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30 September 2008

An Energy Revolution - the Keppean Motor

So a friend of mine introduced me to some research that some Brazilian scientists have done.  Dr. Norberto Keppe wrote a book called The New Physics that describes some theoretical alternatives to Newton and Einstein's physics.  The findings in the book led Brazilian scientists Cesar Soos and Roberto Frascari to discover a method of capturing "scalar energy", a type of energy that was "discovered" by Nikola Tesla (here's an interesting article) in the early part of the 20th century.

Anyway, they invented a motor and demonstrated it at a conference last week.  The motor apparently runs on considerably LESS power than a standard electric motor.  For example, a fan that would normally consume 60-80 watts of power can be run on the Keppe Motor and only consume 3 watts.

There is a video demonstration here.

I like the idea of revolutionary changes in technology.  It bothers me a bit because they seem a bit cultish.  I mean, the organization is called STOP the Destruction of the World (website, blog).  In addition to sounding a bit cultish, they presented their demo at the World Conference of Analytical Trilogy (wtf is that?), an event that was co-sponsored by the University of San Diego's Center for Christian Spirituality.

I'd actually be more comfortable if the inventors were greedy corporate bastards but apparently they're tree-hugging hippies.

No offense of course.  I love the idea of doing things for the betterment of the world but I also believe that money is the driving force of technology.

So far, I have yet to see a single reputable news organization report on this.  But I've got my google alert set up for "Keppe Motor" so I can follow along.

Posted by rickroot at 8:34 AM | Link | 1 comment
15 July 2006

Computer Upgrades

I mentioned a few weeks ago in this blog entry that I had purchased a Creative Zen Vision, a portable media player like the iPod Video, but with a bigger screen.

Well, when I tried to convert one of my DVDs to an AVI file, I found that it took a REALLY REALLY LONG TIME on my old Dell GX60.  The GX60 is a very small business-class desktop machine.  It had a 2ghz Celeron processor and 512MB of ram.  Not much but it had always suited my needs.

Well, video compression is the single most difficult thing you can ask a computer to do, and so the purchase of the Zen Vision made me decide I need a new computer.

Good excuse, eh?

I found a company up in Canada that was selling dirt cheap systems at www.btecanada.com.  I bought a basic system from them - Pentium D 3.0 ghz (dual core processor), 1 gig of RAM, a 200 gb hard drive, on board audio, video, and ethernet, all shipped for about $500 US.  A similarly configured machine through Dell would've cost me $1400.  Through Intrex, it would've been $1200.  Through Tiger Direct, about $800.  So yeah, it was a good deal - even though the hard drive was a refurbished hard drive, I didn't really care.

On top of this, I ordered a brand new Maxtor 200gb SATA hard drive so I would have plenty of storage space, and the SATA hard drive is faster than the IDE hard drive my computer came with.

Today, I added two more 512MB chips, taking my total memory to 2 GB.

And finally, I ordered a video card and TV tuner from BTE with money from my paypal account.  I got the ATI All In Wonder Radio X800 XT, an 8X AGP video card with 256MB of RAM.  Top notch!  Built in TV tuner, comes with PVR software and everything so I can do all kinds of crazy stuff.

And for the first time since I owned my Commodore Amiga, I've got a desktop PC capable of some SERIOUS gaming.  I don't even know where to start!

Can anyone recommend a good shoot-em-up game?  I always liked Doom II.

 

Posted by rickroot at 12:22 PM | Link | 3 comments
16 June 2006

Joining the new age - my new Creative Zen Vision

MP3 players are so 5 years ago...

My brand new Creative Zen VisionSince I left my iPod on the train back in January (sigh) I've been without my music collection on the road, and it really started to bug me.  I need to be able to tune in the Sugar Hill Gang, Brian Vander Ark, and sometimes even Harm's Way (an Ann Arbor band that Kid Rock worked with back in 1994).

But I've been doing the portable mp3 thing since 1999 when I bought something called an "I-Jam" portable CD player that played mp3s from CD-R.  High tech back then.

Portable video seemed to be kind of cool, and since I'm a big fan of the Rhapsody Music Service (I hate iTunes), I decided to pick something that was fully compatible with that service.  After looking through their list of supported hardware, I settled on the $399 Creative Zen Vision.  The newer Zen Vision M has a more iPod like look and feel to it, the same amount of storage, and it is a hundred dollars cheaper at $299, but I like the original Zen Vision because of the larger screen.

Anyway, of course I didn't want to pay $399 so I headed over to ebay, and found a brand new "Buy It Now" item for only $295.  All the others were listed at $399 or very close to it.  Why?  This item was new, sealed in the box.  Why was it so cheap?  Oh there it is - the seller said "No returns".  Curious.  Well, if it's new and sealed in the original packaging, shouldn't be a problem.  But just in case I put it on my American Express card for the extra protection.

The Zen Vision arrived yesterday, and I promptly opened up the package and plugged it into the wall to charge up the battery while I installed the software.  The manual recommended a 2 hour charge before using it the first time so I waited, and then turned it on.

I LIKE IT!

The physical interface isn't quite as cool as that neat little touch thing that the iPod uses, but it's way better than my old Dell Digital Jukebox.  I found the controls easy to use, the screen is beautiful and easy to read, and the layout of the software running on it is very similar to the iPod software, so it was easy for me to use right away.

I started up Rhapsody and transferred the majority of my MP3 collection over to it (about 2700 songs, not including all the smooth jazz crap my wife has ripped from HER cd collection).  Nice easy interface, that's for sure.

I'm planning to toy with some video next.  I just signed up for the free, basic membership to MSN Video Downloads, which I'm not sure if it'll work with the Zen Vision or not, but we'll see.  I'd rip some DVDs with the kind of information you can find at doom9.org, but of course circumventing DVD encryption is illegal and I would never do that.

Posted by rickroot at 10:26 AM | Link | 0 comments
24 March 2005

Hello, Internet? May I speak to Rick, please?

The digital phone revolution

I got my new Linksys WRT54GP2A-AT wireless broadband router today and hooked it up.  After getting the internet access working, I followed AT&T's instructions to activate my CallVantage telephone service.

AT&T CallVantage is a Voice over IP (VoIP) service that allows you to make telephone calls using any broadband internet connection, such as cable or DSL.  There are a lot of really neat features, like listening to voicemail via a web browser, or having voicemail messages sent to you via email.  The best part is the price.  Unlimited local and long distance calling plus all the cool features (caller ID with name, call waiting, call forwarding, etc) for only $29.99/month.  That's a lot cheaper than your local phone company and long distance service.  Heck, I pay about $50/month total, and i don't even have call waiting or caller ID.

I've made a few phone calls already this evening, and it was pretty much the same as it has always been.  I use my normal phone - the only real difference is that I have to use 10 digit dialing for all calls.

Our service officially switches over on the 30th, so if you call me after that, you'll be calling me over the internet!

Posted by rickroot at 11:18 PM | Link | 4 comments