Pn404

Just another geek weblog

Yeah, we were there

I don’t mean the manga, but us humans on the Moon, from 1961 through 1972. Of course we were, don’t you believe it? Well, someone still believes it was an hoax. It’s not the first time that LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) captures the images of the landers on the Moon, but this time LRO captured the sharpest images ever taken from space of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 landing sites. Awesome!

apollo 17 on the moon from LRO
(Resolution: 25 cm per pixel. Credit: NASA/Goddard/ASU. Click here for Full size)

It’s weird how 40 years ago men landed on the Moon, little more than a light-second from here; then there was the Space Shuttle flying near home (in low Earth orbits (LEO), between 160–2,000 km / 100–1,240 miles above the Earth’s surface), and since the final mission on 21st July 2011, we have troubles even to reach the orbit since Soyuz is grounded, for now.

Here is a great tribute that shows all the Space Shuttle mission in 8 minutes:

What is left of the space dream now? Automated missions, the old Soyuz and the controversial ISS. Besides many cut or postponed missions, there are hopes from private companies (SpaceX aims to put man on Mars in 10-20 years). In the meanwhile Blue Origin test vehicle has been lost during a test flight.

People are wondering if the first man on Mars will be Chinese.

2011/09/07 Posted by | Space | , , , , | Leave a comment

20 years ago Linux was born

20 years ago, this message was sent to UseNet newsgroup ‘comp.os.minix‘:

What would you like to see most in minix?

Linus Benedict Torvalds Aug 26 1991, 08:12

Hello everybody out there using minix –

I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and
professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing
since april, and is starting to get ready. I’d like any feedback on
things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat
(same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons)
among other things).

I’ve currently ported bash(1.08) and gcc(1.40), and things seem to work.
This implies that I’ll get something practical within a few months, and
I’d like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions
are welcome, but I won’t promise I’ll implement them 🙂

Linus (torva…@kruuna.helsinki.fi)

PS. Yes – it’s free of any minix code, and it has a multi-threaded fs.
It is NOT protable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never
will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that’s all I have :-(.

http://groups.google.com/group/comp.os.minix/msg/b813d52cbc5a044b?pli=1

Today, 82,6% of the Top500 list of supercomputer is running Linux.
(06/2011 data)

A large amount of web-servers is Linux powered. But the Linux kernel is running on many small devices too, such as automotive navigation systems, routers and mobile phones. If you are using an Android phone, you are running an operating system with a Linux kernel.

Started on personal computers, oddly Linux gained more market-share elsewhere. Anyway desktop environments (KDE, Gnome, XFCE and others) are getting more and more mature and user friendly out of the box. Or you can build your OS as you like, you are free to choose.
Linus Torvalds is now using XFCE as he dislikes Gnome 3. He is not alone and Unity caused a lot of controversy as well. But Torvalds wasn’t so happy with Gnome 2 too. In 2005 he wrote:

I’ve talked to people, often your “fixes” are actually removing capabilities that you had, because they were “too confusing to the user”.

That’s _not_ like any other open source project I know about. Gnome seems to be developed by interface nazis, where consistently the excuse for not doign something is not “it’s too complicated to do”, but “it would confuse users”.
[…]
If this was a one-off, I’d buy it. But I’ve heard it too damn many times.
And only ever from Gnome.

The reason I don’t use Gnome: every single other window manager I know of
is very powerfully extensible, where you can switch actions to different
mouse buttons. Guess which one is not, because it might confuse the poor
users? Here’s a hint: it’s not the small and fast one.[…]

He used KDE 3. Anyway in 2009 he ditched KDE 4.0 for Gnome. I tried it and KDE 4 was quite a disaster. It became more stable and complete only various releases after. The current KDE 4.6 is pretty good IMHO.

Everyone has different tastes, but the good news are that you aren’t be compelled to accept others ideas: there is often an alternative, and someone can also do a “fork”. Anyway you are free.

A good amount of software has been ported or developed on Linux, so I almost stopped to use Windows.

2011/08/26 Posted by | Computers and IT | , , | Leave a comment

Nostromo Rules!

I use to watch (and to listen) AMV (Anime Music Video). There are many good artists, but lately I realized that among my fav AMVs, for the most part they come from Nostromo, a french artist. He won some awards too. You can find his AMVs on Youtube, or visit his pages on DeviantArt or on animemusicvideos.org. Here is a couple of his works:

2010/08/08 Posted by | Entertainment | | Leave a comment

Space Battleship Yamato – Live Action Movie

While highly unrealistic, I enjoyed Space Battleship Yamato a lot, when I was a kid. I knew this anime as Star Blazers (the American animated television series adaptation) where the spaceship was renamed Argo. Star Blazers was a fun anime, featuring epic space battles and voyages into the unknown, and I loved the opening and closing themes.

After so many years, the show is still remembered by fans.
This model ship is impressive:

There are also modern games featuring Yamato, with some nice CGI:

And now there are awesome news for the fans of the show: Space Battleship Yamato is coming back as a live action movie, based on the original series. It is set to be released in Japan on December 1, 2010, but a trailer is already available:

2010/07/09 Posted by | Entertainment | , , , | Leave a comment

Robot Wars

I miss these old times and the show.

Here Razer totally destroys an “house robot”, Matilda:

For everything there is a wiki, and Robot Wars is not an exception:
http://robotwars.wikia.com/

2010/04/23 Posted by | Entertainment | , , | Leave a comment