serutan writes: "My 3-story house needs an intercom system, and since it already has cat-5 cable running everywhere, I think it would be cool to put in an IP intercom. Retail units are over $300 per station, and I would rather make my own system with some cheap, cool-looking eBay thing like the 3Com Audrey. This seems like such an obvious homebrew project idea, I'm surprised not to have found anything on the web so far. Anybody know of any good solutions? I'm okay with building electronics and writing software as long as it's not a 6-month project."
serutan writes: "An very detailed article on CodeProject explains how to set up a grid computer using Silverlight. Pretty cool from a coding point of view, but the author's casual mention of zomb- er, "volunteers" is somewhat disturbing. Does installing Silverlight imply consent to being part of someone's grid? fta:
"Unlike other distributed computing projects, Legion allows users to participate by simply viewing a webpage. The shift to cloud computing, and web based application, may have fostered a growing reluctance in users to download and install applications... Users prefer not to install software. It's a hassle. Legion, on the other hand allows us to bring new 'volunteers' to our grid by means of providing enticing content... It relies solely on the Silverlight CLR in the user's browser.""
serutan writes: "Using lasers to drive spaceships has been a subject of interest for many years, but making a photonic engine powerful enough for practical use has been elusive. Dr. Young Bae, a California physicist, has built a demonstration Photonic Laser Thruster that produces enough thrust to micro-maneuver a satellite. This would be useful in high-precision formation flying, such as using a fleet of satellites to form a space telescope with a large virtual aperture. Scaled up, a similar engine could speed a spacecraft to Mars in less than a week."
serutan writes: "Last week, noted computer scientist Jim Gray's small sailboat was reported missing at sea. At the Amazon.com Mechanical Turk you can help search for his boat using hi-res satellite images of the area where he disappeared. It's a long shot, but by spending a few minutes looking at these pictures you might save his life."
serutan writes: "The wraps have come off a mysterious, spidery-looking catamaran that has been fueling gossip and speculation on the web for several months, after the futuristic boat was sighted and photographed in Puget Sound and in the SF Bay Area. The 100-ft boat consists of a passenger/cargo pod suspended on jointed legs above two pontoons, each of which has a submerged rear engine pod. The innovation is in the windshield-wiper-like suspension, which lets the pontoons follow the surface of the sea rather than plowing through it, eliminating much of the drag and impact force faced by high-speed boats."
serutan writes: "A Swiss airline pilot and self-described adrenaline junkie named Yves Rossy has developed a working jetpack and flown it more than 30 times. Actually it's a pair of rigid carbon fiber wings strapped to his back, with two small kerosene-powered jet engines on each wing — essentially a small jet airplane using the pilot's body as the fuselage. His flights have lasted up to 6-1/2 minutes at speeds over 100mph. Rossy's website and YouTube have some pretty cool videos of him flying around over the mountains like Buzz Lightyear. He is working toward ground takeoffs and landings, but currently he jumps out of an airplane, unfolds the wings and flies until he runs out of fuel, then parachutes to the ground."