64-bit ISE Navigator Not Working On Windows 8? Here’s A Fix!

Hamster recently tipped us to a working fix for file dialog crashes in Xilinx ISE x64 on Windows 8. This issue has really been a thorn in the side for a lot of users, so it’s great to have this info!

Rename libPortability.dll to libPortability.dll.orig, and copy libPortabilityNOSH.dll to libPortability.dll.

Do this in:
C:\Xilinx\14.5\ISE_DS\common\lib\nt64 (copy dll from first location)
This turns off SmartHeap.
This will fix ISE and iMPACT crashes on file dialogs.
This information was found from another thread, thank you howardp from Xilinx in this thread:

Please note: this doesn’t resolve Vivado or PlanAhead issues. This only helps for ISE and iMPACT on Windows 8 x64.

Thanks again to Hamster for the tip!

(via the forums)

Homebrew Coder Releases DOS Emulator For R-Pi

(The screenshot above shows some benchmarks just to give you an idea of how fast the Raspberry Pi, even through emulation, is running DOS.)

A homebrew coder who goes by Pate just released his rpix86 DOS emulator for the Raspberry Pi platform.  The emulator offers support for Super VGA graphics, Soundblaster 2.0, memory, USB keyboard and mouse.  Pate’s previous work includes a DOS emulator for both the Nintendo DS handheld, and the Andriod OS.  Pate’s emulator not only lets you run DOS on your R-Pi, but of course all your old gaming faves, like Duke Nukem 3D and Doom.

Here’s the current status of the emulation:

◦CPU: 80486 processor, including the protected mode features (for running DOS4GW games) but without virtual memory support. The emulation runs at a speed of around 20MHz 80486 (which equals a 40MHz 80386) machine.
◦Memory: 640KB of low memory, 4MB of EMS memory and 16MB of XMS memory.
◦Super-VGA graphics, with a maximum resolution of 640×480 with 256 colors.
◦SoundBlaster 2.0 (including AdLib-compatible FM sounds) sound card.
◦US keyboard.
◦Two-button mouse.

Here’s a screen of the DOS emulator at startup:

If any of you are armed with a Raspberry Pi and want to check it out, you can get the zip here.

(via Slashdot)

Genetic Algorithm AI Writes Self-Modifying/ Improving Programs

Kory Becker from Primary Objects has been experimenting with AIs capable of writing their own computer programs. The AIs Kory is using are called genetic algorithms.  They function much the same as biological evolution, in that the programs they write get better and better with each generation.  In other words, genetic algorithms are programmatic implementations of survival of the fittest.  They can also be classified as artificially intelligent search algorithms, with regard to how they search an immense problem space for a specific solution.

Okay, so we’ve got an AI that can write programs, but what programming language is best suited to the task?  Kory decided on a language known as brainf**k due to the fact that it is Turing complete (it’s theoretically capable of solving any computational problem in the universe), as well as for its sheer simplicity.  Brainf**k uses a set of only eight instructions; each instruction is one byte.  It looks like this:



Jack tells me that someone in the Gadget Factory community is working on making brainf**k work on the Papilio as we speak.  We’re thinking of giving it access to the hardware so we can see what happens.  We will keep you updated with the progress on this and will share the results here on the blog!  It should be pretty interesting to unleash a genetic AI on the hardware and track its progress.

If you would like to try this out yourself, all code for the AI is available at GitHub. You can check out Kory’s original article here  – it’s a fascinating read.  Oh, and you’re welcome to say your piece in the comments if you’d like!

(via Primary Objects, original article by Kory Becker)

NES Game Console Recreated On FPGA

Today we’ve got a great gamer project to share with you in which a dude recreated the iconic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) on a Digilent Nexus 3 FPGA dev board. The reason?  In his words,

I was a bit bored during Christmas, so I decided to construct a whole Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in an FPGA.

Boredom?  That works.  Whatever the motivation for the project, Ludde has recreated the entire architecture of the NES on FPGA using Verilog, and he’s got it running NES ROMs now. The picture at the top of the post shows Ludde playing the original Mega Man on it with a SNES controller.

You should take a look at Ludde’s FPGA NES page, where he describes all the specifics of the project and how he got this thing up and running.  We think it would be pretty cool to get this going on the Papilio Plus with the Arcade MegaWing.  Anyone up to the task?  Hit us up in the comments, and get to work!

Happy hacking.

(via Ludde’s FPGA NES)

Pi Store App Market Launches For Raspbrry Pi

For anyone who didn’t already know, Raspberry Pi recently launched their own app store called the Pi Store.  The Pi Store runs as an X application under Raspbian, and allows users to download applications for the Raspberry Pi, as well as to upload their own content which can then be approved for release on the Pi Store.

App developers can distribute content for free or for a price, and coders can submit binaries, raw Python code, images, audio or video, and soon Scratch content as well. The store is a community-driven portal that anyone can contribute to, and we should be seeing lots of innovative apps coming out for the Raspberry Pi.

You can find the new Pi Store at Raspberry Pi’s download page.

(via Dangerous Prototypes and RaspberryPi.org)