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Welcome, Linux!

29 April, 2016 in Computers

icona-ubuntu

I’ve got a brand new workstation. And, this time, my main OS will be Ubuntu Linux (16.04).

My first, real “serious” OS was the AmigaOS, back in the ’80s. It was a real-time, preemptive 32-bit multitasking OS, coupled with GUI and multimedia capabilities. But Commodore declared bankruptcy in the ’90s and the Amiga entered her ill-fate, so I eventually switched to the Mac OS (X) platform, mainly because it was the only other alternative to the Wintel duopoly. Macs were PowerPC based and NeXTStep (ehr… OS X) was quite an interesting environment.

Linux was there, but it was not a real alternative, for me. Not very user-friendly, few applications (of the ones that I needed) available, you must always resort to the terminal for quite anything… it was not for me.

But then, things changed.

Using OS X I began to be acquainted with a Unix system, and when Apple ditched the whole PowerPC thing and embraced Intel chips, there was simply no reason anymore to buy (expensive) Apple hardware. In fact, my last Mac was a PowerMac “Quad”, and then I continued to use OS X on assembled PCs (“Hackintoshes”), with very good results and performance (I must say). Meanwhile, many more applications begin to be available for Linux, and what was not natively available could easily be used through virtual machines or (even better) Wine… so, I took the final decision: let’s “switch” to (Ubuntu) Linux, and see how it is.

Well… for now, it seems quite a good decision!


Air To Water!

30 August, 2015 in Uncategorized

AWA Modula 500

I’m really proud of my little sister Lucia!

Lucia has been a researcher for many years at the University of Pavia, and in the past she was part of a team that studied a wonderful machine that can produce water by condensing air moisture. Today, Lucia is employed as the R&D manager by Seas SA, a Swiss company that is actually manufacturing and selling such a machine, the AWA Modula. Yesterday, Seas showed their work within an Expo 2015 Event at the Swiss pavilion.

In a world where about 800 million people lack access to safe water it’s easy to understand how beneficial such a technology could be. The AWA Modula can produce water without any need of a primary source, because it works just like an air-conditioner especially optimized for water production (it only needs electrical power that can come from any source, including renewable ones). Just imagine: place it even in the desert, couple it with some solar panels and – voila’ – you have free, drinking water wherever you want!

Oh, and by the way, I’d like to say that I gave my little contribution to the project; I designed and wrote the simulation software (ATWsim, Air-To-Water sim) that Seas is currently using. The ATWsim software is a real-time simulation of the whole AWA Modula hardware inner thermodynamics processes, it can predict the actual behavior of the machine given the real-time conditions of the environment (ie water produced, energy consumption, etc.) or can be used to quickly prototype different configurations or enhancements of the device.