Earlier this morning NASA’s Curiosity rover successfully landed on the surface of Mars. How did the NASA engineers accomplish this daunting task? A video by SpaceRip gives a glimpse of the preparation and testing that was required. Read on to watch the video.
IsoStick is a USB thumb device that emulates a CD drive and mounts ISO images. The images are stored on an internal SD card. It can be used for common images like Linux install CDs since you’d only use once or twice. No need to waste a blank CD. Instead just use IsoStick to emulate one. Since the computer sees it as a optical drive, you can also boot from it.
Free applications like UNetbootin let you make a normal USB drive into a bootable device. If you just want to mount the image on a Windows computer try Virtual CloneDrive. Linux and Mac OS X can mount ISO images natively. With the IsoStick, no need to install any software. You can support the project or find out more information by visiting their Kickstarter page.
A great way to diagnose a signals problem is using a logic analyzer. They can provide a graphical representation of data on several inputs. What we have here is a 4 input logic analyzer developed by Vassilis Serasidis. The circuit can support up to 4 inputs being sampled at 100Khz. On the website, he provides the schematics and breadboard layouts so you can make your own.
This logic analyzer makes me want to revisit the portable game console project. I could include the same functionality and add capture/playback type features.
This is a great debugging tool to have in your arsenal. If you’re in the market for a logic analyzer and don’t want to go the DIY route check out the Saleae Logic. You can pick one up for only $150.
Image from serasidis.gr
MIT is offering 6.002 Circuits and Electronics course online for free. This is a pilot program and upon successful completion of the course will be awarding a certificate of completion. The course will be offered from March 5, 2012 through June 8, 2012. For more information check out their website.
Stanford also offers online courses for free. They have several computer science related courses including machine learning, natural language processing, and game theory.
Operating systems have always fascinated me. It’s something I’ve always wanted to make from scratch. Being able to control computer hardware at the lowest level. While looking up how to make my own I’ve stumbled on a few others have made. These OSes bring me back to the days of MS-DOS and Windows 3.1
Here are some impressive operating systems made by hobbyist. They’ll give you an idea of what is required if you plan make your own. There are a variety of operating systems to try from 16 to 64-bit. You can download and burn them to a CD or copy them to a floppy. Read More »
Aurora Mixer is an open source USB multichannel DJ mixer. It’s compatible with most MIDI software. The mixer has 24 programmable knobs, 2 linear channel faders, and a single a/b crossfader. At the heart of the Aurora is a ADG732 32-channel multiplexer and a PIC18LF4525. These chips are used to record the values of the knobs, sliders, and buttons.
Unfortunately, they are no longer taking orders for the mixer, but their website has all the files you’d need to make your own.
With scrap parts, I created a Connect Four® style game using an mbed microcontroller, a cellphone LCD, and a few buttons. The circuit itself is rather easy and the Nokia LCD library is readily available online. With the right parts and two hours you can get this running on a breadboard. With a little more time, you can solder it on a RadioShack perfboard. This is a fun project that a novice can attempt. It will give them a greater understanding of serial communication and how LCDs work.
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Computer technicians use a wide range of software to get the job done. Some programs make installing programs quicker and others help find viruses/malware. Here are some no nonsense applications that work great and will make your life easier.
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December 21, 2012 is just around the corner. A supposed cataclysmic event is to happen that day. Could doomsday be triggered by a shift in the magnetic poles, or perhaps some unstoppable airborne virus? Who knows! Either way you have to ask yourself, “Am I ready?” If the apocalypse happens in 2012 you don’t want to be caught with your pants down. You’ll need to be prepared. First things first, watch all the apocalyptic and zombie movies ever made. Including the foreign ones! You don’t want to be one of the few humans left not knowing what to do.
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From time to time I like to glance at the
/var/log/system.log file on my Mac. This log file lets know you know what a Mac (or any Unix flavor) computer is doing in the background. Today I noticed something odd… There is a Facebook application running in the background! Why on earth would there be a Facebook application running on my computer. It seems as though it snuck it’s way in when I installed the Skype/Facebook video chat plug-in.
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