Raspberry Pi 2

Just ordered a couple of the new Raspberry Pi 2 boards from MCM Electronics. The Pi 2 looks like absolutely amazing value for $35. It’s going to be very interesting to see what this new quad core board can do. It will (somewhat unexpectedly) also run a free copy of Windows 10 at some point. This is part of Microsoft’s Windows Developer Program for IoT. All very interesting!

Oculus DK2 image

OculusImageThis image needs some explanation! I was trying to get a photo of how the display really looks using the Oculus DK2 HMD. The real quality is vastly better than the photo would suggest as it’s really tricky to get everything lined up correctly for a photo. In particular, it seemed to be necessary to use a very small aperture on the camera which makes sense in terms of trying to minimize distortion – after all, the whole system is set up to deliver a corrected image to the human eye which has a fairly small aperture. The most important point is that the DK2 is actually very effective at creating an immersive effect. In particular, when you try the basic office desk demo that’s part of the config utility, it’s very bizarre looking down and seeing an empty chair where your legs should be!

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Chicken of the VNC and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

Upgrading an Ubuntu system to Ubuntu 14.04LTS seems to stop Chicken of the VNC working for remote desktop access, even after the Ubuntu system has been configured in the normal way to allow remote desktop access. To fix this, install dconf-tools:

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

Then, run dconf-editor and change the org/gnome/desktop/remote-access/require-encryption to off so that it looks something like this:

dconfThat seems to fix it, although at the expense of requiring encryption.

The brain and parallel processing

Interesting story here about what parallel resources the brain musters to perform simple tasks. It suggests that trying to build a functional brain-analog by simulating individual neurons is unnecessary. Instead, a much more practical silicon implementation would come from understanding the aggregate behavior of groups of neurons and simulating that instead. Not a new idea but it’s interesting to see an attempt to start to understand how this might work.

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A global quantum internet?

Interesting paper here describing a potential system for creating caches of quantum entangled photon pairs separated by very large distances. It wasn’t all that long ago that the concept of entanglement seemed like science fiction and, in any case, entanglement was so fragile that things de-cohered in a very short space of time. Now it seems like it may be possible to store widely separated entangled pairs for at least long enough (> 67mS) to be useful for things like quantum key distribution.