Monthly Archives: November 2012

Venus Seriously Considered

We did a little more brainstorming and investigation about Venus last night.  The back-story we are working with is as follows:

The cities on Mars now lay in ruin – as abandoned as they were unsustainable.  The lack of economic self-sufficiency was exacerbated by the inability to terraform the planet.

Rewind to when Mars was in its heyday – we looked to Venus for the abundance of an otherwise rare isotope (36) of Argon which was crucial in controlling the fledgling fusion technology of the period.  “Air” as we know it is buoyant at 50km above the Venetian surface where the atmospheric pressure is almost identical to sea level on Earth.

Venus Pressure and Temperature By Altitude

Large, floating mines were created to extract the isotope in the atmosphere and shipped to orbiting facilities for transport back to Earth.  The conditions in which these mines operate make one shudder: noxious gases, acid rain, violent convective activity, and volcanic ash plumes for starters.

Protection from solar radiation was a constant battle as the planet similar problems with core rotation that we encountered on Mars.  Even the Argon-36 was radioactive.

Venus Winds Aloft


Bad eBay Experience

Was going to try a VisionTek Eyefinity6 Radeon 7870 which I won on eBay for $255!  Can anyone spot the problem?


I offered to pay $155 for it but the seller declined. This one is going back as part of an eBay case.  I have since ordered a brand new one from TigerDirect at a crazy Cyber Monday low price of $359.


My gut is telling me that we will have to run in a 2×2+2 extended configuration in order to mix resolutions but the thing I am most worried about is running my application across these different viewports in DirectX. The benefits of one application would be sharing texture, mesh, point, and telemetry information. In reality I think switching the view and projection matrices out 6 times per second will impact the frame rate.

I also have 6 of these active mini-DP to RGB adapters on the way from China which I got for $10 a piece on eBay!

I also had to upgrade the power supply – NewEgg took care of me there with a 550W 2×6-pin PCI for $40.  That is the only piece I actually received so far.  Everything else should arrive next week.

Backup Power Requirements

My conversion from watts to VA was off pretty significantly.  I am now using the maximum designed wattage as outlined in APC specifications for each UPS.  The SC1500 that I intended to use will be overloaded but it is more economical to get three of these LS700 units instead!  The values for the computers are estimates based on the PSU in each unit (value can only go down from there) as well as the 1A regulated 12V supply consumption.  I don’t think we need the monitors themselves on backup power (it would be cool for them to flicker when we transfer from internal to external power and vice-versa.



The generator was mounted.  The air conditioner and all the topsoil have been loaded on the trailer for storage.  The whole thing was covered with a tarp after it was relocated to the backyard.  I feel so defeated not getting further this summer with the motion tests… hopefully if we get one more nice day I can do a final test (using generator power to boot).

Vizio M550SV Powers Off

While playing Halo 4 on the XBox 360 the TV would turn off randomly every 2 to 8 minutes. I would simply press the power button and it would come back on and stay on for another 2 to 8 minutes.

I contacted Vizio because I could not find the M550SV on the list of firmware downloads. So far they have been worthless with automated replies. I chatted with a representative this morning that informed me that aren’t really technicians and the online registration process through the TV doesn’t send the freaking serial number (the first piece of information they ask for every time you call).

Another shameless plug for Just Answer:

I tried this procedure yesterday (although I have read on Fix Ya that the duration to hold the power button is 3 minutes instead of 10 seconds). It stayed up for a couple of hours but rebooted (hopefully and presumably after the firmware update was downloaded and installed automatically). Hopefully it is on until I turn it off now!



Retaining Ring Woes


Bought a retaining ring tool from Home Depot for $22 in the wrench section.

Had to remove my NPT connections as they keep you from removing the cylinder ends. Squeeze the tool and move the ring away from all edges and pull up I needed three hands.

Packing kit is universal. Of all the parts included I only needed the O-rings for the rod, 2 ends, and piston along with the new sleeve bearing for the rod.

One down, one more to do. I am picking up a replacement U-joint today fit the one I broke.