Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fabfi In Domus Magazine

Yesterday Amy and I received a belated Christmas present via DHL. Though we knew it was coming, we had no idea what it might be.  Upon opening it we discovered a thick, colorful book from Italy, entitled DOMUS.  Domus is an Italian architectural magazine packed full of colorful images and stories about art and design.  I'm always surprised how often Fabfi gets picked up in the design-world media.  Perhaps designers and architects are freer to follow ambitious visions undeterred by technical challenges of implementation; or maybe they just think fluorescent orange acrylic looks snazzy.  Either way, we're grateful for the publicity, and the clever re-rendering of my graphics as seen below (see how CC-BY-SA is useful!).  I'll refrain from commentary on the editorial itself, which is roughly historical in nature.  One geeky side point is that anyone with the magazine has all the data they need to build a Fabfi reflector.

Find the article online article HERE.

Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Router has a bad case of S.A.D.*

In the last post I blathered on quite a bit about sizing solar panels for routers.  As it turns out, the theoretical and the empirical don't match up so well.  Instead of running 24h/day, the Farm School solar nodes are currently running more on the order of 6h.  I suspect this has mostly to do with the fact that the sun is so low for much of the day in this part of the world that it's behind trees, but it's also possible the new charge controllers aren't as efficient as billed.  Whatever the reason, I'm about 18h/day short of the full monte (translate: waaaaay short), which has me thinking about power optimization.

In laptops, a very common way to save juice is to adjust the clock speed down when the device is idle, and it seems someone has built a package to control CPU clock for the RouterStation.  It would be a great project for someone to wrap this with a script that measures load and adjusts speed accordingly.  Anyone interested??

*S.A.D. stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder

EDIT:  I took a few minutes to try manually switching the clock speed with the above package.  A few Results:

  • Changing speed requires a reboot (the package is simply a command line tool for rewriting the bootloader)
  • The overall reduction in power going from 680Mhz to 200Mhz is only abvout .25W at idle
  • Running a RouterStation at 200Mhz makes it boot waaaaay slower