Re:Sounds smart, but is it? (125 comments)

it's certainly different but not revolutionary, I worked on a core that did this 15 years ago (not transmeta) it's a hard problem we didn't make it to market, transmeta floundered - what I think they're doing here is the instruction rescheduling in software, something that's usually done by lengthening the pipe in an OoO machine - it means they can do tighter/faster branches and they can pack instructions in memory aligned appropriately to feed the various functional units more easily - My guess from reading this article is is that it probably has an LIW mode where they turn off the interlocks when running scheduled code.

Of course all this could be done by a good compiler scheduler (actually could be done better with a compiler that knows how many of each functional unit type are present during the code generation phase) the resulting code would likely suck on other CPUs but would still be portable.

Then again if they're aiming at the Android market maybe what;s going on is that they've hacked their own JVM and it's doing JIT on the metal

about 4 months ago
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### Why Did New Zealand's Moas Go Extinct?

Re:Uh what? (180 comments)

I've always thought that what happened in NZ sort of just proves human nature (not pakeha or Maori, just humans) - the Maori showed up with well developed cultural systems for managing fisheries, having island hopped through the Pacific for maybe 1000 years before they came to NZ - what they didn't have was rules, or experience managing moa, or forestry and as a result burned a lot of it down to get at those tasty moa - basically the same thing the Europeans would do when showing up somewhere new - exploit it like crazy - I'm sure if the moa had lasted longer, maybe if NZ was a bit bigger, people would have figured out how to manage moa - numbers would get low, a tapu would be proclaimed, after a while it would be lifted and the moa population would have stablised ..... by the time people figured it out it was probably too late

about 9 months ago
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### Inside Tony Hsieh's Quiet Plan To Bankroll Hardware Startups

Re:So why not build them in the US, then? (40 comments)

here's a link to a Sparkfun blog article on the "pit/valley of despair" that small hardware companies face: https://www.sparkfun.com/categories/20

Basically you make a few things by hand for yourself, and your friends, or you go to China and Manufacture (with a capital "M") there's nothing in between the two that's economical, though I do think that's changing with the arrival of cheap pick and place machines (another fallout from the 3D printer revolution)

about a year ago
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### Ask Slashdot: What's On Your Hardware Lab Bench?

My desktop (215 comments)

On my office work bench:

Binocular microscope
soldering station
solder
flxes
large magnifying glass with light ring
project boxes full of SMD parts
tweezers
side cutters (dikes in the US)
scrap wire

storage scope/logic analyzer
power supply

In the other room:

cheap chinese reflow oven
cheap chinese stencil jig
(and if I can finally persuade my wife) cheap chinese pick and place ,machine

At this point I have to point out that almost all my best tools these days are cheap and from China, mostly bought off of aliexpress at prices maybe 10% of what I used to spend buying from the US - stuff I'd never ever have considered buying for myself 2-3 years ago. In this case being cheap and from China doesn't mean low quality or non-functional, quite the opposite.

about a year ago
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### NZ Police Got PRISM Data Before Raid On Dotcom

Follow the money (208 comments)

What's interesting is that our Prime Minister effectively admitted in parliament (by refusing to answer in a situation where "no" would have been a far better answer for him and one he would have given had it been true)just 2 days ago that the GCSB (or NSA wanna bes) have been funded by the US to the tune of millions of dollars.

So what did they buy? probably a Prism to put in our fibre access to the rest of the world. And I guess enough of a back channel to send it all to the US. I can see now why the second pacific fibre was nobbled because they wouldn't accept the use of Chinese infrastructure - wouldn't do to have some other country's backdoors in the routers rather than the US's.

about a year ago
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### New Zealand ISP Offers "Global Mode" So Users Can Circumvent Geo-Restrictions

An example (126 comments)

yes truly - for example I can't get the Daily Show here (in NZ) on cable or satellite ... but it's region blocked so I can't play it on their web site either - apparently the US thinks some things are just too funny, or maybe too close to the bone, for us to see

about a year and a half ago
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### How Did You Learn How To Program?

Re:One week turnaround with punch cards (623 comments)

I did something similar (in New Zealand in the early 70s) except we used perforated cards for a Fortran subset. Cards were taken to a local bank and run on the machine that processed/reconciled cheques after the night shift was done

about a year and a half ago
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### Australian Intelligence HQ Blueprints Hacked

Hacked? (180 comments)

since when did "hacked" mean "took a copy off" - come on if they had hacked the building plans they'd have added secret tunnels or something, at the very least installed the doors with the hinges on the outside

about a year and a half ago
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### Ask Slashdot: Best OSS Embedded Development Platform

Re:SDCC (128 comments)

I used jmce for simulation - 8051s are all different enough that chances are you'll have to hack on you simulator (and configure sdcc) to match the memory layout and dptr/p2 weirdness of your particular variant

about a year and a half ago
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### Ask Slashdot: Best OSS Embedded Development Platform

Re:SDCC (128 comments)

yes I think SDCC is the only real OS 8051 solution - I've been through this same process looking for tools for a cc2533 recently and this is what I've found works it's not gcc, and 8051 is a crap target, you have to code with all the memory hierarchies in mind.

about a year and a half ago
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### Six-Strikes System Starts In U.S.

Fair is Fair (418 comments)

OK - so if you in the US have to force your "3 strikes" baseball metaphors on the rest of the world it's only fair that we make you call this one "6 balls and it's over" using a similar cricket metaphor - despite the, um, unfortunate cultural double meaning of the expression in the US

about 2 years ago
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### iPhone 5 A6 SoC Teardown: ARM Cores Appear To Be Laid Out By Hand

Re:Layout by HAL (178 comments)

well a cpu with a 1GHz clock has 1nS to process data between flops - yes it's a bit like laying out microwave stuff -but in the very small - what happens is that it all starts with some layout person/people creating a standard cell library, they'll use spice to simulate and characterise their results - they'll pass this to the synthesis/layout tool makes a good first guess, they'll add in some fudge factor - then a timing tool looks at the 3d layout and extracts real timing, including parasitics to everything in 3-space around a wire - they check - does the timing from every flop to every other flop through every possible path meet both setup and hold times for the destination flop - if it does you're golden, tape it out - if not tweak something or resynthsise a block with tighter constraints etc etc

There is very complex delay analysis done - in all corners of the underlying fab process - automated layouts seldom look "pretty" at least from the point of hand done boards

more than 2 years ago
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### iPhone 5 A6 SoC Teardown: ARM Cores Appear To Be Laid Out By Hand

Looking closely (178 comments)

Looking closely I see a bunch of ram - probably half laid out by hand (caches) - and a many may small standard cell blocks almost certainly not laid out by hand - what I don't see is an obviously hand laid out datapath (the first part of your CPU you spend layout engineers on) - look for that diagonal where the barrel shifter(s) would be. There are some very regular structures (8 vertically) that I suspect are register blocks.

Still what I see is probably someone managing timing by synthesizing small std cell blocks (not by hand), laying those blocks out by hand then letting their router hook them up on a second pass - - it's probably a great way to spend a little extra time guiding your tools into doing a better job to squeeze that extra 20% out of your timing budget and give you a greater gate density (and lower resulting wire delays)

So - a little bit of stuff being done by hand but almost all the gates being lait out by machine

about 2 years ago
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### With one-time-only use of a cloning machine, I would:

Re:Forever Alone (350 comments)

oh yeah, like having two people who think you're a dork is better than one

more than 2 years ago
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### GNU/Linux Running On An 8-Bit Processor

Business as usual (361 comments)

I've worked as a logic monkey building CPUs in the past - this is SOP in our world - we'd boot linux on our hardware on the verilog simulator as part of our QA - 2 hours is nothing .....

It's not even a new idea 20 years ago I used to port Unix for a living (no linux yet), when the early RISCs came out they came with architectural simulators, while waiting for real silicon we'd spend the time bringing the kernel (and compiler) up

more than 2 years ago
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### Self-Guided Bullet Can Hit Targets a Mile Away

Easy solution (421 comments)

IR chaff - IR LED throwies are cheap compared to these bullets and will be brighter than any IR laser (that you can't actually feel as 'hot')

more than 2 years ago

# Submissions

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### OneRNG open source hardware entropy genrator

taniwha (70410) writes "Moonbase Otago is pleased to announce its Kickstarter campaign for OneRNG — an open source hardware entropy generator, is already 3/4 funded after 3 days.

OneRNG is a USB key in the same form factor as a USB flash drive, it's an entropy generator, it makes random bitstreams suitable for feeding to your computer's encryption systems to make better and faster keys to make interception of your communications more difficult. It has two entropy sources, an avalanche diode and an RF noise source, either or both can be used

OneRNG is also open hardware, that means all of the design, both hardware and software, is Open Source — you can inspect the hardware and software to make sure there is nothing hidden that stops it from functioning as promised. It also means that you can inspect a unit after shipping to make sure it has not been tampered with, both by lifting its lid to look at the components, and by inspecting the embedded firmware both to make sure that it contains what you think it does and also that it is cryptographically signed with a valid key.

Because you don't truly own your own hardware unless you can reprogram it we're also offering device programmers for those who want to take the existing software and make it better or their own.

https://www.kickstarter.com/pr...
http://www.onerng.info/"

Link to Original Source

# Journals

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### Trolls ....

An open letter to the internet from Trolls United Regarding Defamation:

First an introduction - what I'd like to talk about are "Trolls" - we've been much maligned over the years but we've decided to come out from under our 'bridges' and once again take our rightful place in society.

Many of you older readers may remember the friendly little man who lived under the courthouse steps in your home town, he was a well-liked and respected member of the community, your parents approved of his occupation and understood that "it was a tough job, but someone had to do it". In small town America in the '50s no one questioned the valuable place your local trolls played in society.

Readers who grew up in the '60s may remember being distraught by Oppie's special friend Max's sudden disappearance from Mayberry after the actor who played him was blacklisted following the McCarthy hearings.

Let me try and explain the whole sordid story as briefly as possible. It all started with what we trolls commonly refer to as "that goat incident". Back in the spring of 1964 there were wild press reports from Eastern Europe about a poor hungry troll eating some goats who woke him up while sleeping under a bridge - naturally the press blew it way out of proportion, someone noticed that not only were there trolls behind the iron curtain, but here in the US too - Joe McCarthy (a lawyer!) came out of retirement and started up 'HURT' the 'House Un-American Reaction to Trolls' - Trolls were subpoenaed, question, publicly vilified and driven from their occupations all across the country, in the south trolls were driven from town by the KKK on horseback. Those trolls whom survived moved to the wilder parts of the country to hide out, some even moved north to Canada.

At the time our knowledge of ecology and ecosystems was not great enough for anybody to predict the horrible results this would cause. As the Soviets were finding out by the '60s if you take away it's usual prey a predator will turn elsewhere. They banned lawyers in most communist countries, which of course explains the plight of that poor hungry troll under that bridge that started this whole mess.

After banning Trolls the US is now suffering from a most horrible scourge. Just like removing the wolves from Yellowstone resulted in Elk herds that multiplied out of control and devastated the grazing for all other species, taking your local troll out from his usual place below the courthouse steps has resulted in lawyers multiplying completely out of control with dire consequences to all parts of society.

We intend to once again become the respected useful members of society our parents and grandparents were. And after much soul-searching we realized that we would need good legal council. As you might imagine this was hard to come by, so we decided that we needed to train some of our own people in the law. I, and my colleagues, worked our way through law school, it was hard, we suffered under much discrimination from the faculty, we spent long nights suffering working through the law books, and days resisting temptation in class. In the end we graduated top of our class - in fact in that year we were the only ones who surv^H^H^H^Hgraduated.

We moved into private practice as "Troll, Troll, Troll and Bandicoot" mostly doing civil rights law for other trolls. Recently you may have heard of the very substantial out of court settlement we received from the Tolkien estate in our libel case. We intend to use this money to fund future legal work for our clients.

Which brings me to the main purpose of this letter .... it has come to our attention that some people on the internet have been using the name 'troll' in a negative, derogatory manner. This must stop immediately. Along with our co-litigants the Spam Industry Council we are today serving a class action suit, on behalf of all trolls everywhere, on all people who have participated in the practice of 'trolling'.

We were lucky that the law firm of Canter & Siegel after some initial reluctance were yum^H^H^H able to help us in searching the Usenet archives to discover the perpetrators and to electronically serve all those who were found responsible.

I hope that this will be the end of this matter.

Thank you for your attention

Timothy T. Troll
Attorney at Law
Troll, Troll, Troll, and Bandicoot
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Trolls United Regarding Defamation will never be defeated!
Take a lawyer to lunch!
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