July 1st, 2004

net zombie!

Another Journal-content poll

Recently, a lot of my entries have been about various electronics projects. As with the anime reviews, I receive very little feedback on those posts.
So that made me wonder: do my readers like to read those entries but don't know what to say about them, or do they simply skip the electronics-related entries?

Do you enjoy reading about my electronics projects?

Yes, I do
No, I don't

Why, or why not?

Fill out the poll, and let me know!
  • Current Mood
    curious curious
net zombie!

Service announcement

Those of you who have paid accounts can get two weeks of extra service, as a reimbursement for the bad availability of the LJ service. Those of you who plan to buy another 6 or 12-month service will get 2 months extra.

Go here to claim your prize, or read this entry for more info.
  • Current Mood
    happy happy
SD Fub


I've become addicted to inkoopacties.net! There are a lot of cool products out there, but shipping makes 'em prohibitively expensive. But, if you gather a lot of people to buy something in bulk, then most shops will give you some sort of discount. Also, because the shipping of the products goes in bulk, getting the stuff in the Netherlands is actually cheaper -- and within the Netherlands, we can get by with the cheaper inland mail rates.

Today, the two Packard Bell PC Remotes I ordered through inkoopacties.net arrived. They work with WinLirc, so I can control every WinLirc-capable program with them (like, for instance, BsPlayer) -- and I can use 'em to control my own programs because there are coding examples provided.

Another success were the LEDs I ordered. Those arrived two days ago: 50 blue and 50 red LEDs (very, very bright!), 50 normal red LEDs and 8 RGB LEDs. Especially the RGB LEDs are cool: it's actually three LEDs in one package: one red, one blue and one green. By supplying a varying voltage to the three separate LEDs, you can create lots of different colors! I intend to hook 'em up to a PIC, so that I can make programmable patterns...

There are some other inkoopacties that I participate in, most for tweaker's stuff that I can use for the HTPC of my own design.
  • Current Mood
    excited excited
SD Fub

The New Diamond Age

Via-via, I stumbled upon an article in Wired, called "The New Diamond Age".

"The Diamond Age" is a book by Neil Stephenson, about a world where nanotechnology is as common as sand. And if you have the power to re-arrange molecules, why settle for anything less than diamond?

Anyway, the title piqued my interest, and I started reading. It turned out to be an article about synthetic diamonds. Now, synthetic diamonds are nothing new: they've been around since the 50's, and serve as hardening material for tools, ranging from drills to saws.
A few years back, a company called LifeGem was founded, to make small diamonds from the carbon of cremated loved ones (a bit morbid, but there you go).

But what is new, is that researchers have succeeded in producing flawless 3-carat, gem-quality diamonds. I've seen a documentary about the diamond hunters, but at the time of filming, the state of the art had stuck at 1.5 carat -- too small to serve as jewelry items. It seems this boundary has been broken.
The De Beers cartel is, of course, less than thrilled with this development. They've got the world market in diamonds cornered, and they're afraid to lose their monopoly. So they have instated a programme to educate consumers about synthetic diamonds, and started to issue certificates of authenticity and all that.
Meanwhile, the diamond creators are silently working to make diamonds that are indistinguishable from the real thing. It's a bit like copy protection schemes: DeBeers things of something to prove that their diamonds are natural, and the diamond creators research their production methods better, so that their synthetic diamonds are, once again, indistinguishable. It's a running battle, and the diamond creators are sure to win in the long run.

In the documentary we saw on TV, the guys from DeBeers were explaining how cool natural diamonds are, and how synthetic diamonds could never have the symbolism natural diamonds have.
To me, it is exactly the other way around. A natural diamond simply exists, just because it was a lump of carbon at the right place, at the right time. There's nothing romantic about that, if you think about it.
But the synthetic diamonds... Someone applied all of their sentient force to create that diamond. It's there because someone decided to make a diamond, to design a machine that recreates gigantic seismic forces. It's a great feat of engineering -- the resulting diamond is not a mere accident of nature or a geological curiosity, it's the result of human inventiveness.

Am I weird in thinking that synthetic diamonds are way cooler than natural ones?
  • Current Mood
    good good
SD Fub

Mini-computer, the next chapter

After a week of complete silence from Techcase, I sent another mail (via the site) to inquire why I didn't hear from them and how they are going to resolve the issues with my order.

Turns out they didn't receive my mail! Gah, next time I'll mail the sales guy directly. I explained the situation to him, and he replied with:
We will check it immediatly.
Sorry for this terrible delivery

I'm not holding my breath.
  • Current Mood
    disappointed disappointed