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I have updated the numbers of the electricity production of our solar panels. There’s nothing special to report, except that August hasn’t been so sunny since 2013. With a little luck, that will help make 2019 into another 2MWh year ;-)

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By now, everyone knows that the past month has broken a few temperature records here in Belgium (and elsewhere in Europe). Rising temperatures make solar voltaic panels less efficient, and that shows in our solar energy production numbers for July 2019. Even on those very hot and sunny days our panels never produced the top numbers we might have expected. So all in all, July was just an almost-average month: 96% isn’t too bad. The same goes for the meteorological Spring of 2019: average…

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I was just 11 at the time, and I did see some of the TV images of the moon landing during the summer of 1969. Anything to do with rockets and space, as well as the required “futuristic” technology to make things happen in that domain, still makes me sit up and pay attention. It’s no wonder, looking back at this, that I still read mainly SF books; like Star Trek; try to remain in touch with the latest developments in physics and tech; and continue to tinker with computers (at a very, very modest scale).

Thus I agree with Ars Technica, writing:

Today, the Moon landings still take our breath away. On July 20, 1969, NASA pulled off arguably the greatest technical achievement of the 20th century.

(Click the image to go to the Lego™ shop)

To celebrate that achievement, Lego™ is selling a 1,087 piece set of the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander. I know, that is essentially “good marketing” on their part. But this is one of the few sets I would consider buying these days – because of the significance of the Apollo 11 missions, not because it would fit in the collection of thousands of bricks I still have from my youth ;-) Thanks for pointing this set out to me, Ars!

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Belgian (and European) politicians keep saying that all of us must be ready to get on-board the unstoppable train of “digitalisation” (although the explanation of what that exactly means is not so clear). But everyone knows: digital is the future, if it’s not already today.

Modern society is noisy, especially so if you live in or near an urban / industrial area, or close to busy roads and highways. Noise is a known stress factor. Luckily, electrical vehicles are very silent, compared to their internal-combustion engine cousins. Electrical vehicles are taking over from their ICE cousins – just ask Norway. Hurrah! I’ll finally be able to sleep with the bedroom window wide-open.

Unfortunately, all new electric cars in Europe must by law emit an audible noise. So we’ll use a very analog solution to solve a problem caused by humanity’s technological progress. I can’t help thinking there must be other, quieter solutions to this problem.

But hey, I suppose it beats having to hire someone to walk in front of your vehicle, waving a red flag, no?

I found this image on Whaleoil, credited (I think) to ‘The giffgaff community‘…

 

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The last week has been very sunny and very warm in Belgium. Meteorologists tell us we had a real heat wave – not as severe as in France and Spain, to be sure, but enough to our photovoltaic panels produce the expected (but average) solar electricity of just below 300 KWh in June.

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I’m a bit older than Brent, and I had to buy my own first computer – a Sinclair ZX-81, in my case. But the feeling was exactly as he describes here:

Then the personal computer came along, and they had the freedom to solve problems on their own — when they wanted to, the way they wanted to.

This was a revolution.

Yes, it was about freedom, about full control over a tiny yet powerful machine, although at the start it was mainly about learning how much was possible with a computer and how you had to control it.

Image by Evan-Amos (CC BY-SA 3.00)

These days, even smartwatches have more oomph than the ZX-81, but they lack something that made the early “home computers” so attractive: they are increasingly closed-off by their makers. Is that good or bad? Personally, I love to tinker and explore and stumble and try again – that’s why I like all those Linux OS’s ;-)

Brent has a point when he says that “it feels more and more like we’re just renting Macs too, and they’re really Apple’s machines, not ours“. If I truly want to “play” with a computer, both in hardware and software, then Macs and portable PC’s don’t come into the picture. (Old) PC hardware or a Raspberry Pi will do, thank you.

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My first camera was an Olympus OM-1, and I still regret parting with it when the children became so active that I needed an autofocus camera to catch them on film ;-)

I still remember the build quality of the OM-1, and I loved the fact that the OM-1 plus a 50mm and 135mm lens (plus a bit of small junk) fitted in a small bag that could barely contain the Nikon F-something from my best friend. Olympus takes a top spot in my list of reputable firms, that should be no surprise.

In October, Olympus will celebrate its 100 years of existence, and they have created a website to show the history of the company and some of its products. It includes a nice video documentary about the evolution of the Olympus camera business.

Olympus: “A Great Moment” (click the image to see the video)

There’s a brief history of the company logo as well; that’s where I found the name ‘Tokiwa’.

(via DPReview)

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