Announcing Byzantium Linux v0.4b - "No sleep 'till Brooklyn!"

Project Byzantium can now take a breather for a day or two to recuperate, so I have some time to write a hopefully coherent post during my second cup of coffee.

Last week we wrapped up ISC development milestone number three: Addding amateur radio support to Byzantium Linux. This was probably our more difficult development effort to date, as it required that we use our relatively newly earned skills as ham radio operators to figure out a way to connect mesh networks over long distances - longer distances than 802.11 wireless can ordinarily cover. I'll not recap the entire report …

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Project Byzantium: Milestone three in progress.

A brief post to catch everyone up while I'm at work:

Project Byzantium has been hard at work building a PTT (push-to-talk) circuit to support the third milestone of the ISC grant. What we're trying to do, in a nutshell, is this:

We have a couple of Baofeng UV-?R radios that we're trying to interface with laptops running Byzantium Linux. This is a known technology - ham radio operators have been doing datacomm over amateur radio frequencies for a couple of decades but this is a first for the three of us. What is posing a problem for us is …

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Launch of Spaceblimp-3, 13 November 2010.

I got up rather earlier than usual last Saturday morning (0600 EST5EDT) to get ready for another Spaceblimp launch by HacDC, this time from a location in semi-rural Maryland. I had just enough time to get Windbringer prepped, my doctor's bag packed, and the rest of the stuff I wanted to keep close by into my backpack when I got a phone call from Bjorn in the parking lot outside my apartment building, who would be driving the chase car this time around. We met up with Nick (who rode shotgun in the TARDIS last time) and then struck out …

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Electronics projects to make you sit up and take notice.

During my daily morning mainline injection of news on the Net this week, a couple of electronics projects caught my eye that I hadn't seen before. The first is a project from SparkFun Electronics that uses higher voltage than I'm used to working with - a Geiger counter kit with a USB interface. The kit is constructed around the popular ATmega 168 microcontroller, which means that the basic Arduino development kit can be used to write code that pulls samples from the Geiger-Muller tube (powered by a tiny high voltage power supply) and outputs numerical values over USB, where the 'counter …

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Affordable personal satellites now available, launch included.

It is a long standing tradition among the amateur radio community to construct whatever you need to get the job done if you can’t acquire it somehow. In fact, the basic training you need to get a ham license includes some electrical engineering and electronics theory, assuming that you don’t already possess this knowledge. Some hams have even gone so far as to design and construct satellites to facilitate shortwave communication around the planet, helpfully launched by space agencies where they serve as ballast for other orbital insertions. It would seem that negotiating for help from NASA is …

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