Counter Spin: Problem Definition & Requirements

Problem Definition

In November 2010 several payloads were sent up to 85,000 ft by a standard weather balloon. In the picture below you can see the layout of the payloads on the weather balloon.

Payload Arrangement and Balloon Lanuch

This picture shows a balloon launch how the payloads are arranged.

The payloads and weather balloon are connected with rope. The rope is not rigid and twists very easily. As the balloon travels upward, it encounters atmospheric winds. The atmospheric winds blow on the payload imparting a moment about the rope that causes the payload to spin about the vertical axis.

The picture to the left shows a launch. From the picture you can get an idea of how the balloon and its payloads are connected.

The video below shows the stability problem in action.

The goal of this project is to, within the constraints of a payload, create a single axis attitude control system that will make a video of the flight worth watching.

Flight Profile — About the Weather Balloons

The weather balloon pictures above is attached by rope to several payloads. Each payload is a contained structure weighing less than 2 lbs [.9 kg]. The payloads on the top and bottom contain GPS sensors and RF transmitters which are used to track the balloon through it’s flight.

The weather balloon is filled to a capacity that determines its flight profile. The balloon reaches a certain altitude at which the atmospheric pressure decreases enough to cause the balloon to expand and pop. The gas used by the balloon is Helium and typically it can lift 20 lbs to altitudes up to 125,000 ft [38 km].

Once the balloon pops, despite its parachute, it falls like a rock through the less dense layers of the atmosphere. Once the popped balloon reaches a lower altitude its parachute catches and its payloads safely land (hopefully :).

Counter Spin Requirements

1. Mounting

The payloads have a bronze 10 mm lamp rod going through them with an attachment point on each end for ropes to attach. Project Counter Spin must use the same mounting method to attach to the ropes.

2. Weight

The aggregate weight of the entire payload system including the mounting rods must not exceed 2.25 lbs and preferably weigh less than 2.00 lbs.

3. Control System

The control system shall provide one dimensional attitude control for a video camera mounted on or within the payload. The camera footage shall be bearable to watch and preferably beautiful.

4. Other Sensors

The payload shall also contain an accelerometer, pressure sensor, and temperature sensor. Preferably the payload shall contain a solar cell and outside temperature sensor. The sensors shall be used to collect and record their data for post processing.

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Project Counter Spin

Project counter spin is an attitude stabilization project for a video camera placed on a high altitude balloon. You can see footage below of what happened to the video camera last time it got sent to 100,000 ft.

The wind gusts in the stratosphere are pretty rough. The wind caused the payloads to spin fast enough that the video camera footage made me sick.

So the plan is to make the video camera footage useful. Launch is T-minus 2 months and counting. Time to get cracking and hacking.

Expect more soon šŸ™‚

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Language101.com Review

Language101.com is excellent at taking someone from knowing nothing to being conversational quickly. Language101.com immediately launches you into learning useful material and doesn’t stop.

If you are someone who is going to Russia, Germany or Mexico soon and think that it’s not worth the bothering learning the language because there’s not enough time, then language101.com may prove you wrong.

Who Should use Language101.com?

Anyone Who Wants To Become Conversational
People who are Beginners or Intermediates and want to Improve
Anyone Who Want a Good Accent
Someone Who Needs a Crash Course
Someone Re-Learning a Language
Anyone with a Smart Phone and or Uses the Internet Frequently

Who Shouldn’t Use Language101.com?

Those who have no Internet Connection or Intermittent Internet (slow is okay)
Grammar Oriented People
Anyone Who has Advanced past Being Fully Conversational
Young Children Who Cannot Read English
Aspiring Foreign Languages Writers
Continue reading

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Language Learning Goals

I have had some of the best times of my life traveling to several spots around the world. As a traveler I have found that I can make an instant friend when I talk to someone in their language even if it is only to say thank you. So I have decided that I will make it a goal to

  • Learn 2 languages other than English
  • Learn basic phrases and conversation in 10 Languages
  • Learn how to say hello in every language.

I currently speak English Fluently. Speak beginner Russian and Spanish.

Currently I know how to say hi in.

Russian: Previet
Spanish: Hola
French: Bonjour
English: Hi
Ukrainian: Yack Shamash
Danish: Goddag
German: Guten Tag
Korean: Ona hasaio
Chinese: Ne How
Italian: Ciao

I’ll be sure to expand this list quickly.

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Five Reasons Why You Should Dump Internet Explorer

I am not a big Internet Explorer fan and below are 5 reasons why.

1. Internet Explorer is two Steps Behind, Outdated and Outclassed

Just take a look at the pictures below. I am using some CSS3 and HTML5 which despite every other major browser supporting them to some degree, IE does not.

Internet Explorer 8 Firefox 3.6.3

Internet Explorer 6 was released in August 2001. At that time it was revolutionary. Internet Explorer defeated Netscape Navigator, Mosaic, and every other browser. After that, Microsoft wasn’t interested in making Internet Explorer any better since there was no competition. Internet Explorer stagnated. Then around 2006 Firefox began to steal lots of users from IE. Firefox had developed new features and progressed the web experience and IE realized it was behind.

IE was quick to release IE7 in October 2006 (5 years after IE6). It was a buggy rushed release to catch up. Then in March 2009 IE8 was released which was essentially a more stable version IE7.

Internet Explorer is behind in the game of catch of.

2. Internet Explorer doesn’t follow Standards

There is an agency composed of industry experts called the W3 consortium that develops “standards” for web browsers. Unfortunately Internet Explorer Continue reading

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Starcraft II in Linux using WINE and Dualboot

I got Starcraft II running in Linux and it was dirt simple.Ā  The steps I took are detailed below.

  1. I first installed Starcraft II on my windows 7 machine. I attempted to get WINE to run the installer but it wouldn’t work. So I installed it on windows, hence the “Dualboot.”
  2. Boot Linux and go to the ‘Path-To-Windows-Drive/Program Files(x86)/Starcraft II/Starcraft II.exe’ right click and click run with WINE

A video and trouble shooting guide is coming soon.

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Net Neutrality What is It?

Net Neutrality sounds like a wonderful concept. Let me describe exactly what it is.

You want to know how to make cheesecake. So you go to google and type “How to make cheesecake.” You are in Albuquerque, and the Google server that has the search results is in San Fransisco. How long will it take for your search query to get to San Fransisco and return back to Albuquerque? Well this ends up being a very complex question. It depends on distance, what kind of transmission medium exists,who else is using the internet, and much more. The one that is of interest to Net Neutrality specifically is, who else is using the internet.

Say I am a repeater node in the network between San Fransisco and Albuquerque. I am owned by a private company. It is a very busy day on the internet and I am bogged down in traffic. I am receiving more information packets than I can send out. Under the principleĀ  of Net Neutrality, I should send out the packets that arrived earliest, first. What if I was to send the information packets of people who paid more first?

So the threat is that my search query for delectable cheesecake will be stalled at a node for a long period of time while someone who paid more is streaming youtube videos at 1080 resolution is getting all of the node’s traffic. The risk here is that someone who pays more will have a voracious appetite for bits and bytes and the poor guy looking for cheesecake gets stalled. It also allows companies to make more money off of the same number of resources. The private company doesn’t have to upgrade its equipment. Some customer are paying more for better utilization of that equipment at the expense of other customers.

If it really got ugly the node could be programmed to block content. So perhaps if my ISP doesn’t like cheesecake it could block all packets with the word cheesecake.

That’s the gist of Net Neutrality. Should the government step in to stop it? Leave your comment below.

My Verdict

As for me I believe that the concept of Net Neutrality is good, but the government has no place to enforce it. The people will enforce it. If your internet is bad, you will switch to a different provider that gives you the service you want. If internet providers are charging unfair prices, a new company will form that will give you the access to a price that is fair.Ā  Especially with Google getting into the game there is no threat of a monopolistic internet service provider market.

The government has no place policing the internet. I am a web entrepreneur and the last thing I want is for the government to tell me how to run my website. I also know that the second the government gets into web regulation it will attempt to tax it. Imagine a world where for every web page you load, you donate a penny to fight the next war…

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Blank Server to Useful Website

Have you ever had a dream to build your own website? Perhaps you wanted to host from an old desktop in your bedroom, or maybe you want to have a high powered website for your business? Let me show you how to do it from start to finish.

Part 1: Getting Started

What kind of website do I want?
The difference between DNS and webhosting
How to Get a Domain Name
How to Get Hosting
Standard Webhosting vs Virtual Private Server vs Dedicated Server

Part 2: Building your Website

How to Build your own Custom Website
How to Use WordPress or other Content Management System
How to Set Up Email

Part 3: More About My VPS

What I wanted
Setting Up the Server

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Hello world!

Hi my name is Chris Eiffel and I just got WordPress running.

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