Here you see a reverse chronological overview of all stories I ever published on my web site. Static content (Pages in Drupal terminology) is accessible via the menus on the left. The list you're looking at now is just all the blog-style postings I made that are not specific to any of my projects.
After almost three years of (very) little activity on this web site, I dusted it off and declared it operational again.
Our move to Miami, Florida obviously had much to do with this. And I converted to a professional life as a full-time avionics engineer. Combine these events and you may understand why I had some other, more pressing matters to attend to. However, I feel stabilized now and am comfortable sharing my hobbies and some professional bits with the world again. Welcome back!
Typical that every year around this time, I end up writing a new story for my web site. Why don't I do this in between Worldflights?
The main reason is that in my professional life, most events that I could or would want to write about are sensitive in nature. Winning a contract with a major customer, completing an innovative project, finding technical solutions to challenging problems are all very much worth a posting. At the same time, they are the foundation of business success and need to be carefully 'managed'.
Although Matt's simulator is half the globe away and I can't visit him very often, I still am proud to be one of the people that made it work. Matt's sim contains most of the software you see in the left margin. Due to the unique design we pulled off, he still is at the top of the world -- after more than ten years. And this made his sim appear in the Guinness Book of Records. Which makes me feel a tiny bit part of it.
Ok, ok, even after posting the "I Am Back" note, basically nothing happened on the web site for another year. But I have a good excuse.
Most of my hobbyist life has been suspended for the last three years as I took up a job as lead SATCOM engineer at Avionica, a small (but quickly growing) company based in Miami. We excel at producing innovative avionics, mostly for for large transport category airliners, in the communication and flight data processing areas.
The last two years we have been working on our flagship product, satLINK MAX, a 4-channel Iridium satellite communication system that is the first on the planet to offer fully certified Iridium ATS Safety Voice communications around the globe. With this box, flight crew can remain in contact with air traffic control by voice and datalink at all times, including deep water, expansive rain forests, deserts, and both poles. We offer all this in an enclosure 1/4 the size of a shoebox, and if you add another box the size of a pocket book, you save 15 kg in wiring weight.
We performed the first install in May in Hong Kong on a 777, and last week we got the final FAA approval to send the first shipment of boxes out to our launch customer for their 777 fleet.
I am quite proud to be a member of the Avionica team that kicked this project to completion in record time for the industry, and look forward to at least one more of this kind of development. This industry does not build on technical capability alone. To get your box installed in airliners of major companies, you have to bring much more to the table than technical excellence. Stewardship for the whole team throughout, long days and nights, many sacrificed weekends, ultra-exhaustive international trips where you see just the inside of an aircraft for six days straight, and a relentless drive to continuously improve everything are crucial. But we pulled it off!
Huge thanks to my family to put up with all this, including moving to Miami in the first place. Without you it would not have been possible.
And, really, another huge thanks to Hardy, the author of PS1 and the just-released Precision Simulator X, who has laid the ground work that developed my interest in and knowledge of the aviation industry in general.
I am at least as proud to have been one of the alpha and beta test team members for this system simulator, which exceeds anything else on the planet by a wide margin, and has set a new standard for what can be achieved on home equipment.
satLINK MAX and PSX both represent a significant milestone in my professional and hobbyist life, and it won't be my last!
Every year early November, World Flight brings together a handful of full-scale flight deck simulators and a few hundred people to raise money for various world-wide charities.
You can follow the event on my photo diary/blog. And please consider a donation to the Air Ambulance, our charity for the last years. Just click on the banner on the Blog page.
This year I join the UK World Flight team in Coventry, just as last years. We made a promo video which gives a nice impression of the amount of work needed to get just one plane around the globe -- let alone seven.
This year's route will bring us from Sydney via India, Russia, Eastern-Europe and Western-Europe to the mid-Atlantic archipelago of the Azores. Then Westwards to the United States, via the Bering Strait to Russia, down through the Far East and then back to Australia.
A few years ago I built a hub for a number of temperature sensors, based on the DS1820. Although computers with serial RS232 interfaces become extinct, most server machines still have these connectors, as they are useful for remote console management. The combination of a few DS1820s and the serial interface offers a very nice, cheap way to connect multiple temperature sensors to a monitor.
I don't often "blog" about wild ideas that come by on a common channel that I hang out at, but this one seemed to be nice. With all the hassle around needing to purchase a Windows license if you just want a machine to run Linux, it is time that we face what the market really is about.
W3C has published a press release, announcing a new standard that builds a bridge between the world of knowledge organization systems — including thesauri, classifications, subject headings, taxonomies, and folksonomies — and the linked data community, bringing benefits to both. The MACS Project is listed as one of the few existing projects that have successfully provided results in the efforts to use semantic technologies to accomplish real-world goals.
Many people who maintain server computers will know the challenge: how to keep track of all the small changes you make to the configuration of the machine, so that you know a) what you did, b) why you did it, and c) how to do it again? Especially when there is a group of people who share the responsibility of server maintenance, this becomes crucial.
Several options exist to document your changes. In this brief blog I will explain how I learned to do it, using the Subversion (SVN) revision control system and a small set of Makefiles called Caspar which originates at Tilburg University.
A few years ago I built a small rackmount unit for the IT Services department of my (then) employer, and published how I did it plus the associated software to link it up to the Nagios monitoring software. I keep getting mails from people who used the publication to build their own system, or to improve it.