Major downtime/outage issue

For reasons currently unknown to me, my site disappeared yesterday around 14:00 Central time.  I contacted my hosting service’s support desk and opened a ticket.  I have yet to get a response, which is disturbing to me for a site that advertises a 24×7 support desk.  Because I love the work I am doing on the site now, I didn’t want to remain down any longer than necessary for the situation.  As a result, I have procured new hosting and moved the site.  From an article standpoint, almost nothing was lost, as I had updated less than 90 minutes before the server went down and only made 2 article changes after that.  I had made some configuration changes to the site, which must now be redone, but otherwise, everything is basically back up and running on my new host (  As I only had a database backup, however, the images must be uploaded and linked to their articles again before everything will be working.  Expect image updates over the next few days, and hopefully by the end of the week, everything will be as it was Friday, plus whatever articles I can get added while fixing everything else.

I apologize for the downtime, but hopefully with my newer host, this won’t be an issue again.  They come highly recommended from a couple of hosting forums I visit, so I’m optimistic no further troubles will be seen.

Cause of global warming discovered

Turns out this global warming fad is nothing new.  In the July 1932 issue of Modern Mechanix is this article placing the blame for global warming on carbon dioxide.  Note that people are still ultimately at fault, but apparently over time, what people are doing to cause global warming changes.

DR. E. O. HULBURT, physicist of the naval research laboratory, Washington, has found conclusive mathematical evidence that the earth’s temperature is being warmed by the increased amount of carbon dioxide present in the air. Smoke stacks emit huge volumes of this gas, which is also found in the breath and waste products of humans and animals.

[tags]Modern Mechanix, Global warming[/tags]

French firm promises humanoid robot in 2007

(via Engadget)

Hoping to be known for more than their expertise in raising the white flag, the French announced information on coming humanoid robot Nao, to be available in 2007.

The project has been launched in the early 2005 and aims at turning available to the public, for an affordable price, a humanoid robot based on mechanical, electronic and cognitive features, compeeting with the research prototypes’ ones (see graphic below).


Delivered with basic behaviors, the robot will be, as of its market introduction, the ideal support to self initiating with robotics. Later on, improved with many behaviors, it will become an autonomous buddy for all the family. It will grow later on from its buddy role up to true functionalities required for daily tasks assistance (monitoring, remote support, information, reality-virtual bond…).

. . .

The robot is based on a Linux platform and on scripting with Urbi, very easy to learn programming language, possibly in code commands for the experts, or through a graphic interface for the beginners.

Currently in final development phase, the first specimens for sale will be presented at the end of 2006 and available in the second half of 2007.

No mention of high power laser-beam eyes, but perhaps that will be a future upgrade in a home-security model of the Nao.

[tags]Robots, Nao, Humanoid robots[/tags]

Make your own RGB mood light with LEDs

(via MAKEzine blog)
This is pretty nifty looking project. mood_red_thumbnail.jpgOf course, I like shiny things, so it might not as cool to others as it is to me. At this site, you can get complete instructions – video (color fades or color jumps) pictures, parts list, and circuit diagrams – for building your own mood light using 3 color LEDs.

mood_pink_thumbnail.jpgOn this page i will explain how i created my own colour changing lamp with red, green and blue leds that fades between all colours of the rainbow. It really comes out well at night when other light are dimmed. In daylight conditions the colors aren’t noticed well. mood_purple_thumbnail.jpgAlthough it’s low budget i must say the result is nice. Here are some photo’s of my lamp in action. Click on any foto to see it in a bigger size.

. . .

So if it’s low budget, what did you use? Well, mainly free stuff lying around. For the casing i used a plastic pyramid of ferrero rocher chocolates. I also used a microchip pic16f628 microprocessor i got from a free sample. Then i used some resistors and transistors i soldered out from old electronics. The LEDS were the most expensive. I used extra bright ones (red: 3000 mcd, green: 4000 mcd, blue:5000 mcd, all with a 25 degrees opening). I also purchased a battery holder formood_blue_thumbnail.jpg 4 AAA batteries which power this lamp for 10 hours non stop light effects.

. . .

This lamp is my first one and more of a proof of concept. It was the first time i programmed a pic microprocessor.

mood_green_thumbnail.jpgIn the near future i am planning to make more of these lamps but with other housings. I now know things i can do better in future lamps. For example buy diffused leds instead of transparant ones and with a bigger opening angle (however i solved the latter by rubbing the leds with sandpaper, but still…).

This looks like a fun to build project for me, and color changing useless lights just have an appeal to me. Now to find time to build one, and find a place in the house where my wife will let me leave it out all the time.


[tags]Mood lights, DIY, LEDs[/tags]

Massive history of Infocom available online

Too many of you are too young to know WTF I’m talking about here.  But for the 3 people who see this story and recognize the name Infocom, you can read a 51 page discourse on the rise and fall of this historic company.  If you don’t want to download and read the previously linked PDF, you can hit the introduction page to view a section by section layout or a slideshow of highlights.

To save you the trouble of tracking down information about Infocom (known first for Zork), I’ll go ahead and throw out an info link for the lazy here.  Also, to get a sample of Infocom’s work, try out Zork online.

[tags]Infocom, Interactive Fiction, Zork universe, Z-Machine[/tags]