KSP Friday #3

Kerbal Space Program has a steep learning curve compared to some other games. It incorporates orbital mechanics and Delta V calculations  and other physical models into the game and that can be very overwhelming. I was a bit overwhelmed myself the first time I played the game and barely got off of the launchpad. Even with my background as an engineer, I found it difficult to figure everything out, so I went searching for answers that could explain some of the concepts in the game. And that’s how I found Scott Manley’s Youtube Channel. He made a long series of videos that lay out many key concepts and best practices for the complete beginner. So, if you play KSP, too and are looking for some answers to your questions, there’s no better place to start than here:

KSP Friday #1

I’m a huge space and aviation nerd. When I was a kid, I memorized all of the astronauts of the Apollo missions. So with that said, it should be no surprise I’m a huge fan of the video game Kerbal Space Program and also Scott Manley’s Youtube Channel. I love how he blends science and historical anecdotes with streams of him playing video games. Anyway, I used to post Kipling poems every Friday in the last incarnation of this blog and since I have shifted to a more science and tech focus, I’ve decided to post KSP-related stuff on Fridays. Here’s the first installment:

This is a video of Scott and Fraser Cain, the editor of Universe Today, discussing the recently announced Interplanetary Transport Ship all while building a replica of it in KSP. Enjoy.

 

Homelabbing

I think I’ve always been interested in computers. Thinking back to my childhood, I’m pretty sure I inherited it from my father. He had a number of early systems including an Atari and then was an early adopter when Apple first started producing the Macintosh. I also got bitten by the gaming bug early on. The first game I remember playing was Mille Bornes on my Dad’s Apple PowerPC. It was the beginning of a long-standing hobby. My next steps were to card games by Hoyle and Yukon Trail. These were soon supplanted by the Ultimate Doom and Duke Nukem 3D. I then went many years as a console peasant gamer and rekindled my love of computer games in college. Since then I’ve become a HUGE fan of Steam and have a modest game collection of 123 games.

But something else happened along the way: I started to get into not just games but computers themselves. I’ve dabbled with Linux since high school and in college I became fascinated with fluid mechanics and how to model fluid flow using tools like OpenFOAM and ANSYS Fluent. My familiarity with Linux and CFD was a match made in heaven as Linux afforded stability for most CFD software and has the ability to cluster computers easily, meaning that you could set up a Beowulf Cluster to provide the necessary computing power for large CFD problems and the operating system or cluster wouldn’t crash constantly. My interest in CFD quickly spawned a need to learn more about Linux which caused me to install Ubuntu 9.04 on an old laptop and start learning. About a year ago, I kicked into high gear shortly after finding the /r/homelab and /r/homeserver subreddits and discovered amazing things like KVM/QEMU, servers, and self-hosted services like Plex. Ever since, I’ve begun moving towards building a robust, Enterprise-ish network within my home. I say Enterprise-ish because I don’t have the funding to buy brand new, top of the line Enterprise-grade equipment and my network needs to be wifeproof so large rooms full of multiple server racks, with wires strewn throughout the house is a no-go.

But that’s the struggle of most homelabbers and I’m yet another statistic. As I continue my journey learning how to build computer networks, clusters, servers, and utilize them to do things like model the aerodynamics of my car, I’ll write about it and share my lessons learned here on this blog.