* Posts by thalass

12 publicly visible posts • joined 10 May 2011

What the world needs now is Pi, sweet $5 Raspberry Pi Zero


Re: Overpriced

You are correct, but the Pi is not really supposed to be an arduino killer. It's a computer, not a microcontroller. But a $5 computer than can coordinate a fleet (flock? herd?) of ~$10 microcontrollers is a damn good deal!

DEATH-PROOF your old XP netbook: 5 OSes to bring it back to life


Re: replace xp with...

Agreed. Mint has been keeping my eeepc 1005p for a while now. Its battery died, too, but $30 or so thrown at ebay fixed that problem easily enough. Unfortunately my father in law is buying my kids an ipad anyway, so I guess I get to keep the netbook.

First rigid airship since the Hindenburg cleared for outdoor flight trials


Re: Rigid Airships have a place

Indeed. I would much rather a two and a half day voyage across the pacific in comfort than the current 15 hour sleep deprivation marathon. Never mind that the range stated on the Aeroscraft site is quite a bit short of the 6500nmi between Sydney and LA.

Even a train-style cabin would be an improvement over cattle class.

Ubuntu for smartphones aims to replace today's mobes, laptops


A Linux-based OS that can run regular programs? If they produce a handset with a hardware keyboard i'll have my beloved N900 again!

A galaxy note type device with a hardware keyboard and this OS and i'll be set.

America's X-37B top-secret spaceplane returns to Earth


Shortly after the footage ends, the X37B transforms, stands up, and walks back to its hangar.

Nokia's Great Software Cleansing scrubs off everything since the '90s


Re: Shareholders?

I had an N900, and loved it. Sadly my phone provider wasn't providing, and in the process of giving them the flick i had to either pay ~$200 to keep the phone, or post it back to them. Now while i like my new android phone (G-Note), i can't practice Python on it, or fire up Kismet, or anything like that. It's not the same!

I, too, won't buy another Nokia phone. Even if they survive long enough for my current contract to expire.

Girl Geek Dinner lady: The IT Crowd is putting schoolgirls off tech


Interesting. I never thought of Jen as a woman, as such (other than the obvious). I thought of that character as more of a stereotypical manager. I am completely comfortable with negative portrayals of managerial staff.

For a show like The IT Crowd, it would be fairly easy to write a female geek character. They already have brilliant writers. But the entertainment industry as a whole has a whole lot more inertia to overcome before that kind of change could happen.

Compulsory coding in schools: The new Nerd Tourism


I think i agree with those saying a bit of intro coding should be like the compulsory chemistry/physics/etc that all kids do.

When i was in high school i took a term of electronics - partly because i was interested, but mostly because my friends were doing it, too. We spent the term flinging solder blobs at each other and being stupid, but next term when they all moved on to other things, i stayed. The bug had bitten me, and now i'm an avionics aircraft maintenance engineer.

What i think is that electronics (rather than compsci or coding) should be compulsory for a term or so in first year high school, just like the other subjects that are compulsory. Perhaps even for the whole of the junior years along side 'social studies' and the sciences. In this general course the kids would spend some time making simple circuit boards, learning basic components (semiconductors, resistors, capacitors, inductors), perhaps, doing some basic coding (python would come in here as it would be quick to see the results), and then in the end putting it together with picaxe microcontrollers.

This could probably all be done in the first year, alongside the basic science/english/social studies/sports subjects. Whether the kids choose to go on with it is up to them, hopefully enough can be covered in an enjoyable way to encourage many kids to take it up. Who knows, maybe some kids might be interested who, if it wasn't compulsory, would be stuck in the jock/cheerleader stereotype for their whole school life! Think of the potential coders who might never write a line otherwise. There could be a Zephram Cochrane amongst the cool masses!

But it should be done as a broad subject stream with many specialised options for the later years, just like the sciences.

Newly discovered asteroid will not ANNIHILATE THE EARTH


Sounds like a good candidate for capture, to me. Though the orbit is inclined quite a bit, so it might have too much velocity to alter. I'm not sure. Obviously less than a year is not nearly enough notice to set up such a mission. Hopefully it doesn't collide next time - that'll give us plenty of time to work it out.

Swiss space-cleaning bot grabs flying junk, hurls itself into furnace


Orbital speeds are high, but the flying net would be orbiting at the same kind of velocity. So it should be a relatively gentle catch. Unless you launched it in the opposite direction to everything else...

This is going to sound stupid, but the extent of my orbital mechanics training is playing Kerbal Space Program. Could a net like this be flown into a slightly elliptical orbit, so that at apogee it's velocity is slightly less than the debris in circular orbits at that altitude. Then at perigee it's velocity would be slightly higher than objects orbiting at that level. If the net/gauze was adhesive enough it could accumulate debris over time. Eventually it could be brought back to earth for re-entry, or with it's large area it would probably come down on it's own.

Of course it would have to stay up for years, and be a couple of kilometres across, and would have to be rigid enough that it wouldn't fold in on itself every time something hits it. Probably not practical yet, if at all.

Also: At 30cm long, are these things based on the cubesat? Cubesat kits are supposed to be relatively cheap.

Nokia posts massive loss, blames 'ambiguity'



You have no idea how jealous i am. I love my N900, but a chance to play with the next generation device, even if it's the last before the line slides into extinction, would be great.

Goodyear blimps to be replaced by German Zeppelins



Personally i'd rather spend a few days in a cabin with a proper bed (even if it's a train-sized bunk bed cabin) than 14 hours flying from Sydney to Los Angeles in cattle class. Being able to walk about without bumping into everyone else, and having decent sized windows to look out of, would be fantastic.

Of course it would be an expensive ticket. Several days worth of food and enough crew to allow them to be well rested for the duration and the hosties to be pleasant the whole flight, etc. Modern in-flight entertainment would do the job for that no worries. And you couldn't pack the passengers in like sardines.

But it would be a great flight. And no jetlag at the other end!