highaltitude.log.20060605

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[14:05] <jcoxon> hey all
[14:32] <mark_fiirestone> hey there
[14:38] <jcoxon> hows it going?
[14:39] <mark_fiirestone> not well. this company I work for has screwed me over.
[14:39] <jcoxon> oh, sorry to hear that
[14:39] <mark_fiirestone> they wanted me to stay until the end of the year, but changed their mind at the last minute. actually, a week beyond the last minute, I had it in writing that they wanted me to stay
[14:39] <mark_fiirestone> so I have a few weeks left
[14:40] <mark_fiirestone> is ok. I mean, I am getting a big severance package... but, enough about that. when are you launching?
[14:40] <jcoxon> week on friday
[14:40] <jcoxon> hopefully
[14:40] <jcoxon> well the launch window should open then
[14:41] <mark_fiirestone> i'll try to make it... if you keep me posted. is a long drive
[14:43] <jcoxon> won't know till 48hrs before the launch
[14:44] <jcoxon> just sent an email to some insurers that cover the met office for third party damage
[14:44] <jcoxon> they want £10,000
[14:44] <jcoxon> they were quite suprised i even asked
[14:45] <jcoxon> seems people don't bother
[14:45] <mark_fiirestone> really? in case it lands on a car or something, like the m6?
[14:45] <jcoxon> yeah
[14:46] <jcoxon> or takes out a plane
[14:46] <mark_fiirestone> i think that's pretty unlikely
[14:46] <mark_fiirestone> so £10,000 seems crazy
[14:46] <jcoxon> well actually its their fault
[14:46] <jcoxon> if a plane crashes into it
[14:47] <jcoxon> i've got just as much right to be in the air
[14:47] <mark_fiirestone> heh. nothing is the fault of the CAA, I'm sure
[14:47] <jcoxon> they should of read their NOTAMS and looked out for it
[14:47] <jcoxon> oh not the CAA, the plane people
[14:47] <mark_fiirestone> nothing will happen... (famous last words...)
[14:47] <jcoxon> i know
[14:47] <jcoxon> and i'm launching in a rural area
[14:49] <mark_fiirestone> near kent?
[14:49] <jcoxon> we should be launching 3 balloons then as well :-D
[14:49] <mark_fiirestone> cool!
[14:49] <jcoxon> cambridge
[14:49] <mark_fiirestone> I've got my computer... but the job situation as caused delays...
[14:49] <mark_fiirestone> All i've done is verify that it works.
[14:49] <jcoxon> cool
[14:49] <mark_fiirestone> I was going to ask you your opinion about small linux distros...
[14:49] <jcoxon> :-
[14:49] <jcoxon> D
[14:49] <jcoxon> i maintain one
[14:50] <jcoxon> well sort of used to
[14:50] <jcoxon> runs on my 386 at home
[14:50] <jcoxon> what is the processor? arm?
[14:51] <mark_fiirestone> it's some sort of vector 86 thing. I think it's like a 486 on steriods
[14:52] <jcoxon> website?
[14:53] <mark_fiirestone> finding it
[14:54] <jcoxon> http://www.crownhill.co.uk/product.php?prod=1456
[14:54] <jcoxon> quite cool
[14:54] <mark_fiirestone> http://www.icop.com.tw/
[14:55] <mark_fiirestone> i'm going to get a sound card for it, and wire it up to a cheap PMR446 radio
[14:55] <mark_fiirestone> "10 4 good buddy, we're at 35,000 ft" i can hear it saying
[14:55] <mark_fiirestone> to hell with Ofcom
[14:56] <jcoxon> hehe
[14:56] <jcoxon> flite is the software you want for that
[14:57] <mark_fiirestone> ok. cool. i've got plans for a beam antenna somewhere. I figure a jpole on the balloon.
[14:57] <mark_fiirestone> with it up in the air, it should be pretty easy to hear
[14:57] <jcoxon> which board is it exactly?
[14:59] <mark_fiirestone> i think it is a vortex86-6047
[14:59] <mark_fiirestone> but I don't have it with me
[15:02] <jcoxon> 6074?
[15:03] <mark_fiirestone> could be.
[15:03] <mark_fiirestone> it's a little all in one board. has network, usb, video, serial, parallel, ide all on one
[15:03] <mark_fiirestone> board is about the size of two packs of cigarettes
[15:03] <mark_fiirestone> but it draws a whopping 800milliamps
[15:05] <jcoxon> does it have the actually ports or just headers?
[15:05] <mark_fiirestone> headers.. but I've got the cables
[15:05] <mark_fiirestone> which is good, because they are non standard
[15:06] <mark_fiirestone> plus it has xpci... I found a sound card cheap for it
[15:06] <jcoxon> cool
[15:06] <jcoxon> so what distros have you looked at?
[15:07] <mark_fiirestone> lets see... i can't remember offhand... I looked at one called tinylinux (I think...) the main problem is getting the distro on to the thing.
[15:07] <mark_fiirestone> as I can't have a cd and my cf card connected at the same time
[15:08] <mark_fiirestone> have to maybe hook it up and mount it on my linux box, and then install. more complex
[15:08] <jcoxon> do a network install?
[15:09] <jcoxon> in theory you could use smalllinux2.sf.net
[15:09] <jcoxon> though the kernel and libraries are old
[15:09] <jcoxon> i put that together
[15:10] <mark_fiirestone> that's what concerns me... i need to be able to put some newer stuff on... plus it (mostly) needs to be read only. I'll check out yours. how hard would it be to update?
[15:13] <jcoxon> well it runs on uclibc
[15:13] <jcoxon> so not difficult
[15:13] <jcoxon> i could have a new version in an evening
[15:13] <jcoxon> it would be getting the kernel right which would be the hard part
[15:14] <jcoxon> if you boot of a cf disk it would be nice and easy
[15:15] <jcoxon> i could put together an image which you could dd to the card - stick it in and boot up
[15:15] <mark_fiirestone> cool! it sounds perfect. if I can make ruby and the speech software work...
[15:15] <jcoxon> at least sufficently to login over the network
[15:15] <jcoxon> flite will compile
[15:15] <mark_fiirestone> that would be wonderful. i'd owe you one!
[15:15] <jcoxon> its C++
[15:15] <jcoxon> i've got it working on ipod linux
[15:16] <mark_fiirestone> cool. heh. i put linux on my ipaq... then I got bord with it. I didn't know they had ipod linux..
[15:16] <mark_fiirestone> I want to invent a toaster linux... (;
[15:17] <jcoxon> i've seen toaster bsd
[15:18] <mark_fiirestone> hehehehe
[15:18] <mark_fiirestone> lets launch a toaster into space
[15:20] <jcoxon> hehe
[15:22] <mark_fiirestone> can toast toast in space. see, real science..
[15:23] <jcoxon> exactly
[15:29] <jcoxon> oooo my radio modems will arrive soon
[15:41] <mark_fiirestone> really? they sound expensive... where did you find them?
[15:44] <jcoxon> they are quite expensive, £50 each
[15:44] <jcoxon> i've actually got the developement kit
[15:44] <jcoxon> hope they come by the weekend, if not it might be a bit of a rush to intergrate them
[15:48] <mark_fiirestone> that's not bad. the ones I saw were ten times that
[15:49] <jcoxon> these don't have much range
[15:49] <jcoxon> they say 15km
[15:49] <jcoxon> i reckon i push further
[15:50] <mark_fiirestone> damn. I recon you'll have no problem. i take it these are license free?
[15:52] <jcoxon> yeah
[15:52] <jcoxon> ISM
[15:52] <jcoxon> so the equivalent of using wifi
[15:52] <jcoxon> so i'm assuming it legal
[15:53] <mark_fiirestone> really? You'll have to send me a link... I might try that next time
[15:54] <jcoxon> i'm sort of basing it on the grounds that they are sold in the UK so must have a legal freq (868mhz)
[15:55] <jcoxon> and the company claim licence free
[15:55] <jcoxon> thats good enogu for me
[15:57] <mark_fiirestone> hey, that makes it their problem if it isn't... besides, after talking to them, i'm under the impression that the folks at ofcom are morons... and would be unlikely to notice...
[15:57] <jcoxon> oh they actively say they can't police the freqs
[15:57] <jcoxon> but i could imagine that the Hams keep an eye on theirs
[15:57] <jcoxon> but a ism band is pretty free for all and if use it once a month for a few hours
[15:58] <jcoxon> no one will care
[15:58] <jcoxon> or notice
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[17:42] <jcoxon> byeeeeeeeeeeeee
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[22:08] <ehj20> jcoxon: last exam tomorrow?
[22:12] <jcoxon> hey ehj20
[22:12] <jcoxon> yeah
[22:12] <jcoxon> tomorrow afternoon
[22:12] <jcoxon> need to do lots of revision tomorrow morning
[22:15] <ehj20> hey :o)
[22:16] <ehj20> what is it? (i'm a 2004 vet graduate from queens', btw)
[22:16] <ehj20> what is the exam, I mean?
[22:19] <jcoxon> path prac
[22:20] <jcoxon> i definitly worked out a link with cam
[22:20] <ehj20> I sometimes use the uid when I+ can't be bothered to think of anything else :-]
[22:23] <jcoxon> hehe
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[22:25] <ehj20_> I don't remember the path practical being too evil... although the 2nd year was definately the worst in general.
[22:25] <jcoxon> i'm just so bored
[22:25] <jcoxon> really can't be bothered to learn about bloody bacteria
[22:26] <jcoxon> after the pharm prac nothing is difficult
[22:27] <ehj20_> hehe, pharm is evil in acedemic form.
[22:28] <jcoxon> yup
[22:28] <ehj20_> still, a year off isn't too far away :-p
[22:29] <jcoxon> yeah
[22:29] <jcoxon> bring on Bio Anth
[22:29] <ehj20_> hehe
[22:29] <ehj20_> good choice
[22:29] <ehj20_> Damn it, working sucks!
[22:30] <jcoxon> hehe
[22:34] <ehj20_> Cambridge seems a million miles away. Especially when I'm miles away from anywhere in the yorkshire dales cutting horns off cattle. But I'm always glad I learnt all that pharmacokinetics :-]
[22:35] <jcoxon> :-D
[22:35] <jcoxon> still got a while to go :-D
[22:35] <jcoxon> got so much to do once i finish
[22:35] <jcoxon> need to order helium
[22:35] <ehj20_> are you staying in cambridge for you clinical?
[22:36] <ehj20_> you/your
[22:36] <jcoxon> not sure yet
[22:36] <jcoxon> see what happens with my class this year
[22:36] <jcoxon> at the moment yeah i'd like to
[22:36] <ehj20_> Is the gps-gumstix-gsm/radio modem system working reliably?
[22:37] <jcoxon> nope
[22:37] <jcoxon> hehe
[22:37] <jcoxon> it ain't working at all
[22:37] <jcoxon> i've got to reflash the gumstix
[22:37] <jcoxon> found a bug which corrupted the file system
[22:37] <ehj20_> but i'm sure you've got in all in hand ;-]
[22:37] <jcoxon> well it was more of a silly mistake on my part
[22:37] <jcoxon> oh yeah
[22:38] <jcoxon> if you told me i had to launch tomorrow morning it wouldn't be difficult
[22:38] <jcoxon> but i've decided to rewrite the gps software
[22:38] <ehj20_> are you using gpsd?
[22:38] <jcoxon> yup
[22:38] <jcoxon> at the moment
[22:39] <jcoxon> but my gps updates its altitude to fast
[22:39] <jcoxon> well not to fast
[22:39] <jcoxon> every second
[22:39] <jcoxon> so gpsd if it doesn't poll it just at the right time misses it and reports null
[22:39] <jcoxon> guess i could patch gpsd but that would require me to get to know the source
[22:39] <ehj20_> weird
[22:39] <jcoxon> will have to see - tis a days work
[22:40] <jcoxon> instead i could quite easily write a c++ program which stores the last 2 seconds of nmea sentances
[22:40] <jcoxon> and then parses them for info and logs them to a file
[22:41] <jcoxon> basically the gps only sends the altitude every few sentances
[22:41] <jcoxon> ehj20 - how good is your knowledge of programming etc?
[22:41] <ehj20_> hehe, not great.
[22:41] <ehj20_> never done any c++
[22:42] <ehj20_> but i've mucked around a little with perl/php and scripts.
[22:42] <jcoxon> oh right
[22:42] <jcoxon> cool
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[22:56] <ehj20> jcoxon: do the gumstix serial ports have the DIN 8 type connector?
[22:58] <jcoxon> yup
[22:58] <jcoxon> though they don't actually supply all the pins
[22:58] <jcoxon> though i know have the gpstix so i just have the pad/hole thingys
[23:03] <ehj20> did you find it difficult to connect the gps unit to gumstix in P1?
[23:03] <jcoxon> nope
[23:04] <jcoxon> very easy
[23:04] <jcoxon> once i had worked out the pins
[23:04] <jcoxon> you only need Rx and GND
[23:05] <ehj20> i see
[23:08] <ehj20> Did you have any problems with any camera/computer functions with the cold?
[23:09] <jcoxon> not the computer
[23:09] <jcoxon> perhaps the camera though it could have been the batteries running out as i couldn't keep the screen off
[23:09] <jcoxon> everything is encased in polystyrene and does generate its own heat
[23:10] <ehj20> of course. I guess the camera is a bit more vulnerable.
[23:10] <ehj20> I+ wonder if the cold caused the battery output voltage to drop and caused the cameras to switch off?
[23:11] <ehj20> damn my grammar is bad :-/
[23:14] <jcoxon> could do
[23:14] <jcoxon> hopefully i'll have the temp sensor sorted - will be able to monitor some temperature
[23:16] <jcoxon> right bed
[23:16] <jcoxon> night ehj20
[23:16] <jcoxon> oooo wait
[23:16] <jcoxon> someone new i didn't notice
[23:16] <jcoxon> hey Weiss
[23:16] <ehj20> night. gl tomorrow. just think, you'll be paralytic this time tomorrow...
[23:17] <jcoxon> actually i'll only be half paralytic
[23:17] <jcoxon> as only half finish tomorrow and the other half on wed
[23:17] <jcoxon> s
[23:17] <jcoxon> we are going to formal on weds then cindies
[23:17] <jcoxon> then i'll be paralytic
[23:18] <ehj20> okay, wednesday then. Not sure I'm miss cindies that much ;-]
[23:18] <Weiss> evening
[23:18] <ehj20> s/I'm/I
[23:18] <Weiss> came across your site randomly.. seems quite neat
[23:18] <jcoxon> thanks
[23:19] <jcoxon> noticed a cam address
[23:19] <jcoxon> in your name
[23:19] <Weiss> yep
[23:19] <Weiss> i'm a grad student in the electron microscopy group (materials science department)
[23:19] <jcoxon> ooo cool
[23:20] <jcoxon> college?
[23:20] <Weiss> downing
[23:21] <jcoxon> right nice to talk guys - last exam requires some sleep
[23:21] <ehj20> gl
[23:21] <jcoxon> Weiss, do pop in some other time - we are launching 3 balloons from churchill in about 10 days
[23:21] <jcoxon> cya
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[00:00] --- Tue Jun 6 2006