Friday, 28 October 2011

Weekly Links #2

Time for another bunch of random links to stuff that I heard about this week.

Historic watermill on the Thames reinstates an old turbine to create electricity for the National Grid. - An awesome story. It reads as if they used to have a turbine decades ago, which fell into disuse, and they had to dig it up from the riverbed in order to get it working again. I'd love to know more details, so at some point I'll go and quiz them to do a proper write-up as they're very local to where I live.

Microsoft create a "HoloDesk" - Microsoft have developed a prototype 3D projection interface. Can you imagine the gaming applications for this?  Perhaps their ultimate goal is something like their "Productivity Future Vision" video that was also released this week.

A farm in a shop - FARM:shop in London challenges the traditional nature of agriculture. It's a farm in a disused shop, complete with chickens on the roof. Not really a very technology based hack, but still awesome..

Commodore PET in an FPGA - FPGA stands for Field Programmable Gate Array and really basically is a chip that can be configured however you want, and can be used to create "soft processor cores" - or to simulate other CPU chips.  In this case, they've decided to simulate the original 6502 that was present in the Commodore PET, and then get it running as if it were the real machine.  Looks like they've got some games running on it already too.

Snow-ball cross-bow.   Yes, you read it correctly. It's a cross bow that fires snow balls. What more could you want this winter?

Nokia OLED flex-screen phone - Nokia have unveiled a concept phone using flexible OLED display technology, where you flex the screen to control some functions. I'm not sure about how useful that is, but at least it's innovative.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Skype steals port 80!

I spent about an hour this morning trying to fix someone's PC that was behaving very much like it had malware, running really slow and their local copy of Apache wouldn't run..

Turns out that it was Skype port-hogging, stealing port 80. Killed the process and took Skype out of startup so it only gets run when it needs to be - problem solved.

Apparently it does this to "get around firewall issues" - presumable with the whole grid-networking nature of Skype it needs to be able to get access to a node, and port 80 is the easiest way to do it.

Anyway, rant over.   Just thought I'd mention it as a heads-up so that hopefully people don't waste time like I did.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Weekly links #1 - Sites I read all the time

So, in an effort to actually update stuff on here, I'm going to try to do a bunch of interesting tech links every Friday..  I am under no illusion about how regularly I will *actually* do this, but it's a nice idea.

First up, some sites that I read all the time:

  • - Not just hardware hacks, lots of software information and sometimes "mind hacks", recipes, fixing furnature..  All sorts really, just the site for a tinkerer and putterer and fixer of broken things.
  • - Gizmag is an emerging and new technology blog.  All sorts of tech, from new kinds of nanobot to spacecraft, from e-paper to super-yachts. Very interesting if you want to see what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology.
  • - Retrothing - lots of lovely retro stuff. 

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