January 27, 2010
News - Enginursday - Three Child…
about a year ago
Apparently it had to do with the wear and tear on the type of connector they used. Here’s an in-depth look at the issue : http://mentalfloss.com/article/12589/did-blowing-nintendo-cartridges-really-help
There’s also this:
For the most part, it didn’t do anything. When the system didn’t work, most people’s natural assumption was that the connectors were dirty. The most logical way to clean something like cartridge connectors was to blow on it. They also sold cleaning kits, but in my experience they weren’t actually that helpful.
The problem wasn’t the cartridges, but the connectors in the NES itself. According to Wikipedia, the problem is due to Nintendo’s use of a “zero-insertion force” cartridge connector:
When a user inserted the cartridge into the NES, the force of pressing the cartridge down and into place bent the contact pins slightly, as well as pressing the cartridge’s ROM board back into the cartridge itself. Repeated insertion and removal of cartridges caused the pins to wear out relatively quickly and the ZIF design proved far more prone to interference by dirt and dust than an industry-standard card edge connector. Exacerbating the problem was Nintendo’s choice of materials; the slot connector that the cartridge was actually inserted into was highly prone to corrosion.
Further, Nintendo used the “10NES” lockout chip, which required constant communication with the cartridge to authenticate it as a legal cartridge. When it didn’t have the communication, the result was “the blinking red power light, in which the system appears to turn itself on and off repeatedly because the 10NES would reset the console once per second. … Alternatively, the console would turn on but only show a solid white, gray, or green screen.”
I actually didn’t know either, so I went digging around myself. I’ve known for a while (after some practical experience) that that the blowing idea was bogus, but I didn’t know that the failure reasons were so well documented.
News - According to Pete: August…
about 2 years ago
I was doing a UAV project way back in college that involved GPS tracking as the primary guidance system. The problem back then was that accuracy wasn’t as good as it is now, so I had the idea of using three GPS units to use to qualify against each other and increase the accuracy down to a finer pin point. I even enlisted the help of a mathematician to see if there would be any advantage to this and what the math would look like. At first blush it’s possible you could increase accuracy by adding more GPS data inputs and simply averaging the resulting data. However, this is a full blown project in it’s own right and may yield totally different results than something a simple average-of-the-data can yield. There’s already an underlying and complicated set of filtering and bias algorithms that are going on in order for the device to spit out that GPS data. I never went down that rabbit trail though, so that’s where my story ends. I just thought it was worth mentioning that it would be worth trying but starts to stray into yak shaving territory. I’ll also note that I was trying to improve horizontal accuracy and that vertical accuracy was (is?) less accurate than the horizontal data.
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