Category Archives: Computing

Supporting space missions

I had a very nice surprise waiting for me when I got home today.

Previously, I posted that I played a very small part in receiving data from one of the satellites (Pollux) that formed part of the Atmospheric Neutral Density Expirement on STS-127. Henk, PA3GUO did a nice video about it as well.

Today, the postman delivered an ANDE-2 mission patch which flew on STS-127 (which I also happened to see on the launchpad last June), how cool is that!


Been real busy at work with a project proposal. We finally got it submitted last Friday.  Consequently I do not have as much done with the new machine to replace the dell dimension desktop. I started look at it today and I realised I had run out of spare sockets on the RIGrunner in the shack. So I need to sort that out first but it will require me pulling everything off the desk to do a bit of rewiring (sigh).

So rather than tackling that today, I first installed a 190 Litre Single Water Saver Kit that I got from It is 1/4 full already with todays showers. After that I moved my battery bank to its new home (with help from EI8JA). This is also going to require some rewiring to get the Inverter output back to the garage to hook back into the house wiring (where it moved from).

PV Panels are hooked up again, and the bank is being charged, but no AC available back in the house yet. Oh, lucky me, I’m “off” tomorrow,  I wonder what I will be doing?

“Gorilla” Update

I’ve not been in the shack all that much recently (being part of the organising team the the Irish IPv6 Summit kept me busy) so I have not been doing much checking up on the PV installation and how it is working.  Today, after assisting the South Eastern Amateur Radio Group set up a station for the EI2GEO special event station, I got to sit down and do some investigations. I have a second 60 Watt solar panel that I mentioned before. We hooked it into the battery system on Jim, EI8IG’s camper van to keep the battery topped up via solar power, and ran the radio from the same battery bank.  This evening I dropped out my little 850 watt generator to keep the battery topped up overnight (and to give it a good run).

Today over a 12 hour period between approximately 08:00-20:00, my rrdtool graph says the system produced an average of 148 watts. 148 x 12 gives 1776kw, or approximately 28.5 cents of electricty (including vat). If we have about 7000 more days of sunshine like today  (unlikely) then the system will have “paid for itself”.  While it doesn’t seem like a whole lot, it is currently averaging about 1/6 of the ESB bill (over 30 days).

That is the first part done. Next I intend to replace my power hungry dell dimension desktop (approx. 125 watts, 24/7 or approx. 48 cents per day ) with a more efficient machine (approx 20 watts or approx. 8 cents per day). To do this I have purchased an Intel Pine Trail base D510MO a 40GB SSD drive, 4GB of ram and a DC powered case (I already have a DC supply in the shack, plus I can experiment with it in the car as well).

Thus far the machine seems to be able to do most of the tasks I need it to do, time will tell though as I need to get 6 RS-232 ports operational on it to control all the items I have running.

As an aside, we recently replaced the old washing machine (at least 10 years) with a super duper A rated new one.  Initial testing seems to suggest that it is no more efficient than the old one. My suspicion is that I tested the old one (which I no longer have) in late Autumn, where it would have the benefit of taking hot water from the cylinder (Central Heating). The new one doesn’t have a Hot water input, so has to heat the water itself.

Irish IPv6 Summit

Its taking up quite a bit of my time at the moment, and rapidly approaching (19th May).  Registration opened today (finally!), and the (draft) agenda is:

08:30 Registration and Coffee/Tea
09:00 Ministerial Launch

  • Minister of State, Science Technology and Innovation, Conor Lenihan

09:30 Welcome Address

  • Mícheál Ó Foghlú , (Chair, Irish IPv6 TF)


10:00 KEYNOTE New Zealand and Ireland: IPv6 Deployment Challenges for Islands

  • Brian Carpenter, Professor (University of Auckland)

10:30 Irish IPv6 Policy

  • Roger O’Connor , Director of Business & Technology (DCENR)

11:00 Coffee/Tea Break and Networking


11:30 Dutch Experience with Fixed IPv6 Broadband

  • Marco Hogewoning (XS4ALL)

12:00 Campus Deployment of IPv6

  • Tim Chown (University of Southampton)

12:30 Irish Experience of Wireless IPv6 Broadband

  • Martin List-Petersen CTO (AirWire)

13:00 LUNCH and Networking

14:00 KEYNOTE: RIPE NCC and IPv6

  • Daniel Karrenberg, Chief Scientist (RIPE- NCC)

14:30 Irish IPv6 Deployment for Hosting Providers

  • Michele Neylon Managing Director (Blacknight Internet Solutions)

15:00 The Story so Far: IPv4 Depletion

  • Geoff Huston Chief Scientist (APNIC) (via Video)

15:20 Coffee/Tea Break and Networking

16:00 IPv6 Enterprise Strategy

  • Yanick Pouffary , HP Distinguished Technologist in IPv6

16:30 Panel Session: IPv6 Deployment Challenges

  • Yves Paindaveine (EU Commission)
  • Mat Ford (ISOC)
  • Tim Chown (University of Southampton)
  • Dennis Jennings Board Member (ICANN)
  • Dave Northey (Microsoft)

17.30 Finish

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Has computer Security improved in 15 years?

Not much apparently:

Matt Blaze

Don’t get me wrong; cryptography was, and is, important. But in 1995, broken or weak cipher algorithms and implementations were the least of our problems. Has anything improved since then?

Hmm. We’ve made some progress on #4 and #10, but basically, not much has changed in 15 years.

Read the full text here. Worth reading for anyone with any interest in computer security.