Archive for April, 2010

Utopiums are back

After months being manufactured, the Utopiums are back! I will explain more about what they are in another post, but for now here are some photos.

Here are the packaged chips (20 of).

They also send you the remaining unpackaged dies. These have an excellent ability of confusing the camera’s auto focus.

The full die is 5mm by 3mm.

And this is what they look like under a microscope. They do get dirty very quickly when exposed to a dusty room.

On the bottom right of the chip logo are the thank-yous. The Tux and the Fedora logo are about 0.5 mm tall (perhaps the smallest ever?). You can see the diffraction grating giving a nice secondary colour.

At different angles, they look very different.

And here is a wise comment left by the one of the Async symposium reviewers.

I am still testing the beast, but it does work. It has executed a number of programs and the wagging slices do become by-passable. The biggest worry was the reset as that is quite complicated, but it seems fine. I will open source the design and the tool set some time next month.

3M MPro150 Pocket Projector

Andrew decided to buy himself a tiny 3M MPro150 projector.

It isn’t just a projector as it can directly display several media types. We tried PDF, Powerpoint, JPEGs and even an XVID video and all worked fine. The rendering of the PDFs was a little slow at points and it can overflow its memory if you supply something very heavy. The video worked fine and even played the audio on its speakers.

The tech specs are quite nice. Uses micro SD cards, although it also has 1GB on board. It can be connected to the PC using a mini USB socket and looks like two media storage drives (one on board and one for the mico SD), so no drivers needed. Only 640×480 but that’s fine for video and presentations. The 150 model can also be driven directly from over VGA or component cables (the 120 model is cheaper but can’t do this). And the on board battery apparently lasts about two hours which is enough to give a presentation or watch a movie.

It does have its ugly side though. At 15 lumens, it really isn’t very bright. In a normal room, you will be able to watch videos, but editing text is a lot more difficult. I’m not sure there are many situations where you want a tiny projector, yet have full control over the lights. Secondly it has a fan. It’s not that noisy, but I have an epic hatred of moving parts. And finally there is the price-tag of £350.

So, yeah it is pricey and probably not that practical, but it is just a bit of fun.

Falling blocks game in Plymouth

So, you have sat down at your computer and you’re waiting for it to boot, then suddenly you realise that it is doing a full fsck which is going to take a few minutes. What to do. You have two options:

  1. Sit quietly watching the little bar move slowly across
  2. Plymouth falling blocks game!

This is not a serious proposal, I just wanted to exercise the scripting system to see if I could find any bugs, but if you want to have a play with it, the script is available.