Archive for May, 2013

Georgia Tech partners with Udacity to offer $7k online Master’s in Computer Science degree

Georgia Tech is partnering with Udacity and AT&T to offer a completely online Master’s in Computer Science degree costing less than $7,000 using the new massive open online course (MOOC) format.

Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world’s premier research universities and is ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report’s top public universities.

And I’d like a refund from my alma mater…

The Chocolatey Gods Have Answered Your Request

Apt-Get has come to Windows. Just as the Greek gods were renamed when they were adopted by the Romans, Linux’s apt-get on Windows is known as “Chocolatey”.

If you are a developer, you can think of Chocolatey as Nuget for your machine. If you are unfamiliar with nuget or apt-get, Chocolatey is simply an independent repository of software installation scripts, allowing you to install apps such as Firefox, Visual Studio, or Resharper on your machine with a single command line. Even better, you can create your own powershell scripts that can install a multitude of apps in unattended bliss.

For example, if you wanted to setup a new development workstation, a script like the one shown below would eliminate a lot of boring desktop admin work, installing all your favorite development tools automatically. It even installs Chocolatey for you. Checkout for the full list of apps available and their command lines.

NOTE: the command “cinstm” means “install if it isn’t already installed”

NOTE: don’t forget to set your script execution policy to Unrestricted before you run this powershell script
(from a command line run in Admin mode)

Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted

Here is the powershell script, which you can save as “SetupDevEnviron.ps1”:

# This script was based off these samples:

function Install-NeededFor {
   [string] $packageName = ''
  ,[bool] $defaultAnswer = $true
  if ($packageName -eq '') {return $false}
  $yes = '6'
  $no = '7'
  $defaultAnswerDisplay = 'Yes'
  $buttonType = 0x4;
  if (!$defaultAnswer) { $defaultAnswerDisplay = 'No'; $buttonType= 0x104;}
  $answer = $msgBoxTimeout
  try {
    $timeout = 10
    $question = "Do you need to install $($packageName)? Defaults to `'$defaultAnswerDisplay`' after $timeout seconds"
    $msgBox = New-Object -ComObject WScript.Shell
    $answer = $msgBox.Popup($question, $timeout, "Install $packageName", $buttonType)
  catch {
  if ($answer -eq $yes -or ($answer -eq $msgBoxTimeout -and $defaultAnswer -eq $true)) {
    write-host "Installing $packageName"
    return $true
  write-host "Not installing $packageName"
  return $false

#install chocolatey
if (Install-NeededFor 'chocolatey') {
  $downloadUrl = '';
  $webclient = new-object net.webclient;
  $webclient.proxy.credentials = []::DefaultNetworkCredentials;
  $webclient.downloadstring('') | iex;

Write-Host 'Installing utilities...'
cinstm Firefox
cinstm GoogleChrome
cinstm 7zip.install
cinstm Console2
cinstm fiddler

Write-Host 'Installing Visual Studio...'
cinstm VisualStudio2012Ultimate

Write-Host 'Installing Visual Studio packages...'
if (Install-NeededFor 'VS2012 Update 2', $false) {
	cinstm Dogtail.VS2012.2
cinstm resharper
cinstm NugetPackageManager
cinstm nuget.commandline
cinstm tfs2012powertools
cinstm tfsSidekicks2012


Bundle virtual-paths should not be duplicated, otherwise the dupe will overwrite the contents of the previous entry. To add more than one file to a bundle, wrap them in the params in the Include method.

For example, in BundleConfig.cs RegisterBundles, this:

bundles.Add(new StyleBundle("~/bundles/css").Include("~/Content/xxx.less"));
bundles.Add(new StyleBundle("~/bundles/css").Include("~/Content/yyy.less"));

Needs to be this:

bundles.Add(new StyleBundle("~/bundles/css").Include(

Also, the bundle virtual path depth should be the same as the depth of the file you are referring to (4 in the example below). If you don’t do this, relative paths in your less/css will fail.

	bundles.Add(new LessBundle("~/Content/xxx/less/yyy").Include("~/Content/xxx/less/yyy.less"));

Infinitely charged battery coming to market this summer

I’ve written about micro generators that harvess ambient energy from their environment, now the first ones are coming to market this summer.

Microgen’s new BOLT MicroPower Generator harvests tiny mechanical vibration and turns it into electrical power stored in ultra-capacitors  or thin-film batteries, effectively creating an infinitely charged battery about the size of today’s coin batteries.

Able generate enough power to replace coin batteries, it can be used in a huge variety of devices.  In an automobile’s tire pressure sensor, for example, this device collects the vibrations from the tires meeting the road and offers unending power for the sensor.  Additional applications include machinery monitoring, lighting control, wireless price tags at stores, and smart utility metering — eliminating the 164 million depleted coin-cell batteries in the U.S. and Europe each year that would otherwise need to be recycled.

Like a windmill snags the breeze, ambient vibration causes the tiny micro flap shown here to swing back and forth. This generates electrical current, which is harvested for the rechargeable thin-film battery.

Output voltage is OCV > 10 Volts, and output power Pload >100 uW @ f1 and G > 1.0 g

© 2018 Robert Corvus