Archive for the Science and Technology Category

VMware Server 2.0.x on Ubuntu 9.10

Posted in Science and Technology with tags on January 8, 2010 by hotpoo

All you need to know is here: http://radu.cotescu.com/2009/10/30/how-to-install-vmware-server-2-0-x-on-ubuntu-9-10-karmic-koala/. Works perfectly… much better than banging my head against the keyboard.

HTC Touch Pro 2

Posted in Science and Technology with tags on January 5, 2010 by hotpoo

Oh yeah… totally forgot… I got a new phone last November. My Touch Pro finally died the great death. Actually, it still worked, but only the touch screen. The entire button assembly went wacko, and it did all sorts of somewhat interesting yet mostly annoying things. Pfft. The microphone sucked on that thing anyway.

So, my buddy the telecom admin hooked me up to the HTC Touch Pro 2. Very sweet phone. WVGA screen, fast processor, lots of memory, and an excellent radio. GPS acquisition is good… only taking about 5 to 15 seconds (depending on my surroundings), and microphone quality is very high… even in windy conditions, or places with a lot of background noise. It’s a bit heavy, but the big responsive touch screen and tilting slid-out keyboard are worth it.

Of course, I cannot just leave well enough alone as I hate the AT&T roms. I’ll admit, they are finally getting better. They are still filled with crap you’ll never use (or can only use a few times without having to pay for it), and cannot remove. Thus, I had the thing running a hacked SPL and modified rom within the hour. Yes. I’m a dork. The newer Windows Mobile 6.5 roms are pretty good… not much of a change from 6.1. A little bit more zip, with a little less overhead. Could do without the stupid iphone-like menu interface. I don’t care if my crap has fancy icons, nor do I care about widgets. I’m not a fan of the iphone, and don’t like that M$ is pushing the interface in the same direction. What do I know, though?

Anyway, I only have a couple complaints in the engineering department:

  1. No action button or D-Pad. Ok… fine. I knew that this was going to happen eventually, and I can live without it. This does allow the phone to have a larger screen size. What about the applications that require it, though? Yes, HTC. I’m talking to you. Come on… not even an action button? There is an entire world of games out there I can no longer play now. You could have sacrificed that stupid little zoom pad at the bottom of the screen, and put in D Pad there. Or a small action button, for the love of god. How about some sort of SW emulated D Pad. Throw a brother a bone here…
  2. No 3.5mm adapter. Really? What year is it? I’ve got to plug my headphones into this ginormous mini usb adapter that’s damn near as big as the phone (same story as the last 4 HTC phones I’ve had over the last 4 years). There is certainly enough room on the bottom for the jack. Oh wait… looks like they changed their minds after releasing the initial version, and now include it on Sprint, Verizon, and Telus phones. Sorry AT&T customers… SSDD. *bangs head on desk*
  3. Why on earth is the reset button on the inside of the battery cover? What purpose does that serve? I always assumed the reason for having the reset button exposed (yet recessed, of course) was to allow you to reset the phone w/o having to remove the battery cover. ‘Cause… ya know… you could just pull and replace the battery at that point, rather than poking the stylus into that itty bitty hole. Would be faster, you know. Oh wait… you have to take the stylus out to put the battery cover back on anyway. Maybe that should be complaint 4…

Many steps forward in a lot of areas, and a couple of steps back. Maybe one or two sideways. Regardless, best smartphone I’ve owned to date. Except, I’ve already broken it. Somehow, the LCD layers separated a bit inside, and now I have what appears to be a minor oil spill taking up the middle of my LCD screen… and it’s getting larger. Phone and screen seem to still work properly, but it cannot be a good thing. Replacement is on the way… let’s hope this one lasts a bit longer than 2 months.

I’m such a geek for posting this…

Discovering bacteria’s amazing communication system (Bonnie Bassler)

Posted in Science and Technology with tags on April 9, 2009 by hotpoo

It’s 18 minutes, but well worth the time. Absolutely astounding.

Random science posts…

Posted in Science and Technology with tags on January 29, 2009 by hotpoo

Repulsive quantum effects measured. Sure it doesn’t mean much for you, but it’s a giant leap for the science of nanomachines.

A poisonous shrew? Who knew? And I thought that Australia had the patent on odd mammals.

Here are some odd sounds that the NOAA Acoustics Monitoring Program picked up. No one really knows what they are, but there is a lot of speculation. My favorite is the Bloop, for this little tidbit of speculation I found on the Tom Francis blog:

The Bloop is an unidentified noise picked up twelve years ago by several sets of military hydrophones in the Pacific. Unlike other unidentified sonic events, it matches the frequency signature of the type of sounds made by living creatures. The problem is that the largest known animal on Earth is too small to have produced it.

Creepy, if you think about it. I’m voting for Cthulhu, but it’s the wrong ocean. I’m pretty sure that R’lyeh is supposed to be in the Atlantic.

-edit-

I need to use my good friend Mr. Wikipedia more often. R’lyeh is in the Pacific. Lovecraft Mythos fail…

Um… maybe we shouldn’t?

Posted in Science and Technology with tags on January 8, 2009 by hotpoo

It’s great that we have the technology… or at least will have the technology soon. Just because we can, however, doesn’t mean we should. Let’s figure out solutions to some other problems first, before we start raising the dead…

Pretty!

Posted in Science and Technology with tags on January 8, 2009 by hotpoo

I really hope we can keep the Hubble alive as long as possible. Or come up with a better equivalent. It’s things like this that make the entire project worthwhile… in my opinion.

Fun with electricity.

Posted in Science and Technology with tags on January 2, 2009 by hotpoo

I’m trying to force-feed myself a bit of electrical theory. It’s not really a requirement of my new position, but it will help with with isolating and diagnosing issues on the microscopes. Thus far, it may as well be in a foreign language for all I’m really absorbing (the math puts me to sleep). With time, I’m sure I’ll pick some of it up.

Anyway, found a couple of youtube videos you might enjoy. One is of a High Voltage Cable Inspection, and the other is a brief snippet of a 500kV switch being opened. The guys that do the cable inspection must have testicles the size of bowling balls… made me pee a little just watching them…

There is something I love about extremophiles…

Posted in Science and Technology on January 2, 2009 by hotpoo

Not exactly sure what it is I love so much about extremophiles. I think it’s the tenacity of life that really draws me to them. If all life needs is just heat and water (and in some cases, note even that), then the probability of undiscovered life in our own solar system (let alone the rest of the universe) rises dramatically. A recently discovered bacteria community living in a mine in South Africa is simply amazing. To quote part of the article:

A community of the bacteria Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator has been discovered 2.8 kilometres beneath the surface of the Earth in fluid-filled cracks of the Mponeng goldmine in South Africa. Its 60 °C home is completely isolated from the rest of the world, and devoid of light and oxygen.

Chivian’s analysis shows that D. audaxviator gets its energy from the radioactive decay of uranium in the surrounding rocks. It has genes to extract carbon from dissolved carbon dioxide and other genes to fix nitrogen, which comes from the surrounding rocks. Both carbon and nitrogen are essential building blocks for life as we know it, and are used in the building blocks of proteins, amino acids. D. audaxviator has genes to produce all the amino acids it needs.

Mmmm… radioactive decay… the other other white meat!

“Fossil Fuel” or “Abiotic Oil?”

Posted in Science and Technology with tags on December 2, 2008 by hotpoo

Let me start this off with a little rant…

/start rant

Those that know me understand that I am not a subscriber to the current theory of global warming. I simply do not believe that we have enough data to make any sort of judgement call on global climate change. Are global weather patterns changing? Certainly. Is the global temperature rising? There is a bit of conflicting data on this, but the general consensus is “yes.” Then isn’t this the precursor to global warming? I’m not so convinced of this, nor am I convinced that this is exclusively the fault of humanity. The deeper we dig into geological history, the more we discover that we live (and have lived) in a relatively short period of warmth in between ice ages. There is evidence to support that this cyclic pattern of short warm periods followed by long cold periods may be more closely tied to the also cyclic patterns of our sun. More of this blather later… I do have a point to make here, so I best get to it…

One of the many things that has been irritating me about the new “it’s hip to be green” fad (aside from the fact that now everything has to have the word green somewhere in its title) is the beginning of the giant government push to “reduce American dependence on foreign oil” and to “create new sustainable energy sources.” Don’t get me wrong, I really want the research floodgates opened to alternate energy. The research community has some very cool ideas that could be come a fast reality with government funding. Supercapacitors (also called ultracapacitors) are going revolutionize they way we use batteries. Personal kinetic energy devices are now starting to show up on the radar, and some very smart ideas in the solar cell department (infrared absorption) is allowing them to get up to 60% – 80% utilization. A bit more money, and these sorts of things could be affordable reality within the decade. Dump a bit more money into Hydrogen manufacturing research, and the next tech jump will be the mass production of anti-hydrogen. I still dream that the Asimov Belt could be a reality. That kind of energy could take us to the far reaches of the solar system.

The part that is frustrating about this is that any time speculation changes on oil consumption, the prices skyrocket. For a short period of time this year, prices got close to $5 USD. They are now below the $2 mark, for the first time in… well… I’m not even sure how many years it has been. Now I know that other states had higher prices, and what we pay is nothing compared to the buggery that goes on Europe. I don’t understand how the prices can change so drastically… I’ve had people try to explain it to me before, but I call bullshit. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but if there is any single body that rules us all I would bet it goes by OPEC. You can’t tell me that an Oil Company that reports record breaking earnings that happens simultaneously with record breaking gas prices is some sort of Supply and Demand coincidence. Bull-Fucking-Shit.

/end rant

The whole point of this tirade is that there is growing evidence that shows that “unsustainable fossil fuels” are neither “unsustainable” or “fossil fuels.” This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t move forward onto other sources. It just means that we shouldn’t kill ourselves or destroy our global economies trying to get there. Baby steps people. Baby steps…

Northern Lights “trigger” discovered

Posted in Science and Technology with tags on December 2, 2008 by hotpoo

Not a new article, but pretty cool none the less. Take a look. My favorite part is actually the concept animation. Glad that NASA was able to catch this data so soon after deploying the grid. All about being in the right place at the right time, I suppose.