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LOHAN's Punch and Judy show is GO for Saturday

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) "Punch" and "Judy" test flights are go for tomorrow (Saturday 5 April), and as ever we'll be streaming proceedings live over the interwebs so you make yourselves a nice cuppa, kick back and follow the action live from the comfort of your PC. First up, we have the Punch rocket motor …
Lester Haines, 4 Apr 2014
The Wirliyatjarrayi Store

Deep desert XP-ocalypse averted as Reg man returns

Yesterday was day three of my XP-ocalypse aversion mission to upgrade the PCs at the remote Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre. The day started with the dew on the ground and the desert sun struggling to penetrate a low, hazy, layer of cloud. The air was just a tad sticky and I wondered if it might rain. I hoped not: the road to …
Feral camel

Driver drama delays deep desert XP upgrade

“EJ”* is a God-fearing man. I know this because, at a tricky point in my attempt to upgrade some Windows XP computers, he asked me to write a letter explaining the Lord could vouch for his words. The letter-writing exercise was welcome because, at the time, I was tearing my hair out. The first step in my attempt to upgrade the …
Fire flames come from chamber as lid blows off

Middle England trembles before roaring LOHAN

There are only a few days left before our planned "Punch" and "Judy" flights on Saturday 5 April, so a slightly sooty Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is pleased to report that we've wrapped the final ground-based rocket motor tests in the Rocketry Experimental High Altitude Barosimulator (REHAB) hypobaric …
Lester Haines, 2 Apr 2014
Red Back Spider

El Reg's Deep Outback XP upgrade almost foiled by KILLER ARACHNIDS

Vid Australia's Northern territory, where The Reg is this week doing a Windows XP upgrade at the Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre in the remote community of Willowra, is huge and empty. Let's give that statement some dimensions. The United Kingdom covers 243,610 km2 and is home to 63.23 million people. Texas covers 696,241 km2 and …

LOHAN team gears up for Punch and Judy show

It's all go on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) front as the British contingent of the team gears up for the forthcoming "Punch" and "Judy" test flights. On 5 April, we'll assemble at the new "Blighty's Baikonur" (formerly in Berkshire, now relocated to Herefordshire) to launch two balloon payloads. The first …
Lester Haines, 31 Mar 2014

LOHAN preps Vulture 2 for hot vinyl wrap

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team has some good news and some bad news today. The good news is that we've finished the paint element of of Vulture 2 spaceplane's livery, and it looks absolutely magnificent. The bad news, for you lot at least, is that we're not going to show our beloved readers just how …
Lester Haines, 28 Mar 2014
The Warlipiri Education and Training Trust

The Reg's desert XP-ocalypse aversion plan revealed

Next week, The Reg heads into Australia's red centre to perform a Windows XP to Windows 7 upgrade at the Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre, a facility in the tiny central Australian town of Willowra. The Learning Centre offers the first publicly accessible internet-connected PCs in the 300-strong town. Willowra is a two-hour drive …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Mar 2014

QUIDOCALYPSE: Blighty braces for £100 MILLION cost of new £1 coin

As we predicted yesterday, it hasn't taken coin-guzzling machine operators long to kick off moaning about the cost of converting kit to accept Blighty's new 12-sided quid*, slated to hits the streets in 2017. The proposed 12-sided pound coin. Pic: The Royal Mint We suggested the retrofit bill for the old thrupenny-inspired …
Lester Haines, 20 Mar 2014

LOHAN bloodhound unleashes solar-powered minitracker

Fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project with a particular interest in the radio electronics side of spaceplane missions will doubtless enjoy a first look at a new miniature tracker from team member Anthony Stirk - the sleek black PAVA 9. Anthony's PAVA 9 tracker Anthony's PAVA programme was inspired by …
Lester Haines, 19 Mar 2014
The Warlipiri Education and Training Trust

Help a hack: What's in your ultimate Windows XP migration toolkit?

Keen Reg readers may remember that last year we visited the remote Aboriginal community of Willowra and its new Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre. We went because we wanted to know how technology makes an impact in a remote community. What we found was a wonderful facility with enormous potential to help locals, but it was …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Mar 2014

Punch and Judy face Blofeld in LOHAN doomsday box test

As we recently announced, the British contingent of the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team will assemble in Blighty on 5 April for the final test flights before the launch of our Vulture 2 spaceplane. Watch Video The first stratomission, dubbed "Punch", will lift a small Cesaroni rocket motor to 20,000m to …
Lester Haines, 14 Mar 2014

Actually, there is an Arapaho word for 'pliers'

The Vulture Central backroom boys are running around like headless chickens following the revelation that our new BuzzGasm feed is not functioning to the high standards of factual accuracy our demanding readers expect. For those of you not familiar with BuzzGasm, the El Reg Strategy Boutique describes it as "an automated …
Lester Haines, 14 Mar 2014
Woman shocked by the proximity of a pair of pliers

BuzzGasm: 9 Incredible Things You Never Knew About PLIERS!

1: Pliers Hold Stuff Really, Really Tight Youth gripping his front teeth with a pair of pliers Wow, amazeballs. 2: They Can Also Cut Cables Pair of pliers cutting wire That is so multitaskingly cool. 3: Side-Cutters Are NOT Pliers A pair of side cutters No no no no no. 4: Neither Are Pincers A pair of pincers …

Heroic Playmonaut wowed by LOHAN's bulging package

Pics Following the recent successful fitting and testing of our Vulture 2 spaceplane's Raspberry Pi and Picam rig, the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is relieved to announce that we've wrapped the permanent installation of the rest of the aircraft's avionics. What's more, our heroic Playmonaut now has the proper …
Lester Haines, 10 Mar 2014

LOHAN chap hooks up with busty stratominx in cosmic pleasure cruise

NSFW vid The Register's Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team has expressed its shock and dismay that member Dave Akerman has chosen to play away from home with a lads' mag busty stratominx. Dave's a veteran of countless balloon launches, and is regularly approached by people in bars asking to be "taken to heaven and back". …
Lester Haines, 7 Mar 2014

Bloke rattles tin for giant 3D two-headed beast

We suspect that the Kickstarter-funded 3D printer bubble is fast approaching burst point, as hopefuls queue up to rattle their tins and get their necks in the DIY-extruded trough. It's a tough market. California outfit TJIKO Labs recently failed to raise the $35k it needed to get a snap-together printer into production, so it'll …
Lester Haines, 6 Mar 2014

Reg reader rattles tin for GoPro camera 'Stubilizer'

Update Those among you who feel their lives lack stability are directed to Reg reader Stuart Smith's "Stubilizer" - a range of stabilising platforms for GoPro cameras which has just launched on Kickstarter. Stuart Smith models a 2-axis, helmet-mounted Stubilizer Stuart Smith sports a Stubilizer Back in January, we chewed the fat …
Lester Haines, 3 Mar 2014

LOHAN chap brews up 18% ABV 'V2' rocket fuel

It hasn't escaped some readers' attention that our Vulture 2 spaceplane's moniker might handily be abbreviated to "V2", which got Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team member Paul "Lord Shax" Shackleton thinking about rocket fuel, and indeed fuel for the human elements of our audacious ballocket mission. Hitler's …
Lester Haines, 26 Feb 2014

Final LOHAN test flights codenamed 'Punch' and 'Judy'

The grand finale of the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) saga is approaching, and is now so tantalisingly close you could almost reach out and stick a match to it. It's been a long, winding road, to be sure, but we still have a few things to wrap before we can finally see what happens when you stick a rocket motor in …
Lester Haines, 25 Feb 2014

Enterprising French chap cranks up €100k 'flying car'

A French entrepreneur is hoping that by 2015, those with €100,000 in spare change will slip the surly bonds of earth aboard his Vaylon Pégase (Pegasus) flying car. Artists impression of Pegasus in flight. Pic: Vaylon La voiture volante. Pic: Vaylon Jérôme Dauffy's vehicle is actually a powered paraglider concept, with the …
Lester Haines, 24 Feb 2014

French youth faces court for illegal drone flight

A French youth who used a drone to capture impressive aerial footage of the city of Nancy is facing an appearance before the beak on a charge of "endangering the lives of others". Nans Thomas, 18, strapped a GoPro camera to an unspecified vehicle* he bought on the internet to produce a noteworthy video, which quickly became a …
Lester Haines, 21 Feb 2014

LOHAN gets intimate with 50,000 hot-blooded pilots

It's all go on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) avionics front, what with handsome young autopilots springing into life and Raspberry picams snapping fetching spaceplane selfies, so this seems like a good moment to point those in search of the more esoteric aspects of the mission in the direction of our DIY Drones …
Lester Haines, 19 Feb 2014

Reg readers fret over misty-eyed LOHAN

Our heads-up last week on the Vulture 2 spaceplane's miniature Raspberry Pi camera (Picam), prompted some readers to express concerns that we were heading for trouble in the imaging department. Here's the camera in question... A close-up of the Picam ...and here it is glued into the underside of the aircraft's nose: The …
Lester Haines, 17 Feb 2014

LOHAN cops a faceful of Raspberry Pi

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is methodically working its way through the installation of the Vulture 2 spaceplane's electronic systems, and having got the Pixhawk autopilot up and running, we were able to turn our attention this week to the onboard Raspberry Pi. LOHAN regulars will know that we use a …
Lester Haines, 14 Feb 2014
Plan 9 is... weird, and has almost no applications - but it shows a future direction for Unix-like OSes

Plan 9 moves out from Lucent licence space

Plan 9, a successor to Unix developed during the 1980s by Bell Labs, is now available under the GNU Public Licence. The operating system was never particularly popular or prevalent, but did generate enough of a following to spark a successor of its own known as Inferno. We also wrote it up last year, saying that “Compared to …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Feb 2014

Investors throw cash at affordable 3D scanner

Proof that the 3D bandwagon continues to gain pace comes with the news that Fuel 3D Technologies has secured a suitcase full of private investor cash to further fund "the world's first 3D scanner to combine pre-calibrated stereo cameras with photometric imaging". Rendering of the Fuel3D The Fuel3D: Coming soon to a hand near …
Lester Haines, 13 Feb 2014

El Reg talks beer and binaries with a boffin named Boffin

Interview We at El Reg like a good boffin, so we're delighted to bring fellow boffophiles a quick interview with Henri Boffin, who's staff astronomer at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) facility in Paranal, Chile. Henri Boffin at his desk in Paranal A boffin named Boffin: Henri at work in Paranal We're obliged to Henri for …
Lester Haines, 10 Feb 2014

LOHAN's handsome young autopilot springs into life

It's been a couple of weeks since the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team took delivery of a brand-spanking new 3D Robotics Pixhawk autopilot for the Vulture 2 spaceplane, and we've now whipped out our original ArduPilot Mega (APM) 2.6 and hooked up the new kit for a quick test. Here's the Pixhawk up and running …
Lester Haines, 6 Feb 2014

Reg reader crafts 3-axis GoPro 'Stubilizer' for skull-mounted cameras

Interview As our title suggests, we at the Special Projects Bureau like a nice project, so we're pleased to share with you today reader Stuart Smith's ambitious 3-axis stabiliser for the GoPro HERO3 - dubiously dubbed the "Stubilizer". A 3D rendering of the Stubilizer The Stubilizer in 3D rendered glory Stuart's an IT consultant …
Lester Haines, 29 Jan 2014

Behold the world's first full-colour 3D printer

Those of you frustrated by the monochrome, single material output of 3D printers, and who happen to have very deep pockets, are directed to the Stratasys Objet500 Connex3, hailed as the world's first full-colour machine. The Stratasys Objet500 Connex3. Pic: Stratasys Full colour at a price: The Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 …
Lester Haines, 28 Jan 2014

Handsome young autopilot reports for spaceplane duty

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team this morning welcomed aboard a handsome young autopilot for our Vulture 2 spaceplane - the hot-off-the-press 3D Robotics Pixhawk. 3DR kindly offered to donate a couple of Pixhawks to the cause, after ArduPilot fixed-wing lead developer Andrew Tridgell suggested we'd benefit …
Lester Haines, 23 Jan 2014

Pregnant? Celebrate your proudest moment ... by 3D-printing a copy of the foetus

Proud parents-to-be with a few bucks to spare might want to consider splashing out on a "3D Baby" - an "adorable baby figurine" of their pre-natal sprog squirted into shape by a 3D printer. A 3D baby in its presentation box. Pic: 3D Babies According to California-based 3D Babies, these foetal representations are created using …
Lester Haines, 21 Jan 2014

LOHAN develops amazing mind-reading powers

There's been a lull in the flighting on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) front over Xmas and New Year, but the team has emerged from the festivities revitalised and ready for action. In December, we announced that 3D Robotics had kindly agreed to supply the mission with an all-new Pixhawk autopilot, to replace the …
Lester Haines, 17 Jan 2014

Bloke hews plywood Raspberry Pi tablet

It's a tip of the hat today to Michael Castor, who caught our eye with his attractive fusion of plywood, carbon fibre and Raspberry Pi, dubbed the "PiPad". Top view of the PiPad Michael's plan was to build an "all-in-one system that was usable, portable, and Linux-based", but which also "had to look good". Furthermore, it …
Lester Haines, 14 Jan 2014

Hopefuls rattle tin for customisable snap together 3D printer

DIY 3D printing is very much flavour of the month, and whether it's the third industrial revolution or a load of old cobblers remains to be seen, but there's a veritable extrusion of makers vying to get their print nozzles in the trough. Kickstarter is the street corner of choice for these pioneers to rattle their tins, and …
Lester Haines, 13 Jan 2014

Cheeky LOHAN chaps in gutsy snatch at El Reg's paper spaceplane crown

In an audacious and extremely cheeky high altitude operation over the weekend, Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team members Dave Akerman and Anthony Stirk had a pop at our Guinness World Record for the highest-altitude paper plane launch. The SNOW aircraft The underside of the SNOW aircraft The pair's SNOW …
Lester Haines, 31 Dec 2013

Hypnotic wind map captures Earth's heavenly currents

Those readers slumped behind their desks in the traditional pre-Xmas torpor and who are looking for an alternative to watching the clock hands crawling towards Yule liberation are directed towards "earth" - magnificent animated views of the world's wind currents. Global wind currents shown on earth Using data from the …
Lester Haines, 19 Dec 2013

Fair winds and following servers: The art of flight prediction

Back in September, the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team sent a mighty orb aloft on a test flight of our magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane's rocket motor igniter. The mission was a textbook operation, with the the payload eventually returning to terra firma within a few hundred metres of the awaiting team, at a …
Lester Haines, 18 Dec 2013

Brilliant Brit bloke builds breakfast-belching BACON DRONE

In what is described as "a breakthrough moment for humanity", a British bloke has constructed a tricopter designed to remotely deliver a full English breakfast of bacon, egg, sausage, mushroom and tomato ketchup. Joel Veitch's Bacon Drone Joel Veitch's cutting-edge design of "sticks and tape and coat hangars" is controlled by …
Lester Haines, 16 Dec 2013

Teary-eyed snappers recall the golden age of film

Interview For those readers with a tendency to get teary-eyed over the golden age of film, and the days before digital swept physical photographic media into the cutting room bin of history, we're delighted to take a trip down memory lane today with professional photographer Phil Houghton. Portrait of Phil Houghton holding mighty Nikon …
Lester Haines, 10 Dec 2013

LOHAN embraces handsome young autopilot

We invite fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project to raise a glass or two today to UAV specialist 3D Robotics, which has very kindly agreed to offer our Vulture 2 spaceplane a brain transplant in the form of the mighty Pixhawk autopilot. Two views of the 3D robotics Pixhawk As LOHAN regulars know, our …
Lester Haines, 4 Dec 2013