Accepting BitCoin

As of today, we accept BitCoin as payment method for our tandem flights at paraeasy.ch

BitCoin is a decentralized online currency. It was in the news lately. While banks and politicians made it sound bad, it’s actually a great experiment. True, it has some shortcomings, but these shouldn’t bother us for the next couple of years.

If you want to learn more about BitCoin, check out these podcasts:

http://chaosradio.ccc.de/cr169.html

http://linuxoutlaws.com/podcast/215

http://chaosradio.ccc.de/cre182.html

http://www.weusecoins.com/

My first Android App

Yesterday, my first Android App hit the Market. Just search for flightpred and you should find it. It should run on any device running Android 1.5 and above. The App doesn’t do a lot so far. Essentially, it downloads an xml file from the flightpred server and displays the predictions for how many kilometers it thinks are possible to fly in the next three days in some flying sites on the small screen. Later I also want to add a GoogleMapsView with the circles like on the flightpred website.

I used to develop some small projects and my diploma work in Java some ten years ago. Since then the language progressed noticeably. I especially like the templatized containers. Back in the days, the containers were not type safe and I always had to cast when accessing elements. Also, the lambda’s look good.

A new flying site "Gebidum"

These days I don’t often discover new flying sites, especially not if they’re so close. Last year when searching for new sites in the Wallis I found something about Giw on the internet. That’s above Visperterminen. The chairlift was closed already, so I went somewhere else.

When thinking about where to go this weekend, that came to my mind, and I decided to go there. From the top of the chairlift one has to walk about half an hour uphill to reach the takeoff. While hiking, I saw the other mountain more north, which I thought must be the goal of the private cablecar from Eyholz. So I went to find out…

The mountain has the funny name “Gebidum” and is indeed where this obscure cablecar goes to. It’s only to service all the antennas at the top. The view was marvelous. Only the take off is not so perfect. One can take off in almost all directions, but it’s very flat, has stones, little bushes and steps. To make it perfect, while I waited and looked around at the top, the wind started to blow softly from the north. I wanted to take off south to fly along the slopes and explore the area where I walked up from the air.

Takeoff went smooth, and it was a gentle autumn flight even with some weak thermals along the way. After following the ridge to the small Giw lake, I crossed to Zeneggen before heading to Visp.

The battery of my phone was empty, so I couldn’t take no photos and no lifetracking. But the good old Garmin could still record.

missing env variables when running from cron

Today I solved another problem that bugged me for a while. Namely, I wanted to run the free flight prediction runs automatically from cron. When I ran it from the commandline or a script, it worked well, but when I tried to run it directly or through the same script from cron, it always failed with the following message : “critical error : basic_string::_S_construct NULL not valid”

Continue reading “missing env variables when running from cron”

Powered paragliding

After a long time I did some paramotoring again. We swiss poeople have to leave the country to do so. Paramotoring is forbidden in only two countries in the world. One is North Korea, and guess which is the other…
But it looks promising that the new electric engines might get approved in Switzerland.

Anyway, it’s lots of fun for the autumn when the thermals start to disappear.

paramotoring

Weatherstation problem

The plan was to build a mobile weather station with an arduino, two old windspeed sensors from the local paragliding school, a temperature sensor, a solar panel and an old cellphone.

As the first part I wanted to read the anemometers. I got them for a bargain from Touch&Go. Only I couldn’t figure out how to read them. It was no simple switch, so I suspected a hall effect sensor. From Flytec I got a schematic how to make the circuit. On the breadboard it worked immediately, but on the PCB, I got no readings. After a bit of measuring and thinking, I added two more resistors, to have the oscillating voltage pass the reference voltage.

Next, I started to calculate the wind direction from the two sensors for X and Y direction. Only then I realized that the windspeed alone is not enough. I would need a sign (+ or -) meaning if the wind blows from the front or back through the sensor. With only the speed I know only the angle but not which quadrant. And the quadrant is actually more important than the angle for me.

Ideas are welcome…

Arduino proto board

Paragliding magazine cover

Lately I learned that I was on the front page of a japanese paraglider magazine:

My ex boss visited his parents in law in Japan and brought me an issue. I was puzzled to learn that Japanese magazines are read from back to front.

cover

order form