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Friday January 23, 2015
The Untold Story of the Invention of the Game Cartridge
Here's an interesting article about the world before interchangeable game cartridges existed, and how the game cartridge came to be.
Consider the humble video game cartridge. It's a small, durable plastic box that imparts the most immediate, user-friendly software experience ever created. Just plug it in, and you're playing a game in seconds.
If you’ve ever used one, you have two men to thank: Wallace Kirschner and Lawrence Haskel, who invented the game cartridge 40 years ago while working at an obscure company and rebounding from a business failure. Once the pair's programmable system had been streamlined and turned into a commercial product—the Channel F console—by a team at pioneering electronics company Fairchild, it changed the fundamental business model of home video games forever. By injecting flexibility into a new technology, it paved the way for massive industry growth and the birth of a new creative medium.
Saturday January 10, 2015
Authorities suspect a shark tried to eat Vietnam's Internet
Over the past few months, ruptures have been appearing in the submerged Asia-America Gateway (AAG) cable system that supplies a great deal of Southeast Asia with its Internet. This week, a hole appeared that was so severe, it throttled connections in Vietnam, causing millions of its residents to deal with Internet that was either incredibly slow, or frustratingly sporadic.
The rupture was located on the S1H section of the AAG, located off the coast of Ba Ria, in Vietnam’s coastal city of Vung Tau. Accordion to Martin Anderson at The Stack, this particular connection is one of just five pipes that supply Vietnam’s almost 93 million people with internet. "Other recent breakages in the 12,000 mile (20,000 km) trans-Pacific cable have been responsible for similar network blackouts or slow-downs in Asian locations including Hong Kong, the Philippines, Brunei, Singapore and Thailand, as well as Vietnam, in one case requiring 20 days to repair,” he says.
Completed in 2009, the AAG has been experiencing a few too many tears of late to be waved away as an accident. Last September, another rupture was found in the cable about 68 km off the coast of Hong Kong, which followed a similar tear that occurred two weeks earlier.
But it wasn’t foul play, well, not as we know it. “AAG’s trans-Pacific enemy is thought by some to be the dangerous but fairly apolitical shark, attracted by the electromagnetic field that the cable generates,” says Anderson, “and inspiring Google to shield its own Pacific cabling with ‘bullet-proof vest’ material Kevlar.”
You can see one of the apolitical sharks in question in the video footage above, filmed late last year. Is it just me, or does that cable suddenly look delicious the moment the shark takes a good ol' chomp at it? It's a real worry when you look at a shark and get meal envy.
It took 2 years to build this functioning word processor in Minecraft
Pretty damn amazing:
A Minecraft builder has created a word processor, complete with keyboard and monitor, entirely in the game. And it isn't just for show. The build mechanically functions when keys are pressed, and can load files from memory. It has taken almost two years to build, and the builder plans to expand it into a full-on, working computer.
Thursday January 08, 2015
This Robot Is the Best Limit Texas Hold'Em Player in the World
I can't wait to read the full paper -- this is very cool stuff.
That's the key, of course. Birch and his colleagues essentially "brute forced" the game of limit poker, in which there are roughly 3 x 10^14 possible decisions. That, according to some estimates, is more possible permutations than hands of poker than have ever been played in human history.
Friday January 02, 2015
List of 40 inexpensive single-board Linux friendly computers
Courtesy of the good folks over at LinuxGizmos:
Ringing in 2015 with 40 Linux-friendly hacker SBCs
Dec 31, 2014 | Eric Brown
2014 brought us plenty of new open-spec, community-backed SBCs — from $35 bargains, to octa-core powerhouses — and all with Linux or Android support.
In May of this year, LinuxGizmos and Linux.com collaborated on a joint survey, asking our readers to choose their favorite open-spec hacker SBCs from a list of 32 that run Linux and/or Android. Our SBC survey winners, ranked one to five, included the Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, Odroid-XU, CubieTruck, and Banana Pi single board computers. Thanks to the flood of new open-spec, community-backed boards, as well as the demise of others, we have updated our list for this end-of-year snapshot.
We’re skipping the survey — and the prizes — this time around, but we hope to offer a similar, but updated list and survey in May or June 2015. With even better prizes.
We removed more than a dozen boards from the list that were no longer in stock, were not being actively supported, were just plain old, or scored too poorly in our last survey to merit inclusion. Some of these, such as the Odroid-XU, were fairly new boards but have already been replaced by newer models (Odroid-XU3). We also added about two-dozen new SBCs, thereby ending up with a total of 40 boards. <more>
Read the rest here.
Happy hardware hacking!
Thursday December 18, 2014
Handmade Hero - Game made from scratch with each line of code explained
What is Handmade Hero?
Handmade Hero is an ongoing project to create a complete, professional-quality game accompanied by videos that explain every single line of its source code.
Is it a simple game, for teaching purposes?
Quite the opposite! The game design has been specifically tailored to require more complex code than exists in most game designs. Sophisticated procedural level generation, intricate item interactions, and globally propagated effects are just some of the many aspects of the game that will be implemented during the series.
Are the videos just recordings of someone coding?
No! Although 100% of the programming for the game is captured in the videos, each step is also accompanied by continuous explanation of what is going on and why. It is meant to serve as a de facto class on game programming.
Tuesday December 16, 2014
Screenshot Captor review today on Softpedia: "One of the Best Graphic Screen Capture Applications"
Very nice review today of our Screenshot Captor program, calling it "One of the Best Graphic Screen Capture Applications":
"Screenshot Captor is just not another average screen grabber. It stands out thanks to its multitude of editing tools and file management options. It can be used for simple daily tasks up to complex jobs where you need to take lots of screenshots and edit them in detail. The advanced feature pack and comprehensive suite of configuration settings make it a serious competitor to other software programs that are not free, and place it in the category of one of the best screenshot capture utilities on the market."
Final rating: 5 out of 5 - Excellent
Every Episode Of Every 'Star Trek' Series Ever, Ranked
Nice list of all episodes of the tv show ranked and with short descriptions; great stuff for those looking to watch a few choice episodes. Just reading the top picks at the end tells me this reviewer is worth paying attention to.
Monday December 15, 2014
OS News on The Devaluing Effect of the Application Store Model
There's a post at OS News today that discusses some of the real negative impacts of Apple and Android App Stores and the "Freemium" model:
Apple (and Google) have instigated a race to the bottom, massively devaluing the work of developers... I have never made a secret out of my dislike of the application store model, exactly because of what it does to independent developers. It devalues their work, and independent, small development houses will simply be unable to survive in this race to the bottom. The end result? Apple and a few large companies win, but independent developers and users lose.
Sunday December 14, 2014
The Grumpy Programmer - great blog by a well-seasoned programmer
Just found this and lost a few hours of my life basking in the glow of someone who really has "been there, done that".
Saturday December 13, 2014
Website Find: 7CupsOfTea.com
7 Cups of Tea is an on-demand emotional health and well-being service. Our bridging technology anonymously & securely connects real people to real listeners in one-on-one chat.
Anyone who wants to talk about whatever is on their mind can quickly reach out to a trained, compassionate listener through our network. We have hundreds of listeners who come from all walks of life and have diverse experiences.
People connect with listeners on 7 Cups of Tea for all kinds of reasons, from big existential thoughts to small, day-to-day things that we all experience. Unlike talking to family or friends, a 7 Cups of Tea listener doesn’t judge or try to solve problems and say what to do. Our listeners just listen. They understand. They give you the space you need to help you clear your head.
Connect with a listener by requesting the first available listener, or by selecting a specific listener from our community.
All of our listeners have completed our Active Listening training program, an online course in advanced skills for compassionate communication. The course is designed by our psychologist in residence, Glen Moriarty (who also happens to be our CEO & Founder). Additionally, we interview every listener to ensure they are friendly, considerate, and very competent.
Many of our listeners have joined 7 Cups of Tea because they love to help others and want to do something meaningful in their free time. All our listeners offer their kind ear for free since they understand what it is like to feel alone in distress.
You can decide whether to volunteer your time as a Listener, or you can just chat about your issues/problems etc with one of the volunteers.
I personally am a Listener on the website and have been for about a week, and I must say, it is an extraordinary website and very well thought out. They have personal 1-on-1 chats, Group Chat Rooms, Dedicated Support Channels for Listeners and also a brilliant support forum.
More than worth a look for anybody interested in this kind of things as it also has some fantastic Self-Help guides and online training in many different courses such as the following:
Link is an affiliate ID which simply allows me to see how many visits come from here
Sunday December 07, 2014
I considered posting this in Developer's Corner, but I think it should live here...
CodeCombat: Learn to Code by Playing a Game
Tuesday December 02, 2014
Pay It Forward Bundle
From now until the end of the month, get $4,500+ worth of design assets & creative services and pay what you want!
All proceeds support Watsi, a charitable organization dedicated to funding life changing medical treatments for people that otherwise might never be able to afford them.
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