Friday, 27 November 2009

Programming @ 1am

Programming at 1am with a tasty beverage.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Feedback from Facebook, SMS and Email

Hi Sam
Extreme well utilization of space! Basing my feedback on the pictures, I have not seen the room :)
Now you just need more flexibility.

Fixed tables - Reserve fixed setup tables in one corner for stationary computers.

Flexible tables - Eliminate fixed long table plate - replace with movable tables.

Increased flexibility, - for presentations/meetings.

Tall table - Consider 1 x tall table, for working standing/speaking/new seating position, possibly w bar stoles.

Floor - agree w laminate, better for office chairs, light wood.

Wall-mounting - wall-mount as much as possible, gives more space.

Paint and wall paint - high-gloss white, reflects light, gives feeling of more space.

Paint stairs white.

Pipes etc - paint them colorfully to integrate them in the design of the room. (saw this done at a basment office).

Lighting - mix of fluorescent lights (artificial white) and desk lamps (pleasant light) at work stations.

Talk to you soon!

FEEDBACK: Jonathan
I havnt looked yet,
but we need maps, lots of maps! Cnt have an evil basement lair withovt maps!

FEEDBACK: Kaloyan.
Ok a few preliminary points.
Don't we want the largest table in the middle?
Like a kind of conference table? I like that better than it being a small table in the middle.
Secondly I think that 1meter is a bit deep for a pc work station desk. Though at least one wall with a desk could be good for bigger projects. Oh and you forgot the reprap in there :p otherwise I am amazed! You Rock.

Hiya, I think you're gonna feel very crampt in there.
I would keep the table in the middle as looking at each other while gaming is more funny than sitting side by side and lose some desks on the wall. I don't think it's necessary to have all that along the walls.
I think shelving would be more beneficial to keep a group dvd/game collection in and hide away any spare btis and bobs. Storage is always useful.
I think you've got ample desk space with just 2 walls being deskededdeddd. Tx

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


UPDATE: upon reflection, I could actually just hack an Classic 4 prototype from work to do all of the storage (it has some flash memory) and message writing (using keypads) and sending (would be done over serial link to the arduino / radio transceiver rig)! Note: there is also a wifi link for internal communications.
Another idea about shorter range personal messaging over the 805.14 link.

This is a slightly edited re-post of a comment I left on Kal's Blog:

What do we understand by the term: 'off grid'? I reckon it means:
-no power grid
-no mobile phone service/signal
-no telephone service
-no internet

I think we should have a backbone of communication that does not rely on Internet i.e. a radio based network so we could, say, send data over radio links. I suppose this would be very useful if the internet or mobile phone networks went down or just generally for fun!


It would send things like SMS messages over standard radio links using minimal power. So the first thing to say is that means we probably wont use a desktop/laptop because they are power guzzling beasts.

I reckon the minimum hardware needed to do the job is as follows.

Core Specification:
1 x arduino
1 x storage card e.g. SD
1 x radio transceiver
1 x hacked ps2 keyboard
1 x small LCD screen
1 x solar panel
1 x battery bank

this would give the basic hardware platform to send and receive and store messages completely 'off grid'.

optional specification:
1 x ethernet shield for arduino

this could allow a full webserver to be run on the system. Now that would be interesting!

There are several conflicting goals when sending data over a radio link like this: reliability, processing, modulation techniques, security and efficiency etc.

The ideal outcome would be twofish / blowfish / some equally insane encryption on a 100% reliable link which consumes the least amount of power possible. Well this is just not going to happen- firstly, it is virtually impossible and would take an absolute genius if not a team of geniuses to pull off. So I think we should have a more modest initial goal:

Get the link working (unsecured, not optimised for low power)

Later development would consider the following issues:

Issue 1:
The system is powered on all the time?

Solution 1:
Scheduled communication.

Issue 2:
Time synchronisation between transceivers.

Solution 2:
Send SYNC packets between the transceivers.
Most watch crystals drift at 20us/second so we could use that as a starting point to work out the optimal sync period.