Archives April 2005

Saterday, 30th April 2005.

HRSC High Resolution Stereo Colour Imager

Morning Update... Yeah. Going to have to try to keep this updated! Surely there's something interesting to add...

Ah Ha! Heres something!

This morning I checked out the ESA site after hearing about Mars Express on TV last night. There was a documentary on the ABC about the various mars missions. Very cool, anyway, I found the Mars Express page at ESA. There are some incredible surface pictures coming from the orbiter, it has a HRSC mounted on it. That's "High Resolution Stereo Camera". A very cool piece of kit.

The HRSC uses a special set of 9 CCDs consisting of a single line of 5184pixels each. For imaging there are three channels red, green, blue, near infra-red. Next there are two "photometry" channels, they are used for sensing brightness to determine the composition of the surface these are angled just under 18 degrees either side of the perpendicular. Heres the tricky part, the other 3 CCDs. To create 3D data based on imaging using a method called "photogrammetry" you need a front-looking, back-looking and down-looking image. Positioned perpendicular to the surface is one CCD called the "Nadir" channel or downward looking channel, either side of the nadir at +/-18.9° are two more channels for the forward-looking and backward looking images.

That's a HUGE image, they must decrease the amount of data they have to send, as bandwidth and time are limited. They do this by using a 2x2 pixel summary. This means they average out the values of each 2x2 block of pixels reducing the data size 4 fold.

There are some really stunning images coming off that orbiter. Check them out in the Mars Express Gallery

I like learning stuff. Just wish I could keep it in my head! I hope they find water on mars ... that's the mission of Mars express, well one of the objectives. It is equipped with RADAR that can scan up to 5km below the surface! Water on mars. Damn that would heat things up. It would very quickly start a new "Space Race" I think. Race to mars. Hrm... Mars "look" like a hot planet; all orangy and desert looking. The fact is its incredibly cold, -113°C to 0°C yay! I'm thinking shorts.

Did some shopping around today. We bought "Monopoly". Finding things to do together is a big plus. Kel (my Fiance) and I have lots in common but not any hobbies in common, difficult to explain. Meh, I won't try... Movies, Monopoly and Barbecue tonight!

Time to sharpen my knife and try out my new chopping board. A very nice Wiltshire board I figured if we are going to buy good knives, then I need to replace my crappy, split, warped board...

Well the er... chopping board works, as far as chopping boards work. My "cutting experience" wasn't what I could call "enhanced" by any means... Meh. It seems I will be having an Audience for my barcueing. The flat across the way have like 20 people over on their patio.

Friday, 29th April 2005.


I haven't really been doing all that much. Mainly working and drawing switches and stuff in Inventor. I am creating each component for use in my prototype Remote Release for my DSLR. It's going to be programmable so you can do long exposures, multiple timed shots etc.Once I have completed models of each component I will be able to create a prototype in Inventor to see how everything will fit. It's a hell of a lot easier than drawing it on paper or actually building it to see if it will all fit and look ok.

At the moment I am going to start drawing a square push button that I bought from Dick Smith. I also have to draw the Zippy box I am going to use. The other thing I have to investigate is taking apart some Neon lit rocker switches and replacing the Neon with an LED so it can be lit when used with low voltages.

I have already drawn a different push button; I think it will be too high off the panel though, so that's why I bought the smaller square ones to try. The only advantage of the taller ones is they use an 11mm round hole, that's a lot easier than the square buttons where you must drill a 9mm hole and file or nibble it into a square hole.

The LCD for the project is already modelled. It's an Ampire brand 16x2 with Backlight. I am still thinking about how that's going to be mounted. I am trying to decide what lid to use on the Zippy box. I could use just the plastic lid, just the thin Aluminium lid or both. If I use just the plastic the LCD will be in-set 2mm, it will look pretty deep. On the other hand I could use just the Aluminium lid. That I think would be pretty flimsy on its own, but would look nicer. If I used both then I would cut a bigger hole in the plastic so the LCD could fit but the top of the LCD would sit flush with the bottom of the Aluminium panel; giving me the best of both worlds.

The other thing I want to investigate is creating/sourcing a 2 stage button for manual shooting. I was thinking of using a pair of micro switches at different heights. That would probably be difficult to set up and achieve consistant switching from. It might need a de-bounce circuit as its going to be used on a diital input.

Start A Blog.

I have decided to start a blog. Very sheepish, but why not! At least then I might actually get some CONTENT for the site!

New Site... ...Again.


I had started writing a very basic CMS (Content Management System). The CBF factor became too high so I started trying open-source CMSs. First there was Xoops. Xoops is pretty cool and very happy looking. It works very well. I have no complaints on the CMS side of things. There was the compatibility with Gallery 1.5 RC3. It was there but wasn't very complete. The module to add your gallery into it was pretty old, being based on 1.3.3 or something. The other thing was support. I submitted some bits and pieces on the forum of the module and received no response =(

Next PostNuke. That lasted about 2 hours then I junked it because I discovered Mambo.

Mambo is VERY cool. I found it had a very round about way of posting articles though. This is truly an amazing little piece of kit, every facet of your content and layout is customisable though configs and themes. Very, Very Cool. But not for me. This also has the Gallery Compatibility boggle. Same as Xoops I got it to work. *I* could view the gallery but the filed based users and groups of gallery prevented the public (non-registered users) from viewing.

A week later I decided to try GeekLog. This is a very elegant, very streamlined solution. No fancy config pages just the necessities. The guts of it are configured from two PHP files, the rest is module based. Each module has it's own configs but some have built in config pages. The layouts are set using HTML based themes containing tags for each element you want to load in that particular area. Once I got things figured out I created a new gallery, first standalone then I integrated it with GeekLog. BAM! Worked first time. All I had to do was alter my gallery config to tell Gallery where GeekLog's files were living and that was it. Straight away, no bugs, no issues, no boggles - a relief after all the previous experimenting. This was the *last* option for Gallery compatibility, other than writing from scratch. Next thing to do, once I clean up all my articles that I brought across, is to finish customizing GeekLog so it looks the way I want it to.

I have already done the bulk of it, colour scheme, layout etc. It just needs a few hours of solid "testing and tweaking". I also need to write my "CBF Speaker Stand" article about my Low CBF Factor speaker stands =)


No, not "CROM!!!" like Conan, Cron... I have installed Cron now to periodically update the web usage statistics. We will be using webalizer.

"*/30 * * * * webalizer.cmd"

This entry in our crontab will process our logs every 30 mins.

Daily archives