• Category Archives Life in the USA
  • Weeknotes 23

  • Too busy to do stuff
  • Its been a busy week. Too busy to really do or learn anything.
    I did the final two tests on the Intel NUC and both tests failed to find the hard drive, so looks like I have more than done my money on that one (and the 5 mSATA drives I bought).

  • Weeknotes 22

  • Tesla Autopilot
  • I did some driving over the past 2 weeks. At some point I ended up following a gray Tesla for about – eh, an hour?
    That’s a lot of miles, all open freeway. 2-3 lanes (ie 3 lanes when it was up hill for trucks and overtaking slow traffic).
    Anyway, it was a little frustrating following them for a good while. We both were doing the speed limit, and due to the undulating hills, traffic was moving back and forth a bit.
    I could not put my finger on it, but the guy driving just seemed a little off. Not full on erratic, but the car was just not doing what I expected it to do when I expected it to do it.
    He was not dangerous per say, but it was just off putting not having him drive like the rest of us.
    Anyway, long story short, I finally got sick of the odd driving and so went a few mph over the limit and just went past him….. yeah, now it all makes sense… two hands holding a book and deeply involved in reading said book while I drove past him.
    That’s why I could not follow his driving pattern, he was not driving!

    Same experience on the way back.
    Tesla doing the speed limit. Light rain. Trucks throwing up loads of spray.
    2 lanes only.
    This time when we came up on it, I was looking for odd driving patterns.
    Sure enough, before long, there were about 4-5 cars stacked up behind this Tesla.
    He just paced this one truck spot on. He was about 1/4 to half way along the truck and just stuck there.
    We all wanted to get past and out of the spray.
    At one point it got nuts. The truck slowly moved out of the center of his lane and on to the white dashed line of the two lanes.
    The Tesla’s response (while driving in the rain with 4 cars behind)? Hit the brakes!
    Far out, I could not wait to get past this guy.
    Once again, driving past, we just had to take a look… Clearly playing some sort of game on his phone.
    Both hands on the phone, flashy graphics on the phone and head down looking at the phone the whole time we slowly moved past him.

  • Kabul.
  • Won’t say too much here, but its been a crazy few weeks for my aircraft website.
    Some big name Twitter users found it and started quoting aircraft messages from it. Things kind of blew up from there.
    Yesterday the site had over 115,000 hits in 24 hours.

  • Weeknotes 21

  • Old NUC’s
  • I have two 2014ish Intel NUCs (Next Unit Computing), its a small Intel ‘desktop’.
    The thing is about the size of your open hand. Low power, but enough computing power to get the job done.
    The ones I currently have are headless, no mouse, keyboard or monitor. Perfect for months on end of unattended satellite data decoding.
    In a vain effort to reduce my power bill, I want to swap out some of the older/bigger more power hungry computers for NUCs.
    Seems like a good idea right?
    New ones are i7 and super expensive.
    Old ones on eBay run at around 120 bucks.
    Too good to be true right?
    They come without an OS, so no Windows or Linux… What up with that?
    Pretty simple really, they don’t have a hard drive. Some of the super cheap ones don’t even have RAM sticks.
    I got one ‘tested good’, RAM, but no SSD.
    How hard can it be?
    Turns out… super hard. Like major hard.
    Even phoned a friend. Gary has been super helpful and pointed me in the all the right directions, but I just cant get the NUC to see the SSD I plug in.
    I feel confident that it works, and its just the drives I am putting in are too new.
    Thing is, at this point, I have spent the cost of the computer of SSDs off Amazon and none of them work.
    (I can use them as USB sticks with an adapter – so, eh).

  • Weeknotes 20

  • Programmers
  • I have nothing against them. I mean, without them I would probably not have a job.
    I actually like the way they think and get stuff done.
    They just have this habit of assuming that everyone knows what they do.
    Sunday 2 weeks ago, I was working with one from Germany and he was helping me with some Node-RED code, ie, he was putting it in the chat and I was blindly pasting it in my flows and it threw an error.
    I had no idea of what the error said, it was mumbo jumbo and he was like, ‘just fix it’… I, um, hesitated, and he said ‘Can’t you see it?’
    That’s the thing right there. No. I really really cant see it. Like, at all.
    I use Node-RED for a reason, it hides the code in a flow, all bubbles and they just move data from left to right, top to bottom.
    What he was giving me was Egyptian hieroglyphs, it was not just another language it was an unknown language.
    Fast forward two weeks and out of the blue comes the software I have been dreaming of for years. I won’t go into it, but its satellite decoding software for aircraft messages.
    I’m on the guys GitHub page and cant for the life of me see how to download it or build it.
    Turns out, on GitHub, some of the text is actually clickable. Its the same black/white text as everywhere on the page, but some of it you can click on, some you cant.
    I felt like a total dolt asking him via an ‘issue’…. They just assume you know how to use the tools they use.
    Anyway, Love them, but yeah.
    (I am writing human instructions for the software as fast as I can).

  • Weeknotes 19

    A few days late still counts right?
    Who made these rules anyway?

    Slammed. Just totally slammed.
    3 massive exciting projects going on at work. Lowest miles run EVER – like in 5 something years – in July. Not happy Jan.
    Trying to get an Intel NUC I bought off eBay going at home.
    New software to decode satellite data.