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Expansion Board Puts Spotify On The Amiga 500

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No doubt some purists in the audience will call this one cheating, since this Amiga 500 from 1987 isn’t technically connecting to Spotify and playing the music by itself. But we also suspect those folks might be missing the point of a site called Hackaday. With all the hoops [Daniel Arvidsson] hopped through to make this happen, what else could it be if not a hack?

This one starts, like so many projects these days, with the Raspberry Pi. Don’t worry Amiga aficionados, this classic machine hasn’t been gutted and had its internals replaced with a diminutive Linux board. But thanks to an expansion card known as the A314, you could say it’s received a penguin infusion. This clever board allows an internally mounted Raspberry Pi to communicate with the Amiga 500 through shared memory, making all sorts of trickery possible.

In this case, the Raspberry Pi is actually the one connecting to the Spotify Connect service with raspotify and decoding the stream. But thanks to a few pipes and an ALSA plugin, the audio itself is actually pushed into the Amiga’s sound hardware. In the video after the break, the process is demonstrated with tunes that are befitting a computer of this vintage.

This process is similar to how one classic Apple fan got Spotify running on their Macintosh SE/30 with a similar respect for the vintage hardware. Of course if you actually want to gut your Amiga 500 and replace it with a Raspberry Pi, we’ve seen some pretty good conversions to get you started.

[Thanks to burningbroccoli for the tip.]

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hexdsl
15 days ago
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I have no idea WHY this is so awesome, but its AWESOME
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Animal Crossing Producer Hopes Fans Will Use New Horizons To "Escape" Reality Right Now

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And "enjoy themselves during this difficult time".

It's hard to avoid news about a certain global pandemic right now, and while the Animal Crossing: New Horizons development team isn't exactly thrilled about this, the producer Hisashi Nogami suggests players make the most of it.

Speaking to The Verge, Nogami took a moment to talk about all the campaigns and fan requests to release New Horizons early. He said Nintendo, like any other company, obviously had no idea the global events would play out as they have. While it's unfortunate, he says he hopes the game can help players out there who may be struggling during this "difficult" time:

Read the full article on nintendolife.com



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hexdsl
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On the Beach

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I have an odd habit of humming songs that, later, I realise, have something to do with the situation I'm in. I first noticed it when, as a teenage boy, I realised I was both lost on the Paris Metro, and signing the Beatles song "Help".

These days I keep noticing that I'm singing something that begins, "The man from the television walked onto the train, I wondered who he's going to stick it in this time..." and it only just occurred to me that it's an Elvis Costello song called "Waiting For the End of the World".

So.

Life in Melbourne over the last couple months was pretty quiet, once the bush fires were done and the air became breathable. I was being a dad to a four year old (while his mother was on tour), and reading, and writing. I went to Perth and did a reading, I went to Adelaide and drank Penfolds Grange Hermitage 2008, saw my dog Lola and was given a Doctorate by the University of South Australia.

I was waiting for Amanda to return from New Zealand, when we would have a short end-of-Amanda's-14-month--long tour holiday and then go home to Woodstock. Amanda would rest after tour and I would ramp up and go back to work.

Then I got a phone call from Amanda, asking me to pack up the Melbourne house and fly out early the following morning, in order to get to Wellington before midnight the following night. After midnight, compulsory 14 day isolation would be needed.  We flew to New Zealand (Marissa the nanny flew home to Woodstock, but fortunately Xanthea, who had been assisting me and Amanda, volunteered to come out with us -- an enormous relief as I had too many bags, with Amanda's bags, to get from points A to B).

So we landed in Wellington. Amanda did the final gig of her tour to an empty church, and I popped in and read The Masque of the Red Death from the pulpit and, later, Goodnight Moon. (The venue, St Peter's in Wellington, was really wonderful and the people were so kind and helpful.) (You can watch it all here.)


We drove to the house Amanda had rented (it was meant to be her, and her old friend Kya and Kya's three daughters for a couple of days while Ash and I were in Melbourne. Now it was all of us for a week.) And then the request came in from the NZ government to self isolate if you'd flown in from abroad. So we've been isolating for the last five days. It's not hard: we are in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes we walk on the beach, keeping our distance from people if we see them.


In a couple of days Amanda and Ash and Xanthea and I move somewhere more houselike and continue to isolate, and Kya and her daughters go home and isolate there.

And I feel so lucky that I'm with my family and that the three of us (and Xanthea) are together.  I had thought if I stayed in Melbourne, Amanda would be able to come back after her tour, but that wouldn't have happened. Countries are locking down borders and planes are being cancelled. So coming to New Zealand was indeed the wisest thing I could have done.

I'm not sure how long we are going to be here in New Zealand. I know I'm doing a lot of conference calls, and having a lot of Zoom conversations. I'm watching some things get delayed, and many of the readings or talks I was meant to be doing in the next few months get cancelled or postponed.

I've said that anyone who wants can use my books right now -- read them online, or post them, or entertain children or loved ones with them. It seems like a sensible thing.

And I think I may actually get some writing done.





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Valve's card game Artifact is still being worked on for a big revamp

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Artifact, the failed card game from Valve, released in November 2018 and within the space of only two months had lost almost the entire player-base. Valve don't appear to have given up, quite the opposite.

In it "for the long haul" the Artifact team at Valve said in December 2018, then in March 2019 they said how they were going to "re-examine" the decisions they made when designing everything on it. Since then, pretty much silence in public. Well, until today that is.

On Twitter, the official Artifact account said "Artifact: Under Construction" and linked to a post on the Steam page to thank people for their continued interest which had been "encouraging". Not only that, we can expect to see some changes "soon" (keeping in mind Valve Time here) as they're "starting tests on our systems and infrastructure" and we can expect to hear more about what's going on after Half-Life: Alyx launches (which should come to Linux later).

The thing is, I genuinely liked the gameplay in Artifact a lot. It made card games fresh again for me, it was graphically great and felt interesting to play with so much to think about. The economy ultimately ruined it and Valve knows this.

GamesRadar+ notes that during the interview for Edge Magazine, Valve are preparing a relaunch that's so big they're calling it Artifact 2.

You can follow Artifact on Steam. Once we learn more, we will let you know.

Article from GamingOnLinux.com - do not reproduce this article without permission. This RSS feed is intended for readers, not scrapers.

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We Must Democratise Our Economy or Face an Era of State Monopoly Capitalism

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The government is to provide £330bn in emergency loans to British businesses, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced this week.

This relief package – equivalent to 15% GDP – will undoubtedly provide a short-term lifeline to many corporations, but more loans will not be enough to save many of the UK’s highly indebted businesses. UK corporate debt has been a ticking time bomb for several years now and the loss of income associated with the coronavirus crisis threatens to send thousands of businesses under. 

A decade of low interest rates has led to the rise of what some economists have called ‘zombie firms’, which have avoided the Darwinian forces of market competition by taking out cheap debt in order to survive when they otherwise would have gone under. With poor productivity, significant debts and weak business models, most of these firms are unlikely to weather the corona-induced storm. If the economic turmoil is as severe as expected, even better-managed firms are likely to struggle.

Many businesses that are faced with collapse are likely to be bailed out by the government. Richard Branson has already pleaded for a bailout for Virgin Airways, and many other airline carriers and travel companies are likely to follow suit. The bigger the company, the more powerful its owners and managers, and therefore the more likely it is to receive state support. The links between big business and capitalist states are only likely to deepen as the crisis worsens. 

Some such businesses are likely to be immune to the coronavirus crisis altogether. Huge monopolistic international firms like Apple, Google and Microsoft are sitting on massive cash cushions that will allow them to sit through months, if not years, of low profits. Online giants like Amazon are actually seeing a spike in demand as shoppers migrate from the high street to online, and private healthcare companies are also likely to profit from the crisis. 

At the beginning of next year, the corporate landscape across the global north is likely to look very different to how it does today. Economic crises tend to be moments of market concentration – the big cash-rich firms with close links to government tend to survive, whilst smaller, more indebted firms either go under or are absorbed by their larger rivals. The economic crisis that comes alongside Covid-19 will see this kind of concentration on steroids.  

In other words, we seem to be entering a new era of global capitalism: the era of state-monopoly capitalism. Indeed, the global economy has been on this trajectory for over a decade already. Stabilising the financial system, and indeed the wider economy, after the financial crisis required unprecedented state intervention. Over $10trn worth of central bank money was pumped into global financial markets through the quantitative easing programmes of the world’s four largest central banks. Billions more were spent on bank loans, bailouts and stimulus programmes – especially in China, where a stimulus package worth nearly 20% GDP at its peak dragged the global economy out of recession. 

Without these extraordinary interventions, global capitalism would have collapsed after 2008. But even with them, most advanced economies have seen little more than stagnation over the last ten years. Loose monetary policy combined with tight fiscal policy has driven up asset prices without increasing productive investment. All around the world, investors have been ‘reaching for yield’ as returns have dried up. Productivity and wages have both stagnated. The new investment opportunities that capitalism requires to survive have simply not materialised. 

Instead, international monopolies have profited from restricting production, exploiting workers under conditions of low pay and avoiding tax. Market concentration has grown substantially in the tech sector, where companies require total market dominance to generate returns from harvesting user data. These supernormal profits have been hoarded in the form of huge cash piles, rather than being reinvested in production. States have stood by as these companies have become ever more powerful, often providing them with subsidies, turning a blind eye to regulatory arbitrage and competing with one another to attract their investment. 

Now, as the world tumbles headfirst into another deep recession, only states stand between us and complete economic collapse. But with the Tories’ sights firmly set on protecting their friends in big business, working people are currently being completely overlooked in the UK government response. Private renters, the self-employed and those on zero hours contracts – not to mention those forced to self-isolate on our paltry statutory sick pay of £94.25 per week – are all facing grave hardship without any government support. 

The revival of the British left was based on a critique of a kind of state, and indeed a kind of capitalism, that is unlikely to exist when this crisis is over. Socialists have grown used to campaigning against cuts to public services, tax cuts for the rich and a lack of public investment, but these lines will ring hollow in the war economy likely to emerge over the coming months. We must instead take aim at the growing power of a tiny elite – concentrated within the state, big finance and big business – which will use its power to protect itself from this crisis and heap the costs on ordinary people.

We must demand not simply a bigger state, but a more democratic one too. The only way to counter the oligarchic tendencies now emerging within many western democracies is to deepen the accountability of public officials to working people. Government departments, central banks, and quangos must all be subject to much deeper public scrutiny. If the government does embark upon a programme of mass bailouts, the corporations it saves should be run by the people, not just a tiny elite. 

The democratisation of public companies should be accompanied by a wider push to democratise our economy. Moves towards sectoral collective bargaining, as well as measures to democratise our major unions internally, should be introduced in order to curb the massive power of senior managers and shareholders. And a Green New Deal, where green investments are determined by democratically-determined public priorities, should be a central demand for the left as the climate crisis worsens. 

Make no mistake, this pandemic is epoch-defining. It could herald the end of the era of finance-led growth and the beginning of state-monopoly capitalism. Socialists must adapt or face another lesson in disaster capitalism from the right.   

Grace Blakeley is an economics commentator and author of Stolen: How to save the world from financialisation

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hexdsl
16 days ago
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Baby Keyboard Is Really Three Boards

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Just when we think we’ve peeped all the cool baby keebs out there, another think comes along. This bad boy built by [andyclymer] can be configured three different ways, depending on what kind of control you’re after.

As designed, the PCB can be used as a six-switch macro keyboard, or a rotary encoder with two switches, or a pair of rotary encoders. It’s meant to be controlled with Trinket M0, which means it can be programmed with Arduino or CircuitPython.

This could really only be cooler if the key switch PCB holes had sockets for hot-swapping the switches, because then you could use this thing as a functional switch tester. But hey, you can always add those yourself.

If you’re in the market for purpose-built add-on input device, but either don’t have the purpose nailed down just yet, or aren’t sure you want to design the thing yourself, this board would be a great place to start. Usually, all it takes is using someone else’s design to get used to using such a thing, at which point it’s natural to start thinking of ways to customize it. [andyclymer] is selling these boards over on Tindie, or you can roll your own from the repo.

Need just a few more inputs? We’ve got you covered.

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