Why do I do the things that I do?

I have always found deep space probes very fascinating.  The fact that we can send a pile of machinery into deep space and that it not only makes it into space on a controlled bomb and then survive in space where the temperature is about 3K (-454F) and then stay in that type of environment for years all the while taking pictures of planets and analyzing and measuring stuff is just amazing to me.

So, lacking any real funds (and brain power) to put my own probe into space, I started to think about what I could do that would be kind of similar but stay within the budget allowed by my CFO (zero $ or maybe a Hamilton if I am on good behavior.  NASA thinks they have it rough.).  I then remembered a few projects like this one:  http://vpizza.org/~jmeehan/balloon/ .  That is a bit ambitious of a project.  I need to take baby steps here.

I started scrounging around my computer parts or what my loving wife calls a Super Fund cleanup site in the making and found an old HP Brio PC that was missing a hard drive.  Everything else was still there.  The stamp on the side of the internal PC frame says it was made in July 1999.  Perfect!  This will be the beginnings of my zombie computer.

I installed Puppy Linux on a 128MB drive to boot off of (well, I am cheating a bit and booting off of a floppy that bootstraps over to the USB because this PC is so old, you can’t boot off of a USB device).  I configured a web server, wireless network,  and its own blog (http://www.bitflipper.com:8000/) among other things.  I also have some ambient music clips playing on it through a small computer speaker that is attached via a soldered connection to the motherboard as the inline port was toast for some reason.  The system is living in the family room at the moment, but I plan on moving it out to the garage soon as a test to see how it fairs on its own.  I installed a SSH daemon along with VNC server so that I can remote in to the system to control it if need be.  If all goes well, I am going to put it in the crawl space underneath the house near the front door.  There is plenty of room there and there is power nearby and a large vent to let sunshine in.  I can play Halloween sounds during Halloween, Christmas carols during that season, etc. that will filter out the vent.   You are now starting to sense the level of my insanity.

I think it would be funny to put a web cam on it for some reason.  I might connect an old 20GB to the system to backup things from my other systems.  Who knows where this project is going. 


About bradymacdonald
Just a dood in the toobs.

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