April 26th, 2005

Mars Country Code

Dust Devils On Mars



Spirit has captured footage of a dust devil tracking across Gusev Crater. It's an impressive task for a still camera a long way from home...
The movie results from a new way of watching for dust devils, which are whirlwinds that hoist dust from the surface into the air. Spirit began seeing dust devils in isolated images in March 2005. At first, the rover team relied on luck. It might catch a dust devil in an image or it might miss by a few minutes. Using the new detection strategy, the rover takes a series of 21 images. Spirit sends a few of them to Earth, as well as little thumbnail images of all of them. Team members use the 3 big images and all the small images to decide whether the additional big images have dust devils. For this movie, they specifically told Spirit to send back frames that they knew had dust devils.
A kick ass hack from the crew at JPL.

[link found via APOD]

Hang on - is that Taz in there?
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The Tablet finally goes mainstream...

I've been a fan of the Tablet PC ever since marypcb was writing the official Tablet PC Magazine, and pre-production review machines in anonymous boxes came in and out of the house at regular intervals.

Now on my second machine (a lovely Toshiba M200), I've always felt it a pity that IBM's corporate laptop range never had a tablet device. When IBM launched one, then we'd know that tablets were finally mainstream formats. Well. that day has arrived, with the notoriously leaky FCC site disgorging pictures of the Thinkpad X41.



Mmm. Lovely.

[more information and pictures]
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