May 21 2011

Wireless Electric Car Charging

Category: HardwareTeknovis @ 09:36

I recently wrote about the first electric car that is really exciting me (see Nissan Leaf). This week I read about some interesting wireless charging technology in Toyota invests in wireless car charging.

It seems very interesting, although I am not sure if its benefits (convenience and perhaps security) outweigh the loss of efficiency. Certainly one of my main considerations in purchasing an electric car would be to obtain the maximum efficiency possible!


Apr 29 2011

The Future of Television

Category: HardwareTeknovis @ 16:22

Interesting article about the future of television: The Future of Television: Why You Won’t Recognize Your Television Just a Few Years from Now.

(The website looks very old-fashioned!)


Feb 17 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Category: Android,Hardware,iPadTeknovis @ 22:19

It certainly has been an interesting week from a tablet point-of-view. Firstly, I borrowed an iPad, and I have been giving it a good testing. The user interface is very nice, and the browsing experience has been excellent. I only encountered one website where the Javascript driven menus would not work for some reason. My only complaint with the device is that it starts to feel rather heavy when resting on your stomach :o

I also got to play with a Motorola Xoom (see Motorola Xoom for more details). During my brief encounter the device seemed to be as desirable as I had imagined ;)

The other big development (from the 10″ tablet point-of-view) was that Samsung launched the Galaxy Tab 10.1. For more details see the images or the features.

Galaxy Tab 10.1

Galaxy Tab 10.1

I spent some time playing with it also, and I cannot say that I noticed any significant difference between this and the Motorola Xoom. Perhaps this is not surprising given that they are both based on the same chipset, and they both have the same operating system.

I did read some complaints about the plastic build, but I did not find this problematic. Indeed, I liked the circular recessed area on the back because it made holding the device from any angle very comfortable.

Perhaps the only disappointment this week was that HTC did not launch a 10″ tablet :|

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Jan 07 2011

Motorola Xoom

Category: Android,HardwareTeknovis @ 19:15

A belated merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! I had a great one, and hence I have not been posting here recently!

Anyway, I have previously written here about my irrational cravings for a tablet device. However, I really am not an Apple fan, so I do not see myself ever owning an iPad!

Today I think that I might have found the perfect table for me! It is the Motorola Xoom!

Motorola Xoom

Motorola Xoom

For more mouthwatering details see the marketing material or the technical details.

I am really looking forward to seeing one of these!

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Oct 21 2010

JooJoo

Category: Android,Hardware,iPadTeknovis @ 16:48

I have been having strange cravings for an iPad recently. I cannot understand why, because I do not think that I would have a lot of use for it! I would consider the lack of Flash to be a major disadvantage because it is used to watch a lot of online television.

I considered some of the Android powered tablets, but I think that the 7 inch display is just too small.

Today I came across the JooJoo. It appears very interesting, and I found that the pictures in iPad vs. JooJoo… fight! give a very good indication of its size compared to the iPad. However, there does seem to be some legal issues surrounding it, so it might not be a good long-term investment :o

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Sep 03 2010

Ikea Based Linux Cluster

Category: Hardware,LinuxTeknovis @ 19:31

I have a friend who is a huge fan of all things coming from the template of Ikea :) (I am slowly trying to get her to become an Ubuntu fan also :) )

Anyway, she knows of my interest in all things computer related, so she sent me a link to an article describing how to convert a piece of Ikea furniture into a Linux cluster: What’s with Helmer, the 24 core Linux cluster?.

Actually, the Ikea Hacker blog is pretty interesting :o

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Apr 21 2010

U3-X

Category: RoboticsTeknovis @ 19:05

I think that U3-X is a nicely cryptic post heading, and at the same time it conveys a very futuristic image :D

So what is it? Well, it is a really funky unicycle being developed by Honda. I read about it today in Riding Honda’s U3-X Unicycle of the Future. The video is really worth watching also!

To think that I thought office chairs with coasters were fun!

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Mar 14 2010

Virtualising my Laptop

Category: Hardware,Linux,WindowsTeknovis @ 14:41

I want to buy a new laptop for myself. I need it! My old one is too big and heavy, the screen is losing its contrast, and the battery lasts for approximately 30 seconds :(

In the past I tended to buy high-end laptops on the basis that they would last for longer. This worked to a certain extent, but this time I want to try a new approach. I am going to buy a relatively low-end laptop, but replace it more frequently. The disadvantage of this approach is that it is very time consuming to setup a new computer.

Last year I started experimenting with using Ubuntu within VMware as my main desktop operating system on and old computer. I was very impressed with its speed and stability. So I have decided that I am going to virtualise my entire desktop on the new laptop. The advantages of this approach are:

  • Moving my computer from one piece of hardware to another becomes trivial. This is useful for when I want to upgrade my laptop in the future. It also means that I can put my computer onto an external hard disk.
  • Backing-up my computer also becomes trivial. I am thinking about backing it up automatically every night!
  • Snapshots can be taken before I install any software on a test basis. I can then roll-back my computer if I do not like the new software.
  • It provides my computer with a lot of extra security from network based attacks.

My overall requirements for my new laptop are that it supports three different virtual machines:

  • I want to start using the Ubuntu based virtual machine as my main computer. I am waiting for Lucid Lynx 10.4 LTS.
  • I am currently using Windows 2000 as main my operating system. I think it is great ;)
  • Unfortunately, I have one program that I need to use regularly, and this program requires Windows XP (or later) :(

I will use NAT to network all three virtual machines most of the time. However, sometimes I will need to use the Windows 2000 virtual machine in bridged mode so that it can be a first class member of my domain.

Therefore, the overall architecture of what I am trying to achieve should look like this:

Laptop Virtual Architecture

Laptop Virtual Architecture

Now that I know what I want to achieve, I just need to find the best way to realise this!

Hardware

I am currently considering buying either a Dell Inspiron 1545Inspiron 15 Intel Core i, or a Studio 15. I am a Dell fan, and a 15″ screen is the best size for me. I will get 4GB of RAM, and either a 350GB or a 500GB hard disk.

I will get one of the cheapest processors available. I am currently considering either the Intel Pentium Dual-Core Processor T4400 or the Intel Core i3-330M. I will probably choose the latter, because it seems to have better support for virtualisation because it supports VT-x according to its specification. In practice I do not know if this will provide a noticeable benefit.

In terms of form-factor, I dislike the idea of a number keypad on a laptop. Therefore, I will probably go for a Studio 15.

I am going to have to buy an external card reader, because none of these laptops support Compact Flash cards :( My cameras all use Compact Flash :o

I wonder how the host operating systems sees the integrated web camera. I hope that it appears as a standard USB device, so that it can easily be shared with the virtual machines.

Host Operating System

My requirements for the host operating system are:

  • It must be very secure, because I will use my laptop in a lot of public networks.
  • It must be easy to connect to file servers. This is important, because I will need to back-up my virtual machines.
  • It must have a software based firewall that is very easy to configure precisely.

I think that the clear winner here is Ubuntu with Firestarter. If my Linux skills were better I would use Debian instead :o

The only question I have is whether I should use the 32bit or the 64bit version of Ubuntu?

Virtual Machine Software

The two options that I am considering for this are VMware Workstation and VirtualBox. My main requirements are that the virtual machine software is secure, and that it supports VT-x. I think that both do!

However, there are still some issues that I have not resolved:

  • Should I use the 32bit version or the 64bit version?
  • Which offers better performance?
  • Will they both support my hardware equally well?
  • Is there a risk of becoming locked into one of these products?
  • How is Hyper-threading supported? Presumably, the virtual machine software would think that it has four cores to distribute to the virtual machines. However, in reality it would only have two. This makes me think that I should disable Hyper-threading.
  • Does the virtual machine file format change with each new release of the virtual machine software?

Cost is not really an issue here.

Guest Operating Systems

As I wrote above, I will use Ubuntu, Windows 2000, and Windows XP on my virtual machines.

My questions relating to the guest operating systems are:

  • Should I choose the 32bit or the 64bit version of Ubuntu?
  • Will the OEM version of Windows XP that I got with a previous Dell computer install into a virtual machine without lots of registration issues?

If anybody has any opinions, experience, advice, or answers relating to any of this then I would love to read them!

Thanks!

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Dec 07 2009

Infrared Photography

Category: HardwareTeknovis @ 19:07

I had a very interesting discussion with somebody recently about infrared photography. I never understood why there were two very different types of infrared photos. It transpires that this is due to the differences between near infrared and far infrared.  For more about this see About infrared photography. The Coke bottle image is very impressive!

I also thought that How to make a webcam work in infra red was very interesting, and I am tempted to try it! The photo of the 5€ note is very interesting!

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Nov 03 2009

Boston Dynamics PETMAN

Category: RoboticsTeknovis @ 22:26

Boston Dynamics have developed a really impressive two-legged robot called PETMAN! To read more about it take a look at First Video of Boston Dynamics PETMAN Biped.

To see a video of it “walking” see PETMAN Prototype. To see a video of one of the previous robots, known as Big Dog, see BigDog Reflexes. Both videos are best watched in high quality!

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