January 2009 Minutes

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At the January meeting we ended up with a full house and a full agenda. Brownies were passed around, and even after filling the aisles with chairs stolen from another room, it was still standing room only.

First on the agenda was Ben Joslin and several students from Studio Academy. They told us about the goals of the FIRST Robotics League and why it's important. Then they told us about what they did last year (a recap of the May presentation they did for us), and showed the video of what this year's project is. This year's project includes a low traction situation, such as what would be experienced in light gravity; it's aptly named Lunacy. They're in their very limited build window (6 weeks?), working from 3-9 or 10 pm every day after school at Studio Academy. If anyone want to volunteer, you can show up at Studio Academy during that time. If you want to talk to Ben first, get a room number, etc, contact him at 529-1662 ext 24 or bjoslin@studioacademy.org .

Tim M. mentioned the Apress eBook discounts that's had an extra discount through January 16th. http://www.apress.com/promotion/bundle

Ed Fishel conducted PCIG officer nominations. Officerships must not be very highly regarded, because there were none. At their February meeting they'll get to have both nominations and elections.

Then it was time for our annual coup attempt. There was heated fighting, but the single nominee for each officer position managed to prevail against the empty field. The 2009 officers are:
President - Tina Wood
Vice president - Tim Massaro
Treasurer - Steve Fox

Eldon N announced the November vintage electronics show winners in 4 categories, and distributed prizes to the winners who were in attendance. Winners who were not present should contact Eldon about claiming their prize. The winners were:
Best Vintage PC - SWTPC 6800
Best Vintage Gaming System - Sega Genesis
Most Impressive Still Functional Old Thing - PC jr
Someone Actually Used This? - Vintage radio

The keyboard hardware project is stalled for lack of flexible gooseneck tubing, contact Tim M if you know of a potential source.

There were no specific requests for the January social, so it will be a Munchkin Bites and garlic laden potluck dinner at Tina's on Saturday the 17th, 2 and 6 pm respectively, people are welcome to come to both or either.

For the February social, we have the first four episodes of MakeTV on DVD, plus the Hackers R Peeps 2 video that Kevin A brought us back from DefCon. Tim M has volunteered to host; date, time and directions will be announced.

The Rube Goldberg device construction social has been requested to involve diet Coke and Mentos, which therefore means it needs to be held outside. The month of March has been requested for this social, we'll see if weather and scheduling can be made to cooperate.

The February technical meeting will be Dennis DeLorme on Arduino, Thursday February 12th. The February lunch will be Thursday February 19th.

We tabled the presentation of syncing our Google calendars by Jon Tollefson for another month in favor of getting on to the main event.

Four members of Hardcore Computing came to our meeting, including main presenter and president Daren Klum, Al Berning, Jim Backlund and Jerry Bernhagen. They talked about the history of liquid cooling, including their three main previous prototypes. The first involved water cooling with hoses, there was the excitement of leakage and fire! That killed the idea of cooling via tubing. Then the Novec submersion model, but Novec is $128/gallon and it evaporates quickly. The third attempt was a soy submersion model, but the soy begins to stink quickly. Their current model involves dielectric fluid, a mineral oil based material that they claim never needs an oil change. If for some reason the oil did ever need to be changed, old oil can be disposed of like any other quantity of oil (ie don't pour 5 gallons of it down the sink, but you can wash your hands afterwards without worrying about poisoning the bugs in the local wastewater treatment plant). It is biodegradable, nontoxic, and importantly, nonflammable. We did want to see the testing of the product that is used for their clear casing, it is claimed to be bulletproof. The machine is large and definitely not a laptop, weighing in at approximately 110 pounds. For movement, including hauling it to a LAN party, they did think to install large, sturdy handles. Access for USB plugs, etc can all be had on top instead of requiring you to get to the back. It was featured in the Make magazine 2008 holiday issue, pictures: http://www.wired.com/gadgets/pcs/multimedia/2008/12/gallery_liquid_suspended_pc and article: http://www.wired.com/reviews/product/reactor_pc . It uses three RAID 0 solid state hard drives for speed with the system and programs, data go on a different drive. The 650 watt power supply is also provided in duo. The fluid coolant radiator system is designed so that in the future it may be possible to put that excess heat to some other good use.

By the end of the planned presentation, brownie compliance was achieved. The meeting was allowed to end with time to socialize and talk to the Hardcore representatives one-on-one, as well as getting to try their Reactor system ourselves. See you next month.