Saturday, 16th July 2005


Finally the weekend!

Mum took me out today to choose Kel and I's wedding gifts. Kel and I spoke earlier and agreed for me to choose some kitchen gear. We are very lucky to have this opportunity. It means that I am able to select stuff that matches what we have, plus we don't end up with 3 of the same things ie 3 whisks or something.

I chose a selection of plates, glasses, a set of cutlery ( + matching steak knife add-on), knife block (paring, utility, carving, cook's, boning and sandwich spreading) and other kitchen gadgets - tongs, a whisk, salt and pepper grinders, a flour sieve and really cool looking stainless cap for keeping wine, beer and champagne fresh.

It was good to spend time with Mum, unfortunately Dad was working and my sister Jen was out. We had coffee together in the morning then after we shopped, we had some soup that she had made for lunch. Yummy! I then fixed some computer boggles and we had some more coffee.

I am typing this now on my laptop across a 11mbit wireless link, two routers and two 100 mbit copper links - just in this room... I was fortunate enough to have one of my regular customers give me a wireless router and a wireless PCMCIA Card. So now, I can recline on the lounge (as I am now) 5M away from the server this site is hosted on and do what I need to do in comfort =) With my TV, my heater and some beer =)

Lappy ---> Router =X=> Router ===> Server

--- 802.11b Wireless

=== 100mbit Copper

"Over the wireless, off the router, down the copper, bounce the other router - nothing but net!" =P 

Friday, 15th July 2005



More GL editing. I am trying, at the moment, to change the way I edit my stories. HTML is all well and good but I want to change it so that I am guaranteed HTML 4.01 standard code in my posts. To do this I want to implement a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) style editor. As much as I like raw HTML, the CBF factor on making a post look nice with tags as opposed to using boring text is very high!

Yay for me and getting things working! I am using TinyMCE. It's bloody awesome! Bold, Italic, Unerline, strikethrough, left align, center, right align, justified, point list, numbered list, indent, link, anchor, image, horizontal rule, subscript, superscript and symbol insertion. Flawless! Plus it contains a button to view the HTML for tweaking. SWEEEEET!

Thursday, 14th July 2005

5:39 AM:
I am up early this morning to watch the discovery launch!

Well, they canned it. NASA is still looking at the Engine Cut-Off sensor on Space Shuttle Discovery's External Tank. The sensor protects an orbiter's main engines by triggering them to shut down in the event fuel runs unexpectedly low. For the moment, no new launch date for Discovery has been set. Bugger! Back to bed for me!

9:14 AM:
Work. Yay.

Wednesday, 13th July 2005


10H Till Discovery Launches! OMFG! I totally forgot about it!
Discovery On The Pad
Discovery On The Pad
Discovery On The Pad 2
Discovery On The Pad 2

Beastie Vibes

It looks like ZBox may well be getting an upgrade! I am looking at a few second hand bits at the moment, we are moving to either a Dual PII 350 + SCSI setup or a Six processor P3 733s/866s. Six processors, yah. Well Overkill is fun. The dualie, while something new and gutsy, is not as exciting as the full on project that may insue from the 6 CPU beastie.

If I go for the big 6 CPU beastie, the plan is to make a cluster for folding, video encoding and also storage. The project will involve building all three boards into one 4U rack mount case or a cube case of some description. It will have a built in internal 10/100 network for inter-board communication, water cooling and some largish RAID 5 storage.

I will try and work on a feature that will allow me to 'bring online' say another board if it is getting loaded up. This will mean only one board will run all the time - saving ~.3KW each unit that is off. It will suck probably 900W when all three boards are loaded and accessing storage.

The other gadget it will have is a 40x4 LCD displaying how much power it is actually using. I plan on building a digital power meter kit from Jaycar to incorporate into it. On the front panel it will also have internal and external network activity. I have a 5 port switch that will be used in this project for internal networking. Each board has 2 100 Mbit ports.

I plan on jumpering one port from each board to the outside of the case for separate network connection as well as one external jumper to uplink the switch. The other three will be linked into the switch.

Monday, 11th July 2005


Lots of roster mess to sort out.

Awwww man! No updates from ESA's Mars Express. No descent stories from NewScientist - Bloody terrorists!

Sunday, 10th July 2005

Mmmm Sunday Morning Breaky:
I cooked a big breaky for Kel and I this morning. Bacon, Eggs, Tomatoes, Sausages, Mortadella, Salami, Shaved Ham, Fetta Cheese. I managed to cram all this - bar the sausages and eggs onto a roll. Mmmmmmmmmmm...

Lots of CS:Source (CounterStrike: Source a HL2 Mod). I have been getting pretty involved with this mod lately and have been playing it almost every day.

Wednesday, 06th July 2005


A new X-Ray satellite is being launched called Astro-E2. It's literally a really cool x-ray telescope. This X-Ray telescope will be much cooler than the other two that currently operate; XMM-Newton and Chandra. These two split the X-Rays through a prism. Astro-E2 will instead measure how much a detector's temperature changes every time a photon hits it. To do this it need to be bloody cold. 0.06 Kelvin! That's cold! Space is 2.7K in temperature. To achieve this, the satellite is wrapped in three layers of insulation like a big thermos to keep the XRS (X-Ray Spectrometer) cold. From the outside in, a layer of Foil insulation, A layer of solid neon at 10Kelvin and a layer of liquid helium at 1.3K surround the inside refrigerator containing the XRS. Very cool. This sat is also going to have a CCD camera and a High-Energy X-Ray detector. It's going to launch at Uchinoura Space Center, Kagoshima in Japan at 0300GMT aboard an M5 rocket.

Deep Impact :
They don't know about the impact part yet, just the plume ("I can't see shit through this smoke!") The plume of material is opaque and they can't see the crater that was left by the impactor. Some of the deep impact team are saying that the nucleus is not like a cucumber inside but a loaf of bread, others say it's like a delicate soufflé. In other words, very delicate and porous. Once they can see the base of the plume they can speculate the size of the crater, they indicate that it may be weeks before the plume has subsided enough.

Tuesday, 05th July 2005


Bullseye for Deep Impact! XMM1-Newton images of impact
"These images, taken by the Optical Monitor on board ESA's XMM-Newton observatory on 3 and 4 July 2005, show a comparison between the states of the comet before and just after impact.

The images were taken in the blue (top) and ultraviolet channels (bottom) of the instrument. The ultraviolet images show the emissions of hydroxyl ions, the direct decay product of water.

About 1.5 hours after the impact, the brightness of hydroxyl groups is increased by a factor of about five. Later, about 4.5 hours after the impact the ultraviolet emission is decreased again which indicates that the peak has passed."

Monday, 04th July 2005


Later tonight we should see results from MARSIS. It starts scanning today! We will also see the Deep Impact mission come to a head.

Scientists have discovered that when radio frequencies are projected at space dust clouds they produce Masers. Masers are Lasers with radio wavelengths. The Maser is also amplified by 5%. They theorise this phenomena could provide a handy way to amplify deep space transmissions for communication in the future. Very cool. The way they worked all this out was to watch a neutron star or pulsar called B1641-45. Pulsars emit powerful beams of radio waves from their poles. Because pulsars are always rotating, they appear to sweep around like a lighthouse beams. They observed the beam entering the cloud and also observed the maser 'output' of the cloud. They did this using a radio telescope in Parkes. Cool. Aussie Scientists discover it first again!

Work has started in the mirror lab at Steward Observatory to produce six 8.4m concave mirrors and one 8.4m 'doughnut' mirror for a new telescope in Chile. This is a massive project that will probably take 10 years to complete. They calculate this telescope will have 10 times the resolving power of Hubble and will be more powerful than any other telescope in the world. This type of telescope is called an "off axis" telescope. Mirrors are placed around the axis in a petal arrangement. In the centre is a doughnut mirror. The petals pick up the light, the light is bounced off smaller petals that are placed out on an arm. The light is reflected from the small petals to the doughnut. The doughnut reflects the light to a central mirror in the middle of the axis and in the middle of the small petals. this project is called Giant Magellan Telescope or GMT.
An Off Axis (Magellan) Telescope

Thursday, 30th June 2005

Ah. Work. Yay.

Not much happening at all really.

MARSIS boom antennas are out!
The orbiter will be going through testing or the 'commissioning phase' for 10 days. On the 4th of July it will start surveying properly. Fingers crossed for water! THAT will mean a big step and a real kick in the arse for manned flights to Mars! Very exciting.
MARSIS fully deployed.

Possible methane lake found on titan.
In a recent image of the surface of titan there is a kidney shaped dark blob. It is speculated that this is a methane lake! Pretty cool stuff. It's approximately 230km long and 70km wide. That's a lot of methane!
Methane Lake
Lake of Methane

XMM-Newton and Hubble commissioned to observe comet impact.
No, there is not going to be a comet impact earth. Scientist are going to hurl a 370kg copper projectile at the comet and measure the light and x-rays emitted at impact. The will tell the scientists about the comet including temperatures and chemical composition.

The comet they are going to observe is called 'Comet 9P/Tempel 1'. It was discovered by Ernst Wilhelm Leberecht Tempel a French astronomer in 1867. Hopefully they don't destroy the comet, I'm sure Tempel would not be impressed...
The impactor and Tempel 1

XMM-Newton is a big multi mirrored x-ray telescope. There will be over 20 major optical, x-ray and radio telescope facilities on the ground making observations. The impact is due for the early morning of the 4th of July in the early morning (EDT). Once the craft (deep impact) has dropped it's projectile it will do a flyby recording data for 14 minutes as it passes the comet.
XMM Newton
XMM1 X-Ray Telescope
Nebula M100 taken by XMM1

Sunday, 26th June 2005

A day of burning CDs and HL2. I must have more space! Hard drive space is vanishing fast!

Saturday, 25th June 2005

Weekend at last!

Off to the NVidia site. New detonators are out. Then, the new drivers need a thorough "Testing" in HL2!

Thursday, 23rd June 2005

Too busy to blog!

On sunday I bought 3 great things. Fear and Loathing in LasVegas on DVD FINALLY, Neverwinter Nights and Half-Life 2. On monday I was given a video card that was good enough to play HL2. No more GF2 MX =) Since then, most of my time at home has been used playing Half-Life 2.

Saturday, 18th June 2005

Up dull, grumpy and early. So much for brightness... The only brightness here is the bloody sun coming through my crappy barely opaque non-sun-blocking vertical drapes. Damn it! I wanted to sleep! Ah well.

9:00 AM:
It seems Josh is having some boggles with his server. I moves some stuff around and wrote a guide for him. What an incredibly exciting morning! I think it's definitely way too early to start watching alien and to have a beer. Bugger. If I woke up at bloody lunch time like I wanted to this would be no problem! However, josh wouldn't get his assistance til lunch time either. I don't think he's awake yet to get it anyway! =( Grrrrrr no win situation...

I have discovered heresy within my own home! It seems that I own Alien 1 to 4 and haven't bloody watched the fourth one! I really have NFI how I overlooked it! That is my plan today to watch all of the alien movies. Though it's not much fun watching movies by your self. I may go to Brenny's yet.

Friday, 17th June 2005


Off to the pub with another tab. Thanks to me. I fixed the pub's digital tv box and they are very happy!

Thursday, 16th June 2005


Tuesday and Wednesday. Pretty boring and very uneventful. They have been written off and will not be heard from again!!! I don't want one day box with "Work." in it. What a waste.

Very nearly collapsing and having involuntary convulsions of denial about the fact that both my trains were on time and I got seats on both! WTF?!?

It is going to be a particularly crap day today, although it's been ok so far, my sales person is off sick. So I have the crap I do plus I have to sell stuff today =) Yay! It's not so bad, only a small store. Then again, I haven't had the lunch rush yet! Although, I have had 'lunch' of sorts. Mmmmmmm cold pizza!

Mars Express! We are meer WEEKS away from discovereing wether Mars has water on it or not! The second antenna was deployed today and they are awaiting telemetry to see wether it's opened all the way. Very cool! There are some more great images on the ESA site from MARSIS too!

Monday, 13th June 2005

Queen's Birthday Holiday. Happy birthday your highness. I get a day off =)

A day of sleep, vegetation and Neverwinter Nights.

Sunday, 12th June 2005

Managed to sleep in to 11AM! What an effort that is for me, for some reason I keep waking up early. =(

Now I am divising a plan to fit all the crap I need to do into today so I can relax (read bludge) on the public holiday monday!

Saturday, 11th June 2005

Up early as usual...
Into some NWN (Neverwinter Nights).

Shopping time "Yaaaaay!" not...

Can't get much better, yummy Butter chicken, OLD, A couch to recline on and some Red Dwarf!

Custard for dinner! lol...