Talk about playing on hard mode! The news this week was rife with stories about Palmer Luckey’s murder-modified VR headset, which ostensibly kills the wearer if their character dies in-game. The headset appears to have three shaped charges in the visor pointing right at the wearer’s frontal lobe, and would certainly do a dandy job of executing someone. In a blog post that we suspect was written with tongue planted firmly in cheek, Luckey, the co-founder of Oculus, describes that the interface from the helmet to the game is via optical sensors that watch the proceeding on the screen, and fire when a certain frequency of flashing red light is detected. He’s also talking about ways to prevent the removal of the headset once donned, in case someone wants to tickle the dragon’s tail and try to quickly rip off the headset as in-game death approaches. We’re pretty sure this isn’t serious, as Luckey himself suggested that it was more of an office art thing, but you never know what extremes a “three commas” net worth can push someone to.
There’s light at the end of the Raspberry Pi supply chain tunnel, as CEO Eben Upton announced that he foresees the Pi problems resolving completely by this time next year. Upton explains his position in the video embedded in the linked article, which is basically that the lingering effects of the pandemic should resolve themselves over the next few months, leading to normalization of inventory across all Pi models. That obviously has to be viewed with some skepticism; after all, nobody saw the supply chain issues coming in the first place, and there certainly could be another black swan event waiting for us that might cause a repeat performance. But it’s good to hear his optimism, as well as his vision for the future now that we’re at the ten-year anniversary of the first Pi’s release.
But if you really, really can’t wait for the flow of Pi’s to normalize, there are a host of services out there that will help you find one. Check out this review of five such services if you absolutely, positively have to get a Pi right now. Just be ready to open your wallet wide.
If your dream job has always been to build space hardware, then there’s good news buried in a recent report on why the NASA Psyche mission has missed its 2022 launch window. Psyche is an orbiter designed to study the iron-rich asteroid 16 Psyche, to figure out what role metallic asteroids play in planetary formation, if any. The report on the launch delay blames “an imbalance between the workload and the available workforce at JPL.” This would seem to translate into job opportunities for engineers — qualified ones, at least — as the review board recommended increasing staffing at JPL, particularly in critical positions like the currently vacant chief engineer slot. The report also blames the lack of experienced staff on flight projects, which of course new hires won’t do much about. But if you’ve ever dreamed about being a rocket surgeon, now may be the time.
And finally, while we don’t generally like to feature crowd-funding pitches, here’s one that caught our eye. Jon George, a former field engineer and system engineer for mainframe computers, is raising funds to help him restore an IBM System/34 machine to working order. He says that working System/34 machines are pretty rare, and we’re inclined to believe him. He was looking for about $1,800 to acquire the machine and have it shipped across the country, but it looks like blew through that goal in one day, with donations totaling $2,559 at this writing. We’d imagine there will be plenty of unseen expenses before the restoration is done, whereupon the working machine will hopefully head off to a computer museum. Seems like a great project to us, and we’re keen to see the restoration get underway.