The December 2012 edition of IEEE's Spectrum magazine had this setup from Datamancer Enterprises. BTW, the suffix 'mancer' means prophet or fortune teller. From their website: The Clacker is a full PC suite including keyboard, mouse (made from a telegraph key), mouse pad (ancient map image), PC, LCD, speakers (vintage Atwater-Kent speakers which have been modernized), and a classic table and matching chair. The PC features a powered, spinning brass mechanical display reminiscent of Charles Babbage's 'Analytical Engine' and 'Difference Engine', which were giant brass mechanical calculators invented in the early 1900s whose functions influenced the design of modern computers. The Clacker ships with a 'Marquis' keyboard. The LCD also features an antique video projector built into the back which is powered and spins custom brass film reels while LED lighting flickers in a custom projection box, to give the impression that the image is being projected onto the LCD through the back. Spectrum says the price is $15k-25k. If you buy yourself one, please have a second sent to me. Thank-you in advance.
A website visitor wrote recently and mentioned that he qualified for a "Personal" edition of the highly capable a href="http://www.maplesoft.com/products/Maple/index.aspx" target="_blank"> Maple mathematics software by MapleSoft. He got v15 a while ago for just $260 (up to v16 now). The standard price is north of $2k, so $260 is a heck of a deal. My version of MathCAD is about 15 years old and won't run on Win 7, so I figured it would be worth asking if I qualify. My application would be to create equations and graphs for posting on RF Cafe. Maple's abilities are far beyond my simple needs with its ability to solve complex equations, produce sophisticated visualizations (aka charts), produce professional reports, and more. Many built-in engineering and science functions are available. The symbolic math engine makes laying out system diagrams and equations simple and intuitive. A student version can be had for a considerable discount (couldn't find a price on their website). There are Maple packages available on eBay, but they are probably not legitimate and therefore cheat MapleSoft out of deserved profit. BTW, I do not qualify for the Personal user price, and since my application would be to provide stuff to people for free, it's not worth the cost. Looks like MathCAD 3.1 will have to do me for a while longer.
|While on a software theme for the Cool product (Maple math software featured last week), I ran across a demo for wind analysis software that architects and civil engineers for predicting building structural loads, wind velocity at street level (recall stories of gale-force winds generated between tall buildings due to venturi effect), land erosion, and more. Both 2-D and 3-D simulations are possible. Vasari Ecotect Wind Tunnel color-coded graphs look a lot like many of the finite element analysis (FEA) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD), vector field plots that we are accustomed to seeing for electric and magnetic field analysis, thermal maps, and load stress analysis on mechanical structures. It is no coincidence since many of the equations and techniques are either exactly the same or very closely related. Recall in physics and circuit analysis classes how often mechanical analogies were used for explaining electrical principles, and vice versa. This is actually part of Autodesk's Project Vasari which was created specifically to analyze conceptual building layouts. Remcom's Wireless InSite looks a lot like the Wind Tunnel software in that it models fields surrounding and even through buildings in an urban environment. The difference is that Wireless InSite projects EM fields rather than wind fields. Anyone in the wireless network planning business might want to look into this software since it appears to include multipath effects on signal integrity...|
|A dozen times or so each year I get requests from people looking for point-to-point (PtP, P2P)propagation software that is sophisticated enough to take into account dense urban environments, terrain reflections, weather phenomena, etc. The first thing I recommend is checking into AlphiMAX's free PtP Estimator online application. Someone pointed out that while PtP Estimator is a nice free program, it requires uploading your system information to the company's website, and that he was not able to reveal his system's venue and frequency / power specifications. If that is a problem for you, Remcom, a well-known electromagnetics simulator company, has a product called Wireless InSite® that is purchased and run on your own computer. "Wireless InSite is a suite of ray-tracing models and high-fidelity EM solvers for the analysis of site-specific radio propagation and wireless communication systems available through a common user interface. The software provides efficient and accurate predictions of propagation and communication channel characteristics in complex urban, indoor, rural and mixed path environments. Applications range from military defense to commercial communications, wireless communication links (link budgets), antenna orientation and coverage, including interference from multiple transmitters."|
|Thanks to a tip by RF Cafe visitor and contributor Bob Davis for letting me know about a very capable point-to-point RF system planner called Radio Mobile, by Canadian Ham radio operator Roger Coudé (VE2DBE). There is another similar freeware program available called AlphiMax, but it requires that you upload your system data to a remote server - a potential confidentiality conflict. Radio Mobile uses GPS-based terrain information obtained from the U.S. Department of Commerce NTIA/ITS Institute for Telecommunication Sciences Irregular Terrain Model (ITM) database. Elevation data for most of the world is available, not just for the U.S. and Canada. A very nice feature of Radio Mobile is the ability to predict performance between a fixed station and a mobile station in motion. Frequencies for 20 MHz to 20 GHz can be explored for transmitter powers ranging from 10 nW up to 1 MW. Antenna gain of -10 to 100 dBi is available, with line losses up to 500 dB. Receiver threshold of 0.01 to 2,000 μV is accommodated. You can specify environmental parameters like climate (equatorial, continental, marine, etc.), modes of variation (spot, accidental, mobile, broadcast), ground conditions (conductivity, relative permittivity), and statistical variations (time, location, situation). Interestingly, a search...|