Category: Sci/Tech

An actually usable voice assistant interface (by )

Ok, this is going to sound a bit weird, but I had a dream last night and part of that dream as an actually usable voice assistant system (as in, Google Assistant / Alexa type of thing). I woke up all excited about this, so I need to write it up so that I can see if it's actually a good interface when I come back to it in few days, or just dream-hubris... Read more »

Pictures from Space (by )

So the International Space Station (ISS) contains some equipment that's part of a project called ARISS, or Amateur Radio on the ISS.

One of the ARISS projects is occasional transmissions of images via SSTV, or Slow-scan television - basically colour faxes sent via radio.

Anyway, a few days ago, I saw that there was an SSTV transmission scheduled, and the ISS would be passing over England at times I would be able to try and pick it up, so I gave it a go... Read more »

A call to action: Installing a cluster of servers shouldn’t be hard (by )

One of the reasons cloud servers (AWS EC2, Google's GCE, Azure, etc) are popular - despite their eye-watering costs once you get to any sort of nontrivial scale - is that they give you a web interface and API to provision resources, rather than needing to set up your own managed cluster.

This is crazy, as managing a cluster of servers is just a software problem, and not a particularly tricky one, so there really should be a decent open source solution for doing it. Read more »

Illuminated Fragments (by )

Currently it is the Gloucester History Festival - happening very differently to previous year in the restrictions on numbers and the shift to more outside pre booked things and mostly online talks and interactive virtual tours. Even if I'd been well enough there is no way Cuddly Science/History could have done it's normal activities with sand pit digs and cloth puppets 0.o

I am seeing past events popping up on Facebook memories and they are awesome but do you know what? So is this year... there is a festival that had to completely start from scratch and reorganise some great stuff and they managed it and on their big year too! 10yrs of the Festival and 25yrs for the Heritage Open Days!

And it's not like I am completely devoid of involvement - back in the spring an art and archaeology project that I was very excited to be a part of obviously had to go on hold but now the exhibition is there for anyone who wanders over to see! They are asking people to pre book free tickets and wear face masks when in the building as well as doing track and trace.

It's at Llanthony Secunda Priory and called Illuminated Fragments. There were 15 of us lead by Jacqui Grange of Creative Solutions with access to the archaeological finds from the area thanks to Cotswold Archaeology, and tutorials on calligraphy as well as researching the history and stories of the area.

I really enjoyed the parts of it I managed to get to and the work produced is truly spectacular - it is only up until the 14th of Sept 2020. Including the Heritage Open Day.

A keyboard design (by )

Ok, so a friend of mine is making himself a custom keyboard - there's a whole hobbyist community of people who design their own, often based on a published design like the Ergodox.

This is related to something I've long wanted to do, which is to obtain myself a chorded keyboard. So I thought I'd write up my current thoughts on the matter, given that they've been brought to the forefront of my mind again!

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