The Computer that Got Man to the Moon

SparkFun Electronics have put up a post about a really interesting book on the computer system that helped man reach the moon (the Apollo missions). SparkFun include some excerpts and pictures from the book, so check it out if you’re interested in old school ‘high tech’ hehe. They compare the Apollo computer with a common microcontroller of today – the ATmega168.

Note: The content is directed more towards people with a background in electronics, so those who aren’t forward biased by bipolar junction transistors may not understand everything – BUT the pictures are still pretty ;)

This book is available from The MIT Press as well as Amazon (slightly cheaper).

SparkFun Electronics – Apollo vs Atmel

Scenes from the Recession

This is not really the kind of stuff I normally post about, but I really like this collection of images from boston.com. Click here to see some very interesting pictures showing the effects of the global recession.

In particular, I like how images from both first and third world countries are used. Usually these recession image galleries are almost exclusively American, but in this case there are pictures from China, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Costa Rica and many other countries.

Scenes from the Recession

Tristan Perich’s Machine Drawings

Tristan Perich has rigged up two motors, some fishing line and a pen to create automated art. A large piece of paper is placed against a wall, with two motors just above the upper corners of the paper. In some cases there is no paper, and the drawing is done directly on the wall. Hanging between the motors on some fishing line is a pen, fixed perpendicular to the wall. Tristan sets up the automated environment by programming a microcontroller with the size of the  wall/paper, and then designates regions which will feature either random motion or ordered movement:

The motors, the geometry, the code, the pen, the paper or wall, all are married in the drawings. The final drawings are studies of how randomness inside a structured composition can be beautiful.

All this results in some really interesting work. I like this sort of combination of hardware, software and art. It’s an innovative way of looking at automated order and randomness contained within the same piece.

Tristan Perich – Machine Drawings

Eyeborg: Man inserts camera into eye socket

Rob Spence lost his eye in a childhood shooting accident and was given a prosthetic eyeball. Years later he would look at the camera on his cell phone and think: Wow that’s quite a small camera. And then he thought about his prosthetic eye. And then he thought about the camera. The eye. The camera. The e..Th….. HOLEY MOLEY.

Rob is working with engineers to have a wearable prototype ready by next month. That is so crazy cool. Ultimately he wants to film a documentary about privacy and surveillance issues – using the eye-camera .  They won’t even know they’re being filmed (until they’re asked to sign the release).

More info here.

Filmmaker to have ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ camera fitted in eye [via Core77]

9 Awesome Workspaces

Some of us work in cubicle city. Some work from home. Some work outside and some don’t work at all. Here’s nine interesting workspaces I’ve found on the interweb…

1) Stefan Didak’s Home Office

Wow. Just check out all those screens. The room itself is a bit small, but it still looks sick. Check out his website to find LOTS more info on what’s going on in his home office.

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Stefan Didak’s Office

2) Mitch Haile’s Home Office

This guy works The Matrix from his attic. Or something to do with multi-user software. Same thing. Check out his home office FAQ for more pics and info. Niiiice.

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Mitch Haile Office FAQ

3) South Hall Office, Obi Bowman House

Here’s an example in direct contrast to the previous set-ups. No need for fancy equipment if you have a location like this. Beautiful.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stewf/201497582/in/set-1633747/

South Hall Office, Obi Bowman House [via Asylum]

4) The Noir Cubicle

Not so amazing at first glance, but check this post from lifehacker to see what the cubicle looked like before it’s facelift.

http://lifehacker.com/5155413/the-noir-cubicle

The Noir Cubicle

5) Quilty-as-Charged

It used to be a dusty, junk-ridden garage belonging to an avid quilter. Then some friends came along and decided to help out with some tidying up and voila! Quilter’s Paradise was born!

http://atwater-village.blogspot.com/2009/02/our-submission-to-lifehackers-workspace.html

Quilty-as-Charged [via lifehacker]

6) Unidentified Floating Desk

Another workspace I found featured on lifehacker, the Unidentified Floating Desk uses IKEA products to bring some life to what would normally just be a desk with a PC.

http://lifehacker.com/5165084/unidentified-floating-desk

Unidentified Floating Desk

7) Nancy Cartwright’s Bedroom Desk

I’m not particularly fond of the colours and the furniture, but hey it’s the workspace of The Voice of Bart Simpson!

http://www.latimes.com/features/home/la-hm-homeofficepast-pg,0,3662339.photogallery?index=6

Nancy Cartwright’s Desk

8) Espace Mobile Prefab Home Office

The cool thing about this space is that it’s inside a shipping container. Fully customisable and with a 3-year warranty, these prefab homes go for between 55000 and 95000 Euro.

http://weburbanist.com/2008/06/01/more-cargo-container-homes-and-offices/

Espace Mobile Prefab Home Office [via WebWorkerDaily]

9) Where We Do What We Do

Not an individual entry, but an awesome collection of images of workspaces from around the world. Check it out!

9WhereWeDoWhatWeDo

Brad Pitt: Architect slash Actor

bradpitt

Arch Daily posted an interesting piece about Brad Pitt. Not many people know that Brad has a passion for architecture. He has no formal academic background in architecture, just a love for design and construction. I don’t see any problem with the idea that a person can have a love for a discipline such as architecture without a degree. There are many examples of ‘engineers’ who were never taught maths and science, yet through their ideas and subsequent investigation they have changed our world. Um I can’t think of anyone right now but you know what I mean. Everyone knows of an uncle or a grandfather or some other distant relative who maybe started out selling stationary but then had a great idea – a new design for a sharpener for example, which led to a business and then success. (Or failure, but it’s the trying that counts.)

bradandfrank

Anyways, so in between adopting children in third world countries Brad has been working on quite a few architectural projects. Read the post to find out what he’s been up to, but I’ll mention that his latest venture is the design and development of housing for hurricane victims in New Orleans.

Reading the comments for the Arch Daily post I find mixed feelings. Some people are really offended by the title of ‘architect’ given to Mr Pitt:

I was looking for the requisite “sarcasm” tag accompanying this post, but alas found none. Mentioning Pitt in the same breath as Wright or Mies is plainly a joke. Please let this be a joke. By this same perverted logic, Trump is all the more an architect.

-Evodio

What is the most ridiculous in this article, that they seem to forget, that architect is NOT just a guy who makes funny sketches and then gives them to engineers, who have to suffer with them and somehow bring to life. With such point of view, SURELY, every school boy can be architect, and Brad Pitt as well, and no education is really necessary.

-E.K.

And then on the other side there’s…

I like that he is bringing attention to architecture by using his celebrity status. Most people do not even think about buildings and he will at least make some of those people inquire. Same as Frank Gehry – he is more important for what he brings to an architectural practice than the actual buildings.

-kc

I would be more annoyed by Mr. Pitt if he were designing vacation homes for friends and calling himself an architect. Instead he is doing some good and has so far respected the title by not referring to himself as an Architect…..although, there are plenty of real architects who don’t deserve the title, either.

-Jeromy

Now I’ve never heard or read Brad refer to himself as an architect. I’m sure he knows that there is more to designing a house properly than a great idea and lots of money. But as an engineer I can see how certain people take offense to his popularity with regard to architecture, without having gone through an academic process. What does HE know about all the hours spent in studying in the library, or pulling an all-nighter to finish a project (…then finding out there was an extension)? Probably not much. At the end of the day I think it’s cool that he is actively engaging in something he loves, and that good things come of it. But he is lucky that his wealth and fame afford him such opportunities.

It’s interesting to see how people react to the media and the assumption of a professional title.

Architecture and Influence: Brad Pitt

Perspective Table

James Tooze of batchdesign has created a table offering an unusual insight into it’s design and construction. He has placed the engineering drawing lines for the table on the outside of the table itself, in such a way that when viewed from a certain angle it looks like an isometric drawing.

In the designer’s own words:

People should be curious and question how things are made, with a little effort this table makes it easy. When you stand in a particular spot the graphic on the table becomes the structure of construction.

tablepic

batchdesign [via core77]