Satya's blog - 2008/06/

Jun 28 2008 10:38 Solar electricity and other schemes

I recently posted this on Usenet:

ObHarebrainedIdea: Why not use sunlight focussed through huge magnifying glasses to raise steam for power generation? Or at least help in raising boiler temperature?

Someone responded with a BBC article about a solar thermal power plant near Seville, Spain, which uses mirrors.

To which I said:

Same principle: rather than cover the whole planet in solar cells (sails?) in an effort to capture more energy, concentrate it in a smaller region.

If only I could figure out how to harness the temperature difference betwen outside air and the inside my parked car. I know about Stirling engines, but I need a device that:

a) I can buy at Walmart or equivalent
b) I can plug into an outlet in the house and it will provide power, the rest being made up by the grid. Or, put it between wall outlet and consumer device at least.
c) Other end of device can draw power from solar, Stirling engine, hydroelectric source (rain tank atop roof, e.g.), stationary bicycle, etc.

Tag: idea

Jun 22 2008 15:36 Baked egg casserole

Today I made a baked egg casserole based on recipes I found on the internet. We need this sort of thing for the every-two-months team meetings.

From the other recipes, I found that a ratio of about 1 cup milk to 5 eggs works, and that's the basic idea of baking eggs. That the quantity I used, which feeds 2 or 3, but you can multiply that for more people.

You need cheese. Sliced or shredded will do. I used kraft cheese slices, torn into strips. A baking pan large enough to hold all the ingredients to a depth of about 2 inches is required. I used one that's about 5 by 9 by 2.5. Inches, because this is cooking. If it were chemistry I'd be using more precise quantities in SI units.

You can throw in whatever else you have. I used 2 slices of turkey (torn into small pieces), a pile of green peas, and a veggie burger patty (again, torn into pieces). Cook all this stuff separately before starting anything else. This is the "filling".

Spray pan with cooking spray (or butter, whatever it takes to keep stuff from sticking).

Add about half the cheese, maybe enough to cover about three-quarters of the bottom surface, if you're using slices. Pour in the filling, and put another layer of cheese. If using shredded cheese, sprinkle it in about the same quantity (estimate! this is cooking, not chemistry -- the difference being the precision of measurement, and you can eat the result if done right).

Now mix the eggs with the milk (or vice-versa) and blend. We're looking for uniformity more than anything else. Pour into the pan.

Put pan on baking sheet (I used aluminium foil). Don't bother covering, or cover it if you prefer. I don't know what that does. Bake at 300F for about 1 and a quarter hour (cooking times vary with oven and size of the pan). Make sure it's solidified. Cool it a little, and eat.

Tag: recipe howto

Jun 21 2008 21:23 A Sound of Thunder

I swear the Sci-Fi channel is tracking my Netflix queue. Today I watched A Sound of Thunder (2004), based on a Ray Bradbury book. After the movie, I flipped through the TV channels and ... there it was, on Sci-Fi. Not the first time, but this seems an unlikely movie (not well-known, and starring a bunch of unknowns, aside from Ben Kingsley).

I was watching an episode of ... something yesterday, and that same expisode was on Sci-Fi channel later that night.

If Discovery or anyone shows a movie/mini-series called The Triangle (Sam Neill, Catherine Bell, and other slightly-known people), I'm going to suspect something.

Tag: movies tv

Jun 14 2008 10:22 External HDD and ehci module

I have an external HDD which connects by USB. Ubuntu Hardy will usually automount such devices when they're connected. Today it would not mount at all, and of course I don't know the device names to mount it manually (turns out it shows up as /dev/sdc, which I tried, which didn't work). dmesg and /var/log/syslog showed that the USB system was doing something, but it wasn't recognizing the physical device, let alone enough to give me a mountable device node.

After much googling, I did "rmmod ehci_usb". 'ehci_usb' was mentioned in syslog as new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address (number). After re-plugging the drive, it detected and automounted. (I had previously installed the usbmount package. I don't know if that affected anything.)

This post is Google-bait for anyone with similar problems, including me. I've had USB flash drives refuse to automount before.

Update: First! Check the permissions on the /dev/ node for the device (lsusb command will give you an idea of where to look, for Bus 002 Device 004 /dev/bus/usb/002/004 is it). Also check the group on that node, find out what groups you're in with the "groups" command, and chgrp it if you have to.

Last updated: Sep 14 2008 10:06

Tag: geeky howto

Jun 06 2008 11:12 Bruce Schneier on security.

Motivational poster based on many others. Original image from wikimedia commons which attributes it to under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License (cc-by-sa-2.0). This poster is under the same license.

Link to poster: Security
(Please do not link directly.)

Last updated: Jun 06 2008 11:45

Tag: poster