MIT Researcher Unlocks New Method for Collecting/Storing Solar Energy

I read it here:  http://dvice.com/archives/2011/03/a-bottle-of-was.php , but their understanding of the science is a little “off”.  The author seems to think they’re generating power from water, but in reality they’re using  a process similar to what plants do to separate water, and the power is generated when the Hydrogen and Oxygen are re-combined (like in a fuel cell).

This is big news since unlike current solar sources of energy, where energy must be stored in batteries (with varying levels of efficiency), you can simply store the gases separately and re-combine them as you need the energy.

The researcher has teamed up with Tata group, which is good news since it lends some credibility to actually commercializing it.  It’s rediculous we’re still “drinking” oil out of the ground.  C’mon, it’s 2011.  You think it’s a coincidence that sunlight and water are two of the most abundant things on earth.  I don’t

Holy IP Thermostat! – RADIO THERMOSTAT CT50/3M-50

Just by chance, last night our thermostat was “adjusted” by our youngest creature (Cameron), and when we woke up this morning the temp felt a little cooler and nicer.  It was holding at 68 instead of the usual 70 we maintain during the day. I thought, that’s it, I’m getting a programmable thermostat today.  It’ll pay for itself in less than 1 season if we actually like it 2 degrees cooler at night.

Before I headed out to Lowe’s to pickup a 75ish dollar programmable thermostat, I figured I’d check online one more time to see if any new price-competitive IP-enabled thermostats had hit the market.  WOW AM I SURE GLAD I DID.

Internet or IP-enabled thermostats have long been on my wish list of geek goodies for a while.  I’ve previously looked at units from Proliphix, Ecobee, BAYweb, and others.  They all either *require* utilization of their over-the-internet web interface (some for free, some for a monthly fee), and/or are prohibitively expensive.  The BAYweb isnt too bad at ~$200.00, and looks like rock-solid hardware, but it claims to have zero support for direct query to the device, and only communicates via an outgoing encrypted connection to the BAYweb web site.  To a home automation hacker, this is about as attractive as using AOL for email.

Enter the “RADIO THERMOSTAT CT50

This little gem is only $100, features full local programmability, *and* access to the back-end IP interface via Wi-FI.  I’d actually prefer wired ethernet, but for $100, I’ll shut the fuck up and deal.  They sell these direct for ~$140, but they’ve partnered with 3M/Filtrete, and are selling them through Home Depot for $99.98.

The 3M/Filtrete Part # is: 3M-50. Search for “radio thermostat” at homedepot.com.

EDIT: Home Depot  no longer sells these, but you can get them HERE.

I haven’t gotten it yet, but I ordered based on the following features:

*Local Programmability

*Wi-FI

*API Available (free)

*Direct query to the device for variables like temp/humidity (say for ex. using curl to grab variables from a script)

*iPhone App for controlling directly (free)

*PC App for controlling directly (free)

*Remote Access via their website (only if you want to use it this way)

*CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP – Somehow this thing is more full-featured than all the competition for 1/5th the price!!!!  It’s in the same price category as non-IP enabled programmable thermostats.

GO order one now before they wise up and price this more appropriately ~$250!

UPDATE – I received it, and further review is here:

http://moderntoil.com/?p=350

Slackers Unite! – KCFinder & jQuery

Happened upon two GREAT off-the-shelf free tools today:

KCFinder: Web File Manger

http://kcfinder.sunhater.com/

Ajax engine driven and controlled with CSS.  Super-easy to integrate into your own pile of code for web file mgmt, or just run it stand-alone.

jQuery: JavaScript Library

http://jquery.com/

Credit goes to my good friend Mike for pointing me in the direction of this one.  KICK-ASS libraries, including UI tools that let you look pro, even if you can barely cobble together a simple one-page info site.

Verizon iPhone 4 exhibits same antenna issues as the AT&T model

Awwwwwww c’mon seriously Apple??????

/fail

http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2011/02/25/consumer-reports-confirms-death-grip-in-verizon-iphone/

COD4 Winter Crash, Crash

For the over 2 years I’ve played Call of Duty 4, I’ve never once successfully been able to load/play the map “Winter Crash”.  Every single time iw3mp.exe crashes to the desktop about 1/3 of the way through loading the map.

Well, tonight I’d finally had enough (no idea why it took over 2 years for that to happen)  and I went on a Google rampage.  Apparently while this issue isn’t entirely unknown, it’s not common enough that anyone has posted a clear reason why it occurs, or a fix.  I tried re-extracting the original .ff files from the patch where they originated from, but they’re “touched” by later patches, and I’m guessing this is where the corruption occurs.  Restoring the original versions merely makes cod4 cry about them not matching the ones on the server, and deleting them altogether has the same result.  I thought maybe the game client would try to dl them from the server, but no dice.

After digging about some more, I found a random location online that had a copy of all the usermaps from the zone directory.  I dl’d the two files relevant to “Winter Crash”, which are:

mp_crash_snow.ff

and

mp_crash_snow_load.ff

and replaced my copies under:

C:\Program Files\Activision\Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare\zone\english

It worked!  For the first time ever I managed to successfully join a server running this map.

I’ve zipped up the two required files and placed them here for download:

http://web2.netmagi.com/cod4/winter_crash.zip

Unzip the files and overwrite your copies under the directory above.  Happy gaming!!!

Kuwait Bans Digital SLR Cameras

Traveling to Kuwait?  Leave your DSLR behind.  Kuwait has banned everyone (except journalists) from using Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras in their country.

http://thenextweb.com/me/2010/11/23/kuwait-dslr-camera-ban-now-in-effect/

Not that Kuwait is exactly high up on my list of travel destinations anyway, but seriously. . c’mon!  It feels like the earth is spinning backwards people!

Passenger Strips To Protest Screenings

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40314284/ns/travel-news/

Samuel Wolanyk, I commend you!

We all need to take security seriously, but the reality is that this will do little or no good at preventing ill-intentioned terrorists from boarding aircraft.

For a good laugh, also check out this post for more images like the above:

http://thepeoplescube.com/current-truth/janet-napolitano-unveils-new-tsa-public-relations-campaign-t6420.html

3 reasons why it’s finally starting to sound like the 21st century

We’re on our way to invisibility:

Prototype cloaking device removes you from spacetime

There’s bacteria that can fill cracks in concrete (yes, intentionally):

BacillaFilla: Fixing Cracks in Concrete

We figured out to make graphene out of cheap materials, cheaply:

Sweet way to make graphene – just add table sugar

Spoon

Been listening to a *LOT* of Spoon lately.  They’re easily the best band I’ve never heard of prior to 2010.  Thanks Pandora.

http://www.spoontheband.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoon_%28band%29

Engadget posts video review of iOS 4.2 on iPad

Engadget has a video review of iOS 4.2 running on an iPad over at their site:

http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/15/ios-4-2-on-ipad-preview-video/

It looks pretty sweet, and most importantly of all, performance doesn’t seem to suffer.  I’ll admit, I’ve been using my iPad less lately since it can be frustrating not to be able to pull off a chat and simple browsing session at the same time without wasting half your time logging in and out of AIM and waiting for Safari to re-initialize.

iOS 4.2 for iPad is slated for a November release according to Apple.