Sunday, March 15, 2015

Random Tech News and a Book Update

Here's a story on a material called carbon fiber. I mentioned carbon nanotubes before, but this is a little different. Expect to see a lot more of this material appearing everywhere in a myriad of products.

Then there is this development. It's a long article, but if you've read Theft at the Speed of Light, there are some eerie parallels here. Enough said.

Here is a story about a rarely documented phenomenon called a fire tornado. In this case, the fire pushed enough heat, moisture, and energy into the atmosphere to generate a cloud called a pyrocumulonimbus. Underneath that, a tornado developed, causing up to EF-3 damage in some places.

And finally, a book update. There are more delays on the novel, Race the Sky. This is a good thing, though. While I was taking a "break" from it, I ended up starting two dozen short stories. A handful of the stories then morphed into novel ideas. In fact, one of those ideas was so strong that it generated another thirty pages of handwritten notes. Those notes turned into a rough outline and after some more tinkering around, I think I've assembled a unique trilogy of novels: Race the Sky, The Hammer of Amalynth, and The Tesseract Rose (this last title will change). The trilogy will follow the adventures of a storm chaser and a cult researcher as they track down the causes of strange weather over a period of a couple of years. I don't have a series title as of yet but that will change soon.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

...and Then There Were 24 More

So much for getting a novel finished by the end of March. Apparently, two dozen short stories (some of which may turn into novels) have come along for the ride. In a few weeks, I'll put a handful of them up onto Amazon. Then, later in the summer, after the next novel is released, I'll put a bunch of them together into another collection.

In the fall, I hope to get around to working on the novel, The Tesseract Rose. Really. Then Dust in the Whirlwind and Firebugs will take on more depth and meaning.

Some brief tech news...here is an article about chips and copiers. Only the chips are in more places than just the copiers.

Here is an article about software that turns plastic brick ideas into 3-D files. And here is a product I never noticed until now: Lego Architecture Studio. Worth a look.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Goodbye, Radio Shack?

This is a sad story, but not surprising.

It's been a long time since I visited a Radio Shack store. The last time I went, it reminded me more of a mobile phone outlet than anything else. It seems that over the years they drifted away from being a parts supplier/geek toy outlet to become a generic electronics device store. At that point, I think a lot of people could see the end was near.

The Radio Shack of yesteryear used to have racks of electronic parts (diodes, transistors, resistors, etc.), unique electronic handheld games, radio controlled vehicles, Tandy computers, and electronic kits. The kits were great for learning electronics since they taught you basic circuit design principles and in the later years, integrated circuit logic. The kits also let you build an AM broadcast station, games, sound effects generators, etc. For a kid in the '80s and early '90's that was into electronics or computers, it was great.

Now, of course, many of those items have moved online. Some of the kits live on through a brand called Elenco, and are still available through Amazon. Here is also another retailer the sells project kits. Despite all the changes in the world of technology, it will be sad to see Radio Shack go, if only for nostalgia reasons. Yet, nowadays, there are even more powerful electronics kits available...especially with the development of the Arduino (one among many microcontroller kits out there).

Even if all the stores close out for good, hopefully someone will still maintain sites like this one, which houses all the past Radio Shack catalogs over the years.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Random Tech Bits

Some recent tech news from around the 'net:

Here is a short video on researchers are trying to figure out how to fly helicopters on Mars. I hope they are also working on ideas on how to fly in or recover from a dust storm. Back on Earth, there was a fire at a greenhouse that was part of a mock Mars mission.

For some, the future of artificial intelligence is worrying...see the recent articles here and here for more information. Also, on the tech front, Microsoft recently announced and demonstrated HoloLens. See here, here, and here for more details. The technology is nice contrast to the all-virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift.

Finally, researchers have sent "micro-machines" (nanotech) inside of mice for the first time.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chronopticus Trilogy Trailer #1

Here's an audio/radio trailer for the entire Chronopticus Chronicles trilogy. Thanks to the folks at Chapel Hill Media for making this possible.