Drilling Glass With Femtosecond Lasers Just Got Even Better

Glass! It’s a finicky thing. Strong as hell, yet chip it and glance at it the wrong way, and you’re left with a bunch of sharp rubbish. It’s at once adored for its clarity and smoothness, and decried for how temperamental it can be in the case of shock, whether mechanical, thermal, or otherwise.

If you’ve ever tried to drill glass, you’ll know it’s a tough errand. To do so without cracking it is about as likely as winning the lottery on Mars. Even lasers aren’t great at it. However, a research team from France has developed a new technique that uses femtosecond lasers to drill microscopic holes in glass with a minimum of tapering and no cracking! Brilliant, no?
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Decoding Compact Disc Audio From Scratch

In the rare case we listen to an audio CD these days, we typically rely on off-the-shelf hardware to decode the 1s and 0s into the dulcet tones of Weird Al Yankovic for our listening pleasure. [Lukas], however, was recently inspired to try decoding the pits and lands of a CD into audio for himself.

A fair bit goes into decoding Red Book digital audio.

[Lukas] did the smart thing, and headed straight to the official Red Book Audio CD standard documents freely available on archive.org. That’s a heck of a lot cheaper than the €345 some publishers want to charge. Not wanting to use a microscope to read the individual pits and lands of the disc, [Lukas] used a DVD player. The electrical signals from the optical pickup were captured with an oscilloscope. 4 megasamples of the output were taken at a rate of 20 megasamples per second. This data was then ported over to a PC for further analysis in Python.

[Lukas] steps us through the methodology of turning this raw data of pits and lands into real audio. It’s a lot of work, and there are some confusing missteps thanks to the DVD player’s quirks. However, [Lukas] gets there in the end and shows that he truly understands how Red Book audio really works.

It’s always interesting to see older media explored at the bare level with logic analyzers and oscilloscopes. If you’ve been doing similar investigative work, don’t hesitate to drop us a line! 

ArcaOS: OS/2 Updated For The Modern World

For a certain subset of our readers, mentioning IBM’s OS/2 is likely to bring forth a pang of nostalgia, while for others it’s more likely to bring to mind meme images of rebooting ATM displays. Although OS/2 didn’t become the desktop giant that IBM had intended it to become, reports of its demise are very much premature. As [Michael MJD] covers in a recent video, ArcaOS is essentially the latest version of OS/2, under official license from IBM.

The initial release of ArcaOS was in 2017, and the most recent release was version 5.0.7 in December of 2021. What this gets you is an evolution of OS/2 Warp 4.52 that updates the operating system for modern day hardware, although [Michael]’s experiences with using USB and installing WordPerfect 5.2 end up being rather mixed. With IBM not intending to open source the OS any time soon, ArcaOS appears to be mostly aimed at companies and individuals who wish to keep running their old (OS/2) software on newer hardware, per the FAQ.

This is also reflected in the license cost should you wish to obtain a copy of ArcaOS, with a personal edition license costing $129. What this does get one over OS/2 Warp is SMP support, improved USB, audio and video support, along with an actual package manager (ANPM, based on RPM & Yum).

Would you splurge on an updated OS/2 OS like this, or is tinkering with a fully open source OS like Haiku (BeOS reborn) more your thing?

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