Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Friday, 27 November 2009
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Extreme well utilization of space! Basing my feedback on the pictures, I have not seen the room :)
Now you just need more flexibility.
Fixed tables - Reserve fixed setup tables in one corner for stationary computers.
Flexible tables - Eliminate fixed long table plate - replace with movable tables.
Increased flexibility, - for presentations/meetings.
Tall table - Consider 1 x tall table, for working standing/speaking/new seating position, possibly w bar stoles.
Floor - agree w laminate, better for office chairs, light wood.
Wall-mounting - wall-mount as much as possible, gives more space.
Paint and wall paint - high-gloss white, reflects light, gives feeling of more space.
Paint stairs white.
Pipes etc - paint them colorfully to integrate them in the design of the room. (saw this done at a basment office).
Lighting - mix of fluorescent lights (artificial white) and desk lamps (pleasant light) at work stations.
Talk to you soon!
I havnt looked yet,
but we need maps, lots of maps! Cnt have an evil basement lair withovt maps!
Ok a few preliminary points.
Don't we want the largest table in the middle?
Like a kind of conference table? I like that better than it being a small table in the middle.
Secondly I think that 1meter is a bit deep for a pc work station desk. Though at least one wall with a desk could be good for bigger projects. Oh and you forgot the reprap in there :p otherwise I am amazed! You Rock.
Hiya, I think you're gonna feel very crampt in there.
I would keep the table in the middle as looking at each other while gaming is more funny than sitting side by side and lose some desks on the wall. I don't think it's necessary to have all that along the walls.
I think shelving would be more beneficial to keep a group dvd/game collection in and hide away any spare btis and bobs. Storage is always useful.
I think you've got ample desk space with just 2 walls being deskededdeddd. Tx
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Another idea about shorter range personal messaging over the 805.14 link.
This is a slightly edited re-post of a comment I left on Kal's Blog: http://www.invaderzone.com/
What do we understand by the term: 'off grid'? I reckon it means:
-no power grid
-no mobile phone service/signal
-no telephone service
I think we should have a backbone of communication that does not rely on Internet i.e. a radio based network so we could, say, send data over radio links. I suppose this would be very useful if the internet or mobile phone networks went down or just generally for fun!
It would send things like SMS messages over standard radio links using minimal power. So the first thing to say is that means we probably wont use a desktop/laptop because they are power guzzling beasts.
I reckon the minimum hardware needed to do the job is as follows.
1 x arduino
1 x storage card e.g. SD
1 x radio transceiver
1 x hacked ps2 keyboard
1 x small LCD screen
1 x solar panel
1 x battery bank
this would give the basic hardware platform to send and receive and store messages completely 'off grid'.
1 x ethernet shield for arduino
this could allow a full webserver to be run on the system. Now that would be interesting!
There are several conflicting goals when sending data over a radio link like this: reliability, processing, modulation techniques, security and efficiency etc.
The ideal outcome would be twofish / blowfish / some equally insane encryption on a 100% reliable link which consumes the least amount of power possible. Well this is just not going to happen- firstly, it is virtually impossible and would take an absolute genius if not a team of geniuses to pull off. So I think we should have a more modest initial goal:
Get the link working (unsecured, not optimised for low power)
Later development would consider the following issues:
The system is powered on all the time?
Time synchronisation between transceivers.
Send SYNC packets between the transceivers.
Most watch crystals drift at 20us/second so we could use that as a starting point to work out the optimal sync period.
Friday, 30 October 2009
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
The Google Local Business Center is unavailable for the next hour
We appreciate your patience as we perform some routine system maintenance.
More specifically, we're updating 'the backend' (to employ that catchy, catchall moniker coined and lent to us by engineering folks who work on all of the technical fiddly bits behind the scenes but know we communications folks can't very well say 'We're updating all of the technical fiddly bits behind the scenes' and expect you, an enlightened Google user, to take us seriously or at least not wonder aloud ' Wait, what sort of bits were those again?').
So please check back in sixty minutes. Maybe less, considering the time you've invested in deciphering this message.
Friday, 19 June 2009
Latest: made a couple of infrared LED pens for my friend Jesper in Sonderborg (Denmark). It was fun to borrow some labspace at the university for an afternoon.
Monday, 8 June 2009
I would like to see more use of google wave as a tool to create 'infospaces' in real-time. So I am going to attempt to tweak the platform to optimise the initial layout of a wave to help structure the contributions a bit and add some intelligent behaviour to facilitate the dynamic presentation of resources (such as links, talking and research points/focuses/ideas) during the session.
For example, I would love to see a dynamic delicious tag cloud as links are added during the session. This would be a fantastically productive way of holding a meeting? I will need some people to test this out with so please get in touch! It is my hope that this project will be the key to all of the others. I think that once you truly 'crack' real-time collaboration and combine it with brainstorming and discussion, you have a powerful design and research technique/process. I think this could help make rapid progress on all of the projects.
My original inspiration for this capability was a New Scientist article I read a few years back. This is the bit that really caught my attention:
We have our wireless computers augmented by video cameras, projectors, and conferencing to remote participants as necessary.
Whenever a topic emerges in the course of conversation, the students instantly google it and introduce any interesting results into the discussion. As we accumulate data, references, web links, ideas, sketches, computer-aided design models, and other relevant material, we record it in a blog-like website that represents our small community's evolving, intellectual capital. The blog is accessible to any of us, at any time, from anywhere in the world.
This sort of creative practice may not seem very disciplined. It may even horrify those who think of teaching as the structured, authoritative dispensation of knowledge. But it is thrillingly intense and it enables us to make astonishingly rapid progress. It works, and I bet that this style of collaborative teaching will catch on.
source: Higher learning, the Wi-Fi way
I am so tempted to call it: 'brainwave'? Is that really lame?
Sunday, 7 June 2009
In 2008, SSL technology advanced to the point that Sntry Equipment Corporation in Oconomowoc, Wis. was able to light its new factory almost entirely with LEDs, both interior and exterior. Although the initial cost was three times more than a traditional mixture of incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, the extra cost will be repaid within two years from electricity savings, and the bulbs should not need replacement for 20 years.
If it goes well I will look into getting LED lighting for the whole house!
Composting (green and brown waste)
Water Butt (n.b. modify design to allow draining --> prevent stagnation)
Veggie plot plant info packs per vegetable.
Freecycle element: i.e. give away free cuttings, clippings, excess cropped veg or fruit (Wanted, Offered etc.)
Surveying (trundle wheel, camera)
Here is an awesome email from Tasha which will really help kick started the garden project.
Ok so here it is!
This is pretty much as far as I can go with your garden. Below is a list of "beds" these "beds" are comprised of plants which get on well together. It is up to you where you place the beds in your garden. As general rules I would advise no straight lines/borders just create soft curved lines that allow the plants to be placed together and also so you can reach the middle of the bed at any given point. During the winter the only preparation I would do is clear that right hand corner a bit so you can use that raised bed and then cover all the areas you plan on using with mulch and cardboard to keep it warm and help kill off any weeds you don't want over winter. Then when you come to plant you just cut holes in the mulch/cardboard and work straight in. I've read that people are finding they get greater yields leaving the soil in tact for many reasons yet to be fully understood by modern science.
1. Nasturtium and Courgette; the nastrutium creeps and traps aphids, attracts predatory insects and helps curcurbits. (I think this would be good in the raised bed so the nasturtium dosn't get completely out of control (also you can eat all of the nasturtium plant)
2. Peppermint and Broccolli; the smell of peppermint repels cabbage fliesand slugs
3. Carrot, onion, lettuce and coriander; onion will deter carrot fly and repel slugs and corianders smell will help repel carrot fly
4. Potato, tomato, basil, parsley, oregano, mint; oregano provides ground cover, basil is said to make tomatoes taste better and mint repels slugs
5. Pea and Garlic; garlic deters rabbits, slugs, aphids, carrot fly and cabbage worms (sounds good)
6. Rosemary, sage, thyme and tarrago; sage deters cabbage fly, aromatic herbs deter slugs, spiky textures do as well (these could be put near the house for cooking convience or put at random in amongst the beds I guess)
7. Pakchoi, spinach, watercress and borage; borage is a magick bullet in companion planting it's said to improve any plant yield
Yarrow increases the essential oil production of some herbs and can be used as a compost enricher (plant all around the garden)
Marigold produces natural pesticidal in its roots and lasts for years in the soil even once the plant has died (again plant everywhere)
I would try to grow everything from seed in compost pots then put the pots straight in the ground when they are big ennough. Tell me what you think for some direction and we can go from there. We need to sort out how you will get mulch, composting, water supply. Also there are tonns of things we could do in the garden to help make the house more efficient. Oh, in terms of design I thought it would be nice if you made the arch trail with something and put a seat in it. I do have a very rough sketch of a plan but I don't have a scanner, so not much use sorry.
p.s. watercress likes water, thought of having a small water feature? If not you can always dig a small trough for it to be planted in so the water collects there.
1st: digitally controlled relay
2nd: serial port control
3rd: wireless control
4th: web interface
Weather: int / ext temperature, forecast, photovoltaic gain, wind speed, humidity int/ext
Time / Date
Calendar: public holidays, house calendar
News --> RSS
Events --> RSS
Power consumption monitoring: Reverse engineer an OWL system.
Local info: Shop opening hours/location, bus/train routes/times, taxi numbers
In terms of the data and control structure, I currently see a subsumption layer architecture being appropriate.
There will be sensor inputs, a sequencing layer, a behaviour layer, actuator outputs- see digram "subsumption"
Monday, 4 May 2009
A workshop I ran a while back entitled: 'An Introduction to Online Collaboration Platforms'.
To my knowledge, this is the first and only computer workshop hosted by the Durham University Engineering Society (note: I would love to run a workshop on ardunio after exams...if you want to get involved then get in touch): http://docs.google.com/Present?docid=dg4dhwgp_12fpkcbv4j
It is a quick presentation with some links to youtube commoncraft videos and some urls with examples of the platforms in use. Click, watch, install delicious and then please share bookmarks with me! username: samthetechie
Monday, 27 April 2009
Pretty awesome project brief.
This project is just before exams and runs for two weeks so we should really be looking to be working to deadlines and just get on with it. With that in mind...
We are using a software module from a project from a German University to interface Mindstorms with Matlab, details to follow via delicious and by updating this post. This also allows us to control the robot through Matlab, using a serial link over bluetooth.
We are also using Mindstorms NXT for running the introductory demo/example programs.
Sunday, 26 April 2009
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and then at the bottom of the page:
This robot would be known as the Classic 4 Omnibot. This would be a hack of the 'Classic 4' theraputic device I collaborate on at work to control some actuators to make a cool robot. So...I think it would be awesome to recreate: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pprk/
with the Classic 4 as the brain.
Here are some pics:
This might allow charging AA, AAA batteries or portable devices like Ipods and mobile phones.
An interesting blog post by google: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/should-you-spring-clean-your-solar.html
This will be a nice compliment to other projects which will allow integration with various sites like Twitter and Gmail. On ToDo list to write this one up.
Aim: make a web interface for controlling cheap remote control vehicles.
The first stage is complete, the rc car can be controlled from a serial terminal.
Well, I clearly failed to write this up in time.. I cannot do this now as I am back at uni studying for my finals. To cut a long story short I used 4 MOSFETS instead of relays to allow the arduino to switch current through the contacts of a remote control unit for an r/c car. This is due to the low switching current is this case...However, the wiring and programming is relatively simple so perhaps I can quickly explain it?
Arduino outputs (13,12,11,10) are set to digital out. These are set high or low. This applies a voltage, or not, to the gate (middle pin) of each of 4 MOSFETs. The MOSFETs are wired to source their current from the high voltage rail (each of 4 switch contacts) on the remote control unit (with silk screen labels: SW4, SW3, SW2, SW1 respectively). The MOSFETs sink the current to battery GND. The GND on the remote control unit (is also the metal prongs) must also be connected to the transistor ground. You will have to work out the rest until I can do a full writeup with diagrams and photos.
I will upload a really bad video of the initial testing just for kicks...
Here are the photos:
Friday, 17 April 2009
Need some web or IT help? If it is to do with online content for the Durham Law School then you're in the right place!
Otherwise please contact the ITS service desk.
Still think you're in the right place? Great!
If our self-service support options like the wiki and status page can't help solve your problem, then I certainly can- just send me an email!
If you require face-to-face web or IT support then please do not hesitate to come and find me during my 'in department' working hours (as shown below):
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
Thursday, 12 February 2009
Monday, 2 February 2009
I have run into some everyday issues with my ipod. Having found the solutions posted online, I thought I would mirror them here.
Howto: Listen to the iPod and charge from the USB at the same time.
Thursday, 22 January 2009
I found the blog post at: http://parliamentlabs.wordpress.com/2008/10/16/feed-our-delicious-mind/
I use Delicious to bookmark interesting sites/articles/ideas that I come across in the course of our work and my free time.
If you also use Delicious and want to let me know about an interesting article or just some information related to technology, physics, engineering, webdesign, electronics, hacking (the things I like) or things that you find interesting that you think I might like then take the following steps:
1) Add samthetechie to your Delicious network
2) When you’re saving a bookmark, add the tag ‘for:samthetechie’
3) That’s it.
I look forward to seeing what you’re reading…