Play backup disks on an unmodified PS1 using previously unknown hack

Play backup disks on an unmodified PS1 using previously unknown hack


Modern Vintage Gamer
reveals a secret that would have blown the minds of anyone in the 90’s. The lack-luster game Alien Resurrection on the Sony PlayStation PS1 has a secret cheat code that enables you to play backup discs without any additional mod chip or soft mod.

It’s definitely not a simple or fast hack (requiring a lot of button mashing and menu manipulation), but it’s still pretty incredible. It’s caused copies of the game to go from $5 a copy to $100+ on eBay.

PS1’s have been hacked, modded, and emulated for a long time now so it’s not enabling something that wasn’t possible before; but it’s a wonderful bit of history and trivia.

Articles:

VR ready to replace your desktop?

VR ready to replace your desktop?

People are starting to experiment with the latest VR headsets – especially the Meta Quest 3 and Quest Pro. One of the big questions is, can I finally get rid of my desktop environment and work purely with VR headset?

It turns out, most of the reviewers believe the time is almost here and believe it is possible.

Hallden seems to think it is possible, but points out some issues with working in moving environments (like airplanes), connectivity and lag, and the possible advantages of an AR vs VR solution. His take is primarily from a coders point of view.

Alan Truly also believes the time is almost here, but points out app quirks with copy-paste, the browser, content editing, and the extra pound of weight on your head might be too much for a full 8 hour day of work.

Articles:

3D-printed building façade

3D-printed building façade

Studio RAP has completed the ceramic house in Amsterdam which features a rippling, 3D-printed façade. Opens some very interesting possibilities for building decoration.

They also are experimenting with other 3D printed interiors and exteriors. Worth checking out on their website.

Autonomously plowing your fields – from a phone 1500 miles away

Autonomously plowing your fields – from a phone 1500 miles away

At the John Deere booth at this year’s CES in the Las Vegas Convention Center, conventiongoers could do something incredible with an iPhone. They could pushed the PAUSE button on an iPhone and thirteen hundred miles away, in the middle of a field outside of Austin, Texas, a giant, bright green, driverless tractor stopped short. Hit RESUME and the tractor started up again. Put down the iPhone and the tractor resumed tilling the field, all by itself.  

The breadth of what you can do with the tractor via the demo app was limited. You could stop and resume the tractor, as well as increasing or decreasing its speed in a straight line and while turning. There are no turning controls. But what this signals is huge.

In the demo, a farmer first geo-fences the field boundaries and then the tractor can determine its own path based on how wide the tiller is. Tillage is the only job the technology is programmed to handle but John Deere hopes to have a complete autonomous production system supporting every step of the farming process by 2030.

The John Deere spokespeople ballparked such a tractor between $600,000 to $700,000, with the autonomous technology implementation adding a further $100,000 on top of that. Older tractors from the 2020 model year and up can also likely be retrofitted with the tech. The update should “take only about a day” according to a 2022 CNET story.  

There’s no doubt in my mind this is how the future of farming will look. It’s been coming for a long time; and spending long hours out in the field will almost certainly be a thing of the past very soon.

There are already calls that John Deere and other equipment manufacturers will have fully autonomous fleets that they manage and simply send to your fields on a subscription-like basis.

Article

More true today than ever before

More true today than ever before

There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love.

The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.

Mother Teresa
2024 Lincoln City Glass Float schedule

2024 Lincoln City Glass Float schedule

Hand blown glass floats are created and placed on Lincoln City beaches by secretive “float fairies” who leave them in visible locations between the high tide line and the beach embankment. It’s become quite an attraction for the coastal Oregon town with a tradition that has spanned for years now.

Here’s the Finders Keepers schedule for 2024:

  • Dec 30-Jan 1 – Opening Weekend: 100 floats
  • Feb. 17-24 –Antique Week: 100 Japanese antique floats
  • Feb. 14-16 –Valentine’s Day: 50 red/pink/white floats
  • March 16-April 14 – Spring break: 200 floats
  • April 20-22 –Earth Day: 50 Earth Day floats
  • May 10-12 –Mother’s Day: 50 floats
  • May 25-27 – Memorial Day: 50 red/white/blue floats
  • June 14-16 – Father’s Day: 50 floats
  • June TBD – Casino Anniversary: 29 floats
  • June 22-23 – Summer Kite: 10 floats
  • Aug. 31-Sept. 2 – College Ball: 20 green/yellow and 20 orange/black floats
  • Sept. 7-8 –Fall Kite: 10 floats
  • Sept. TBD – Celebration of Honor: 50 red/white/blue floats
  • Oct. 31-Nov. 2 – Halloween: 50 floats
  • Nov. 28-Dec. 1 – Harvest Drop: 50 floats
  • Dec. 14-15 – Holiday: 50 floats

Articles:

Google adds watermarks to AI generated audio and images

Google adds watermarks to AI generated audio and images

AI generated audio created using Google DeepMind’s AI Lyria model, or YouTube’s new audio generation features, will be watermarked with SynthID to let people identify it was AI-generated. Google says the watermark shouldn’t be detectable by the human ear and it should still be detectable even if an audio track is compressed, sped up or down, or has extra noise added.

SynthID also works on images and is supposed to be detectable even after modifications like adding filters, changing colors, and saving with various lossy compression schemes like JPEGs.

This is part of the new presidential executive order surrounding AI generated content that was issued back in Oct 2023.

Links:

Ultrasonic MEMS may be about to take over your ear buds

Ultrasonic MEMS may be about to take over your ear buds

“Most conventional speakers generate sound by actuating and pushing a diaphragm; you’re pushing air to generate sound. We’re actually going to use ultrasonic modulation and demodulation to create pressure and generate sound…this is fundamentally the first time humans are experiencing sound generated in a different way.”  Mike Householder vice president of marketing and business development at xMEMS.

MEMS chips have already conquered the microphone market, making up the majority of microphones. But speakers have to propel a volume of air, rather than be pushed by it. xMEMS speakers going into products now are chips with multiple silicon flaps coated in piezoelectric material that vibrate at audible frequencies.

MEMS chips specialize in generating audible frequencies with very low phase distortion. Phase distortion is the variation in the timing of an acoustic signal according to its frequency; and has been with us since speakers were created.

Phase inaccuracy is so ubiquitous that we simply accept it…. Driver technology up to now has never been able to be this accurate.

Brian Lucey, a mastering engineer on 9 Grammy-winning albums

This means MEMS chips promise to deliver an audio experience without distortion in a way never before possible. If reports are to be believed, the improved quality and clarity is apparently immediately noticeable.

Articles:

Game Dev hardships likely to last 2 years

Game Dev hardships likely to last 2 years

When you move fast and break things you BREAK THINGS. Three offices minimum closed, throwing hundreds of employees out into the most hostile job market in years.

While many parts of the economy are hiring and recovering, IGN did an excellent article on the bloodbath of layoffs going on in game studios the last 12 months. Major layoffs that have continued into 2024.

Instead of the usual knee-jerk FUD and activist calls you see on the topic, IGN did some actual journalism and talked with studio devs. What were the causes as they saw it?

There’s plenty of layoffs due to gross mismanagement and greed, but there’s also plenty that happen because this is a stupidly volatile market that requires mountains of capital to participate in at a professional studio level. For all the things Ascendant did right (paying people well, an entirely remote studio, little overtime until the end, chill environment with lots of freedom to grow, respecting QA, hiring juniors, etc.), it did not work out.

I’d say our layoffs weren’t part of a broader trend. We were the noise amongst a clear signal: a company that was reckoning with nearly a decade of missed bets at the latest possible moment before even more drastic, maybe studio ending, change would have come. I can’t begin to document the sheer volume of 50/50 bets that Relic management made with Company of Heroes 3 that ultimately all went bad.

Some of the points made were the ever increasing development costs and time, inherently high-risk environment in which the MAJORITY of games do not become blockbusters or even recoup their costs, dramatic decline in venture capital with rising interest rates. Others bet on failed premises such at blockchain tech. But time and again, it seems that it’s clear that game companies make bets on what makes a hit title and were wrong. Which is statistically the case. Much like movies, it’s very hard to know what’s going to land and what falls flat. Games are risky, and the lessons might be that smaller, faster projects help you work through the bad ideas faster.

Definitely worth a read. Probably one of the better researched and accurate portrayals out there.