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Monday Night (9 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 5-March-2012  23:47:38 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Telstra have a new portable exchange for use in disaster situations. Following the floods in Brisbane in 2011, we deployed a temporary MEOW® to ensure our customers had service while we fixed the damaged infrastructure. However, these floods got us thinking – what improvements could we make to the MEOW to help us deploy them faster and therefore reduce the time our customers are without service?

Speaking of disasters, Microsoft's "Windows Azure" cloud service fell over recently, due to a leap-year glitch, thanks mpot. “Yesterday, 28 February, 2012 at 5:45 PM PST Windows Azure operations became aware of an issue impacting the compute service in a number of regions,” wrote Bill Laing, corporate vice president of Server and Cloud at Azure in a blog post. “While final root cause analysis is in progress, this issue appears to be due to a time calculation that was incorrect for the leap year.”

The BBC have an article on the Raspberry Pi. "We have been working on the Pi for six years, but we have never tested it with children - the target market," he says. "In the event, I couldn't have asked for better... they couldn't wait to try it out themselves." Now his ambition - to provide every child in Britain with their own cheap, programmable, credit-card-sized computer - seems close to realisation. Discussion continues here.

Harvey Norman are scaling back their online presence after only a few months. Chief executive Gerry Harvey said the company's recent online trading figures had been unimpressive. "We're happy with our presence, we're happy with our site, we're not happy with our sales,'' Mr Harvey said. "When we set up the online transactional site a couple of months back, we saw it being about five per cent of our turnover, but at the moment it's not going up at all, it's still sitting at about 0.5 of one per cent.''

Minecraft creator Notch has given away $3M to his fellow employees at Mojang. For those of you curious what a "dividend" means in everyday terms, it is basically a form of payment made by a corporation (paid regularly, typically quarterly) to its shareholders out of its profits (or reserves). For Notch, this means "money paid to him by Mojang as a shareholder". So, Notch has taken the available dividends paid to him for the fiscal year of 2011, and distributed them among his fellow staff members, rather than take it home himself.

Physorg report on game controllers that pull your thumbs as added feedback. University of Utah engineers designed a new kind of video game controller that not only vibrates like existing devices, but pulls and stretches the thumb tips in different directions to simulate the tug of a fishing line, the recoil of a gun or the feeling of ocean waves.

Researchers have made a speech-jamming gun. More info here. The idea is simple. Psychologists have known for some years that it is almost impossible to speak when your words are replayed to you with a delay of a fraction of a second. Kurihara and Tsukada have simply built a handheld device consisting of a microphone and a speaker that does just that: it records a person's voice and replays it to them with a delay of about 0.2 seconds. The microphone and speaker are directional so the device can be aimed at a speaker from a distance, like a gun.

From Jimmy: This is a nice demo of where webGL is right now. It's a port of an open-source rally game playable in any WebGL browser (so NSFIE). You can use WASD to drive, but you may need to turn off 'Search for text when I start typing' in Firefox. I found it worked in Chrome but not my (oldish) Firefox - and it's quite fun.

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All original content copyright James Rolfe. All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.