lkcl writes "Rhombus Tech's first CPU Card is nearing completion and availability: the schematics have been completed by Wits-Tech. Although it appears strange to be using a 1ghz Cortex A8 for the first CPU Card, the mass-volume price of the A10 was lower than other offerings. Not only does the A10 classify as 'good enough' (in combination with 1GB of RAM), Allwinner Tech is one of the very rare China-based SoC companies willing to collaborate with Software (Libre) developers without an enforced (GPL-violating) NDA in place. Overall, it's the very first step in the right direction for collaboration between Software (Libre) developers and mass-volume PRC Factories. There will be more (faster, better) EOMA-68 CPU Cards: this one is just the first."
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itwbennett writes "Hoping to avoid a sales ban in the Netherlands, Samsung has said that Android's multitouch software doesn't work as well as Apple's. Samsung lawyer Bas Berghuis van Woortman said that while Apple's technology is a 'very nice invention,' the Android system is harder for developers to use. Arguing the bizarre counterpoint, Apple's lawyer Theo Blomme told judge Peter Blok, that the Android multitouch isn't inferior and does so infringe on Apple's patent: 'They suggest that they have a lesser solution, but that is simply not true,' said Blomme."
davecb writes "Pity the poor filesystem designer: they just want to know when their data is safe, but the disks and drivers try so hard to make I/O 'easy' that it ends up being stupidly hard. Marshall Kirk McKusick writes about the difficulties in making the systems work nicely together: 'In the real world, many of the drives targeted to the desktop market do not implement the NCQ specification. To ensure reliability, the system must either disable the write cache on the disk or issue a cache-flush request after every metadata update, log update (for journaling file systems), or fsync system call. Both of these techniques lead to noticeable performance degradation, so they are often disabled, putting file systems at risk if the power fails. Systems for which both speed and reliability are important should not use ATA disks. Rather, they should use drives that implement Fibre Channel, SCSI, or SATA with support for NCQ.'"
pigrabbitbear writes "The Boston Dynamics Cheetah just clocked a 28.3 miles per hour sprint on a treadmill, and it's heading outdoors soon. At that speed, it could edge out the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, in a dead sprint. (Bolt peaked at 27.78 miles per hour in his world-record-setting 100-meter dash back in 2009.) 'To be fair, keep in mind that the Cheetah robot runs on a treadmill without wind drag and has an off-board power supply that it does not carry,' admitted Boston Dynamics in a press release. 'So Bolt is still the superior athlete.' Nevertheless, the team hopes to drop these implements and have a freestanding speed bot by early next year. They're calling that model the WildCat."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Amazon used a Sept. 6 event in California to debut a range of products, including a front-lit [not back-lit, as originally reported] Kindle e-reader with a higher-resolution screen, an updated Kindle Fire, and the new Kindle Fire HD in two screen sizes. First, Bezos showed off a new version of the Kindle e-reader, the Kindle Paperwhite, complete with a front-lit, higher-resolution screen (221 pixels-per-inch and 25 percent more contrast, according to Amazon). The device weighs 7.5 ounces and is 9.1mm thin; battery life is rated at eight weeks, and the screen brightness is adjustable. He then showed off the updated Kindle Fire, before moving to the Kindle Fire HD, which features a choice of 7-inch or 8.9-inch screens, dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus, two antennas for better Wi-Fi pickup, and a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor (which Bezos claimed could out-perform the Tegra 3). The Kindle Fire HD's 7-inch version will retail for $199 and ship Sept. 14, while the 8.9-inch version will cost $299 and ship Nov. 20. An 8.9-inch, 4G LTE-enabled version with 32GB storage will be available starting Nov. 20 for $499, paired with a $49.99-a-year data plan."
An anonymous reader writes "I work at a non-profit that doesn't have the resources to automatically bend to each and every whim. However, I've been told that I can't use a cardboard box to put my computer on, for OSHA and fire prevention reasons. So the choice is, sit down for nine hours each day or else get a standup desk to the tune of 500 bucks or more. Is this worth it? Can I make one myself? Anything to know before I get in deep?" There are lots of home-grown stand-up desks out there (search IKEA Hackers for "stand-up desk" if that's your aesthetic leaning), and some ready-made ones from plainish to very expensive. If you've used a stand-up desk, what are your thoughts?
Sharp is one of the small handful of companies that actually make the LCDs that go into products badged with many other companies' names. Now, itwbennett writes "The company was asked by one of its main banks to put its physical assets, including its Apple screen plant, up as collateral for about $2 billion in emergency loans, according to an IDG News Service report. Sharp expects to lose over $3 billion this fiscal year."
An anonymous reader writes "The Raspberry Pi finally saw a release on February 29 this year and is thought to have sold 200,000 units, with a million expected to ship before the year is over. That's a lot of tiny PCs, but it's also been an opportunity for owners to feedback any problems or tweaks they'd like made to the board. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has taken the feedback on board and today announced a revised design is being put into production. The new Raspberry Pi, known as revision 2.0 PCB, is expected to start shipping in the next few weeks. The revision includes a number of changes, but is essentially the same board. To summarize it includes a new reset circuit, a replacement for the reset fuses allowing for more reliable USB hub power, two GPIO pin changes for JTAG debug support, four redundant GPIO signals have been removed, and a new connector has been added for attaching a range of boards including a clock or audio codec. Two of the more easily noticeable changes include a fix that stops the HDMI connection interfering with certain operations of the Raspberry Pi, and the addition of two 2.5mm mounting holes to allow for easier mounting."
sl4shd0rk writes "According to sources, Apple hasn't offered any specs to developers for the new '9-pin Connector' to be used on the next version of the iPhone. Apple has also said it may use 'licensing agreements and threats of lawsuits' to prevent third-party adapters from hitting the market through at least 2012. There have been suggestions that this tactic is to allow Apple time to leverage competition and reap in revenues of $100 million for every 10 million Dock Connector Adapters it sells for $10. It remains unclear whether Apple will allow third-party developers to release competing alternatives after 2012."
Zothecula writes "Well, Patrick Priebe might have outdone himself with this one. In the past, the German cyberpunk weapons-maker has brought us such creations as a wrist-mounted mini-crossbow, a laser-sighted rotary-saw-blade-shooting crossbow, and a flame-throwing glove. His latest nasty futuristic device? A video game-inspired electromagnetic weapon, called the Gauss Rifle."
The Wiki Weapon Project and its idea of making guns with 3D printers has already been mentioned on Slashdot. It has also been written up on Forbes.com and a lot of other geek and non-geek sites. Note that when some Wiki Weapon proponents talk about making "guns" with 3D printers, they may be talking only about lower receivers or other static parts, not barrels, firing pins or other parts that must be machined to close tolerances and are subjected to a lot of stress when the gun fires. But low-cost 3D printing and low-cost CNC machining technologies are both advancing at a rapid rate, so thinking about the intersection of firearm manufacturing and open source is both worthwhile and timely. There's been a strong debate about this topic on Eric S. Raymond's Armed and Dangerous blog that's worth reading. Also recommended: The Home Gunsmith.com and CNC Gunsmithing. Astute Slashdot readers will, no doubt, recommend many more. Meanwhile, this video is about licensing, distribution, and legal matters, not the actual manufacture of firearms. There's a transcript (we're finally doing transcripts of selected videos) below the video for those who prefer to read instead of watch.
Taco Cowboy writes with news on the slipping schedules in the move toward both larger wafers and 3D integrated circuits in the semiconductor fab world. From the articles: "TSMC ... said it planned to start mass-producing next-generation 450mm wafers using advanced 10-nanometer technology in 2018. The advanced 10-nanometer chips could first be used in mobile devices and other consumer electronics, like game consoles, that demand high-performance and low power consumption. The plan was included in the latest technology roadmap unveiled by TSMC about one year after the chipmaker attributed its delay in making 450mm wafers, originally scheduled in 2015, to semiconductor equipment suppliers' postponement in developing advanced equipment for manufacturing amid the industrial slump. Chipmakers can get 2.5 times more chips from a 450mm wafer than from a 300mm wafer ... The industry's gradual migration toward 3D ICs with through-silicon vias (TSV) is unlikely to happen until 2015 or 2016, according to sources at semiconductor companies. Volume production of 3D ICs was previously estimated to take place in 2014. Leading foundries and backend assembly and test service companies have all devoted much of their R&D efforts to TSV development, and are making progress. The major players are believed to be capable of supporting 3D ICs by 2014, but the emerging technology going into commercial production may not take place until around the 2015-16 timeframe." Probably one of the most interesting presentations at HOPE9, "Indistinguishable From Magic: Manufacturing Modern Computer Chips," covered modern semiconductor fabrication and why these things are cool. If you're interested in more background (what do all of those TLAs mean?), check out the slides / audio (or attached video of the presentation from YouTube).
1sockchuck writes "Intel has just concluded a year-long test in which it immersed servers in an oil bath, and has affirmed that the technology is highly efficient and safe for servers. The chipmaker is now working on reference designs, heat sinks and boards that are optimized for immersion cooling. 'We're evaluating how (immersion cooling) can change the way data centers are designed and operated,' said Mike Patterson, senior power and thermal architect at Intel. 'I think it will catch on. It's going to be a slow progression, but it will start in high-performance computing.' Intel's test used technology from Green Revolution Cooling, which says its design eliminates the need for raised flooring, CRAC units or chillers. Other players in immersion cooling include Iceotope and Hardcore (now LiquiCool)."
dcblogs writes "Social robots — machines with the ability to do grocery shopping, fix dinner and discuss the day's news — may gain limited rights, similar to those granted to pets. Kate Darling, a research specialist at the MIT Media Lab, looks at this broad issue in a recent paper, 'Extending Legal Rights to Social Robots.' 'The Kantian philosophical argument for preventing cruelty to animals is that our actions towards non-humans reflect our morality — if we treat animals in inhumane ways, we become inhumane persons. This logically extends to the treatment of robotic companions. Granting them protection may encourage us and our children to behave in a way that we generally regard as morally correct, or at least in a way that makes our cohabitation more agreeable or efficient.' If a company can make a robot that leaves the factory with rights, the marketing potential, as Darling notes, may be significant."
redletterdave writes "Valve is reportedly interested in building hardware. The Bellevue, Wash.-based software developer added a job posting to its site on Tuesday morning for an industrial designer. We're frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space though, so we're jumping in,' the posting said. 'Even basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven’t really changed in any meaningful way over the years. There's a real void in the marketplace, and opportunities to create compelling user experiences are being overlooked.'"