The Long Decline: End of the Shuttle Program

For those who don’t know.. As a nation we have essentially decided to give up our manned space program.  While NASA has done amazing things with robots and satellites in space the one aspect that really captivates is manned exploration.  As with most huge projects, things haven’t exactly gone as planned with the shuttle or space station over the last 30 years. But now as reality sets in and we see the ending of the shuttle program it strikes me as a milestone that the United States will not have a way to get people into space forcing us to rely on the cooperation of others (who are not our friends) to do so.  I wanted to share a few things for those who are interested. From Penn Jillette in How to Play In Traffic

40 Miles to the Charge

I’ve heard some… odd comments on the new Chevy Volt and just wanted to point something out. The above line ’40 miles to the charge’ is being said with a negative connotation… even suggesting that the battery should be the backup to the gas engine. The average commute is 20 miles.. and this was the target for the battery capacity… so lets do a little back of the envelope math.

First Encounter With Apple Tech Support

I’ve been using a mac laptop as my primary system for about 5 years now. I’ve had this particular system for over two years and never had a problem until last week. I use this system both at home and at work so it gets a good workout and is pretty important to what I do. I had some sort of power issue last week that required some new hardware internally.

RFID: The Next Big Thing in Retail and Municipal Surveillance

Continuing on yesterdays posting about RFID recycling bins. It seems our own city council wasn’t aware of the tags either until after the Tara Servatius show where she covered the story (after I scooped her army of research interns). Reading a little more about these.. it seems to be a world wide phenomenon as these chipped cans are showing up in cities and many countries around the world.. with much the same negative reception.

Traffic Shaping for VOIP With Linux

I’ve been meaning to write this document for a while… but only just did. It took me a while to figure out how to do this ‘right’ so I thought it would be a good idea to write it all down and post it out here.. both for my reference and for yours. I lay out exactly how to do useful and easy to manage traffic shaping on your linux router to make your VOIP calls sound good and keep all your other data traffic happy.

Doing big things with small hardware, Alix and Voyage Linux

I’ve been interested in small embedded hardware systems for a while. Until recently I was using OpenWRT on a reflashed Linksys box for my router. That worked.. but had limitations and since it isn’t an intel based system that means you have to cross compile anything you can’t find a package for. So recently I’ve been playing around with the new Alix boards from PC Engines. I ordered two model 2c3 boards which have 3 10100 network ports, serial, USB, CF, and a mini-pci slot. In the case.. the boards are slightly bigger than a double thick CD case and only pull about 5w which is fantastic for any sort of solar/battery system (ie for outdoor wifi mesh network nodes). These boards are only about $130 and are ideal for all sorts of network related uses. Noticably absent are: vga port, pci or other expansion slots, power headers for disk drives.

Click to dial from OSX with Asterisk PBX

Here is a nice little utility that I put together and have been using for a while. If you use OSX and keep your contacts in the native Address Book application like I do.. and happen to have an Asterisk PBX… this will let you do a simple click-to-dial. It should be easy enough to setup for just about anyone and installation instructions are included. I didn’t wirte it from scratch.

PCL Prototype Delivered

My pilot controlled lighting box is done and will be installed sometime after thanksgiving at Goose Creek. As designed.. the system uses a small mic placed near the FBO radio to listen for seven radio clicks in a 10 second period… and it then turns on the runway lights for 15 minutes. This was my first project built around a basic stamp.. and that part of it was pretty cool. I am considering making some improvements to this setup and trying to market it to other small/private airports.

SANS Network Security 2005

Well after six days of 8 and sometimes 12 hours of classes and presentations I have returned from my first SANS training event. I was taking the Assessing and Securing Wireless Networks class by Josh Wright. As this was my first time at a SANS event.. I wasn’t sure what to expect… but after experiencing it… I am very impressed by the whole event. While the business district of downtown LA wouldn’t be my first choice for something like this.

Why so Many Flying Geeks?

I doubt most pilots I personally know would appreciate being called geeks.. but really… that’s what they are. Don’t misunderstand.. it’s not meant to be a negative label.. just an honest one. Another blog I read called Undefined Value is by a programmer and student pilot down in Atlanta. He recently had this to say about why there are so many techies in aviation: Underlying it all is a fundamental trust in technology and our ability to master it.