Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We gotta go to the crappy town where I'm a hero.

I bumped into the Hero of Canton clip from Firefly tonight and it gave me some good laughs. Of course, if you aren't a Firefly fan, then it's probably not so fun.

Well done, Joss and crew - that was some great stuff you all created.

Friday, November 23, 2007

That's just freaky.

Read this Wired article: Harvard Physicist Plays Magician With the Speed of Light.

... recently she shot a pulse into one [Bose-Einstein condensate] and stopped it — turning the BEC into a hologram, a sort of matter version of the pulse. Then she transferred that matter waveform into an entirely different BEC nearby — which emitted the original light pulse.

Awesome... and freaky :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

To find out what you don't know, you have to do

Google Alerts informed me of this insightful article. The whole thing is interesting, but the clip that jumped out at me was this:

That's one of the big things I've learned over the past three years at Masten Space Systems - you never know how much you really don't know until you try to find out.

We often talk about the importance of knowing what you know and don't know, but sometimes we forget how to discover what we really don't know. It isn't just about thinking and analyzing.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Solar Power Options

A few years ago, my neighbor offered me solar panels that he wasn't using. I thought that was cool and I looked into what I'd need so I could use them. At the time, I'd need some stuff and batteries - that batteries are more important than the other stuff because they are so expensive.

If the neighbor was still there and was still offering the panels, I'd take them now because it sounds like you don't need batteries now. My understanding, based on a brief discussion with BB, is that Xcel will buy any excess electricity generated so there is no need for batteries any more. Cool - too bad the neighbor moved!

I just read about a new option today on Wired. I was actually enjoying this excellent article, Thanks to Google's Tools, I'm the Most Efficient Time-Waster Ever and then I spotted this article, Selling Homeowners a Solar Dream. Pretty interesting stuff: this new company puts everything in place and you agree to buy your power from them at a fixed rate.

Citizenrē - take a look - interesting.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

XO Production Starting / Buy One Get One

I signed up to buy an XO a year or two ago and the time is finally getting close! Production runs of the XO start this month and supposedly we'll be able to buy an XO sometime around Nov 12. To buy an XO, you pay $400 which results in you getting one for yourself and giving one to a child somewhere. More info here.

Yes, they need medicine, food, etc. but help them bridge the technology gap too.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Launch Log 2007.11.03

We only had two launches, but both were great flights. Our first was an Estes Mean Machine, we call it the Rainbow Machine, on an Aerotech E15 motor. It took a second for the rocket to lift off but it then flew straight and higher than I had imagined it would. Our second flight was a Level 1 certification attempt using the Bullet (booster only) on an Aerotech H128W motor. The Bullet flew straight and deployed perfectly at apogee, but had a rough landing invalidating the certification attempt.

The unfortunate landing: by catching the tip of the fin here, it cracked the fin root and will require the joint be soaked in thin epoxy before flying the Bullet again.

Shanelle caught this pretty launch while we were there. This is not one of our rockets but it sure is a nice picture so I'm posting it.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

installing mysql and sshd on Ubuntu 7.10

One of my programmers asked me how to install MySQL and SSHd on Ubuntu 7.10. I assumed that it would be Applications -> Add / Remove -> MySQL and SSHd. I learned that Ubuntu 7.10, out of the box, doesn't have the repositories configured for these servers and also that there is a little different approach for services.

Here's what I ended up doing, and I like it:

System -> Administration -> Software Sources
Ubuntu Software
X Canonical-supported Open Source software
X Community-maintained Open Source software
X Software restricted by copyright or legal issues
Third-party Software
X http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu gutsy partner

Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal
sudo apt-get install mysql-server
sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Good stuff.