Archive for the ‘Geekery’ Category

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A world without supercomputers

June 18, 2014

Nicely done.

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The jig is up

April 8, 2014

As someone who ran Windows 2000 and Windows NT4 for many years past their EOL dates, I’m not too worried by Microsoft’s EOL plans for Windows XP.

But doesn’t the idea that XP still needs bug fixes and security patches after 12 ½ years seem a little odd ? (How long does it take, Redmond?)

Microsoft to Windows XP users: The jig is up

Starting Wednesday, Windows XP users will face a new world with no more technical support or OS updates. That world could prove hazardous to the health of their PCs, which why Microsoft is advising diehards to kick the XP habit.

Okay, so let’s say you still run Windows XP. Exactly what will happen now that Microsoft is cutting off support? First off, your installation of XP won’t mysteriously vanish or suddenly stop working. You’ll still be able to use XP just as always with all of the same features and programs you know and love.

What end of support does mean is that after today you will no longer be treated to bug fixes, security patches, and other updates from Microsoft to defend and protect XP. In fact, today’s Patch Tuesday marks the last round of updates for XP. If any new security issues or vulnerabilities are discovered in XP, Microsoft will no longer be in the job of patching them.

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Another take on a Smart Home

April 7, 2014

Here’s a video from Honda about its Smart Home concept house.

If (like me) you’re not very worried about your "carbon footprint" then it will seem a little like a lot of to-do about nothing.

But on the other hand, if you’re interested in decentralization and self-sufficiency (again, like me) it will pique your interest. A 10 KWH battery is sort of intriguing by itself, since I’ve been making back-of-the-envelope calculations on how to store 20-30 KWH in a flywheel.

What I’d like to know, though, is what the carbon footprint is to ship volcanic ash around to make cement as well the answers to similar questions that occurred to me as I watched.

Via Gizmag

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Dangerous drones

March 22, 2014

A few weeks ago, Jeff sent a link to this video about a quadrotor drone equipped with a 100-round machine gun. It can also self-destruct, as you’ll see in the clip.

The video comes from FPSRussia, who’s been making videos about small arms for a few years now. (And has 5,000,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel.)

Jeff’s comment was, "Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out get you."


Then today I ran across this hexarotor drone called CUPID via Gizmag.

That guy acting as the crash test dummy has an amazing confidence in technology, doesn’t he?

The comments for CUPID describe it this way.

Chaotic Moon built CUPID to raise awareness of technology that’s outpacing everything from regulatory agencies to social norms.

So now I’m wondering when I’ll see one of these or read about one of them being used here in the U.S.

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A nice piece of work

March 2, 2014

Jason Murray describes & demonstrates a Gauss rifle he designed & built. He posts many of the design and construction details at his Delta V Engineering site. It’s a good write-up of a nicely done piece of engineering.

My younger son and I built a very simple, capacitor-driven Gauss gun for his science fair project some years back. It was on a much more limited scale than this one. We could fire small aluminum foil "bullets" a few yards; they might have knocked a fly out of the air (if we’d been able to hit one).

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Air hockey robot

February 9, 2014

This is an interesting project I ran across at ViralViralVideos. It’s built on an Arduino; basically built from parts for a 3-D printer.

The motion control part doesn’t strike me as too big a deal but I’d like to check out the machine vision part. It’s pretty fast – despite running on a PC and communicating position to the Arduino over a serial port. (The robot uses an overhead camera that’s not visible in the video.)

New Project: Air Hockey Robot (a 3D printer hack)
[Version en español aqui]

After the last B-ROBOT project, this is what I’ve been doing the last months…really fun…

Everything started when I built my 3D printer. First, the posibility to design and build my own parts and second, how could I hack the components of a 3D printer to make something different?

I have seen several interesting projects of robots that paint or manufacture PCBs, etc … but I was looking for something different…

My daughter loves the Air Hockey game and I love robotics so one day an idea born in my mind… can I construct…??… Mmmmm …. it seemed very complicated and with many unresolved questions (puck detection??, robot speed??), but that is also part of the fun…

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Raspberry Assistant

February 8, 2014

Paul sent a link this week to an interesting project using a Raspberry Pi.

It’s based on Steven Hickson’s voice recognition app and shell scripts that run Google’s text-to-speech. Here’s the article at instructables.

Raspberri Personal Assistant. by janw

Last summer, in a small store, I found half of a 1950s bakelite Televox intercom . I thought that it would make a nice cast for a project and I bought it as it only costed $9. It sat on a shelf until I bought my first raspberry pi. After I had played with the pi for some days, I was struck by the idea that the intercom would be ideal in combination with the pi, to build a voice controlled device.

Because of the intercom, the idea came that it would be funny to use the intercom for what it was intended: contacting your personal assistant to get information or to give him/her a task. The only difference is that this intercom isn’t connected to its other half but to the raspberry pi. And that there is no real person on the other side, but a smart little computer that can do a lot of the same things as that real person.

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