• The 6th language

    05/09/2018 at 04:52 0 comments

    The lion kingdom's 1st language was C64 BASIC, then 6502 assembly, then logo, then Applesoft BASIC, then GW Basic, & many years later, C, the 6th language.  It was extraordinary to finally be able to express the machine's native instructions in a higher level language.  The compilers were scarce & expensive, so lions would write source code at home in a text editor & compile it at the day job, the next day.  The lion kingdom's 1st trouble spot was "invalid lvalue" for using = instead of == in an if statement.  It took forever to figure that one out.

    Most of SOMA has never heard of C & probably only vaguely has heard of assembly language.

  • Lions vs Ben Heck

    05/01/2018 at 20:45 0 comments

    The fight to make a CAD model leaves the lion kingdom feeling a bit under accomplished, compared to Ben Heck. Although his show only covers baby projects, he obviously is very skilled in CAD tools, electronic design tools, FPGA programming tools, embedded programming tools, & machine tools. 

    1 week, he'll have a very high proficiency in programming an FPGA. The next week he'll design something in Fusion 360. The next week, he'll design a circuit board. There's no way he could fake a high proficiency in each tool in the time between episodes.  Just learning & getting good results from a circuit board editor takes lions a lot longer.

    He could just as easily push a large aerospace project as make useless raspberry pi enclosures. The key is learning many tools rather than developing everything from scratch & always trying the latest method instead of doing what's tried & true for decades.  Retro computing works best when applied to the device under test, not the tools for making the device.  

    The mane disappointment is how he ballooned over the last 8 years.  Anyways, back to using a 30 year old X11 interface to make mobile apps.

  • Cheating your way into space

    04/04/2018 at 18:58 0 comments

    With US still over 1 year away from being able to launch humans into space again, what a story it would be if someone stowed away in a cargo mission. It would be like a Doolittle raid, but a raid against bureaucracy & management. It would be riskier than Alan Shepard's 1st flight, because the cargo modules have no launch abort capability. Beyond that, it would be the same as that 1st flight, despite all the concern about minutiae in the flight termination system, life support system, & micro meteoroids. Indeed, much of the last 8 years of pain has been micro meteoroid shielding standards.

    The stowaway would be a man, of course. He would have a food supply & a bathroom hidden somewhere. Once on the space station, they would have the issue of feeding him, not having enough room in the Soyuzes to evacuate the station, the life support system encountering loads not seen in 8 years.

    The real drama would be the consequences of stowing away. Would he be shot for treason? Would NASA give up on human spaceflight entirely because they couldn't enforce enough meaningless regulations? Would private space programs tolerate more risk?