Lunar Exploration Suit

Lunar Exploration Suit - JPL c.1959

Photo courtesy of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory / NASA.

From the JPL Archives!

In this September 1960 photo, Allyn B. “Hap” Hazard wears a space suit he designed. Hap was a Senior Development Engineer in the Missile Engineering Section of JPL in 1959 when he wrote a plan for manned space exploration. JPL was transitioning from missiles to space exploration, and Hap had a lot of ideas about the subject. In March 1961, Hap left JPL to work at Aerojet, and presumably to work on the suit and his other inventions. In addition to the suit, he designed and built a hydrofoil boat and a snow making machine during his time at JPL.

It doesn’t appear that the suit was ever an official JPL project, and very little documentation exists in the JPL Archives except for the photographs and his report, which includes a disclaimer, “The views expressed in this paper are those of the writer ….” The Section 352 online photo album includes a series of photos and drawings of his Lunar Exploration Space Suit Mark 1 and plans for a moonmobile that could be controlled from the dashboard inside the suit.

After Hap left JPL, he and the suit appeared or were mentioned in Life magazine, Boys Life, and the Syracuse Post-Standard. An Experimental Engineering class at UCLA studied the suit, and Mattel created an astronaut toy that wore a replica of it. Even today, there are many web sites that include the story of Hap Hazard, his space suit, and Major Matt Mason (the toy).

You can click on the image to view a larger version at Flickr.

iPad – Infantilizing Hardware?

Crying Baby - techno-elitist
Techno-Elitist

I have to admit that I found Cory Doctorow’s anti-iPad post at Boing Boing quite bizarre and techno-elitist. He seems to dislike both how easy the iPad is to use as well how efficiently it’s physical parts are put together (glue as opposed to screws).

His argument that the iPad is “Infantalizing [sic] hardware” is particularly short-sighted. I view the iPad as a sort of satellite of my  main workstation. With such a device, good user interface design should free the user from the sort of things that make a full blown computer more cumbersome, albeit more powerful. When you’re relaxing on the couch with a cup of coffee, or on a road trip to San Fran, and all you want to do is read Wikipedia, peruse your comic library, or catch up on the latest news, your iPad is probably a good delivery method.

Furthermore, what’s more important? Simple and easy-to-use access to the world’s information database, or you’re ability to disassemble the device your using to read it? The answer is obvious. The benefits of miniaturized (system on a chip) ICs, vertical circuit fabrication, and the power efficiency they bring far, far outweigh the the benefits of being able to disassemble such a device. And I would argue that the physical device itself is far less important in the grand scheme of things compared to the almost infinite software possibilities.

And of course, as a professional Unix admin, I know that options exists for people who want to tinker at a very low level (Linux + cheap commodity hardware). We shouldn’t think of the iPad as a replacement, but rather just another option.

Retro Disneyland Attraction posters as iPhone wallpaper

Scoured the net recently for retro Disneyland ride posters with the intention of using one as wallpaper on my iPhone. Here are the best quality ones I could find. Please contact me if you have the posters for other rides, or higher quality versions of the ones bellow. I would love a high quality copy of the Haunted Mansion art.

The easiest way to set these as your phone’s wallpaper is to surf to this page on your phone, then tap and hold on the poster image. iPhone will give you an option to “save image”. After that, open the settings app, select “wallpaper” then “camera roll” and select the image you just saved.

UPDATE – Oct 31, 2009: I added another 5 thanks to a commenter. See Dan’s comment bellow for a link to Flickr for more. Thank you Dan!

Submarine Voyage
Astro Jet
Pirates of the Caribbean
People Mover
Matterhorn Bobsleds
Jungle Cruise
Haunted Mansion
Enchanted Tiki Room
Autopia
America The Beautiful
Small_World
Monorail
Golden_Horseshoe
Columbia

Retro Disney Poster, Alice in Wonderland
Retro Disney Poster, Alice in Wonderland

Disneyland’s Fantasmic! updated with new dragon

New Fantasmic! dragon at Disneyland
Emily and went to Disneyland over the weekend. We normally like to go during the off season when the crowds are minimal and that usually means we miss the Fantasmic! show which only runs during the summer.

However, because the park had many technical issues with some of the new features of the show, officials have decided to continue showing Fantasmic! on the weekends (Fri, Sat, and Sun) until the end of 2009.

Here is a hand-held shot of the new dragon (ISO6400).

More dragon photos here. Be sure to check out the large version of these images.

Installing OpenAFS client on Ubuntu / Fedora / CentOS / Red Hat

First off, I cannot recommend Peter Membrey’s “The Definitive Guide to CentOS” enough. If you’re a new admin or just want to make sure you’re doing it right, this is the book to get.

AFS is a distributed filesystem not unlike NFS but more robust and geared towards replicated / read-only implementations. It’s used a great deal here at JPL, where I work as an admin.

OpenAFS is an open source implementation of AFS that works nicely with JPL’s setup. It’s easy to install and quite stable.

Ubuntu:
I’ve tested these instructions in 9.04, 8.10, and even recently in 6.06 (Yes, the apt-get method of maintaining a Linux machine is far superior to using RPMs).

The first step is to build and install the OpenAFS kernel module. The following steps take care of downloading the appropriate software, compiling and installing everything. As usual, this needs to be done as root, or using the sudo command.


$ apt-get install module-assistant openafs-modules-source
$ module-assistant prepare
$ module-assistant auto-install openafs-modules
$ depmod -a

If all of that is successful, your computer should now have the OpenAFS kernel module buit and installed. The next step is to install the OpenAFS client software.


$ apt-get install openafs-client openafs-krb5

Ok, you now have all the software you should need. The last step on Ubuntu systems is to configure OpenAFS per your site. Running the following command will start an interactive program that asks you about your site specific AFS configuration. The most important piece of info you’ll need is your “Cell” name. For us at JPL, it’s jpl.nasa.gov. I’ve found that most of the time, the default responses for the rest of the questions are fine.

Configure OpenAFS:


$ dpkg-reconfigure openafs-client



Installing on Fedora / CentOS / Red Hat:
Unfortunately, installing OpenAFS requires a few more steps on RPM based distributions, but nothing too tough. Mostly, this involves hunting down the appropriate RPMs for your system. I’m using CentOS for this example. For those not in the know, CentOS is basically a free, binary compatible version of RedHat Enterprise Linux. Please visit CentOS.org for more details.

First, you’ll need to locate the appropriate RPMs for your distribution and kernel version. The following RPMs were required on my CentOS 5.3 machines:


$ rpm -qa | grep afs
openafs-1.5.55-el5.1.1
openafs-krb5-1.5.55-el5.1.1
openafs-kmdl-2.6.18-92.1.13.el5-1.4.7-29.el5
openafs-kpasswd-1.5.55-el5.1.1
openafs-client-1.5.55-el5.1.1
openafs-devel-1.4.7-29.el5
openafs-authlibs-1.5.55-el5.1.1
kmod-openafs-1.5.55-1.1.2.6.18_92.1.18.el5
openafs-docs-1.5.55-el5.1.1
openafs-compat-1.5.55-el5.1.1

You can find these RPMs in a few places as none of these distributions provide them for you. First off, ATrpms has them. In the past, I’ve also found them at the main OpenAFS site, OpenAFS.org. Pbone, another third party RPM repository, has OpenAFS rpms that where built for Redhat EL5 here. Those RPMs will work just fine with CentOS 5 too. Lastly, another place to get hard to find RPMs is RPMforge.

Once you have your RPMs installed, then you only have to edit one config file. Populate /etc/openafs/ThisCell with your sites specific cell name. Some smaller sites will have to configure /etc/openafs/CellServDB as well.

Thats it. You should be able to start the OpenAfs daemon (/etc/init.d/openafs start) and then start using AFS.

Eagle Scouts

Eagle Scouts

While at a wedding recently I was asked to take a few photos of some friends for posterity. I happily obliged and within a few minutes I’d taken about 15 pictures similar to the one above. Outdoor photos, taken at what photographers call the “golden hour”, when the sun is low on the horizon almost always come out great, despite the photographer…

However!… You can’t tell from the image above, but I made a rather large mistake, accidentally setting the white balance on my 5D Mark II to “Florescent light”. As a rule, I always use the auto white balance setting. The results of incorrect WB setting were dramatically blue tinged photos – shots that I would’ve deleted had they been taken with a point-and-shoot style camera. Thankfully, because I shoot RAW, it was trivial to correct white balance while in post processing (I use and love Apple’s Aperture).