Archive for June, 2009

Apparently there is a new version of my favourite email app for OsX:

Postbox: Postbox BETA 13 has been released! Now with add-ons support and more! Download the free beta at: http://postbox-inc.com. [From Postbox: Postbox BETA 13 has been released! Now with add-ons support and more! Download the free beta at: http://postbox-inc.com.]

Interesting to see Google applications especially put together for schools:

Google heads to grade school: New resources for K-12 teachers and students We use the Internet all the time: at home, at work (especially at Google!), on the move, and, increasingly, at school. We believe that the Internet and cloud-based tools are a key part of a 21st century classroom, helping students learn and teachers teach in collaborative and innovative ways. Students use Google Docs to work on group projects; classrooms use Google Sites to show off their work; and teachers use Forms in Google Docs for instant grading and Google Calendar for lesson planning. Google Apps Education Edition is helping schools build online communities for students, teachers and parents, and we now have 4 million students using Google Apps Education around the world. [From Google heads to grade school: New resources for K-12 teachers and students]

I like this one – a keypad for unlocking your car :

carkeypad

[Michael] has a keypad in his previous car’s door and he missed it enough to hack one into his Dodge Caliber. He bought a Ford keypad and mounted it inside his door with some custom electronics. He started with an Arduino nano to receive and authenticate button presses. This then splices into wires in the door that control the door lock. The program has a 5-digit code to unlock the door, but simply pressing 1 twice will lock the doors. He also implemented a lockout feature to prevent people from brute-forcing the combination. Although it isn’t wireless, it’s significantly simpler.

[thanks Michael]

[From Custom car door keypad]

Godalming College (just round the corner from where I live) has for some reason decided to close down their Adult Education Unit – a strange decision in the current financial situation with record number of unemployed adults in need of education.

As far as I can understand the decision is not a financial one – as the unit is doing well, with in excess of 1000 students on the rolls.

Even stranger – I hear that the College has received offers for buying the unit from private investors, and has not even had the decency of replying to this and other initiatives.

So they’d rather set both the 60 strong staff and the students adrift at this stage.

IMHO – incompetency….

I just submitted my blog sitemap to Bing (Microsofts search engine) – and will follow the results over the next few week.  

This is a rather disturbing possibility – that a company could actually sell your retinal scans and fingerprints as part of their assets when they go into bankruptcy:

Details matter here. Nowhere do the articles say that Clear, or its parent company Verified Identity, Inc., have declared bankruptcy. But if that does happen, does the company’s biggest asset — the personal information of the quarter of a million Clear members — become the property of Clear’s creditors? [From Clear Shuts Down Operation]

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Went kayaking on the river Wey (in Godalming) with the Explorers last evening :

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Wow – I used to love my Apple II, and have great memories of it and it’s 6502 CPU. SO I may just have to read the rest of this story:

Apple2fpga: Reconstructing an Apple II+ on an FPGA
Stephen A. Edwards
Columbia University
As a Christmas present to myself in 2007, I implemented an 1980s-era Apple II+ in VHDL to run on an Altera DE2 FPGA board. The point, aside from entertainment, was to illustrate the power (or rather, low power) of modern FPGAs. Put another way, what made Steve Jobs his first million can now be a class project for my 4840 embedded systems class.
What is an Apple II?

The Apple II was one of the first really successful personal computers. Designed by Steve Wozniak (“Woz”) and first introduced in 1977, it really took off in 1978 when the 140K Disk II 5.25-inch floppy drive was introduced, followed by VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program.
Fairly simple even by the standards of the day, the Apple II was built around the inexpensive 8-bit 6502 processor from MOS Technology (it sold for $25 when an Intel 8080 sold for $179). The 6502 had an eight-bit data bus and could access 64K of memory. In the Apple II, it runs at slightly above 1 MHz. Aside from the ROMs and DRAMs, the rest of the circuitry consisted of discrete LS TTL chips.

[From Apple2fpga: Reconstructing an Apple II+ on an FPGA]

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