Nissan Skyline GTR R35 Crash

The first Nissan Skyline GTR R35 crash in Malaysia! Pictures are very graphic, be warned. This is a RM750k car that is faster than a Porsche Carerra GT. Thanks Edward for the heads up!

Before the crash, the GTR was seen at Sunway. There were discussions in forums suggesting that it was a Singaporean car and the driver had driven all the way from Singapore to show off his GTR at Sunway. How much of this is true I cannot say.


I have eaten at the food court located beside this GTR. This is at Sunway by the way.

Then somehow the driver crashed:

This is really heart-breaking to look at.

By the way, this is the 600th post on this site! Continue reading

Unusual Web Servers

When we think of web servers, one picture comes into our mind. Rows and rows of computers connected by miles of cables taking the space of a whole room.


Data center where servers are stored.


Thin rack servers from Dell.

These big servers run the Internet, sending out terabytes of data everyday. They can handle huge amounts of traffic without a problem, and store a large amount of data. Then we have smaller servers for small businesses. These are usually normal PC set up to run a web server or a file server so their clients can easily access the company’s data. Some people might even have small servers at home that serve files on a local network. These are usually network storage devices.

There are however some very interesting servers that most people don’t even know they exist. True, they may not be able to handle large amounts of traffic, but their size do speak volumes about their capabilities. Today I’m going to show you some of the world’s smallest servers. One of them even run on potatoes.


PICNIC


PICNIC got its name because it’s essentially a PIC (programmable integrated circuit) connected to a NIC (network interface card).

PICNIC is a very small and simple server that serves HTTP pages. HTML pages are stored on the PIC itself. When a request for the page is made, the PIC fetches the page from it’s program memory and transmit it through the NIC to the network. Complete documentation here.


webACE


Probably the world’s smallest web server.


webACE “server farm”.

The size of webACE is really tiny. It contains a Fairchild ACE1101MT8 micro controller programmed as a Web server and containing two tiny web pages in its on-chip memory. However, this server requires a host to connect it to the Internet. A 57.6Kbps SLIP line connects the webACE server to a Linux host, which serves as a bridge between SLIP and an ethernet LAN. The LAN then connects via a NAT firewall and cable modem to the Internet. Complete documentation here.


WWWpic2


WWWpic2 server built on a breadboard.

Similar to webACE, WWWpic2 uses SLIPS as well. This server is based on the highly popular 16F84 that many PIC enthusiasts are very familiar with. Can be built with simple and easy to find parts. Complete documentation here.


SPUD


Potato powered web server.

And you thought potatoes are good for powering clocks only. This is probably the only web server in the world that is vegetable powered. The potatoes need changing every few days though when the server shuts down because the potatoes run out of juice. And it is extremely slow. It can take only 0.2 hits per second. Or it takes roughly 5 seconds to process one request. Not too bad for something that runs on potatoes. Potatoes usually last 14 days. Complete documentation here.

Above are just some of the strangest servers that ever existed. They are not operational anymore. Their use were also severely limited due to the lack of storage, very slow processing and the lack of a proper filesystem and dynamic content generation (php, asp). However, it is very interesting to see people cramming a whole web server onto a piece of silicone no bigger than your thumbnail. Continue reading

Sepang F1 2008

For the third year in a row, I’m at Sepang F1 Circuit to watch the teams race their cars around the track thanks to Inti University College Nilai. I wonder if they notice their phantom students. This year however, we decided to take the bus and save us RM50 parking and getting stuck in jams. Feeder buses are available both at KLIA and the Nilai KTM station. Fare is RM2.50 one way.


Feeder bus straight from Nilai KTM station.

If you’re going to Sepang to watch F1 in 2009, I recommend you park your car at the Nilai KTM station for free and then take the RM2.50 bus to Sepang. You’ll save RM50 on parking fees. And it helps relieve the traffic congestion as well. Imagine 50 less cars per bus load of people. 10 buses and you’ll have 500 less cars. 100 buses and you’ll reduce 5000 cars going to Sepang.


To get around the Sepang circuit, use this free feeder buses that they provide. It brings you to the different gates.


I borrowed this map so I can take a picture of it so we’ll be able to find our way. They should provide maps to everyone.


We got K1 seats this year. Pretty interesting because this is the first corner after the starting grid and the 320kmh straight. Was expecting accidents to happen here but there was none. Just smoking tyres all throughout the race.


K1 stands. Luckily it’s covered.


Students enter through here. Just check your name with the list.

One of the things I hate about the organizers of F1 is that they BAN outside food and drinks. You have to leave your drinks with the gate keeper. Refer to the picture above. You see the bottles on her table? It’s not because she’s very thirsty, but it’s because she has to confiscate all the water bottles from people going in. I don’t mind buying RM2 bottles of mineral water, but they’re selling at RM4!

After 2 years of getting water confiscated, this year I decided to wise up. I brought a bag with a separate compartment and I put a water bottle and a McD double cheese burger in it. Then I had a large 1.5 liter bottle as sacrifice. So when we got to the gate keeper, she asked us to leave all the bottles there. We put the 1.5 liter bottle there and went in. This F1 race, I went home full and hydrated.


RM50 per car. Do the counting. Oh, and there are about 25 of these “car parks” of varying sizes at Sepang. Include that in your calculation.


Many people were wearing red. In front of us were a group of drunk Ferrari Fans.


Panoramic view of the circuit. Click for bigger version.


Smoking tyres.


This corner saw many overtakings.


But I didn’t manage to get shots of any. Maybe a DSLR with 1000mm zoom lens would help.


This car just screams attention. Ferrari F430.


Road tax is just RM8016 per year.


A bus load of buses!


Can anyone guess what this guy is doing on this taxi? Answers in shoutbox. Winner will get a week long mention on my site :D (Tzy Shih not allowed to enter)


Beautiful sunset. If you look carefully, you can see a Cessna flying in the background.

Overall, I think that this was the best year ever at Sepang. Traffic was not too bad, and for the 1st time here in Sepang, drivers are using engines with a standard ECU designed by McLaren and Microsoft. Thankfully no BSOD today. But there were a few incidents where loss of traction was observed. Especially when they power out of a turn. You can see the car’s rear sliding. View at K1 was also a good change because it was not the F stand anymore. However, the F stand offers up to 60% of track view. Hmm…

By the way, Raikkonen won the race. Full coverage of the race here. Till next year, drive safely! Continue reading

Inspections on Aircraft Structures

I was reading an article written by Kevin Cowherd today on TheStar and I can’t help but be amused at some of the points that he wrote in his article. I will give him the benefit of the doubt because he admits that he is not an expert in aviation. But just to clear some things up.

In this article, the focus was on cracks on an aircraft. Based on the article, Southwest Airlines was fined US$10.2 million for not doing mandatory structural inspections. If you remember Aloha Airlines, cracks on the fuselage caused the whole top portion of the fuselage to rip off.


Aloha Airlines Flight 243. 1988.

Inspections on aircraft structure is one of the mandatory task carried out when the aircraft is in the hangar for maintenance. Basically checks are made to ensure all structures are fastened properly, no cracks, no missing pieces, no corrosion. Did I mention checking for cracks?

Now when the aircraft is in the hangar, cracks can never escape a normal structure inspection. Cracks are just too big to be missed. If you can see a crack while boarding the plane, you’re probably not going to get to your destination.

Anyways, here are some of the points that I don’t agree with:


“…you could have the crew expend some of the energy checking the plane for cracks from now on.”

Pilots actually do a walk-around check before every flight to make sure everything is in order. They check things like wheels, brakes, general condition of flight control surfaces, any missing screws or panels. It’s a very quick check. They don’t have time to check the plane all over for cracks. That would take too much time. Checking for cracks takes days, not 5 minutes. And you need special scaffoldings to reach the top fuselage, the tail, and the top of the wings. Special tools are also required sometimes, like inspection mirrors and a good torch light. It just isn’t practical to ask the pilots and the stewardess to do it. They might miss the big cracks on the top of the fuselage, for example.


“…we’d gladly put up with a short delay while someone walks around the plane and makes sure the tail assembly isn’t about to pull away in mid flight.”

Line engineers do that. And like I’ve said, pilots do that as well. But they cannot check the whole plane. They won’t know if the tail assembly would pull away in mid flight unless they open up the access panels on tail section and inspect the attachment bolts. They have just 45 minutes of transit time to refuel, do a quick walk-around check, unload and load baggages, load food, do lavatory servicing if needed and sometimes change tyres. All in 45 minutes. There isn’t time to inspect every inch of the aircraft. The proper support equipment is not there as well. That’s why structural inspections are done in hangars during maintenance. Engineers can then throughly sweep the plane and find any defects and rectify them before they become too serious. In hangars, various other types of inspections are done too. Like ultrasonic inspection, magnetic particle inspection, dye penetrant inspection, x-ray inspections. These inspection methods can show what the naked eye cannot see.


“…over 99% of inspections were completed, according to documentation.”

Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest must have made a mistake. An aircraft with 99% of MANDATORY inspections done cannot be released for service. Unless he’s suggesting that the inspections were not done properly. In the aviation industry, we have very strict rules and requirements to follow. Every job completed must have the proper documentation. They will know if someone did not do their inspections.


“…it’ll (Southwest) be checking for cracks like nobody’s business from now on, with dozens of employees swarming over every plane.”

Not everyone needs to be mobilized to check for cracks. Inspections during maintenance in hangar is more than enough to detect cracks or signs of it. Engineers go through the plane very throughly so there is very little to be worried about. If they can’t find that crack, no one else can. Because experience really counts. They know where highly stressed parts are and where cracks are likely to appear. Trust them on this. And checking for cracks on the outer structure (fuselage, wing surfaces) is not enough. A cracked wing spar cannot be seen from the outside, but it can cause the wings to detach from the plane. That is why planes are dismantled and various inspection tools are used when they are inspected in hangars.


“…I wouldn’t be surprised if Gary Kelly himself was out there on the tarmac these days doing some inspections.”

I would be. He could just hire someone else to do the job for him. Engineers on the tarmac can probably spot the crack faster. And furthermore, he probably don’t have the required license to sign for the inspection.

“99% isn’t all fine” is an article written by someone who flies on a plane, not someone who works on the plane. I feel that the article itself undermines the effort put in by the maintenance and engineering staff to ensure the safety and airworthiness of the aircraft. We all take our jobs seriously. Because unlike doctors, if we don’t do our jobs properly, more than one person will die.

Can you sleep at night knowing you’ve killed more than 100 people with one mistake? Continue reading

Polls Summary

I’ve been running a lot of polls on this site and it is now the time to summarize the results to see the big picture. Before that, I apologize for not blogging because of exams.

The site layout change was done because I felt that the old one was too old and I want something simpler and easier to use. This new layout incorporates larger fonts, less sidebars, cleaner layouts. I feel that it makes reading easier. But if you have any comments about it, or would like to see some changes, I would like to hear from you. Drop me some comments below.

This poll has mixed reactions. There are of course many ways that we can save our planet. It would be unfair to say that just one of the above can save our earth from destruction. In fact, I recently attended a seminar on the environmental impacts of the airline industry. I have some notes but I have not have the time to compile them. Expect them to be out soon.

With almost everyone using a broadband line now, there’s little reason to heavily compress pictures. Therefore I have been using higher quality pictures with less compression and bigger file sizes. The downside is that it’s taking a toll on my bandwidth. Time for an upgrade.

There’s no doubt that consumers will embrace GPS when it becomes cheaper because it is indeed very useful when going to places you’ve never been to. Last weekend, for the first time I heard about Jalan Kapar Batu 1 in Klang, and in an hour, I was there with the help of the GPS. Before this, my preferred method was reading the map.

The outcome of this poll was expected. Because I have my site stats. But still, it’s amazing to see Firefox overtaking Internet Explorer in the span of a few years. Hopefully memory issues will be solved when Firefox 3 is released.

So there you have it. The results of the polls. I have a new poll up by the way. Is Facebook really taking over the social networking scene? Vote and you shall be heard. No phantom voters here please. Continue reading