For [neuroscientist Bjoern] Brembs, older PCs offer another crucial feature that was lost when Microsoft replaced its text-based operating system, MS-DOS, with Windows. MS-DOS “handles data as they come in with no buffering delays”, says Brembs, who exploits this feature for his fruit-fly flight simulator. “In Windows, so many things are constantly happening in the background,” Brembs says. You might want to take measurements at intervals of precisely 50 milliseconds, but the operating system might be able to manage only an average of 50 ms, with intervals ranging from 20 to 80 ms, depending on what else it has to do. “For flies,” says Brembs, “such massive delays are perceivable.”
13 June 2021
Scientific researchers have many reasons for keeping aged computing hardware alive, as Anna Nowogrodzki reports: lack of funds to upgrade, stability and durability, and even—sometimes—performance.
06 April 2021
17 March 2021
16 March 2021
For the longreads shelf: Freeth et al., "A Model of the Cosmos in the ancient Greek Antikythera Mechanism." As summarized by Jennifer Ouellette and a report from University College London, researchers have figured out how the gearing on the face of the clockwork cosmos worked.