Hackaday Links: July 28, 2019

It looks like Apple is interested in buying Intel’s modem chip business. Seriously interested; a deal worth $1 billion could be announced as early as this week. That might look like a small potato purchase to the world’s biggest company – at least by market capitalization – but since the technology it will be buying includes smartphone modems, it provides a look into Apple’s thinking about the near future with regard to 5G.

It turns out that Make Magazine isn’t quite dead yet. [Dale Dougherty], former CEO of Maker Media, which went under in June, has just announced that he and others have acquired the company’s assets and reformed under the name “Maker Community LLC.” Make: Magazine is set to resume publication, going back to its roots as a quarterly publication in the smaller journal format; sadly there’s no specific word about the fate of Maker Faire yet.

The hoopla over the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 may be over, but we’d be remiss not to call out one truly epic hack related to the celebration: the full restoration of an actual Apollo Guidance Computer. The AGC was from a test model of the Lunar Module, and it ended up in the hands of a private collector. Since November of 2018 the AGC has been undergoing restoration and tests by [Ken Shirriff], [Mike Stewart], and [Carl Claunch]. The whole effort is documented in a playlist by [Marc “CuriousMarc” Verdiell] that’s worth watching to see what was needed to restore the AGC to working condition.

With the summer sun beating down on the northern hemisphere, and air conditioners at working extra hard to keep things comfortable. [How To Lou] has a quick tip to improve AC efficiency. Turns out that just spraying a fine mist of water on the condenser coils works wonders; [Lou] measured a 12% improvement in cooling. It may not be the best use of water, and it may not work as well in very humid climates, but it’s a good tip to keep in mind.

Be careful with this one; between the bent spoon, the syringe full of amber liquid, and the little candle to heat things up, this field-expedient reflow soldering setup might just get you in trouble with the local narcotics enforcement authorities. Even so, knowing that you can assemble a small SMD board without a reflow oven might prove useful someday, under admittedly bizarre circumstances.

From the “Considerably more than 8-bits music” file, check out the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra’s “8-Bit Symphony.” If your personal PC gaming history included a Commodore 64, chances are you’ll recognize songs from titles like “Monty on the Run”, “Firelord”, “Green Beret”, and “Forbidden Forest.” Sure, composers like [Ben Daglish] and [Paul Norman] worked wonders with the three-channel SID chip, but hearing those tunes rendered by a full orchestra is something else entirely. We found it to be particularly good background music to write by.

14 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: July 28, 2019

  1. Better window units do this by slinging the condensate into the condenser air stream, and it is a long-know trick with split units that goes back at least to the 1960”s (mist with a hose, or, preferably, pump the condensate from the evaporator to the condenser coils)

    1. Yes. But… Condenser distillate is dirty but is not carrying lime and rust that piped water may have. Cake up the coil fins with the same crud as is around your faucets and toilets and you will be in for a new coil. Any pathogen or whatever may grow in there as well. Legionnaires disease should really be called air conditioner disease.

  2. I think a quarterly Make, in the style of 2600, is their best bet. Print, especially for tech stuff, is all but dead. If you do a quarterly publication with curated articles, you can at least offer exclusive content that might compel people to buy a subscription.

  3. IIRC, a switch was broken when one of the Apollo astronauts left the LEM.
    It was needed later for liftoff. A writing utensil shoved into the switch allowed them to toggle it.

    1. Yeah, I think Aldrin whacked the ascent engine circuit breaker on his way back in the hatch. Talk about breaking the one perfect thing to screw up your day! No ascent engine and the LM becomes a coffin for two on the Moon.

      He fixed it by jamming a felt-tip pen barrel into the circuit breaker so they could arm the engine and go home. Here’s hoping that some future lunar archaeologist explores the Eagle ascent stage crash site and finds that pen still jammed into the breaker.

      1. Reminds me of the time in college when someone accidentally broke one of the door sensors on the bus – for some reason, that locks out the hybrid system. The temporary fix to get the bus moving again was to jam a paper clip into the plug for the sensor.

  4. “That might look like a small potato purchase to the world’s biggest company – at least by market capitalization – but since the technology it will be buying includes smartphone modems, it provides a look into Apple’s thinking about the near future with regard to 5G.”

    Once power issues are resolved on both ends.

    1. I have heard opinions that the purchase was more about the patents than the chips. The patents are defense in the event they get sued by other companies for infringement.

  5. The percentages in the air conditioning video are wrong. The Fahrenheit scale is used to measure temperatures which has an arbitrary zero value. For percentage of temperatures to work correctly the scales must start at absolute zero.

    1. Or wronger still? What matters in efficiency on the inside-side is the drop in temperature over ambient. So an air-conditioner that puts out air 15 degrees lower (for the same volume) is doing 50% more than one that puts out air 10 degrees lower?

      And for the outside, I’d also measure rise above ambient.

      But his main point — that you can use evaporative cooling to further cool down the fins — makes sense.

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