Showing posts from January, 2017

Pining for a Pinebook

Do you know what this is? Just a regular old laptop right? I was shocked to discover this beauty a few days ago.

This is a Pinebook. A Pinebook you say? What makes it so special? I am super excited about it since it is essentially a Pi-Top except cheaper with better specs. It is an incredibly affordable Open Source Notebook. What isn't to love?

What is in the box? This 64-bit ARM based Open Source Notebook looks like a typical laptop but for only $89 USD or $99 USD one of these beautiful boxes can be yours.

The specs for this box are mind-blowing. The cost is so little for such high performance. You probably can barely buy components for the full cost of the device. Keep in mind that the Pinebook is pretty much just a mid-range smartphone put into a laptop case but even then a smartphone with similar specs would start at around $150-200. I am baffled at how this is happening but I am ok with it.

Here is what it has for specs and features: CPU: 64-Bit Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53

How to Install Ubuntu and Other Linux Distros

I have been a hardcore Linux fanboy for a really long time now. I think the first Linux distro I ever used was Ubuntu 8.04 (what that translates into is 8 as in 2008, 04 meaning May). I had always been pretty interested in computers and technology. My dad really understood this (he is a prof in ECE at my university) and really helped drive me forward in this field. It started off with programming animation software (Alice if I recall correctly) and eventually migrated into more complex things like micro-controllers and such.

I was 12 and he gave me one of the older family desktops so that I could play with it. He had suggested that we try installing Linux on it. At the time I had absolutely no idea how to install operating systems. It was an old computer, Pentium III with 256 MB of RAM old. We didn't even have enough RAM to install Ubuntu, so we had to get get another stick of 256 MB RAM to actually install and use Ubuntu. From there on I was captivated by Linux and the world of F…

Development of a Sentient Power Grid?

Smart grid? What is it? The IQ of the power systems going up? The grid becoming sentient?

I would vaguely say yes to the last two questions. Smart grid is at least at a very high level "making the electrical grid smarter". By "smarter" what is really means is more efficient, but smart grid sounds cooler than "more-efficient grid" so the choice makes sense.

One problem with power distribution and really any public service that needs large scale, large distance distribution is peak needs. Say we only need an average of 100 MW for a region however we only need 10 MW between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm but we need 200 MW at 8:00 am when everybody wants to take a shower with hot water. The power company will need to be able to provide 200 MW of power or risk customers going out of service.

During that peak time many people may be trying to do additional activities that require power that can be done at any given time. For example somebody puts on laundry before goin…

Hamster Hunting

New years is always a good time of the year. School is on break, there isn't much going on besides relaxing and having a good time. Except this year. This year had a slightly different NYE-day. Brittany and I were out watching the UFC fights on Friday. We returned home after and didn't see our hamster Oreo in her enclosure which was weird considering it was almost 3 in the morning and she is normally active at that time.

Whatever. We will go to bed and see what is going on in the morning. So we go to sleep, wake up and check the enclosure again. This time we actually dug into her bedding to see if she was there. Piece by piece we dismantled her enclosure and dug through every bit of fluff. No hamster. At this point we are rather concerned since Oreo was running free through the apartment and who knows what she could get into. We start by looking in all of the obvious places in our apartment, our room, the kitchen, the living room. Still no hamster. We open all of my roommates …