Thursday, May 06, 2004

Feeling Better
Much better yesterday. I almost feel completely normal today, though slightly weak.

I have the car, but Theo is working late tonight. I'm going shopping for stuff and I'm also going to get a card for my mom for Mother's Day and for Nicole for her birthday. I'm going to price some other stuff at Circuit City, as well.

Media Center of attention
Ideally, I was considering making a "Freevo" Linux box to store television, music, and pictures at the entertainment center. With A DVD-burner and some video software, you could really make this work quite well. There are problems, though, since you could not then play Windows games on the same system. In a perfect world, you would get a Windows XP Media Center Edition machine, but that's expensive. So I was considering a dual boot. Today I learned that the only video card (All in Wonder, $150) that seems to natively support the DVI interface for the television also includes Tivo-like software and video editing software. In other words, a pure Windows XP Home machine could do it all. For roughly a grand, one could assemble TIVO, DVD recording, DV video editing, PC gaming, MP3 library, and a photo library, plus all the PC stuff like web surfing and actual work, all connectable to the HD unit natively. This and a home theater with DVD and VCR built in (floor model, $400) and you would be set. All this plus the cable box in four simple silver cases. Incredible.

Apple already supports DVI natively on Powerbooks. If they don't support video recording soon, I suspect they'll be dusted again. We'll see.

Finding the time for space
With Theo working late all the time, even with my hours capped at 40/week, I'm not getting home in time to do much more than feed the cats and go to bed. The house isn't getting any cleaner. I am finally making progress on the Earth Return Vehicle design. So far I've pushed through the first parts.

I realize now why he raised the weight limit so much for the contest. The original Zubrin plan has the crew module weighing 7800 kg. This cabin must hold the four person crew for between 180 and (in an emergency) 680 days. This may sound reasonable, until you consider that the Apollo command module, which held three people for 14 days, weighed 5800 kg!

Unfortunately, we can't just leave everything the same and redesign the cabin. If the cabin weighs three times more, the stages get heavier as well.

I'm pushing through text for now. I have "@@" in place of any missing math. I'm also working on the spreadsheet for some elements, like the cabin mass. Eventually I'll work out the minimum the cabin can weigh, and do the rocket equasion backwards to find what I need. That really means the report needs to be written in a matter of a week or two.

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