Nothing ruffles feathers more reliably than a software company announcing changes to its licensing terms. And so it goes with AutoDesk, who recently announced that Eagle would no longer be available as a standalone product and would now be bundled with Fusion 360. It looks like there’s still a free option for personal use, which is good even if it limits designs to two schematic sheets, two board layers, and 80 cm² board area. And perhaps this means there will be a Linux version of Fusion 360 too.
With the Y2K bug now twenty years in the rearview mirror, it’s entertaining to look back at that time and all the hype that surrounded it. Usually we talk about the effort that went into fixing vulnerable systems, but do we ever talk about the recipes of Y2K? The Advent of Computing podcast recently did an episode that gives a great background of the Y2K bug, plus discusses what people were planning to do for food after the bug detonated all the world’s nukes when the new millennium rolled around. Pantries stocked with canned goods, wood stoves to cook on and keep warm by when the powerplants all self-destructed on January 1 – it was all part of the vibe at the time.
We suppose when you put 60 birds into orbit at a time, it doesn’t take long to make a sizable impact on the planet’s constellation of satellites. Still, it came as a surprise that SpaceX was able to claim the title of world’s largest commercial satellite constellation after just three Starlink launches. We guess the operative term is “commercial” here, since some governments probably have far more satellites in service than the 182 Starlinks that have been launched so far. That’s a far cry from the 11,000 plus eventually predicted to form the Starlink constellation, but it’s already having an impact.
As a proud Idahoan, I feel personally triggered by what’s billed as the world’s first smart potato. True, I live in the part of the state with the trees and the bears, not the spuds, but still, it’s right there on our license plates. While clearly tongue-in-cheek, the Smart Potato pokes fun of our official State Vegetable, which I find beyond the pale. Seems like anything can be crowdfunded these days.
Speaking of which, check out Kohler’s Alex-connected smart toilet. For a mere $7,000 you can have a toilet that does everything a regular, boring old toilet does, but with lights. In fairness, the value of a good bidet can’t be overstated, but the ability to talk to your toilet and have it talk back seems a little on the iffy side. Perhaps teaming it up with the Charmin Poop-Bot, a self-balancing robot that connects to your phone and brings you a roll of toilet paper if you find yourself without a square to spare.
And finally, drummer Neil Peart died this week at the far-too-young age of 67. While there’s probably a fair number of Rush fans in the core hackaday demographic, there’s no hack or other tie-ins here. I’m just sad about it and wanted to share the news.