USB experiment inferface board

Even I can now control the world outside my computer. With the USB interface board K8055 from Velleman, Belgium, you can access to the board via DLL. It´s easy to use i.g. in VisualBasic Express. (I did so last night – faszinating!) That reminds me on old Commodore Plus/4 times!




I tested it on a Windows XP system, but it also should work on Linux. Now let´s see, what cases I´m going to resolve. :-)


Manufacturer: http://www.vellemanusa.com/us/enu/product/view/?id=500349


medienfloh

GTA 1 + GTA 2 + Wild Metal downloadable for free

“In 1999, Rockstar Games and Rockstar North (then known as DMA Design) furthered the groundbreaking gameplay concepts established just two years prior in the original Grand Theft Auto – with the release of GTA2. GTA2 expanded on the top-down, open-ended crime world gameplay formula with a host of new features including the advent of multiple rival gangs – seven, to be exact, including the Yakuza, Scientists, Looneys, Rednecks, Zaibatsu, the Russian Mob and Hare Krishnas. Earn your respect with each gang. Reap the benefits with all manner of shady work-for-hire gigs contracted your way. And climb your way to the top of the criminal pile.

Now, longtime Grand Theft Auto fans can revisit this classic entry in the series – and new jacks who missed out on this early franchise title can further discover Grand Theft Auto’s roots – absolutely free. GTA2 has been completely optimized for play on modern PCs and is available gratis for all registrants to the Rockstar Games mailing list (rest assured your information will not be shared with any third parties, you will only receive information from Rockstar). Simply fill out the form below and check your email for a direct link to the file (353 MB .zip file, includes install .exe, readme .txt file, and a .pdf of the original PC game manual).”

Source: http://www.rockstargames.com/classics/

writing a raytracer

SuperJer just had some time to spare and before getting bored he started to write a raytracer from scratch and write about it on the intertubes:

“Ray-tracing works sort of like a camera in real life, but in reverse. With a camera (or your eyes, for that matter), rays of light from the environment enter the lens and hit the film/digital chip/meaty eye cells. Something magical happens where the light hits and we get an image!
With ray tracing, we start at each point on our “film” or image, and blast a ray out of our camera lens and see what it hits. What it hits determines the color and brightness at that spot on the film. Of course by “film” I mean digital image, and by “spot” I mean pixel.
I decided my entire program would be centered around one function, called raytrace(). The idea is this: You give raytrace() a starting point and a direction, and it follows that ray until it collides with something in my virtual environment. It returns the color of the object it collided with.
When generating a 3D image, raytrace() will find the color for just ONE pixel in the result image. By running raytrace once for each pixel, we can get the whole scene! Ray-tracing is kind of slow because, for example, in a 1 megapixel image you’d have to run it 1 million times.”

He even has put up some pictures and videos:

You can even get the whole sourcecode (C++ with no dependencies whatsoever) from his site. Continue at source…

Source: http://www.superjer.com/pixelmachine/

Atari code posters…

“Like any other game console, Atari 2600 cartridges contained executable code also commingled with data. This lists the code as columns of assembly language. Most of it is math or conditional statements (if x is true, go to y), so each time there’s “go to” a curve is drawn from that point to its destination.

When a byte of data (as opposed to code) is found in the cartridge, it is shown as an orange row: a solid block for a “1” or a dot for a “0”. The row is eight elements long, representing a whole byte. This usually means that the images can be seen in their entirety when a series of bytes are shown as rows. The images were often stored upside-down as a programming method.”

And it looks like this:

Source: http://benfry.com/distellamap/

rewire the web…

The internet comes up with new ideas of information transformation and management every day. Yahoo now came up with a great idea of how the users could almost freely transform syndicateable data to anything they like.

Yahoo says this about it’s new baby:

“Pipes is an interactive feed aggregator and manipulator. Using Pipes, you can create feeds that are more powerful, useful and relevant.”

If you ever wanted to connect NY Times articles to Flickr, you can do this and many other things now. You even get a decent editor:


(yes, that’s in a webbrowser…)

Go and give it a try.

Source: http://pipes.yahoo.com/

Failure Trends in a Large Disk Drive Population

“When your server farm is in the hundreds of thousands and you’re using cheap, off-the-shelf hard drives as your primary means of storage, you’ve probably good a pretty damned good data set for looking at the health and failure patterns of hard drives. Google studied a hundred thousand SATA and PATA drives with between 80 and 400GB storage and 5400 to 7200rpm, and while unfortunately they didn’t call out specific brands or models that had high failure rates, they did find a few interesting patterns in failing hard drives.”

Grab the pdf here.

Source: http://216.239.37.132/papers/disk_failures.pdf

getting "Crackdown" early…

I just realised that I got my copy of Crackdown more than 5 days earlier than I was supposed to be. Crackdown is available in stores starting Feb. 20. Oh and it’s a great great game. GTA is nothing compared to this one…

Those who are also getting crackdown may want to consider visiting http://crackdown.wikispaces.com/. You can find some great maps there that come in handy when you’re on the orb hunt.

And for those who want to try co-op: add me to your friendslist (gamertag is “bietiekay”) and we’ll do a co-op mission or two.

the .NET Micro Framework is out

“The Microsoft .NET Micro Framework combines the reliability and efficiency of managed code with the premier development tools of Microsoft Visual Studio to deliver exceptional productivity for developing embedded applications on small devices.

The .NET Micro Framework brings a rich, managed-code environment to smaller, less expensive, and more resource-constrained devices. Requiring only a few hundred kilobytes of RAM and an inexpensive processor, the .NET Micro Framework was built from the ground up to let you build applications using familiar Visual Studio development tools.

With .NET Micro Framework SDK, you can develop your embedded solutions in C# using a subset of the .NET libraries focused on embedded applications. Your development environment is Visual Studio, where you can take advantage of its powerful editing, object browsing, project management, and debugging capabilities. These capabilities are available when using the .NET Micro Framework SDK’s extensible device emulation system or on real hardware.”

Source 1: more info
Source 2: Download