german Citizens’ band radio over the internet…Freies Funknetz!

The internet makes things possible some people dreamt of for years. One of these things is the possibility to stream live-voice-chat over the internet. Many people used the citizens’ band radio – CB radio – for the last decades:

Citizens’ Band radio (CB) is, in many countries, a system of short-distance, simplex[1] radio communications between individuals on a selection of 40 channels within the 27 MHz (11 meter) band. The CB radio service should not be confused with FRS, GMRS, MURS, or amateur (“ham”) radio. Similar personal radio services exist in other countries, with varying requirements for licensing and differing technical standards. In many countries, CB does not require a license and, unlike amateur radio, it may be used for business as well as personal communications.”

For several years now there is a group of people from virtually everywhere in germany who connect their CB radios to the internet – they link their “gateways” together using a software normally used by online gamers called “TeamSpeak”. All you have to do to take a look is to read this short how-to and follow the steps.

Here’s a sneak-peak at the current status of the server:

There’s even a livestream available (but sometimes not working):

Source 1: http://www.freiesfunknetz.com/
Source 2: http://www.goteamspeak.com/

watch NASA TV live streams at higher bitrates (quality)

They landed on the mars again…and they will launch a space shuttle within the next 22 hours if everything works out as planned. So maybe you, just like me, are interested in getting some live-information about that.

There’s NASA TV but on the NASA website you only get low (150kbit) bitrate streams. If you want better quality, just try these links:

Of course you can always go with the standard website livestream…

how about 16.8 Terabytes of Mars? (the planet!)

You do realise that, despite that fact no mass media is talking about it, there are still robots around and on Mars doing research for the last years? Yeah you’re right: Spirit and Opportunity are still well and alive on Mars. There were several other missions and this newly released 9.9 Tbytes of data (adds up to 16.8 Tbytes) is just fantastic stuff.

See an avalanche on Mars:

PSP_007338_2640

“How much data was released? 2422 observations, making up 9.9 terabytes “in over 225,599 standard PDS and extras products” according to our database specialist. This was for data between orbit ranges 4400 and 6999, or between July 05, 2007 and January 23, 2008 (which is a lot of loops around the Red Planet!)

We have now released a total of 16.8 TB worth of data, or nearly 500,000 image products. Please check out the latest images on the HiRISE website on the “March 2008: New HiRISE Images Released to the Planetary Data System” page.”

Source 1: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/HiBlog/?p=147
Source 2: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/PSP_007338_2640
Source 3: http://pds-imaging.jpl.nasa.gov/
Source 4: http://hirise-pds.lpl.arizona.edu/PDS/
Source 5: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html

On my way to Cambridge…

Since two of my colleagues wrote about their work at Microsoft Research I wanted to write at least something about it…just like Andreas said:

“One reason I recently don’t blog too much is the fact that I am a bit restricted in what I can tell. Being involved in some exciting projects, the confidentiality of these projects does not allow much publicity.”

So really the only thing I can write about is that I am honored to work with these great people and being part of the process of creating great software.

So – for now I am on my way back to Cambridge – the next article will be written from there…

a320

Of course I will write about all the things when I am allowed to do so…

Source 1: Martin Calsyn
Source 2: Andreas Heil
Source 3: http://research.microsoft.com/ero/

the end of planet earth is near…or something

Oh well, there’s this “Current Map of The Solar System” by the Armagh Observatory:

“The image below is an up to date map of the solar system displaying the orbits of the terrestrial planets and the estimated position of thousands of known asteroids. This diagram is missing comets, space probes and, of course, the undiscovered asteroids. Even conservative estimates would suggest that for every asteroid on a dangerous Earth-Approaching orbit there are hundreds more which have yet to be discovered. There are over 300 known objects on Earth-crossing orbits, the majority of which are potentially capable of causing death and destruction on a scale unheard of in human history.”

neostorm

To make this clear: red and yellow = (possibly) EVIL! ZOMG!

“Small green points mark the location of asteroids which do not approach close to the Earth right now. This does not exclude the possibility that they will do so in the future but generally we can consider the Earth to be safe from these for the near future. Yellow objects (with the exception of the one in the middle which we astronomers call the Sun ;-) are Earth approaching asteroids which are called Amors after the first one discovered. Amors have orbits which come close to the Earth but they don’t cross the Earth’s orbit. However, their orbits are close enough to the Earth that they could potentially be perturbed by the influence of the planets and begin to cross the Earth’s orbit in a short time. There are over 300 known objects on such orbits.

Finally the red boxes mark the location of the Apollo and Aten asteroids. These cross the Earth’s orbit and are the most directly identifiable astronomical threat for the near future.”

Source: http://szyzyg.arm.ac.uk/~spm/neo_map.html

private space mission (the one with 20 megapixels…)

It just seems like make is going to get some interesting pictures tomorrow:

“We’re using weather balloons to go up to approximately 100k feet armed with 4 cameras… 20 megapixels of camera! We’ll be taking shots every 7 seconds for two hours and measuring the temperature with the Make: controller and thermistors!

It took 16 people working on this, countless cases of mountain dew, lots of take-out food, and a lot of sleepless nights, and we intend to fly Sunday!

Cloud cover, snow, and mechanical failure may postpone the launch, but we’re ready to give it our best shot this weekend.

In this Make: Video Podcast, you’ll learn all the details of how to put a weather balloon up into space! The weather balloon will make it up to about 100,000 feet. That’s almost 20 miles up and more than twice the height of being in an airplane. It’s high enough that the sky is black and you can see the curvature of the earth.”

So be sure to check back if you’re interested.

behold the scientify beauty! one of the ten worlds best webcams.

Oh well it’s no big deal really :-). The theory behind it was discoverd in 1851 and it proofs that the earth rotates under the pendulum. Uh, of course you can grab some more sophisticated theory insights here. So what’s up with that thing? It was voted to one of the ten best webcams on earth. Go and have a look.

Source: EarthCam.com Top Ten
Source: Webcam

quasi live feed from planet earths orbit…

“MIRAVI stands for MERIS Images RApid VIsualization and it’s a data-driven system for real time image rendering and quality analysis. Those images, though fascinating, are not suitable for scientific use. Scientists usually prefer to work with MERIS data products, which fully exploit the 15 spectral bands of the instrument, and which are generated with sophisticated algorithms.

MIRAVI generates the images directly from the MERIS raw data (i.e. the Level 0 data), usually available within 2 hours from data acquisition, depending whether the raw data have been transmitted directly to ground stations, or first recorded onboard then transmitted to ground stations.

The MIRAVI image processing does not intend to provide a very accurate geolocation or calibration. The high geolocation accuracy is achieved within the standard MERIS data products (less than ½ pixels).

MIRAVI generates the images using the MERIS Full Resolution (FR) mode (resolution about 260 m) which is activated systematically over land and coastal areas of Europe, Africa and Asia, and non-systematically over America. In its Reduced Resolution (RR) mode (resolution about 1200 m), MERIS operates systematically along its orbit illuminated by the sun.”

Source: http://miravi.eo.esa.int/en/

granny in space, what’s it to live 10 times longer than supposed?

Do you remember the landing of the two mars exploration vehicles calles Spirit and Opportunity in 2004? Well I think you do. They were built to last 90 days. But it’s now more than 1000 days – more than 10 times the timespan.

Well well, the two sneaky space travellers are kind of tattered – ones wheel isn’t working anymore and the other one had to get his brain “reformated” several times…but all over all they are in good shape for very old fellas.

Source: http://marsrovers.nasa.gov/home/

Go,Go, Gadget-o-Power-Suit!!

Everybody will need one of these when the guardians attack zion…

“In 1990, we started to develop a Wearable Power Assist Suit, and in 1991 we fabricated a Powered Arm constructing the master and slave system in one unit by utilizing a rubber tube air actuator and sensing cuff, [ref. 1]. In 1994, we developed a Wearable Powered Suit constructed with powered arms, a powered waist, and powered legs [ref. 2], and finally in 2002, we developed a Stand Alone Type Wearable Power Assist Suit [ref. 3]. This suit was composed of newly developed air bag actuators driven by micro air pumps, newly developed muscle hardness sensors, and an embedded micro computer. The muscle hardness sensor was developed for detecting the muscle force driving joints. The micro computer was for calculation of the necessary joints torques to lift heavy objects. The calculation equations was derived by body mechanics. This suit could run continuously 20 minutes with 12 volts Ni-Cd portable batteries. The latest power assist suit can generate higher assist power, and is composed of compact body, a compact embedded micro computer, small and flat rotary sensors, and has newly designed muscle sensors which are embedded in 3-D mesh [ref. 4].”

Source: http://www.we.kanagawa-it.ac.jp/~yamamoto_lab/pas/index.htm

get me a Cerbera or a Sagaris…you decide

I do like two car manufacturers (well, their cars to be precise) more than all the others. One of them is Mercedes-Benz and the other is…TVR. Yes, the brits.

They make great looking powerful sports cars and I hope one day one will be mine ;) They are quite affordable compared to other supercars – for example you can get a brand new TVR Sagaris (4l V6) for 80k EURO…a pre owned 2004 Cerbera (4.5l V8) comes for about 48k EURO…did I mention they do not come below 380 bhp and weigh as much as two packs of chewing gum? (I’ll have to pay royalties to Jeremy Clarkson for that…damn!).

The fact is that the Cerbera has gone out of official production in 2004. But now TVR is auctioning the last made Cerbera on the Internet:

Yes, you can get that brand new, pepper white, 420 bhp supercar…just sign up and bid…well if you have the money (which I don’t)…

Beside the Cerbera I fell in love with the Sagaris…look how gorgeous it is:


raaawwrrr!!

I just found the sagaris video:

If you want to buy me one…contact me :-)

Source 1: http://www.thelastcerbera.com/
Source 2: http://www.tvr.co.uk/overview_sagaris.php

how Google Map/Earth works…

I want to share with you a fantastic page where Pascal Buire discusses his investigations on Google Earths tiling and algorithms:

“This is my analyse about how google map works, et specially how the tiles are encoded. Google map uses pre-rendered tiles that can be obtained with a simple url. This article explains how to build the url for a tile from its geo coordinates (latitude/longitude)”

Google Earth mirroring anyone?

Source: http://www.codeproject.com/useritems/googlemap.asp

revisited: what’s the size of the earth compared to…and why earth needs a haircut…

A couple of days ago I wrote about a website that has some interesting pictures of the planets of our solar system compared to each other in size. The idea was great but the quality of the pictures was bad. So we decided to push our knowledge about 3D tools a bit and render our own high-quality version.

But first a before-after comparision:


before

Aaaaaand:


after

Tell us what you think of it!

We will add some more pictures in the next hours, beside that a short movie in 720p is in the rendering process at the moment.

Last time I worked with 3D tools they were called “3D Studio Max 3.0″…which is quite a while ago. 3D Studios current version number is 8… You can grab your own trial version here.

We actually experimented a lot with the tools…look what earth became after just seconds of play:


yes,we even hair-styled earth!

Source 1: original article and picture
Source 2: 3D Studio MAX trial

spot the IIS…the space station not the web server…

“A number of amateur astronomers and Space Station enthusiasts regularly take photos as ISS rises above the horizon in westerly direction and sets towards the East. In response to a recent article on this website, you sent us some of your ISS images. A selection of your photos is presented below.”

Source: http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMY46XAIPE_index_0.html

cracking galileo positioning system and talking about it…

The americans managed to crack…well they call it different but the fact remains that they cracked the PRN codes of the european global non-military positioning system called “Galileo

“Because GPS satellites, which were put into orbit by the Department of Defense, are funded by U.S. taxpayers, the signal is free — consumers need only purchase a receiver. Galileo, on the other hand, must make money to reimburse its investors — presumably by charging a fee for PRN codes.”

Source 1: http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/521790/?sc=rsla

Source 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_positioning_system