28 October 2013

UT-100 - SDR USB dongle transceiver

The RTL2832 USB dongle recievers are already common knowledge among many radio amateurs and a way to introduce the SDR technology to everyone - although i'm not fond of it, given it's poor performance. We are basically talking about a TV-tuner using custom software that allows it to work just as a ham radio reciever, with the obvious limitations of a US$ 10 product no bigger than my thumb. Because they are cheap and they offer a wide frequency coverage though, they got really popular and manufacturers even started making them especially for amateurs.

Next need though would be transmit capabilities; enter the Hides UT-100, an USB dongle with transmit and recieve, the same wideband coverage, but with a heftier price - around US$ 200-230.

24 October 2013

Copy.com - 15GB of free cloud storage

UPDATE: starting May 1st 2016 Copy.com will stop offering their cloud storage services.

Copy is the hottest thing right now in free cloud storage solutions. Yes, everybody loves Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft Skydrive are trying the same thing with moderate success, but none are really offering enough space to sync all your docs. Enter Copy, with 15GB of free cloud storage and the possibility to get infinitely more (still free), backed up by the data storage and backup giant Barracuda Networks and with a rapid growth during the last few months.

What is cloud storage ?

For someone who is not familiar with cloud storage yet, this is how it basically works: you install the Copy software on each of your computers, laptops, smartphones, tables and whatever else runs a compatible operating system and you designate a folder on each device and that folder will be copied and then kept in sync across all devices and also on the Copy servers. Whenever you edit a file on one device, the new version will be copied on the other devices as well, so if you add a new set of pictures for example on your tablet it will almost instantly be available on your desktop; of course, on mobile devices by default the content in only uploaded - so it won't clutter your smartphone with huge amounts of data and kill your dataplan, but if you want to download something from the cloud it's readily available. They have apps for Windows, Android and IOS so no issue there. You have the possibility to share some files or folders from your Copy folder to others, and while it's shared you also share the space taken: a 1GB file shared with 3 other users will be accesible to all 4 of you and will only take 256MB out of each one's space.

23 October 2013

The Red Tent - must-see movie for radio amateurs

The Red Tent is one of those great movies that masterfully combines action and drama with historic accuracy, keeping you both strapped to the seat to watch the story unfold and giving you something to think about afterwards. Contrary to what it might seem at first, it is not a light sunday afternoon movie and the entire setup - even if it was done almost 45 years old - is a fine example of cinematography and camera work. Adding to that some great acting, the names of two Oscar award winners - Sean Connery and Peter Finch as well as the ... beauty contest winner Claudia Cardinale, this is a recipe for a must-see movie.

21 October 2013

Intel Galileo - Arduino with a Pentium

Intel Galileo is the latest Arduino board; yes, you read that right, Intel and Arduino spent quality time together and later the Galileo saw the light of day. Their little baby is compatible with the Arduino software and hardware (yes, development enviroment, shields, the lot), packs seriously more punch than previous Arduino boards and comes with much more connectivity options onboard.

At the heart of this 100mm*70mm wonder is the Intel Quark X1000 SoC (System-on-a-Chip) built in the 32nm technology around a 400MHz Pentium 32-bit ISA-compatible processor with 16Kb L1 RAM and 512Kb on-die embedded SRAM; being single-thread and single-core it is rather easy to program, and it supports ACPI sleep states if you were wondering.

There is 256MB DRAM, 512KB of memory for sketch storage, 8MB of SPI NOR flash storage for firmware, you can add up to 32GB via the SD card port or virtually unlimited storage via USB 2.0.

16 October 2013

Ghe-O Rescue - offroad monster for emergency situations

Ghe-O Rescue is the first creation coming out of the fresh romanian car manufacturer Ghe-O Motors. It is not a car, it is not an SUV and it is not even an offroad vehicle; it is an outright offroad monster. But first, look at this video:

You see what I mean, right ? Something that looks like Ronnie Coleman had intercourse with a Hummer, swims like a killer whale and can can pop Defenders out of snow like i'm popping Oreos out of the XL pack - well, you cannot call that anything less than a true monster.

07 October 2013

LDG RT-100 - new 100W remote tuner

RT-100 is the codename for the latest automatic antenna tuner from LDG, and this one is the sweetest thing yet: small, compact remote tuner, handles 100W and goes into tune mode automatically when it detects a mismatch, so no need to even know it's there. Just install it at the base of the antenna and feed it with 12V via the coaxial cable that also brings RF and you're set.