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learn tech

PC wizz: what is file compression?

In short words file compression is finding the redundant parts (bytes, words) from inside a file and then building a dictionary (an index) based on their position inside the file. Then, instead of the actual words use the index number. This way you are able to compress a big text file to a 1/10th or even 1/1000th of its original dimension. Then, using a program like WinZip you are able to recreate exactly the file you you compressed.

When you are able to create exactly the original file the compression is called lossless. This is usually done with text information. But when you want to compress images, then that compression is lossy, meaning that it looses some of the information while compressing the file.

Learn more about text compression:

Learn even more about image compression:

and

Via Kuriositas.

Categories
geek tech

Ancient robots: possible via automatons like Colibri

In ancient times they had robots too, but not the electronic ones we have now. Archimedes invented a water clock with a moving bird and they had a ton of automata way back then. Today you can build your own automaton by using some cut wood and a couple of small motors or springs. The result is amazing.

The guys at Makezine wrote about Colibri, the kinetic sculpture from above, which is an automaton made of wood.

Derek Hugger is the one who created Colibri and you can find out more details on his website. It took him more than 700 hours of work to get this done and he automated the head movement, the wings and the tail. Incredibly complex projects, like this one, deserve all the advertising we can give.

Categories
geek

Make your own Thor Hammer [Mjolnir]


Thor’s Hammer can be lifted only by Thor himself as he is the only worthy of such an honor, but Allen Pan, from Sufficiently Advanced, has created a hammer that only he can lift. The hammer itself has a coil inside, an Arduino board and a fingerprint scanner.

When he puts the hammer on a metal surface it sticks like crazy. Nobody is able to lift it, but when the fingerprint scanner, embedded in hammer’s handle, reads Allen’s fingerprint, it releases the hammer.

Via Interesting Engineering.

Categories
geek tech

What is HBM, the new memory type used in video cards [High Bandwidth Memory]

GDDR5 is history. Or at least it will be history, as HBM, High Bandwidth Memory, is able to provide at least two times more throughput than its predecessor. GDDR5 is over 7 years old now and has the memory chips attached directly to the video card’s PCB, around the GPU. If you needed more GDDR5 memory, then you would need more such chips inserted in there and more connections to the GPU.

HBM solves this issue by stacking the memory chips on top of the GPU package, the area that holds the GPU, so it doesn’t need anymore extra space than the GPU already needs. It stacks the memory in 3D RAM dies right next to the GPU which makes communication with it much much faster.

With 4 stacks of HBM you can get about 1TB/s transfer rate. Right now only AMD Radeon R9 Fury series has this type of memory, but many other video cards with HBM will be available soon.

Learn more about HBM memory from AMD.

Categories
geek

Enterprise 3D Project – see the insides of the Star Trek ship [video]


This is truly amazing. For the Star Trek fans, being able to actually see a lot of Enterprise’s interior is a goldmine and a godsent. The Enterprise 3D Project is a project made by a one man army and it lets you see how the ship looks like from the docking bay up to the toilets and the conference rooms.

Of course, you get to see the central command room too.

The author says there will be a playable 3D video game released in the future and we all may be able to walk around Enterprise like it’s nobody’s business. Exciting time to come, for sure 😀

Find out more about this project on Twitter too.

Categories
geek

Crash Chrome with this link: http://a/%%30%30


Tom Scott, a master wiz in all thing tech and programming explains why the Chrome browser crashes when you insert http://a/%%30%30 in the browser’s address bar. It all boils down to what can the browser “understand”, ie decode, from the sequence of characters in that URL.

For example, %30 is translated to number 0 because the % sign means that the characters are encoded. Then you will see that the browser interprets the URL as being this:
http://a/%00

Since we still have a % sign in the URL the browser decodes %00 to NULL.

So, initially Chrome marks the http://a/%00 URL as being safe to use and good to go, then it will send the URL to a function which decodes the URL again resulting http://a/NULL. Now the function sees that the URL is invalid and then sends it back to the browser which knows the URL is fine. It’s like and infinite loops which will finally crash the browser.

Categories
geek learn science

Quantum mechanics: here we come [video course]


One of the favorite physics and math teachers on YouTube, Michel van Biezen, has prepared a new series about quantum mechanics. In this new series we learn about why the atoms and subatomic particles behave in different ways than the matter we see around us.

We also learn that energy, mass and momentum come in quantized chunks, meaning that there is no continuum, but instead a sum of fixed sized quantities of energy or matter.

Make sure to subscribe to that channel and be ready to be amazed. You can’t unlearn what you’re about to see.

Categories
entertainment geek

Tips and tricks: how to overclock a video card [video]


Jayz2Cents creates another great video for gamers. This time is about how to overclock a video card. I am the guy who usually doesn’t like to get into this king of stuff and thus I usually buy a good video card which can do all the things I want without having to tinker with any overclocking abilities.

What tips and tricks should you follow when overclocking a video card:
– make sure you do overclock because it is an extra headroom that you get for free, much like upgrading your GPU
– use apps like MSI Afterburner to help you overclock AMD/nVidia graphics cards
– try to set the temp as high as possible and don’t touch the core voltage until you see the test benchmark (like Valley Benchmark ) crashing
– for more info and tips check the video

Categories
geek

Does BB-8 really exists? Yup. See what it looks like from the inside and how it works


BB-8 has been a craze in the last year since we’ve seen the new trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII and everyone wanted to know how this little robotic critter functions.

Well, now we can. In the video from above you can see that it has two wheels and a big counterweight to keep the wheels in contact with the inner surface of the plastic sphere. Then a neck stems from the base and has a magnet on top of it.

That magnet is the one which keep BB-8s head on the body ball. Neat, cool and interesting. Now you know it too.

The Force awakens.

Categories
geek science

How does the standard model of particle physics look like?

standard-model-physics-formula

It looks like in the image from above. Without an extensive knowledge of math and physics you can’t possible hope to comprehend what it says.

This is why science is hard: it takes you decades to master the exact sciences and only then you can get a good picture of what the scientists are saying or doing.

The hard part is conveying their messages to the general public. Since there are many math and physics gaps in the knowledge the public has the scientists have a truly hard time in explaining what the heck is happening inside a particle collider.

Sometimes analogies are used, but they are poor approximations which lead to questions that make no sense to the scientists, but seem reasonable to the general public.

This is why the idea of light being a wave or the idea that electrons orbit around the nucleus of the atom are approximations, but do not convey the entire truth as we, the ones from the general public, do not have the math and physics knowledge to truly understand what happens in there.

The explanations of the formula from above can be read on Wikipedia.

Image via Cristian Român.