Archive for month: May, 2008

Another look at Yubileiny

May 29, 2008 | Amateur Radio, Amateur Satellite | By: Mark VandeWettering

In an earlier posting, I presented a recording that I did of the new Russian satellite Yubileiny, also designated RS-30. I finally found my spectrogram code, and made a picture of the resulting recording. It’s kind of big, but click the thumbnail below if you want to have a peek: The image consists of 27 […]


May 29, 2008 | General | By: Mark VandeWettering

Platypus is a system that can convert scripts (shell, Python or even perl) into something that looks a lot more like a real Mac application. I have a number of potential uses for it to pretty up some of my scripts, so I’m bookmarking this for now. Sveinbjorn Thordarsons Website – Platypus

Movie Reviews in One Line

May 28, 2008 | General | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’ve seen a bunch of movies lately. Rather than give details of each, I just thought I’d give a single line review of each. Iron Man: I was wildly entertained, but inexplicably couldn’t tell you why afterwards, other than to say that Robert Downey Jr. is great onscreen. Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian: Snoozefest, lots […]

Another try at recording Yubileiny

May 27, 2008 | Amateur Radio, Amateur Satellite | By: Mark VandeWettering

Well, by the time I got home tonight, there was going to only be a single low pass of the Yubileiny satellite to the west out over the Pacific ocean, but I decided to give it a try anyway. It’s maximum altitude for this pass was about 16 degrees. I started this recording pretty much […]

Phoenix to land today…

May 25, 2008 | Space | By: Mark VandeWettering

The Phoenix probe to Mars should land today around 6:00EDT. It’s a lander designed to dig in the Martian top soil to look for sub surface ice that the Mars Observer’s data indicates is just below the surface in the northern polar regions. It will subject this soil and ice mixture to a battery of […]

Yahoo! Hack Day

May 25, 2008 | General | By: Mark VandeWettering

I attended the first one, I’ve pencilled in the next one on my calendar.

“Yubileiny” is a next generation small satellite

May 24, 2008 | Amateur Radio | By: Mark VandeWettering

The Russians, in commemoration of their 50th anniversary of their launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, commissioned a small satellite called Yubileiny which apparently launched in the last day. Members of the amsat-bb list have been picking up CW telemetry and some digital signals from the bird. It sounds really interesting, and includes a […]

Six – A Hex playing program for KDE

May 23, 2008 | General | By: Mark VandeWettering

Well, all this reading about the board game Hex made me want to play. Six is an interesting, capable hex player available for Linux. It’s really very slick, it plays on any board size from 4×4 to 14×14, and at multiple difficulty levels. I’ve only played a few games, but have already learned a lot. […]


May 20, 2008 | Games and Diversions | By: Mark VandeWettering

Work on my checkers program milhouse has stalled a bit: I have a problem in the transposition tables that is fighting against my endgame database attempt, and it’s subtle enough that I haven’t had time to work it out. I’ve been relaxing by reading some more about other board games, and have begun to read […]

Spying on Computer Monitors Off Reflective Objects

May 20, 2008 | Security | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’ve bitched before about CSI and their use of “video enhancement” to read displays and the like using low resolution security cameras reflecting off objects. It’s interesting to see what is actually possible using this basic idea though. Link courtesy of Bruce Schneier’s security blog: Schneier on Security: Spying on Computer Monitors Off Reflective Objects

Animatronic WALL-E Spotted in LA

May 16, 2008 | General, Pixar | By: Mark VandeWettering

As we get closer to the Wall-E premiere, you’ll probably be seeing this animatronic version of Wall-E in various promotional spots, and eventually deployed at the theme parks. One of my good friends at Pixar, Tom Duff helped work on the software to help control him (a very cool project) and so it’s good to […]

Easy to construct, 18×18 magic square.

May 15, 2008 | General | By: Mark VandeWettering

If you take the decimal expansion of 1/19, 2/19… up to 18/19, and write out the first 18 digits of the decimal expansion of each, you get: 0 5 2 6 3 1 5 7 8 9 4 7 3 6 8 4 2 1 | 81 1 0 5 2 6 3 1 5 […]

25 Cent I2C Adapter

May 14, 2008 | General | By: Mark VandeWettering

I doubt I’ll ever need this, but I still think it’s kind of neat. I2C is a two wire serial bus that is used in many microcontrollers to access peripheral devices using only a couple of wires. This hack notes that most modern graphics cards communicate with monitors in a similar way using a technology […]

Chinook Endgame Database working (pretty much)…

May 13, 2008 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

Well, in a fit of productivity (or what passes for productivity when you are working on useless pet projects), I decided to get the Chinook 6 piece endgame database working in my checkers program. How hard could it be? They give you code to access it after all. A few simple adaptations, and…. Well, it’s […]

On the futility of expert checkers play through deep searches alone…

May 11, 2008 | Checkers | By: Mark VandeWettering

I really can’t put off creating an endgame database for my checkers program for much longer. I’ve been studying the so-called “First Position” for a while, and it’s basically hopeless to find the way through to the win for white from this position: White +——–+ | – – – -| |- – – R | […]