Mystery Project - part 1

posted in Electronics by Cargo Cult on Monday October 29 2012

Clue: it's all terribly British.
Second, newly self-contained prototype for my Raspberry Pi project is up and running! Now I just need to get the rest of the parts. Oddly, the main section can't be found over here.

Sunday Things - digital archaeology edition

posted in Computers by Cargo Cult on Sunday October 28 2012

This Raspberry Pi is well-travelled.
RISC OS for Raspberry Pi released - come see what the ubiquitous ARM processor was originally designed for. While I never actually owned one of the peculiarly British computers from Acorn, I used the hell out of them at school. It's really weird seeing quite how futuristic it all was and also how much of a living fossil it now is. Attempts to find a decent SSH client failed miserably, although the included browser is pretty good. Compare some 1992-era screenshots!
BBC Micro webcam! This is about as much of a self-portrait you're ever going to get.
On the theme of Acorn computers, I was reminded this week of the ridiculous ancient-security-camera to Watford-Electronics-digitiser to BBC-Micro through dodgy-serial-cable to ancient-HP-UNIX-workstation setup I built in (apparently) September 2000, thanks to bits of tech someone helpfully left lying around a university office. Familiar?
Atari ST versus the intertubes.
Have an Atari ST on the Intertubes? I need to dig it out of a cupboard when I next visit Britainland. One of the best things I ever did was not buy a Falcon 030...

Zombie Steve Jobs is firing up the time-travelling lawyers right now.
... And finally, what the hell kind of operating system is that?

Bonus Computing History Museum corner:

  • Museum of Communications - Seattle museum (not far from the Georgetown Steam Plant museum) with vast arrays of ancient telephony, communications and computing hardware. I need to go, with a camera.
  • Living Computer Museum - another Seattle computer museum, this time with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen emptying his attic of antiquated but operational computing hardware.
  • Bletchley Park - Alan Turing, Tommy Flowers and friends showing everyone how it's really done.

Sunday Things - abandonment and auroral edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday October 21 2012

SCIENCE! Also, rusty.
Remains of the High Power Auroral Stimulation (HIPAS) Observatory in Two Rivers, Alaska - according to Wikipedia they got up to all sorts of things, including heating the ionosphere in order to create artificial aurorae, spinning mercury to form curved mirrors, and disposing of hazardous waste using a plasma torch. All gone now...
The Staberinde and friends?
The Atlantic Ghost Fleet - lovely photos of the French Navy's ghost fleet in Brest, Brittany. Nautical rust!
Belgium, man, Belgium!
Nato Bunker Kemmelberg - former Nato bunker in Belgium, for your cold war paranoiac needs. Compare Britain's Secret Nuclear Bunker!

Bonus Pictoral Aurorae Corner: Possibly not created by HIPAS, linked above...

I can't see my house from here!
Aurorae over Planet Earth - captured by the American Suomi-NPP satellite - the sun's been in quite a farty mood lately...
Very much northern lights.
Icelandic Lights - captured by a Jean-Luc Dauvergne, who possibly isn't a research satellite.

SPAAAACE again?

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Aurorae on Jupiter - courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope and Boston University's HST Aurora Campaign. Other planets get aurorae too! Assuming they have worthwhile magnetic fields, of course...

Sunday Things - silicotype edition

posted in Photography by Cargo Cult on Sunday October 14 2012

Everyone else was busy prancing around with Tumblr, Instagram, Twitpic and the like, so I decided to join in on the fun with my home-made Silicotypes. Needlessly referencing older photographic systems, the defining characteristics of this new, semiconductor-based photography are a distinct lack of context, limited descriptions and metadata, and a burgeoning need to tidy everything up and upload properly to Flickr.

Le Space Shuttle

Stream of consciousness photography, pretty much.

Trees!

As ever, there's yet another RSS feed - and perhaps at some point in the not-too-distant future I'll add commenting and search abilities.

For now, just subscribe to the RSS and watch the inexplicable photography arrive...

Sunday Things - media edition

posted in Media by Cargo Cult on Sunday October 7 2012

Sundays are for reflecting on science fiction - past, present and future. Or is that nonlinear future/more-future, ultra-future and alternate-past?

Looper trailer - may contain traces of dubstep

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Looper - utterly, gloriously ridiculous time-travel caper with James Cole, sorry, Bruce Willis playing an older version of Joseph Gordon-Levitt - a production-line assassin paid to kill whoever is sent back from the future, including (as it turns out) himself. The central conceit doesn't stand up to any kind of analysis, but quite frankly it doesn't matter. Violent, stylish and at times really funny - well worth seeing. Even if it perhaps turns out to be something other than a time-travel movie... Rating: nine out of twelve monkeys!
Iain with-an-M. Banks
The Hydrogen Sonata - massive personal influence Iain M. Banks' latest Culture novel. I've only just started reading it, but even forty pages in there's been a conical, metallic-core-to-rocky-surface fragment of planet shielding a ceremonial facility from the remnants of an exploded supernova, a musical instrument requiring a four-armed humanoid player to climb inside it, a Culture ship of indeterminate class with an elided-for-brevity name... Potentially Sublime?
Dishonoured, damnit!
Dishonoured - or 'Dishonored' as the peculiar spelling would have it - hopefully-not-awful semi-RPG occasional-stealth-'em-up from an Arkane coalition also involving key Deus Ex developers and City 17's Viktor Antonov. In theory, utterly splendid - but ever the pessimist, I am ready for abject disappointment. We live in hope!
Edit 2012-10-08: Rock, Paper, Shotgun already has a Wot I Think up for Dishonored - sounds extremely promising!

Edit 2012-10-12: Do you like exploring? Do you like exquisitely imagined worlds with fiction oozing out of every nook and cranny? If so, you have to play this game. It's gorgeous, and is basically designed for people like me.